The Serpentine

Lake in/near Marble Arch, existing between the 1730s and now

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Lake · Marble Arch · W2 ·
JANUARY
5
2017

The Serpentine is a 40-acre (16 ha) recreational lake in Hyde Park.


It was created in 1730 at the behest of Queen Caroline.

Although it is common to refer to the entire body of water as the Serpentine, strictly the name refers only to the eastern half of the lake. Serpentine Bridge, which marks the boundary between Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, also marks the Serpentine's western boundary; the long and narrow western half of the lake is known as the Long Water. The Serpentine takes its name from its snakelike, curving shape, although it only has one bend.

Originally fed by the River Westbourne and Tyburn Brook in the 1730s, the lake's water was then pumped from the Thames in the 1830s. The water is now pumped from three boreholes within Hyde Park, the most recent being installed in May 2012 as part of the 2011–2012 restoration of the Lake.

The Serpentine provided a focal point for The Great Exhibition of 1851, and more recently was a venue for the men's and women's triathlon and marathon swimming events in the London 2012 Olympics.

Since 1864 the Serpentine Swimming Club has organised a 100-yard race every Christmas morning for the Peter Pan Cup, inaugurated by J. M. Barrie, the creator of the fictional character Peter Pan.

There are many recreational facilities around the Serpentine, as well as boating on the lake itself. In 1860 the Serpentine was to be modified into a skating pond with formal edges. This scheme was not implemented.

Among the landmarks near the lake is the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain.

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VIEW THE MARBLE ARCH AREA IN THE 1750s
The 1750 Rocque map is bounded by Sudbury (NW), Snaresbrook (NE), Eltham (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1750 map does not display.

VIEW THE MARBLE ARCH AREA IN THE 1800s
The 1800 mapping is bounded by Stanmore (NW), Woodford (NE), Bromley (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1800 map does not display.

VIEW THE MARBLE ARCH AREA IN THE 1830s
The 1830 mapping is bounded by West Hampstead (NW), Hackney (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Chelsea (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1830 map does not display.

VIEW THE MARBLE ARCH AREA IN THE 1860s
The 1860 mapping is bounded by Brent Cross (NW), Stratford (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Hammermith (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1860 map does not display.

VIEW THE MARBLE ARCH AREA IN THE 1900s
The 1900 mapping covers all of the London area.

 

Marble Arch

Marble Arch station was opened on 30 July 1900 by the Central London Railway.

Like all the original stations on the CLR, Marble Arch was served by lifts to the platforms but the station was reconstructed in the early 1930s to accommodate escalators. This saw the closure of the original station building, designed by the architect Harry Bell Measures, that was situated on the corner of Quebec Street and Oxford Street, and a replacement sub-surface ticket hall opened further to the west. The new arrangements came into use on 15 August 1932. The original surface building was later demolished.

The platforms, originally lined in plain white tiles, were refitted with decorative vitreous enamel panels in 1985. The panel graphics were designed by Annabel Grey.

The station was modernised in 2010 resulting in new finishes in all areas of the station, apart from the retention of various of the decorative enamel panels at platform level.
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