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Summary Article: Hyde Park
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

One of the largest open spaces in London, England, occupying over 138 ha/340 acres in Westminster, and adjoining Gardens to the west. It includes the Serpentine, a boating lake; and Rotten Row, a riding track. Open-air meetings are held at Speakers' Corner, in the northeast corner near Marble Arch. In 1851 the Great Exhibition was held here.

The southeast corner of the park is known as Hyde Park Corner.

History The park was originally part of the Manor of Hyde, owned by Westminster Abbey, until it was taken by Henry VIII in 1536 at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries. It then became a royal deer park until it was opened to the public by Charles I. It was sold by Parliament in 1652, but reverted to the Crown at the Restoration. It became a fashionable coach- and horse-racing track, a rendezvous for duellists, and from its northwest corner crowds used to watch executions at Tyburn. The Serpentine (1730–33) was formed on the course of the old Westbourne River. The Great Exhibition of 1851 was housed in the Crystal Palace, a glass and iron construction moved to Sydenham Hill in 1854, where it burned down in 1936. In 1855 a large number of people gathered illegally in the northeast corner of the park to demonstrate against the Sunday Trading Bill. There were further demonstrations, and the right of assembly in the park was recognized in 1872, the site becoming Speakers' Corner.

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