Battersea Park: Pagoda, Bridge, Festivals

Usually when you’re a first time tourist in London, there is a big chance that you have never heard of Battersea Park, it took me about a year to find out about this place, not without the help of a good friend. I first came to this park in summer. 4641509629_819d3dabe0_bThis park is from the Victorian era, so it was built between 1854 and 1870, according to the Wandsworth Council. Speaking of Wandsworth… Remember “Love Actually” and the time when Hugh Grant’s love interest Natalie played by the lovely Martine McCutcheon, says that she lives in “Wandsworth, the dodgy end”? Well, this is the opposite of the dodgy end, this is the good end, but it’s also Wandsworth! Not that the other one is that bad anyway! Nevermind.

There’s a lot to see in Battersea Park and around it, but usually everyone comes here to see the Peace pagoda (there’s another famous pagoda in Kew Gardens in London), the Albert Bridge and probably the Power Station.

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I was really surprised when I first saw such construction in a park in London, seemed a bit out of place, however, the story behind it is quite interesting. According to this BBC webpage , at a time when the Cold War and the fear of a nuclear attack were getting higher, a Peace Pagoda was offered to the City of London to promote world harmony. The year was 1984, and it was built by monks, nuns and followers of Nipponzan Myohoji (a religious movement that emerged from the Nichiren sect of Japanese Buddhism)

So basically, these people have been constructing Peace Pagodas, as the movement for peace, for around 70 years now, and these constructions exist all around the world including Europe, Asia and the United States.

It’s interesting to witness a piece of Asian architecture outside of, well, Asia! So if you really want to have a glimpse of a beautiful building like that – you need to come here, plus it’s much closer to Central London, than Kew Gardens, eh!

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Another exciting thing about Battersea Park is that apparently, it used to be a very popular place for duelling. An archive page for Number 10, Downing Street (Hugh Grant again, yeah? I mean David Cameron) says that Duke of Wellington, by the name of Arthur Wellesley, most famous for his defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo, was very conservative indeed, however, one of his first achievements was overseeing Catholic emancipation in the year 1829, the granting of almost full civil rights to Catholics in the United Kingdom. Not everyone felt like him though, the Duke even threatened to resign, so the King sort of had to say yes, but one of Wellington’s opponents, the chap by the name of Lord Winchilsea, who hated emancipation of all kind, claimed that by doing what Duke of Wellington was doing, he was plotting “the destruction of the Protestant constitutionā€ (same source).

As a result, Wellington and Winchilsea (cool names, aren’t they!) fought a duel in Battersea Park in March 1829. The two dudes deliberately missed each other in firing (lovely), and honour was satisfied.

I’m just trying to explain it to people who are into history as much as I am (which means, I like history as long as it involves princes and princesses, duels, balconies and swords, forbidden love stories and magic).

And I personally come to Battersea Park, because I simply love looking at this bridge (Albert Bridge)

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I also enjoy the fountains and when it’s autumn you can come to this park for the Guy Fawkes Night and watch the fireworks and secretly wish you were there when it actually happened, in 1605, out of pure curiosity, of course, not bloodthirstiness. However, I will warn you, this park can be really packed on Bonfire night, so choose wisely!

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I would also suggest coming here when one of their food festivals is on. You need to buy the tickets, preferably in advance, and then enjoy the food stalls and workshops inside the park, or bring your own food, but remember, no BBQs are usually allowed, so respect the spaces. You can bring your kids, you can bring your friends, your pets, your horses (if you have any), this is a lovely place for a stroll, a nice place to chill and to enjoy the surroundings or maybe adopting a cat or a dog at a nearby Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, an amazing charity, huge place, which you can visit and if you don’t want to adopt any pets yet, you can actually foster a cat or a dog, which means you can take them for a week or two, care about them and then return! I would have loved to do this, but my landlord never allowed pets at home.

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Please, let me know, if there’s anything else you want me to cover, and if I know anything about what you’re asking, then I will šŸ˜‰

Thank you for reading x

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