Forgotten tales

stories of my family

Osterley Park 1920

ImageThe Park is but nine miles from Hyde Park Corner, and the District Railway has planted a station just outside its walls, but in ordinary times, when one steps across the road, and passes through the lodge doors, the roar and traffic  of the city might be a hundred miles away. The tall elms fling their shadows across the paths, the cattle graze tranquilly in the long grass, the water fowl splash and dive in the lakes, just as they may have done when Sir Thomas Gresham disturbed them with his oil and paper mills. During the late war, part of the Park was used as a motor instruction camp, but that is now deserted.

Over all hangs the blue transparent haze known to artists as peculiar to the valley of the Thames, which enriches and softens the luxuriant vegetation of the surrounding country. The red towers of the house with their white angles, and the stone balustrades of the roof, appear above the dark spreading cedars. Up the old walls climb fragrant magnolia and smooth ampelopsis, and along one whole side of the house runs a marvellous wisteria which tries, with soft green tendrils and purple tassels, to clamber into the windows and peep at the tapestries within. Farther away flourish golden yew and many another variegated shrub, while the passing weeks of spring and summer are marked with the glowing masses of rhododendron, the pure white and rich odour of the giant syringa, and the blossoming of pinks and roses.

As Sunday evening draws in, the peals of distant church bells are the only sounds which come to break the quiet of a home near the town and yet, seemingly, so secluded from the world; then these cease and the song of nightingales alone disturbs the slumbers of Osterley Park.

M. E. Jersey, Osterley Park and its Memories, 1920

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