A Walk in the Park by Travis Elborough
The Life and Times of a People's Institution

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For the most part, A Walk in the Park is an enjoyable stroll. There’s always plenty to look at, even if the jaunty Elborough doesn’t, perhaps, give enough attention either to ducks, or to the history of children’s playgrounds...
-Guardian

Synopsis

Parks are such a familiar part of everyday life. You might be forgiven for thinking they have always been there – and that they always will.

In fact, the roots of even the most humble neighbourhood park lie in age-old battles over land and liberty. From their medieval life as private royal hunting grounds to their modern incarnation as public spaces teeming with activity, theirs is a story of land-grabbing monarchs and Restoration fops, great Victorian industrialist, punks and model-boaters – and somewhere among it all, the common man trying to enjoy his single day of rest. It’s a story best told by way of the Epic of Gilgamesh and Gary Numan LPs, with trips into the lives of celebrated engineers and artists, and the occasional hop across the Atlantic and the Channel.

Along the way, parks have proved themselves to be shape-shifters, transforming according to their public’s need – they’ve been converted into wartime farms; by night, they’ve provided some with the perfect location for illicit rendezvous. But right now, in an era of cuts, British parks are under threat. As such, Travis Elborough’s joyful and loving portrait is a timely celebration of a small wonder that we may on occasion take for granted. It will have your next trip to the park brimming with history, anecdote and new meaning.
 

About Travis Elborough

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Published June 2, 2016 by Vintage Digital. 384 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel.
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Critic reviews for A Walk in the Park
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by William Boyd on Jun 18 2016

...as Elborough demonstrates in this wonderful book (but please could we have an index for the paperback), is something to be marvelled at. They have to be vigorously cherished and protected. We should never take them for granted.

Read Full Review of A Walk in the Park: The Life ... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Rachel Cooke on May 30 2016

For the most part, A Walk in the Park is an enjoyable stroll. There’s always plenty to look at, even if the jaunty Elborough doesn’t, perhaps, give enough attention either to ducks, or to the history of children’s playgrounds...

Read Full Review of A Walk in the Park: The Life ... | See more reviews from Guardian