Duck Island Cottage

I have been meaning to post a picture I took earlier in the week of Duck Island Cottage, the surprising cottage ornée which nestles on a small island at the east end of the lake in St. James’s Park.   But I have been waiting for an opportunity to find out more about it.   I have discovered that there is an immensely learned article on it by Tim Knox, our now former next-door neighbour, in The London Gardener which tells its history:  from the decoy at the end of the canal in Charles II’s reign intended to catch ducks for the King’s table;  the first Duck Island Cottage built in William III’s reign ‘in a grove beyond and between the miniature canals’;  the appointment in 1733 of the poet Stephen Duck as ‘Governor of Duck Island’;  the recreation of Duck Island by John Nash in 1827;  and the decision by the Ornithological Society of London to build a house for a bird keeper in 1840.   It was designed by John Burges Watson:-


6 thoughts on “Duck Island Cottage

  1. Camilla Beresford says:

    John Evelyn described a visit to St. James’s Park in 1665 where he saw ‘various animals, and examined the throat of ye ‘Onocratylus,’ or Pelican, a fowl between a Stork and a Swan, a melancholy waterfowl brought from Astrachan by the Russian Ambassador’ and Samuel Pepys described a visit to see the ‘great variety of fowl which I never saw before’ in St James’s Park in 1661

  2. Camilla Beresford says:

    I should also have mentioned that the London Parks and Gardens Trust (of which Todd is the President) is based at Duck Island Cottage

  3. What a feast of information your blog and those who read it provide. Where can we find the brilliant Tim Knox’s article ? And Camilla Beresford’s knowledge of John Evelyn – fascinating ! Thank you. Your Blog never fails to surprise, inform and delight.

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