Thursday, 23 August 2012

Another snicket and a snippet of history

This one leads from Newgate Street, Cottingham and is shown on old maps as Church Road or Church Walk. The wall on the left is the boundary wall of Kingtree House built in 1750 by a Hull merchant; a description of this place is at the end of the post, it seems to have been quite something. The house was demolished in the 1960 and a shopping arcade and houses were put up instead. The old maps show the path leading up to the church but now it stops as you can see below at the top of Kingtree Avenue.

The following is a description of  Kingtree House by Arthur Young (1771), "Letter IV", A six months tour through the north of England, containing, an account of the present state of agriculture, manufactures and population, in several counties of this kingdom (2 ed.), W. Strahan, W. Nicholl, Mr. Matson's Shrubbery at Cottingham, pp.152-5, 
"At this place Mr. Watson has a pleasure-ground, which is very well worth seeing; it consists of shrubberies with winding walks, and the imitation of a meandring river through the whole. The grass plot in front of the house surrounded with ever-greens and shrubs, with a Gothic bench on one side, is very pretty, and the clumps to the water's edge well disposed : From thence, passing by a bridge, you follow the water through a pasture ground, with walks and benches around it; the banks closely shaven, the bends of them natural, and quite in the stile of a real river. About the middle of the field it divides and forms a small island, which contains two or three clumps of shrubs, and is a very great ornament to the place; the walk after-wards leads to the other winding ones around the field, which is certainly laid out in general in a good taste. There are, however, one or two circumstances, that cannot fail of striking every spectator, which, if they were a little altered, would be a great improvement. Directly across the whole runs a common foot-way, which, though walled in, cuts the grounds too much; a broad arch or two thrown over it, well covered with earth and planted with shrubs, would take off the ill effect of crossing this path. In the water is the imitation of a rock, every kind of which is totally unconsonant with the pleasing and agreeable emotions of the gently-winding stream, and smoothly-shaven banks; besides, any rock worth seeing would swallow up this water. In the next place here are some urns, an ornament, when properly disposed, of great efficacy; but close, shaded and sequestered spots, whereon the eye falls by accident, as it were, are the places for urns, and not open lawns, full in view, and to be walked around. It is surprizing, that the ideas of imitating nature, in rejecting a strait line for the water, and giving its banks the wave of a real stream, should not be extended to hiding the conclusion, by winding it among the wood where it could not be followed; and it would have been a great improvement, to have given the stream in one place a much greater wave, so as to have enlarged it to four times its present width; this would have added much to the variety of the scene. Lastly, I might remark, that the circular bason near the end of the river has a very bad effect; any water so very artificial, should not be seen with the same eye that views the imitation of a real stream."

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