Punch,  52 (1867), 244.

Victoria Park in Peril



Letter, Spoof


Environmentalism, Industry, Manufactories, Health, Disease, Human Development, Race, Animal Behaviour, Zoology, Degeneration

    Begins by suggesting that some lines from Milton 1667 (describing the fall of the Devil, the 'architect of Pandemonium', from paradise) or some other 'warning to the same purpose' should be 'planted at convenient intervals around Victoria Park' in order to stop new buildings being erected on it by 'the building and money-grubbing demon'. Reminds Mr Punch that although the attempt to build a gasworks on the park was foiled, the demon is trying to perpetuate an 'abomination' in the park as he has done in other green spaces. Laments that a Londoner will soon have nowhere to go for a 'constitutional walk' by which he can 'refresh his soul as well as his body' and will only be able to enjoy this luxury by travelling to it by railway. Agrees that 'it is very sentimental to care for the preservation of landscapes' but that sentiment can also be applied to money. Insists that 'immaterial utility' is as valid a notion as 'Material utility' and wonders what 'Englishmen' will become when they can no longer enjoy the landscapes that have made their character. Considering the link between the growing population and encroachment of buildings, relishes the stationary population in France and advocates emigration as a solution to the problem. Fears that unless this is done 'posterity will all be turned to apes, with foreheads villanous low, or else to a sort of human pig, having oblique eyes like Chinamen', and that 'the day of degeneration' will be witnessed. Concludes by upholding the need to save the park.

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