There are several 19th century bandstands in London but we believe the oldest still standing is in Hyde Park.
This octagonal, Grade II-listed, bandstand was originally located in the adjoining Kensington Gardens (near Mount Gate), having been built in 1869, only eight years after the first ever bandstand in London had been installed in the nearby Royal Horticultural Gardens in Kensington.
It was moved to Hyde Park in 1886 – it can now be found on the north side of Serpentine Road, just to the north-west of Hyde Park Corner – and concerts were apparently held here three times a week in the 1890s. (Another bandstand was erected in Kensington Gardens in the 1930s).
Featuring cast iron decorative columns and a tent roof, the Hyde Park bandstand appeared in the 1935 film, Top Hat, which starred Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (although the building in the film was actually a replica located on a Hollywood soundstage). Others who have ‘played’ the bandstand include the famous trumpeter Harry Mortimer.
The bandstand, which is now one of the oldest in Britain, is still used for concerts on occasion as well as being part of the annual Winter Wonderland event. Check The Royal Parks website for details of when events are scheduled here.
PICTURE: Claire Ward/Geograph/CC BY-SA 2.0