Paul Rabbitts FRSA FLI

Author, Parks Historian, Public Speaker

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A Valentine's Blog

Posted on February 14, 2015 at 4:30 AM

A day for lovers. Lovers indeed. Loving who? Loving what? I think we are all soft arses at heart, and I suppose in my case thats why I cry every year at my favourite film - Love Actually. Love does make the worl go round and the start to 2015 has been a poor one for many, the news filled with shocking stories of violence, tragedy and little to celebrate. Personally it has been a difficult start to the year too. But nevertheless, it is the way of our weird yet mostly wonderful world. 

I have been reading a lot this week on Victorian Values and the rapid urbanisation of our industrial society and the conditions that so many lived in. As an amateur historian, the Victorian way of life had much to offer yet at the same time was an incredibly dark age for the masses toiling away in appalling conditions. Their ways of recreation (bear baiting, cock fighting, dog fights) were bloody and brutal but as times changed, became much more controlled and ordered and this is where parks came in along with music halls, choral socieities, Sunday Schools, the brass band movement, reading rooms and libraries. And yet over 100 years later on, we still have many of these. Our continued love of all things nostalgic never wanes - the 12" LP is making a comeback, books are becoming more popular, and still one of most popular recreations is visiting our local park. Cassiobury Park in Watford has over 2 million visits a year, the Royal Parks generate more visits per year than most popular national tourist attractions - and yet most of these are Victorian or earlier in origin. 

So in our weirdly wonderful world, often scarred with daily tragedy, among it are many wonderful man made creations we must continue to love and treasure and above all value. Without them, the world would be a much sadder place (and I didn't mention a bandstand once... but I do LOVE Em!!!)

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