So the idea of a park built by a city for the free use of all its citizenry, whatever their station in life, was almost indescribably exciting. Paxton eschewed the formal avenues and ordered vistas that parks normally embraced and created instead something more natural and inviting. Birkenhead Park brought to mind the grounds of a private estate, but for the use of all people. The conception was widely celebrated, but its influence extended far beyond English shores. In the spring of 1851 (that year!), a young American journalist and author named Frederick Law Olmsted, while on a walking holiday in the north of England with two friends, stopped to buy provisions for lunch at a Birkenhead bakery and the baker spoke of the park with such enthusiasm and pride that they decided to go and have a look. Olmsted was enchanted. The quality of landscape design “had here reached a perfection that I had never before dreamed of,” he recalled in Walks and Talks of an American Farmer in England, his popular account of the trip. At that time, many people in New York were actively pressing for a decent public park for the city, and this, thought Olmsted, was the very park they needed. He could have no idea that six years later he would design that park himself. Bryson, Bill. At Home (pp. 391-392). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. Bryson, Bill. At Home (p. 391). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

— parks  

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