Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Chestnut Sunday, 2019

Posted on by royvickery |

Chestnut Sunday has been held in Bushy Park, in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, since 1838, when Queen Victoria opened Hampton Court Palace to the public.  On the Sunday nearest 11 May people would come and enjoy the horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) trees, which it was hoped would then be in full flower.   A mile long avenue of these trees was ‘conceived by Sir Christopher Wren as a formal approach to Hampton Court during in the reign of William III and Mary II’.

After stopping during the First World War Chestnut Sunday probably achieved its heyday in the 1930s when public transport companies ran well publicised excursions to it.  During the Second World War the event ceased again, but it was revived in 1977.

Today, and one assumes throughout most of the event’s recent history, very little, if any attention is paid to the trees, a small number of local charities have stalls, there are a small number of food stalls, and a small funfair, the main attraction being a parade which starts at 12.30 p.m.  But the event is very popular with families, many of whom bring picnics.  In 2019 the parade consisted mainly of veteran vehicles – military vehicles, cars, bicycles, scooters and motorbikes.



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