The Bandstand in Hyde Park

The bandstand in Hyde Park is one of the oldest in Britain. It was built in 1869 and originally stood in Kensington Gardens, but moved to Hyde Park in 1886. The octagonal roof gives it particularly good acoustics.


In the 1890s, band concerts were held at the bandstand three times a week. The Graphic newspaper of 31 August, 1895 wrote:

"It is only necessary to see the faces of the large crowd which gathers round the band stand to know how greatly the boon [in bandstands] is valued."

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers song "Isn't it a Lovely Day to be Caught in the Rain" from the 1935 film Top Hat was set on the Hyde Park bandstand but actually filmed on a soundstage at RKO's Hollywood studios.

The famous trumpeter, Harry Mortimer, described Hyde Park's bandstand as "uncomfortable, unsanitary, but much loved". He did a week's engagement on the bandstand during World War II in 1944 with the Fodens Motor Works Band. He wrote in his autobiography:

"It is not easy to play or conduct beautiful music with one ear cocked for the sound of a doodle-bug engine, one hand searching for the strap of your gas mask."

Today it is used for occasional concerts, as a regular meeting point for sports and sponsored events and part of the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland event held in the park at Christmas.