You may not have seen it before, but there is a little home located on an island in the centre of a lake in St. James’s Park. It is important that you pay attention to this house. The reason why this island is known as Duck Island or Duck Island is because the poet Stephen Duck lived in a home on the island that is also called Duck Cottage.
Stephen Duck, commonly known as the thresher poet, called that home in the eighteenth century while he resided there. The name was a reference to his most famous poem, which was called The Thresher’s Labour or the job of the thresher, and it was motivated by the author’s modest beginnings working on farms. It is only a coincidence that the poet’s given name was Duck; nonetheless, the island has been known as Duck Island ever since the reign of Henry VIII, when the region around St. James’s Park served as a wildlife reserve and the island was teeming with ducks.
King Charles II issued a proclamation that the property be utilised as a park, and he also ordered the construction of a nesting platform for birds. To ensure its proper administration, the king established the position of Governor of Duck Island.
In the year 1771, the island was completely destroyed. After an additional half century, in 1827 the park underwent a makeover, and Duck Island regained its prominent position in the park.
In the year 1840, the Ornithological Society of London submitted a request to get authorization to construct a home on the island in order to provide a place of habitation for a bird keeper. The construction of Duck Cottage began. After enjoying a brief period of success as a well-known monument in the park, it eventually fell into oblivion there.
It was occupied by an official Bird Keeper from the year 1900 to 1953, but then it was abandoned in 1953. In 1959, it underwent expansion and renovation, and in 1982, it had a full restoration.
The London Historic Parks and Gardens Trust, whose primary mission is to preserve and improve St. James’s Park, is the current owner of Duck Cottage. The London Historic Parks and Gardens Trust was established in 1977.
The beginning of Stephen Duck’s famous poem.
Which to her Patron’s Hand the Muse conveys,
Deign to accept: ‘Tis just she Tribute bring
To him, whose Bounty gives her Life to sing;
To him, whose gen’rous Favors tune her Voice;
And bid her, ‘ midst her Poverty, rejoice.
Inspir’d by these, she dares herself prepare,
To sing the Toils of each revolving Year;
Those endless Toils, which always grow anew,
And the poor Thresher ‘s destin’d to pursue:
Ev’n these, with Pleasure, can the Muse rehearse,
When you and Gratit ude demand her of her Verse of her.
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