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THE COCKPIT

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Gravel pit in Hyde Park, possibly eighteenth century in date. The quarry lies at the interface between London Clay and the Taplow Terraces and was presumably for the extraction of gravel and sand, large quantities of which would have been needed in the development of Kensington Gardens, especially in the first three decades of the eighteenth century: it is possible that this pit was exploited at that time. By 1827, trees covered much of the slopes. The quarry is crescentic in plan, measuring 109 metres east-west by 90 metres and has a maximum depth of 3.5 metres. A small platform 13 metres long and 5 metres wide on the northern slope may originally have been a working level, perhaps later adapted as an ornamental feature, the base for a seat or arbour. The quarry was surveyed by RCHME field staff in 1993.

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