King Edward V11 and East London
In January 1901, Queen Victoria died and Edward succeeded to the throne as Edward VII. He was crowned in August 1902
The new King restored sparkle to what had been a rather dull monarchy since his father's death 40 years earlier.
Related to most of Europe's royalty, he became known as the 'Uncle of Europe' and was able to assist in foreign policy negotiations. during a state visit to Paris he was well-received, helping to pave the way for the Anglo-French Entente Cordiale of 1904.
Edward was also the first British monarch to visit Russia. In 1902 he founded the Order of Merit to reward those who distinguished themselves in science, art or literature".
Edward was popular with the masses, and like many other Royal personages, found the people of East London most welcoming and hospitable, he regarded them with special affection.
He showed genuime concern for the plight of East London's poor and felt that something should be done for them, Just before he died the King expressed the wish that a Park on the Thames be provided for them.
Several years elapsed after his death in 1910, the 1914-1918 'Great War' intervening, so it was not until 1922 that King George Vth was able to fulfil Edward V11s wish and inaugurate a Memorial Park in Shadwell by the Thames where the old fish Market had once stood.
A granite and marble Memorial of King Edward V11 was placed at the head of the park, its plaque clearly inscribed with the following:
"IN GRATEFUL MEMORY OF KING EDWARD THE SEVENTH
THIS PARK IS DEDICATED TO THE USE AND ENJOYMENT
OF THE PEOPLE OF EAST LONDON FOR EVER"
Re-naming 'King Edward V11 Memorial Park' to 'King Edward V11 People's Park' has its critics, but Public opinion might take the view that it would help to focus on the King's unique contribution to the people of East London, a park given for their enjoyment forever, truly it is in keeping with the Olympic spirit of today.
A re-inauguration ceremony for this Park in the not too distant future should therefore not be ruled out.