Christopher Howse:

It is true that the park becomes another world after dark, but historically it is just the place for a hermit.

When St James’s Park was being re-arranged in the first half of the 18th century, William Kent, who designed the pepper-pot topped Horse Guards, also ran up for Queen Caroline a hermitage called Merlin’s Cave. This rum cross between a grass-roofed African hut and a gothic ruin was installed in the gardens of Richmond Lodge. The Queen then appointed Stephen Duck, “The Thresher Poet”, as her ornamental hermit.

Ornamental hermits were quite the thing in the Age of Reason. No grotto was complete without one.

This is the bright side of the 1% accumulating so much of the nation’s wealth — a niche like this opens up for people like me.