Kensington note cards Leigh Glover has produced a new set of views of which four out of five are of Holland Park and the fifth is of Kensington Church Street.  We now have the Kyoto Garden, the Belvedere with Orangery, the woodlands and the opera canopy.  The format is the same as before, original pencil drawings reproduced on cream and mounted on red. At £6 for a mixed  pack of 5 with envelopes they make a handsome small present or all-purpose notecards for your own use.  [Winter 2007]
Opera Holland Park This year saw a dramatic improvement in facilities at Opera Holland Park and they have been matched by a programme of six operas, which gained many excellent reviews – “unmissable”, “a palpable hit”, “a landmark event”, “the most exciting summer season in the country” – to pick just a few.The most obvious change has been the high tensile canopy to replace the original, which had lasted for nearly 20 years.  The new canopy has four soaring main masts in two V-shaped configurations and twelve peaks giving the building its rigidity and stability.  The covered space increased from 1200 to 1600 square metres, including the entire stage and additional capacity, and the canopy is higher, allowing for a steeper, more comfortable seating stand beneath it.  Legroom is now almost six inches greater than previously and all the seats have armrests, high backs and deep, comfortable upholstery.  Sightlines are good and reviewers commented on the excellent acoustics.  Two glass panelled staircases take visitors up to a spectacular mezzanine floor and the seating stand.  Elsewhere, decking was introduced to the picnic area west of the auditorium, creating more space for tables.   The whole project was designed to bring a new level of comfort to OHP whilst retaining the uniquely intimate and informally sophisticated atmosphere.  Opera goers and critics alike would say that goal has been achieved.  
                                                                                                                                                                  [Autumn 2007]
Volunteer needed!

Readers will be acquainted with the notice board on the wall near the stable yard which says which plants are in flower during the current month.  For the last three years this has been updated by one of our members who has now left the country, so we are looking for someone else.

The job involves keeping a box of slats at home and coming to the park to change them at least once a month.  It would suit someone who likes strolling in the park and finds it interesting to do so with a purpose.  You would need to be interested in naming the plants but it is not necessary to be able to recognise them all from the beginning as part of the fun can be working out which is which as our last helper found.  Rhoddy will always give help with identification by phone or email.

If you think this could be you, please give her a ring on 020 7602 0304.
[Autumn 2007]

The Tallis Chamber Choir TCC has been busy with  “The Spirit of Elgar – his life and times” a programme of words and music compiled by TCC and Crawford Logan, in Greenwich, Newbury Festival and All Saints, Esher.   The choir has also performed with the ECO in Cadogan Hall – Bach’s Easter Oratorio,   celebrated the 200 years of the abolition of slavery with the Lochrian Ensemble in St Martin in the Fields , and performed in Prokofiev’s  Alexander Nevsky in St John’s Smith Square.
The Royal Parks - Past, Present and Future  18th October in the Orangery at 7.00 pm

We announced in the summer newsletter that Mark Camley, Chief Executive of The Royal Parks, will give us an illustrated talk on The Royal Parks for our autumn event.  He is responsible for managing and enhancing the historic landscapes of Bushy, Green, Greenwich, Hyde, Regent’s, Richmond, and St. James’s Parks as well as Kensington Gardens, Primrose Hill, Brompton Cemetery, and Victoria Tower Gardens.   A vast and fascinating portfolio, which will make for a most interesting evening.

Please apply for tickets at £10 each using the enclosed Order Form.  Wine and our usual delicious canapés will be served afterwards.  [Autumn 2007]

Historical postcards We have been given to sell some postcards of historical views within the borough.  The most relevant ones are of the north front of Holland House in 1893 with branches of one of the famous cedars coming in from the side.  We have packed these in fives – all the same- with envelopes.  We have also made mixed packs – all different – of widely assorted views of the same period.  There is everything from horse drawn buses to firemen to boats on the river to buildings that may or may not be recognisable today.  Not all cards are in all packs.  Each pack cost £1.50 plus 24p postage.  Supplies are limited, so order now.  [Autumn 2007]
 
Circular tree seats We are delighted at the success of the two circular tree seats now installed close to the Kensington High Street entrance to the Park.  They were specially commissioned by the Friends and designed and made in English oak by the same craftsmen who made the seat in the Dutch Garden Aedicule for us some years ago.  The Park management team has taken great care to create a firm base, which is also water permeable so that the trees will not suffer.  It is very satisfying to see how immediately popular they became – they are almost never empty and often accommodate more than one couple or different groups of friends with ease and comparative privacy!  [Autumn 2007]
New Friends' noticeboard If you have ever been faintly embarrassed by the condition of the Friends’ noticeboard on the wall between the Stable Yard and the cafeteria, you can now approach it proudly and direct would-be members to look us up!  We have purchased a very smart new board in solid oak, which was surplus to the requirements of Iverna Court Gardens.  We are grateful to them for offering it to us. 
[Autumn 2007]
Public toilets Regular visitors to the Park will have been pleased to note the substantial refurbishment works carried out on the toilet block to the south of Stable Yard, adjacent to the children’s playground.  The work was completed in time for the busy summer and opera season when visitor numbers increase greatly.  The regular maintenance and cleanliness of the toilets has also been greatly improved.  As we go to press there is a temporary ‘inconvenience’ which has necessitated closure of the toilets while pipework is carried out in the changing rooms located behind the toilet block.  However, the mobile loos beside the opera site are remaining open.  
The Commonwealth Institute The hot news is that The Ilchester Estate and Chelsfield Partners LLP have acquired the Commonwealth Institute “with the primary consideration of restoring the Grade II* Listed Building”.  We understand they intend to continue working with Sir Norman Foster on development proposals and will engage in local consultation.  Watch this space! 
[Summer 2007]
Marsh & Parsons promotes green issues Marsh & Parsons, a generous supporter of our newsletter for several years, has teamed up with GreenSteps, a company actively promoting ways to protect the environment, to educate Londoners on how to make their homes more ecologically sound and how to live their lives in a more environmentally-friendly way.

The estate agent is hosting a reception and lecture where Tom Avery - one of the UK’s leading young explorers and a consultant to GreenSteps - will guide the audience through the confusing green market place, highlighting genuinely eco-friendly products and ideas as well as identifying ways by which Londoners can live more sustainable and responsible lifestyles.

Tom walked into the record books by becoming the youngest Briton to complete the perilous journey to the South Pole and is one of only 38 people to have reached both the North and the South Poles on foot.  An excellent and inspirational speaker, Tom will also talk about his extraordinary journeys and adventures.

The drinks reception and lecture will take place at the Royal Geographical Society on Thursday 14th June at 7.00 for 7.30 pm.  Tickets are available from Angela Man (0207 368 2484) or aman@marshandparsons.co.uk   A donation of £5 is suggested and ALL proceeds will be donated to Ground Works, a London-based charity providing environmental regeneration in deprived areas. [Summer 2007]

UK Wolf Conservation Trust Those of you who enjoyed your meeting with wolves last October may like to know that the UKWCT has produced an excellent DVD showing the work and wolves of the Trust.  All the footage was specially shot by experienced wildlife filmmakers and it is narrated by Greg Wise.  The DVD costs just £9.99.  For further information contact the Trust on 0118 971 3330 or email info@ukwolf.org [Summer 2007]
Mobility Scooters The Out & About Scooter Loan Scheme, which provides mobility scooters on daily loans, is about to expand its operations to Holland Park.  Scooters will be available to their members Monday to Friday from the Stable Yard from 09.30 am to 16.30 pm.  The scheme will help make Holland Park’s beautiful grounds & wooded walks accessible to those who now have difficulty in walking, as well as shopping in High Street Kensington.  Other collection points in the Borough are Worlds End Estate, Kensington Gardens and the Town Hall.

For up to date details and more information on becoming a member of the Out & About Scooter Loan Scheme, contact Westway Community Transport at T: 020 8960 8774. F: 020 8969 5733. E: scooter@westwayct.org.uk  [Summer 2007]

Kensington Notecards  We are always pleased to sell at the Art Exhibition various types of cards and craftwork produced by our exhibiting artists.  This year we sold over £300 worth of such and among them we noticed a popular set of notecards-plus-envelopes by Leigh Glover with local interest.  Each pack has five different views, individually wrapped.  As well as the view illustrated they are of the Iris Garden and Belvedere, the flower stall by St Mary Abbots, the Elephant and Castle pub in Holland Street and Ilchester Place.  The prints are taken from original pencil drawings and mounted on red.  We thought them so attractive, we bought some packs to sell to members.  We take one third commission as at the Exhibition.  They are good value at £6 for 5 and you can order them on the Order Form. 
Lord Holland's Statue Readers will have seen that our cover this issue of Lord Holland’s statue is from a watercolour by Sir Hugh Casson RA.  We have been given permission to use it by Sir Hugh Casson Ltd who have also supplied us with postcards of this scene which you can purchase via the order form.  We are very privileged to have this opportunity and we are sure that many of you will want to acquire this memento of one of the major English artists of the twentieth century.

Longer established members will recall that Sir Hugh, who lived locally, was President of FHP as well, of course, as President of the Royal Academy.  So when our then Secretary, Christopher Wood, wanted to start our Art Exhibition it was natural that he turned to Sir Hugh for advice.  The advice came in the form of several pages of small type describing how the Royal Academy ran its exhibitions.  Christopher boiled this down to one page and on submitting it was pleased to get the comment “Masterly”.  We have been organising the exhibition in the same way ever since so it is especially appropriate to have the card this year which is the twenty fifth show we have held.

Sir Hugh loved Holland Park and gave us two paintings to exhibit every year which were always snapped up.  It is fitting that a tree near the entrance to the Kyoto Garden was planted in memory of him and Lady Casson who, as Margaret MacDonald, was a distinguished artist in her own right. [Spring 2007]
 

The Royal Parks – past, present and future
 

18th October in the Orangery at 7.00 pm

We are delighted to announce that Mark Camley has kindly agreed to present an illustrated talk on The Royal Parks for our autumn event.  Mark is Chief Executive of The Royal Parks, an executive agency of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, responsible for managing and enhancing the historic landscapes of Bushy, Green, Greenwich, Hyde, Regent’s, Richmond, and St. James’s Parks along with Kensington Gardens, Primrose Hill, Brompton Cemetery, and Victoria Tower Gardens.   Quite a handful and a far cry from our own Holland Park, but of such strategic importance to London and our enjoyment of it.  Prior to his present position Mark’s previous roles have included spells at the Cabinet Office, Central Statistical Office, Lord Chancellor’s Department, Court Service and the Department for Constitutional Affairs.

Please apply for tickets at £10 each using the enclosed Order Form.  Wine and canapés will be served afterwards. [Summer 2007]

Christmas Carol Concert TALLIS CHAMBER CHOIR

Despite the horrible wet and windy weather there was a full house in the Orangery for this year’s carol concert. The form of the programme was slightly different from those which we have had for the previous six occasions on which the Tallis Chamber Choir have entertained us. There were one or more readings after each carol and the carols and readings constituted what was more or less a continuous theme.The readings were made with great dramatic effect by Crawford Logan , whose voice may be known to some of you as Paul Temple in the BBC radio broadcasts last summer. For me the most hilarious highlights were “Talking turkeys” by Benjamin Zephaniah and “Ghost story” by Dylan Thomas. Unlike previous years, there were no very early carols but some old favourites, such as “The Lamb” by John Taverner, and Philip Simms’s arrangements of “ I saw Mummy kissing Santa Claus” and “When you wish upon a star”.  New numbers included Hubert Parry’s “Welcome yule”, John Ireland’s “The holy boy” and Walford Davies’s “Christmas is coming”. As always, Philip Simms and the choir were in tremendous form and the audience was in rather better voice than usual in singing the traditional carols assigned to it. It was an evening of great musical and dramatic quality, greatly enjoyed by all those present , topped off  by plentiful quantities of wine, and the usual delicious canapés provided by Janice Miles. We all hope that Philip Simms and the choir, and Crawford Logan,  will keep coming back, as they seemed to enjoy themselves as much as we did.

George Law

[Spring 2007]

Winter Warmer Concert 
8th February 2007
 

Those of us who go to a lot of concerts always welcome hearing works that are unusual or rarely performed , as we can hear the well-known more or less whenever we wish to  at one concert venue or another.. At the Orangery on 8th February we were privileged to hear a work that, although well-known, was certainly unusual in the form in which it was played and , consequently, rarely performed in that form. This was  J.S. Bach’s  Goldberg Variations BWV 988 arranged for string trio by the Russian violinist, Dmitri Sitkovetsky.The Goldberg Variations, comprising 30 variations on an original theme, were commissioned from Bach in c1741 by Count Keyserlingk in Dresden to be performed on the harpsichord by the celebrated German keyboard virtuoso and composer, Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, allegedly to cure or alleviate the Count’s insomnia. There was no chance of falling asleep during the dazzling performance by the Russian/ Armenian Virtuosi String Trio of  Natalia Lomeiko (Violin), Yuri Zhislin (Viola) and Alex Chausian (Cello), the first two of whom entertained us during the Art Exhibition last year. For me, the performance gave me a new perspective on a work that I know very well. This was because  the different “voices” of the string instruments in the trio made it easier to appreciate the brilliance and ingenuity of Bach’s counterpoint ,and also to realise how many of the variations use French and Italian dance rhythms,.than when the variations are played on the harpsichord or the piano . This appears to have been Sitkovetsky’s objective when making the arrangement .. It was a fascinating and memorable evening and I hope that the trio will return to entertain us again in the future.

George Law

[Spring 2007]