'From Anvil to the Finest Wrought Iron in the Land’

Wednesday, 22 February 2017, at 6.30pm in The Orangery

(Please note earlier time)

Chris ToppChris Topp is Managing Director of Topp & Co., the leading restorer of antique ironwork, and the company whose team of craftsmen restored Holland Park’s beautiful Earls Court gates. He started as a blacksmith at a time when little formal training was available, so he learned the craft on the job under the guidance of a time-served smith.

Although best known for restoration, his inquisitive nature has gained him a wide range of skills and expertise in design and construction of ironwork, resulting in a varied and highly respected portfolio. His interest in working with historic materials led him to set up a rolling mill to supply genuine wrought iron to blacksmiths for restoration work and, in doing so, he became the world’s sole supplier.

Chris will tell us about his fascinating journey from apprentice blacksmith to his work for some of the most prestigious properties in the world. Quality matters to him, and he has won many awards including two Industrial Diplomas of Excellence, an award from the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths.

Tickets are £15, to include wine and Janice Miles’ delicious canapés. To order tickets, noting the earlier time than usual, please download the order form here.

[Winter 2016]

Dates for your Diary

All FHP events in the diary are printed in bold. The Friends’ Nature Walks (NW, formerly BNW) are continuing to be led by varying regulars while we look for a new permanent leader with the requisite skills and commitment. We will have a one-and-a-half-hour stroll through the park looking at birds, plants, butterflies and park management of current interest. There is no charge and all are welcome without booking. Meet outside the café at 9am on the first Saturday of each month. No dogs, please, as even well behaved ones on leads disturb the wildlife. We recommend you bring binoculars if you can.

Events organised by the Ecology Service of RBK&C are listed as ‘ES’, some of which are sponsored by FHP where indicated. Unless otherwise stated the meeting place is in the Ecology Centre near the Adventure Playground. Some must be booked, in which case please call 020 7938 8186 or e-mail ecology.centre@rbkc.gov.uk. There is a charge for those marked £.

Holland Park Conservation Volunteer days (for adults) are every third Saturday of the month from 10.30am to 3pm (except in December when it is the second Saturday); meet outside the café. This is your chance to make new friends while getting healthy outdoor exercise: digging, chopping and planting in the wilder parts of the park. Tea, gloves, tools and instructions provided. Further information from the Ecology Centre call 020 7938 8186 or e-mail laura.ashford@rbkc.gov.uk.

Sat 3 Dec    NW

Sun 4 Dec    Christmas Concert: Tallis Chamber Choir, in the Orangery, £20. 7.30pm

Sat 10 Dec    ES. Terrific Trees Open Day. Drop in at the Ecology Centre. 11am-3.30pm

Sat 7 Jan    NW

Sat 4 Feb    NW

Wed 22 Feb    ‘From Anvil to the Finest Wrought Iron in the Land’, in the Orangery, £15. 6.30pm

Sat 4 Mar    NW

Sat 4 Mar    Moss Walk.  Dr Alan Harrington. Meet in Stable Yard. 11am-1pm

Sat 1 – Sun 9 April   Annual Art Exhibition, in the Orangery

Christmas Cards


It is now high time to order your Christmas cards if you have not already done so. We keep a supply of this year’s new card – Holland House from Acer Walk – in both sizes, and also our bargain packs of mixed cards. All other designs from the brochure (further copies can be posted) or the website www.mbcards.co.uk can also be supplied but might take a little longer.

Please see under Merchandise for ordering details.

[Winter 2016]

Dates for your Diary

All FHP events in the diary are printed in bold. The Friends’ Nature Walks (NW, formerly BNW) are continuing to be led by varying regulars while we look for a new permanent leader with the requisite skills and commitment. We will have a one-and-a-half-hour stroll through the park looking at birds, plants, butterflies and park management of current interest. There is no charge and all are welcome without booking. Meet outside the café at 9am on the first Saturday of each month. No dogs, please, as even well behaved ones on leads disturb the wildlife. We recommend you bring binoculars if you can.

Events organised by the Ecology Service of RBK&C are listed as ‘ES’, some of which are sponsored by FHP where indicated. Unless otherwise stated the meeting place is in the Ecology Centre near the Adventure Playground. Some must be booked, in which case please call 020 7938 8186 or e-mail ecology.centre@rbkc.gov.uk. There is a charge for those marked £.

Holland Park Conservation Volunteer days (for adults) are every third Saturday of the month from 10.30am to 3pm (except in December when it is the second Saturday); meet outside the café. This is your chance to make new friends while getting healthy outdoor exercise: digging, chopping and planting in the wilder parts of the park. Tea, gloves, tools and instructions provided. Further information from the Ecology Centre call 020 7938 8186 or e-mail laura.ashford@rbkc.gov.uk.

Sat 1 Oct    NW

Sat 8 Oct    ES. Celebration of Science. Open Day. Drop in at Wildlife Area. 12 noon-4pm

Sat 15 Oct    Autumn tree walk. Dr Alan Harrington. Meet in Stable Yard. 11am-1pm

Sat 22 Oct    ES. Apple Pressing Open Day. Drop in at the Ecology Centre. 11am-4pm

Mon 24- Fri 28 Oct.   ES. Half-term holiday children’s activities. Must book. £

Thurs 27 Oct    The Birds of Holland Park, in the Orangery, £15. 7pm

Fri 28 Oct    ES. Children’s Night Safari. Must book. £.  4.30-6pm

Sat 5 Nov    NW

Sat 5 Nov    ES. Fungi Foray (Sponsored). Must book.  2-4pm

Sat 3 Dec    NW

Sun 4 Dec    Christmas Concert: Tallis Chamber Choir. in the Orangery, £20, 7.30pm

Crab Apple Jelly

Let us hope that the rain of June and the heat of August will have led to the mellow fruitfulness of September. Rhoddy will be carrying out her usual search of park and hedgerows for bitter wild green crabs which metamorphose into tangy red jelly. Do ring 020 7602 0304 to check on her progress and place your orders.

[Autumn 2016]


Christmas Carol Concert

Sunday, 4 December, at 7.30pm in the Orangery

We are coming up to that time again when we need to book seats for the most popular Friends event of the year, the carol concert: an evening of outstandingly performed carols from various countries, and readings to make us ponder or laugh, rounded off with wine and delicious canapés. Tickets, at £20, can be ordered here.

[Autumn 2016]

The Birds of Holland Park

Thursday, 27 October 2016, at 7pm in the Orangery

There is still time to book for our autumn talk on birds given by ornithologist David Darrell-Lambert, Chairman of the London Natural History Society’s Ornithological Section, and familiar with Holland Park, having carried out bird surveys and led walks there. He is a great teller of bird tales, and will also be showing us some of his lovely photos. Tickets are £15, to include wine and Janice Miles’ scrumptious canapés. To order these, please use the order form, which can be downloaded here.

[Autumn 2106]

Christmas Cards

HH from Acer Walk

This year Clare Weatherill has produced another of her popular designs now showing Holland House from the beginning of the Acer Walk with the hellebores seasonally in leaf. It is winter, so the house is not obscured by the opera tents. We will hold a ready supply of these in both the standard 152mm x 197mm format at £9.50 the pack of ten, and the small 118mm x 168mm at £7.50.  We will also make up mixed packs of old designs of Holland Park at £6.50, which will include eight big and two small in at least five different designs, and no more than two of each design. These can all be very quickly delivered: the mixed packs from the date of you reading this and the new ones from early November. If your newsletter is hand delivered (no stamp) our delivery is free, but beyond that we have to charge an additional £1.50 per 10 cards.

There are a number of other designs illustrated on the website www.mbcards.co.uk. We appreciate it if you also order these through us as we get an extra discount, though Mountbatten can give you free delivery anywhere in the UK. Overprinted cards must be ordered from Mountbatten. In either case envelopes are included, and there are discounts of 5% on 100 cards, 10% on 200 and 15% on 300.

All cards will have the standard greeting ‘With best wishes for Christmas and the New Year’ unless you ask for them to be blank.

Please download the order form here. Do avoid that last minute panic by ordering now.

[Autumn 2016]
Dates for your Diary

All FHP events in the diary are printed in bold. The Friends’ Nature Walks (NW, formerly BNW) are continuing to be led by varying regulars while we look for a new permanent leader with the requisite skills and commitment. We will have a one-and-a-half-hour stroll through the park looking at birds, plants, butterflies and park management of current interest. There is no charge and all are welcome without booking. Meet outside the café at 9am on the first Saturday of each month. No dogs, please, as even well behaved ones on leads disturb the wildlife. We recommend you bring binoculars if you can.

Events organised by the Ecology Service of RBK&C are listed as ‘ES’, some of which are sponsored by FHP where indicated. Unless otherwise stated the meeting place is in the Ecology Centre near the Adventure Playground. Some must be booked, in which case please call 020 7938 8186 or e-mail ecology.centre@rbkc.gov.uk. There is a charge for those marked £.

Holland Park Conservation Volunteer days (for adults) are every third Saturday of the month from 10.30am to 3pm (except in December when it is the second Saturday); meet outside the café. This is your chance to make new friends while getting healthy outdoor exercise: digging, chopping and planting in the wilder parts of the park. Tea, gloves, tools and instructions provided. Further information from the Ecology Centre (contact details above).

Sat 2 July    NW

Thurs 7 July    ES. Summer tree walk: the basics. Must book. 6.30-8pm

Mon 18 July    Pimm’s in the Park, in the Orangery, Members only. £17. 6-8pm

Thurs 21 July    ES. Bumblebee talk (sponsored). Must book. 6.30-8pm

25 July-2 Sept ES. Summer holiday children’s activities. Must book. £

Sat 6 Aug    NW

Sat 6 Aug    ES. Dazzling Dragonflies. Open Day. Drop in at Wildlife Area. 11am-4pm

Fri 2 Sept    ES. Children’s Night Safari. Must book. £. 7-9pm

Sat 3 Sept    NW

Thurs 8 Sept    ES. How and Why to Make a Wildlife Garden (sponsored). Must book. 6.30-8pm

Thurs 15 Sept    ES. Hedgehog talk (sponsored). Must book. 6.30-8pm

Sat 17 Sept    ES. Mammals of Holland Park (sponsored). Must book. 9.30-11.30am

Thurs 22 Sept  ES. Autumn bat walk (sponsored). Bring a torch. Must book. 6.30-8pm

Sat 1 Oct    NW

Sat 8 Oct    ES. Celebration of Science. Open Day. Drop in at Wildlife Area. 12 noon-4pm

Sat 15 Oct    Autumn tree walk. Dr Alan Harrington. Meet in Stable Yard. 11am-1pm

24-28 Oct    ES. Half-term holiday children’s activities. Must book. £

Thurs 27 Oct    The Birds of Holland Park, in the Orangery, £15. 7pm

Fri 28 Oct    ES. Children’s Night Safari. Must book. £. 4.30-6pm

Once again The Friends have sponsored Ecology walks and talks. Do come and hear the talk on bumblebees on Thursday, 21 July, 6.30 – 8pm in the Ecology Centre. To book,

e-mail ecology.centre@rbkc.gov.uk or ring 020 7938 8186. The park needs the bees, and the bees need our support.

[Summer 2016]

The Birds of Holland Park

Thursday, 27 October, at 7pm in the Orangery

David Darrell-LambertThose who braved the 5 a.m. start of this year’s Dawn Chorus Walk, enjoyed the expert knowledge of leader, David Darrell-Lambert. David is no stranger to Holland Park, having carried out bird surveys, led walks and talked engagingly to our members several years ago.

He has kindly agreed to share more of his experience of birds in Holland Park by giving our autumn talk. I know he will entertain us with stories that bring to life the character of the various types of bird, and by his own interpretation of bird song. He also takes great photos.

His company, Bird Brain UK Ltd, specialises in surveys in urban parks, coastal sites and heathlands, and he has visited Israel, Canada, Tunisia, St Lucia, Egypt and Italy in order to observe birds. He illustrated the London Bird Report for many years and then became a local bird recorder. Since the 1990s he has led groups of birdwatchers all over the UK. He is currently Chairman of the London Natural History Society’s Ornithological Section; and what he is really good at is entertaining people with bird tales.

Tickets are £15, to include wine and Janice Miles’ delicious canapés. To order these, please use the order form, which can be downloaded here.

[Summer 2016]

Bumblebee Talk

Once again The Friends have sponsored Ecology walks and talks. Do come and hear the talk on bumblebees on Thursday, 21 July, 6.30 – 8pm in the Ecology Centre. To book,

e-mail ecology.centre@rbkc.gov.uk or ring 020 7938 8186. The park needs the bees, and the bees need our support.

[Summer 2016]

Il Belvedere Joins Friends & Neighbours

Romulo Café Joins Friends & Neighbours


BelvedereWe are delighted that the Belvedere Restaurant in Holland Park has joined our Friends & Neighbours scheme, offering 10% off meals on presentation of a current FHP membership card.

Many of you already know the restaurant, and those who do not should. It has a stunning site overlooking the Iris Garden, is a distinguished listed building which was once the summer ballroom for Holland House and, last but not least, has a very tempting menu. Book a table on 020 7602 1238 or find out more on their   website: www.belvedererestaurant.co.uk

Romulo

We are pleased to announce that Romulo is offering our members a 10% discount (when no other promotional prices apply) at its new restaurant and café in Kensington High Street.

Filipino food is a mixture of four culinary traditions: Spanish, American, Malay and Chinese, and at Romulo Café there is an appetizing range of bar food, snacks, main courses to share, healthy salad options, vegetarian options, desserts and homemade ice cream. Romulo Cafés are well established in the Philippines, and they feature some of their most popular dishes for us to experience in London. The owner has transformed an elegant Georgian town house to echo the spirit of a comfortable Filipino home which comprises four discrete dining areas: the General’s Bar, the Ambassador’s Lounge, the Diplomat’s Dining Room, and a space for private dining.

Mention that you are a member of The Friends when you book, and remember to take your membership card with you.

Romulo Café London
343 Kensington High Street
London, W8 6NW
Tel. 020 3141 6390
reservations@romulocafe.co.uk

Photos by Jennie Kettlewell

[Summer 2016]

Pimm’s in the Park – members’ party

 

Monday 18 July 6.00 – 8.00 p.m.

In the marquee on the Dutch Garden Terrace

We will be holding our annual summer party due to the kind offer of Opera Holland Park to let us use the marquee at the East end of the Dutch Garden.

The marquee has a balcony from which we will have a wonderful  view of the Dutch Garden. We must set a good example and not take our drinks and nibbles out into the garden.

This is the one event of the year that is only open to Friends and their immediate guests. Your tickets, at £17 each, can be ordered from Rhoddy Wood on 020 7602 0304 or rhoddy.wood@virgin.net, or by downloading an Order Form here.

[May 2016]

Friends and Neighbours

We are now in our second year of the ‘Friends & Neighbours’ programme, which offers members a discount on purchases from businesses local to Holland Park – our Neighbours. If you are a paid up member, you will receive a membership card with this newsletter. We have had positive feedback from Neighbours, so do keep buying from them and helping to spread the word locally about Holland Park.

Further information under Membership.

[Spring 2016]

Open Gardens Squares Weekend

Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 June

Royal Crescent

Open Garden Squares Weekend 2016, the magical two-day event when over 200 private and little known gardens open to the public, will take place on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 June. A single ticket allows visitors to discover and explore a range of stunning gardens not normally open to the public, from magnificent roof-top gardens with panoramic views to diminutive spaces tucked behind the hustle and bustle of London’s busy streets. To find out more about Open Garden Squares Weekend visit www.opensquares.org

Photo: Royal Crescent, by Gavin Gardiner

[Spring 2016]

Pimm’s Party is on!

Thanks to a generous offer from Opera Holland Park we have a venue and a date for our summer Pimm’s in the Park party. The venue is the marquee on the raised terrace to the immediate east of the Dutch Garden, the date is Monday 18 July 2016, the time is 6-8pm.

This is our one event of the year that is only open to Friends and their immediate guests, but not to the public. The trustees will, as always, be inviting one or two special guests as a thank-you for their cooperation with The Friends in our endeavours to make the park a pleasant place for all to enjoy.

Your tickets, at £17 each, can be booked on the order form, which can be downloaded here.

[Summer 2016]

Dates for your Diary

All FHP events in the diary are printed in bold. The Friends’ Nature Walks (NW, formerly BNW) are continuing to be led by varying regulars while we look for a new permanent leader with the requisite skills and commitment. We will have strolls through the park looking at birds, plants, butterflies and park management of current interest. There is no charge and all are welcome without booking. Meet outside the café at 9am on the first Saturday of each month. No dogs, please, as even well behaved ones on leads disturb the wildlife. We recommend you bring binoculars if you can.

Events organised by the Ecology Service of RBK&C are listed as ‘ES’, some of which are sponsored by FHP where indicated. Unless otherwise stated the meeting place is in the Ecology Centre near the Adventure Playground. Some must be booked, in which case please call 020 7938 8186 or e-mail ecology.centre@rbkc.gov.uk. There is a charge for those marked £.

Holland Park Conservation Volunteer days (for adults) are every third Saturday of the month from 10.30am to 3pm (except in December when it is the second Saturday); meet outside the café. This is your chance to make new friends while getting healthy outdoor exercise: digging, chopping and planting in the wilder parts of the park. Tea, gloves, tools and instructions provided. Further information from the Ecology Centre (contact details above).

Tues 23 Feb    ‘Never was anything Finer’: The 18th-Century Court at Kensington Palace, in the Orangery, £15, 7pm

Sat 5 Mar    NW

Thurs 10 Mar    ES. Foxes talk (sponsored). Must book. 6.30-8pm

Sat 19 Mar    ES. Seeds of Spring: Ecology Centre Open Day. Drop-in 11am-4pm

Tues 29 Mar    ES. Easter Egg-stravaganza. Must book. £

30 Mar-8 Apr    ES. Children’s Easter holiday activities. Must book. £

Sat 2 Apr    NW

Sat 2 Apr    ES. Bird-ringing demonstration (sponsored). Drop in at the wildlife area. 7-11am

Fri 8 Apr    ES. Children’s Night Safari. Must book. £

Sat 16-Sun 24 Apr Annual Art Exhibition, in the Orangery

Wed 20 Apr    Annual General Meeting, in the Orangery, 7.30pm

Thurs 21 Apr    ES. Amphibian walk and talk (sponsored). Must book. 7-9pm

Sat 23 Apr NOTE NEW DATE Russian Virtuosi of Europe concert, in the Orangery, 7.30pm, £15.

Sat 30 Apr    ES. Dawn chorus walk (sponsored). Car park. Must book. 5-7am

Sat 30 Apr    ES. Family dawn chorus walk (sponsored). Car park. Must book. 8-10am

Sat 7 May    NW

Thurs 12 May    ES. Bat walk (sponsored). Bring a torch. Must book. 8.30-10pm

31 May-3 June ES. Half-term children’s holiday activities. Must book. £

Sat 4 June    NW

Sat 11 June    ES. Butterfly walk (sponsored). Must book. 10-12 noon. Meet at Ecology Centre.

Sat 18 June    Summer Tree walk. Dr Alan Harrington. Meet in stable yard. 11-1pm

Sat 2 July    NW

Thurs 7 July    ES. Summer tree walk: the basics. Must book. 6.30-8pm

Mon 18 July     Pimm's in the Park - Members' Party. 6.00 - 8.00 pm.

Thurs 21 July    ES. Bumblebees talk (sponsored). Must book. 6.30-8pm

Sat 6 Aug    NW

Sat 3 Sept    NW

‘Never was anything Finer’:  The 18th-Century Court at Kensington Palace

Tuesday, 23 February 2016, at 7pm in the Orangery

Deirdre MurphyOne of the historical neighbours of Holland House is Kensington Palace. We felt it appropriate to find out more about this neighbour at a time when both estates were running notable households. Deirdre Murphy, Senior Curator of Historic Royal Palaces, has kindly agreed to talk to us about Kensington Palace in the 18th century. She will illustrate her talk with pictures of the palace, its residents and its collections.

Historic Royal Palaces own important collections related to the history of its palaces, with some objects of national or international importance. Deirdre started as a producer at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and has since studied at the Courtauld Institute and held posts as curator at both the Manchester City Galleries and the Victoria & Albert Museum, as well as lecturer at Central St Martin’s, University of the Arts London.

Tickets are £15, to include wine and Janice Miles’ delicious canapés. To order tickets, please download the order form here.

Did you know that, in the 1680s, King William and Queen Mary nearly bought Holland House, but instead decided to purchase Nottingham House, now Kensington Palace?

[Winter 2015]

Russian Virtuosi of Europe Concert

Saturday, 23 April 2016, at 7.30pm in the Orangery

PLEASE NOTE THE NEW DATE

NataliaYuriPlease note the new date, and change it if the original one was in your diary; it had to be changed because of other commitments by the artists. They and we send our apologies, and we have sent personal notifications to those who had booked for the earlier date.

Definitely coming are Natalia Lomeiko, violin, and Yuri Zhislin, violin and viola, photographed, two skilled artists who have delighted audiences in the Orangery since 2000. Both are professors at the Royal Academy of Music and have played in every prestigious venue in the world. Sometimes they bring with them a younger talented performer who is just at the start of their career but this time they are introducing to us cellist Jan-Erik Gustafsson who is almost as experienced as they are. He comes from Finland and currently teaches at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. Like the others, he has played all over the world and with all the best symphony and chamber orchestras. He has also made many prize-winning recordings. He currently plays on a Stefano Scarampella from 1890.

Their programme for us will feature Bach’s Goldberg Variations. We very much look forward to their visit. To book tickets please download the Order Form here.

[Spring 2016]

Annual General Meeting

Wednesday, 20 April 2016, at 7.30pm in the Orangery

Holland Park is the subject of much debate about securing its future as a safe green space that balances the often conflicting needs of its user groups. The strategy for the next ten years is drafted, and a Holland Park Conservation Management Plan has been commissioned.

Options are being considered to re-focus on the historic listed buildings and to explain their story to visitors. Progress is being made for the Holland Park pavilions as a more appropriate solution to the temporary tents erected for use by Opera Holland Park, now an independent charitable trust.

Your trustees are party to all these discussions. We have the best opportunity in a long time to influence the future of the park and retain what we love or improve what we do not. We need your support to make sure we continue to have a wonderful park that we and future generations can enjoy. If you love the park, please do come to the AGM to hear what is happening, and share your views.

Jennie Kettlewell

[Spring 2016]

Friends and Neighbours

We are now in our second year of the ‘Friends & Neighbours’ programme, which offers members a discount on purchases from businesses local to Holland Park – our Neighbours. If you are a paid up member, you will receive a membership card with this newsletter. We have had positive feedback from Neighbours, so do keep buying from them and helping to spread the word locally about Holland Park.

Jeroboams

JeroboamsA long-established Holland Park delicatessen and wine store, offering an impressive selection of artisan cheeses, charcuterie and other fine foods, sourced from around the globe – a veritable Aladdin’s Cave for the foodie. Wines feature mature vintages of Bordeaux, Burgundy, grandes marques Champagnes, great wines of Italy, Australasia and the rest of the New World. Open daily.

96 Holland Park Avenue, London W11 3RB. t. 020 7727 9359.

Offer: 10% off all purchases in the Holland Park Avenue shop.




Gallery 19

Gallery 19Gallery 19 is not just your local picture framer. They specialise in architectural views of Kensington, London and Italy as well as maps, models, Florentine stationery and house portrait commissions. Owners, Gordon, Sandra and Alex French are well known to the Friends, not least for running our annual art exhibition.

19 Kensington Court Place, London W8 5BJ. t. 020 7937 72777, info@gallery19.com            Offer: 10% off framing.


Kensington Place

A respected local restaurant since 1987, Kensington Place specialises in fish and seafood. Tim Peirson has recently taken over as chef and brings with him a wealth of experience, most recently from Michelin-starred Angler. The bright main dining room looks out over Kensington Church Street and there are also private dining facilities.

201 Kensington Church St, London W8 7LX. t. 020 7727 3184.

Offer: 20% off food and drinks when dining from the A la Carte or Market Menu for lunch or dinner. Conditions apply.


Hollands Wine Bar and Genie’s Restaurant.  NOW CLOSED!

This restaurant is currently closed. It appears it might have been sold so can no longer be part of our member offer. Please disregard its inclusion in the pre-printed loose insert in this newsletter.

Other participants in the scheme are Lipp Interiors, Miles & Miles car rental, Il Portico Restaurant, Valentina Restaurant & Deli, Gelato Mio, Kensington Close Hotel Health Club & Spa, Rassells plant nursery and Holland Park Café.

[Spring 2016]

Open Gardens Squares Weekend

Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 June

Royal Crescent

Open Garden Squares Weekend 2016, the magical two-day event when over 200 private and little known gardens open to the public, will take place on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 June. A single ticket allows visitors to discover and explore a range of stunning gardens not normally open to the public, from magnificent roof-top gardens with panoramic views to diminutive spaces tucked behind the hustle and bustle of London’s busy streets. To find out more about Open Garden Squares Weekend visit www.opensquares.org

Photo: Royal Crescent, by Gavin Gardiner

[Spring 2016]

Another New Guide

Decorative Art in HPOur ‘H is for Holland’ guide to the sculptures and architectural features of Holland Park has sold out, so we have produced a new one. We have taken the opportunity to bring the design into line with The Guide to Holland Park and the Kyoto Garden booklet and to add the more recent decorative features in the park. We expect to have copies of Decorative Art in Holland Park by the end of February. You can order a copy by downloading the order form here, or you can buy a copy from the Park Office in the Stable Yard. The price is £5 for the 32-page booklet, complete with a map to show the location of statues, sculptures and other works of art.

[Spring 2016]

Christmas Carol Concert

I have been to most of the fifteen previous concerts which the Tallis Chamber Choir and their director, Philip Simms, have given for us, but, in my opinion, that on 6th December was the best so far, and a virtually full Orangery had a wonderfully entertaining evening.

I never cease to admire Philip Simms’ musical knowledge and ingenuity in devising new programmes. Whereas last year’s carols were, with one exception, written or arranged by British composers, this year, as well as the United Kingdom, they came from France, Germany, Norway and Spain. We were also treated to a variety of seasonal readings.

The music began with a version of O magnum mysterium (a responsorial chant from Christmas Matins) by Tomas Luis de Victoria (c.1548-1611), a Spanish composer who spent over 20 years working in Rome where he might have studied under Palestrina; a polyphonic contrapuntal piece of great beauty and solemnity. Next we heard O beatum et sacrosanctum diem (1612) by Peter Philips (c.1560-1628), an eminent English composer and a Catholic priest, who was exiled in 1582 to Flanders where he spent most of the rest of his life; this happy piece begins meditatively, turns to great rejoicing, and finishes with choirs of angels. There followed Dixit Maria by Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612), a North German composer and organist who was in Venice in 1584-85 and became a friend and pupil of Giovanni Gabrieli whose style he introduced to Germany. This work, published in 1599, uses polychoral techniques learnt in Italy. There followed one of two 19th-century works, a setting of Ave maris stella (the text of which dates back to the 9th century) by the Norwegian composer, Edvard Grieg (1843-1907), written in 1893 as a solo piece, and later set for a chorus, a piece imbued with maternal love. We then had the other 19th-century work, Abendlied by Josef Rheinberger (1839-1901), a German composer and organist whose style was particularly influenced by Bach and Brahms, the piece creating the impression of a serene prayer. Next was Sing lullaby composed  as a carol in 1926 by Peter Warlock (1894-1930) using a text by Thomas Dekker (c.1572-1632) which had the feeling of a folk melody. (Warlock’s real name was Philip Heseltine, and he was the father of art critic Brian Sewell.) We finished the first half with A child is born in Bethlehem written in 1650 by the German composer Samuel Scheidt (1587-1654) which used mediaeval chord patterns and had the feeling of a madrigal.

We began the second half with Christmas is coming by Sir Henry Walford Davies (1869-1941), who became Master of the King’s Music in 1934 on the death of Elgar; a traditional chorus with a simple melody set in four homophonic parts. This was followed by Can it be true?, a carol in traditional English style with echoes of folk music, by Richard Moore, a Friend of Holland Park, who took a bow to the appreciative audience. This was followed by The donkey carol  by another contemporary English composer, John Rutter (b. 1945), a simple witty piece with overtones of a 1930s popular song. Then we had a traditional English carol, Tomorrow shall be my dancing day, translated from the Cornish, in an arrangement by Sir David Willcocks (1919-2015), which, it seems, might have been devised in the 15th century to be sung and danced at the end of the first day of a three-day drama. Next, another English piece, A spotless rose by Herbert Howells (1892-1983) written in 1919, a simple setting of a 15th-century poem with a wonderful tenor solo for the second verse. We finished with a setting of Yver, the text of which was written by Charles d’Orleans (1394-1465), composed by Claude Debussy (1862-1918), which, whilst technically atonal, did not give that impression.

However, no carol concert by the choir would be complete without Philip Simms’ own arrangement of White Christmas, which we had as an encore; and, once again, Janice Miles excelled herself with a wonderful spread of canapés. With lots of wine, the audience departed in true Christmas spirit.

George Law

[Spring 2016]