NEWS ITEMS 2018

Talk by Inspector Mike Rumble, head of the Parks Police

Thursday, 28 February 2019 at 7pm in the Orangery

A Walk in the Park: Policing London’s Green Spaces

 

Mike RumbleOur spring speaker will be from the ‘home team’. Inspector Rumble, head of the bi-borough parks police force, has agreed to tell us what lies behind the police presence in Holland Park; and I suspect we are in for a few surprises as the issues faced by the parks police team are extraordinarily varied, all faced with calmness and practical solutions.

Mike Rumble manages the Parks Police Service for two London Boroughs, Kensington and Chelsea, and Hammersmith and Fulham, and has done for the past ten years. What extraordinary things he must have seen during that time and what stories he must have to tell. He is infuriatingly discrete, but he often has a twinkle in his eye when regaling us with his experiences. The force hosted the Olympic Torch in Holland Park and facilitated the visit of the Emperor and Empress of Japan in May 2012.

The Parks Police strongly believe that a problem-solving approach is the most effective way of reducing crime and anti-social behaviour, so they work with local communities and park users to identify concerns and find solutions. This work has been recognised with a number of prestigious awards in recent years.

He has other talents too. He studied calligraphy and heraldic art and has been a member of the Heraldry Society for over 40 years. He designed the new badge when the RBKC and Hammersmith & Fulham forces merged. The design features a London plane leaf.

Tickets are £18, to include wine and Janice Miles’ delicious canapés.

To order tickets online click here.

Jennie Kettlewell

[Winter 2018]

Holland Park’s Cup of Tea

Talk on 25 October 2018 in The Orangery

Our speaker, Jonathon Jones, established the first British tea plantation at the Tregothnan Estate in Cornwall. He has not only applied his undoubted horticultural knowledge, but has encouraged the public to think very differently about tea drinking – quite a challenge in a nation of tea-drinkers.

It all started with selling the estate’s produce as a way of funding the estate’s ten gardeners. He fascinated the audience with stories of growing the Camellia sinensis in an area it would not have been thought possible – alongside the River Fal at Truro. Research and experimentation have led to some 35 ‘clones’ of the tea bush. A ‘clone’ is what would be called a cultivated variety in other plants. Experimentation continues, and Jonathon is considering how the true scent of the tea bush could be built into our cuppa, probably from the flower, instead of the false scent that is usually added.

He told us how to make tea, and that boiling water brings out the bitterness. Black tea should be brewed at 95o, herbal tea at 85 o, and green tea at only 75o to get the optimum taste. Who knew that.

Camellia sinensisHolland Park has venerable camellias but has not had the tea bush until recently, when we bought one from Tregothnan. Jonathon wondered about other links. Tea was introduced into Britain around 1610, just a few years after Sir Walter Cope built Holland House. Were his family early adopters of tea?  The Duchess of Bedford was a well known tea drinker. Did she drink tea at Holland House? Did Earl Grey visit Holland House, in spite of the fact that he and Charles Fox did not always agree?

Tregothnan is now a very successful international tea business, even exporting tea to China. We were tempted by the many variations of tea available from the estate. As yet, stock of the products in Britain is selective, but the full range is available on their website: www.tregothnan.co.uk. One person in the audience commented that: ‘We can expect to see exciting things happening in the tea world over the next few years, with the tea trade recognising the role Jonathon and Tregothnan are playing.’

The evening was rounded off with delicious canapés and a Tregothnan tea cocktail concocted by our events organiser, Graham Franklin.

Text and photo: Jennie Kettlewell

[Winter 2018]

The Friends’ Nature Walks

Meet outside the Stable Yard at 9am on the first Saturday of each month.

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.  No dogs, please, as even well behaved ones on leads disturb the wildlife. We recommend you bring binoculars.

Sat 1 Dec

Sat 5 Jan 2019   
Sat 3 Feb   
Sat 2 Mar   
Sat 6 Apr

[Winter18]


Autumn Bat Walk

It is good to see that the Ecology Service events are being well attended and the Bat Walk on the evening of 13 September was no exception.

It was led by a representative of the London Bat Group, who was full of praise for the woodland areas of the park and how these allow for the dark conditions that bats need. Old trees are important too, as these have the nooks and crannies which bats need for roosting, i.e. resting and sleeping.

Participants saw Soprano and Common pipistrelles. There was also a brief appearance over the Wildlife Enclosure pond of a Nathusius’ pipistrelle, which we were told was a new record for Holland Park. Probably this was a bat only passing through the park, but clearly it found it a useful place to feed during its journey.

This event was sponsored by The Friends, so that those who were interested could participate for free.

Richard Kulczycki

[Winter 2018]

Pimm’s in the Park

This year we had better luck with the weather than last: it was a lovely sunny evening on Tuesday, 24 July. Thanks to Michael Volpe, General Director of Opera Holland Park, we again had the use of the marquee overlooking the Dutch Garden and, it being dry, we were able to enjoy being on the terrace as well, for an even better view. We were very pleased to see so many new faces, and it was a good opportunity to talk to members, and to hear their views. Plentiful and tasty canapés were enjoyed, washed down by a refreshing Pimm’s concoction.

[Autumn 2018]

Crab Apple Jelly

At the time of writing (early September) it is not yet clear whether this year is or is not a good one for apples. We need the small green bitter kind that makes your mouth dry up if you bite into a raw one, but miraculously turns into tangy red jelly when cooked. Be assured that we will search for them later this month, so when you read this do ring 020 7602 0304 to place your orders. Supplies are always soon exhausted.

Rhoddy Wood

[Autumn 2018]

Christmas Cards 2018

HP Cafe Christmas CardOur Christmas card this year of the new café yard, by Catherine Masterman, shows how it will look once it has settled in and is attractive in its own right. We will hold a ready supply of these cards in both the standard 152 mm x 197 mm format at £9.50 per pack of ten, and the small 118 mm x 168 mm at £8.00.

We will also make up mixed packs of ten old designs of Holland Park at £6.50, which will be very largely of big ones in 4 or 5 different designs.

Delivery by hand to local postcodes is free, but beyond that we have to charge an additional  £1.70 per pack of large or mixed cards and £1.40 for small cards.

All cards will have the standard greeting ‘With best wishes for Christmas and the New Year’.

Do avoid that last minute panic.

To order online click here.

News Update

as at 30 August 2018


Café Yard

Cafe Yard 2At last the café yard is finished and now boasts 170 seats, some of which will be removed during the quieter winter season. The area under the western arches has been opened up and provides a shady space to enjoy a cold drink, coffee or meal. Big planters have been borrowed temporarily from the stable yard to provide at least some softening. We hope a couple of small, leafy trees will be potted up into large containers to provide a pretty green setting, appropriate for a park. It would be good to see some flowers too. We hear that delivery lorries are being directed across the front of Holland House in order to turn at the Duchess of Bedford Gate. This is disappointing as a great deal of work has been done over the years to reduce traffic in the park.

Holland House conservation

The conservation plan for Grade 1-listed Holland House is being drawn up in three stages. Work on Stage 1, the roof and facings of the main building, should commence in autumn 2018. Work on the East Wing, leased to the youth hostel, is scheduled for 2019 as Stage 2. Stage 3 will cover the walkways, though it is not yet known if this includes conservation of the tiles. We are delighted to hear that conservation is at last going to happen as it is very much needed and also overdue.

Thanks due to Opera Holland Park

When planning consent was sought for the opera’s ancillary buildings for the years 2018-2020, the application was for the opera to occupy the site from 12 March to the end of September, in line with their lease. In the consent report it was noted that there was an agreement between The Friends of Holland Park and Michael Volpe, General Director of Opera Holland Park (OHP), to work together to reduce the build and deconstruct time so that the Holland House terrace could be open to the public for longer each year. I can report that just over four weeks has been shaved off the working time this year, without affecting performance dates. There is no promise of precise timing for next year because it is weather dependent, but I feel there is enough trust to know that we are well on the way to having the terrace open to the public for longer each year than it has been in the past. Many thanks are due to you Michael and to Nic Watson, Operations Manager of OHP.

Belvedere TowerBelvedere tower

The renovation work has taken far longer than expected and the end date is still not clear. Not only would we all like a view of the elegant tower on this listed building, but I think many will be pleased to see the contractor’s compound and equipment removed from the car park, where it takes up an unacceptable amount of space.

Adventure playground

Planning consent for the much needed improvements has been granted and work, including drainage channels to prevent flooding, is due to start this October. The installations will be of natural wood, rather than the current gaudy constructions, so they fit more appropriately into the park environment. It is after all a woodland play area and not a city centre landscape. This is a fundamental overhaul rather than cosmetic change, so it is claimed that the resulting playground should last at least 20-25 years. Consequently the topographical and installation work will take time, and the play area may not be open again until April 2019. Please look out for signage in the park, which will keep you informed on progress.

Cricket nets

Planning consent has been granted for improved cricket nets on the sports field. The bowler’s run up will be incorporated into the structure to prevent a line of worn grass on the field. The whole construction will enclose a three-bay practice facility with an artificial grass surface. The cricket cages will be surrounded by a 3-metre security fence to prevent misuse and damage which, sad to say, is a problem with the current nets. It will also ensure stray cricket balls do not endanger others in the area. The work is due to start sometime in October. Again, please watch out for information signs in the park.

Text and photos: Jennie Kettlewell

[Autumn 2018]

Holland Park Conservation Volunteers

RichardThe volunteers usually meet on the third Saturday of each month (see Events), with a brief to carry out tasks to help with the maintenance and conservation of the woodland and meadow areas of the park. Tasks might include clearing vegetation, meadow management, scything, dead-hedging and planting.  These work days are free to attend and aimed at adult participants.

The volunteers benefit the park, get a day in the open, meet like-minded people and have some fun too. Member of the Friends and regular Holland Park volunteer, Richard Kulczycki, was obviously having fun when he helped clear out the Wildlife Area pond. If you are interested in volunteering, contact ecology.centre@rbkc.gov.uk or ring 020 7938 8186.

Jennie Kettlewell

Photo by Gerald McEnery

[Autumn 2018]

Concert on Sunday, 9 December, at 7.30pm in the Orangery

Christmas Concert

You will just be in time to book for our musical event heralding Christmas: our concert of carols sung by The Tallis Chamber Choir, conducted by Philip Simms, and you the audience, of course. Do not forget the seasonal, and often amusing, readings to go with it, all rounded off by Janice Miles’s mouth-watering canapés and a glass of wine or two to follow. Tickets are £22.

Click here to book online.

[Autumn 2018]

2018

Tuesday 23 October

Kids can be Holland Park Detectives!

Children can imagine they are Holland Park detectives, spotting things in the park and putting a tick against the pictures on the specially designed activity sheet.

When they have found as many as they can, they can come and claim their Holland Park Detective badge from the Friends of Holland Park desk in the Café Yard. Join in or just drop by and have a chat. Please mention this to any of your friends and family who are not members of the Friends. You do not have to be a member to join in the fun, and it is free.

The Friends will be there from 10.30 a.m. to 4.00 p.m., with kids’ activity sheets (free) to hand out, information on the park, and copies of the Children’s Guide to Exploring Holland Park for sale. The guide is packed with fabulous things to discover, interesting facts and lots of fun activities. At 36 pages it will provide many hours of happy occupation, and all for only £5. Buy it at the Friends’ desk on 23 October, or order a copy from our secretary, Rhoddy Wood, Tel. 020 7602 0304 / rhoddy.wood@virgin.net, or order it here.

[Autumn 2018]

2018

Saturday 20 October

Autumn tree walk with Dr Alan Harrington

Meet in Stable Yard. 11-1pm

Free and no booking needed.

[Summer 2018]

2018

Saturday 13 October

Bird-Ringing Demo: See Birds Close up

Male & female BlackcapsThe bird-ringing demonstration is a great opportunity to see some of Holland Park’s birds close up. Once a bird has been safely caught in a mist net, a specially trained ringer will hold the bird gently to show detail of the markings, wing feathers and how the ring is painlessly attached. The bird’s size and weight are logged, along with the number on the ring, allowing useful information to be tracked on each ringed bird.

Drop in to Holland Park’s Wildlife Enclosure in the north of the park from 7.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. Bring the children: this event, which is sponsored by The Friends, is great for all ages.

Photo: Male and female blackcaps by Jennie Kettlewell

[Autumn 2018]

Dates for your Diary












































Annual General Meeting 2018: Report

All FHP events in the diary are printed in bold. The Friends’ Nature Walks (NW) are continuing to be led by varying regulars who have 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 Stable Yard 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.

The Ecology team have, yet again, planned an exciting programme of talks, walks and events for the year ahead, all aimed at encouraging children and adults to explore and understand the natural world we are lucky enough to have around us in Holland Park. In order that the events can be free for participants, The Friends will continue to sponsor the walks and talks that are led by independent experts in their field and ensure their costs are covered.

Events organised by the Ecology Service of RBKC are listed as ‘ES’; where FHP have sponsored them, this is 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 3.30pm; meet outside the café. No specialist skills are required, and 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. Wear sturdy shoes and old clothes, and bring waterproofs and your lunch. For further information from the Ecology Team visit www.rbkc.gov.uk/ecology, call 020 7938 8186 or e-mail ecology.centre@rbkc.gov.uk.

Thurs 5 July    ES. Summer tree walk: the basics. Rhoddy Wood. Must book. 6.30-8pm

Sat 7 July    NW

Sat 14 July    ES. Pond surveying: Wildlife Area Open Day. 12 noon-4pm

Thurs 19 July    ES. Wild plants of Holland Park walk (sponsored). Must book. 6.30-8pm

Mon 23 July - Fri 31 Aug    ES. Children’s summer holiday activities. Must book. £

Tues 24 July    Pimm’s in the Park, marquee at east end of Dutch Garden, 6-8pm, £18

Thurs 26 July  ES. Herb magic: Ecology Centre Open Afternoon. Drop in. 12-4pm

Sat 28 July    ES. Damselflies and dragonflies walk (sponsored). Must book. 2-4pm

Thurs 2 Aug    ES. Spot the ladybird: Ecology Centre Open Afternoon. Drop in. 12-4pm

Sat 4 Aug    NW

Thurs 9 Aug    ES. Brilliant butterflies: Ecology Centre Open Afternoon. Drop in. 12-4pm

Sat 25 Aug    ES. Holland Park botany walk. Meet at café. 2-4pm

Thurs 30 Aug    ES. Top of the crops: Ecology Centre Open Afternoon. Drop in. 12-4pm

Sat 1 Sept    NW

Sat 8 Sept    ES. Holland Park storytelling walk (families with children over 5 years). Must book

Thurs 13 Sept  ES. Autumn bat walk (sponsored). Must book. 7-8.30pm

Sat 22 Sept    ES. Autumn leaves, Wildlife Area. Drop in. 12-4pm

Thurs 27 Sept     ES. Hedgehog talk (sponsored). Must book. 6.30-8pm

Sat 6 Oct    NW

Sat 13 Oct    ES. Bird-ringing demonstration (sponsored). Drop in at Wildlife Area. 7-11am

Sat 20 Oct     Autumn tree walk. Dr Alan Harrington. Meet in Stable Yard. 11-1pm

Mon 22 - Fri 26 Oct  ES. Children’s half-term holiday activities. Must book. £

Thurs 25 Oct    ES. Batty bats: Ecology Centre Open Afternoon. Drop-in. 12-4pm

Thurs 25 Oct   ‘Holland Park’s Cup of Tea’, in the Orangery, 7pm, £18

Fri 2 Nov    ES. Children’s Night Safari (4-8 year-olds). Must book. £

Sat 3 Nov    NW

Sat 3 Nov    Fungi foray (sponsored). Must book, 2-4pm

Fri 9 Nov    ES. Children’s Night Safari (8-12 year-olds). Must book. £

 

[Summer 2018]

The Friends’ AGM was held on 18 April 2018. President, Sir Angus Stirling, welcomed those present and the minutes of the 2017 meeting were approved.

The Trustees’ Report for 2017 was presented by Andy Walker, the main points being:

•    The year had been one of messy works in the park, being improvements to the historic buildings.

•    The enhancement of the Holland House terrace, approach road and the Café Yard had started in September.

•    Rainwater management work had been carried out in the west of the park.

•    The Friends had contributed to the Council’s Holland Park Conservation Area Appraisal, which describes the essence of the park as a statement of what aspects need to be protected and maintained.

•    Grants to the park included replanting of the Mediterranean Bed in the Dutch Garden, the second stage of the proactive tree health programme, Ecology Centre walks and talks, and a map of Holland Park.

Silvi Spassov gave the Treasurer’s Report for 2017. The balance for the financial year 2017 was £97,795: up on 2016 due to funding expenditure projects being postponed to 2018 and to exceptionally high income from donations (£86,470). Events income had been £19,315 in 2017, compared with £12,160 in 2016, largely due to healthy sales at our art exhibition. The events surplus had risen from £3,529 in 2016 to £4,226 in 2017. The full accounts had been circulated in the spring 2018 newsletter.

The Secretary’s Report was delivered by Rhoddy Wood, who said that membership stood at 1,016, higher than the same time last year. Payment via The Friends’ website was helping to increase membership, though the number of members signing up for Gift Aid had declined. Gift Aid was important as it resulted in an additional 25% tax refund on the cost of each subscription or donation paid by a signed-up member. Mrs Wood thanked all those who kindly help deliver the newsletters.

Election of the trustees. Silvi Spassov was elected as a trustee. All other trustees had agreed to stand again and were duly re-elected.

Election of the independent examiner. Roger Foreman was re-elected.

Chairman’s Outlook for 2018. Chairman, Jennie Kettlewell, emphasised that, after a year of messy works, the built assets of the park are now in better shape, with the exception of Grade-1-listed Holland House. Opera Holland Park had obtained consent for their buildings for the next three years. Written into that consent was the fact that OHP would work with The Friends and other stakeholders to see what could be done to shorten the time taken for the ancillary buildings to be cleared, and for the terrace to be open to the public earlier than in former years. She thanked Nicholas Hopkins for his tireless work to enable payment through The Friends’ website, the trustees for the staggering amount they achieved each year, and Sir Angus Stirling for his wise advice and reassurance. There were some interesting questions from members, which we are making sure we address.

Much has happened since the AGM in mid-April; see News Update below.

[July 2018]


Heavenly Duets


Heavenly DuetsIt felt like a summer’s evening in The Orangery on 20 April: the sun was shining, the air was warm, the children and peacocks were crying out merrily across the lawn. Inside was the glittering display of glass, ceramics, bronze sculptures, not to mention the screens against both walls covered with art works of the highest standard, a standard which we have come to expect of our annual art exhibition. The browsers had been put to one side to make space for chairs, for this was our concert night, this time blessed with the delightful combination of flautist and harpist, a duo known as Heavenly Duets, normally made up of Anne Allen (flute) and Cecily Beer (harp), but Cecily having that morning been taken ill, Portuguese-born Zita Silva replaced her at a few hours’ notice, giving us a highly accomplished performance without a pluck out of place. Anne Allen’s flute playing was beautifully expressive: one could hear at once in the opening piece, the second movement of Mozart’s Flute and Harp Concerto, how much she loved what she was playing.

We were treated to more classical music, by Saint-Saëns, Massenet, Debussy and the French harpist, Marcel Tournier, before Mike Abrams stood up from the audience to tell us about his composition, Suite in the Old Style, of which we were to hear the world première. He reassured us that, as the title suggested, this was not going to be in the style of a composer like Stockhausen; indeed, the three movements were perfectly accessible and a great pleasure to hear.

The second half took on a lighter mood, with British folksong arrangements, Mancini’s Moon River and Gershwin’s Embraceable You. Instead of the billed Entr’acte by Ibert, the concert was rounded off with Lord Henry Somerset’s A Song of Sleep. Anne read out the poem, also written by the composer, assuring us that, in this cruel world, sleep is a great consoler. Despite this soothing finale, the audience did not fall asleep but helped to remove the chairs in order to make way for wine and Janice Miles’s delicious canapés.

Joy Puritz

Photo of Zita and Anne rehearsing in the afternoon of the concert by Sandra French

[July 2018]

Landscape in the Making

HH sewerThe elegant brick-lined passage pictured here is an old private sewer for Holland House, found under the terrace during the recent landscaping work.

Xanthe Quayle of Camlin Lonsdale, the landscape architects who designed the scheme, gave us a fascinating glimpse of the unexpected discoveries during the work on the terrace:  hollow chambers, dressed kerbstones, crazy drainage and unexplained walls. Each new find had to be explored and dealt with before work could continue. The laid paving finish on the planning application all looks relatively simple, but it is what is under the ground that has proved to be the real challenge.

The audience were clearly impressed with Xanthe and her team’s attention to detail in choice of stone types, colours and variation for the paving, all of which had to take account of the huge weight of the Opera Holland Park auditorium canopy and the 50-ton crane needed to install it. Not, by any means, a simple commission, added to which Xanthe explained that a project of this magnitude would normally be allowed 18 months, rather than the six month winter break between opera seasons.

The terrace will be a great place to sit in the winter sun, to admire Holland House and its new environment, but we will not be able to do this until the end of September. At that point we will be able to enjoy the pinks, ochres and pale greys of the different stones. We will write a more detailed article in our winter newsletter.

Jennie Kettlewell

Photo by Camlin Lonsdale

[July 2018]

New Offers for The Friends

Artisan du Chocolat

Artisan du ChocolatAfter founding the chocolatier business in 2000, Gerard Coleman is still hands-on in the production atelier so that he can focus full attention on finding the finest ingredients, and on quality, which is his passion. In the shops it is the aroma that first strikes you, then the wonderful display of irresistible chocolate. Go on, treat yourself! And do try their hot chocolate drink as you won’t have experienced anything quite so indulgent before.

Offer: 25% discount on all in-store purchases.

Participating branches of Artisan du Chocolat are:

246 Kensington High Street, London, W8 6DN.  t. 020 7348 0381

81 Westbourne Grove, London W2 4UL.  t. 0845 270 6696 (option 2)

89 Lower Sloane Street, London SW1W 8DA. t. 0845 270 6996 (option 3)

www.artisanduchocolat.com

Jeroboams’ new shop

Jeroboams KHSWe are very pleased to announce that the newest branch of Jeroboams is the latest local business to join our Friends & Neighbours scheme. The store offers a wide choice of wines both classic and from lesser-known interesting producers. There is a selection of spirits, some of which you might not find easily elsewhere. Do visit soon and ask manager, Philippe Berthome, to suggest some summer drinking. They also provide glasses and ice, delivered with your drinks for your summer parties. Jeroboams fine food and wines in Holland Park has been with us since we launched our programme.

Offer: 10% discount on all purchases from both these shops, when no other promotional discounts apply. Certain products are excluded from the discount, at the discretion of the manager:

254 Kensington High Street, London W8 6ND.  t. 020 7348 0644.

96 Holland Park Ave, London W11 3RB. t. 020 7727 9359. www.jeroboams.co.uk

[July 2018]

News Update as at 11 June 2018

Holland House Terrace

New HH terraceContractors, Blakedown, formally handed the newly resplendent Holland House terrace back the Council at 9.30 a.m. on 19 March. An hour later Opera Holland Park started work on their build for this year’s season. It is a great credit to Camlin Lonsdale and Blakedown that they were only one week later than the scheduled date, considering the real challenges found under the ground they were paving. We will see the full beauty of the new landscaping after the opera season. Thanks are due to Opera Holland Park for shaving time off the deconstruct time last autumn and a speedier build this spring. The intention is that there will be a ticketed celebration on the terrace for members, stakeholders, Council officers and elected members, and of course those who carried out this large project. We think this is likely to be in the early evening on Tuesday, 25 September. Watch the website and noticeboards in the park for details.

Photo by Camlin Lonsdale

Café Yard

Cafe yardThe café’s south terrace is now open and attracting custom. By the time you read this, the work on the full extent of the café’s outside area should be completed, and the capacity will have increased from 80 to 170 seats. This has been partly achieved by opening up the area under the western arches, previously used for storage. The café will look wonderful but a little stark to begin with, and we need to green it up as appropriate for a park.

Photo by Jennie Kettlewell

Nature Play Area

You might have noticed the flourishing living willow classroom that has appeared in the Nature Play Area just to the north of the Ecology Centre. This is part of a wider project being worked on by the Ecology team and The Friends. Some years ago, this area was given free access as a children’s play area, but its popularity was its undoing, and the result was compaction, loss of ground cover, loss of habitat and damaged trees. It had to be closed to the public and has not re-opened. The intention is to have limited and supervised access by a single gate and path to the willow classroom. Woodland management work will produce a healthy canopy layer, an understorey of shrubs and green ground cover as an attractive and appropriate environment for children to learn about nature. The Friends will work with Ecology to re-apply to the Mayor’s Greener City Fund, with the fund opening for applications from July 2018. Funds are needed to cover the cost of volunteer work, materials and planting. We have received feedback on why the 2017 bid was unsuccessful, and have been advised to limit future access to avoid re-compaction and to guard against ‘woodland gardening’ i.e. pretty flowers that are not in keeping with natural woodland.

Holland House Conservation

Conservation of Holland House remains well overdue, considering the schedule set out in the Conservation Management Plan for the Grade-1-listed building. We heard that a condition report was sent to Historic England who were considering their response to the Council’s proposals for essential work. It would be of great concern if this grand listed building did not live up to its new environment.

Adventure Playground

Adventure playgroundThis playground is well used and popular, with the result that it is suffering from the wear and tear of many years. Plans for a much improved playground, including draining works, have been agreed under a Certificate of Lawful Development, which did not require consultation. Planning consent was, however, required for the equipment over four metres in height, and a decision is due by 26 June. The Friends’ concern was the application to fell 12 trees. After discussion between RBKC Park Management, a Council tree officer and trustees, it was established that several of these trees were poor specimens that needed to be removed on safety grounds, and some others would jeopardise the drainage needed to prevent the playground from flooding. The contention was about three horse chestnuts, two of which were not especially good specimens and not expected to last more than ten years. Given that this costly renovation is expected to last at least 20-25 years, it has reluctantly been decided to achieve the best possible playground and drainage solution, and replace the chestnuts with trees that will last the course.

Photo by Erect Architecture Robert Bray Associates

Tree donated by The Friends

Acer freemaniiAn excellent start to the greening up of the café area is the new Acer freemanii ‘Autumn Blaze’, donated by The Friends and looking splendid in the Café Yard. This semi-mature specimen was planted on 25 May by Cllr David Lindsay (Lead Member for Healthy City Living) and chairman of The Friends, Jennie Kettlewell. To ensure it thrives in this paved area, there is an impressive 2-cubic-metre structure under the ground, which will allow the air and water to reach the roots, without compaction.

Belvedere tower

We are surprised that this renovation work is not yet completed. In order to improve the temporary appearance for those hiring the Belvedere and Orangery, we understand that the scaffolding will be covered with a scenic screen, depicting the tower beneath it.

Children’s Guide to Exploring Holland Park

Children will love this new book packed with fabulous things to discover, interesting facts and lots of fun activities. At 36 pages, there is enough to keep kids occupied through the holidays and over many visits, so you do not have to think up ideas to occupy them. We were advised by children (6-10-year-olds) who told us what they really, really liked and what simply did not interest them; and we listened. If you have children, small relatives or friends with kids, do not deny them the chance to try out the word searches, spotting challenges, nature drawing, ‘spot the difference’ and dot-to-dot pictures.   Price £6.50 including postage.

Order online here.

[June 2018]

Talk on Thursday, 25 October, at 7pm in The Orangery

Holland Park’s Cup of Tea

Holland Park has a long history of growing glorious camellias. This June it added Camellia sinensis, the plant that produces tea. Our speaker, Jonathon Jones, knows all about camellias and tea, because he established the first British tea plantation at the Tregothnan Estate in Cornwall.

Tickets are £18, to include Janice Miles’ delicious canapés, wine, and we might even get a tea cocktail!

For further information click here.

Click here to book online

[Summer 2018]

Gelato Mio

Gelato MioGelato Mio’s aim is to bring real Italian Gelato to London, preparing all the gelato themselves with natural, uncomplicated recipes, fresh ingredients and traditional Italian recipes. The Holland Park shop was the first Gelato Mio to open in London, built to an Italian design and offering a real feel of Italy with a range of authentic Italian coffee, panini and patisserie.

138 Holland Park Avenue, London W11 4UE.  www.gelatomio.co.uk  t. 020 7727 4117

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

[Removed May 2018]

Dates for your Diary

All FHP events in the diary are printed in bold. The Friends’ Nature Walks (NW) are continuing to be led by varying regulars who have 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 Stable Yard 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.

The Ecology team have, yet again, planned an exciting programme of talks, walks and events for the year ahead, all aimed at encouraging children and adults to explore and understand the natural world we are lucky enough to have around us in Holland Park. In order that the events can be free for participants, The Friends will continue to sponsor the walks and talks that are led by independent experts in their field and ensure their costs are covered.

Events organised by the Ecology Service of RBKC are listed as ‘ES’; where FHP have sponsored them, this is 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 3.30pm; meet outside the café. No specialist skills are required, and 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. Wear sturdy shoes and old clothes, and bring waterproofs and your lunch. For further information from the Ecology Team visit www.rbkc.gov.uk/ecology, call 020 7938 8186 or e-mail ecology.centre@rbkc.gov.uk.

Thurs 5 July    ES. Summer tree walk: the basics. Rhoddy Wood. Must book        6.30-8pm

Sat 7 July    NW

Sat 14 July    ES. Pond surveying: Wildlife Area Open Day             12 noon-4pm

Thurs 19 July    ES. Wild plants of Holland Park walk (sponsored). Must book        6.30-8pm

Mon 23 July -  ES. Children’s summer holiday activities. Must book. £

Fri 31 Aug

Tues 24 July    Pimm’s in the Park, marquee at east end of Dutch Garden, £18          6-8pm

Thurs 26 July  ES. Herb magic: Ecology Centre Open Afternoon. Drop in           12-4pm

Sat 28 July    ES. Damselflies and dragonflies walk (sponsored). Must book        2-4pm

Thurs 2 Aug    ES. Spot the ladybird: Ecology Centre Open Afternoon. Drop in      12-4pm

Thurs 9 Aug    ES. Brilliant butterflies: Ecology Centre Open Afternoon. Drop in    12-4pm

Sat 25 Aug    ES. Holland Park botany walk. Meet at café                    2-4pm

Thurs 30 Aug    ES. Top of the crops: Ecology Centre Open Afternoon. Drop in      12-4pm

Sat 8 Sept    ES. Holland Park storytelling walk (families with children over 5 years).

Must book

Thurs 13 Sept  ES. Autumn bat walk (sponsored). Must book                   7-8.30pm

Sat 22 Sept       ES. Autumn leaves, Wildlife Area. Drop in                     12-4pm

Thurs 27 Sept     ES. Hedgehog talk (sponsored). Must book                       6.30-8pm

Sat 13 Oct     ES. Bird-ringing demonstration (sponsored). Drop in at Wildlife

Area          7-11am

Sat 20 Oct     Autumn tree walk. Dr Alan Harrington. Meet in Stable Yard      11-1pm

Mon 22 - Fri     Children’s half-term holiday activities. Must book. £

26 Oct

Thurs 25 Oct     ES. Batty bats: Ecology Centre Open Afternoon. Drop-in          12-4pm

Thurs 25 Oct     ‘Holland Park’s Cup of Tea’ (see p.3), in the Orangery, £18           7pm

Fri 2 Nov     Children’s Night Safari (4-8 year-olds). Must book. £

Sat 3 Nov     Fungi foray (sponsored). Must book                        2-4pm

Fri 9 Nov     Children’s Night Safari (8-12 year-olds). Must book. £

[Spring 2018]


Payments via the FHP website

You are now able to make payments to The Friends of Holland Park directly from this website. Payments may be made for new membership, renewing membership, event tickets, art exhibition entries and merchandise.

Payment is made through PayPal, but you are not required to have a PayPal account; you can make payment from your debit or credit card.

It is no longer possible to download an order form from this website and pay by cheque. We apologise if this is an inconvenience for you, but it makes good sense for The Friends administratively. Paid-up members will still receive an order form with their quarterly newsletters.

If you have any problems, please contact Rhoddy Wood on 020 7602 0304 or Rhoddy.wood@virgin.net.

[January 2018]

Membership Cards and Subscriptions

Those of you who use your membership cards to receive discounts when shopping with some of our Friends & Neighbours, might have noticed that the end of February is when your card expires. A new green one is enclosed with your Spring newsletter if our records show you as having paid your subscription for 2018. All subscriptions were due on 1 January except for those who joined after 1 September 2017. If we think you have not yet paid, there will be no membership card and your enclosed order form will be green, with a standing order form on the back. Over 600 of our members use standing orders, as it means they never have to remember again, and it helps our treasurer too.

There is now a further choice of method to pay which is to pay online via this website, paying with your credit/debit card or by PayPal. This avoids the hassle and expense of finding an envelope, cheque and stamp, but cannot be combined with a standing order. You can, however, click on a very obvious yellow button if you want to add a further donation, as some of our members do.

Current minimum rates are £12 or £9 for the over 65s, with joint subscriptions available for two people at the same address for £20, or £15 where both are over 65. You will agree these are very modest sums, but we keep them low to enable all to join.

Our records are not infallible, so do contact Rhoddy on 020 7602 0304 or rhoddy.wood@virgin.net if you have a query.

However you pay, we are most grateful for your support as it gives us clout in all our dealing with the Borough and other bodies.

[Spring 2018]


Christmas Carol Concert

There was a good audience on the 10 December in the Orangery for the 18th visit by the Tallis Chamber Choir and their conductor, Philip Simms. With the wide range of carols, in terms of both period and nationality, beautifully performed, and the wonderful food provided by Janice Miles, it was a great way to start the Christmas season.

We began with Cantate Domino by Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643), one of four motets published in 1620 in Libro Primo di Motetti; the text is liberally adapted from Psalm 98 in a distinctive madrigal style, with give and take between the six parts. There followed a jolly contemporary carol, Blessed be that maid Marie, by Gareth Treseder, a Welsh tenor and composer and former member of the Kings’ Singers. We then had the Coventry Carol, Lully Lulla Lullay, a carol dating from the 16th century in a setting by Philip Stopford (b.1977), which is lilting, solemn and hymn-like. This was followed by another contemporary work, The Shepherd’s Carol, a setting of a poem written by Clive Sansom (1910-81) composed by Bob Chilcott (b.1955), another former King’s Singer, with a melody of lovely folk-like simplicity. We finished the first half with Philip Simms’ own arrangement of Have yourself a merry little Christmas.

After the interval we started with Ring Christmas bells by the Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych (1877-1921) with a rhythmic melody imitating bells. This was followed by Here is the little door by Herbert Howells (1892–1983), composed in 1918 with a solemn, hymn-like melody. Then came The three kings by the German composer, Peter Cornelius (1824-74), for choir with a baritone solo, sung by Philip Simms’ 16-year-old grandson. What shall I give to the Child in the manger?, which followed, was a Spanish carol with no attributable composer, with rhythms suggesting the folk drums that accompanied many Spanish carols. We then had Stars by the Latvian composer, Eriks Esenvalds (b.1977), an atonal piece with many dissonances, nevertheless accessible and very representative of modern choral harmonic style. There followed Quem vidistis, a 17th-century text in a setting by Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) in a style following Maurice Ravel, which blends simplicity with sophistication. Finally we had the two parts of the Cherubic Hymn by Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943), which form part of the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, composed in 1910 in classic Russian Orthodox religious style.

BabushkaThe carols in the first half of the concert were interspersed with the usual humorous readings, and two carols sung by the audience. The second half consisted of the reading of the Russian Christmas legend of Babushka, interspersed with the carols listed in the last paragraph, as well as two more for the audience. Babushka was a lonely old woman living in a beautifully kept house, who invited three wise men to take rest in it, but declined their invitation to follow the star with them to find ‘the child who is born to be King’. Later she changed her mind and set off to find the child, taking with her toys to present to him. Asking people as she went, she followed the way of the wise men to Bethlehem, but he and his family had already fled to safety. Legend has it that she is still searching to this day and, whenever she meets any children, she gives them toys.

George Law

Illustration - Babushka meets the three wise men, by Jillian Gilliland

[Spring 2018]

ULI joins Friends & Neighbours

We are very pleased to announce that the restaurant ULI, in Notting Hill Gate, is the latest local business to join our Friends & Neighbours scheme.

The restaurant serves carefully selected dishes from Asia, prepared using traditional Chinese, Thai, Malay and Singaporean disciplines. They believe that Asian food should be clean, fresh and healthy. Originally established on All Saints Road in 1997, ULI became a firm favourite among locals and critics alike. At its new home on Ladbroke Road, its pretty terrace forms part of the vibrant local scene. ULI serves lunch and dinner all week as well as an extensive range of snacks, cocktails and beverages. Please do visit them soon.

5 Ladbroke Road, London, W11 3PA. t. 020 3141 5878. www.ulilondon.com

Offer: 10% discount on meals in the restaurant.

[Spring 2018]

Pimm’s in the Park

Tuesday, 24 July 2018, 6-8pm, in the marquee east of the Dutch Garden

We again have to thank Michael Volpe, General Director of Opera Holland Park, for kindly allowing us to use the marquee on the raised terrace to the east of the Dutch Garden for our annual summer party. We hope for better weather than last year, but even if it does rain, who cares? We will be perfectly protected.

This is our one event of the year that is only open to Friends and their immediate guests, but not to the general public. Pimm’s, soft drinks and canapés will be served. Tickets are £18 each.

Order online here.

[Spring 2018]

News Update

Holland House Conservation

HH with finials missingConservation of Holland House is well overdue, considering the schedule set out in the Conservation Management Plan for the Grade-1-listed building. We understand the inspection commissioned by RBKC has taken place but have seen no report or indication of the state of the building, the work required or when that work will be done. Historic England has visited the building, has said it is clearly vulnerable, and is pressing RBKC for a response to the concerns they have raised. We wait to see whether prompt action is taken, as it really should not be necessary for the building to be included on the At Risk register once again. The damage has not been caused by the landscaping works, which are restricted to the ground level.

Landscaping improvements

HH access rampThe landscaping work around Grade-1-listed Holland House and café yard is an enormous undertaking and certainly not without its challenges. The surface works look relatively simple, but the real challenge has been what was found under the terrace. As I write, the granite, porphyry and other paving are being placed on the terrace, and the soft colours work well with the brick and stone of the house. The access ramp is in place south of the hostel car park, and the huge drainage tank lies invisibly beneath the terrace surface. The handover to Opera Holland Park will be in mid-March, and we will have to wait until the end of September to see the full beauty of the work.

The Gates

In the last issue of the newsletter, we showed the design for new gates intended to go between the stone piers in front of Holland House. RBKC Planning wish to have further discussion about the historic context for the design, and the Planning and Listed Building applications have been withdrawn until this has taken place. We will keep you in touch with progress.

Nature Play Area

You might remember that the area of woodland immediately to the north of the Ecology Centre was, for a time, open to children as a place to play in a natural environment. It was so successful that the sheer number of little feet compacted the soil, wore away the ground cover, and there was some minor damage to the trees. The space was closed to give the area a chance to recover so that the wildlife could return to a more welcoming habitat. The compaction has proved challenging and needs some help. Leanne Brisland, Borough Head of Ecology, together with the Friends, has developed a plan, which involves hand de-compaction, tree planting and a native hedge. The area, once sufficiently robust, will again be open for groups of children under supervision to learn about nature. A path will lead from the entrance to the ‘classroom’, which will be fashioned from live willow ‘furniture’.

Work on Belvedere roofBelvedere

The main work on the exterior of the Belvedere is finished, but the tower is still under scaffolding. The delay is due to a significant beam being placed in a way that makes the permitted duct work impossible. A new scheme has been submitted, approval granted, and the work should soon be completed.

Text and photos: Jennie Kettlewell

[Spring 2018]

Annual General Meeting

Wednesday, 18 April 2018, at 7.30pm in the Orangery

 

The year 2017 was turbulent for the Borough and for the Council, and 2018 is also likely to be problematic. We will see new contenders for councillor roles in the May local elections, including Holland Ward. In addition, cuts in central government grants to local councils are resulting in reduced budgets for parks right across the country. In this grim context, we must do all we can to ensure Holland Park remains a green, open space for relaxation, a variety of leisure pursuits and quiet reflection for the residents of the borough. The pressure will be on for commercial revenue from the park and, while this is not unexpected, we should not allow the much needed quiet green space to be compromised for the next generation. The Friends work with elected members of the council and with council officers to discuss priorities for long-term sustainability of historic and natural assets, and to make sure projects are implemented sensitively.

Do come to the AGM to hear what is being done to meet tough challenges, and to air your own views. We welcome your support and your input.

[Spring 2018]

Dear Potential Friend

 

Those of you who know Holland Park will appreciate what a wonderful place it is, but it is vulnerable. Competing demands are constantly made on the park and the danger is that the precious features are lost and the wildlife diminished. How much do you care about protecting it for the future? 

The Friends of Holland Park work hard to preserve the Park’s natural and historic assets, while still ensuring space for the many activities that appeal to Park users.  We work with Councillors, Park Management, developers and others to influence impact on the Park.

If you care about the future of Holland Park, you can help.  When you join The Friends your subscription supports funding of our work and you add your voice to that of over 1000 members when we discuss the effect of major developments and plans for the Park.

We love it when our members play an active role, but many