NEWS ITEMS 2019

The Ilchester Family and Holland Park

Tuesday, 25 February 2020 at 7pm in the Orangery

Richard TufnellHolland House and its grounds were bought by Henry Fox in 1768. Henry Fox’s father, Sir Stephen Fox, was the first Earl of Ilchester and married into the Strangways family in Dorset. The Fox-Strangways enjoyed living at Holland House until World War II, when the house was hit by an incendiary bomb. The Fox-Strangways sold the house and grounds to the London County Council in 1952, but retain a shared interest with The Friends in the history of Holland House and the land around it. The residual estate outside the park, known as the Holland Park Estate, is now in the ownership of the 6th Earl of Ilchester’s great-granddaughter, and is managed by Ilchester Estates.

We are delighted that Richard Tufnell, Senior Property Manager of Ilchester Estates, has accepted our invitation to talk to the Friends about the Fox-Strangways family’s links with Holland House and the area. The family completely renovated Holland House, added the ‘Swannery’ ballroom and created the original Japanese garden. Richard will, I am sure, have interesting stories to tell and fascinating pictures to show us from the archives.

Tickets are £18, to include wine and Janice Miles’ delicious canapés. If you use the Holland Park car park before 6.30pm, please remember that the meters no longer take cash.

Book online here.

[Winter 2019]


News Update


Historic tile conservation

Alvar of RRCThe tiles on the wall under the arches in front of the café have been beautifully conserved. Richard Rogers Conservation experts filled damaged areas, delicately repainted missing images and replaced the protective layer. The work has been funded by The Friends. The next stage is for a tile-by-tile assessment of the tiles along the walkway above the café arches. The detailed proposal then goes to RBKC Property and a council conservation officer for approval. It is just possible this work can be completed before the site is closed in mid-March for Opera Holland Park’s 2020 season.

Photo courtesy of RRC.

Old tiled dairy

Restoration of the dairy building has been approved as part of the Holland House conservation work. Cracks will be repaired and damp ingress remedied. The Friends have been given the go-ahead to get a quote for conservation of the tiles. This is great progress.

Holland House conservation

Broken balustradesThe main conservation proposal has been approved and is the result of a very detailed assessment and carefully thought through solutions. The Friends have been kept in the picture throughout. The hold-up is due to a discussion amongst conservation professionals about restoration or replacement of the fleur-de-lys balustrades. Time is getting tight for the work to be completed while the opera is off site during this winter.

Photo by Jennie Kettlewell


Parks police

The demerger of the parks police force (Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea/London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham) has happened and, once again, we have a team that focuses on the parks in this borough. They know Holland Park well, and it is already evident that they are able to spend more time preventing problems. Their very presence, patrolling the park, acts as a deterrent to anyone with anti-social intentions. We are delighted that their base remains in Holland Park’s Stable Yard.

Erosion

Suntrap fenceProtective fencing has been installed around the trees to the north of the Sun Trap Lawn. There used to be chestnut fencing there, but it disintegrated and, as a consequence, cut-through paths are compacting the tree roots, wearing away the under storey plants and creating bare paths across the lawn itself. Fencing off the area for a period will allow the vegetation to recover. The area was indeed very compacted.  Scott & Louis, who hammered in the fence posts, had a real job to get the posts into the concrete-hard ground.

Photo by Jennie Kettlewell

Jennie Kettlewell

[November 2019]


History and Decorative Art Tours of Holland Park


HH after bombingWe have so far run four tours, each led by one of two qualified Blue Badge Guides, Leila Sukiur and Rowan Freeland. Tickets sold fast and we had a waiting list, so we have decided to book further dates for early 2020. We will start with two history tours, which need to happen before the front terrace of Holland House is reclaimed by Opera Holland Park for the 2020 season:

Completed

Each tour will last between one and a half to two hours and will be limited to a small group so all can hear the fascinating stories about the park and its history and have an opportunity to ask questions. Those of us that went on this year’s tours were impressed by how much we had not known. Decorative Art tours will be fixed for later in the spring and advertised in the spring newsletter.

Guide Rowan Freeland comments: ‘Leila and I really enjoyed putting these tours together. Holland Park has a fascinating history which we greatly enjoyed researching. Finding the remains of the nineteenth century Japanese garden was a real excitement! It was quite a challenge to put the stories together into a coherent walking tour. We hope that, as guides, we can convey our enthusiasm for this wonderful corner of London to the Friends who join us on our tours.’

Booking is essential. Book online or call Jennie Kettlewell on 020 7243 0804. The cost is £8 per person. The meeting point will be shown on the ticket.

Photo of Holland House after the bombing courtesy of RBKC.

[Winter 2019]


Holland Park Conservation

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, and you do not have to stay for the whole time. Tea, gloves, tools and instruction are 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

[Winter 2019]


News update

As at September 2019


Old tiled dairy

Dairy Floor TilesThe Friends have worked with the Council to install protection for these historic tiles. Even protection has to be carried out under the guidance of a conservation architect. The Council have been most helpful, and we hope that, in time, the fabric of the structure can be restored, and the tiles and stone shelves conserved. The room is currently being used as a café storeroom, and the tiles are being irreparably worn away.

Photo: Rebecca Byrne

Tile conservation

Conservation work was delayed but is now due to start in late September on the tiles under the arches outside the café.

Adventure playground

Launch of Adventure PlaygroundThe newly built playground was opened on Friday 19 July, to the delight of a group of children waiting impatiently at the gate. The minute the Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Cllr Will Pascall, cut the tape, he had to stand aside to let the avalanche of little folk rush in, all excited to try out the new equipment.

Before the official tape-cutting, the formal opening party had their turn. Not for a long time have I seen so many grown-ups have such fun. The Mayor on the see-saw, councillors on the zip wire, and a whole lot of us on the ‘viper snake swing’. Shame we had to hand it over to the rightful ‘owners’: the children.

The pathways and bridge are fully accessible, with a wheelchair-accessible roundabout and accessible swings. The design was created in accordance with the response from a public consultation. This is a great result from much hard work by the RBKC officers involved.

Photo by courtesy of RBKC.

Holland House conservation

We have not heard anything officially, but gather that the proposed conservation work on the house is close to approval. We await a start date as there is only a small window of opportunity for the work to be done while the opera is off site during the winter.

Erosion

You will notice that wire fences have been erected to the west of the North Lawn and also in the south east corner. These are temporary and intended to prevent further erosion and tree compaction until ‘impenetrable’ planting can provide protection. At that point the fences will be removed.

Protective fencing has also been agreed around the trees to the north of the Sun Trap Lawn. There used to be chestnut fencing there, but it was removed and, as a consequence, cut-through paths are compacting the tree roots, wearing away the under-storey plants, and creating bare paths across the lawn itself.

Jennie Kettlewell

[Autumn 2019]


Monica Castelino appointed to Parks Manager role

Monica has been promoted to the important role of RBKC Parks Manager. The previous incumbent, Ian Ross, has left to look after Lambeth’s parks. The Parks Manager role involves vision for, and management of some 90 parks, green spaces and cemeteries in the Royal Borough. That is a pretty significant portfolio.

Monica Castelino and Mayor Cllr Will PascalThe Friends are delighted at Monica’s appointment because she knows Holland Park well, having been in previous park-related posts in the Borough for over 12 years, and already works with most of the stakeholders. The best news is that she intends to take a strategic approach to the challenges of our busy park, and she is already scoping projects that will make a positive difference. An example is the resurfacing of the road between the Ilchester and Duchess of Bedford Gates, which will be edged with kerb stones, and all service cables will be bundled into a buried conduit for easy access when repairs are necessary. Alongside this, the dogs-off-lead area will be aerated and hydro-seeded with strong grass so that dogs have something better than dust to run on. Removal of the ailing red chestnut trees along the north sports field fence will let in light that encourages the grass to grow. No small project then, and dealt with comprehensively.

Monica has other projects on the boil, but please be patient. She has a wide-ranging role, but no support until the recruitment process is complete.

The Friends will give her as much help as we can, which does not mean we always have to agree.

As a communications professional, with considerable experience in strategic planning for parks, Monica will be instrumental in keeping our park in good shape for those who visit it, while helping to ensure it also gives pleasure to future generations. She comments: ‘Having grown up with Holland Park as my local park, to now be responsible for caring for it and protecting its future, is both nerve-wracking and exciting, and it means a lot to me that the Friends support my appointment to this role. My focus is going to be on strategy and future planning, but most of all communicating our processes and how we work, making how we operate as transparent as possible so that park users understand why we do what we do and the long-term benefits for people, wildlife and the environment.’

Text and photo of Monica Castelino briefing Mayor Cllr Will Pascal at the opening of the Adventure Playground, by Jennie Kettlewell.


Green flag Award for idverde


Congratulations to idverde who have, once again, won the Green Flag award for Holland Park. Andrew Kauffman, head of idverde’s Greenspace Development Team says: ‘The achievement of a Green Flag is so much more than a key performance indicator; a Green Flag demonstrates that a community really cares about their park and provides a visible symbol of its value to the community.’

Photo: idverde

[Autumn 2019]


Half-term Activity for Children


Matt catching beesThe Friends will be running another ‘Holland Park Detectives’ day on Tuesday, 22 October, during half term. We will have a stand in the Café Yard with fun activities such as spotting things in Holland Park. Children who take part will earn a Holland Park Detective badge to take home. Come and visit us on the stand, bring your children, grandchildren or young friends and join in the fun.

Matthew Rose from the Ecology Centre carefully catching bees to help a school class learn. It looks fun but was hard work as it was a cool day, and there weren’t many bees about. He found a few and released them after the children had had a look at them.

Photo by Jennie Kettlewell

[Autumn 2019]


Chocolat Treat

Regretably, this event has been cancelled.


Talk on Tuesday, 29 October 2019, at 7pm in The Orangery

Camila Westphal ValentiThis really will be a treat, because Camila Westphal Valenti (pictured) from Artisan du Chocolat will not only tell us the inside story of producing artisan chocolate from plant to palate, but you will also have the chance to taste some of their very superior chocolate; we are exploring whether we can seat people at round tables in the Orangery.

I asked one of Artisan du Chocolat’s experts at which point the distinctive aroma was evident in chocolate: you can smell it as soon as you enter the shop. She knew, and I was fascinated by the explanation. I thought you ought to have the chance to hear about it too.

Come and hear chocolatey tales from ‘conching’ and refining their own chocolate to sending chocolate gingers into space and supplying treats to three Michelin-starred restaurants. The chocolatier business was founded in 2000, and it is still a hands-on process in the atelier in the Kent countryside.

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

Jennie Kettlewell

[Autumn 2019]


The Iris Garden


A bed full of tall bearded irises in clumps of different colours is a glorious sight. We had such in The Iris Garden in the 1980s and for many years previously. When the central fountain decayed and was replaced with William Pye’s in 1999, it was named ‘Siberica’ even though Iris siberica is different and smaller than the bearded irises. (Iris siberica  can be seen in the Kyoto Garden.) The name ‘Siberica’ is inscribed in the paving by the fountain, thus confirming the area as ‘The Iris Garden’.

There came growing pressure to replace the irises with something that had interest for more than three weeks in the year. Most other London gardens replaced their iris beds so that ours gained extra praise for its rarity, but also increased pressure to follow the trend. The Friends fought hard to keep our irises, but eventually were forced into a compromise that the bearded irises should be interspersed with others that were repeat flowering or flowered in different months. The result, in this author’s opinion, was never very impressive. Instead of one spectacular burst of flower we had small patches of flower throughout a longer season.

Bearded IrisBearded irises need their corms to lie along the surface of the ground so that they get a good baking after they have flowered and the leaves have been partly cut back for tidiness and to let the sun in.  It was the ‘uninterestingness’ of this between June and April that fuelled the pressure for replacement. It is also work intensive because the bare ground needs to be kept scrupulously clean. In the present climate of cut backs this did not happen, and the beds got invaded with weeds, and especially Oxalis corniculata, Creeping Woodsorrel. This is the plant with tiny red clover-like leaves and tiny yellow flowers. It is not unattractive but is known throughout the world as being difficult to control because it has creeping stems which root at the nodes, fruit that explodes when ripe, and any piece of root or stem left in the soil will sprout. It gets into cracks between paving from where it is impossible to pull it out. Total weed killers or flame weeding cannot be used where there are desirable plants. The result of the Oxalis invasion was that the iris beds out of flower became not merely uninteresting but unsightly.

So Owen, the new head gardener, was given the task of designing a new planting scheme which would have some colour from March to October and would always have something green, would be easy to maintain and would keep some irises as a historical reference. He has chosen to do this by using a mixture of shrubs and herbaceous plants to a definite colour scheme of white, blue and purple to form ground cover (which Oxalis cannot tolerate), except for swathes of irises to give strong colour when in flower. These need to be planted later in the season, so when this article was written (late May) the sites for the irises were still bare strips. We will have to wait until May 2020 to admire the irises in flower when several different cultivars, all in varying blue tones, will resemble a river running through dappled sun and shade.

The rest of the planting concentrates on shifting colour among anchor points. It features some evergreen shrubs such as the Osmanthus burkwoodii used to form a hedge which flowers sweetly in spring and will always give form and definition to the garden. The little trees are Amelanchier lamarkii, June Berry, which will be covered in white blossom in spring and have leaves that turn scarlet in autumn. Over time both will need to be pruned appropriately.

So, once established, we should have a garden that has interest throughout the year, has clear structure and is relatively easy to maintain. And we will still have irises: blue ones similar to the ones in the photographs.

Rhoddy Wood

[Summer 2019]


Ancora Duo Excelled


Ancora DuoAnne Allen and Sarah Freestone hit exactly the right tone when they entertained us at a concert on 12 April, surrounded by the colourful works of our art exhibition. Anne we knew from her lovely flute playing in last year’s performance, with harp. Sarah and her accomplished guitar playing were new to us. It was hard to imagine what the combination of flute and guitar would be like, but it was stunning and very much appreciated by the audience.

What made the occasion even more special was their easy dialogue and spirited introduction to each piece: a fluidity that comes from having played together as the Ancora Duo for nine years.

The final piece, in a varied programme, was Astor Piazzolla’s  Tango Bordello from L’Histoire du Tango. They managed to conjure up the mood of the bandoneon-playing composer’s exotic music. I asked my Argentinian niece if she knew of him. ‘Of course!’ she said. ‘I just wish I had been there to hear it.’ She would certainly have enjoyed it, as did we all.

Jennie Kettlewell

[Summer 2019]


Parks Police


In 2013, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) and the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham decided to merge some of their services, including the Parks Police. The decision has now been reversed and we will, once again, have our own RBKC Parks Police service. What difference will that make? It means that the team based in Holland Park, though fewer in number, will be able to focus more specifically on our Borough’s parks.

Parks PoliceInspector Mike Rumble retired in April this year, after 10 years as head of the Parks Police. We were sad to see him go and owe him many thanks for all he has achieved while in post. Before he left he spoke at The Friends’ Winter Warmer in February and regaled us with tales of his notable police career and some of the unexpected events he had dealt with in the Borough’s parks.

More recently, Police Sergeants Helen Tilbury and Chris Ellinson have shared leadership of the Parks Police team and they will now report directly to Rachel Merriman, Senior Officer in the RBKC Community Safety Service. Rachel is excited about her new role and will be based in the park one day a week. With on-going savings required across all Council services, RBKC is looking at how all of our uniformed presence is organised.

The Friends were invited to express their view to the Council, and emphasised that:

•    It is important that we keep a consistent team of police officers, so that we know them, they know us, and they understand how the park works.

•    We continue the very welcome regular communication with the team.

•    Police numbers be kept at a level that ensures that their presence in the park is evident.

•    The Parks Police headquarters should continue to be in Holland Park.

We understand that their ‘home’ will still be in Holland Park’s Stable Yard and that we will retain the officers we know, and who know us and the park. The Friends very much appreciate the work that the Parks Police team does to keep Holland Park a safe place.

Text and photo: Jennie Kettlewell

[Summer 2019]


Christmas Concert

Sunday, 8 December 2019, at 7.30pm, in the Orangery

It won’t be long now before our popular winter event and our first taste of Christmas: the wonderful singing of The Tallis Chamber Choir under their conductor, Philip Simms, interspersed with readings and a chance for us to sing some carols too. As usual, the evening will be rounded off with Janice Miles’s delicious canapés washed down with wine.

Tickets, at £22, can be ordered online here.

[Autumn 2019]


Christmas Cards 2019



Lord Holland's StatueOur new design is by Catherine Masterman, who gave us such a popular card last year. This is of Lord Holland with his pond with a cast of avian as well as human visitors, but the pigeons have been banished to the ground. It is in the same slightly swirly, cheerful style as before, and we hope a lot of you will brighten up your friends’ mantelpieces with it.

We will hold a ready supply of these cards in both the standard 152 mm x 197 mm format at £10 the pack of ten, and the small 118 mm x 168 mm at £8.50. We will also make up mixed packs of old designs of Holland Park at £6.50, which will be very largely of big ones in at least three or four different designs. These can all be very quickly delivered. It would be a great help if you could order early so that the publisher knows what initial printing he needs. If your newsletter is hand delivered (no stamp) our card delivery is free, but beyond that we have to charge an additional £1.70 per 10 cards.

Order online here.

[Autumn 2019]

Jelly

As always we wait to see what this year’s harvest brings. I have just visited a friend whose orchard grass was strewn with vast cooking apples, so the omens are good. But apple trees are as individual as people, and whether I will find the small sour crab apples that produce the tangiest jelly, I will not know until I go searching. Also, last year for the first time, two separate friends gave me quinces of different sizes and shapes, but both made jelly that was commended by those who tasted it. I have not yet heard from those people as I write at the beginning of September, but hope I will. So, if you are interested in crab apple or quince jelly, give me a call on 020 7602 0304 or email rhoddy.wood@virgin.net when you read this, and I will be able to tell you the position.

Rhoddy Wood

[Autumn 2019]


Friends & Neighbours Discount Scheme


HavanNew!  Havan

Havan is an ethical lifestyle boutique and tea bar. It is a delightful shop full of treasures for the person and the home: cosmetics and toiletries, teas and foods from around the world, handbags and jewellery made in a studio below the shop. The tea bar offers drinks from family-run tea farms in China and Japan, the speciality being Matcha. Everything is ethically sourced. The owners are very friendly and will happily show you round the shop and tell you about what is on the shelves.  Offer: 10% off purchases from the shop, excluding bespoke jewellery and hats.

262 Kensington High Street, London W8 6ND. t. 07813 707392. www.thehavan.com

[Autumn 2019]


Chocolat Treat

Talk on Tuesday, 29 October 2019, at 7pm in The Orangery

Artisan du ChocolatMany of you will have taken up Artisan du Chocolat’s generous offer of 25% off their exquisite chocolates, or tasted their very indulgent hot chocolate drink. Now you have the opportunity to hear what goes into making these chocolates special, from plant to palate.

An expert from the business will fascinate us with chocolatey tales from ‘conching’ and refining their own chocolate to sending chocolate gingers into space and supplying treats to three Michelin-starred restaurants.

When talking with one of Artisan du Chocolat’s experts about joining our Friends & Neighbours programme, I asked at which point the distinctive aroma was evident in chocolate: you can smell it as soon as you enter the shop. She knew, and I was fascinated by the explanation. I thought you ought to have the chance to hear about it too.

The chocolatier business was founded in 2000, and it is still a hands-on process in the atelier in the Kent countryside.

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

Jennie Kettlewell

Photo by Artisan du Chocolat

[Summer 2019]

Seeking Volunteers


Your membership secretary, Rhoddy Wood, works extremely hard and covers many roles, including management of the members database, new and renewing member communications, fulfilment of orders for merchandise and tickets, keeping the park noticeboards up to date, distribution of the newsletter, and much, much more.

She would now value some assistance, and The Friends are looking for one or possibly two volunteers to help with two functions: database management and sending out tickets and merchandise in response to orders. Volunteers will be working at home on their own computer, which allows the tasks to be organised around other commitments. While not particularly onerous in terms of time, it requires computer literacy, attention to detail and an understanding of the work of The Friends. You do not need to be a current member.

If you are interested, please contact Rhoddy Wood (Secretary) on rhoddy.wood@virgin.net, or Jennie Kettlewell (Chairman) on jenniekettlewell@aol.com to explore options.

[Summer 2019]


Change to Friends’ Nature Walks Since expert Ian Thompson led the Friends’ bird walks some years ago we had not been able to find a professional leader to commit to a once-a-month walk. This event had become a more general nature/park update on the first Saturday of each month, but the numbers attending had dwindled, and we decided to do things differently. The final 9am Saturday Nature Walk was on 2nd March.

The Ecology Service run a full programme of excellent nature walks and talks, many of which are sponsored by The Friends, so that they can be free to those who attend. We want to put our effort into encouraging members to attend these. See a full list with instructions for booking on www.rbkc.gov.uk/ecology. Events specifically for those interested in birds are:

Sat 12 October:  Bird ringing demonstration by Bill Haines. Drop in, no need to book.

Sat 9 November:  Friends’ bird walk, led by Bill Haines. No need to book. 9.00–10.30 am
Meet by the Friends’ noticeboard in the Holland Park Café Yard

There are more species of birds in Holland Park than most people imagine. Do come and enjoy them.  See our merchandise section for our new Guide to the Birds of Holland Park.

The Friends are looking into the possibility of adding other walks during the year, on the history and art in Holland Park, and perhaps the occasional walk for pre-booked groups.

[Summer 2019]
Join a Friends’ tour of Holland Park

Learn about the history of Holland House, the families that lived there and the pleasure grounds they created. Or find out about the decorative art in the park from the ornaments on the listed buildings to the modern sculptures. Each tour will be lead by one of two qualified Blue Badge Guides, chosen by the Friends for their passion for our park, as well as their expertise.

£8.00 per person.

28 Sept. 11.00am  History tour.  Leila Sukiur. Book online here.

8 Oct. 2.00pm  History tour. Rowan Freeland. SOLD OUT.

26 Oct. 11.00am  Decorative Art tour. Rowan Freeland. Book online here.

5 Nov. 2.00pm  Decorative Art tour. Leila Sukiur. Book online here.

Or call Jennie Kettlewell on 020 7243 0804.

Meeting point will be shown on the ticket.

Each tour is limited to a small group so all can hear the fascinating stories about the park.

[July 2019]


idverde Wins Gold at Chelsea


Chelsea Flower ShowHolland Park’s excellent contract garden team work for idverde; you will have seen the logo on their shirts. Their sister division, idverde landscaping, won a gold at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show for their ‘Family Monster Garden’ in the Artisan category. Not only is that a great achievement, given tough competition, but it gave our Holland Park apprentice gardeners (Zach Hermann, Henry Murphy and Saul Heath) a chance to experience building a show garden for Chelsea: hectic, but thrilling.

I was told about the gold medal by enthusiastic apprentices and gardeners, who are justly proud to be associated with such well publicised success. Apparently, Prince William’s visit to the garden was featured on television.

Well done, idverde.

Jennie Kettlewell

Photo of Zach Hermann in front of ‘Family Monster Garden’ by idverde.

[Summer 2019]


New Jigsaw - Winter Fun in Holland Park

Our new jigsaw features Catherine Masterman's watercolour of Holland House viewed from beside the new cafe layout.

Premium quality, laser-cut, 250 piece wooden jigsaw featuring Wentworth’s unique ‘whimsy’ pieces. 360mm x 250mm. Watercolour by Catherine Masterman reproduced by kind permission of Mountbatten Cards.

£23.50 including p&p.

Order online here
(July 2019)

Guide to the Birds of Holland Park

A Very Big ‘Thanks’ to Tasso Leventis. The Friends have produced a guide to the birds of Holland Park. We could not have done this without the generous support of member Tasso Leventis. The guide was Tasso’s idea, and he has taken most of the stunning photographs. He has also advised on the contents, based on his considerable knowledge of birds. Best of all, he has generously donated the full cost of producing the guide. Thank you Tasso.

This new guide has full colour photographs and descriptions of 50 bird species that you can either see in the park, or can identify as they fly over the area. There is an explanation of how to identify the birds and many of the photos show typical behaviours that will help with identification. You will also learn the best places to find these birds in the park and some tips on bird watching.

68 pages.  Price: £7.50 including P&P.

Photo by Tasso Leventis

Order online here.

[June 2019]


Jigsaw: The Holland Park Dutch Garden in Spring

 

Premium quality, laser-cut, 250 piece wooden jigsaw featuring Wentworth’s unique ‘whimsy’ pieces. 360mm x 250mm. Original photo by Joy Puritz.

Price £20 including P&P.

[Removed June 2019]

Annual General Meeting

Wednesday, 10 April 2019 at 7.30pm in the Orangery

Be sure to put 10 April in your diary and come along to our AGM. The formal part is usually over quickly and we have time to talk about what has been achieved over the past year and what needs to be done in 2019.

The May 2018 local elections gave us three new Holland Ward councillors, each of whom has shown great interest in the park and its issues; and there are still issues, as there will be with any park. Top of the list is the very poor state of Holland House. The overall number of trees continues to decline, and erosion is showing up in the form of large bare patches of muddy earth.

It is not all bad news. The state of the formal beds has greatly improved under id verde’s care, stage 3 of the tree health programme was implemented by Bartletts, and the major landscaping work on the Holland House terrace and café yard was completed and is a considerable improvement.

Do join us at the AGM, hear our views on the tough challenges, and add your own views. We welcome your support and your input.

[Spring 2019]

History Tours of the Park

In the spring newsletter we mentioned that we were looking into the possibility of professionally led tours, featuring the history and decorative art of Holland Park. We have made progress, have a short-list of very well qualified guides, and hope to have the first tours running in the autumn. These tours will be open to members and to the local community rather than being designed to draw more visitors from far and wide. Watch out for information on the Friends’ notice boards in the park, in the autumn newsletter and here on the website.

[Spring 2019]

The Ancora Duo

Friday, 12 April 2019, at 7.30pm in the Orangery

Ancora DuoLast April our annual spring recital, taking place during our art exhibition in the Orangery, was performed by the flute and harp duo, Heavenly Duets: respectively Anne Allen and Zita Silva, who replaced the indisposed harpist Cecily Beer at a few hours’ notice. This year Anne Allen is performing in her other duo, The Ancora Duo, with guitarist Sarah Freestone. The programme will include Scheidler’s Sonata in D for Flute and Guitar, arrangements of pieces by Bach, Fauré, Massenet, a tango by Piazzolla, and the boisterous Entr’acte by Ibert, which had to be cut last year because of the change of harpist. We will also hear Sicilienne by Maria Theresia Paradis who, despite losing her sight at the age of five years, was a gifted Austrian musician and composer for whom Mozart is thought to have written his 18th piano concerto.

As a soloist, Anne Allen has performed in major concert halls in Europe, the Far East, Africa, Russia, South America and Australia; she has performed on radio and TV and has won many prizes; she is also involved in musical therapy.

Sarah Freestone is a multi-instrumentalist, teacher, composer, arranger, conductor, community musician and member of the BBC Concert Orchestra. She began her career aged 7 playing and singing in folk clubs. She has won many prizes including the Julian Bream Prize. She was musical director of the ballet Winter Dreams at the Royal Opera House, and conducted the BBC concert Orchestra in the première of her WWI Requiem.

Tickets at £18, to include wine and canapés, can be ordered here.

[Spring 2019]

Annual General Meeting

Wednesday, 10 April 2019 at 7.30pm in the Orangery

Be sure to put 10 April in your diary and come along to our AGM. The formal part is usually over quickly and we have time to talk about what has been achieved over the past year and what needs to be done in 2019.

The May 2018 local elections gave us three new Holland Ward councillors, each of whom has shown great interest in the park and its issues; and there are still issues, as there will be with any park. Top of the list is the very poor state of Holland House. The overall number of trees continues to decline, and erosion is showing up in the form of large bare patches of muddy earth.

It is not all bad news. The state of the formal beds has greatly improved under id verde’s care, stage 3 of the tree health programme was implemented by Bartletts, and the major landscaping work on the Holland House terrace and café yard was completed and is a considerable improvement.

Do join us at the AGM, hear our views on the tough challenges, and add your own views. We welcome your support and your input.

[Spring 2019]

Christmas Carol Concert

We seem to say it every year, that the Christmas concert was better than ever; well, the one we enjoyed on the evening of 9th December seemed to surpass, yet again, all previous performances for us by The Tallis Chamber Choir and their conductor, Philip Simms. The Orangery (beautifully warmed thanks to our ultra efficient events organiser, Graham Franklin), was gloriously ringing with the vibrant sound of 18 singers and their accompanist Michael Paine. Janice Miles’s first class canapés were to die for, and her mouth-watering stollen and mince pies gave us a foretaste of Christmas.

The first carol, Ave Maria: settings of portions of the Angelus as well as the Ave Maria, and composed by the German composer Franz Biebl in 1959, began with a beautiful monastic chant by the men. As other voices joined, we heard delicious crunching harmonies interspersed with more chants. In the first half we also enjoyed a lively syncopated Nova! Nova! by Bob Chilcott, and the joyful Frolocket, ihr Völker auf Erden by Mendelssohn interspersed with gentler carols such as The Wexford Carol and a Basque lullaby.

‘King Wenceslas’ castle’, credit storynory.comAs usual there were several readings, and carols sung with the audience joining in; and the second half consisted of the poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy’s poem, Wenceslas, that describes a bizarre feast, the main dish of which is a Christmas pie of many kinds of poultry stuffed within each other in a list as long as a bird guide. This narration was interrupted eight times by cleverly chosen carols, including one composed by Henry VIII, accompanied by a drum and a tambourine. This group of carols culminated in a brilliant arrangement, by the conductor, of the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas, full of lovely variations and thrilling key changes.

The encore was by Josef Rheinberger, who spent most of his life in Germany but was born in Liechtenstein and, at the age of seven, already served as organist in the parish church of Vaduz. The tranquil Abendlied is a verse from the biblical narration of the road to Emmaus: ‘Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.’ It is Rheinberger’s best known sacred composition, the first version of which he composed at the age of 15. After the tranquil opening carol, this was a very fitting rounding off to the concert.

Joy Puritz

[Spring 2019]
Moss Walk led by John Wells

Saturday, 13 April 2019, 11am-1pm. Meet in the Stable Yard

Moss in the Park by Ibolya BalintThis year the Moss Walk will be led by John Wells whom some of you might remember from a previous visit. John is an all-round naturalist and an engaging teacher who says his greatest satisfaction comes from showing people what they would not otherwise have seen or understood.

There is no charge, but places are strictly limited so that everyone can get a clear view of the beauty and intricacies of these natural wonders. To book please contact Rhoddy Wood on rhoddy.wood@virgin.net or 020 7602 0304. It is important to bring a hand lens of at least x 10 magnification.

Photo: Moss in the Park, by Ibolya Balint

[Spring 2019]

New offer: Design Museum Kitchen




The ‘Design Museum Kitchen’ restaurant has opened under the management of Searcys, and it looks tempting for those of our members who enjoy reasonably priced but interesting food, all with stunning views of both the iconic parabolic roof and of Holland Park. Friends are offered a discount for lunch from 12 noon to 6pm on weekdays and for weekend brunch and lunch from 11am to 6pm.  Whether you are visiting an exhibition in the museum or just hungry and in the locality, go up to Level 2 of the museum to enjoy the seasonal menu in a relaxed atmosphere. Searcys’ experience and reputation will ensure that ingredients are of the best quality and are mainly UK sourced. The Friends welcome this new restaurant and are delighted that it is now part of our ‘Friends & Neighbours’ programme.

Offer: 10% discount on meals and beverages in the Design Museum Kitchen restaurant, when no other promotional offer applies. Although the offer excludes group bookings of more than 20 people, the management will be pleased to discuss any enquiries.

224-238 Kensington High Street, London W8 6AG.  Book online at designmuseum.org/plan-your-visit/food-drink-by-searcys

[Spring 2019]

Design Museum KitchenThe ‘Design Museum Kitchen’ restaurant is managed by Searcys, and is tempting for members who enjoy reasonably priced but interesting food, all with stunning views of both the iconic parabolic roof and of Holland Park. Friends are offered a discount for lunch from 12 noon to 6pm on weekdays and for weekend brunch and lunch from 11am to 6pm.

Design Museum (Level 2), 224-238 Kensington High Street, London W8 6AG.  Book online at designmuseum.org/plan-your-visit/food-drink-by-searcys

Offer: 10% off meals at lunchtime, when no other promotional offer applies.


Pimm’s in the Park

We are most grateful to Michael Volpe, General Director of Opera Holland Park, for allowing us once again to use the marquee on the raised terrace to the east of the Dutch Garden for our annual Pimm’s party. Come rain or shine, we will be protected from anything the weather will throw at us, and enjoy a lovely view of the formal garden as well.

This is the one event of our 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 at £18 each.

[Spring 2019]

Tortoises with Triangle and Time

TortoisesThis was one of the most generally popular of the pieces in the Millennium Bronze Exhibition and many people were pleased that it found a permanent home on the D Lawn in the park. One of the Borough staff while cleaning out her cupboards before retirement found a pile of postcards depicting it very clearly and still as bright as the day they were printed. She has given them to the Friends to sell and I am sure many of you will want them.


The postcards are in full colour and double size, ie 15 cm x 20 cm and come with their own envelope.

Order online for £1 each here.

[Withdrawn Spring 2019]

Change to Friends’ Nature Walks

Since expert Ian Thompson led the Friends’ bird walks some years ago we have not been able to find a professional leader to commit to a once-a-month walk. This event has become a more general nature/park update on the first Saturday of each month, but the numbers attending have dwindled, and we have decided to do things differently. The final 9am Saturday Nature Walk is on 2nd March.

The Ecology Service run a full programme of excellent nature walks and talks, many of which are sponsored by The Friends, so that they can be free to those who attend. We want to put our effort into encouraging members to attend these. See a full list with instructions for booking on www.rbkc.gov.uk/ecology. Events specifically for those interested in birds are:

Sat 23 March:  Beginners’ guide to bird-watching led by David Darrell-Lambert. Booking essential.

Sat 27 April:  Dawn chorus bird walk led by David Darrell-Lambert. Booking essential.

Sat 12 October:  Bird ringing demonstration by Bill Haines. Drop in, no need to book.

Sat 9 November:  Friends’ bird walk, led by Bill Haines. No need to book.

There are more species of birds in Holland Park than most people imagine. Do come and enjoy them.

The Friends are looking into the possibility of adding other walks during the year, on the history and art in Holland Park, and perhaps more general nature walks. These would be later in the day rather than starting at 9am.

2019

Hope for ‘At Risk’ Holland House

It is both sad and shameful that Historic England find Holland House is in such a poor state of repair that they have put it on their At Risk Register from this January. It is now mandatory for RBKC to fulfil its duty to look after the Grade-1-listed asset they own, and they must appoint a conservation architect to plan and oversee the work. The Friends see it as good news that the house will at last be conserved.

Stonework damage, Holland House, by Jennie KettlewellIt is obvious to the naked eye that brick and stonework are damaged, the loose finials have been removed and stored, though we understand they have not been numbered as one would expect. The East Wing window frames are in bad order, showing signs of advanced decay. Blocked gutters and pigeon droppings have accelerated the damage.

The Council carried out a condition survey in 2018, but no planning/listed-building consent was applied for, although The Friends were told work was to commence in September 2018. It is unclear what work was entailed.

This grand old building is the reason the park exists, and one of the finest examples of Jacobean architecture in the UK. We look forward to hearing from the Council about progress on conservation plans. This is an opportunity.

Jennie Kettlewell

[Spring 2019]