News 2020

Christmas Cards

The Walking Man


Catherine Masterman has again painted a view of Holland Park for us: The Standing Man statue. This is a bit of a triumph as she had started on the design and taken photographs when Covid-19 struck and she was not able to get back to the park. I think you will agree that she has made the picture both accurate and cheerful. Last year she painted Lord Holland, so this is the second in a series of views of our sculptures. Perhaps the tortoises next time?

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 delivery is free, but beyond that we have to charge an additional £1.40 per 10 cards. Please note that sending the order to us instead of directly to Mountbatten gets The Friends an extra discount, unless overprinting is required.

To order online please click here

Rhoddy Wood

[Autumn 2020]

Please attend our virtual AGM at 7pm on Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Covid-19 meant we had to cancel our AGM this April, and hopes of any live meetings have faded as the pandemic limits our activities. So, we will update you at a Zoom AGM on what your trustees are doing to protect and enhance the historic and natural assets of our very special park.

Voting: By now, all members should have received a form, either by e-mail or by post, so that you can vote to approve the minutes of the 2019 AGM, accounts for 2019, re-election of the trustees and of the Independent Examiner. We are required to have member approval before we can file the accounts with the Charity Commission, so please do vote. The results will be announced at the virtual AGM. The 2019 Accounts can be found by clicking here, and the minutes of the 2019 AGM by clicking here.

Virtual AGM: Members should register to attend the AGM by e-mailing, giving your full name, by Monday 19 October 2020.  You will then be sent the link.

At the AGM, we will tell you about current and planned projects: there are quite a few! We ask that you let us have questions in advance of the meeting, so that we can group subjects and answer as many as we can. Please e-mail any questions to by Friday, 16 October 2020.

This time we will not be able to offer you a glass of wine and canapés, but we should have plenty of information and news to keep you going until we meet again in 2021.

Jennie Kettlewell

[Summer 2020]

Carrie Starren’s Gift to The Friends

Actually, it is her second gift. The first was her very generous fulfilment of our commission to write The Families of Holland House, a book much appreciated by The Friends. The second….. well let’s go back to the start.

Carrie was born and educated in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. She was Local Studies Librarian from 1990 to 2000 and has since run her own company, specialising in research, talks and exhibitions on West London local history.

Throughout this career she has amassed a fascinating collection of information on Holland House, the people who lived there and the grounds: now Holland Park. She very kindly asked if The Friends would like her collection. We would.  So off I went to meet Carrie and collect the files. As you can imagine, Carrie, having been a Local Studies Librarian, had all the material beautifully organised in labelled files, with notes on who held copyright if we wanted to use anything. It has made fascinating reading for me during lockdown. One task that remains is to digitise all the many slides. Another gift was both volumes of the Ilchester’s Chronicles of Holland House.  So, The Friends now own some excellent historical records. THANK YOU VERY MUCH, Carrie.

Jennie Kettlewell

[Summer 2020]

Corners of Holland Park

HH cards

Four different notlets of black and white drawings, blank inside.

Liz Farrell


Sold out Autumn 2020

Virtual meeting, by Zoom

Covid-19 means we will hold our 2020 AGM virtually. Please do attend as we will be updating you on current and planned projects.

Please take action to vote in advance of the meeting and to attend the AGM.  See below.

By the end of September, all members should have received a form, either by email or by post, to enable voting to approve the minutes from the 2019 AGM, the 2019 Accounts, re-election of the trustees and the Independent Examiner. The results will be announced at the AGM on 21 October. The 2019 Accounts can be found by clicking here, and the minutes of the 2019 AGM by clicking here.

Members can register to attend the AGM by emailing, giving your full name.  You will then be sent the link.

[Summer 2020]

Chairman’s Greeting

Dear Friends

Like me, you will have spent most of your time at home over the past months. I hope you are well and have managed the challenge of being within four walls for all or much of the day. Some of you have visited the park, which has remained open, and sent news or photos; thank you. Some of you have decided not to visit and must be missing the wonderful spring show. Now that the government has withdrawn its ‘stay-at-home’ guidance, the idverde gardeners have returned to work and are tackling the weeds with gusto. The Parks Police and the idverde maintenance team have been present in the park throughout the lockdown, and we are most grateful for their hard work and cheerful smiles. Distancing is difficult in a public space and we ask all of you that you do your best, even if you find some others are less considerate.

One day things will get back to something approaching normal, though it will be gradual, and I look forward to meeting you all again at an event, or just out for a stroll. Until then, keep well and keep cheerful.

Jennie Kettlewell, Chairman

Photo: Ian Bruce

[Summer 2020]

Ecology walks and talks
As with everything else, the programme of interesting wildlife walks and talks, many sponsored by The Friends, is on hold. If permitted, they might resume later in the year. Keep up with news on
[Summer 2020]




Wednesday, 22 April 2020 at 7.30pm in the Orangery

Be sure to put 22 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 now.

A great deal has been achieved in the past 12 months. This time last year, Holland House had been put on Historic England’s At-Risk Register, and now we are well on the way to expert conservation. Woodland restoration has started, and some bare patches of muddy earth have been fenced off to give them a chance to regenerate. Plans are afoot for other improvements.

Often, when it seems things are improving, people do not feel they need to come to the AGM.  But please do come, as there are still issues that need sorting out, as there will be with any park. Come and challenge us with thoughtful questions and share your ideas. The trustees need your support and want to know that we are representing you.

As always, we will have the chance to catch up with each other over a glass of wine after the meeting. I look forward to seeing lots of you on the 22 April.

Jennie Kettlewell

[Spring 2020]

Seeking Volunteers

Following our last request, Rhoddy Wood, who still works extremely hard, has passed responsibility for the members’ database to Liz Merica. Rhoddy will continue to respond to new member applications and to work with the much appreciated team of newsletter deliverers. She would, however, very much like someone to take over the fulfilment of orders for event tickets and merchandise.

Event bookings and merchandise orders come in the form of phone calls, written requests or payment via our website. Once the volunteer has payment, they will need to post the tickets or park guides to the address given. Stamps and stationery are supplied. Stocks of merchandise are kept in store, so only a small number of guides need be kept at home.

It would be helpful if this person could also undertake a small number of tasks related to our database.

All The Friends’ volunteers work at home on their own computer, which allows the tasks to be organised round other commitments. While not particularly onerous in terms of time, this role requires computer literacy, attention to detail and an understanding of the work of The Friends. You do not need to be a member currently.

We are also looking for a volunteer, possibly with marketing communications experience, to help publicise our events to the local community.

If you are interested, please contact Rhoddy Wood (Secretary) on, or Jennie Kettlewell (Chairman) on to find out more and explore options.

[Spring 2020]

Pimm’s in the Park

On hold pending further information

Wednesday, 8 July 2020, 6-8pm, in the marquee east of the Dutch GardenCome and join us for our annual summer party in the marquee on the raised terrace overlooking the formal garden. In this lovely venue this is the only Friends event that is exclusively for members and their guests, plus invited councillors, council officers and the parks police, in appreciation of their support. The party is always much enjoyed, and it is a good opportunity to chat to others with an interest in the park.

As always, we have the General Director of Opera Holland Park, Michael Volpe, to thank for the use of this weather-proof and scenic venue. We hope very much that Michael will join us, as it will be his last summer as General Director of the opera. Pimm’s, soft drinks and canapés will be served. Tickets are £18 each.

[Spring 2020]

Christmas Concert

Our carol concert on 8 December was as enjoyable as always. We were proud to have Can it be True? performed, a carol composed by Friend Richard Moore, this time in a slightly revised version. Thanks to Richard, Philip Simms the conductor and his choir, this was most enjoyable, so much so that a member of the audience acquired a copy of it from one of the singers. Richard says that he does not keep a record of any possible performances for copyright reasons, and perhaps the lady in question simply wanted a memento of the piece. However, he would be most grateful if she would kindly contact him on 020 7602 7564.

PS: Contact has been made!

[Spring 2020]

Real Progress with Holland House Conservation

At last we are well on the way to getting the much needed conservation of Holland House done. An application for Planning and Listed Building Consent (PP/20/00298) was lodged by conservation architects Allies & Morrison on 14 January 2020. By the time you read this, the consultation will be closed, although we will not hear the decision until after 10 March.

The Friends have been consulted throughout, have had details of the application explained, and our questions have been answered. You might be interested in the main points from our written response to the Council:

‘We are pleased to note that

•    The integrity of the historic building will be maintained, although some materials will be replaced.

•    Access is being designed in order to facilitate future maintenance.

•    Improved rainwater run-off measures will help to prevent further damage.

•    The upper causeway ‘path’ will be resurfaced to improve water run-off and prevent water ingress to the lower causeway. The coping of the wall and faulty render will be replaced to reduce further damage to the historic tiles.

•    Repairs to the roof, brickwork and masonry of the Old Dairy will be carried out to prevent further damage to the historic tiles.

•    Repair conservation work will be carried out to the stone and brick facing of Holland House and the East Wing. As it is repair work, it is not included in the planning application.

Planning applicationThe Friends would like to be reassured that a buildings maintenance schedule will be agreed once works are completed, so that further damage is avoided.’

The roof of the main house and East Wing will be protected until the main work starts after the opera season in autumn 2020.

We thank Council officers and the specialists at Allies & Morrison for involving the Friends throughout, so that we are able to support the application. It is so heartening to know that Holland House will be secure and look glorious once again.

If you look at the drawings on the application, one curiosity is how crooked the old house has become: like a proud old lady with arthritis. Not really surprising after all those years.

Photos courtesy of Ståle Eriksen and Allies & Morrison respectively. In the planning application drawing the pink is a working colour code only.

[Spring 2020]


Due to current Government advice regarding the Coronavirus outbreak, The Friends of Holland Park have made the decision to cancel or postpone all its April events.

•    Art exhibition (18-26 April) is cancelled
•    Members’ AGM (22 April) will be held later in the year
•    Ancora concert (24 April) will be held later in the year
•    Dawn Chorus Walk, run by the Ecology Service, has been cancelled

•    Pimms in the Park (8 July) on hold pending more information.

It was sad to have to make this decision, but it is more important that we all stay safe and healthy.

The Park itself is open, but busy, so please observe the 2m distance guidance if you visit. Facilities, such as toilets, tennis courts, cafe, kiosks, playgrounds and outdoor gym are closed, as is the Parks Reception Office. The Parks Police remain on duty.

[Spring 2020]

The Ancora Duo


Friday, 24 April, at 7.30pm in the Orangery

Last April our annual spring recital, taking place during our art exhibition in the Orangery, was performed by the flute and guitar duo, The Ancora Duo: respectively Anne Allen and Sarah Freestone. This duo was so popular that we have asked them to perform for us again this year. The programme is still a secret except that, by popular request, we have been promised the tango by Piazzolla that was so loved last year. Tickets at £18, to include wine and canapés.

[Spring 2020]

Ecology Service events sponsored by The Friends


These events are free, but must be booked. Please call the Ecology Team on 020 7938 8186 or e-mail

Sat 21 March  Beginner’s Guide to bird-watching, David Darrell-Lambert. 9-11.30am

Thurs 2 April  Spring Botany Walk, Dr Mark Spencer. 6-7.30pm

Sat 25 April  Dawn Chorus Bird Walk, David Darrell-Lambert. 5-7am

Wed 6 May  Spring Bat Walk. 8.30-10pm

Thurs 14 May  House Sparrow Talk, Daria Dadam. 6-7.30pm

Thurs 21 May  Common Lizard Talk. 6.30-8pm

Thurs 28 May  Amphibian Walk. 6.30-8pm

News Update as at 5 February 2020

Green Drive and Dutch Garden resurfacing

Green DriveGreen Drive is the road that runs between the Ilchester Gate and across the front of Holland House as far as the Duchess of Bedford Gate. It must be robust enough for cars and lorries, within park restrictions, but we do not want it to look like a bitumen motorway. The project is out for tender, with work expected to last four weeks and be finished before the opera takes up residence. The chosen surface is a light brown, rather than black tarmac, intended to blend in with the colours of Holland House. Stone kerbs will improve the current messy edge and encourage vehicles to keep to the road.

If you are wondering why the Dutch Garden path resurfacing is taking so long, it is because of adverse weather. The work cannot be carried out satisfactorily while wet, and will be completed as soon as the ground has dried out.

Photo by Jennie Kettlewell

Gnomon gone, but not for long

Saul, one of the idverde gardening team, was working in one of the shrub beds when he was surprised to find the missing gnomon from the armillary sphere in the Dutch Garden. It is in fact the original, not the replacement ordered by The Friends after it was first stolen. It is currently in the safe custody of the Parks Police, until Richard Rogers Conservation can return to weld it firmly into place.

Conservation of historic tiles

Now that conservation of the tiles in front of the café has been completed, we have received a tile-by-tile assessment of those on the upper walkway from Richard Rogers Conservation. This is currently being considered for approval by the Council Conservation Case Officer, so that work can be commissioned. The Friends have committed to paying for this expert work. We have also received a first report and estimate for work on the tiles in the old dairy, next to the Ice House. The first stage is to get the dairy building repaired, which will be done this autumn as part of the Holland House conservation project. We will then discuss the dairy tile report with the Council and decide how to proceed.  It is considerably more expensive than the walkway tiles, so we will have until 2021 to ensure funds are in place. We hope that, eventually, the public will be able to see into the tiled dairy and even go into the room on occasions.

PC Tom McGeehanGreen transport for Parks Police

When The Friends discovered that our Parks Police had no bicycle to travel between parks in the borough, we offered to buy one for them. Off they went and chose a smart black model that can carry what they need, including a defibrillator. PC Tom McGeehan looks pretty pleased with it in this photo. They are awaiting delivery of an electric police car.

Photo courtesy of RBKC

Jennie Kettlewell

[Spring 2020]

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, or Jennie Kettlewell (Chairman) on to explore options.