Friends of Regent's Park Newsletter 71

A new CEO for the Royal Parks

Linda Lennon CBE is to take over the running of the Royal Parks following the departure of Mark Camley to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in January. She will take up her new role officially on Monday 5 March. Her previous role was Chief Executive of the Parole Board and prior to that she was Area Director for the Civil and Family courts in London. Interviewed a while ago she said: “I am really looking forward to taking on this exciting and challenging role, and working with the Board, staff and stakeholders to deliver a successful 2012 and a sustainable long-term future for the Parks”.

Snow in the Park

Stakeholders’ meeting

The Royal Parks has advertised the store yard in Regent’s Park, near the park offices, for potential development. Apparently nearly three-quarters of the area could be used for art, sporting or educational activities. Friends of the park will have to keep their fingers crossed that cash and viability do not undermine present (fairly) good intentions.

This announcement was just one point which emerged from the Royal Parks’ first experimental public meeting designed to give local people, users or ‘stakeholders’, in the bureaucracy’s dreadful terminology, a chance to learn about plans, progress and cuts. Held at the Zoo in November, the assembled heard from Mark Camley, then still chief executive, Colin Buttery, his deputy and Nick Biddle, local park manager.

Here are some bullet points:

  • Current cuts amount to some 36 per cent over five years and mainly affect in staff terms sport, education, community and wildlife. More staff will have to go after the Olympics
  • More than 200,000 individuals have been using formal sports facilities in Regent’s Park, three-quarters of whom are under 16 years old.
  • The health of park trees including oaks, horse chestnuts and planes is becoming a major challenge.
  • There is an increasing number of legal claims which is time-consuming.
  • While the Royal Parks have to increase their income, more of this may take the form of sponsorship or naming rather than new events.
  • Apprenticeships have increased to ten young people a year.
  • The Royal Parks is looking at the possibility of installing photo voltaics on park buildings in the light of climate change.

Apart from donations from the Friends, the park has received very substantial gifts for improvements to beds on Primrose Hill and the rose beds in the rose garden.

Judy Hillman Patron

Police News

Primrose Hill

For those of you concerned about the goings-on on Primrose Hill on Bonfire night last year, you will be relieved to know that Inspector Arkell and his team were able to control the potential problems. The festivities started around 5pm with families enjoying the firework display being joined by some with their own fireworks and lanterns which are, understandably, not allowed in the park. By 9pm several thousand young people had filled the park with a minority intimidating some of the crowd and the police with their fireworks. Inspector Arkell and his team stepped in, cleared the crowd, and temporarily closed the park and spent the next couple of hours on patrol. So the plan for 2012 is to increase the team and to close the park at 9pm to avoid another similar occurrence. A reminder letter about these arrangements will be sent out later in the year.

Moving on

After a short but dynamic stay, Sergeant Ben Edwin has moved on from his role as Sergeant at Regent’s Park where he has led the continued development of the Safer Parks Team.  Nick Biddle, Park Manager said: “We will miss Ben, he has been a great Sergeant showing total commitment, great flexibility and a very personable approach. He has much to be proud of in the achievements during his time at Regent’s Park.” The Royal Parks Operational Command Unit (OCU) has recently changed to having local policing teams at each park, rather than the separate Response Teams and Safer Parks Teams. PS Ben Edwin is taking up a support role covering all Royal Parks. He will be looking at crime, anti-social behaviour and Safer Parks Panel priorities and ensuring that we do not lose our problem-solving approach to longer term problems and local concerns. Our aim is to take the best of what the Safer Parks Teams delivered and make that available on a 24– hour basis. Ben’s role will be to support the park Inspectors to deliver this.

Award ceremony

It was a proud moment for the ten officers from Hyde Park who were commended for outstanding work at the Metropolitan Police Service Royal Parks OCU Commanders’ Commendation Ceremony at New Scotland Yard hosted by Chief Inspector Simon Ovens, held on 7 February. They stopped rioting crowds from entering Whiteley’s store during the disturbances last year.

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Meet the gardeners

What happens when a Mr Moss marries a Miss Davies – He becomes Mr Moss-Davies and he is our head gardener in the Park, having worked here for the last 38 years. He likes to call himself ‘the working foreman’.

moss-davies gardener

Born in Bethnal Green, he went to school at the Edith Cavell secondary school in Hackney where he showed great flare for science and engineering, studying woodwork, metalwork and technical drawing, skills he feels are neglected in schools today. As a trainee toolmaker he worked in an engineering workshop until a nasty accident decided him to forsake industry for the outdoors, following in his brother-in-law’s footsteps as a gardener. He joined the Regent’s Park as an assistant gardener in 1973 and has been with us every since! Not surprisingly things have changed much in the intervening years. There were around 18-20 gardeners in those early days and they also cared for a number of ‘satellite’ gardens such as the old Public Record Office in Chancery Lane and the gardens of Manchester Square near the Wallace Collection. Walking around Queen Mary’s Gardens he pointed out beds which he had planted years ago and which he was now having to refurbish  completely. We wandered around the shrubberies he has planted and tended since he came to the park, and the trees. He reckons he has planted around 4000 of them with his team over the last seven years. He explained how he constructed the rockeries in the lake, now due for an overhaul. The rose beds planted with fragrant specimens from David Austin. The delphinium bed, one of th many, covered with wonderful home-produced mulch. Everything is in preparation for Easter when the gardens have to look their best for the start of the summer season. So Tom is up at 5.30 every morning to get to the park by 7.30am, even in the winter. At the weekends he will probably be in his observatory which he built himself, in his garden, examining the heavens. I was struck by him saying “You’ve got to like it – working here”. Clearly he does!

Anne-Marie Craven

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In the Gardens

The Eagle has Landed

Eagle Restored
The Eagle is restored at last

Icy Triton Statue
Icy Triton Statue

New Bridge
New bridge across the lake to view the reed bed

Queen Mary’s Gardens Thanks to a substantial financial donation the mixed shrub rose border has been replanted in the police box border and perennials will be added in March and April. More donations, including money from the Friends are funding the project to improve the ecological value and water quality of the lake. It has been emptied, desilted and the revetments and boardwalk completed. March and April will see the planting of 500 square meters of marginal and aquatic vegetation.

ZSL head gardener (Sven Seiffert) and Andy Williams have commenced a programme of information exchange and knowledge sharing between some garden staff. Two of Sven’s team have had a recent tour of Queen Mary’s Gardens and Avenue Gardens. Staff from Veolia will be visiting the Zoo gardens shortly. We hope to encourage co-operation and support across teams to learn from each other and develop synergies if possible. The dry autumn and winter have been kind to grassed sports turf surfaces. So far this winter season no weekends have been lost in comparison to a loss of at least three in a  normal season. Students from Capel Manor College have been given a tour of the sports pitches to support study on one of their programmes. The nursery facility in the park will be refurbished as a result of the the re-letting of the royal parks nursery contract. This is long overdue and secures the future of a plant production facility in the park. The meadow, native hedging, apple trees on the site of the old golf and tennis school are establishing well.  The existing eastern railing fences will be realigned before the end of this winter to enclose the refuge area at the southern end of the site.

Andy Williams Assistant Park Manager

A great catch!

The park has removed the carp from the lake in Queen Mary’s Gardens and made a profit of about £2,000 in the process. The fish feed on the bottom and were creating a nasty pea soup effect in the water. Bedwell Fisheries were employed for the job which involved partially draining the lake and then using a manned boat plus a big rod with an electrode on the end to stun the fish temporarily. This gives time for a quick transfer to an oxygenated tank on a special vehicle alongside. The total weight came to 895 lbs, the biggest coming in at 35 lbs. After quarantining to ensure they are healthy, the carp are then used for restocking fisheries. And the money from the company is being spent on improvements to the lake and its planting.

Better marital relations

The black swans will be returning in the spring. There was such disharmony with the male beating up the female that they had to be separated. Time has apparently smoothed his temper and they have now been successfully reunited in the nature study centre.

Judy Hillman    Patron

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Meet the committee

Ivor Kamlish joined the Friends of Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill (FRP&PH) in 1995, soon after it was founded, and was asked to join the committee later that year. Although he had been active in their original protest, to prevent the zoo taking over a piece of the Park, unlike most members of the committee, and indeed of the Friends, his interest in Regent’s Park derives not so much from the Park itself, but from his interest in conservation, be it conservation of buildings, open spaces or natural landscapes.

The Friends needed assistance producing their fledgling newsletter, and the late Michael Goldhill asked Ivor if he would help them. In June 1995 Ivor produced issue number 7 for the Friends, and has been responsible for putting together, and often illustrating, every issue since then. Those of you reading this will note that you are reading issue number 71!

Ivor Kamlish

Ivor was born in London. In 1940 the family were moved to Leeds, Yorkshire, where Ivor completed his education, including two years at Leeds School of Art. In 1950 Ivor returned to London, and was for three years a student at the Central School of Arts and Crafts (now Central St Martin’s School of Design) where he met his future wife Marian. National Service was spent as assistant curator of an Army Museum. Ivor’s first employment, the result of a recommendation by one of his former teachers at Central School, was as assistant to the art director of the Carter Group of Companies that included Poole Pottery. As the art director was in hospital with TB, Ivor was immediately responsible for all the design work, which included packaging, catalogues, and exhibitions as well as ceramic tile schemes for interiors, exteriors and murals. Later the company moved Ivor back to London, and for nine years he lived in Bloomsbury in a flat next to his office. He also taught typography part time at the Central School, and later at Hornsey and the London College of Printing.

Ivor decided to start his own studio, mainly concerned with print and exhibitions. He has designed for many companies from the Architectural Press to the Zoological Society. Some of the skills needed in design and typesetting changed when computers became important tools, but Ivor was able to change with the industry and is now an avid exponent of the joy of working on his Apple Mac. He served on many committees including the Council for National Academic Awards, the Society of Industrial Designers, the Yorkshire Council for Further Education, and the Council of Industrial Design Selection Committee.

Both Ivor and Marian keep very busy working on local history and conservation, and Ivor still accepts some commissions from clients. In addition to all the work he does voluntarily for the FRP &PH, he is on the committee of the Camden Civic Society and produces their newsletter, and also designs the Camden History Society Review and their many publications including their books.   Somehow he also finds time to indulge his love of art, of drawing and of music, and to walk in local open spaces.

Ivor is optimistic that the Park will be free from further efforts to develop it following the defeat of the proposal to build a five-a-side football centre in the Park. He loves the ‘natural’ areas in the Park, and although opposed to the budget cuts, will be happy if natural areas are extended as a result. In their turn, the FRP &PH will be happy if it is Ivor who produces their newsletter, issue number 100!

Margaret Elliot

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Zoo News

2011 was far more successful than anticipated, with milder weather, the new Penguin Beach exhibit and cancellation of the planned Northern line works all leading to a great year. There were almost 1.1million visitors. The entertaining inhabitants of Penguin Beach have proved amazingly popular, with talks and demonstrations regularly packed out. Meet the Penguins, a chance to meet our penguins personally, has been a great hit with the six daily tickets snapped up quickly. Book yours at

Tigers – get involved!

The new tiger enclosure at ZSL London Zoo, now named Tiger Territory, has received planning permission and work is expected to begin at the end of February, in time for an Easter 2013 opening. There is less than £1m left to raise in the Tiger SOS campaign, so please visit to see how you can help.  If you haven’t yet claimed your tiger pawprint within the new exhibit, make sure you don’t miss out!

Conservation news

In October, ZSL launched Instant WILD – the first iPhone app that allows users to see live pictures or rare animals in an instant. The app is connected to camera traps set up in ZSL’s field projects in Kenya, Sri Lanka, Mongolia and Whipsnade, and there are plans to expand it to Russia and Indonesia. App users can see live photos of species in their natural habitats and become citizen scientists by helping us identify which animals are in the photographs. The app is free to download.

Zoo babies

Both our slender loris breeding pairs have produced young, continuing the impressive successes with this species with nine animals now housed in the Clore Rainforest Lookout. These births support the vital European breeding programme, with a young male loris recently transferred to Antwerp and another male due to go to Prague.

London Zoo also welcomed two female lion cubs, who made their public debut just in time for Halloween.  With only 300 Asian lions in the wild, these cubs will have an important role in sustaining future zoo populations.  Other births included two bright orange Francois Langur monkeys, chicks from all our owl species, domino beetles and moon jellyfish.

Don’t forget our Wildlife Conservation & Communicating Science events take place on the second Tuesday of the month, from 6pm at the Zoo.

Carolyn Bennett    Development Manager

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Hanover Lodge as it was!

Designed by Decimus Burton with John Nash for the future Lady Arbuthnot in 1825 it was, in the words of Ann Saunders, a ‘plain dignified two-storey building with four Doric pillars to its portico and a hall with marble columns and a tesselated pavement’. James Elmes in Metropolitan Improvements or London in the nineteenth Century 1827-8 describes the interior: ‘A stone staircase of good proportions leads to the upper storey, which comprises nine handsome bedchambers, a bathing room with every accommodation for that healthful luxury, dressing rooms, and other requisites for a respectable family’.

Hanover lodge in the 1820s engraved by T H Shepherd

The lodge in the 1920s enlarged by Edwin Lutyens. Photo Harvey Van Sickle

However this was not enough for newly promoted Rear-Admiral Beatty, who bought the lease in 1910, so he employed Edwin Lutyens, the architect of the day, to enlarge the house. The radical change involved the addition of a floor over the entrance portico, a pitched and dormered roof over the the new bedrooms and chimneys to match. Inside the rooms were rearranged and a new main staircase was inserted. This curious mixture earned some faint praise from Lawrence Weaver in Country Life as ‘attractive in its own right as well as showing an admirable solution of a difficult problem’. Beatty moved out in 1925 so the house changed hands a number of times until 1946 when it was acquired by Bedford College as a college residence. By 1962 when funding for much needed alterations was obtained, the Crown Estate insisted on the removal of the Lutyens additions so that by the 1980s when college moved out, the house looked to its Regency origins albeit in dire need of renovation and restoration. Will version designed by Quinlan Terry in 2009 be the last?

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For your diary

Sunday 11 March 10.30-11.30am Jog in Regent’s Park & Primrose Hill 5 & 10km jog to raise money for British Heart Foundation Tel: 0808 100 2109
Tuesday 27 March 6.30 for 7pm The Friends of Regent’s Park & Primrose Hill AGM St John’s Wood Church Hall, The Roundabout, London NW8 7NE We look forward to seeing you there. It is warm inside!
Thursday 24 May Visit Greenwich with guided tour of the Painted Hall, Chapel, The Queen’s House, and see how the arrangements for the equestrian events for London 2012 are taking shape. Lunch at The Spread Eagle and a walk up the hill to the Observatory. Cost £12.00 per person (lunch not included) Contact: Anne-Marie Craven at or 020 7935 4236
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A plea for help!

Diana Newman, who has been a stalwart of the committee for many years as secretary and a founding member of the Friends, has finally decided to retire.

We need a volunteer. Duties, which she assures me are not too time-consuming, involve minuting the committee meetings, the AGM and the half-year review and help from time to time with the running of the Friends.  Please contact Malcolm Kafetz if you think you can help.

The new Royal Park’s advisory board

Having attended many meetings about the formation of the Royal Parks advisory board and urged that it should contain “external experts in ecology, historic buildings/landscape and managing large parks” it is apparent there is little ecological expertise among the appointees. The appointments also mean that one third, rather than the expected one quarter, of the positions are held by local council members who are subject to election.   MK Apurv Bagri,  re-appointed former Chair, and Ruth Anderson, Sue Moore and Andrew Fenwick also re-appointed from the former Board Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Ford, Nasim Ali, Colin Barrow, Chris Roberts, Linda Lennon, John Swainson, Roger Bright, Lord True.

Friends of Regent's Park & Primrose Hill

Contact Links

Chair: Malcolm Kafetz -
Treasurer: Richard E Portnoy -
Newsletter: Anne-Marie Craven -
Webmaster: Neil Manuel -

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Site created on Friday 25th February 2011, last edited Sunday 4th March 2012.
Errors & Omissions excepted