Friends of Regent's Park Newsletter 75

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Spring is on its way?

A painting in the recent Pre-Raphaelite exhibition at the Tate Gallery caught my eye. It was May in the Regent’s Park painted by Charles Allston Collins in 1851 when he was just 23.

may in regents park
May in the Regent's Park by Charles Alllston Collins 1851 - Courtesy Tate Britain

He was a close associate of John Everett Millais, whom he met at the Royal Academy schools in the late 1840s, and he lived with his elder brother, Wilkie, the well-known novelist, and his mother, Harriet, at 17 Hanover Terrace from August 1850 to June 1856.

hanover terrace
Hanover Terrace, a good spot for reading c.1835 - Courtesy British Museum

Does May refer to the month depicted, or to the shrub growing to the left of the painting, the hardy hawthorn, Crataegus laevigata Rosea Flore Pleno, flourishing in the private gardens in front of Hanover Terrace? We are looking out from the first floor of the building to the park where sheep act as mowers, the lake is empty except for one swan, and away in the left background is St Katharine’s Lodge. This was badly damaged by a V2 during the second world war and was demolished in 1948. Chester Terrrace is just about visible to the far right. There are only two people on what is said to be the Outer Circle, a father and daughter perhaps. Collins grew up in Hampstead and Highgate and was educated at home by his doting mother. One of his most well-known works which earned him his Pre-Raphaelite credentials is Convent Thoughts, a painting which demonstrated his strongly religious principles and upbringing. With brother Wilkie working closely with Charles Dickens, Charles became attached to Kate, Dickens' youngest daughter, and they married in July 1860. It was by all accounts a difficult marriage and after his death from cancer at the very young age of 45 in 1873, his widow married another artist, Charles Edward Perugini. Collins was buried in Brompton Cemetery.

Meet the Committee

david thomas

David Thomas and his partner Henrietta are relatively new members of the Friends of Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill, having joined three years ago. David was keen to help the Friends in any way he could, and a year ago was invited to join the committee. He was born in London, raised in Surrey, and then moved to London in his twenties. He worked for ten years as an architect, seven of them with a company on Chalcot Road, and remembers the Park in the 1970s. He then spent 24 years until his retirement as a development manager for three housing associations in North and East London and Essex providing social housing. He has been a Regent's Park Road resident for the past five years in a flat with views of the park and Primrose Hill.

David likes the park as it is, particularly the northern half, which he describes as 'wilder', with open sports areas, and fewer tourists than the more formal south side, and Primrose Hill. He likes the contrast of the different areas of the park, the proximity of Primrose Hill to Regent's Park Road and its local feel, and enjoys walking and running in them. A cyclist (the couple does not own a car), he thinks that the current cycling scheme in the park works well, and recommends the Regent's Canal towpath as calming, good for walking and cycling, and offering a different perspective on the park.

He hopes that, despite funding problems, it will be possible to maintain the entire park and Primrose Hill much as they are now. He believes that the current number of ground staff must be maintained. To this end, he thinks that it is inevitable that some commercial events should be held in the park, and thought that Frieze Masters was a welcome addition to the current schedule. He is disappointed that it was felt necessary to close Primrose Hill on bonfire night due to safety concerns, and hopes that the same fate will not befall the New Year’s Eve gatherings.

David works for two days most weeks as a volunteer for two other societies, the London Cycling Campaign and the Twentieth Century Society. He thinks that the Friends have several roles to play.

Members need to 'keep an eye on things', alerting the Royal Parks, the police, or the committee to problems if they occur, and also to make suggestions for improvements. Now that each year the Royal Parks receive less and less funding from the national government, he accepts that the Friends will also have to be more involved in raising funds to maintain or improve facilities. He thinks that the money given recently on behalf of the Friends to support two apprentices is an excellent example of how the Friends can make a difference.

Margaret Elliott

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In the gardens

pigeons on perches
Pigeons have taken over the perches - Photo Malcolm Kafetz

Friends fund the apprentices

Andy Williams reports with many thanks on the results of the two projects the Friends supported this year. The existing Horse Chestnuts in the open spaces north of the Longbridge were felled and the wood chip has gone into the green waste processing stream in the leaf yard and will be processed into mulch and soil conditioner. The trees were suffering from bacterial canker and were not likely to mature. To replace them six species of native trees have been planted; English oak, hornbeam and field maple (these will be allowed to grow on into maturity) and cherry, rowan and silver birch (three 'pioneer' species which will act as a nurse for the three former species). The latter species will be selectively thinned out over the coming couple of decades. The The latter species will be selectively thinned out over the coming couple of decades. The trees were planted directly into the turf with a hessian mulch mat to prevent excessive competition from grasses. In addition two areas of gorse have been planted providing an excellent nectar source and ground cover with all-year-round flowering.

The apprentice leading this project is Shaun Staines.

Shrub Border Renovation in St Johns Lodge Garden (Gravel Walk)

The border has been pruned, unwanted species removed and the soil prepared. A silver weeping pear will be replaced with another suitable eye-catcher at the entry to the gravel walk from the rose garden and some judicious tree pruning has been done to enhance the view. The apprentice is still working on his planting plan which should be revealed soon. We hope to organise a visit by the Friends to inspect the apprentices’ work.

And in the rest of the gardens....

ducks replace gardeners
Ducks replace gardeners to save costs? - Photo Malcolm Kafetz

The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) supported by Regent’s Park volunteers have completed hedge laying around the wetland and goose pen in a partnership between TCV and Regent’s Park to develop conservation volunteering activities across the park. The laid hedge will provide a superb habitat for birds, small mammals and invertebrates. It also promotes rural craft and adds an aesthetic charm to the character of the park in this area.

Allotment Garden.

The funding is now secured for the project for 2013/2014. Julie is busy setting up all activities (see diary below). New signs will be installed to acknowledge the Friends' donations.

Marylebone playground

will benefit from a beautiful Zelkova serrata tree, which was lost at Christmas time, possibly due to decay. The tree will be used as a functional piece of natural play equipment.

Queen Mary’s Gardens.

Funding has been secured to replace the timber retaining wall around the mound area. The levels of soil are being restored and new planting will shortly take place.

Praise from Plant Heritage London

Twice a year Regent’s Park make a contribution to the February and October Royal Horticultural Society shows held at the Horticultural Halls at Vincent Square. At the show on 19 and 20 February the Plant Heritage London Group received a Gold Medal, their first, for their exhibit. Their organiser was particularly complimentary about the material provided by the two gardeners from Queen Mary’s Gardens and who helped to set up the exhibit.

Andy Williams
Assistant Park Manager

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A good 2012 at the Hub

  • Sixteen different charities hosted a fun run in the park with a total of almost 7,000 participants.
  • One event managed to raise an amazing £130,000 in sponsorship from only 700 runners participating in a 10km run, a fantastic achievement!
  • Income from these sports events for The Hub facility increased by 10% compared to last year.
  • In the summer Nike in the Park offered free running sessions and group outdoor fitness to the local community which were well attended.
  • The summer also saw the return of ‘Park Fitness’, a group outdoor fitness training session organised by The Hub in partnership with Training Partners who delivered the sessions. Attendance grew steadily and looks likely to return for summer 2013.
  • 2012 saw the launch of Regent’s Park Royal Junior Rugby Club. Set up by the Sports Development officer for TRP&PH and with support from The Hub team as well as volunteers, the club grew large enough to start taking on friendly matches against other established clubs.

Plans for 2013:

  • The Summer sports programme starts on 20 April. The focus will be on group exercise with some changes in the Hub exercise timetable. Group outdoor fitness sessions and a weekly running group are also planned.
  • The rugby 1 playing pitch is to be renovated in readiness for the winter 2013-14 season
  • The Royal Parks have updated their Fitness Licensing Policy to include licensing for commercial personal trainers in addition to the existing policy on licencing groups within all of the Royal Parks. Details can be found at

Jill Osleger
Active Sports Manager

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More memories of Primrose Hill

Pam Lutgen’s article brings back memories to Greta Lewis, a Friend and resident...

"As I recall, and I was only four or five years old, the ladies of the neighbourhood began war work around 1941. There were a number of small local industries whose production was converted to aid the war effort. The first factory my mother worked in, together with Pam's (Pam Lutgen) mother, Tiny, was Betula Ltd. of Sharpleshall Mews. Here, they employed women to assemble ammunition boxes and dummy aircraft shells. They had another workshop based in St George's Mews where these things were painted with something called 'dope' paint - olive green. When my Mother came home from work she smelled of it. There was no glass in their windows thanks to the 4.5 anti-aircraft gun on the top of the hill. At least they had plenty of ventilation. Betula previously made wooden tableware and turnery. These women were a feisty bunch - quite formidable. They earned on average £2 per week with 10/- shillings (50p today, but rather more valuable) for Saturday morning overtime. There was no National Health Service or welfare state to fall back on, so overtime was important to them. Later my mother went to work in Ultra Radio of Erskine Road, where communications equipment was assembled for the military."

Greta Lewis

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Zoo News

Tiger Territory

tiger territory
An artists view of Tiger Territory

Tiger Territory has just opened at ZSL London Zoo. It is a brand-new £3.6m flagship exhibit, which will be home to the Zoo’s latest arrivals, Jae Jae and Melati, a pair of Sumatran tigers. Their Indonesian-inspired habitat has been designed by the zoo’s tiger experts to meet every sensory need of these endangered animals


Tigers are excellent climbers and like to observe their terrain from a towering vantage point hence the exhibit features high feeding poles to encourage their natural predatory behaviour and tall trees for the cats to scale. Unusually for cats, tigers also love water, and visitors will be able to see them hanging out in their custom-built pool. When they are not dipping their paws in the water, the tigers will have all-day access to indoor dens where visitors will be able to see them relaxing on heated rocks.

Tiger Territory will enable ZSL to breed the critically endangered tigers at ZSL London Zoo and will provide a central hub for ZSL’s tiger conservation. And it will give thousands of zoo visitors the chance to get close to these incredible animals. Entry is free for ZSL members. Visit the ZSL (Tiger Territory) website for prices for non-members.

The ZSL Animal Photography Prize 2013 - closing date 15th April

After an incredible debut in 2012 which saw entries from all around the world, ZSL’s exciting photography competition is back with a fantastic line up of judges including ZSL Honorary Conservation Fellow and television presenter Kate Humble, environmentalist David Bellamy, and Dr Joseph ZammitLucia, one of the world’s leading animal portrait photographers.

With a £10,000 prize fund and the chance for the images to go on display in a stunning exhibition at ZSL London Zoo in September, the competition aims to inspire amateur and professional photographers of all ages to get out and capture the magic of the animal kingdom.

The 2013 competition features seven categories in which to submit photographs, including Last Chance to See?, the Weird and Wonderful and The Birds and the Bees. Visit for more information or to enter images into the competition.

Carolyn Bennett,
ZSL Development Manager

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Theatre in the Park

A reminder of the 2013 season

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and adapted for the stage by Christopher Sergel 16 May - 15 June
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen adapted for the stage by Simon Reade
- this celebrates the 200th Anniversary of the publication of the novel
20 June -20 July
A Winter's Tale, re-imagined for everyone aged six and over 29 June - 20 July
The Sound of Music, with music by Richard Rodgers, Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
- a first for this duo at the Open Air Theatre
25 July - 7 September

In 2013 the FRP&PH can purchase best available seats at £22.50 for all performances, excluding Saturday evenings (subject to availability) upon presentation of their badge. Friends have to buy their tickets in person at the Box Office, but in 2013 they can do this up to two days ahead of the performance.

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A Report on the meeting held on 12 March will be in the next newsletter but thanks to everyone for attending in spite of the inclement weather and many thanks also to our patron, Judy Hilman, and Conall Macfarlane, for stepping in for Malcolm, who was unwell.

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For the Diary

What When Where/Info
A special visit to inspect the new HQ of the King's Troop at Woolwich 11 April at 10.30am Please contact Anne-Marie Craven ( for further details about transport
Free dog training class Monday 1 April 10.00am Old gazebo on the Broadwalk
Royal College of Physicians medicinal garden Wednesday 3 April 2pm Tour led by Dr Henry Oakley on the first Wednesday of each month until November
Free dog training class Monday 6 May 10.00am Old gazebo on the Broadwalk
Green Fair. In the allotment garden Saturday 8 June Paul Richens will hold a mid-afternoon training session on soil and wormery (to book visit and there will be competition, activities for children and tours of the garden all day.
Open Garden Squares Saturday 8 & Sunday 9 June Over 200 private, unusual and little known gardens open to the public across 27 London boroughs to create access to the capital's urban, green space network. Presented by the London Parks & Gardens Trust in association with The National Trust.
Weekend tickets: £10 in advance/£12 from or City Information Centre (CIC) at St Pauls. Children under 12: Free admission. NT Members go half price (£5 in advance/£6).
Edible Flower Celebration. In the allotment garden Saturday 15 June 11am-4pm Gemma Harris from Edible Landscape London will introduce edible flowers with flower based cakes, nibbles and fresh plants to try on the day, as well as competition, activities and much more.
National Gardens scheme Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 June 2.30-4.30pm The Holme, Inner Circle as part of the National Gardens Scheme
Summer Open Day In the allotment garden Saturday 3 August 11am-4pm Come and celebrate summer with us in the garden! Seed swap, plant sales, tours of the garden, competition and activities on all day!
National Gardens scheme Saturday 3 & Sunday 4 August 2.30-4.30pm The Holme, Inner Circle as part of the National Gardens Scheme
Urban Botany Saturday 10 August 10am-4pm Course run by the Field Studies Council (FSC) London with Dr Mark Spencer from the Natural History Museum. The course costs £35.00. Further details from the FSC site (Urban Botany).
Identifying non-native invasive plants. Saturday 7 September 10am-4pm A course run the Field Studies Council (FSC) London with Dr Mark Spencer from the Natural History Museum. The course costs £45.00. Further details from the FSC site (invasive plants).
Harvest festival In the allotment garden Sunday 15 September 11am-5pm To celebrate a year of food growing, come to sample lovely food cooked fresh from the garden! An expert from The Royal Parks Guild will also be on site to answer any question about food growing.
Autumn ramble Saturday 12 October 10am-4pm Explore the Regent's Park from the Rose Gardens to the views from Primrose Hill. A course led by the staff of the Field Studies Council (FSC) London with Dr Mark Spencer from the Natural History Museum. The course costs £15.00. Further details from the FSC site (Autumn ramble).


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Fraudster who went off the rails

The King’s Cross Fraudster, Leopold Redpath, his life + times by David A Hayes & Marian Kamlish, designed by Ivor Kamlish.

leopold redpath

From 1853-1857 Redpath, a humble clerk, lived in great splendour at 27 Chester Terrace, during which time he fleeced the Great Northen Railway of £20 million in today’s money.

chester terrace

To find out how he nearly got away with it this must-read book is available via the Camden History Society website: price £9.99 plus £2.50 p&p. 188 pp, 60 b+w illustrations.

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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 Saturday 23rd March 2013.
Errors & Omissions excepted