Friends of Regent's Park Newsletter 77

Technical note for our readers - if the font used is too small please use the zoom feature on your browser (if available) to adjust the size (typically Control-key and "+" symbol) as much as you need.

End of Season Review. Tuesday 8 October 6.30 for 7pm. See the diary for more details.

Grand Opening of the York Gate

His Royal Highness Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, was Guest of Honour at the opening ceremony of the gates on 11 June 2013.

York gate post

These were the former Edinburgh Gates installed on completion of Bowater House in Knightsbridge in 1958 and which had no home with the redevelopment of the site as One Hyde Park with its brand new gates.

The prince delighted the assembled company with his comment that he was perhaps inappropriate as the royal guest being neither the Duke of York nor the Duke of Edinburgh, but that maybe in the future he may be invited to open the 'Wessex gates'.

York Gate
York Gate ceremony
Richard Marsh, Metalwork restoration; Thomas O’Mahony, Main Contractor; Andrew Dutton, Civil Engineer;
(back to camera) Sir John Ritblat CEPC Commissioner Emeritus & event host John Gajewski,
Project Manager; His Royal Highness, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.

The Crown Estate Paving Commission project was made possible by a very successful fundraising campaign which received support from English Heritage, the Crown Estate and generous gifts from residents around the park. Sir John Ritblat, Commissioner Emeritus of the CEPC, welcomed the Prince and other distinguished guests including the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Cllr Sarah Richardson and the party was entertained afterwards at a reception at the Royal Academy of Music.

The children are from the International Community School, York Terrace East

Park News

The new contract in the Park covering all the catering with the exception of the Boathouse café and associated boating has been awarded to Benugo, who are responsible for the Serpentine Bar and Kitchen at Hyde Park. With this exception aside, this marks the end of a long and very successful relationship with Mike Lucy’s Company of Cooks. The break is entirely amicable. Company of Cooks withdrew before the conclusion of the tender process having recently acquired a number of new contracts to supplement their existing portfolio which includes The Royal Opera House and the RHS Gardens at Wisley. Friends of Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill will be happy to know that Benugo have agreed to continue with the 25% discount at the cafés.The waterfowl collection is still seeking sponsorship and needs around £6000 per annum. The Park is looking for a commitment ideally for five years, or three years as a bare minimum. Marylebone Green Playground is now open and is proving to be very popular as it is no longer simply a collection of equipment to play on, but an area to play in, with three distinct zones and many different spaces. The large tree, now serving as a natural climbing structure, is the Caucasian elm (Zelkova carpinifolia) which came down in high winds last Christmas in Queen Mary’s Gardens.

Nick Biddle, Park Manager

top of page

Meet the committee

James Wren

James Wren is Development Director of the Zoological Society of London. He is responsible for fund raising not just for London Zoo, but also for Whipsnade Zoo, their conservation programmes in over 50 countries, and their Scientific Centre. As the Zoological Society has been a ‘resident’ of Regent’s Park since 1828 James’ duties also include serving as a committee member of the Friends of Regent’s Park & Primrose Hill.

James comes from East London, and currently resides in Epping Forest. Until he joined ZSL four years ago, his experience of the area was mainly linked to childhood visits to the Zoo. However now he loves the Park, and feels privileged that his journey to work each day includes a walk through the Park from Great Portland Street Station after an hour on the underground.

The variety his job offers was what first drew James to ZSL, which he considers to be part of London’s heritage. Founded as a scientific society, ZSL was not opened to the public until 1847, and it has always been at the forefront of wildlife conservation. The popular Tiger Territory exhibit at Regent’s Park Zoo is just part of a huge operation to save the Sumatran tiger from extinction as only 300 still remain in the wild. This project includes preserving habitat and preventing poaching, as well as an international breeding programme.

James regrets the need to commercialize the Royal Parks due to the withdrawal of funding, feeling that it could lead to restricting access to the park or services within the parks to those that would benefit most from visiting them. Although the Zoo receives no public funding, increasing visitor and membership numbers mean that it continues to provide a wonderful place for local residents and visitors from farther afield to enjoy. However, it is a charity, and there is always a need for help particularly with major projects and the conservation and scientific work!

Relations between the Friends and the Zoo have never been better, and James welcomes their co-operation. Where the Friends and Zoo have common cause, the ZSL offers assistance to the Friends. The articles he provides for the newsletter are proving popular among the Friends, and at the same time the Zoo appreciates the opportunity to publicize its news and exhibits to local residents.

James hopes that the Friends of Regent’s Park & Primrose Hill will continue to motivate local residents, and those who value the Park, to fight hard to ensure it offers accessibility and high standards to every user.

Margaret Elliott

top of page

From the archives

Around the eastern edges of Regent’s Park and particularly by the Cumberland basin, there were a number of businesses. Sadly, they are there no more.

Cumberland Basin, Victoria Wharf, Augustus Road housed the factory of W E Manby & Co, who produced an important product which made it to the southern hemisphere, and whose head office was located just near Temple Bar, the Strand.

Manbys crystals
Image courtesy of Stephen Crisp

Manby’s Patent Cleansing Crystal, the best cleaning agent for your washing. It is softening and agreeable to the hands, and less injurious to the fabric than the best soap and a far superior solvent and detergent. Flannels become white and roll, like new Coloured articles are restored to their original brilliancy.... As advertised in The Wellington Independent, New Zealand, 27 June 1862

Receipt of Grimble & Co Ltd 1907

Vinegar brewers at Cumberland Market and Edinburgh

Image courtesy of Stephen Crisp

In 1840, William Grimble, of Albany Street, a gin distiller by trade, decided to embark on producing vinegar from spirit left over from his distillery. He went on into partnership with another distiller, Sir Felix Booth, who had bought the site of the old Ophthalmic Hospital for his distillery together and they set up premises in Cumberland market. It was not a success so they reverted to the more orthodox method of vinegar brewing. The brewery was burnt down in 1864 but was rebuilt and extended soon after. The business went from strength to strength, so they opened a Scottish branch at Leith in 1903, supplied the armed forces during the First World War and also, it was said, the ill-fated expedition by Captain Scott to the North Pole in 1912. In 1928 they merged with Beaufoy & Co in Lambeth to form Beaufoy Grimble and then became part of British Vinegar in 1931. Now they are part of the empire belonging to the Mizkan Group from Japan whose UK division is in Staffordshire. Booth’s gin is still produced today albeit under the ownership of Diageo Spirits.

top of page

Zoo news

Feeding time for humans has been given a makeover with the opening of the New Terrace restaurant which can now seat up to 700 visitors. In-house catering is by Ampersand, a branch of Royal Warrant holders CH&Co.

Two new monkeys

ZSL London Zoo has welcomed two new female mangabey monkeys in a bid to boost the breeding programme for one of the world’s rarest primates. These monkeys are facing a dire situation in the wild, with their habitat being destroyed at unprecedented rates and they’re up against daily threats of being hunted. Ankasa and Achimoto, named after the areas in Ghana where their species comes from, were both born at Dublin Zoo and moved to London as part of the European breeding programme for endangered species. After a carefully-managed introduction process, the two girls, nicknamed Kasi and Mo, are getting along famously with the rest of the group, with dominant male Lucky taking a particular liking to Mo – who quite enjoys the flirty attention. Considered to be one of the most endangered primates in the world, white-naped mangabeys are suffering a severe decline in the wild due to habitat loss and being hunted for bush meat. Lucky was born at the West African Primate Conservation Action (WAPCA) in Ghana, after his parents were rescued from the pet trade, His unique genetics are very important to the breeding programme. ZSL London Zoo’s mangabey keeper Andrea Dempsey is collaborating on a project with other zoos around the world to help encourage successful breeding elsewhere.

Meet the baby tapir

A few weeks ago, Adi, a four week old Malayan tapir calf was caught on camera venturing outside in the sun with mum Gertie and enjoying his first cooling swim in their very own moat. Named Adi by an online poll on the Zoo’s facebook page, the male infant’s new moniker means precious in Malay, and was one of the options chosen by his keepers. Weighing just 20kg, the 20 inch-tall infant will lose his distinctive spotty markings when’s he around six months old, and his fur will soon resemble mum’s iconic monochrome pattern.

James Wren, Development Director ZSL

top of page

Broadwalk Ballroom or Tempted to Tango

Kele Baker, with a lofty partner, putting her pupils through their paces

Your editor was nearly persuaded to participate in the Ballroom session which took place on 13 July. In spite of the blistering (for London) heat, the dance floor was crammed with couples, singles and even children as they mastered, with expert tuition from Kele Baker, everything from a slow and graceful waltz to the cha,cha, cha, samba, rumba, jive and lots more. It all started at 1pm and some of the same dancers were still on their feet when I walked past at 4.30pm. Sunday was Tango al fresco day. A definite must for 2014 so get your dancing shoes out and watch the diary space in 2014 for the dates.

A Bumper year at the Hub

The football season has started with the return of the Camden & Regent’s Park youth league to the hub for Saturday morning sessions from 6 September. There are over 200 teams of under 17 year olds competing which makes it one of the largest in London. The Regent’s Park Royals Rugby Club will also be reconvening. This club was started by the Hub’s sports development officer to increase participation in rugby by both girls and boys under 16 years old. It was hugely successful during the winter of 2012/2013 so they are hoping for some good fixtures for the coming season.

This summer was a very successful one for the Hub and sports facility with hundreds of booking requests which make up for the relatively quiet 2012 season. In July there were over 1109 bookings! This must be a record!

Birds in Flight

The autumn bird migration season is well underway. Dave Johnson, the wildlife officer, said he has spotted flycatchers, woodwarblers and even kingfishers as they went on their journey. Sparrowhawks and common buzzards have also visited. Six young kestrels were born this year and all but one survived, the unlucky one died after being caught by a fox. Keen bird spotters may have noticed two pairs of tawny owls and little owls.

great crested grebe
Great Crested Grebe © Tony Duckett

The fine summer has also encouraged a wealth of dragonflies and butterflies, with grasshoppers and crickets in the long grass in Primrose Hill. And what about the hedgehogs! Regent’s Park is the only park in London where they can be found. A survey is underway sponsored by the Royal Parks Foundation. A crafty system has been devised whereby a foot-tunnel trap is baited with half a frankfurter and supplied with a sheet of A4 paper at each end, plus an ink supply, and this records the footprint of the animal as it enters and exits the contraption. Information from the survey will come shortly.

little grebe
Little grebe with chick hitching a ride © Tony Duckett

top of page

For the Diary

What When Where/Info

End of Season Review

Tuesday 8 October 6.30 for 7pm

Glynis Maynard, the Centre Coordinator and lecturer at Regent’s Park Capel Manor will tell us all about their courses and other activities within the park
St John’s Church Hall, St John’s Wood Church, Lords Roundabout, London NW8 7NE

Music, Ancestral Voices: Frescobaldi and disciples Wednesday 2 October 3-4.30pm Museum Piano Gallery, Royal Academy of Music, Marylebone Road, NW1 5HT Three-part series of lecture/recitals by Elena Vorotko
Free tickets from the Academy's Box office 020 7873 7300
Royal Academy Opera Scenes Thursday 3 and Friday 4 October 6pm Royal Academy Opera students in operatic scenes from Le nozze di Figaro by Mozart, A Midsummer Night's Dream by Britten and La cenerentola by Rossini
Sir Jack Lyons Theatre, Royal Academy of Music, Marylebone Road, NW1 5HT
Tickets £7.50 (concessions £5.50) from the Academy's Box Office: available online now from, by telephone on 020 7873 7300
Soundbox Tuesday 8 October, Tuesday 29 October, Tuesday 26 November
all at 12.30-2.00pm
Soundbox is a series of events inspired by the Academy's Museum and collections.
Presented by Viotti Lecturer in Performance Studies, violinist Peter Sheppard Skærved, the events explore the historical and contemporary relationships between performers, composers, instruments and instrument-makers.
Museum Piano Gallery, Royal Academy of Music, Marylebone Road, NW1 5HT
Free, no tickets required
Travelling Solo: JS Bach Suites for Solo Cello
Wednesday 9 October 6.00pm JS Bach Suite no.2 in D minor, BWV1008

Monday 4 November 6.00pm JS Bach Suite no.3 in C, BWV1009
Mario Brunello, distinguished international soloist and winner of the 1986 International Tchaikovsky Competition, begins his guided tour through the Bach solo cello suites.
David Josefowitz Recital Hall,
Royal Academy of Music, Marylebone Road, NW1 5HT
All dates free, no tickets required
Helen Fielding (author of Bridget Jone’s Diary) in conversation with Sue MacGregor to celebrate her new book Mad about the Boy. Thursday 10 October 7.30 pm doors open at 7.00pm Organised by the Primrose Hill Community Library
Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent's Park Road, NW1 7AY
Tickets: £15.00
Primrose Hill Vintage Fair Sunday 13 October 11am
Sunday10 November 11am
Sunday 1 December 11am
Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent's Park Road, NW1 7AY
Entry: £3
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) or on 0203 130 0469.
Frieze Contemporary Art Fair and Frieze Masters 17-20 October, Regent's Park, 12-7pm each day except 20 October 12-6pm 'The best news for art in Britain in years' The Guardian
Experience this unique art fair which presents a contemporary perspective on historical art. The fair features the world's leading galleries showcasing art from the ancient era and old masters to the late 20th century. Not to be missed!
Tickets. frieze-masters
Martyn Brabbins conducts Mahler’s Sixth Friday 1 November 7.30pm Academy Symphony Orchestra
Mahler Symphony no.6 in A minor, 'Tragic'
Tickets £7.50 (concessions £5.50) on sale online at now, by telephone on 020 7873 7300
Organ Recital by Robert Patterson Wednesday 13 November 1pm St Cyprien's Church, Glentworth Street, NW1 6AX
Christoph von Dohnányi conducts Schubert’s ‘Unfinished’ Friday 22 November 1.05pm Academy Concert Orchestra
Christoph von Dohnányi conductor who is to receive an Honorary Doctorate. During his monumental twenty-year tenure as Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra, Dohnányi conducted a staggering 1,000 concerts, fifteen international tours and 24 world premieres, and recorded over 100 works on disc. Schubert Symphony in B minor, D.759, 'Unfinished'
Free tickets available from the Academy's Box Office: telephone 020 7873 7300.
These tickets will not be available online.
Trevor Pinnock conducts Haydn, Mozart and Fauré Friday 25 October 1.05pm Trevor Pinnock conductor with the Academy Concert Orchestra Haydn Symphony no.4 in D
Fauré Masques et bergamasques, op.112
Mozart Symphony no.36 in C, K.425, 'Linz'
Duke's Hall, Royal Academy of Music, Marylebone Road, NW1 5HT
Free tickets available from the Academy's Box Office: telephone 020 7873 7300.
These tickets will not be available online.
Festive Family Play Day Saturday 23 November 11.00am-12.30pm Celebrate the magic and music of Christmas with our festive-themed event for children aged 5-7 and their families. Led by pianist and animateur Jessie Maryon Davies, and inspired by objects from the museum collections, this event will give you the chance to compose, perform and even ring some jingle bells!
Museum Piano Gallery, Royal Academy of Music, Marylebone Road, NW1 5HT
Free, but tickets required and booking is essential.
Please contact, quoting the number of adult and children's tickets required, children's ages and a contact number.
Carols by Candlelight Friday 29 November 6.00-8.00pm Celebrate the musical majesty of Christmas with the entire Academy family at this annual festive event. Following the service, the Alumni Network invites you to the Academy's canteen for some festive cheer.
St Marylebone Parish Church
Admission by ticket only: £7 (free for Academy staff and students)from the Academy's Box Office:
online at or by telephone on 020 7873 7300
Shakespeare - The Showtunes!
Academy Musical Theatre Company and Orchestra
Stephen Hill conductor and choral director
Saturday 30 November 7.30pm

Sunday 1 December 3.00pm
Over the centuries, William Shakespeare has been an inspiration for every possible art form, including Musical Theatre. The students of the Musical Theatre Company, accompanied by the Musical Theatre Orchestra, will take the audience on a journey through highlights from such musicals as West Side Story, Kiss Me Kate, The Lion King and many others.
Prepare to be surprised!
Sir Jack Lyons theatre,
Royal Academy of Music. Tickets £12 (concessions £9) from the Academy's Box Office: available online now from or by telephone on 020 7873 7300

Frieze Contemporary Art Fair and Frieze Masters

frieze fair
'The best news for art in Britain in years' The Guardian
top of page

Friends of Regent's Park & Primrose Hill

Contact Links

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

top of page

Site created on Friday 25th February 2011, last edited Monday 30th September 2013.
Errors & Omissions excepted