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HRH The Duchess of Cambridge formerly opens Kensington Aldridge Academy and the Kensington Leisure Centre

Yesterday HRH The Duchess of Cambridge officially offended the new Kensington Aldridge Academy and Kensington Leisure Centre.  The new facilities stand on the site of the former leisure centre where, during their time at Wetherby School, both Their Royal Highnesses The Duke  of Cambridge and Prince Harry had swimming lessons.

Her Royal Highness toured the academy, met Principal David Benson, students and staff, and sat in on a geography and RE lesson.  The Duchess then enjoyed a short presentation from students in the theatre before unveiling a plaque to commemorate her visit (and being given a posy from 3 year old Florence Aldridge).  Before leaving the Duchess visited the academy’s Creates Hub for young entrepreneurs, and met students are are designing items for sale at Portobello Road Market.

Her Royal Highness then took a short walk to the leisure centre, due to open to residents of Kensington in March, to tour the state of the art facilities and watch sporting displays from local primary school children and other community groups.  She then attended a reception to meet those involved in the project and unveiled a plaque to mark her visit to the leisure centre.

www.thekensingtonmagazine.com

Images & Copyright:  Lucy Elliott / www.lucyelliottphotography.com

Local illustrator and poster designer Dorrit Dekk dies

Local resident Dorrit Dekk (Dorrit Epstein Dekk) died on 29th December at the age of 97. In May 2011 we met her to discuss a forthcoming article which was printed in our June edition. Seven years before she held an exhibition at the Duncan Campbell Gallery in W8, and later a private exhibition with a friend. Sales of her work flew off the walls. Noted for her direct approach, she was genuinely interested in people, of all ages, and of all walks of life. She had been looked after for the past 13 years by Mary, who became a trusted and good friend to Dorrit.

Below is a copy of the original article printed published in June 2011:

Hidden Talent: Dorrit Dekk
“Dorrit, hi, I’m just phoning to thank you for inviting me to your exhibition last night. How are you?” “Oh my dear, well I’m still here, I seem to be completely indestructible” says Dorrit (with a distinct heavy accent), a 94 year old resident of Kensington who still paints, although dismisses the notion she is a ‘fine artist’. Instead she calls herself an art designer and her works range from abstract designs to quirky land/townscapes – with a particular bias for backstreets and their inhabitants.

Dorrit was born in Czechoslovakia but moved to Austria and studied theatre design at the prestigious Kunstgewerbe Schule from 1936-1938. Sadly the War intervened and her professor had to encourage her to leave as suddenly the college was no longer allowed to take any Jewish students. Her month’s English friends provided visas and guarantees, hence her mother, Dorrit and her brother came over to live in London. Dorrit was able to continue her studies at the Reimann School in London. She then worked in the WRMS as a radio intelligence officer, intercepting E-boat signals.

Later, as work in theatre design after the war was rather scarce, she moved to graphic design and worked for the Central office of Information (1946-1948) producing poster designs and illustrations for this government body. One day a printer came back with one of her posters and asked whey she had not signed it. Explaining her married name was Klatzow and maiden name Fuhrmann she did not eel either of these lent themselves very well to a signature. he asked what her initials were – DKK. So with the insertion of an ‘E’ Dorrit’s pen name became DEKK (signed for evermore in capitals). From the 1950s she ran her own (and very successful) design practice, when a chance conversation led her to designing a stand entitled ‘People at Play’ of the Land Traveller part of the Festival of Britain. The subject of the stand was British Sports and Games and included a large mural across the stand. This proved very popular and Dorrit is one of the few surviving contributors to the Festival of Britain exhibition. She can be seen on interview at the 60th Anniversary celebration being shown at the Southbank Centre.

Dorrit has always worked in gouache but her main medium in collage which she used for her posters and now for her paintings. Her works are bright and fun with unusual depth and texture. Hence when she starts on a piece there is no plan (“it just happens”), no idea of the end result, but rather an evolvement of what “jewels happen to be lying on the floor” at th time. This might seem a somewhat unorthodox approach to ‘art’ but then Picasso was famous for much the same approach!

Dorrit has lived in Airlie Gardens since the late 60s and must be one of the rfew people who can remember the beautiful Victorian water tower and the line of oak trees (now Kensington Heights). From her roof terrace she used to be able to see as far as Highgate Cemetery. It clearly still irks her that in the early 1970s Sir John Betjeman would not support a band of women chaining themselves to the oak tree in order to prevent the planning permission.

Just over ten years ago Dorrit had a stroke and since that time has had to use a wheel chair to get about. Years later on one of her ‘get a bouts’ and just before her 90th birthday, Dorrit met Duncan Campbell of the Duncan Campbell Gallery. Duncan encouraged her to have an exhibition, but she felt at 90 she was too old to work, and even more, to hold a solo exhibition. But she did – the exhibition was a huge success and gave many the opportunity to buy her works. As a result of Duncan “giving her a reason to live” she now continues to ‘work’ in the afternoon and just last month gave another (and extremely successful) private exhibition.

Like most ‘older’ people we interview for this page we never have room to mention all the aspects of Dorrit’s life; her first love of her life: a “handsome, brilliant physicist” who died in the war, or her second husband. But for the purpose of this article, she is a graphic artist and painter. And someone who remains, certainly at the time of writing, completely indestructible.

Copyright: The Kensington Magazine

 

First World War Commemoration: The Great War Centenary Parade with HRH Prince and Princess Michael of Kent at Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea

Royal Hospital Chelsea marked this occasion with a rather spectacular ‘The Great War Centenary Parade’ where 40 Edwardian cars were driven by their owners and accompanied by Chelsea Pensioners, whose predecessors had fought in the War, from the Hospital to the Imperial War Museum. The event was organised by Nicholas Pellett whose grandfather was killed in the first World War and was held in the presence of HRH Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.

Image and copyright: Lucy Elliott www.lucyelliottphotography.com

www.thekensingtonmagazine.com

Hugh Grant attends Flannels 4 Heroes Cricket Match at Burton Court, Chelsea

The fourth Flannels4Heroes cricketing event took place at Burton Court, Chelsea.  Organised by Sarah Ducker of SJD Events, four teams provided the backdrop to the perfect English Garden Party for some 300 guests.  Sponsored by Dackers the event has to date raised over £100,000 for Help for Heroes, Combat Stress, Walkwith with the Wounded and the On Course Foundation.  Lending their support to the day were a variety of VIPs, amongst whom was keen cricket player, Hugh Grant.  Looking every bit as dashing as when he was manning a book shop in Notting Hill!

Images and copyright:  Lucy Elliott  www.lucyelliottphotography.com

www.thekensingtonmagazine.com

Campden Hill Residents Association, Summer Party

Victoria Borwick captured the spirit of the evening when she declared that nothing really could better a summer’s evening in a beautiful garden square surrounded by neighbours. Emphasising the opportunity to meet the neighbours and enjoy the community commaradarie, the Portobello Jazz Band encouraged young and old to try the odd dance, food and wine delightfully served by 5th and 6th formers of Holland Park School (rated as ‘Outstanding’ for the past four years) and an eclectic range of raffle prizes encouraged those present to part with their money. Rev James Heard, the new Vicar of St George’s Church, was presented with the magnum of champagne he won in the raffle. All in all a wonderfully British sort of evening.

Images and copyright:  Lucy Elliott / www.lucyelliottphotography.com (for more images please see website)

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HRH Duke of Kent visits Royal Hospital Road to celebrate Founder’s Day

A beautiful day but tinged with sadness as many Pensioners were not present due to the Anniversary celebrations of D-Day at Normandy. However, those present looked radiant in their red coats. Prior to the service the Duke was shown around the new accommodation for the Pensioners and was impressed with the efforts made by many to establish the Royal Hospital as a beacon of excellence in the domain of care. The sun shone for most of the morning, making a particularly rather splendid appearance on cue for the National Anthem. At the end of the service as HRH Duke of Kent and other dignitaries walked back through the great oak doors, the bagpipes played. Everyone was still, with the bagpipes playing in the distance, quieter and quieter. Very moving. We were delighted to catch up with Joe Britten, their oldest resident who is 102 (and eight months)!

Images and copyright: Lucy Elliott/www.lucyelliottphotography.com
www.thekensingtonmagazine.com

Not Glamping but Plamping: Sleepover and masked ball at Kensington Palace

Huge excitement as some 20 children complete with sleeping bags and teddies had the privilege of staying the night at Kensington Palace in Queen Victoria’s and her mother (the Duchess of Kent’s) bedroom. The event, in celebration of the 300th Aniversary of the George’s, treated the children to an action-packed evening; learning how to dance Georgian style (with perhaps more enthusiasm than style but they were between 6 – 11 yrs old), learning the language of the fan and experimenting with wigs and face powder. One of the highlights was making their own masks which they would then wear at the ‘Ball’. After a picnic the children dressed up and were ready for the Masked Ball. Faces covered with an array of decorative hand made masks, they then put their new found dancing and waving fan skills into action, accompanied and lead by ‘Princess Amellia and ‘Lord Grafton’.

At about 10.00 pm. the time had come to settle down for bed; parents and children slept on the floor and were then treated to a breakfast fit for a prince or princess. All too soon it was time to leave, and reality kicked in. The time for Prince and Princessing may have been over, but memories of this special occasion will live long and no doubt be re-told to their grandchildren about the time they spent the night at Kensington Palace…..

Images and copyright: Lucy Elliott/www.lucyelliottphotography.com

www.thekensingtonmagazine.com

The Roof Gardens exhibit at The Chelsea Flower Show 2014 with Holly and Eve Branson

At the Chelsea Flower Show, The Roof Gardens exhibited their garden, designed along the lines of the original Roof Gardens by Ralph Hancock in 1939. David Lewis (Head Gardener) and Mattie Morgan of Land Designs were supported on Press Day by members of the Branson family (Holly and grandmother Eve), and by the Mayor and Mayoress of Kensington & Chelsea. The Roof Gardens received a Bronze Medal in the Artisan Garden Category.

Images and copyright:  Lucy Elliott www.lucyelliottphotography.com

www.thekensingtonmagazine.com

Chelsea Pensioners rock when meeting Bryan Adams

This morning singer/songwriter/photographer and philanthropist Bryan Adams unveiled a berth named in his honour at Royal Hospital Chelsea. The newly revamped accommodation now reverts to a larger outside hallway, bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms and study – and are much lighter that previously. 81 yr old Tom Mullaney is the proud owner of this berth, although he seemed somewhat non-plussed by the visitation of a world class pop star. Adams has a close relationship with Royal Hospital Chelsea, having performed a concert there in aid of his Foundation (The Bryan Adams Foundation) some five years ago, and will be performing there again in July.

 www.thekensingtonmagazine.com

Images and copyright:  Lucy Elliott/www.lucyelliottphotography.com

 

 

 

Monaco – Not just for the jet setters!

Monaco is a wonderful destination for a long weekend. Buzzing with activity, wonderful architecture, cars galore and people watching. The principality is very small covering some 1.5 square miles so walking around is easy although fairly hilly. The bus service is good but taxi’s need to be booked and are expensive. A good time of year to visit is in the Spring, beautiful weather, not too many tourists and relatively few queues to the attractions. For such a tiny place there is plenty to see; the daily 11.00 am. Changing of the guard at the Palais; the Oceonographic Museum, the botanical gardens with their splendid hilltop views across the sea. If you are able to arrive in style, then the helicopter from Nice airport is the way to go. Unless you absolutely love Formula 1 and racing cars, it might be best to avoid Monaco at about the 17th May when it holds the Grand Prix. Hotel rooms at a 3* start at £7,900 for three nights (it does overlook the race track though). Best hotels are the Hotel de Paris and the Hermitage – absolutely top notch, but deep pockets are required. The Cafe de Paris opposite the Hotel, is a prime spot for people watching, although don’t have the sandwiches here at lunch time. Beer or coffee is just fine. Lunch or dinner at the Brasserie are however wonderful and a nice chance to get dressed up. Would highly recommend Monaco for a weekend break to experience something completely different.

Images and copyright: Lucy Elliott/www.lucyelliottphotography.com