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Archive for November, 2013

Childhood friends meet up in Edwardes Square after 70 years….

A fascinating coincidence took place following the publication of the book “London’s Hidden Jewel” by The Edwardes Square History Group this month. Sir John Sainty, a delightful gentleman who grew up in Edwardes Square, contacted Carrie Thomas from the Group after reading the book in a Dental waiting room in the Earls’ Court Road. He told her that he had played in Edwardes Square as a child and had fond memories of the pony and garden roller featured in one article. He was also delighted to share a picture of himself (aged 3) and his since deceased friend Peter Lawson (aged 5) sitting on the pony, taken in the Spring of 1938. Following this event, we met Carrie Thomas, Sir John Sainty and David Lawson, brother of Peter Lawson and the head gardener, David Magson in Edwardes Square to recreate the image. The two, now elderly gentlemen, were happy to pose next to the restored garden roller which would have been pulled by the famous pony all those years ago. In a lovely reminiscent moment, the gentlemen who left Edwardes Square in 1939/40, affirmed that finding this book and returning to the exact same place where the picture was taken over 70 years ago was “fate”, (although they both admitted they could not actually remember the pony or indeed posing for photographs!)

Text: Isere Lloyd-Davis
Images: With thanks to Sir John Sainty and www.lucyelliottphotography.com

 

The Mayor and Mayoress of RBKC lead the Remembrance Service in Kensington

Many of us feared the worst when torrential rains hit Kensington on the Friday and Saturday prior to the Remembrance Service. However on the Sunday, the weather turned out to be quite beautiful and nothing remotely similar to the experience those we had come to salute, had had in the trenches. The Mayor and Mayoress were joined by a full complement of Councillors together with Sir Malcolm Rifkind, MP for the Borough. Local members of the Armed Services of all ages gathered in regiments in front of the Town Hall, and then proceeded to the Memorial. The crowd was much larger than usual and credit must be given to those who planned this event. For what seemed like the first time vehicles were temporarily stopped for the Two Minute Silence and the sounding of the Last Post. Rather movingly a single leaf floated down from the overhanging tree during the Last Post. Children stood alongside adults, very solomnly reciting the Lord’s Prayer but more obvious  gusto when it came to singing the National Anthem. Amongst those who presented at the Memorial, was a little girl, carefully placing her red balloon alongside the wreaths, quietly once all the crowds had gone.

Images and copyright:  Lucy Elliott / Lucy Elliott Photography.com

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HRH Prince Michael of Kent switches on the Christmas Lights at The Milestone Hotel

At the invitation of Mrs Beatrice Tollman, President and Founder of Red Carnation Hotels, HRH Prince Michael of Kent attended a reception at the Milestone Hotel together with The Mayor and Mayoress of Kensington & Chelsea and local residents for the annual ‘Switching on the Christmas Lights’.  Before the Prince arrived, we were instructed as to the etiquette of how to address him.  One or two children enquired as to whether they should bow or courtesy.  Having decided a ‘slight bow’ was in order, two children were delighted they could courtesy since they had just been taught how to at school.  The Prince arrived and amiably chatted to everyone present.  Children were duly introduced and all remembered the salient points of etiquette with the exception of one little girl who was so excited she bounced up to him and said ‘hello’.  The Prince then departed, with the children continuing their slight bows and courtesies.  A great evening.

Image and copyright:  Phil Conrad

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www.milestonehotel.com

The Kensington & Chelsea Foundation celebrate their 5th Anniversary at Kensington Palace

Congratulations to the Kensington & Chelsea Foundation who celebrated their Fifth Anniversary with a party at Kensington Palace. The Foundation is an umbrella organisation linking local residents and businesses with some of the 400 charities existing in the Borough. Lord Browne gave a thought provoking speech about a scheme which operated in Cleveland, USA and which he felt, should be replicated here – ‘the Community Chest’ whereby individuals and businesses give a percentage of their earnings which is then distributed to community projects. The Foundation is a valuable organisation and makes a serious contribution to our community, providing funding of c£1M to local charities. If you wish to find out more about how you can help (both financially and/or as a volunteer) please go to www.thekandcfoundation.com

 

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A weekend out of Kensington to the beautiful Cotswolds: The Old Swan and Minster Mill at Minster Lovell

Kensington is undoubtedly a lovely part of London but sometimes it is nice to get away. Really get away. Nestling in traditional rolling English countryside amid thatched roofs and honey coloured stone homes in the heart of the Cotswolds is ‘The Old Swan and Minster Mill’, at Minster Lovell.

Part of the de Savary Family Group of Hotels, The Old Swan, a beautiful former coaching inn dating back to c1445 provides 16 rooms accessed by walking along creaking, narrow corridors with low beams. Beamed bedrooms are individually decorated in a comfortable and traditional style. 40 additional bedrooms (contemporary and larger) can be found in the adjoining Minster Mill. The former is probably not so good for those who have difficulty in walking – the main staircase to the rooms is small, windy and requires precision footwork, but in keeping with the character of the building, and (it’s good to know) that Health & Safety can’t touch it due to it being Grade II Listed.

I love log fires and here there are many (alight all day providing a warm and snug environment), the rooms filled with antiques and armories. There are lots of cosy places to have a drink/tea/coffee, read the paper or play cards/games. The emphasis is not on Smart, but rather on Good Quality Relaxing. Dogs are genuinely welcome as are children and there are lots on offer for keeping individuals, couples or families busy.

In addition to nearby picturesque Burford or Woodstock for those who want to be more energetic without using the car can make use of a wide variety of activities available within the 65 acre garden including a wild meadow and river: Tennis, badminton, croquet, boules, two giant chess sets or table tennis (housed in its own building, complete with beams and a thatched roof!) Bikes can be hired, and horse riding or canoeing are on offer. Due to the hotel being situated on a mile of the River Windrush, residents can try their hand at fly or coarse fishing (a gillie can be arranged, or for beginners a teacher is available) where fish such as Brown/Rainbow Trout, Barbel, Chub, Grayling and Pike are regularly found. Children might like to get to know ‘Betty’ and ‘Eddie’ the two resident ducks.

There are also two designated ‘play rooms’ complete with pool/snooker/table tennis, table football and more board games. The hotel has a Spa where you can have a variety of treatments and a small gym (the latter being situated in the conservatory overlooking the gardens and River Windrush). Plans are in progress to build a plunge pool and enlarged Spa area in early next year.

Food is either locally sourced or grown on site. There are three bee-hives where honey is collected for breakfast (an extensive affair) and children are encouraged to fetch eggs from the chickens and bantams. To emphasise the freshness of the produce, the kitchen does not have a freezer or microwave. Portions are generous and Georgina Prickett, Guest Host Manager, describes the food as ‘Hearty English’ rather than haute cuisine. The menu – gastro pub style – changes daily and is inspired by the season.

Wedding and civil ceremonies can take place either in the outside ‘chapel’ situated alongside the River or in one of the beamed conference rooms in Minster Mill. Family rooms complete with their own patio and fire pits are situated overlooking the River and the hotel is well placed to cater for large parties (anniversaries, weddings etc) and provides good conference facilities.

We stayed on an Autumnal weekend mixed with typical English weather, alternate clear blue or thunderously dark skies, sun or rain. Despite this we still managed a good wander around – within walking distance is the beautiful ruin of Minster Lovell Hall. We had a long walk along the river, spotted lots of pheasants and went shopping in Burford. The hotel is very happy to provide picnic hampers for those who really want to make a day of it and there are many picnic areas along the River to chose from. They can also provide guided walks if required.

There are little touches that set this hotel apart from others; upon arrival, guests are welcomed with a complimentary bottle of sloe gin, fresh fruit and shortcake biscuits in their rooms; a hot water bottle is delivered to each room every night and upon departure, guests are handed a bottle of water sourced from nearby Blenheim Palace. Newspapers are readily available, as are books and board games.

The Old Swan and Minster Mill are invited members of The Great Hotel group – one of only three in the UK. This is a ‘Great’ hotel, for a variety of reasons – great for sourcing food locally, great for welcoming children and dogs alike and above all, a great place to truly relax and get away from it all – so close to Kensington and yet so far.

You need to know:

The hotel is 1.5 hours by car from Kensington or 1.10 mins from Paddington to Charlbury station. Charlbury is about a 10 minute taxi ride from the hotel.

www. oldswanandminstermill.com
Tel: 01993 774441
Old Minster, Minster Lovell, Witney, Oxfordshire OX29 ORN
enquiries@oldswanandminstermill.com

Period rooms in The Old Swan from £175.00
Contemporary rooms in Minster Mill from £165.00

All prices include 20% VAT and full English breakfast

Fishing:
Grayling Season runs to March 31st
Trout Season from April 1 – September 30th
Permits are available to hotel guests. All fishing is on a catch-and-release basis.

The Old Swan and Minster Mill are offering Christmas House Party or New Year’s House Party packages – please call or email to find out more

Old Swan & Minster Mill is a member of Great Hotels of the World Premium Collection.  For more information or to book, please visit http://www.ghotw.com/old-swan-minster-mill or call 020 7380 3658.

Images and copyright;  Lucy Elliott www.lucyelliottphotography.com

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