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Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

HRH Prince Michael of Kent Reviews the Chelsea Pensioners at Founder’s Day 2018

HRH Prince Michael of Kent reviewed the Chelsea Pensioners today at Royal Hospital Road. The pensioners resplendent in their scarlet coats tapped their hands and feet to the music of the Coldstream Guards, and proudly smiled when introduced to his Highness. Also present were his wife, HRH Princess Michael of Kent and the Mayor of Kensington & Chelsea, Cllr. Marie-Therese Rossi. In his replying speech, General Sir Adrian Bradshaw KCB OBE announced his pleasure at taking over as Governor of Royal Hospital Road.

Images and copyright:  www.lucyelliottphotography.com

David Austin Roses wins 24th Gold at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018

David Austin Roses, the by word for excellence in English Roses, won their 24th Gold at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. As always this was also their chance to showcase their new rose for the show, this year being ‘Tottering-by-gently’ inspired by Annie Tempest’s cartoon which appears in County Life every week. In addition to the 10 show gardens and 16 smaller ones, there were a host of celebrities to add to the colour of the floral displays. Themes for the gardens ranged from local company, Trailfinders’ inspiration of the Western Cape of South Africa, to the Yorkshire Dales, to recyclable plastic. Truly inspirational garden displays.

Images and copyright:  www.lucyelliottphotography.com

 

The Design Museum: The Final Journey – From Commonwealth Institute to the completion of a Vision

These entries have been taken from past entries in our Blog – A diary of progress: from the final days of the Commonwealth Institute, the development of the Design Museum, and its opening in November 2017:

To start at the beginning (September 2011):  As part of Open London Weekend, the Commonwealth Institute opened its doors to the public for the very last time, before works start on the new Design Museum.  This was a tremendous opportunity for people who love architecture or photographic architecture to take advantage of the tour provided.

The Design Museum will be moving to the former Commonwealth Institute in 2014. The building has, sadly, been empty for over 10 years, but during the tours it was evident many had been before, some in their school days and those who could remember their first impressions of ‘seeing other cultures’ being exposed to anthropology for the very first time.  Apparently it was quite ahead of its time, with plenty of activities to involve school children and generate their love and understanding of our commonwealth cousins.  And not least to mention the glass clad walls, which was considered innovative in the 1960s and is still used now in many modern buildings.

The internal remodelling of the building will be carried out by John Pawson Architects. The new Design Museum is expected to welcome half a million visitors to its exhibitions every year, offer 60,000 learning opportunities and display the museum’s important collection of twentieth and twenty-first century design. Design studios and workshops, a library, restaurant, cafe and auditorium will be housed in a beautiful, state of the art building underneath the stately curves of the original 1962 copper and concrete roof.

Originally the Commonwealth Institute housed an exhibition celebrating the fifty four nations of the Commonwealth. It was an undisputed icon of British post-war architecture. The radial deisgn inside extends out from a marble circular platform which stands at the centre of the square building’s diameter and at the exact mid – point of its height. On entering the building the visitor arrives on the platform, at the central point of a huge spatial volume – a powerful first impression. This platform situates the spectator not only at the centre of the Exhibition Hall but at the symbolic centre of the world of the Commonwealth. From here the visitor could ‘travel’ the staircases to visit the many different countries represented here. The most striking feature of the Exhibition Hall is the complex hyperbolic paraboloid roof. Its copper cladding was designed to mellow in harmony with the greens of Holland Park. Its tent like exterior lines complement the park’s soft treelines. Building materials donated by Commonwealth countries augmented the tiny budget for design and construction. Zambia donated 25 tonnes of copper from its mines. Unfortunately, this arrived in the form of copper ore and had to be processed before it could be applied to the roof. Much of the hardwood used in the flooring and other applications also come from Commonwealth donors.

The building was designed by the distinquished practice of Robert Matthew Johnson-Marshall and Partners. James Gardner was the exhibition designer – he had been the principal designer to the Festival of Britain an his work on the Commonwealth Institute revived and impr9oved on may of the innovations he had developed there. Dame Sylvia Crower designed the landscaped gardens. Lord Cunliffe was the original project architect and has consulted on initial plans for the Exhibition Hall’s remodelling into the new Design Museum. Construction began at the end of 1960. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the buildings in November 1962. Its construction cost £440,000. The Exhibition Hall was listed Grade II* in 1988. Grade II* buildings are particularly important buildings of more than special interest. The Exhibition Hall’s place in the social history of Britain and its ‘swept’ roof define its listed status. It has been described as the outstanding British examples of hyperbolic paraboloid roof and as one of the most carefully thought out experiments in post-war English architecture. The works are due to begin on site in early 2012 and will be completed in 2014. The magnificent concrete and copper roof of the Exhibition Hall will be preserved. A central viewing platform will offer visitors views of the interior roof span.
From ‘Open House London: Design Museum’ promotional flyer

This blog originally appeared on 19th September 2012:  Sir Terence Conran celebrates the ‘Ground Breaking’ at the Former Commonwealth Institute.

80 year old Sir Terence Conran made no bones about the fact this was one of the best days of his life.  Having started the Design Museum in the ‘boiler room’ at the V&A and then moved to the premises in Shad Thames, the Design Museum (the new Kensington one) is destined for great things once it is esconced at the former site of the Commonwealth Institute.  Rather wonderfully for just as the Commonwealth Institute represented cultures from around the world, so too does the inspiration that Sir Terence holds for the future of design – that the Government should do all it can to encourage designers, entrepreuners and engineers and become a world renowned hub for design.  He praised many stakeholders, Chelsfield, large and small charitable organisations who had made this possible (since they don’t receive Government funding) and the confidence he had in the team of builders from Mace.  He spoke fondly of the parabola roof, the only one of its kind in the world, and hoped that the well known flag poles at the forecourt would remain there.

The occasion was to celebrate the ‘ground breaking’ and to plant a time capsule to be opened in 2112.  Ed Vaizey, the Minister for Architecture spoke, as did Deyan Sudjic (Director of the Design Museum) and Luqman Arnold (Chair of the Trustees) and the Mayor of Kensington & Chelsea, Councillor Christopher Buckmaster.  However, on this beautiful sunny morning in Kensington, with the clear blue sky, the red crane, the high viz jackets and white helmets, it was the charming but somewhat frail Sir Terence who quietly stole the show.

 

Fast Forward to 17th November 2016:  The residents of Kensington have been watching the development of Holland Green (shiny lego-brick style residential development) and the Design Museum with interest.  First came the shop – beautifully small, but as it transpired, augmented by the larger store in the Museum situated on the ground floor of Holland Green.  Then on 17th the worlds press were invited to attend a photocall with Deyan Sudjic, Terence Conran, John Pawson, and Luqman Arnold with the multicoloured backdrop of ‘Designer Maker User’.   The architecture is wonderful; the roof structure having been left mainly in-situ from its Commonwealth Institute days, and the original marble flooring has been cleaned up and provides a panel for the main back wall.  The only sadness is that the star shaped design  which used to be on the centre of the original floor was not deemed by English Heritage to be of significant historical interest, so that was not saved.  The original copper parabola roof has been kept and can be viewed from Kensington High St. and Holland Park. Judging by the amount of interest world-wide the Design Museum is set to be a world class masterpiece of design, in its own right.

22nd November 2017  The Launch Party:  Attended by at last 1200 guests and hosted by Deyan, Terence and Alexandra Schulman – this was the party of all parties.   The champagne flowed, the atmosphere tremendous, guests very ‘designer-ish’ and the speeches genuine and sincere.  The affection between Terence and Deyan was clear, with both insisting the whole venture could not have been done without the other.  This was a huge day for Terence who later admitted to me that what he was really looking forward to was watching people come into the museum on the first open day, incognito!

24 November 2017:   The day has finally come.  Considering the world-wide interest and jamboree of the past few days, the ‘cutting of the ribbon’ as it was called, was quiet and sedate.  Only two photographers, (in-house and ourselves), the Trustees, architects and staff were present.  Upon cutting the ribbon, staff cheered and clapped – the event felt like a family birthday party than a corporate occasion – more akin to a celebration of a coming of age.  Perhaps in a sense that’s what it really was.  A long journey, a vision from a gentleman who has finally achieved what he felt so certain of all those years ago.  That design has a place, not only in our lives, but in society.  Bravo!

www.thekensingtonmagazine.com

Images and copyright:  www.lucyelliottphotography.com

www.designmuseum.org

 

 

Radiant HRH The Princess Royal reviews Chelsea Pensioners at Founder’s Day Parade

HRH The Princess Royal officially opened the refurbished Wren designed ‘Long Wards’ whilst visiting Royal Hospital Road, home to the Chelsea Pensioners, at their recent annual Founder’s Day Parade. Dressed in pale blue and looking strikingly similar to the Queen at a young age, she enchanted the men in scarlet and showed her mother’s knack for sharing a quick joke with all she met. Sporting an Oak Leaf, symbolic of the tree King Charles II hid behind in order to avoid capture by the Parliamentary forces in 1661 at the Battle of Worcester, ‘Oak Apple Day’ as Founder’s Day is also known, is held on a day closest to King Charles II birthday (29th May) and the date of his restoration as King in 1660.  Those attending the parade represented many of the British corps, rejiments and military charities of which HRH The Princess Royal is Colonel in Chief, Colonel or Patron.

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

 

Chelsea Flower Show 2016

This year’s Chelsea Flower Show will appeal to all types of gardeners.  From the flamboyant to the traditional, from the informal to the formal, this Show has it all.  Phillip Johnson’s 300,000 individually crochet poppies covering 21,000 sq.ft is a visual masterpiece and surely one which can never be forgotten; each poppy representing a memory of a loved one.  Elsewhere was a Heath-Robinson like garden, with moving plant pots, twirling trees and a moving flower bed.  For the more royal amongst us, the Queen was represented by a 10ft cut out of her head, filled with 10,000 flowers – a striking image used by many journalists.  The show felt more inclusive this year, taking itself less seriously, but no less impressive for that.  Keen gardeners of all ages mixed with celebrities and stars, their common love of plants uniting them in appreciating all that Chelsea has to offer.

One of the biggest surprises was the Garden Garage in the Artisan Section – a beautifully designed and tranquil area in which to house a car. Magazines and broadsheets focused on the first black designer for Chelsea, ever (which rather puts to shame the notion that gardening is for all); however, the bonus of the attention is that the RHS and wider gardening world, are rectifying this and, we hope, gardening in the future, will really be for all. As we hope Chelsea will be too.

Images and copyright: lucyelliottphotography.com
www.thekensingtonmagazine.com

 

‘One night at Kensington Palace’ with Joy Sigaud and the Philharmonia Orchestra

Kensington Palace and The Orangery provided a wonderful backdrop for an exclusive charity event to raise monies for the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity and Alpha Boys School.  ’Inspirations’ founded by Joy Sigaud, is an organisation raising funds for various charities, through music events.

 

Guests were treated to champagne and canapes in the Stone Room in the Palace prior to moving on to The Orangery for the Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by John Gibbons (Joy’s mentor) to perform a collection of Joy’s compositions selected for chamber orchestra.  ‘One Night at the Palace’ showcased Joy’s talent as a composer.

 

Born in England of Jamaican parents, Joy tells a story through her music of the movement of peoples in both an historical and contemporary context, bought to life by the passionate playing of the orchestra.  As a child she learnt to play the piano age 4 and has been composing since the age of 10.

 

The large audience comprised friends and family, together with dignitaries. Her Excellency Aloun Assamba High Commissioner of Jamaica gave an impassioned speech.  Supporters of the evening included The Jamaica High Commission, Tiffany & Co, Boodles, Donna Karan, Belgravia Gallery and many more.  A wonderful and very memorable treat for all who were lucky enough to be present.

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

www.thekensingtonmagazine.com

www.jsinspirations.org

 

 

 

Sophisticated Slapstick, gymnastic artistry and innocent fun reminding you of childhood: Giffords Circus, Chiswick House

The summer season comprises Garden parties, rowing, cricket and tennis. Added to this should be a compulsory visit to a vintage family-run circus. Giffords Circus performing ‘Moon Songs’ at nearby Chiswick House is a wonderful evenings entertainment for all (and not necessarily just families). Tremendous, heart-in-the-mouth acrobatic and gymnastic feats, a bear riding a horse being led by a small dog, magic you really can’t believe, canon blowing clowns and tiny boys juggling. Candyfloss, ice-cream and pizzas are sold and after the show you could have your own picnic. Another option is to have supper in the UKs only travelling restaurant: ‘Circus Sauce’ – a marque decorated in bunting and country flowers, providing four courses of delicious home made (comfort) food served on communcal oak tables. An evening of Sophisticated slapstick, gymnastic artistry, goofy clown – pure innocent fun reminding you of your childhood.Tickets are priced at £22 for adults and £14 for children with the exception of Chiswick House and Gardens.  Tickets for these performances are priced at £25 per adult and £15 per child.  Under 3s are free to all shows if they are sitting on a lap.  www.giffordscircus.com

www.thekensingtonmagazine.com

Images:  Lucy Elliott, www.lucyelliottophotography.com

 

 

Dame Judi Dench at the Unveiling and Dedication of ‘The Conversion of St Paul’

Dame Judi Dench delighted guests at St Paul’s Church in Covent Garden by formally launching the sculpture by renowned Bruce Denny.  The 80 yr old, resplendent in a beautiful cream outfit,  commented that although she’d been unable to see the eclipse earlier that morning, she was pleased to see the sun now shining and declared it was ‘…  a wonderful way to welcome Bruce Denny’s lovely statue’.  The cutting of the ribbon followed a formal service held in the church, commonly referred to as The Actor’s Church, with the Rev’d Richard Syms and the Rev’d Simon Grigg in the presence of the Deputy Lord Mayor of Westminster, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowen Williams, and numerous actors/actresses.

www.lucyelliottphotography.com
www.thekensingtonmagazine.com

Images and copyright:  Lucy Elliott

 

HRH Duchess of Cornwall visits Holland Park School and meets winner of Creative Writing Competition by First Story

HRH Duchess of Cornwall delighted staff and students last week by visiting Holland Park School in Kensington. Shown around the futuristic looking new school by Head Teacher Coliin Hall, she clearly enjoyed seeing the building and popping in to join in various classes. Admitting that neither Latin nor Science were her particular favourite, it was clear she was more comfortable in the English classes. In addition she visited three classrooms holding ‘creative writing’ classes with schools from across the country, participating in the charity, First Story of which the Duchess is Patron. She was clearly at ease and didn’t just speak with children at the front of the class but ventured to the very back, ensuring every child could claim to have met the Duchess, in years to come. Those who were invited to speak to read out their work, were in the main, rather nervous, but with her encouragement and genuine enthusiasm, nerves were soon dispelled and children from disadvantaged background proved that with the right type of care and nurturing, anything is possible.

The Duchess then attended a synopsis of the Staff production of Much Ado About Nothing, at the end of which she announced and met the winner of the creative writing competition 2014-15. In turn she was presented with a bouquet of flowers and a professionally produced anthology of work by the pupils of First Story. Finally she gave a speech in which she surmised that due to the high standard she had seen that morning, it could well be that one of these pupils may be a famous writer in the future. Inspiration indeed!

www.thekensingtonmagazine.com
www.hollandparkschool.co.uk

www.firststory.org.uk

All images and copyright: Lucy Elliott
www.lucyelliottphotography.com

Life in the Bush: Molori Safari Lodge in Madikwe Game Reserve South Africa

We recently had the honour of reviewing Molori Safari Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve for our March Travel edition ‘Out of Kensington’.  Madikwe is a malarial-free area, some 400 km from Johannesburg and is home to the Big Five and some 350 different species of birds. Here is an excerpt from our diary:

We are having such an amazing experience and really feel we have arrived!  Molori Safari Game lodge is wonderful – very small, very understated smart, serious customer service, lovely people and no bling in sight.  We were given a two bedroom exec ‘suite’ – more like a lovely house with its own pool over looking a watering hole – the first lunchtime about 20 elephants paraded to it – along with a couple of babies – a wonderful sight.  We were v lucky as we never saw this again, and they didn’t stay long.

Game drives are typically about 4 – 6 hours long (in a session) which go surprisingly fast.  We have an excellent guide who has not been to uni, but is the most intelligent person I’ve ever met.  He is paying to send his children to private school, which I suspect is a first for an African guide.   He is extremely passionate and enthusiastic.  Highlights were coming across two lions who had just killed a wildebeest and had eaten so much they were hyperventilating; having dinner in the bush – table cloths, candles etc with the owners of the lodge and their family who happened to be on holiday at the same time as us (here think the South African equivalent of Richard Branson).  Very friendly and welcoming as were his kids (early 20s) and wife.  There was a tea-candlelit path to the loo which I expected to be a hole in the ground but no, behind a little wooden fence sat a rather splendid porcelain white loo – facing onto the bush with the stars above.

The next day we went for a night safari and came across a leopard, apparently snoozing, but a minute later was up chasing a poor baby rhino who was stuck in the mud in a watering hole.  With fierce defence and defiance from its mother the leopard backed off. The guide then cooked us a stew in the bush, this time more informal, just with some camping chairs etc. but with a very full large freezer box, akin to a full bar – plenty of whiskey.  After a lesson in astronomy we packed up at about 10.30 pm. went to see how the lions were getting on with their feasting, had a good look and then realised the jeep had a puncture.  Now this was scary stuff.  One lion a good distance off, the other about 6 – 10 feet (depending upon who you spoke to) – I reckon probably about 7 ft. However, close enough.  We managed to get the jeep a few feet further away, turned it around, and then the guide changed it – Stephen with a large spotlight to track the nearer lion, and me with a smaller torch to shine on the wheel, guide and jeep.  He managed it in about 10 minutes and then we were off.  I was rather frightened but the other lady with us was genuinely terrified.

Next day I went out on my own with the guide, for a walking safari – I thought I was very brave and that we’d been out for an hour and walked miles, but it turned out we had only gone about 500 metres!  Really interesting and learnt more about nature, biology, science and animals/birds than had done in a lifetime.  We then came across a cheetah lying under a tree.  The guide turned the jeep round (being a fellow photographer), so we had the best angle – I lay on the floor of the jeep (being the only one in it, I had plenty of room) and then played eyeball with the cheetah.  At first it was fun/an experience, but the longer it went on the more unnerved I became, so I then demanded that we move.  The most incredible sight and when we returned and the guide was beaming saying that was magnificent/amazing, for someone who goes into the bush every day, was really something.  This is an amazing trip.  They do rhino conservation too but we haven’t been able to see that in action as we hadn’t got the right passes.  All in all this is a trip of a lifetime and far surpasses the other three I’ve been on in the past.

With thanks to Jonathan Peach of JPS Luxury Safari’s for arranging this trip:  www.jpsluxurysafaris.com

Lucy & Stephen were guests of Molori Safari Lodge, and flew with Trailfinders.

Copyright and images:  www.lucyelliottphotography.com