Everywhere in Regents Park


Huge vistas with tiered planting


Clusters of blush and pastel bushes, next to vivid fuchsia and yellow;


Swags and ropes beside park benches and wild-meadow planting;


and Japanese vistas over the gardens.

Passmore Edwards Sailors Palace


At a time when government seems to be relying more on old-fashioned philanthropy to keep services running, rather exert itself to help, I was intrigued to see this building in East London recently.


Passmore Edwards was a philanthropist of the 1890s and 1900s whose other endowments include the library that is now part of the Bush Theatre in West London. In the new century, he endowed this mock Tudor gatehouse to be a place of rest for international sailors staying in London on leave.


Poignantly the project, opened by the Kaiser and Edward VII, fell through when WW1 broke out. But the building remains, and more can be read about it here and here.


Blog of the week


I was searching for something else which will feature on the blog soon when I came across the blog Ornamental Passions, dedicated to noticing all those small details on buildings’ windowframes and doormantels, carved plaques and now-baffling statues that London teems with. To my delight, one of the first posts I read shed light on this statue that I often pass in Lincolns Inn Fields.


Looking forward to hearing these:

at King’s Place soon. I was there last night to hear these amazing women hold the room in their hand with tales of Miss Lalla (“she was just a precious person…she never went anywhere without her violin and her rifle.”), Jeanette and Jeanie, lullabies and dips in the archive.

Most heart-tearing of all was the 70 year writing to the Library of Congress in 1940, begging them to preserve the songs and stories of her now-vanished family in Maine. After a string of letters, and pair of white Christmas mittens, knitted each stitch with affection and a song, her wish was granted and we remember this:

It was 1883, and I was 12 the night before we left Nova Scotia for Maine. Everyone was singing and playing, pretending it was merry as usual and Mother was asked to sing this (Farewell, sweet Erin). In the middle of the song her voice broke and she left the room. I never heard her sing it again.



I feel I ought to go and see this Eduardo Paolozzi show at the Whitechapel Gallery – it would be like eating a bright bowl of kale (not as bad as you fear, and surprisingly energising) – and I do really want to know more about the artist whose Tottenham Court Road mosaics I’m getting increasingly fond of. But…

It’s the last weekend and I haven’t got there yet, which tells you a lot, especially as I’ve been seeing lots of art recently, like this and this. Something tells me I’m not getting there.




A few weeks ago, I went to a fantastic free exhibition at The British Museum taken from their prints and drawings collection. It covers 150 years from Cotman and Turner to Sutherland and Rothenstein and all styles from nature studies and travel art to war studies.


The real delight was seeing artists I’d never discovered before. From top to bottom: Joseph Brett / John Singer Sargent / Hercules Brabazon Brabazon (best name ever?!) / CW Nevison / Edward Wandsworth / Michael Rothenstein / Anna Airy / Joseph Pennell / James McBey / Elizabeth Forbes



Recommended. By the time Henri started his tap-dancing stairway to paradise, I’d been carried away many times. Beautiful sets, stunning costumes (the jewels!), and a great cast.



Hard to believe that this is in Zone 5 London, not a country village,


the outline of the estate grounds of Cannons is still clear,


and inside here is the painted glory of the chapel of the Dukes of Chandos, paymasters to Queen Anne in her Dutch wars, who made their money by gambling with the public purse at high interest rates and used their wealth to employ the finest talents such as Handel.

I was here to here some of the music that Handel wrote for this very venue, a time-machine if ever there was one.