Author Archives: Caroline Brock

Great Pagoda restoration, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Restoration of the Great Pagoda

Update 30/07/2018

Polly Putnam, one of the Historic Royal Palaces curators who has worked for the last 2 years on the restoration of the Great Pagoda, has kindly provided us with the text of the speech she made at the re-opening of the Great Pagoda, described in the update below.

Here is the text – it is a fascinating and very personal account of the meticulous research behind the restoration, uncovering definitive evidence that the dragons were indeed an original feature of the design.

Polly Putnam Great Pagoda opening talk

Update 13/07/2018

In recognition of our sponsorship of one of the newly restored dragons, we were invited by Historic Royal Palaces  to the opening of the Great Pagoda yesterday in the presence of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.

 

 

 

 

 

The Prince of Wales at the opening

The Pagoda is now open to access so you can climb to the top and take in the panoramic views across the Gardens and beyond. The dragons are most easily seen from the outside though you can see their snouts and the occasional claw if you look hard from inside.

The dragons restored

The ground floor entrance has been transformed with information on the history of the Pagoda, a panel showing who contributed to the restoration, including the Kew Society, and two large encased automata – turn the handles and different objects and figures in the scene start to move. Below is a picture of the Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Richard Deverell admiring one of the installations which depicts William Chambers, the architect of the Pagoda, visiting Canton.

Richard Deverell admiring the automata

At each level the floor you have reached is shown in beautiful lettering. Here is the number 5 – the level occupied by our dragon.

The floral lettering for the number of each level

At the top floor are equally beautifully executed descriptions of the vistas, including our dragon’s view of the Royal Observatory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is no doubt that the restoration was necessary. Here is a photo of one problem area now addressed:

Update 04/07/2018

The Great Pagoda within the Royal Botanic Gardens has been beautifully restored to its former glory. The meticulous work has been overseen by the Historic Royal Palaces. The Kew Society sponsored 1 of the flight of 80 dragons which were one of the original  features of the Pagoda. Our dragon is on level 5, position 6, and, appropriately we think given our concerns for the heritage of Kew, faces the historic King’s Observatory.
You can see our dragon here:
You can see more background to the history of the Great Pagoda here: https://www.kew.org/kew-gardens/attractions/great-pagoda
And on the King’s Observatory here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King%27s_Observatory

Richmond in Bloom

Richmond in Bloom: Best Village in Bloom Update 08/07/2018 The judges – Hugo Ross Tatum and Ed Locke  – viewed our entry last week, starting with the bench/planter outside the Kew Greenhouse cafe.  We are grateful to the Shoe Station for their flower laden tricycle and to Canopy for their floral window display to helpContinue Reading

2C Blake Mews

Change of Use from office to residential (Richmond Council reference 18/1765/GPD15) Update 08/07/2018 The applicant for this change of use has now withdrawn the application. Update 10/06/2018 Though ir seems there is not much the Council can do to stop this change of use, we have recorded a general observation to say the permitted developmentContinue Reading

Garden Court, Kew Road

Garden Court, corner of Kew Road and Lichfield Road (Richmond Council ref 18/0122/FUL) Update 20/07/2018 This application has been turned down by Richmond Council on grounds of the design which they consider would be incongruous and visually intrusive and also as no contribution to affordable housing is included. Update 01/06/2018 An application has been submittedContinue Reading

Kew Society Chair 2018

The Kew Society will have a new Chair from its next AGM in October 2018. We hope members will come along to the AGM to say farewell to the current Chair, Caroline Brock, and vote for the proposed new Chair, Roger Mason. Our latest Newsletter contains a short article from both the outgoing and theContinue Reading

The Stag Brewery Lower Richmond Road

The Stag Brewery site redevelopment (Richmond Council references 18/0547/FUL and 18/0548/18) Update 16/05/2018 We have submitted our objections to this development, largely related to the impact it will have on traffic congestion and consequent air pollution in Kew.  A very large number of objections have been made. Update 24/04/2018 Two applications have been submitted forContinue Reading

15-23 Station Parade

15-23 Station Parade (Richmond Council ref. 17/3891/FUL) Update 02/02/2018 We have submitted observations on this application for a 2 bedroom flat on a second floor, above Lloyds Pharmacy. This is an important building in the centre of Kew Village as recognised by its designation as a Building of Townscape Merit (BTM), At ground level, theContinue Reading

53 Old Deer Park Gardens

Land adjacent to 53 Old Deer Park Gardens (Richmond Council ref 17/4263/FUL) Update 19/01/2018 This application has been withdrawn by the applicant. Update 04/01/2018 We have commented on the proposed construction of a 4 bedroom house with 2 car parking spaces and refuse, recycling and cycle storage and replacement of part of the boundary wallContinue Reading

Electric Vehicle Charging Points

Electric Vehicle Charging Points Update 19/02/2018 Richmond Council are consulting on the location of more electric vehicle charging points in Kew and elsewhere in the Borough. You can see the proposals and have your say, by 11 March, here: https://haveyoursay.citizenspace.com/richmondecs/electric-vehicle-18/consult_view/ Update 18/01/2018 The rapid electric vehicle charging point at 241-245 Lower Richmond Road (ref 17/3687/FUL)Continue Reading

Cycle Superhighway 9

Cycle Superhighway 9 Update 13/12/2017 Transport for London’s proposals for Cycle Superhighway 9 from Kensington Olympia to Brentford town centre has been the subject of much comment in the Evening Standard and elsewhere, most objecting on grounds that Chiswick High Road is not approprrate as the road is a relatively narrow traditional high street. ThereContinue Reading

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Great Pagoda restoration, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Restoration of the Great Pagoda Update 30/07/2018 Polly Putnam, one of the Historic R [more]
Richmond in Bloom
Richmond in Bloom: Best Village in Bloom Update 08/07/2018 The judges - Hugo Ross Tatum and Ed [more]

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