Contact Us

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Contact the Kew Society

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Postal address (and registered address)

The Kew Society
13 Ruskin Avenue
Registered Charity number 1173016

Executive Committee

Please use the following email addresses to contact the committee members directly.


Caroline Brock

Hon. Treasurer

Mike Adams

Hon. Secretary

Claire Bethel


Martin Taylor, Caroline Brock, Christopher Cannon, John Oxley, John Ricketts, Alice Shackleton, Gregory Simoes


Michael Fletcher (non-committee)


Mary Done (non-committee)


Avril Dalglish, Venetia Harper, Roger Mason


Nick Hutchings (non-committee)

Press and PR

Nora Dennehy

Newsletter Editor

Claire Bethel


Sue May & Jane Hogan: Events

Greyhound Pub Kew Green who kindly host our monthly meetings


Nick Baird

Portraits of Nick Baird Chief Executive of UKTI

Nick Baird has been Group Corporate Affairs Director of Centrica plc since March 2014.

Before that he had a long and varied career in Government. He was CEO of UK Trade and Investment, Director General in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and British Ambassador to Turkey. He was a member of the Board of the FCO and of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

He is a non-Executive Director of Nordanglia Education, a member of the Advisory Council of the Sheffield University School of Management, was on the Cole Commission giving advice on exports to the Labour party before the last general election and is a member of the Development Committee of the Prince’s Teaching Institute.

Importantly for us he a Trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Sir David Durie

Sir David Durie

Sir David Durie and his wife, Sue, have been Kew residents since 1977 when they have not been abroad.

David is a retired public servant, working mainly in the Department of Trade and Industry and in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He was Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Gibraltar from 2000-2003 and UK Deputy Ambassador to the European Union from 1991-1995.

He is currently co-chair of Governors at The Queen’s School and is also a Patron of the Kew Community Trust.

Gudrun Edwards

Gudrun Edwards

Gudrun Edwards has lived in Kew with her husband David since 1965. She is a founder and, until this summer, leader of the Kew Sinfonia which was established in 1986. She gives many recitals, performs as a soloist with various orchestras and is a well known music teacher in west London. She is now, with her husband, President of the Kew Sinfonia.

Sir Donald Insall CBE

Donald Insall

Sir Donald Insall (CBE 1995, Kt 2010): Architect-planner.   Bristol family (handmade leather travelware), moved to London Chelsea, has lived in Kew since 1973. Founder and past Chair, now Consultant:  Donald Insall Associates, Architects (Projects have included post-fire restoration of Windsor Castle, and locally restorations of Asgill House, Richmond, Kew Palace, Marianne North Gallery).  Founder-Commissioner, English Heritage (1971).  Awards include EAHY Medal for Restoration of Chevening (1973), “People in Conservation” Award (RICS, 1999) and Europa Nostra Medal of Honour (2000).  Author “Care of Old Buildings Today” (1972); “Living Buildings – Architectural Conservation: Philosophy, Principles & Practice” (2008).  Club:  The Athenæum.  Hobbies:  Places & Buildings, Craftsmanship, Photography, Watercolours, Old cars. Wife Libby:  Piano Teacher, Guide at Kew Gardens (& participant annual Garden Opening at Kew Green). Family:  Son Robert (Scientist Molecular Biology) – Glasgow; Son Christopher (Satellite Communications) – Wimbledon; Daughter Hilary (Cello, Sports-Massage) – Kingston.  Six growing grandchildren.

Baroness Tonge of Kew


Dr Jenny Tonge qualified in medicine from UCL/H in 1964 and worked in the NHS for over 30years, specialising in Women’s Health. She has lived in Kew since 1974 and her children attended local schools.
She was a local councillor for Kew from !981- !990 and the MP for Richmond Park from 1997-2004, when she stood down following the death of her daughter Mary.
She was elevated to the House of Lords in 2005 as Baroness Tonge of Kew!
She is now widowed and has 2 surviving children and 9 grandchildren.
Her main interests in the House of Lords are International Development and the Middle East, and as a consequence she travels extensively.


Electric Vehicle Charging Points Update 19/02/2018 Richmond Council are consulting on the loca [more]
London Mayor's draft new London Plan Update 28/02/2018 We have submitted comments from the Kew [more]


Event Information:

  • Wed
    5:30 pmRoyal Botanic Gardens, Kew

    Kew Society members were offered a rare opportunity to visit the Economic Botany Collection at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. This is the oldest and perhaps the most fascinating of Kew's science collections containing over 100,000 items. The collection began in 1847.

    The tour was lead by Mark Nesbitt, who is senior Ethobotanist and Curator at RGB Kew and he delved into Kew's history and current science research via a unique collections of rubber, lacebark, Chinese medicines and other useful plants. The term Economic Botany essentially means 'useful plants'.


    Jamaica lace plant. George II once had a suit made using this 'imitation' lace.

    The bark simply peals back to expose this extraordinary lace.

    Mark has been working with groups to help reintroduce this plant for commercial purposes.

    The collection houses many & varied Chinese medicines.

    These Alpine plants from New Zealand were labelled 'Vegetable Sheep' and caused a sensation in Victorian London.

    Maori cloak, though to be ceremonial. Made from an Alpine plant that mimics leather.

    Mark has been working with ethnic groups using this very valuable cloak.

    Wild rubber hot water bottle.


    The tour was very generously free and we are exceedingly grateful to Mark Nesbitt for making this most generous offer to our members.

    Click here for Mark's own page detailing his research