Annual Review Archive
Newsletter:Water Water Everywhere, John Anderson November 2012
It was a very good day. Bright, sunny and warm , it was perfect for the Great River Race on 15 September. And it just got better. Just as we have since 1999, we successfully hosted the reception tent for the mayors of six London Boroughs and were visited by Admiral Lord West. There was a definite thrill when Olympic rowing gold and silver medal winners respectively Sophie Hosking and Rob Williams dropped by. They arrived in the Gloriana. Then, to top it all, our crew (picture below with Lord West) rowed Skerry home to finish second in her class and raise over £2000 to support our Active Environment Programme. Well done to them! (See also Skerry captain Patrick Kidner's report on the race.)
Skerry, just like the magnificent Gloriana, was built by local boat-builder Mark Edwards.
Many of us will have seen Gloriana lying at Mark’s berth just by Richmond Bridge as she was fitted out with Royal crests and lots of gold leaf for the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations. You might have seen her later at the Olympic Park.
Mark will be giving a talk about the Gloriana for us next year so watch out for this event on the website and bring your friends. Meantime, you can bid for a great watercolour of Gloriana now on our website or come along to the fun of the Art Auction on 8 November and bid in person.
Richmond is the only London Borough to have banks on both sides of the Thames. We are keenly involved in all aspects of the conservation and protection of this great natural resource. We are linked to Thames Alive an organisation promoting the Thames for London and the country. Have a look at their website thamesalive.org.uk. Thames Alive has been closely involved with the Gloriana since the beginning and is now working to find a suitable long term home for her.
Our volunteers work regularly on the river’s towpaths and foreshores. On 3 November at the annual draw-off walk and river clean-up we will again provide education opportunities to examine the archaeology, heritage and natural life of the river. Please come along and join in, just wear your wellies! (For the cleanup, meet at the drawdock beside Richmond Bridge, on the Twickenham side, at 10.00. For the walk, meet at Richmond lock at 10.30)
Working now in the neighbouring riparian boroughs of Kingston and Hounslow continues and extends our work on both the Thames and its tributaries. On the River Crane our volunteers have helped with the work of Friends of River Crane Environment and we are just getting started in Kingston, conserving stretches of Tolworth Brook and the Hogsmill River in partnership with local environmental groups and Kingston University.
Working with other groups along the Thames has always been a significant factor for us, sharing knowledge, experience and opportunities. We were community members on the steering group of London’s Arcadia (a £4million HLF project to restore the Arcadian Thames landscapes) and the Environment Agency’s consultation project ‘Floodscape’. Working with West London River Group, Richmond Council and TSK2C we produced the Wooded Towpath Audit from Kew to Beverley Brook. And, we chaired a group comprising PLA, Environment Agency, River Thames Society and others that produced a Table of Ownership identitifying landowners along the Surrey stretch.
We continue to support the Thames Landscape Strategy and Thames Strategy Kew to Chelsea on projects to maintain the biodiversity and accessibility of the river’s edge. With TCV and other volunteering organisations we have re-created several hundred metres of willow spiling to protect the banks bordering Kew Gardens tow path, creating havens for invertebrates and native flora.
On the heritage front too the Thames is important. Our HLF-funded project ‘Between the Locks’ worked with school students to explore the lives of people who make or made their livings from the river, in particular highlighting the role of the watermen and lightermen. We have campaigned for and achieved listed status for boathouses and the infrastructure of boatbuilding which was key activity for past generations in the borough.
Newsletter:Safeguarding Historic Buildings 19 Sept 2012
We have recently been awarded a grant of £9000 for each of three years by Richmond Council exclusively for work with the historic environment. The grant has three main objectives to provide:
- Public access through the conservation of key buildings and landscapes of historic importance
- Access to informal heritage education opportunities
- Opportunities for people to develop practical heritage conservation skills
Importantly, the grant enables us to deliver on these objectives by engaging Heather McGrath Alcock (picture left) as our Historic Buildings Co-ordinator.
Heather has extensive experience in the planning, assessment, sustainable adaptive use and restoration of historic buildings and sites. She is already getting to grips with the role in conjunction with Angela Kidner. Watch out for Heather’s blog and more information on our website.
It is true that as we dash about our daily business we can miss or take for granted the scenery around us. Looking up above the shop fronts can often surprise us when we notice architectural details or old painted shop signs on gable ends. As part of our strategic objective to be a community resource we are working on improving public awareness of our local built heritage.
We are excited to announce a new initiative from our Historic Buildings Group entitled Then & Now. This is a volunteer-led project to document the borough's built heritage that is unprotected by statutory listing or location in a conservation area. The project kicks-off with a case study of three properties but will open to members' nominations next year. We intend to link this work with village plans to help inform and involve wider public. Get in touch with Heather at
if you have a site you would like to nominate or if you would like to volunteer!
At the AGM in June we discussed the establishment of our community interest company (CIC). The whole purpose of the CIC is to generate funding that can be passed to the Trust and which, very importantly, is not restricted to specific projects. To that end, from 1 October we will have a conservation consultancy operating within the CIC. It will be able to take forward the programme for Richmond Council and the hunt will then be on for more paying clients.
In my last newsletter I mentioned the funding we have to introduce practical conservation volunteering in Kingston. Work on this is progressing. Looking slightly further ahead we are thinking about how we can build on this opportunity to work with the local community to protect historic and other important buildings in Kingston, perhaps by extending Then and Now. We will keep you informed about this and other developments as we go along.