From the Newsletter Editorial...

It is fervently hoped that this newsletter finds all our members unaffected health-wise by the current coronavirus crisis and that it will soon be combated.  


All membership is highly valued and with subscriptions due in April, where applicable, a reminder of this is enclosed.  To support renewal a brief summary of TIS’s activities during the year is included in the accompanying advice about cancellation of May’s Annual General Meeting.  As soon as it is feasible arrangements will be made for a further meeting to include, TIS Secretary, Christine’s, postponed talk themed on West Middlesex Hospital’s 100th anniversary.


While the advertised visit to Fuller’s Brewery had to be cancelled because it did not attract sufficient interest, fortunately we were able to go ahead with our planned March meeting.  During setting up an unwanted guest arrived in the form of a starling which had to be evicted. The first session was scheduled to be Paul Gibbinson of Hounslow Men’s Shed giving background to the charity’s work overall and the renovation of Park Road Cemetery Chapels and Mortuary.  Because of work commitments this was not possible and thanks are due to Dean Griffiths for stepping into the breach.  Dean has been involved with others for two or more years of consultations and planning that has gone into commencement of the ambitious aim to transform into a Nature Reserve, Northcote Avenue Recreation Ground also known as the Pitt Park.  The area in question, which has Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation status, is hidden behind the Furniture Project in Northcote Avenue and bordered by the River Crane’s tidal stretch.   This provides a unique local habitat for a variety of wildlife.   


Highlight of the social evening, after some excellent refreshments, was a highly professional talk by Pieter Morpurgo detailing the history and restoration of the Water Gardens Bushy Park.  Built by the 1st Earl of Halifax as a private recreation garden in 1710 during the 20thC they became hidden, covered with undergrowth and silt.  Consisting of a baroque style set of pools, cascades and a canal they underwent a major restoration programme in 2009 to bring them back to their former glory in good part due to contributions from the Friends of Bushy Park.  These gardens are now open to the public daily except on Mondays.   Pieter went on to explain he had undertaken to document through photographs and video the £1m restoration undertaken on the 17thC statue of the Roman Goddess Diana centre piece of Bushy Park.  His wealth of detailed photographs showed the tremendous amount of work involved, not just restoring the gold leaf covered statue itself but its surrounding including bronzes, four each of boys, water nymphs and shells. Designed 1637 at the request of King Charles l for his wife, it was moved to its present-day prominent position in the middle of the Chestnut Avenue in 1713 and certainly those present at our meeting when passing in future will now look at it with new eyes.