Holland Park 1980: a day out

Although we’ve seen some images of Holland Park on the blog on most occasions I’ve concentrated on some detail, like the murals, or more recently on interiors of Holland House. This week I want to show you some photographs taken as part of our photographic survey by our photographer John Rogers back in 1980. He wasn’t concerned with documenting every corner of the Park but was looking for interesting views which might be familiar to visitors and odd details which might have been missed.

In 1980 the Greater London Council (GLC) still ran the park. It was transferred to the Royal Borough of Kensington  and Chelsea in 1985. Some features have changed in the last thirty six years, some have remained the same.


This fairly dull looking colonnade facing the Orangery is now the home of the highly decorative murals I mentioned above.

Here is the nearby pond, which now has some railings around it.


And the other side the Belvedere Restaurant which probably no longer admits bare chested men.


The pleasures of a municipal park, however grand its history, have remained the same for many years. Hanging around on a sunny day doing nothing much at all.


Stretching in the sun as in this south view of the Orangery.



(I believe this sculpture is by Eric Gill, called The Maid, placed on this spot in 1976 but moved  in the 1990s because of weather damage and now in the park cafe. Judging from recent pictures, where the figure looks very worn in comparison the weathering was significant.)

Playing at the play centre.


Especially in the sandpit.

holand-park-toddlers-playing-centre-copyFor older kids there were the climbing ropes at the adventure playground.

holland-park-rope-ladders-playcentre-1980And swinging by rope.


For older visitors there were  ducks and other avian creatures to feed.


From the large, not easily missed varieties.


To the small and sometimes well camouflaged.


On land, or on water.


Or between the two.


There was sport, for the athletically inclined.


Or you could just stroll down a secluded avenue of trees.


Discover statues, some prominent, as the one below.


(Henry Richard Vassall-Fox, 3rd Baron Holland . The statue is now found in the middle of a pond, although here it seems to be entirely on land. It was moved when the block of flats, Melbury Court was built)

Some obscure, almost concealed.


(The so-called Melancholy Old Man)

And some just plain odd.



Cherubs about their business near the Ice House gallery, accompanied by fish, innocent in this case. (They’re not always so blameless).

The High Street is not so far away.



Regular readers will have noticed that there was no post last week, just about the only occasion we’ve missed a week. I was going to be vague about my absence on a personal matter but it may have some bearing on future content so I’ll just say that my mother passed away over Christmas after a short illness and I went home to deal with the funeral arrangements and other matters. Frankly, I was not in a blogging frame of mind even though I already had this week’s pictures selected. It was about this time last year that she was complaining to me about the extensiveness of the news coverage of the death of David Bowie and I was explaining that for some of us this was a significant event. It’s been said that 2016 was a year with a great many deaths. I can only agree.

9 responses to “Holland Park 1980: a day out

  • Roger J Morgan

    Isn’t that Stanley Green, the Oxford St ‘Protein Man’ 4th from the left in ‘For older visitors there were ducks and other avian creatures to feed’?

    • Dave Walker

      First I thought “what?” but when I had a closer look I think you might be right. I haven’t thought about him for years. I remembered his odd tone of voice as he declaimed his message.

  • London Remembers

    Sorry to hear about your bereavement – the death of someone close to us puts that of celebrities into perspective.

    Thank you for publishing these photos – I’ve searched before for the “just plain odd” statue but not found it. Can anyone describe where it is?

  • Marcia Morriset

    I am so very sorry to hear of the death of your mother. Please accept my condolences. I also want to thank you for the time and effort you put into this blog. It brings back many fond memories of times spent in a flat on Hornton, directly across from City Hall.

  • Karen

    Dave – I am very sorry to hear that your mother passed away over Christmas.
    I, too, would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your hard work in presenting the blog each week. I first came across it by chance after Christmas 2015 (just after I had lost my own mother) and ever since then I’ve really looked forward toreading it every week. I love all the old photos and I particularly enjoy your interesting and amusing observations. I triied to post a thank-you after your Christmas Days/Afternoon Tea post – but obviously screwed it up as it didn’t ‘take’. Hopefully this one will. Please keep up the excellent work.

  • lucyclemson

    I am so very sorry to read of your Mother’s passing, and like those above, appreciate very much the time and effort putting together each post must involve. Being in my 30s I usually have no personal recollection of the time periods visited week by week, but as a lover of London history I always find it fascinating to read about. The old photos are excellent and totally transport the viewer to another time. A difficult thing to achieve, and I am yet to encounter another blog that does it. Thank you for all you do.

  • Andrew Moulang

    I came to Holland park school in 1976.
    i am looking for Charles Swann and Andrew Hopkins can anyone help?
    Andrew Moulang

  • Ezra Dumham

    Mr. Walker

    Thank you so much for posting these pictures. They indeed keep memories alive. I played at this park as a child in the early 80’s. We lived on Melbury Road. I have often described the park to my wife and children. Posted overseas and started coming back to the park 8 years ago on visits back to London, to show and share it with my children. I miss the wood and rope structures of the old days. It looks different but some how the same. Every time I sit and watch my children play I can still hear the sounds of the 70’s and 80’s. far less populated these days but then again, playing outside isn’t as valued these days.

    Many thanks for the memories.

    Ezra Dumham

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