Category: Events Activities

As conservation and learning/education officer at the 40 hectare estate containing the remains of Tudor Elsynge Palace, I hosted an archaeological excavation.

Dr Martin led a convivial group of archaeologists and volunteers on a summer excavation wher etemperatures soared as trenches revealed the floor tiles, wall foundations and artefacts from the Tudor era, inclu

These draft sheets were created for teachers packs and interpretation downloads for native bird species. Many of the bird images were supplied royalty free by the expert and renown wildlife photographer Maurice Baker (thank you Maurice!).

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As conservation and learning officer at the the Forty Hall estate, I (co-)hosted and coordinated events such as the Big Draw, National Insect Week and a Children’s vegetable sculpture event inspired by Renaissance artist Arcimboldo, (with a bit of Mr. Potato head thrown in for good measure)
The intention was to engage children in local heritage, natural history and art. I thoroughly enjoyed each event, perhaps as much, if not more, than the attendees!

Students from local secondary schools ran a programme of events at the Forty Hall Estate, London, and accompanied me to local primary schools where the secondary students aided the pupils in their vegetable garden in the creation of a wormery.

This one day event arose from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s restoration of the Forty Hall Estate, in order to promote an awareness and understanding of national and local heritage.

We created a number of heraldic achievements where children could pick and mix their own motto, shield, supporters and heraldic elements to represent themselves and say a thank you to garden and conservation volunteers. The created shields were laminated for outdoor display and a colour photocopy made for each child (which looked metallic through the reprographic process). The children exhibited their work in the walled kitchen garden as a free public exhibition.

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The Great Field of the Forty Hall Estate contains the archaeological remains of the Tudor dynasty’s Elsynge Palace, and is a listed Ancient Scheduled Monument.

Whilst conservation officer for a year I undertook ecological surveys of the site and with the help of numerous volunteers ranging from Duke of Edinburgh participants, local schools, to the wonderful Enfield Conservation Volunteers we were able to initiate site maintenance after a long pause in active management.

Enhancements and reinstatement of traditional management included new pollard planting, demonstrations of traditional hurdle construction, re-pollard existing willows around two dew ponds and removal of invasive alien Rhododendron ponticum.

Bat boxes, insect shelters, log piles and hedgehog shelters were also created by volunteers and placed around the site.

The lime tree avenue, arranged on an alignment that paralleled the numerous historic rides on adjacent Enfield Chase was enhanced by raising the canopy and removing basal suckers, as undertaken by a dedicated group of vulnerable adults and community volunteers.

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I conceived, collected and curated this exhibition at North London’s Forty Hall to explore the many ways that Dragons have featured in world myths, culture and the arts.

The exhibition included silkworms (worm being the Old English word for dragon), a kimono made for a famous London drag-queen, and a chain mail as worn by dragon hunters!

Forty Hall was built by a former Lord Mayor of London, Sir Nicholas Raynton who was head of the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers and a silk importer, hence the relevance to Enfield’s premier historic destination.

To commemorate the fallen of Enfield in the First World War, I coordinated and with the help of several local volunteers, cut the letters ‘Lest We Forget’ in the turf outside Forty Hall, in alignment with the long lime avenue.

The words were taken from Laurence Binyon’s poem The Fallen, which is often referred to as the Ode of Remembrance. The letters were filled with grit (as sadly the sown Flanders Poppies never grew!).

Local primary school children made windmill poppies in advance of Armistice Day and attended an event which was televised by BBC London. Photographs of the fallen soldiers of Enfield were placed in the letters.

Possibly because of a childhood spent with chickens, ducks, geese, pheasants and all other manner of poultry and wildfowl, I’ve always had an affinity with birds. Here’s a selection of acrylic/ watercolours produced in the past few years. (I have been known to give copies for worthy causes).

forty hall human chess

Whilst based at the Forty Hall Estate, I conceived, arranged and delivered a family friendly Alice Day event. Inspired by a game of Human Chess recorded on the south lawn in the Edwardian era, Pink Floyd’s music video featuring a game of croquet filmed on the same lawn, and the site of a red-haired Queen’s Palace in the grounds: Forty HallĀ seemed a great location to celebrate the characters of Lewis Carroll’s Alice from Adventures in Wonderland and what she found there and Through the Looking Glass. The star of the show was the uninvited grey squirrel who stole the tarts! Did YOU eat my tarts- no, it was a squirrel- honest!

Sir John Tenniel’s illustrations were my inspiration and I copied text from international printed versions of the children’s story onto charity shop purchased bed sheets strewn around the gardens; referencing the multi-cultural local population of North London’s leafiest borough.

The contemporary classical composer Michael Nyman kindly gave his personal permission to play his Wonderland (and other score music) delivered by Enfield’s Red Room, and the British Film Institute kindly allowed me to show (on continuous loop) the recently restored 1903 film footage of the earliest Alice film.

Friends were in fancy dress, as was half of the Park’s visitors. Curiouser and… all that!