The Kensington Society annual for 2021-2022 has just been distributed to all members.
As always, it contains lots of interesting stuff, spread over 100 pages. Beside the regular reports from our president (Nick Ross) and our chairman (Amanda Frame, financial statement for 2021, a summery of the 2021 virtual AGM, 18 pages of planning reports, and 14 pages of reports from our affiliated societies, we find the following special articles:
- The tradition to feature a local artist in each annual continues, and this time it is sculptor Clare Burnett, president of the Royal Society of Sculptors, who has had her studio in north Kensington for the last twenty years. Her innovative sculptors, made in a variety of sizes, styles and materials, can be found all over the world. Her 2021 installation at Beckenham Place Mansion adorns the cover.
- There is also an interesting article about the Association for Cultural Advancement through Visual Art (ACAVA), which since 1976 has provided visual artists with studio space. In north Kensington alone, ACAVA lets 48 studios on two different sites, on of them being the one used by Clare Burnett.
- An article about Portobello Market’s costermonger Cheryl Devlin, who carries on a tradition started by her great grandfather, gives fascinating insight into the life of the people manning the stalls at London’s many street markets.
- The annual’s Blue Plaques series, looks closer at the very energetic Sir Henry Cole, who in 1843 came up with the idea of printed Christmas Cards and in 1851 organised the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park – and used the proceeds from the exhibition to found the big South Kensington museums.
- Sir Peter Bazalgette is the guest speaker at this year’s AGM, and he will talk about his great-great grandfather, Sir Joseph Bazalgette, who created London’s impressive Victorian sewage system. The annual has an article about both of them.
- There is an article about the Science Museum and it’s fascinating development from being a small collection within the South Kensington Museum to become one of the world’s largest museums for science and technology, constantly changing and therefore well worth regular visits.
- Another article looks at Imperial College, which has become a major financial enterprise, largely thanks to tuition fees from foreign students. However, that revenue stream is very vulnerable, so Imperial College is getting involved in more and more property development that is purely commercial and has no academic purpose. However, the property market is also very volatile and Imperial College is currently building high rises in western London at a phenomenal rate. What if demand suddenly goes down?
- There is also an article about the development plans for the Olympia exhibition centre.
Sculptor Clare Burnett’s 2021 installation at Beckenham Place Mansion adorns the cover on the 2021-2022 annual.
First published 02/05/2022