The Friends are proud of the many benefits they have bought to the Park since their founding in 1991. We are the membership organisation for the people who use and love the Park.
For almost 30 years the Friends of Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill have helped protect and enhance this important park for Londoners. The Friends have revived the Bandstand, planted trees, purchased ducks, and provided £100,000 to support projects including The Hub sports centre, the Gloucester Gate playground, the Open Air Theatre, the Zoo’s Snowdon aviary as well as pamphlets on spiders and bugs, trees and sculptures.
The Friends helps you get your voice heard on matters you care about. It represents the interests of all the users of Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill, scrutinising the various Park authorities’ proposals and any changes to regulations.
As a Member of the Friends you will receive quarterly newletters and regular e-mail updates full of information on developments and projects, with features on the gardens and Park history.
In Spring and Autumn, Friends meetings bring us together to discuss topical issues.
Our many achievements include the following:
Preserving green space at the north end of the Park
In 2008 the Friends successfully defended a wonderful area of green space at the north end of the Park. The Friends overturned a Royal Parks’ planning application to award a contract to GOALS to build 5-aside football pitches in the area of the Golf & Tennis school that had existed for over 100 years. Westminster Council refused permission commenting that they had received an unprecedented number of objections to the plan. In 2019 GOALS company collapsed having overstated its profits by £40 million, been accused of a tax accounting scandal and been de-listed by the London Stock Exchange. Sadly, a Friends’ initiative to resurrect the Golf & Tennis School did not succeed.
Revival of concerts on the Bandstand
In 2017 Mark Elliott offered to organise a concert on the bandstand, supported by the Friends who paid the Park fee of £125. The Bandstand had not been used for many years because amateur bands couldn’t sell tickets so couldn’t afford the Park fee. In 2018 the Friends raised £10,000 in sponsorship and organised 12 concerts persuading the Park to waive their fee. In 2019 the number increased to 26 concerts featuring groups such as the Rock Choir and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra with an audience of 15,000. The Friends paid 50% of the cost of refurbishing the Bandstand and helped to recruit volunteers to act as Site Supervisors.
Over the years the Friends has planted a number of trees including oaks behind the summit of Primrose Hill and near the Broadwalk. Trees have also been planted to recognise the contributions of Michael Goldhill and Malcolm Kafetz. A tree will be planted in 2020 to honour our late Patron Judy Hillman who died this year.
£100,000 funding for projects
The Friends has contributed over £100,000 to fund projects in the Park including:
- The Hub sports project
- Islands in Queen Mary’s Gardens
- Holford Site project
- Ducks for the Waterfowl Centre
- A report on spiders and bugs
- London Zoo’s Snowdon aviary and other projects
- The Open Air Theatre
- The allotment garden
- Bird identification noticeboards
- Refurbishing the Bandstand
- Bandstand concerts
- Restoration of Gloucester Gate playground
- A bike for Park Police
- An illustrated map for Nesfield Gardens
- A donation to the Kings Troop
- Publication of sculpture and tree pamphlets
Lobbying for Park improvements
The Friends regularly campaign for improvements to Park amenities such as repairs to footpaths and restoring sculptures and monuments, including the Ready Money Fountain.
In 1998 the Royal Parks introduced a fundraising strategy involving pop concerts in the Park. One of the first proposed was a rock concert for the Prince’s Trust on Cumberland Green with plans for a mass audience of 100,000. Partly as a result of lobbying by the Friends, the concert was transferred to Hyde Park and all rock concerts are now held there. Regent’s Park & Primrose Hill have since been allocated premium niche events and entertainment, including the Frieze art fair, the Frieze sculpture park and Taste of London
Retaining 16 to 20 acres of the Park
In 1995 the Friends led a campaign to resist a request by the Zoo to acquire an extra 16-20 acres from the Park. The Friends demonstrated, holding hands around the area in question. Zoo management was later overheard admitting that their claim was no longer viable due to their financial situation.
Maintaining landscaping standards
The Constitution of the Friends includes an aim to “scrutinise and review the way the Park is administered with particular reference to the standards of landscape gardening whether at the planning or execution stage”. On many occasions the Friends has intervened to request Park management to reconsider a proposed initiative. For example, in 2000 the Friends defeated a proposal to landscape the top of Primrose Hill with a sunken paved area above the WWII gun emplacement.