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Thursday, 26 July 2012


The Dame is always happy to indulge nostalgia from readers of a rather more advanced age than her. 
Doctor Fruitwood reminisces about that quixotic piece of Victorian Gothic....demolished overnight and quite illegally, on the orders of the sinister Nicholas Freemason-a man idolised by certain councillors....
Freemason committed this gross act of vandalism so he could finance a monument to his vanity in the shape of the "Monster of Hornton Street". 
At least Freemason had a brain-even if he had no heart-unlike the present incumbent!

Thank you 'Doc' for your charming letter......

FROM Dr Melody Fruitwood, Crowborough, East Sussex

Your Ladyship,
As a senior citizen I am very happy to use my Senior bus pass, funded by the ratepayers of East Sussex. I decided to pay a visit to London to revive my memories of when I worked for a certain organisation as long ago the 1950s when we were deep into the Cold war.
Creeping slowly along Kensington High Street on a bus (it is often quicker to walk) I was reminded of the loss of the rather nice Victorian old Town Hall which, if memory serves me well, was demolished at midnight on the orders of the late Nicholas Freeman, barrister and leader of RBKC in the 1980s. (or was it 1970s?)
At the gate to Kensington Palace is a large and very ugly hotel. I cant remember what was on that site before the current building but I am  sure it was less obtrusive.
I walked up to Notting Hill as I thought that I would look at the quirky bric-a-brac shops in Portobello Road, What a shock! Instead of eccentric Victoriana is a plethora of tourist tack, mugs made in China and a large number of outlets selling mobile phones!
At least there are some old fashioned fruit and veg sellers.some belonging to families who have been there for three or four generations. One told me that custom has dropped dramtically since shoppers can park FREE at the giant Sainsbury store at the top end of Ladbroke Grove while parking near Portobello is metered, and of course, expensive.
You may have seen the recent BBC series called THE STORY OF OUR STREETS. What it illustrates is that former middle/working class streets have been tarted up as homes for the super rich so that the children and grandchildren of ordinary north Kensington residents have no chance of living anywhere in central London.
I wonder what Kensngton will be like in another 50 years!
Yours sincerely


  1. Clearly the Doc is telling us she was a spy

  2. To be fair the demolition was not actually illegal. It would have been illegal after midnight, but as it was started at 11pm it was within the law; and the new Town Hall had already been built. But the story of how the School, which should have had first refusal, was secretly bought out a couple of years beforehand, was pretty nasty.

    I wrote to Freeman in an attempt to preserve the foundation stone for re-use in the new building, as a last ditch attempt to salvage something morally from a despicable act. He replied that I 'should rest assured that everything possible would be done to show the foundation stone the respect it deserved'.

    And in fact it *was* extracted from the ruins (with its foundation deposit mysteriously absent) and dumped at the side of the cleared site. Needless to say when the developers moved in it was rapidly got rid of. I regret now that I didn't organise six strong blokes to carry it into St Mary Abbott's garden.

  3. John Cox used to recount with pride his part in this dubious excercise.


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