Some research in 1996 to inform a restoration project revealed that the heritage material of these much loved Royal Parks was scattered and inaccessible. This seemed wrong and so repatriation became a hobby which grew into a passion and then a charity.In 2007 we partnered with The Royal Parks and Friends of Richmond Park to open a trial visitor centre to learn what interested park visitors. It has been so popular that a much larger centre is planned. Credit for this success goes to the 70 volunteers who operate it with tremendous enthusiasm and dedication.
Whilst I have had the joy of trawling the globe for interesting acquisitions, these would have fallen into useless disarray without the hard work of our history project volunteers and our professional curators, Rheme Fordham and Sue Barber.
These teams have achieved so much. Some 8,500 items have been catalogued and digitised, enabling an array of activities to share the rich heritage. Exhibitions are on display in Richmond Park and local schools. Over 100 talks and guided walks have been delivered by our trustees and partners.
A video featuring Sir David Attenborough was well received and a longer version is in production. The HLF funded exhibition “Deer in the City” explained the surreal oddity of wild deer herds in a capital city. It attracted 14,000 visitors in four weeks with excellent feedback and requests for more in the same vein.
Many partnerships have developed, none warmer than our friendship with our colleagues from The Phoenix Park, the sister park to Richmond Park. Over a thoroughly enjoyable dinner, Margaret Gormley asked “Daniel, would you bring this lovely collection over to Dublin?” and so the exhibition was born and simultaneously baptised.
It is a privilege to display some examples at Farmleigh and The Mall Galleries. We are deeply grateful to The Office of Public Works in Dublin and The Royal Parks in London for their wholehearted support.
We very much hope that you enjoy the exhibition as much as we have enjoyed its creation and we would really value your feedback.