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In an interview for the Daily Telegraph on Monday 28 December 2015, Jools Holland compares the BBC to “museums, royal parks and public swimming baths.” I think that’s a compliment.

The Royal Parks Guild plays a positive role in the apprenticeship scheme by arranging master classes, giving awards to mark individual achievement and providing mentoring when requested.

Oral history

Oral history

In November 2019 Carol, the great grandaughter of Arthur William Berry, recalled family stories of Arthur who worked as a gardener at Hampton Court in the early part of the last century and was killed at towards the end of the war. This recording was made as part of a series for the Royal Parks in World War I project.

Arthur William Berry was born in Wade’s Mill, Ware, Hertfordshire on 15 January 1882 to Thomas and Emma Berry. In 1901 he was employed as a domestic gardener to Sir Richard Trevithick Tangye, a famous electrical and mechanical engineer whose equipment helped launch Brunel’s steamship the Great Eastern, and he lived in the Coombe Ridge Estate’s Bothy on Kingston Hill. On 5 August 1905, he married Jane Pattenden in Kingston upon Thames. In 1911 he was working for the Office of Works at Hampton Court as a gardener and living with his wife and three children at 2 Elizabeth Cottages, Hurst Lane, East Molesey.

On 8 November 1915 Arthur enlisted at the recruiting office in Whitehall and was posted to 10 Company, Royal Garrison Artillery that was based at Queenstown Harbour, Cork as part of the South Irish Sea Defences. After three months, he was posted to 78 Company based at the Straits Settlement at Singapore and spent a year there before returning to Britain to be posted to 173 Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. Their firepower consisted of six-inch howitzers that were most often employed in destroying or neutralising enemy artillery, as well as putting destructive fire down on strongpoints, dumps, stores, roads and railways behind enemy lines. Having taken part in the Second Battle of the Somme, that ended on 3 September 1918, Arthur was killed in an air raid on his battery as they were preparing to move to a new position on 25 September 1918; he is buried at the British cemetery at Bertincourt Chateau; grave reference C3.

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