"The Elfin Oak" Kensington and Knightsbridge Tip by KennetRose

Kensington and Knightsbridge, London: 39 reviews and 68 photos

  The Elfin Oak
by KennetRose

A dead tree stump carved and painted with the figures of elves, gnomes and other such beings as if it was their home. Perhaps the most engaging piece of whimsy London has to offer.

The stump, taken from Richmond Park in the 1920s, was carved at the instigation of radical socialist politician (we had them in those days) George Lansbury, and yes, he was Angela Lansbury's grandfather.

In an earlier periods of glory, the Oak maintained lovingly by the eccentric comedian-philosopher Spike Milligan. As Milligan's health declined, so did the Elfin Oak. When I visited in November 2002 I was delighted to see the Oak had been restored to its former glory with a bequest from Milligan, who sadly died early in 2002, but saddened that it had been enclosed in a cage, victim to the "look but don't touch because we can't be bothered to do proper maintenance" attitude that is all too prevalent these days. Such things are to be enjoyed by all the senses, not just looked at from a safe distance. Still, it's worth spending some time just enjoying all the detail.

Address: Kensington Gardens, close to Black Lion Gate
Directions: Queensway tube.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jan 13, 2003
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