Letters: Tragic final act in Regent's Park

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The Independent Online
From Ms Linda Semple Sir: The sale of St John's Lodge in Regent's Park ("Sultan pays record £40m for park lodge", 15 December) seems to me to be the final act in its architectural tragedy. The glorious villas which formed part of Bedford College when I was a student in the 1970s were loved and appreciated by us, even though we didn't own them. The Holme housed the departments of Italian and English while St John's Lodge, where I studied, was shared appropriately enough, by Classics and History. The Holme stands as an awful warning; it has been desecrated by a faux "stable block" with a hideous clock tower.

It is an outrage that these villas, together with Hanover Lodge, which formed our hall of residence, have not been found a suitable public use. A museum of the Regency? An outpost of the National Gallery? A school of architecture?

What has happened instead is the spoiling of a great park. The excrescences built on what were gardens of Hanover Lodge by Quinlan Terry - fake gothic and classical villas - beggar description. Moreover, I hope that, should the Crown Estates be so foolish as to try and prevent access to the delightful - and public - gardens behind St John's Lodge, that lovers of the park will remember the M11 protesters and act accordingly.

Yours faithfully, LINDA SEMPLE Edinburgh 15 December

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