Saturday, 14 April 2018

Our first AGM with guest speaker Paul Wood

Last Sunday Street Trees for Living held its first AGM at the Telegraph Hill Centre. The formalities included a Chair’s report that took listeners on a whirlwind tour of the last seven years of the campaign and an imagined future. The committee will post details shortly.

The main attraction of the meeting was a hugely enjoyable illustrated talk by Paul Wood, author of London’s Street Trees, a Guide to the Urban Forest.

It will not be practical to repeat here the many ideas presented to us, but Paul reminded us how London was a blank canvas for street trees only a short time ago. 

He showed us evidence of visionary, if rather surprising, planting over a century ago (most of these trees in the picture below are no longer there - they are London Plane trees and planted much too closely to each other given their mature height and spread). 

Winderemere Road, Muswell Hill
... and reminded us about Councillor Ada Salter who planted over 7,000 trees in 1930s Bermondsey  -

Ada Salter's statue near The Angel pub on the
embankment in Bermondsey
He drew attention to the large range of species available for planting as street trees –

Kousa dogwood Cornus kousa, in West London

Golden Rain tree, koelreuteria paniculata in North London
This was not a prescriptive talk, but Paul urged care in combining species. He offered the view that planned biodiversity works fine across a range of streets, but needs to be considered carefully within just one street, and especially when the architecture of the street is homogeneous. This theme was taken up in the question and answer session. A local resident questioned the new species choice where a tree had been lost from a row of planes in the immediate vicinity of Telegraph Hill. 

There were many more questions than there was time for, and many more buyers for signed copies of his book than available, but Paul can be contacted on his website:  


++ Paul also asked us to draw attention to the website of the urban tree festival and its crowd-funding page. This will be live for the next few weeks: ++

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