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Those of you who have already met Lord ‘Black Jack’ Kilmorey and his young mistress Priscilla Hoste will be pleased to hear that the party mood has struck the star-crossed lovers once again- and they will soon be re-opening the bronze doors of their luxurious residencia in Kilmorey Mausoleum to welcome visitors. They have both been dead for over a hundred years so you can’t really blame them for wanting for a little fun in their non-lives…

There was a time when Kilmorey Mausoleum and the wildlife garden that surrounds it was a secret known only to passengers on the upper deck of the 37 bus on its journey along the St Margarets Road to Richmond. Even when the historian and architect Lucinda Lampton presented a short TV item about the Mausoleum she had to do it from the top of a bus! At the time there seemed to be a general reluctance to open up the Mausoleum to the public because of fears of vandalism. In 1991 the old double decker buses were ditched in favour of our now familiar single deck H37 Dennis Darts and the Mausoleum, tucked behind its high wall, disappeared off the radar.

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Fortunately the ‘keep them out’ attitude has now changed and in recent years the Environment Trust and the local council have taken positive steps to introduce Jack and Cilla to the wider public. As well as open days and guided tours of the Mausoleum there have been flower sales and carol concerts and organised visits by groups of young people. This has brought in many hundreds of curious visitors with comments along the lines of “I never even it was there.” Some of Jack and Cilla’s living relatives have even dropped by to see what the lovers were up to. Not much it is fair to say!

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If you haven’t already stepped through that little black door set into the long brick wall opposite the Ailsa Tavern your opportunity is coming. On Sunday 21st July between 10.00am and 3.00pm Kilmorey Mausoleum and its wild life garden will be staging a “Wild Neighbours” event. As well as tours of the Mausoleum itself, with its bizarre history of black magic, sexual scandals and travel through time and space, there will be oodles of family friendly activities including a nature trail adventure for children, an apiarist (that’s bee keeper to you) running a workshop on building a bee nursery and top tips on raising hedgehogs in the urban environment. There will also be refreshments and advice on turning your own garden patch from neat and tidy suburbia to wild wilderness, with nature in command!

Image - WILD-poster The "Wild Neighbour's" event at Kilmorey Mausoleum is on Sunday 21st July between 10am and 3pm. The address is 275 St Margarets Road, Twickenham TW1 1PN, opposite the Ailsa Tavern. Entry is £3, supporting local nature and heritage conservation. As Black Jack and Cilla probably said "Celebrate the wonderful wildlife on our doorstep and reconnect with nature!" As I said, probably!

– from Martyn Day