Richard Ward

Tower 1953-1956


I started at St. Lawrence, in Tower, in 1953. My father, Group Captain Ralph Ward, had been posted to Peru as Commercial Attache in the Embassy in Lima in 1952 and I had a year at school and leant Spanish there.


Then I was sent back to England and lived with my grandparents during school holidays for a year before my parents returned. The same grandparents, Christophersons, who had sent their two sons Bernard and Clifford to St. Lawrence a generation before, and Clifford junior and their grandson Dudley Carr were in Tower with me too - my first cousins.


I was never clever! But loved English. I got O levels in English Language & Lit., Spanish, French, and, afterwards, Biology. I hated most sports, apart from swimming and table-tennis, but loved birdwatching near Sandwich, and growing veggies.

And thus I left in 1956 and was sent to Madrid to live with a family to polish up my Spanish - and 6 months later became a garden apprentice at Dartington Hall Gardens in Devon for 2 years.


Never looked back after that. Worked at Hastings Parks Dept.; Slococks Nursery in Woking; student course at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; College of Park and Recreation Adminstration; Copenhagen Parks Dept.; Landscape Assistant for Harlow New Town Development Corporation; Landscape Assistant and Senior Technical Officer at London Boroughs of Hammersmith and Richmond; then set up my own Landscape contracting company 40 years ago near to Kew Gardens where I have lived since 1972 - and which totters on to this day. Best job in world.


I have been involved in Round Table and Rotary for over 50 years, and The Kew Guild as Dinner MC and Editor. These interests must have stemmed from an unconcious ethic learned at St. Lawrence - of organising, preplanning, fund-raising, voluntary work, and travel. 


My Polish wife Wiena and I have two daughters aged 29 and 31, and 1 grandson aged 3.

Ex-Tower friends from the 50’s are Chris Coburn, Gordon Bland, and Anthony ‘Slim’ Robins. We usually meet up annually, with partners as applicable, and enjoy a drink or two.