Kelly has worked her way up at Hyde Park Estate from a porter to building manager, and loves being able to indulge her passion for history through the properties she manages on the Estate.
1Can you explain your role in one sentence?I am responsible for maintaining buildings on the Hyde Park Estate, to ensure they remain safe and secure and provide a welcoming environment for those who live there. I oversee both planned and reactive maintenance work for 232 properties, ranging in age from properties built in the 1960’s to some that will soon be 200 years old.
2How long have you been doing this job?I have been in my current role for the past two years. Prior to this management role I was a porter at the Water Gardens for about three years, working on the main reception desk. The Water Gardens is a gated residence, just off Edgware Road.
3Did you find yourself in this role by accident or by design?My move into a management role was planned, as I was keen to advance my career and take on more responsibility, but the specific position I now have was simply luck. I love history and I consider it a real honour to now look after these old buildings.
4What’s the best part about your job? I really enjoy all the problem solving - working through an issue until I find a solution and can tick it off my list. The buildings I take care of now are quite old and I have to deal with some quite complicated problems, especially with ageing pipework. A couple of years ago there was a large leak in one building. It took us weeks to locate it. We were using CCTV and all sorts of monitoring. Eventually we traced it to the only flat in the building that was not affected. That was a bit frustrating, but it was a relief to solve the problem.
5What’s the strangest thing that has ever happened to you in your job?That’s a hard question. I have worked with some quite eccentric residents over the years. There was one lady who would talk to people that no one else could see. It was a little strange the first time I met her and she started speaking to someone else. I suppose these are quite old buildings. I am sure if the walls could talk they would have some good stories.
6What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work?I really enjoy going to the cinema and I am a big fan of action films. I went to see ‘Fantastic beasts and where to find them’ recently. That was brilliant. I live near Camden and often visit Camden market at the weekend. There is always so much going on. Apart from that, I enjoy visiting my family who live out in Spain. I lived there too for 12 years and it is always nice to return.
7What do you like about this area? The history is quite fascinating. I think very few people are aware of all the rivers that used to run through London and are no longer here, like the Tyburn that used to run to Marble Arch. The buildings that I look after are all grade 2 listed and have lots of original features. I enjoy imagining the lives of people who lived here in the past.
8Where’s your favourite place to go for lunch in the local area? Tarboush on Edgware Road is very good. They do Middle Eastern, Lebanese food. Last time I went there I had a chicken dish with lemons and cous cous which was very tasty. Their Shawarma is delicious.
9Who is YOUR hero and what is it about them that inspires you?It has to be my grandmother. She raised my Mum and Aunt alone and worked two jobs to make ends meet. When her children were old enough, she travelled the world alone. Her travels really inspired my love of history and particularly my passion for Egyptology. She visited Egypt whilst I was at secondary school and the stories and souvenirs she came back with have fuelled a lifelong interest for me.
10If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be? It would have to be Egypt for sure. If I have a spare afternoon, the Egyptian department at the British Museum is one of my favourite places to spend time. I will get to visit the country one day.