In February 1954, it was announced that a government committee was to be set up by Sir David Eccles, the Minister of Works, to investigate the problem of litter in the Royal parks. Local blackspots to be studied were the Round Pond in Kensington Gardens and around the Serpentine Lido. The committee was to be composed of the LCC’s Education Officer, the Director General of the Central Office of Information, Dowager Marchioness of Reading, the Managing Director of Schweppes, J C Rodgers MP for Sevenoaks and Michael Stewart MP for Fulham East. Also on the panel were two teenagers, Evelyn Ann Bott, a comptometer operator at J Lyons, and David Furby.
This made a lot of column inches in the press and the following text is taken from the Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer dated 18 February 1954.
“Sixteen-year-old Evelyn Anne Bott [from East Acton], who has been appointed to sit on a Government Committee in a drive against litter in the Royal parks, has never before sat on any Committee. But she was not overawed when she heard of her appointment by Sir David Eccles, the Minister of Works.
‘I often visit the Royal parks in London, especially Kensington Gardens. I think that apart from my own views and ideas on the subject of the anti-litter campaign, I shall be able to pass on some of the feelings of my friends on this matter.’
Her employers, a Kensington catering office, have agreed to allow her time off to attend the Committee meetings.”
The Ministry of Works spent about £9,000 a year on the collection of litter in the Central Parks. They employed about 50 men part time to gather and remove litter, and on Bank Holiday weekends this increased to 150 men.
I wonder what happened to the report?
Here are a couple of images from Mike Fitt's archive relating to the ‘litter committee’. A report was published in 1955 with their findings (see cover below).
One of their recommendations was for more publicity to deter littering. One outcome was the badging of Royal Park’s mechanical road sweepers with the slogan ‘please do not drop litter’ (see image below).