The head of venue hire and corporate events at Kew Gardens tells us more about his space
My name is Paul Gray.
- I am head of venue hire and commercial events at Kew Gardens.
- I have worked here for almost four years.
- They call me Paulo Grigio or PG.
- I’ve been in the events industry for about eight years now.
- My first event was the launch of the England football kit at Stamford Bridge with the likes of David Beckham and Michael Owen.
- I’ll always remember the amazing firework display for HM the Queen’s 80th Birthday celebrations at Kew Palace.
- The most valuable lesson I’ve learnt so far is always document conversations that could potentially save you from future confrontations.
- My venue works because the stunning spaces are backed up by a great team of dedicated professionals.
- I particularly like The Orangery as it offers both private and corporate clients a large, flexible space with an outdoor terrace for alfresco entertaining.
- I’d use it for a party or launch event.
- If I could change anything here, I’d relocate the Heathrow flight-path so that our guests could enjoy the tranquility the gardens have to offer.
- People always comment on the attention to detail employed by our events team.
- You may be surprised to hear that Kew will be 250 years old in 2009, and there will be a number of celebratory events to commemorate the occasion throughout the year.
- Recently, we have been examining the possibility of attaining the BS 8901 standard in Sustainable Event Management. Kew Gardens already has ISO 14001 accreditation.
- My favourite lunch spot around here is Antony Worrall Thompson’s Kew Grill.
- The best pub nearby is The Botanist on Kew Green.
- After an event, you’ll find me rushing home to spend precious time with my wife and newborn baby
- When I need inspiration, I look at other organisations that are not necessarily related to events and examine whether there are ways that we can improve our own business.
- Later this year I’m looking forward to developing our Christmas offering
- In 10 years time I would still like to be involved with the creative and charitable industries at a senior level. It’s a great feeling to get up in the morning and go to work knowing that
you’re making a real difference to the world.
- I still want to improve our venue portfolio by providing a new space dedicated to events.
- My famous last words will be ‘it’s easier to seek forgiveness than ask permission!’
CONTACTS & CAPACITIES
Kew Gardens Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB, tel: 0870 780 8927, squaremeal.co.uk/kew
Function Rooms: 6
Meeting Capacity: 800
Dinner Capacity: 650
Reception Capacity: 850
This article first appeared in Square Meal Venues & Events magazine, Spring 2008.