For about twelve years a pair of mallards has been breeding near Piccadilly Market and are regular visitors to the market. Here they are helping traders set-up early yesterday morning.
They have been known to stop traffic on Jermyn Street as they lead their ducklings from St James’s Church Piccadilly to Green Park.
The female mallard builds a nest from leaves and grasses and lines it with down plucked from her breast
The female lays more than half her body weight in eggs in a couple of weeks. She relies on her mate to protect her during this period
Mallard eggs take about 28 days to hatch
The normal clutch is about 12 eggs
Ducklings stay in the nest for about ten hours while they dry and get used to using their legs
Ducklings cannot survive without their mother, and take 50-60 days before they fledge and become independent
Mallards can breed when they are about a year old
Mallards start nesting in March
Nests have been found in boathouses, wood piles, old crow’s nests, hay stacks, roof gardens, enclosed courtyards and even in large flowerpots on balconies several floors up!
Mallards live for about twenty-five years.
Mallards and their nests are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which makes it an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird, or to take, damage or destroy its nest, eggs or young. Therefore, it is important not to chase away a duck that has started nesting, since she must be allowed access to her nest.
St James’s Church clergy were out in force today at Piccadilly Market “ashing” members of the public… plus a number of market traders. Lent starts today and Christians traditionally receive on their forehead the sign of the Cross in ash.
“It is a sign of our connection to the earth, a reminder of our death, and a chance to start again.”
The St James’s Church Piccadilly Box Office is at the Havenessence stall, open Wed-Sat inclusive, 10am-6pm. Tickets for most concerts are available. The Havenessence stall is to the left of the church entrance as you approach from Piccadilly.
Converted ciné film of the transport from Essex to central London, and erection at St James’s Church Piccadilly, of the new clock-tower, spire and weathervane. Filmed one Sunday morning in (we believe) 1968. The original clock-tower, spire and weathervane were destroyed in a bombing raid in 1940.
Note the health & safety risks taken by the steeplejacks! Not a hard-hat to be seen and high level steeplejacking without safety lines (often with cigarette in mouth). This is pre-Health and Safety at Work Act 1974! Also interesting to note how little Jermyn Street has changed in almost fifty years.
Published with the kind permission of Robin Draper, formerly of Drapers Transport of Grays, Essex. Thank you Robin for this unique addition to the St James’s Church Piccadilly story.
As a side note, our market manager Costas Benopoulos-Jones and Robin Draper met by chance. They fell into conversation and the existence of this historic, hitherto unpublished, film came to light.
We report with regret that the Head Verger at St James’s Church Piccadilly, Ashley Ashworth, is to leave in July 2015. Ashley has been a friend of Piccadilly Market for many years. He will be sorely missed. He has worked tirelessly, come rain or shine, to make the market clean, safe, welcoming and efficient. Here’s wishing Ashley the very best for the future.
These stories make it even more important for Piccadilly Market to survive and prosper: trading fifty weeks a year without interruption, adding the spice, vitality and eccentricity to central London which only a street market peopled by independent traders can provide.
Let’s hear it for London’s independent traders! And for ethical landlords, such as St James’s Church Piccadilly, who make such activity possible!