This week we got a chance to chat with Emily Cloke, the British Consul General who lives with her family in Hancock Park. We met over video chat, catching up the busy diplomat who has been here nearly a year. Cloke arrived last September with her husband and two-year old daughter.
“I love the neighborhood,” Cloke told the Buzz. “We are so grateful to be in this community, it’s very friendly and green. Los Angeles is so culturally diverse it feels a lot like my hometown of London.”
Cloke is at the beginning of what is typically a four-year assignment as the senior representative of the UK government in Southern California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Hawaii. In this role, she promotes trade and investment, scientific cooperation, tackling climate change, creative and media collaborations and educational partnerships between the UK and the southwestern United States. She also oversees delivery of essential consular services to a 600,000-strong British resident community and British visitors. The consulate is based in nearby Century City, though she also works from the residence as well. She covers five states, but since the pandemic has limited her travel, Cloke has been working from home, like so many others in the neighborhood, and spending more time with her young family.
“We love walking all around the neighborhood and going to Larchmont for ice cream or visiting the bookstore,” said Cloke. “We love supporting the local businesses on Larchmont.”
Cloke has a range of policy, commercial and international experience working for the British Government. According to her biography, her recent roles include as Deputy CEO for the UK-Africa Investment Summit hosted by the Prime Minister in 2020, and as a senior leader in the Department for International Trade’s Sectors Group, overseeing export and investment promotion for industry sectors including aerospace, advanced manufacturing and education. She has worked overseas as Trade Director for the British Embassy Tehran, setting up and leading the UK’s trade section and strategy, following the re-opening of the British Embassy in 2015, and as Head of Trade at the British Embassy Sweden. Her wider experience includes advising on the creation of the world’s first Green Investment Bank, and leading the Ministerial private office for the Minister of Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs/Minister for Women & Equalities. Cloke started her career as a lawyer in the City of London and studied law at Cambridge University.
“I feel so privileged to live in the beautiful neighborhood and in our historic home that reflects the diversity of Los Angeles architecture and art,” said Cloke. “We have a wonderful collection of art from the British Government and we get to share some of it with the neighborhood.”
Of course, on that last point, Cloke is referring to The Rook by Andy Scott, a UK sculptor who now lives in Philadelphia. The large scale equine chess piece sits prominently in Cloke’s front yard, and is actually available for sale. It is intended as ” a speculative precursor to a full landscape art installation: an entire chess set of monumental equine pieces, each adorned and posed to represent traditional chess pieces,” according to Scott’s website.
Scott’s most prominent project to date is The Kelpies, a pair of 30 metre/100ft high, 300 ton horse heads, sited in Falkirk, Scotland, UK. The Kelpies sculptures are now the best-known public artworks in Scotland, with millions of visitors since their inauguration.
The Rook has also attracted a great deal of interest in our area, with neighbors sometimes posing for selfies with the giant chess piece.
Meanwhile, when she’s not working on a wide range of initiatives for the UK, Cloke enjoys being able to spend time exploring Southern California.
“Living in Los Angeles we are just an hour away from amazing nature,” said Cloke.
She’s also hoping to get to explore more of Los Angeles’s iconic attractions, like the Hollywood Bowl. Like all of us, Cloke is cautiously optimistic about everything opening up and noted that just recently, the UK announced that U.S. travelers who are vaccinated will not have to quarantine upon arrival.