Plastic waste in the River Thames at Strand on the Green attracts national media attention


Sky Sports News broadcast a series of live interviews with Paul Hyman of Active 360 and paddleboarders at Kew Bridge on Sunday to talk about the problem of plastic waste in the river.

Paul is behind the Responsible Pubs campaign to persuade pubs, especially riverside pubs, not to use plastic straws or glasses, which end up in the Thames, making the riverside look awful, polluting the environment and getting in to the food chain.

Active 360, who are based at Kew Bridge, organise regular litter picking sessions on the river by paddleboard and pick up bucketfuls of plastic waste. Paul says there’s been an increase of awareness of the problem over the last year but it was David Attenborough’s Blue Planet which has really focused attention on it.

If you’d like to get involved with the campaign, you can contact Paul on paul@active360.co.uk and if you’d like to report overflowing litter bins along the river side, you can contact Amritpal Mann, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Environment at amrit.mann@hounslow.gov.uk

Thanks to Sky Sports News for allowing us to use their reports. Active 360 are members of The Chiswick Calendar Club Card and if you fancy trying out paddleboarding go here for a 10% discount.

On the Map

There’s a very simple pleasure to be taken in finding your home on a map. I’m not sure what it is, but maps are inherently fascinating and turning out of Turnham Green tube station to see huge maps of Chiswick with an orchard in the first one (1893) where my home is now and my road appearing in the second (1914), is immensely satisfying. We’re On the Map!

“We were terribly pleased at the turn out and how happy people were” said Karen Liebreich after Sunday’s official opening of the mural which she and Sarah Cruz had created. And people were happy. Lots of people were, like me, were finding their homes on the maps and finding it hugely gratifying.

At one level it’s purely aesthetic. The maps are attractive. It’s also that they’re deceptively simple. Orchards. Roads. Simples! None of the messy, complicated, unpleasant aspects of life are represented on a map, just nice clean lines and a simple narrative.

Maps call to people who perceive the world in a spatially-oriented way. Our brains give us the ability to move around in an environment using an innate sense of direction and in some people this skill is more developed than in others. A study by scientists at University College in London in based on MRI scans of taxi drivers in 2000 found that their hippocampus was more highly developed than most people’s. Their grey matter grew and adapted to help them store detailed mental maps of the city. So the guys in the taxi rank should be in their element parked beside the Chiswick Timeline!

There’s also an emotional satisfaction. We like to have a sense of belonging. One woman told me she liked the Timeline because ‘it connects us in Bedford Park with the rest of Chiswick’. I resisted the urge to point out that there was already a socking great road which did that quite effectively, but when not being wilfully obtuse I see what she means – the colourful display draws the eye and invites you towards it whereas manky old brickwork covered in pigeon droppings tended to the opposite effect.

Artists Marthe Armitage, Sir Peter Blake and Jan Pienkowski (seated) with other VIP guests and Torin Douglas on mic. The artists’ work is included in the mural.

I think the Chiswick Timeline is special. It reinforces that sense of belonging to those who live here and people who are visiting will find it inviting. A head’s up as they come out of the tube that this isn’t just another iteration of London’s unrelieved urban sprawl, but a community with heart and character.

Isleworth school looks set to be the first in the country to go to close at lunch time on Fridays in “budget crisis”

A local school looks set to become the first in England to go to a four and a half day week because of budget difficulties. Governors of St Mary’s RC Primary School have made the proposal because they’ve tried everything else – not filling posts which have become vacant, shorter lunch times, discontinuing whole class music lessons for violin and clarinet, asking parents to pay for ‘sundries’ such as pencils, glue sticks and so on, and this is the only way they can see to stay within budget and maintain educational standards.

Central government says more money is being paid in to education than ever before but head teacher Farley Marsh explained to me that the money they’ve been allocated by central government is not keeping pace with increases in pupil numbers, inflation, wages and the increase in National Insurance and Pension contributions.

“It is a desperate situation” he said. He hopes the Government “will look again at cuts in services that schools are having to make which are putting children’s education at risk”. Some other primary schools are asking parents to contribute money, while secondary schools are looking at options such as cutting ‘soft’ subjects like music and art.

Cllr Sam Hearn, leader of the Conservatives on Hounslow Council agrees that the school has been “doing all the sensible stuff to stay in budget” and adds that “other schools have had deeper cuts”.

St Mary’s is currently consulting its staff and the governors will make a final decision after half term but a letter to parents from the governors says: ‘we would ask that you actively start to investigate child care options for your child/ren on Friday afternoons (from 12:45pm) from September 2018’.

The school is planning to make provision to run a Friday afternoon club for 150 children, which parents would need to pay for, leaving the other 266 children to find somewhere else to be on a Friday afternoon.

Local election candidates for Chiswick

Labour have selected their candidates for the local elections in all three Chiswick wards. The Conservatives selected theirs weeks ago and have already been out on the streets campaigning.
Chiswick has nine councillors – three in each of Chiswick Homefields, Chiswick Riverside and Turnham Green wards. Prospective candidates don’t have to declare until April but the Lib Dems have said that they will be fielding ‘a full slate’ of three candidates in each ward and the Green Party are planning on putting forward more candidates in Chiswick than ever before.

The reason is not hard to divine. These elections are wide open in a way that they have not been for many years. In all the time I’ve lived in Chiswick we’ve had Conservative councillors, but not only that, we’ve had the same Chiswick councillors, so the result each time seemed to be pretty much a forgone conclusion.

This year will be different. Six of the current Conservative councillors are not standing for re-election. With Ruth Cadbury and Rupa Huq’s landslide victories in the General election and Brexit playing havoc with party voting, not to mention CS9 and Heathrow throwing a spanner in the works, this election should be a bit more interesting, not least in Turnham Green where two formidable women who have strong views and articulate them well, will be fighting for seats.

The Labour Party has yet to hold its Local Campaign Forum meeting, in which candidates are officially approved and endorsed, so the candidates named have been selected to run, but are are as yet ‘provisional’ candidates.

If you live in Turnham Green ward, these are your candidates from the two main parties:

Ruth Mayorcas – Labour

Ruth Mayorcas has lived in Chiswick for 44 years. “I campaign against social injustice attending marches, demonstrations, writing to MPs, Council Officers and Councillors when I see things which are happening which have to be challenged”.

She campaigns for safer cycling and has been a volunteer for the Youth Offending Service for several years. “I will campaign for better funding for Youth Centres to prevent closures such as Hogarth.”

 

Joanna Biddolph – Conservative

Joanna Biddolph has lived in Chiswick for 32 years. “I’m standing out of a sense of frustration” she says. “I’m irritated that Hounslow Council sees us as sources of cash rather than as residents paying for services; services that frequently fall below expectations”.

She is a self-employed reputation crisis management consultant and has previously worked in politics, lobbying and corporate communications and as an occasional journalist.

 

 

Peter Burgess – Labour

Peter Burgess is a teacher at a state comprehensive in Hammersmith.

“I daily see children’s aspirations being thwarted by educational spending cuts and exorbitant tuition fees… young people struggling to study whilst acting as carers for other family members because of the decline in healthcare services … parents who are doing their very best to give their children a start in life whilst coping with low-pay, zero hours contracts, and impossibly long working days… I now want to play my part in promoting Labour values, in helping to defend and build stronger public services.”

 

Ron Moshiso – Conservative

Ron Moshiso lives “the other side of Chiswick roundabout”, spent his early teens in a foster home in Chiswick and returned to work locally some years later.

“As a fostered child, I understand the importance of social care and social services. That is why I am outraged about the current proposals to cut funding for youth services”.

He is a PE Teacher at a local school, Head Coach at Old Emanuel Rugby Club and as a former professional rugby player.

John Stroud-Turp – Labour

John Stroud-Turp has lived in the Turnham Green ward for 24 years.
“For too long Chiswick has suffered from representation by Tory Councillors most of whom seem to have little interest in the needs of those who live and work in Chiswick; they seem intent on frustrating and criticising the efforts of the council rather than working constructively for a better Borough”.

If elected he says he will seek to ensure that “long term issues are addressed with sustainable solutions not short term fixes”.

 

Ranjit Gill – Conservative

Ranjit Gill has lived in the borough of Hounslow for nearly 30 years. As a certified accountant, he stresses the need for financial accountability.

“We need value for our money and more openness and accountability”…

“I would like to make sure that the council is responsible to all the residents in the borough and I would scrutinise whatever needs to be looked at to make sure that we get proper services and everything is accountable”.

Labour and Conservative candidates in Homefields ward

 

 

If you live in Homefields ward, these are your candidates from the two main parties:

Cllr John Todd – Conservative

John Todd has lived in Chiswick for 33 years and been councillor for Homefields for the last 12. During his time as a Councillor he has chaired the Pension Fund Panel and says he has “actively involved myself in Hounslow Council’s Audit Work, Overview and Scrutiny Committee, the Planning Committee, Chiswick Area Forum and others”…

“I’m fortunate to have a reputation of responding promptly to constituents and businesses alike and getting things done”.

 

 

Nick Fitzpatrick – Labour

Nick Fitzpatrick is a Homefields resident. He was a working class child who went to Oxford University and became a lawyer. “I am ashamed that the prospects for a child doing what I did from my background are worse now than when I grew up”.

“I want to get stuck into some case work” … “if (electors) want a voice on local issues, they need locally resident councillors on the ‘inside of the tent’ in a Labour local authority, not part of some rump of disgruntled Tories”.

 

 

Cllr Gerald McGregor – Conservative

Gerald McGregor has been councillor for Homefields for 14 years, specialising in Budget and Finance. He says his career as a chartered accountant has really helped him: “I am able to navigate my way through highly complex Council Budget papers and the constant demands of being a Director of Hounslow Homes. The key is to maintain a follow up – whether you are preparing case work responses or scrutinising the decisions of the administration”.

 

Dave Waller – Labour

Dave Waller set up the Brentford and Hounslow Stop Heathrow Expansion group a year ago with Ruth Cadbury MP.

“I have spent my life fighting to protect public services and the environment”…

“If Theresa May is allowed to go ahead with her plan Turnham Green will be under the new flightpath and the area will be blighted by aircraft noise and increased air pollution. I believe Hounslow council needs to be more vocal in its opposition to Heathrow expansion and become a champion for green economic growth”.

 

 

Patrick Barr – Conservative

Patrick Barr is a Registered General Nurse and currently works as a nurse in West London. “Previously I was a Charge Nurse in A&E and I still work in A&E as required”.

He says he will campaign for more GP surgeries locally for a growing and ageing population and will hold Hounslow Council to account with the resurfacing of roads and pavements.

He promises that if he is elected he will be “a strong advocate for the local community”.

 

 

Caoimhe Hale – Labour

Caoimhe Hale has lived in Chiswick all her life. She is a third year University of Manchester English Literature and Drama student who has been campaigning for the Labour party since she was 13.

“I want to move from the politics of protest, to the politics of action, by getting involved in the council” …

“I believe in accountability to my ward, and frank and open discourse about how to represent Labour values at a local level”.

Labour and Conservative candidates in Chsiwick Riverside ward

 

If you live in Chiswick Riverside ward, these are your candidates from the two main parties:

Sally Malin – Labour

Sally Malin was brought up in Chiswick in the 1950s and 60s and returned here in 2011 “to help look after my elderly mum”.

She has nearly 40 years’ experience working in the public and voluntary sectors as a social worker, adult education teacher, researcher and policy developer in criminal justice and as a leader in the NHS (she was Chair of Barnet Primary Care Trust). “I am a local person with a strong track record for getting things done”.

 

 

Cllr Sam Hearn – Conservative 

Sam Hearn has lived in Chiswick Riverside Ward for 30 years and represented it as Councillor for ten.

“I have ensured that the voice of local residents has been heard loud and clear on contentious issues such as CPZs and waste recycling. In addition I have successfully resolved a wide range of problems for individual residents.

 

My experience as a qualified accountant and businessman has proved invaluable on a number of key council committees”.

Tom Dragicevik – Labour

Tom Dragicevik has lived in Chiswick for 53 years and is concerned about: “the reduction of teaching staff in the local schools; the status of council housing safety in the wake of Grenfell disaster; the closure of A&E department and the reduction in number of beds in Charing Cross hospital; overdevelopment and unaffordable housing in the borough; the proposed Heathrow third runway and air pollution; the closure of the Chiswick Post Office; closure of the Chiswick Police Station and the proposed cycle superhighway via Chiswick High Road”.

He believes his background as a civil engineer would be useful in planning and the provision of services like refuse collection, traffic management and road maintenance.

 

Gabriella Giles – Conservative

Gabriella Giles grew up in Chiswick and came back to live and work here. “Like a pigeon, I always seem to find myself back home … why would you want to be anywhere else? As such, I have decided to run for local council, to ensure that Chiswick continues to have a strong, clear, local voice to represent its residents in Hounslow Council”.

 

 

Rakib Ruhel – Labour

Rakib Ruhel runs a business on Brentford High Street “from where I also distribute free meals to the elderly, the disabled and homeless. I provide training to young people in restaurant cuisine and cultural awareness which helps them achieve their own employment goals”…

“Because of my community work, many sick and old people come to me for help, advice and solutions to their problems”. Rakib is active in many community groups.

 

Michael Denniss – Conservative 

Michael Denniss has lived in Grove Park and Strand on the Green all his life. He is concerned about the “adverse consequences” of building Brentford FC’s new stadium.

He wants to ensure that “we receive the correct level of policing that we require” and to ensure that potholes are filled.

Trained as a lawyer he believes he would bring “a keen analytical mind and a wealth of experience in government” to the role of councillor.

Chiswick’s Suffragettes

Guest Blog by John H Grigg

February is the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, which enabled all men and some women over the age of 30 to vote for the first time. John H Grigg looks at the part suffragettes in West London played in the struggle.

In the early years of the twentieth century the thought of women voting in national elections was considered ludicrous. Herbert Nield, the Conservative MP for Ealing, a constituency that covered the Chiswick area, provoked roars of laughter at a public meeting when he said giving the vote to women could lead to a woman being the House of Commons speaker – and women might even be High Court judges!

In 1907 a Chiswick branch of the Women’s’ Social and Political Union (WSPU) was formed at 21 Brandenburg Road (renamed Burlington Road in 1917), the home of Mr and Mrs East.  Mrs East was the treasurer and Miss Clarissa Coombs of 98 Sutton Court Road was the secretary.

Stink bombs and fighting in the Town Hall

Soon after the Chiswick WSPU branch was formed Clarissa organised a meeting at Chiswick Town Hall.  Mrs Pankhurst’s daughter Christabel came to speak but her speech was rendered inaudible by a hundred young men in the gallery who created pandemonium and threw stink bombs into the hall below. Male supporters of the suffrage went into the gallery and a free fight broke out. Chairs were broken and the Council presented a bill for £1.2s.6d which Chiswick WSPU refused to pay until a summons was issued.

Six years later, in November 1913 Clarissa, the leading light of the Chiswick WSPU, debated women’s suffrage at Chiswick Town Hall with Mrs Harold Norris who was the wife of a Chiswick Councillor. Mrs Norris’s case was that men were mentally and physically superior to women, and were better able to cope with imperial, international and military matters.  She said the custom of men providing shelter and protection for women was the natural order of things.

Clarissa demanded freedom for women. 50% of workers were underpaid women yet men made every law concerning women in the labour market. She mocked the so called protection that men gave women mentioning the White Slave Trade and assaults on women and children. Sections of the audience were shocked when she referred to venereal disease and prostitution. A ballot was held and the case for women’s suffrage was lost by 253 votes to 189.

Post boxes vandalised and Acton golf course dug up

Perhaps that vote reflected the suffragettes’ unpopularity. They were pouring black dye into pillar boxes in Chiswick and dug up a part of Acton golf course.  There was no local window smashing, but two women from Acton were arrested for smashing windows at the National Insurance Commission Building in Buckingham Gate. In 1908 a WSPU house meeting at Grove Mount, Grove Park Road Chiswick was interrupted by tremendous bangs at the window. Upon inspection a hole the size of a ½ inch bullet was found in the glass but no bullet was found.

Rescued from the mob

Clarissa had a portable rostrum and held regular open air meetings at the corner of Chiswick High Road and Duke Road.  At one meeting in 1913 she was set upon by a group of men and the Chiswick Times reported she was several times was ‘swept from the platform’. The meeting was taking place outside Dr Harris’s house and Mrs Harris came out, seized an exhausted Clarissa and her companion, and drew them indoors. Later Mrs Harris said what she did was not out of sympathy for the suffragette cause, a subject that did not interest her, but for another woman who had been set upon by a crowd of men. It was the most shameful scene she had ever witnessed.

Kew Gardens Tea House burnt down

The most serious acts were the burning of empty buildings. Mrs Catherine Strange of Dukes Avenue, Chiswick ran tea houses in four London Parks, and those in Kew Gardens and Regents Park were burnt down by WSPU suffragettes. Lilian Lenton and Olive Wharry, who were responsible for the Kew Gardens fire on 20th February 1913, were caught and imprisoned. Both were sentenced to 18 months imprisonment and were sent to Holloway where they immediately went on hunger strike. Lenton was quickly released after becoming seriously ill after a botched attempt at force feeding. Wharry was released after a 32 days hunger strike, which she kept secret from the prison authorities by passing her food to other prisoners.

The tea house business was registered in the name of a man, and the culprits said that they would not have burnt down the Kew Gardens Tea House had they known the business was owned by a woman.

Mrs Strange visited the WSPU headquarters in Clements Inn to ask that her other Tea Houses in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens be spared.  She pointed out that between 40 and 50 women had been thrown out of work by the destruction of the refreshment places in Kew and Regents Park. Miss Kerr, of the WSPU said that the women would be glad later that they had helped women get the vote. “If you could have seen their faces,” replied Mrs Strange, “when they came to work and found there was none, you would have a contrary opinion.”

The WSPU militants said they would cease their activities only if they were given the vote, but a letter to the Chiswick Times pointed out the government could not be seen to be giving away to violence, and the activities of these ‘odious ladies’ made the task of peaceful campaigners more difficult.

A Middle Class Movement

The movement in Chiswick, as elsewhere, was largely, but not exclusively, a campaign of middle and upper class women. In Lancashire women were organised into trade unions in the cotton mills and campaigned for the vote and there was an active working class movement in East London led by Sylvia Pankhurst. South Acton was a very working class area, with a lot of women employed as laundry workers. Some of them got organised into a trade union where their priorities were better pay and conditions, but there is little evidence of women from the working class areas of Brentford and South Acton being activists in the suffragette movement.

Peaceful Campaigners and the Anti-Suffrage League

The WSPU got all the publicity and are the most remembered today, but there were hundreds of other suffrage societies which campaigned peacefully. The London Society for Women’s Suffrage, the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, the Church League for Women’s Suffrage and the Women’s Freedom League all campaigned or had local branches. All groups banded together in marches to huge meetings Hyde Park and several of these passed through Brentford and Chiswick.

The feeling against votes for women, and particularly the WSPU, gave rise to the formation of the Anti-Suffrage League and a Chiswick branch, led by Mrs Harold Norris, was formed in 1908 and held regular public meetings.

Rachel (Ray) Strachey  1887 – 1940

In 1918, at the end of the war, women over 30 with property qualifications, or who were wives of men with the property qualification, were given the vote, and were entitled to stand for parliament. For the first time 17 women stood for parliament including Ray Strachey, a prominent suffrage campaigner, who stood in Brentford & Chiswick. ‘Ray’ was the daughter of a barrister and married to Oliver Stratchey, the brother of Lytton Stratchey. Her mother-in-law was Lady Jane Stratchey, a well-known suffragist. In 1913 she was elected ‘chairman’ of the London Society for Women’s Suffrage. During and after the war she campaigned on women’s employment issues, equal pay, and for women to be accepted into careers that were closed to women – such as the legal professions.

‘Ray’ stood for parliament as an independent candidate campaigning for women’s rights at the General Elections in Brentford and Chiswick in 1918, 1922 and 1923. She did best in1922, when Labour did not stand, gaining 7,804 votes against 10,150 for Conservative winner. Later she was a writer and a broadcaster and became secretary to Britain’s first woman MP, Lady Astor. In 1935 she became head of the Women’s Employment Federation.

Women like Clarissa Coombs and Ray Stratchey continued campaigning for all women to be enfranchised and that was finally achieved in 1928.

John H Grigg is a local historian who is writing a Labour history of West London.

No quick decision on Cycle Superhighway

So Hounslow Council has kicked the Cycle Superhighway decision in to the long grass. Transport for London received more than 5,000 responses to the consultation on CS9, with its plan to put a two way cycle track along the south side of Chiswick High Rd, and that has clearly given the Council (who supported CS9) pause for thought.

In a statement released last Thursday , they said that ‘while there is widespread support for much of CS9, reservations have been raised about some elements by significant numbers of people, particularly around proposals for Chiswick High Road’ and they have come to the conclusion that ‘it is evident that some elements of the scheme will need to be revised for it to be acceptable to our residents and businesses’.

If I were a cynical person, I would be tempted to think that a little compromise in the face of such massive opposition would be a sensible strategy this side of the local elections. They’ve acknowledged the opposition, even highlighted which areas need to be looked at again, but not said anything definitive about whether it will ultimately go ahead. If I were planning their election strategy I might advise exactly that.

Graphic showing how Chiswick High Rd might look with CS9 by Duke’s Avenue

Maybe that’s a little too cynical. There clearly are problems with the current plan, (like how do you negotiate a cycle lane carrying a coffin), which all but the most die-hard cyclists acknowledge, which were highlighted by local residents once they’d had a chance to look at the plans and understand them properly, which is after all the whole point of having a consultation process.

It may be that these issues are capable of resolution while keeping the overall plan of a Cycle Superhighway through Chiswick. Then again they may not be.

TfL tight-lipped

Our woman at TfL was assiduously tight lipped when I rang her yesterday. Joy Wigg, ‘Senior Sponsor’ at TfL said they were analysing the responses to the consultation and ‘hoping to announce next steps later this year’. I got the impression that there was less urgency than when we last spoke before Christmas, when she was confidently telling me that they would write a report which would go to the TfL board quite soon. But trying to read anything in to her responses is about as easy as reading tea leaves, or ox’s entrails in ancient Rome.

Graphic showing how Chiswick High Rd might look with CS9 by Cleveland Avenue

I tried asking “When do you think your report to the TfL board will be ready?” “Was the balance of responses favourable or unfavourable?” “What percentage were opposed to CS9?” “How did the level of response compare with other cycle superhighway consultations?” I got nothing. Whoever conducted her media training did a really thorough job. Only when I asked whether it is possible to find solutions for the problem areas which Hounslow Council have highlighted and still have a cycle superhighway through Chiswick was there a chink of access to what she actually thought. “I would like to think that there are solutions” she said, but “it takes time to work through”. Which is fair enough.

“It’s not like it’s killed it stone dead or anything”

TfL’s press officer on cycling, Danny Keillor told me “One of the reasons we go through the process is to get responses from individuals and stakeholders. It’s not like it’s (the response from Hounslow Council) killed it stone dead or anything”.

Whether they will end up dropping CS9 is anybody’s guess. When TfL consulted on plans for a cycle superhighway along the A40 Westway two years ago they received 847 responses, with just 69 in favour. Joy told me they thought about it for over a year before they dropped it. They will be looking at ‘revisions’ to CS9, but that could mean anything from tinkering with the odd detail, to tearing up the plan and starting the again somewhere else.

Graphic showing how Chiswick High Rd might look with CS9 at Hammersmith

Areas to be revisited

The areas which Hounslow Council has said need to be revisited are these:

  • A review of options to reduce the impact on the southern footway of Chiswick High Road for pedestrians, particularly outside the Our Lady of Grace church;
  • Access arrangements for some side roads off Chiswick High Road;
  • Loading provisions for businesses along the High road;
  • Consideration to wider parking and traffic management measures if the scheme is implemented to deal with likely knock on impacts from the scheme.

You can read Cllr Curran’s full statement here.

Response from Cyclists

Hounslow Cycling Campaign, which represents the interests of cyclists and has about 150 members, have given their response to the Council’s statement:

‘While we are disappointed with the delay until after the May council elections, we fully understand that large engineering projects can take longer than originally planned and the borough cabinet needs key information from TfL to decide the detailed implementation’.

Graphic showing how Chiswick High Rd might look by Kew Bridge

Hounslow Cycling Campaign say they are confident that the additional time will allow TfL to further improve the CS9 implementation, ‘which is the objective of the consultation process’.

They say ‘In our campaigning, we have encountered many people who quietly support the scheme, the objectives of healthier streets and safer walking and cycling for all, enabled by the CS9 protected route linking the town centres of Hammersmith, Chiswick, Brentford and Hounslow. We are confident this support will be reflected in the consultation results, as it has been for all previous cycle superhighway schemes’.

They say also that they’ve been disappointed by ‘the lack of a constructive approach from some opponents and attempts to politicise the scheme’.

Spokesman Michael Robinson said: “Following the election, we are looking forward to a constructive dialogue regarding CS9 implementation with TfL, the council and the community of people who want healthier streets and safer cycling and walking facilities in our borough”.

During the consultation period Chiswick Councillors made a number of objections to CS9. Hounslow Cycling Campaign has made a point by point rebuttal of the points, which you can see here.

Ruth Mayorcas, who spoke at our Cycle Superhighway debate last year in favour of CS9, says she is “deeply saddened” by Hounslow’s decision to put off a decision. She regards it as a “missed opportunity” and thinks that the Council could have accepted CS9 subject to changes. “Everybody knew it needed some changes” she said. Ruth has put herself forward for selection as Labour Party candidate in Chiswick for the local elections in May. She says she dislikes the fact that the issue has become a “political football”, but “we need safe cycling and we need safe walking. We have to change the way children get to school and we have to reduce the level of traffic on the High Rd … so safe cycling should play a major part in the local election campaign”.

Response from Businesses

Businesses in the High Rd are delighted that the Council has taken note of their concerns about access and loading especially. Mike Ormrod, owner of Ormrod Electrics told me he thought the Council’s decision was “very sensible” and ventured to hope that “the Council could well be our friend in the end and fight this with us”. He said he thought the Council had realised the strength of feeling about the issue, they’ve noted their reservations and “they don’t want it becoming a party political football”.

Councillor Sam Hearn, leader of the Conservative group on the Council, said much the same thing. He welcomed the fact that the Council recognises how complicated the CS9 proposal is and applauded their decision to take longer to think about it. “There’s a much better chance of getting a good scheme if we take it off the table now and work on the detail”. Sam’s understanding is that Council Leader Steve Curran would like to take the issue out of the political arena, and his expectation is that after the local elections we will see a seriously modified scheme put forward.

Chiswick RNLI helmsman Glen Monroe Profile

If we had a Chiswick New Year’s Honours list I could think of no more deserving recipient than Glen Monroe, Chiswick Helmsman for the RNLI. 54 year old Glen from Norfolk joined the Lifeboat service in 1986 as a volunteer and has been full time here in Chiswick since the London stations opened in January 2002. In his career he’s gone out 1480 times in command of a lifeboat on a service call.

Unsurprisingly they all begin to merge when you’ve been called out that many times, but some call-outs stick in his mind. His first dead body, when he was 22: he had to extricate a woman called Pearl Blythe from between a ship and a quayside. She was already dead in the water when he reached her. The goriest? A speedboat accident on the Norfolk Broads. The most terrifying? The first time he went out as helmsman. He came on watch and put in the routine call to the coastguard to be told that a plane had gone down in the Norfolk Broads. Envisaging an airliner full of passengers, he set off to find a microlight whose pilot had already been rescued by a passing cruiser. “It was funny afterwards”.

Chiswick Lifeboat at Strand on the Green

Nine lives saved – “the rescue I’m most proud of”

The one he’s most proud of at first glance doesn’t seem all that dramatic, as the participants didn’t even get wet. Two years ago he and two crew mates rescued a rowing eight who had hit the Dove pier at Hammersmith and were pinned by wind and tide. No one went in the water and no one was injured, and in fact the nine women may not even have realised quite how much danger they were in, thanks to the skill of the lifeboat crew. “We manoeuvered the lifeboat within an inch. If I had made a mistake I could have run them over and if they’d gone in and been trapped under the houseboats they wouldn’t have come up again”.

Glen says river users are more conscious of the dangers than they used to be. The RNLI have done a lot of education work in local boat and rowing clubs in recent years, getting people to check that their life-jackets are serviceable, and wear them, and encouraging the use of ‘kill chords’, which stop a boat’s engine if you fall overboard.

Fewer drunks

Chiswick is the second busiest lifeboat station in the whole of the UK and Ireland (second only to Tower Bridge). They have nine full time staff and 51 volunteers, of whom seven or eight are women. There’s a waiting list to become a volunteer. Chiswick Lifeboat Station is staffed 24/7 as there is a steady supply of call-outs ranging from rowers and other river users in trouble, to people attempting suicide, to people going in to the river to try and save their dog.

Last year they were called out 177 times which is the quietest year they’ve had for 16 years. The problem of people falling in drunk is apparently less of an issue than it was, but there are more people getting stuck on the foreshore watching the Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race, as the races are starting earlier and people don’t realise that the tide will come in and quickly cut them off. The Thames has a massive tidal range; the height of the water changes by seven and a half metres on spring tides, rising a metre in 20 minutes.

Glen “doesn’t keep count” of the lives he’s saved and the people he has rescued. “I try to keep a distance” he says, “it helps me do my job”. But he’s adamant that animal lives are as important as humans and will always do his best to save a dog in trouble, whether the owner is showing any sign of going in after them or not. He will be retiring in April from full time work, but will continue as a volunteer, for which we who live by the river are duly grateful.

New singers welcome at Addison Jazz Choirs

Do you love singing?
Guest blog by Viv Graves of Addison Jazz

If your New Years’ resolution is to enjoy doing more of what you love, then joining your local community choir could be just the ticket.

The Addison Singers, established in West London over 30 years ago is a charitable, non-profit organisation and home to the Addison Jazz Choir and Ensemble. We perform a diverse range of popular music from the 1930s to the present day.

Our sound is kept fresh through the talents of our professional staff. Dr Jill Jarman is an accomplished jazz musician and contemporary composer whose work is performed world-wide. In recent years her commissions have included: a solo cello piece Resonance premiered in Yosemite National Park, a vocal piece St George’s Mass for the group Illustra and several pieces for Dame Evelyn Glennie including the world premiere in Sweden of Mindstream with Hugo Ticciati’s O/Mordernt Chamber Orchestra.

“Everyone can make music”

Since 2004 Jill has set the direction for Addison Jazz, arranging countless songs from across the Jazz canon, great show tunes, more recent iconic songs as well as her own compositions. You can find out more about Jill here

About working with Addison Jazz, Jill says ‘I like the process involved in working with a group of people and bringing out their musicality. Everyone can make music and it is wonderful to see people realising they are sounding great! Addison jazz choir has a lovely mix of people and we all just love singing’.

The Jazz Choir is an all female choir of around 45 members and welcomes everyone from beginners to experienced singers. You don’t need to read music and learning the songs is made easy with music sheets and a CD of your voice part made available on enrolment.

Jazz Ensemble

The Jazz Ensemble is a smaller group of experienced men and women singers conducted by Matthew Hough, an accomplished soloist, choral conductor and vocal coach. We audition for all voice parts.

The next concert will take place at London’s prestigious Brandenburg Vocal Festival on March 23rd. The Choir and Ensemble will join forces with an accomplished Jazz Trio to perform a programme of songs including: Every Time we say Goodbye, Blue Moon, Minnie the Moocher, Love me or Leave me and It Don’t Mean a Thing (If it aint got that swing).

Monday rehearsals at POSK

Weekly rehearsals are on Mondays starting on: 8th January at POSK, 238 King Street, W6 0RF. At 8pm-9.30pm (for the Jazz Choir*) and 6.30pm-8pm (for the Ensemble)

*You are welcome to come along and try a ‘taster session’ for the Choir during either the first or second rehearsal of term to see if you would like to join. Please contact Frederique on 07531 447960 or email: addisonadmin@gmail.com and we will arrange for you to share music with a ‘buddy’ who will be able to answer any questions you have.

For more information please go to: www.addisonsingers.com/jazz-choirs

Bananaman – theatre review

“The perfect way to chase away the January blues” – Theatre Weekly.

“Strong scores fill every inch of this miraculously feel-good show” – Metro

“Absolutely chocka with zing and zap… with some spot-on songs and some very funny running jokes” – The Times

 

No, not Hamilton, but Bananaman, The Musical, which you can still catch at the Southwark Playhouse till January 20th, for adults and children alike. It’s based on a 1980s comic strip, which became a hit TV series voiced by The Goodies, about a boy called Eric Wimp who only has to eat a banana to become a lantern-jawed (but dim) superhero. The words and music are by Leon Parris.

I went to its premiere last week and the terrific cast got a deserved standing ovation. It’s a joyful evening – and it’s ‘absolutely chocka’ with Chiswick creatives.

The director is Mark Perry of the Tabard Theatre in Bath Road, who under his acting name of Fred Perry starred in Tryst just before Christmas. The choreographer is Grant Murphy from Arts Ed, further along Bath Road. Bananaman himself (in a costume that almost steals the show) is Matthew McKenna (“a joy” – Financial Times) who trained at Arts Ed, as did three of the other cast members, Lizzii Hills, Carl Mullaney and Amy Perry.

The co-producer is another local, Denise Silvey of Cahoots Theatre Company and one of the backers is Bob and Co, a cultural investment company with strong Chiswick connections. It all testifies to this area’s growing reputation as a creative hub.

As the reviews acknowledge, the show still needs some work but, as Time Out says, “it’s a lot of fun and its energy, exuberance and flashes of genuine humour carry you along.”

The Stage critic sums it up well: “Mark Perry’s production is really joyful, really funny and impressively polished, with a couple of great numbers standing out… With a bit of judicious peeling and chopping, it could be a really strong new British musical.”

Book tickets at Southwark Playhouse

Timeline Troubles

If there was a Chiswick New Year’s Honours list (and I were Queen!) I would award an OBM to Karen Liebreich and Sarah Cruz. That’s not a typo, it’s my own very special award – an Order of the Bloody Minded, for perseverance in the face of an almost impossible task.

The installation of the Chiswick Timeline mural which they have designed, researched, funded and project managed began last night on the walls of the railway bridge at Turnham Green Terrace and here they are, despite recently broken bones (Sarah cycling, Karen skiing), bloodied but unbowed.

It’s very exciting that the project has nearly reached fruition, but there are still problems which the graphics manufacturers Links Signs are struggling to overcome. Karen says “The maps are screen printed and are truly magnificent … but the artworks, which are supposed to be dropped in at the last minute, via a special ‘state of the art’  Chinese technology, which we tested extensively back in September and October (when they looked glorious), are disappointing. Links factory guys are distraught, we are pretty unhappy.”

Before Christmas they were coming out with a crackly glazed effect, which they’ve now sorted out, but the colours are still all over place, which means they are now not expecting to have the finished artworks on the maps in time for the launch on Sunday 28th January. Instead there will be vinyl placeholders, so they’ll still look good but on close inspection you will find they are impermament.

Launch party for the Chiswick Timeline

12.30-3.00pm, Sunday 28 January.
Turnham Green Terrace will be closed to vehicle traffic from 11.30 – 3.00pm.

The launch party promises freebies, food and drink, live music and interesting things for families to do, such as taking part in the creation of two new artworks in ceramic and textile: ‘Chiswick in Ceramic: Put your House on the Map’ and ‘Chiswick without Borders: Where do we come from?’

Turnham Green Terrace will be closed to through traffic and buses diverted for the duration of the event.

 

Photographs – Jon Perry