Episode 40: Another fast-scoring innings by Mahela Jayawardene

Cricket authors (and obsessives) Peter Oborne and Richard Heller launched a podcast early in 2020 to help deprived listeners endure a world without cricket. They’re no longer deprived of cricket, but still chat regularly about cricket topics with different guests each week – cricket writers, players, administrators and fans – hoping to keep a good line and length but with occasional wides into other subjects.

Mahela Jayawardene is a busy man these days: chairman of the Sri Lankan National Sports Council, head coach of the Mumbai Indians in the IPL, running a chain of successful crab restaurants with his friend Kumar Sangakkara. But characteristically, the former Sri Lankan captain scored rapidly in a few overs with Peter Oborne and Richard Heller as the latest guest in their cricket-themed podcast.


More Platforms

Mahela remembers his success as a schoolboy cricket star and his early rivalry with his great partner Kumar Sangakkara. He recalls the family tragedy which almost made him give up cricket at that time, and the sharp impact of Sri Lanka’s civil war on his early life. However, he also speaks of the effect of the cricket team and other sports in unifying the country, an objective he has tried to serve in charity work with Muttiah Muralitharan.

Mahela made his Test debut aged 18. He came into bat at the crisis point of 790 for four and had a long partnership with Aravinda de Silva which helped Sri Lanka to the world record cricket score of 953. He describes the challenge of hearing calls for a run from the soft-spoken Aravinda, who was a mentor to him and Kumar Sangakkara. He analyses his innings of 374 against South Africa. It is the highest Test score ever made by a right-handed batter, and broke several other records. One came as a surprise to him: the greatest distance ever run in a Test innings. He describes how he defied physical and mental exhaustion in the heat of Colombo.

He owns another record in the field. “Caught Jayawardene bowled Muralitharan” is the most frequent dismissal in cricket history. He reveals how he earned it – and his fear of dropping a catch off the grumpy wizard. He had to learn to read his doosra from slip without any warning signal. He describes the challenges of facing his bowling, in domestic cricket or net practices, and of captaining him, which he did with notable success.

Mahela’s apparently effortless technique, especially his use of hands and wrists to manœuvre the ball was established early and maintained by assiduous practice. He came to T20 after establishing himself in the top flight of batting in longer-form cricket. He says it made little difference to his methods but allowed him to bat again as he did when a schoolboy.

He reflects on his long relationship with Kumar Sangakkara, and how it strengthened both of them as players. It continues off the field in their successful chain of crab restaurants. Happily, they aim to open a branch in England.

He describes his present important advisory role as chairman of the National Sports Council, trying to reform and develop all Sri Lankan sport, especially extending opportunities to Tamils and to the north and east of the country. He analyses acutely the present state of Sri Lankan cricket and the weaknesses of its domestic structure compared to other countries. He traces the rise of Sri Lanka’s best bowler, Lasith Embuldeniya, in the recent Test series against England.

Finally, in days of research about him, it was impossible to find anyone who said a bad thing about him. Mahela graciously supplies one himself.

Get in contact with the podcast by emailing obornehellercricket@outlook.com, we’d love to hear from you!

Listen to more episodes of Oborne & Heller

Next Episode – Episode 41: A great historian’s love affair with cricket

Previous Episode – Episode 39: The sky is the limit for Alsama Cricket Club, where refugees from Syria get new lives

Listen to all episodes – Oborne & Heller on Cricket

Peter Oborne & Richard Heller

Peter Oborne has been the chief political commentator for the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, a maker of several documentaries and written and broadcast for many different media. He is the author of a biography of Basil D’Oliveira and of Wounded Tiger, a history of Pakistan cricket, both of which won major awards.

Richard Heller was a long-serving humorous columnist on The Mail on Sunday and more briefly, on The Times. He worked in the movie business in the United States and the UK, including a brief engagement on a motion picture called Cycle Sluts Versus The Zombie Ghouls. He is the author of two cricket-themed novels A Tale of Ten Wickets and The Network. He appeared in two Mastermind finals: in the first his special subject was the life of Sir Gary Sobers.

Oborne & Heller cricketing partnership

Jointly, he and Peter produced White On Green, celebrating the drama of Pakistan cricket, including the true story of the team which lost a first-class match by an innings and 851 runs.

Peter and Richard have played cricket with and against each other for a variety of social sides, including Parliament’s team, the Lords and Commons, and in over twenty countries including India, Pakistan, the United States, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, France, Greece, Australia, Zimbabwe, New Zealand and Morocco.

The Podcast is produced by Bridget Osborne and James Willcocks at The Chiswick Calendar.

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

See also: Chiswick Calendar Blogs & Podcasts

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

A4 Homeless man dies

Image above: Chiswick flyover; photograph Anne Marshall

The man who made his home under the A4 flyover by Chiswick roundabout, has died.

John Dwyer, who was in his seventies, lived rough in Chiswick for more than 30 years. Police and other agencies had for years tried to persuade him to take council accommodation.

‘John was very independently minded and resisted attempts to move him into accommodation’ say LB Hounslow. He preferred to live in his encampment under the flyover.

Last year LB Hounlow’s outreach team managed to persuade him to move into council accommodation but he only stayed a few days before he told them he preferred to go back to his home underneath the flyover, where he was entirely self-sufficient. As he died suddenly there will be an inquiry into his death.

Hounslow Council Leader, Cllr Steven Curran, expressed his sadness at learning that John had died. He said:

“This is very sad news and I would like to give my sincere condolences to John’s family, friends and people that knew him.

“The Council will be liaising with the Coroner’s office, as well as relatives and friends to make John’s funeral arrangements.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Future of Streetspace schemes in doubt

See also: Chiswick Cheese Market goes ahead

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

‘Protect them no longer’ – family of murder victim appeal for information

The family of a student who was shot dead in Shepherd’s Bush seven months ago are appealing for anyone with information about his murder to come forward.

Alexander Kareem was fatally shot at 12.40am on Monday, 8 June 2020 as he walked along Askew Road. The 20-year-old had just left a shop and was heading to a friend’s house. His death is believed to have been a case of mistaken identity.

Seven months on, detectives have reissued CCTV footage of a white Range Rover, which was found burned out on Ascott Avenue just 25 minutes after the first call to police. A vast trawl of CCTV has taken place to track its movement across London, but officers still want to hear from anyone who knows anything about its movements on the night of the murder or before. You can see a video of the footage here. The route the car takes passes through Chiswick High Rd.

They are also keen to hear from anyone with any other information, no matter how minor, that may help advance their investigation.

The independent charity Crimestoppers is offering a £10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the person or people responsible for Alexander’s murder.

Nine men and women who were previously arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder have been released under investigation.

‘Protect them no longer’

Alexander’s family released a statement imploring anyone with information to come forward, so that his killers can be brought to justice.

“The grief we continue to feel for the loss of our Alexander is immeasurable. Our hearts have been broken. Every day that goes by that we do not know who did this to him is unbearable.

“Alexander was a caring and loving boy who had his life tragically cut short by being in the wrong place, at the wrong time. He was like any other young boy who liked to hang out with his friends, play on his computer and work on his passion which was IT.

“March will mark Alexander’s 21st birthday, a day that would have been full of celebration to mark the wonderful, kind and intelligent young man he was.

“We are asking you to come forward with any information you may have, we need answers for us to start to heal. The perpetrators are using the silence of the public as protection against the consequences of their hideous and unspeakable crime.

“Please, protect them no longer. Pick up the phone and do the right thing for Alexander, his friends and for us, his family.”

image above: the white Range Rover which police continue to search for in connection with the murder

‘White Range Rover’ is the key to solving the case

The investigation continues at “great pace” and police believe the answers to a lot of the questions are linked to the white Range Rover in the CCTV footage.

Detective Chief Inspector Wayne Jolley, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command (Homicide) said:

“We are determined to find those responsible for this terrible crime which resulted in Alexander tragically losing his life. We are working to find the answers for his family who have been left devastated by his loss.

“If you know anything, no matter how small or insignificant you think it is, please come forward. If you do not wish to speak to police, call Crimestoppers which is 100 percent anonymous.

“We are sure there are people out there who know what happened. The start of a new year offers a chance for you to get that information off your chest. Make the call.”

Anyone with information is urged to call police on 101 quoting the reference CAD224/08JUN.

You can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or by visiting www.crimestoppers-uk.org. Crimestoppers is an independent charity. They cannot trace your name or IP address and information is provided to them in full confidence.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Four men charged after cash and cocaine seizures in Chiswick

See also: Council prohibits sale of non essential goods at Osterley Tesco

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Osterley Tesco appeals prohibition notice

The supermarket chain Tesco is appealing a prohibition notice which was served to its Osterley branch following an inspection by Hounslow council.

The inspection found Tesco was allowing access to, and purchase of, clothes and other non-essential items on its first floor, which the council felt was “against the spirit” of the coronavirus restrictions.

The floor was not closed and remains open for customers, but items that are deemed non-essential are prohibited from being purchased.

Tesco believe that this enforcement notice issued was not served correctly for ‘a number of reasons’ and have submitted an appeal to Hounslow council. They are waiting for a response.

Government guidance states that ‘a business selling a significant amount of essential retail may also continue to sell goods typically sold as non-essential retail. For example, a supermarket that sells food is not required to close off or cordon off aisles selling homeware’.

LB Hounslow points out that the non-essential items at the Osterley superstore have to be accessed by escalator as they are on a wholly separate floor.

A spokesperson for Tesco said: The safety of our customers and colleagues is our number one priority. We believe that our Osterley Extra store complies with the government’s rules on Covid-19 measures and we were disappointed to receive this notice, which we are appealing.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Council prohibits sale of non-essential goods at Osterley Tesco

See also: Covid update from Kelly O’Neill’s latest update when published

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

New Turkish-style deli planned for Chiswick

An application has been made for a premises licence at the old Pain Quotidien site at 214 Chiswick High Road.

The new business will be a Turkish-influenced, all day dining deli called “Megan’s”, which also has branches in Kensington, Wimbledon and Clapham. The existing restaurants are dog-friendly and offer bottomless brunches, champagne breakfasts, dinner, lunch and children’s menus.

Starting as a small antiques shop come cafe, Megan’s say they have ‘keeping south west London smiling’ since 2002 when they opened their first branch.

In 2014 Megan moved back her home country, New Zealand, and sold the café to a regular customer who lived across the road from the first branch. The group now has a Turkish head chef, Sercan, and many of the dishes on its menu have Middle Eastern influence and use ‘the best, freshest & most delicious ingredients.’

Megan’s website describes the businesses as a:

“Small, independently-owned, dog friendly spot with a wonderful team of like-minded people from all over the world. Mediterranean-influenced chef-made cooking in a beautiful setting; Brunch, lunch, dinner & happy hour.”

The licence application is still pending.

Images above: Megan’s, photos from Megan’s website

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Milk delivery allegedly sabotaged to lure foxes to cafe

See also: Council prohibits sale of non-essential goods at Osterley Tesco

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Government’s ‘bungled response to the pandemic’ adds to council’s cash problems

The Government’s “bungled response to the pandemic” has meant that local councils have had to step in to fill the gaps, adding to cash flow problems they already faced, created by the Government, says Ruth Cadbury.

Speaking during a debate in Parliament on Monday 25 January, the MP for Brentford and Isleworth criticised the Government over its continued cuts to local government funding.

She said LB Hounslow council has seen an 80% reduction in their Government grant funding since 2010, on top of the added costs of support relating to Covid-19. Ruth also said these cuts are forcing councillors to have to make ‘incredibly hard decisions’.

In a statement after the debate, Ruth said:

‘‘Local councils like Hounslow have faced year after year of cuts to their central government grant, while demands such as social care have grown.

“On top of that Hounslow has had a funding hole as a result of the coronavirus- made up of £20m of added support costs, and millions in lost income.

“At the start of the pandemic the Government told Councils they could spend “whatever it takes” to support their communities through the crisis, but Hounslow has only received some funding and a significant gap remains.

“The Government’s bungled response to the pandemic has meant that local councils have had to step in to fill the gaps too. Hounslow Council funded a free school meal program over the half term, a community hub to support vulnerable and shielding residents, and is providing 700 laptops to ensure local students could learn from home, and direct funding to residents who fall through the gaps of the national support schemes.

“I will keep urging the Government to give our local councils the funding they need.’’

For Ruth’s statement to the Commons in full, click here.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: A4 homeless man dies

See also: Give your laptop to a child who needs it

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Rennie Pilgrem: Movers & Shakers

Milk delivery allegedly sabotaged to lure foxes to cafe

Police are investigating an incident in which someone allegedly lured foxes to a business to then complain about the mess the foxes made to the council.

The bizarre claim was made during a hearing by the Licensing Panel of LB Hounslow on Wednesday 20 January, in which The Coffee Traveller cafe at 58 Thames Rd, Strand on the Green was applying for an alcohol licence.

The cafe wanted to be able to sell craft beers and wine with food, but the proposal raised some opposition locally. The alcohol licence was approved, but during the hearing the applicant, Mike Nickson, said of one of the opponents:

“What are we to make of that person knowing about, and having complained persistently about urban foxes, then tampering with a secure delivery of milk left outside The Coffee Traveller one morning in such a way that it would inevitably attract the fox! But then complaining to the council about the fox and the delivery!”

Police are now investigating the claim.

Normal opening times for the cafe are Monday to Sunday, 10..00am till 7.30pm. The cafe originally applied to remain open until 10.00pm on up to 30 days for evening events, but this part of the application was removed before the hearing after the cafe owners had discussed it with the police.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Mayor of London acted ‘unlawfully’ in Streetspace programme

See also: New test site in Stamford Brook for people with symptoms

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Council prohibits sale of non-essential goods at Osterley Tesco

The Leader of Hounslow Council, Cllr Steve Curran, has confirmed that the council has served a prohibition notice on Tesco in Osterley under the coronavirus regulations.

The notice followed an inspection by council officers who found the store, which stocks food, toiletries and household goods on the ground floor, was allowing access to and purchase of clothes and other non-essential items on its first floor. 

Tesco ‘working in opposition to guidance’

Cllr Curran said:

“At a time when Hounslow has among the highest levels of COVID-19 in London it is vital we continue to take action to protect public health wherever we find concerns.  

“In this case, because Government guidance advises that where areas selling essential goods are separate to those selling non-essential goods, access to the non-essential goods should be restricted, we have required the shop to restrict sale of non-essential goods on the first floor of the superstore. Access is still allowed to the café for a takeaway service. 

“Our view is that Tesco’s actions go against the spirit of the law in allowing shoppers to shop for the non-essential goods. We recognise that Tesco is a responsible retailer and would have hoped to see them working in line with government guidance, not in opposition to it.  

“Tesco do not agree with the position we have taken. That is their right and they have exercised their right of appeal. While that is ongoing it would not be appropriate to comment further.

“We would ask Hounslow’s residents though, to undertake only essential shopping. Browsing clothes is not essential. Please stay at Home, Protect the NHS and save lives.”

READ ALSO: Tesco is appealing the prohibition order

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: New test site in Stamford Brook for people with symptoms

See also: Covid update from Kelly O’Neill’s latest update when published

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Episode 7: The inauguration of a new president

Mihir Bose – former BBC Sports Editor, David Smith – Economics Editor of the Sunday Times and political commentator Nigel Dudley have been friends since they first met while working at Financial Weekly in 1980s. They have kept in touch regularly, setting the world to rights over various lunches and dinners. With coronavirus making that impossible, what do journalists do, deprived of long convivial lunches over a bottle of red wine or several? Why, podcast of course.

This week they discuss the inauguration of President Biden. Being of a certain age themselves, they take heart from the empowerment of a 78 year old man. They are but spring chickens by comparison.

Nonetheless their experience reaches down the years and they fish anecdotes and facts out of their collective memory to discuss the media and politics as it concerns America.

Biden’s campaign was ‘pitch perfect’ says David and he is sure he is already thinking about the Mid-Terms, being a shrewd political operator with fifty years’ experience. He knows he needs to court Trump supporters if he is to have any change of a meaningful and effective presidency.

His presidency has to be capable of being summed up in a short soundbite containing no more than two clear thoughts, says Nigel. “The country was broken and I fixed it” maybe.

Is it true either in the US or in Britain that one party always leaves the economy in a mess while the other always puts it back in good shape before being voted out of power? asks Mihir.

And what was the speech that Biden nicked from Neil Kinnock? Nigel sat through many a Labour Party Conference speech by “the Welsh windbag” and remembers being surprised to hear a purple passage being recycled by an American senator.

The power of political editors … giving a byline to some young hopeful when you don’t want your name on a story … it’s all in this week’s podcast by the Three Old Hacks.


More Platforms

Listen to more episodes here.

Get in contact with the podcast by emailing threeoldhacks@outlook.com, we’d love to hear from you!

EM Forster

Images above: EM Forster’s flat in Arlington Park Mansions; photograph by Alanna McCrum; EM Forster, portrait by Dora Carrington (1920), courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery

Edwardian novelist who lived in Arlington Park Mansions, overlooking Turnham Green

EM Forster (1879 – 1970) is considered one of Britain’s greatest novelists. He wrote six novels, all of which were hugely successful from the moment of publication. After his death, A Room with a View, Howards End, and A Passage to India were discovered by new audiences when they were made into films which became every bit as popular in the 1980s and early 1990s as the books had been at the beginning of the century.

He came to Chiswick at the start of the Second World War, by which time he was broadcasting for the BBC and writing for a range of publications. Arlington Park Mansions, where he lived, bears a blue plaque to commemorate the time he spent here.

Images above: EM Forster (1922) by Lady Ottoline Morrell; blue plaque photograph by Alanna McCrum

According to English Heritage, ‘Forster moved from Bloomsbury to Arlington Park Mansions in October 1939, partly to escape central London following the outbreak of war, and partly to be closer to his friend and lover Bob Buckingham in Shepherd’s Bush.

‘The mansion block was built in 1905, and Forster occupied a top-floor flat – number 9 – ‘with a lovely view over Turnham Green’.

‘In 1945 Forster was elected a Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge, but continued to spend one or two days a week in London, invariably travelling with his small Gladstone bag by bus and train, since he regarded taxis as ‘a vulgar extravagance’. He retained the flat at Arlington Park Mansions as a pied-à-terre until his death’.

He spent his final years living in his college rooms at King’s.

EM Forster – the EM stands for Edward Morgan – was already well established as a great literary figure when he came to Chiswick, as he moved here when he was 60. He continued writing short stories until he was 82 and died at the age of 91, but he had finished his last novel, A Passage to India, fifteen years earlier when he was only 45.

Image above: EM Forster, bromide print by Howard Coster (June 1938), courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery

EM Forster the broadcaster

When he came to Chiswick ‘Morgan’, as he was known to friends and colleagues, was well into his career as a broadcaster.

He began broadcasting at the BBC in 1928, when the BBC was six years old, so he was in at the start of the Talks department. Academic Mary Lago, who studied him as a broadcaster, wrote that he was happy working for the BBC:

“Characteristically uneasy with persons in whom he could find no grounds for respect, Forster found the working atmosphere of the BBC congenial.”

Miss Jean Rowntree, one of his producers in the 1940s, remembered him as:

“a natural broadcaster, who combines the rhythms of informal speech with a pattern of thought that made them easy to remember. His actual voice was against him, as it was rather high and easily became squeaky but the substance of his broadcasts was so good that it did them no harm. Listeners used to say that you went on thinking as soon as he had stopped talking.”

One of his fellow intellectuals at the BBC was George Orwell, who worked in the BBC India Section as a talks producer from 1941 to 1943. He commissioned Forster to write a weekly book review. The majority of Forster’s radio talks were about books and he campaigned for more radio time to be devoted to literature. He was respected by producers as a reliable professional and carried on broadcasting on and off until 1963, when he was 84.

During the war he gave talks about literature, and very unwillingly he allowed himself to be dragged into contributing to wartime propaganda, though he retained a large degree of editorial independence and every script was squared with his conscience (as evidenced in lengthy correspondence with BBC staff).

In 1940 he gave three talks on the Nazis and Culture. During the war Forster also broadcast to India, a country he knew well from having travelled there in 1914 and worked there in the early 1920s as a private secretary to a Maharajah. He was able to speak directly to an Indian audience whom he knew would be interested in Western culture, about the London theatre audiences continuing to go to performances of Shakespeare’s plays, despite the wartime destruction all around them.

He was disparaging about the efforts of his colleagues in the News department. Literature and News were two separate concepts which should not be confused as far as he was concerned. Comparing the two, he told George Barnes, Director of Talks in 1941:

“The question of quality must come in! And I would hazard in passing that literature exhibits good taste rather than frivolity, and nobility rather than sermonizing”.

Images above: EM Forster (June 1938) by Howard Coster, courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery

Censorship and propaganda

Forster was ambivalent about being used as a propagandist. In 1940 Richard A Rendall, the Director of Empire Services, expressed doubts about Forster’s attitude to the war. Forster wrote:

“What I feel about the war. I don’t want to lose it. I don’t expect Victory and I can’t join in any ‘Build-a-New-World’ stuff. Once in a lifetime one can swallow that, but not twice.”

He had been a conscientious objector during the First World War. Instead of fighting, he served with the British Red Cross as Chief Searcher for missing servicemen in Alexandria, Egypt.

He was concerned about wartime censorship:

“I hope the censor won’t demand any alteration which I consider vital. I should have to give up the job if he did”.

He made a stand at the BBC when he discovered there was a wartime blacklist of certain performers and that the Government was involved. He went on strike. There was a huge protest involving playwright Bernard Shaw and composer Ralph Vaughan Williams amongst others. Vaughan Williams withdrew permission for his works to be used by the BBC and so did Forster. It was effective. Three days later the Government gave a clear promise that the blacklisting would cease.

The composer Michael Tippett was on this blacklist. He and Forster were both on board of the Freedom Defence Committee, committed to upholding freedom of speech and civil liberties, and later they got to know each other through mutual friend Benjamin Britten, with whom Forster was working on the opera Billy Budd, as co-librettist with Eric Crozier. (Tippett also lived briefly in Chiswick, but in the 1920s).

EM Forster was the first President of the National Council for Civil Liberties. Formed in 1934, the NCCL was at the forefront of the anti-fascist campaign in Britain during the 1930s. He campaigned for freedom of speech and individual liberty and against the racism which he saw exercised against Indians in the UK. He also campaigned for penal reform.

He was also active in the British Humanist Association. He donated money to the cause of homosexual law reform and met Wolfenden, author of the 1957 report that led to the decriminalization of homosexuality. He testified on behalf of DW Lawrence in the Lady Chatterley’s Lover case in 1960, which changed the legal definition of obscenity.

Images above: Where Angels Fear to Tread; The Longest Journey; A Room with a View

Books

Reading about his broadcasting and campaigning for the NCCL (now Liberty), it’s hard to think of Forster as an Edwardian, but that he undoubtedly was. He was already twenty years old as the nineteenth century came to a close. In fact his 21st birthday fell on the first day of the new century.

He came down from Cambridge the following year, having studied Classics, and set off to travel continental Europe with his widowed mother. They stayed in 1901 at the Pensione Simi in Florence, the inspiration for the Pension Bertolini in A Room with a View, where the independent minded young woman Lucy Honeychurch stays with her overly-fussy spinster cousin and chaperone, Miss Charlotte Bartlett (played so memorably by Helena Bonham Carter and Maggie Smith respectively in the 1985 Merchant Ivory film). Overheard expressing their disappointment with the lack of a view from their room by fellow guest Mr Emerson, they accept his offer to swap rooms, despite Charlotte’s misgivings about being indebted to two strange men. Thus begins the love affair between Lucy and Emerson’s son George.

A Room with a View (1908) and Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905) are both about English tourists in Italy and are often bracketed with the novels of Henry James and Somerset Maugham, the earliest fiction writers writing in the English language to feature foreign as well as English or American characters. They all explore the ways in which different cultures impact on each other.

Forster’s first book Where Angels Fear to Tread was described by reviewers as “astonishing” and “brilliantly original”. The American literary critic Lionel Trilling proclaimed it: “a whole and mature work dominated by a fresh and commanding intelligence”.

His second book, The Longest Journey (1907), was a coming of age novel. It was Forster’s personal favourite and also the most biographical. The main character Rickie, goes to Cambridge University, wants to be a writer and is invited to teach Classics, as Forster did for a bit (though Forster was briefly a private tutor, not a schoolmaster). Unlike Forster, Rickie finds himself trapped in a loveless marriage. The novel was very well received by critics, but less popular with the public and is the only one not to have been made into a film. Journalist Gilbert Adair, who was himself also a novelist, wrote that the greatest weaknesses for readers is its “unrelenting intellectuality, its sublimation and even outright repression of the importance of the erotic in human relationships” and the “… not always intentional priggishness of its characters.”

Image above: Howard’s End film poster

Howards End (1910) also closely observes the behaviour, codes of conduct and social conventions of the time. The story revolves around three families: the Wilcoxes, rich capitalists with a fortune made in the colonies, the half-German Schlegel siblings (Margaret, Helen, and Tibby), who are cultured, interested in socialism and the suffragist movement, and the Basts, an impoverished young couple from a lower-class background. Forster socialized with the Bloomsbury Group, whose women made perfect studies for the Schlegels.

Howards End is regarded by many as his greatest novel. In the Merchant Ivory film (1992) based on the book, Emma Thompson and Helena Bonham Carter played the Schlegel sisters; Vanessa Redgrave and Anthony Hopkins the Wilcoxes; Samuel West and Nicola Duffet the Basts.

Images above: A Passage to India; Maurice 

A Passage to India (1924) takes as its subject the relationship between East and West, seen through the lens of India in the later days of the British Raj. Forster connects personal relationships with the politics of colonialism through the story of the Englishwoman Adela Quested, the Indian Dr. Aziz, and the question of what did or did not happen between them in the Marabar Caves.

David Lean directed the film version (1984) with a star-studded cast: Judy Davis as Adela Quested, Victor Banerjee as Dr Aziz; Peggy Ashcroft, Alec Guinness, and Nigel Havers, Art Malik and Saeed Jaffrey among them.

Maurice was substantially completed in 1914 but not published until after his death in 1971 because its subject was a love affair between men. Forster was quite private about being gay, which was perhaps not surprising given that homosexuality was illegal until 1967 and he died three years later.

Maurice was also adapted as a film (1987) by the Merchant Ivory team, starring James Wilby in the title role, Hugh Grant and Rupert Graves, supported by Denholm Elliott, Simon Callow, Billie Whitelaw and Ben Kingsley.

Forster was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 16 separate years but never won it. Interviewed by the BBC on his eightieth birthday, he said:

“I have not written as much as I’d like to … I write for two reasons; partly to make money and partly to win the respect of the people whom I respect … I had better add that I am quite sure that I am not a great novelist.”

Be that as it may, three of his novels made it into the Modern Library’s list of the 100 Best Novels: A Passage to India (no.25); Howard’s End (no.38); A Room with a View (no. 79).

Images above: TE Lawrence (1931) by Howard Coster; Lytton Stracey & Virginia Woolf (1923) by Lady Ottoline Morrell; Thomas Hardy (1923) by Reginald Grenville Eves, courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery

Contemporaries

He lived such a long life and was successful so young, his correspondence with poet Siegfried Sassoon over 40 years reads like a who’s who of twentieth century literature.

He was friendly with Thomas Hardy, and TE Lawrence in the 1920s. Hardy was much older than Forster but lived to the ripe old age of 88, dying in 1928. Lawrence was nine years younger than him but died at the tragically early age of 47, killed in a motorcycle accident in 1935.

He met and disagreed with Henry James, but was a lifelong friend of WH Auden.

Writers Leonard Woolf (husband of Virginia) and Lytton Strachey (founder of the Bloomsbury Group and author of Eminent Victorians), philosopher Bertrand Russell and economist John Maynard Keynes were his contemporaries at Cambridge, all members of the exclusive Apostles Club, which debated philosophical and moral questions.

He socialised with the Bloomsbury Group members but wasn’t considered one of the group. It seems he and Virginia Woolf didn’t exactly like each other but each was respectful of the other’s achievements. He had a similar rivalry with DH Lawrence, whom he met first in 1915. They weren’t friends exactly but when Lawrence died in 1930 Forster published a tribute to ‘the greatest imaginative novelist of his generation’.

Others who might have popped in to his flat in Chiswick were J. R. Ackerley, a writer and literary editor of The Listener, the psychologist W. J. H. Sprott, (also a member of the Bloomsbury Group, romantically involved with Keynes) and the composer Benjamin Britten.

HG Wells was one of the National Council of Civil Liberties’ vice presidents in the 1930s, when Forster was president. Other writers in his circle also included Christopher Isherwood, Belfast-based novelist Forrest Reid and William Golding.

Image above: EM Forster (June 1938) by Howard Coster, courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery

Forster on friendship

He once said: “If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country”.

Find out more about the cultural history of Chiswick

EM Forster’s flat is one of 21 sites of literary interest on the Trail of Books & Writers, produced by Torin Douglas, Director of the Chiswick Book Festival. There is also a Chiswick Timeline Art Trail created by Karen Liebreich and Sarah Cruz of Abundance London, a trail around the sites of Georgian Chiswick: In Georgian footsteps, produced by the Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society and William Hogarth Trust, and a guide to Chiswick House and Gardens, produced by Chiswick House and Gardens Trust.

Download the trail maps here:

Trail of Books & Writers

Trail of Art & Artists

In Georgian Footsteps

Guide to Chiswick House and Gardens

Mary Lago’s collection of the correspondence of E. M. Forster, over 15,000 letters which she gathered from over the world, is kept at the University of Missouri.

The Chiswick Calendar would like to thank the National Portrait Gallery for their permission to republish portraits of EM Forster and people he knew.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Explore Chiswick’s cultural history online and on foot

See also: Johann Zoffany: eighteenth century high society painter who lived at Strand on the Green

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Covid rate in Chiswick dropping

Image above: gov.uk map showing Covid-19 data for new cases in Chiswick NW in the seven days up to 20 January 2021

Government figures showing the number of Covid cases in the seven days up to Wednesday 20 January show a drop compared with the previous week. Hounslow remains the London borough with the joint highest figures and infection rates remain very high, said Kelly O’Neill, LB Hounslow’s Director of Public Health, but numbers are on a “very slow decline”.

In Chiswick, which is the least affected area of LB Hounslow, there were 188 new cases, compared with 239 the week before. In the week between 25 December 2020 and 1 January 2021 the number of new cases was 349.

In the seven days up to 20 January the only area of Chiswick where infections went up was Chiswick NW. The biggest drop in infections was in Chiswick SW. Chiswick is divided into six areas for the purposes of measuring infection.

Chiswick South East
Total cases in seven days up to 20 January – 37
Down 14 from the previous seven days ending 13 January

Chiswick South West 
Total cases in seven days up to 20 January – 20
Down 31 from the previous seven days ending 13 January

Chiswick Park
Total cases in seven days up to 20 January – 40
Down 2 from the previous seven days ending 13 January

Bedford Park
Total cases in seven days up to 20 January – 32
No change from the number of new infections in the previous seven days ending 13 January

Chiswick North East
Total cases in seven days up to 20 January – 13
Down 13 from the previous seven days ending 13 January

Chiswick North West 
Total cases in seven days up to 20 January – 46
Up 9 from the previous seven days ending 13 January

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Covid update from Kelly O’Neill, Monday 25 January

See also: New test site in Stamford Brook

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Covid update from Kelly O’Neill

 

Image above: Kelly O’Neill, Director of Public Health for LB Hounslow

Hounslow remains the joint-top borough in London for Covid infection rates, according to the council’s Director of Public Health, Kelly O’Neill.

In a meeting with Hounslow Chamber of Commerce, Kelly gave a statement on the current situation in the borough.

Rates of infection remain very high, but numbers are on a “very slow decline” as the lockdown begins to have an effect. At the moment, infections stand at 731 per 100,000, which is down from 841.4 per 100,000 last week.

Unlike the first lockdown, where infections dropped off relatively quickly, infection rates are taking longer to level out. “This is likely due to a slow response to the impact of the lockdown” said Kelly.

The case positivity rate, which is the number of people per 100 who test positive Covid, has previously stood at upwards of 30%. This meant that a lot of people may have had the virus but weren’t getting tested. If the rate falls to 5%, then the council says they will be confident most cases of infection are being discovered, which gives them a more accurate picture of infection levels. Currently, the case positivity rate is 14.8%.

Covid-related deaths have risen to 130 in January, up from 50 in December 2020, with “long, protracted, acute levels of hospital admissions” to continue while infections still remain high.

“Significant” spread of infection in care homes

Certain sectors of the community are particularly vulnerable to the new variant of Covid, which is much more transmissible than previous variants. 77% of all new cases are due to this new strain, with care homes apparently being particularly hard-hit.

“What we’re finding is that with routine testing in care homes and schools, care homes predominantly, we are seeing quite a significant spread of infection even before we get the results back so it’s incredibly important to have very tight infection control in these settings” said Kelly.

“Given where we were after the first wave, where we had the lowest number of excess deaths and our outbreaks in our care homes and the number of people who were infected in care homes was really low, it’s a very different scenario now. But this is not just Hounslow that’s experiencing this, this is across London and much wider.

“We’ve had [outbreaks] in schools but to a lesser extent, obviously schools aren’t operating now, but we are seeing an impact with schools only having key-worker staff, although the number of children in school is still high, essentially because the guidelines allow for that.

“We have had outbreaks in prisons and youth-offending institutions and a lot of outbreaks in workplaces and businesses – areas where people congregate on a regular basis.

Image above: a discarded facemask 

Fears of ‘Covid fatigue’ among public

There are fears that the public are becoming fatigued by Covid restrictions and are increasingly taking risks in what is likely the most dangerous time in the pandemic.

Not everybody is following the guidelines too. Households which are “clearly linked” to each other have been developing symptoms over a series of few days after friends and family members have tested positive.

“Most of the time, people are following the rules (hands, face and space) but I think many people are fatigued by this and just every so often people let their guard down and when you’re dealing with a virus, you can’t let your guard down” Kelly said.

Images above: location of Chiswick’s new Covid testing centre – Stamford Brook, Isleworth Library 

Where to get a test

A new site for testing people who have symptoms is planned to open soon in the car park at Welstead Way W4 1NH in the Stamford Brook area of Chiswick. It was built on Monday 25 January, with a pilot test due on Wednesday 27 January.

Identifying cases remains the council’s key tactic for suppressing the virus. Up to 14,000 borough residents are visiting either the standard PCR drive-through/ walk-through tests or visiting any one of the new, rapid testing sites every week.

PCR tests, for people who have symptoms, are also available at: Padstow Walk in FelthamBrabazon Road in Heston or regional testing at Heathrow and Twickenham.

Rapid testing for people who are asymptomatic is available at: Isleworth Library, Twickenham Rd, Isleworth TW7 7EU; Wellington Day Centre 292 Staines Rd, Hounslow TW4 5BA; Hounslow House, 7 Bath Rd, Hounslow TW3 3EB and Heston Library, New Heston Road, Hounslow TW5 0LW.

There are also roving mobile testing units which drive around to various businesses testing asymptomatic workers. If you’re a business that would like to have a testing unit come to you, you’re advised to contact public health at housnlow.gov.uk.

As of this week, secondary schools, primary schools and early years will go live with rapid testing despite criticisms about the efficacy of the tests.

“Whilst the test isn’t perfect, it does allow schools to be on the front foot because last term it was constantly a reactive response to cases in schools and the impact was quite widely felt” said Kelly. The Department of Education has paused national plans for “serial, seven-day testing” and instead schools will now be testing pupils only twice a week.

Image above: residents in the queue outside Chiswick Health Centre to be vaccinated 

75% of over 80s have been vaccinated

Roughly about 75% of the borough’s over 80s have received the Covid vaccine and, if supply of the vaccine remains at its current levels, everybody in the four major priority groups will be vaccinated by the middle of February.

“I encourage our older residents, anybody who works in health and social care, it’s really important that you get vaccinated. The more people that can get vaccinated, the more we can reduce the amount of activity on the hospital and the more people will recover and stay well.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: New test site in Stamford Brook for people with symptoms

See also: New test site in Isleworth for people without symptoms

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

 

 

 

 

Future of Streetspace schemes in doubt

The ruling by Mrs Justice Beverley Lang in the High Court that Mayor Khan’s Streetstpace Plan was unlawful has thrown the future of the road changes already introduced under the scheme into doubt.

In London both Borough councils and lobby groups are considering their position pending further legal action. Transport for London has said it will appeal the judgement. Mrs Justice Lang said there would be a “stay and delay” while the Mayor for London and Transport for London considered their appeal but “to reduce disruption”, that they should start reconsidering the Plan now, as she did not see that they had grounds for appeal.

Mrs Justice Lang said: “In my judgment, quashing orders rather than declarations are appropriate because of the nature and extent of the unlawfulness which I have identified, which affects not only taxi drivers, but also their passengers.”

She said that TfL and the Mayor would need to reconsider the Streetspace plan, the Interim Guidance to Boroughs and the Bishopsgate scheme, with all three needing to be “substantially amended” to reflect the judgment.

“To reduce disruption, the defendants can turn their minds to this task now, on a provisional basis, as there will be a stay and a delay whilst they pursue their appeal.”

What is a Streetspace scheme?

When the Mayor’s office launched Streetspace in May 2020 this is how they described it:

‘As part of our response to the pandemic we and London’s boroughs are making changes to our streets to make it safer and easier to walk, cycle, roll or scoot. This takes the form of new cycle lanes, low traffic neighbourhoods, school streets, pavement widening and the Central London plan. These changes are temporary and low-cost, using temporary, emergency or experimental traffic orders.’

Which are the Streetspace schemes in Chiswick?

LB Hounslow lists on its website 22 Streetspace projects. Those in Chiswick are:

No 6 all of the projects in the South Chiswick Liveable Neighbourhood

No 10 Wellesley Road and Stile Hall Gardens Closure

No 12 Turnham Green Terrace

No 13 Devonshire Road

No 14 Chiswick Parking Suspension

No 15 Dukes Road Closure

No 16 Fishers Lane restrictions

No 20 Cycleway 9 East (Brentford to Chiswick)

The One Chiswick Facebook group, which opposes the changes, says:

‘The judgement is clear that all schemes under the London Streetspace Plan and the Interim Guidance to Burroughs are unlawful, and this plan and guidance is the basis on which the London Borough of Hounslow proceeded in developing the Hounslow Streetspace Plan, including the schemes above. In keeping with the grounds for the judgement by Mrs Justice Lang all are now unlawful’.

Fate of these schemes unclear

Despite the lobby group’s apparent certainty, the definition of these schemes is not simple and their fate remains unclear. Several of these schemes were in the pipeline before the introduction of the Streetspace Plan. The Wellesley Road and Stile Hall Gardens closure was signed off by LB Hounslow at the same time as Cycleway 9 in September 2019. The Fisher’s Lane closures were introduced by LB Ealing, in collaboration with LB Hounslow, but were part of Ealing’s pre-existing plans for cycle routes, according to LB Ealing. Whether these will now legally be considered as ‘Streetspace’ schemes is a moot point.

Although listed with the Streetspace projects, the Wellesley Road and Stile Hall Gardens closure is described as a ‘permanent scheme’. LB Hounslow has also confirmed that ‘Cycleway 9 is not part of the StreetSpace and that the budgets were from different pots’.

The changes to Turnham Green Terrace and Devonshire Rd, Chiswick Parking Suspension and Dukes Road Closure were all introduced as temporary schemes and after a round of recent public consultation meetings and a report by an independent urban design company, the council was due to pronounce on whether they would become permanent fixtures in ‘early 2021’. The Turnham Green Terrace scheme was suspended before Christmas pending this review because roadworks had made it unworkable.

The South Chiswick Liveable Neighbourhood scheme, which includes the introduction of traffic cameras in Hartington Rd so motorists can’t drive straight from Chiswick Bridge to Kew Bridge without incurring a fine, and the blocking of Staveley Rd with a diagonal barrier, were also part of an existing TfL funded project. The question will be to what extent they have been brought under the umbrella of the Streetspace.

Image above: Cycleway 9; photograph Joanna Raikes

Cycleway 9 Judicial Review

Cycleway 9 pre-dates Streetspace, but the version which was introduced in Chiswick High Rd in the summer of 2020 was substantially different to that which was signed off previously by the council. It is also supposed to be ‘temporary’ in this form. One Chiswick is raising funds for the introduction of the temporary cycle lane to be challenged in a Judicial Review.

This application, along with those by other lobby groups in several London Boroughs, will be considered at the High Court on 12 February, as to whether there are grounds for a Judicial Review.

Reactions from local groups

While legal action is pending, the various parties remain tight lipped. LB Hounslow is giving no official comment while it’s consulting its lawyers. The spokesman for Hounslow Cycling Campaign, Michael Robinson had this to say:
“We await the results of the appeal and relevance to other schemes that provide safer cycling and reduce motor traffic”.

“Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”

Cllr Sam Hearn, the member of the Conservative Group on Hounslow Council who represents Chiswick Riverside ward, told The Chiswick Calendar he didn’t want to see all the Liveable Neighbourhood schemes scrapped.

“It would be a pity to throw the baby out with the bath water” he said.

“Most of it, we agree with. We have to find a way of not having rat runners coming in (to Grove Park) from the A316 in rush hour and we also don’t want cars coming in from the north off the A4 down Sutton Court Rd at the other end of the day”.

At the last Chiswick Area Forum meeting, earlier this month, he Told Head Teacher of Chiswick School Laura Ellener that School Streets had the Riverside ward councillors’ support.

Twitter comment

Open Our Roads commented on Twitter:

“Big win for all the communities in London and the nation who are fighting their local authorities for unlawful implementations of Streetspace schemes. We now have legal precedent affirming our objections. Congrats to the taxi drivers, you’re our heroes”.

Leo Murray wrote on Twitter:

“Remind me to stay off the CAPSLOCK snakepit that is Nextdoor, where chiswick pro-car lobbyists are currently sharpening pitchforks & working up a vengeful frenzy over this Judge’s comments on Streetspace schemes”.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Mayor of London acted ‘unlawfully’ in Streetspace programme

See also: Traffic cameras go live in Grove Park and Fisher’s Lane

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

 

Chiswick in the snow

Image above: Chiswick House & Gardens; photograph by Rosie Leyden

Snow! How lovely to see everyone out in enjoying the snow on Sunday. A little bit of the cold wet powdery stuff and the world goes potty! Here are some of the lovely pictures people have sent The Chiswick Calendar.

Chiswick House & Gardens

 

Images above: Chiswick House & Gardens; photographs by Valentina Ancona, Joanna Raikes, Alice Gilkes & Marguerite Horner

Bedford Park

Images above: Bedford Park; photographs by Donna Schoenherr, Rashad Issa, Torin Douglas

Turnham Green

Images above: Christ Church; Town Hall; photographs by Tim Cole; Jane Lawrenson

Dukes Meadows

Images above: Dukes Meadows; photograph by Caoimhe Hale

Riverside

Images above: River Thames at Chiswick; photographs by Anna Kunst, Nick Raikes; Matt Swain

Chiswick Streets

Images above: Chiswick Streets; photographs by Valentina Ancona, Caoimhe Hale, Jennifer Griffiths, Joanna Raikes

Chiswick Railway stations

Images above: Chiswick railway stations; photographs by Anna Kunst

Gunnersbury Park

Images above: Gunnersbury Park; photographs by Jennifer Griffiths

Thanks to everyone who sends up their photos to use on the website throughout the year.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Explore Chiswick’s cultural history on foot

See also: Johann Zoffany: 18th Century high society painter who lived at Strand on the Green

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

 

Acton woman convicted of killing of her son

 

A woman has been convicted in relation to the death of her son in Acton, after she suffered a mental breakdown during lockdown in 2020.

Olga Freeman, 40, of Cumberland Park in Acton, pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey on Monday 25 January to the manslaughter of 10-year-old Dylan Freeman by reason of diminished responsibility.

In the early hours of Sunday, 16 August 2020, Freeman walked into Acton Police Station, where she stated that she had given Dylan some pills and pushed a sponge into his mouth. Officers attended the home at around 2.16am and found Dylan unresponsive. Colleagues from the London Ambulance Service were requested and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Freeman was arrested at 3.11am on suspicion of murder. A post-mortem examination was conducted on 18 August at Great Ormond Street Hospital. It found the provisional cause of death to be upper airway obstruction by a foreign body.

Dylan, who had been diagnosed with autism and a range of conditions which caused difficulties with communication and independence, required round-the-clock care. Freeman had cared for him for many years, using local authority services and a friend for assistance. She had also suffered with mental ill health issues and with challenges in her personal life and had spoken to acquaintances about struggling with the responsibility of caring for Dylan.

Around 22.00pm on the night before Dylan was found, she sent a message to a friend which read: “I am done. Where are u?”

The friend arrived at around 12.44am and found that Freeman had booked two seats on a flight from London Luton Aiport to Tel Aviv. She said she had been receiving messages in her head. The friend was not allowed to go into Dylan’s room.

Shortly before 2.16am Freeman attended Acton Police Station with the friend, and said to the officer on duty that she had killed her son.

She largely answered ‘no comment’ during police interviews.

‘Incredibly sad incident’, say Police

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Harding, lead investigator, said:

“This has been an incredibly sad incident to investigate. Foremost our thoughts are with Dylan and his family, who continue to feel his untimely loss and will do so for a long time to come.

“I would like to thank my team of detectives, who have worked so diligently and professionally during this harrowing case. I would also like to acknowledge the selfless actions of my response colleagues who attended the scene on that night and tried in vain to save Dylan’s life.”

A date for sentencing has not yet been set.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: ‘Protect them no longer’ – family of murder victim appeal for information

See also: Four men charged after cash and cocaine seizures in Chiswick

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Not on the High street

Image above: Owen, White & Caitlin’s old offices on Chiswick High Rd

Owen, White & Caitlin, the solicitors who for many years have been in the centre of Chiswick High Rd, have moved. Fortunately this is a good news story, they’ve moved to bigger premises in Hammersmith.

On Friday 22 January the firm relocated from 181 Chiswick High Road office to the third floor of Sovereign House at 361 King Street, W6 9NA (less than a ten minute walk away). All telephone numbers and email addresses remain the same.

‘We look forward to meeting you in our new offices after the lockdown has been lifted’ they say. ‘In the meantime we will be working in the office and can be contactable by telephone and email. Meetings will take place virtually’.

Image above: New offices in Hammersmith

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: New book: Chiswick in 50 Buildings

See also: Explore Chiswick: Nancy Mitford’s house at Strand on the Green

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Episode 39: The sky is the limit for Alsama Cricket Club, where refugees from Syria get new lives

Cricket authors (and obsessives) Peter Oborne and Richard Heller launched a podcast early in 2020 to help deprived listeners endure a world without cricket. They’re no longer deprived of cricket, but still chat regularly about cricket topics with different guests each week – cricket writers, players, administrators and fans – hoping to keep a good line and length but with occasional wides into other subjects.

Alsama means “the sky” in Arabic. It gives its name to a cricket club in one of the world’s most astonishing locations – the teeming Shatila camp in Lebanon where tens of thousands of refugees are trying to rebuild lives shattered by war, tyranny and deprivation. alsamaproject.com/cedar-cricket-club

Three expressive teenagers – Louay, Maram, and Amani – are among the 200 or so children between 11 and 16 who have learnt to play the game there. Cricket gave them new goals and a new sense of self-worth. They and the club’s founder and director, Richard Verity, are the guests of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.


More Platforms

“It was very hard to live with Isis. You could see them cutting off the heads and cutting off the hands of some people.”  Maram, 15-year-old refugee, on the life cricket is helping her to forget.

Richard Verity describes the social, economic and demographic background of the Shatila camp, and its long legacy of suffering. He explains why he interrupted his career as a partner in McKinsey, the leading management consultancy, to bring cricket to this unlikely setting. The cricket club is part of the wider Alsama project which is one of the few organisations delivering a secondary education to teenagers from the refugee community. Working alongside his wife, Meike, he lit on the game as something which could bring an extra dimension to local children’s lives with no language barrier. In autumn 2018 the first day of a one-off cricket camp, on the local astroturf football pitch, attracted twenty curious children. The next day produced 120 eager ones. Demand since then has spurred the creation of four other cricket centres, with several cricket sessions each week, not only in refugee camps but also, with the help of its enthusiastic Scottish headmaster, David Gray, at Lebanon’s leading school, Brummana High School.

Richard Verity describes how he had to rethink completely his experience of cricket to bring its strengths to refugee children, and local Arabic-speaking coaches, to whom it was utterly new. They discovered its unique mix of skills, its blend of high energy and discipline, its power to break down gender barriers, and its demand for mutual respect among competing players.  He emphasizes the club’s commitment to excellence in the development of cricket skills and its aspiration to produce teams that can win “proper” cricket matches, and the positive impact this has produced for the children.

Louay, Maram, and Amani vividly and movingly describe their present and past lives and their new ambitions for the future, which all include cricket. The energy they bring to cricket has fed into their education and family lives. All three families escaped life under Isis rule, where children, especially girls, were deprived of education and of all the normal joys of growing up, including sport. Boys faced the threat of being pressganged into the Isis army, girls that of child marriage and sex slavery. All three say how cricket has helped them become new people. Louai is rightly proud of his winning record as captain and his magic spin delivery.  Maram reads her poem with sharp images of the best and worst of life in her native Syria. Amani explains how cricket has helped her be strong and win respect from the boys for her leadership skills.  They are all big fans of the Rajasthan Royals whom they have been able to watch on satellite television in the IPL. They name the same favourite player – Jofra  Archer – and have enjoyed exchanges with Tom Curran and Faf du Plessis. The children were translated by a talented coach, Mohamed Hariri, another escapee from Syria with his own dramatic discovery of cricket.

Richard Verity describes the methods the club has evolved to teach cricket to children and Syrian refugee coaches. He compares them to the Suzuki method of violin teaching, so that individual cricket movements are taught first to children in isolation with the aim of transferring them to actual play. This is not always realized when the children experience the excitement of actual play, but eventually the skills become embedded and used. The coaches’ experience of cricket is very similar to the children’s, and they too derive the personal satisfaction of mastering new skills and being able to teach them.

He expresses his gratitude for the support and encouragement of the MCC Foundation as well as the Rajasthan Royals and the Women Win organization from the Netherlands. He sets out the Alsama club’s ambitions – to provide cricket to a thousand refugee children to meet the growing demand and provide more high-quality secondary education. Over the longer term he hopes to send a Lebanese women’s team to the Los Angeles Olympics in 2024, and through refugee cricket, to turn Lebanon and Iraq into cricket nations. Meanwhile, the club would love to host visiting teams – although they will need to be on their mettle to face Louay or Amani in particular.

To find out more about Alsama cricket and become a supporter please use this link alsamaproject.com/get-involved

Get in contact with the podcast by emailing obornehellercricket@outlook.com, we’d love to hear from you!

Listen to more episodes of Oborne & Heller

Next episode – Episode 40: Another fast scoring inninngs by Mahela Jayawardene

Previous Episode – Episode 38: What happened to the magic of Sri Lankan cricket?

Listen to all episodes – Oborne & Heller on Cricket

Peter Oborne & Richard Heller

Peter Oborne has been the chief political commentator for the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, a maker of several documentaries and written and broadcast for many different media. He is the author of a biography of Basil D’Oliveira and of Wounded Tiger, a history of Pakistan cricket, both of which won major awards.

Richard Heller was a long-serving humorous columnist on The Mail on Sunday and more briefly, on The Times. He worked in the movie business in the United States and the UK, including a brief engagement on a motion picture called Cycle Sluts Versus The Zombie Ghouls. He is the author of two cricket-themed novels A Tale of Ten Wickets and The Network. He appeared in two Mastermind finals: in the first his special subject was the life of Sir Gary Sobers.

Oborne & Heller cricketing partnership

Jointly, he and Peter produced White On Green, celebrating the drama of Pakistan cricket, including the true story of the team which lost a first-class match by an innings and 851 runs.

Peter and Richard have played cricket with and against each other for a variety of social sides, including Parliament’s team, the Lords and Commons, and in over twenty countries including India, Pakistan, the United States, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, France, Greece, Australia, Zimbabwe, New Zealand and Morocco.

The Podcast is produced by Bridget Osborne and James Willcocks at The Chiswick Calendar.

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

See also: Chiswick Calendar Blogs & Podcasts

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Chiswick Cheese Market gets the go ahead

The organisers of Chiswick Cheese Market have got the go ahead to run an outdoor market in Chiswick High Rd once a month, selling cheese and ‘provisions’.

The application by the Cookbook Kitchen crew, the group of local women who brought us the Cookbook Festival, was heard by LB Hounslow Licensing Panel on Wednesday 20 January. There were a number of objections, not least from Cllr Joanna Biddolph, but the proposal was supported by two other local councillors – Cllr Ron Mushiso and Cllr John Todd.

Cllr Mushiso said: “I am delighted with the decision by the Licensing Panel. I think this market will bring further footfall to Chiswick High Rd and traders will benefit. This is yet another example of Chiswick finding ways to revive the High Rd through the community.”

Cllr Todd said: “I’m pleased that the applicants, who are constituents of mine, were rightly given a licence today. They were questioned at length during the hearing but were not found wanting in any related aspect”.

Putting the cheese back in Cheesewick

Lucy Cufflin, one of the organisers, said she was “delighted”. The market will be where the Chiswick Flower Market is held, outside George IV (but not continuing down Devonshire Rd).

The Cookbook Kitchen group say:

‘We are thrilled to announce that The Cookbook Kitchen has today had its licence application approved to bring cheese back to Chiswick in the form of a market every third Sunday of the month. We are looking forward to collaborating with local traders and hospitality to make the cheese market a success for everyone once COVID restrictions allow.

READ ALSO: Lucy Cufflin’s blog about the Cheese Market

‘Chiswick was originally known as Cheesewick. Chiswick was first recorded c.1000 as the Old English Ceswican meaning “Cheese Farm”; the riverside area of Duke’s Meadows is thought to have supported an annual cheese fair up until the 18th century’. (Source Gillian Clegg, Chiswick Past & Present).

The organisers say their aim is to bring cheese back home to Chiswick and make Chiswick a destination for locals and visitors across London and beyond. British Cheese makers have been having a terrible time during the pandemic and many face going out of business because they have lost restaurants and catering sales.

Jamie Oliver launched the ‘Save British Cheese’ campaign with Neal’s Yard Dairy. There are over 1800 British names cheeses alone and many thousands more in Europe and beyond.

‘We have great champions for cheese right here in London – Bayley & Sage, Patricia Michelson (La Fromagerie), Mons, Neals Yard to name but a few’ say the organisers. They hope the market will not only help bring business to Chiswick High Rd but play a part in the revival of British cheese.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

 

 

Give your old laptop to a child who needs it

During lockdown there are many children who are missing out on lessons because they don’t have access to a computer to use for remote learning. Cllr Ron Mushiso has arranged a collection point outside Christ Church on Turnham Green where you can drop off an old, unused laptop or tablet so it can be wiped and reused by a child who needs it.

Cllr Mushiso is a former coach at Richmond Rugby Club. He heard they had organised a drop-off point at the rugby ground and made an arrangement with a reputable company to wipe old laptops and tablets and make them available to children in Richmond. Hounslow Council Leader Steve Curran is also a member of the Club and they got together to extend the arrangement to children in LB Hounslow.

“There is a shortfall of laptops for school children across the borough, including Chiswick” says Ron. “I am calling on the generous and community spirited residents of Chiswick to come to their aid”.

Starting Saturday 23 January, every Saturday there will be someone outside the front gates of Christ Church on Town Hall Avenue W4 5DT from 10.00 – 12.00, to receive second hand laptops and tablets.

A senior member of Richmond Rugby club be on hand on Saturday 23 January alongside Cllr Mushiso and Cllr Gerald McGregor to help operate a ‘tried and tested drive-through service that adhere to the current Covid19 measurements. You will be asked to remain in your car when dropping off tech. If arrive by bike or foot, there will be a drop off box near the entrance’.

They need working laptops or tablets, with the relevant power cables. The club does not require old mobile phones, kindles, desktop PCs etc.

The laptops/tablets will then be professionally wiped clean and reloaded with updated software thanks to Veritas Digital Services and then donated to local schools for distribution to children throughout our community.

If you don’t posses an old device but you would like to support the cause, then please click here to donate towards the costs of the processing.

Image above: Laptop pick up point at Richmond Rugby Club

Hounslow has 700 ‘digitally excluded’ children

In normal times not having access to a computer at home is a severe handicap to a child’s education, but during the lockdown it means they are completely excluded.

Cllr Mushiso told The Chiswick Calendar:

‘Although Hounslow Council have recently announced a further 750 laptops and 150 internet connections to children learning from home in the Borough during lockdown, that still leaves the Borough short by around 700 devices’.

During the pandemic, the council has been distributing devices supplied by the Department for Education, but they say there is still a shortfall of equipment both locally and nationally. The council has committed to providing 750 laptops, in addition to the laptops already distributed, to help address the shortfall.

“We also know that connectivity is a problem for some families in the borough” said Cllr Tom Bruce, Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Youth Services, “so we are purchasing 150 internet dongles that will provide unlimited access for a year”.

“No child or family should be left behind because of a lack of equipment” he said. “We will continue to look at ways to make sure this urgent need is met and that has to include a firmer commitment from central government that every child will get the equipment they need to learn from home.

“I want to pay a special tribute to the tremendous efforts of local organisations for their work supplying laptops to schoolchildren, and members of the public who have been donating equipment”.

Head Teacher of Chiswick School, Laura Ellener, gave a a presentation at the Chiswick Area Forum recently about how the school had coped during the pandemic. She said teachers had driven around Hounslow delivering equipment and food boxes to over 300 of their students. At Chiswick School around 330 pupils are entitled to free school meals, as 40% are considered officially to be ‘disadvantaged’.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Bollo Lane ‘monster tower’ approved

See also: LB Hounslow has the highest Covid infection rate in London

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Control your dogs warning from Police after Richmond Park deer attack

Dog owners are being told to keep their pets on a tight rein after a deer was fatally wounded during an attack in Richmond Park on 1 October.

The owner of the dog responsible has been convicted of causing / permitting an animal they were in charge of to injure another animal in a Royal Park.

Franck Hiribarne, 44, from Kingston, appeared at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court on Friday, 15 January where he pleaded guilty to the charge and was handed a total fine of £602.

Footage of the incident was captured by a passing cyclist, who was one of several people who intervened in an attempt to form a human shield around the injured deer.

The images show the Red Setter, Alfie, rushing up to the sitting deer and appearing to bite it. Witnesses described the dog as “relentless” as it was attacking and biting the deer from behind, dragging her backwards, jumping up, running and lunging at her.

Shortly afterwards, the deer was found collapsed in the ferns and had to put down by a game keeper due to its significant injuries; a broken front leg, an open wound to its behind and part of its tail was detached with an open wound.

Police Sergeant Pete Sturgess, from the Met’s Royal Parks Command Unit, said:

“This incident highlights that even the most careful of dog owners may not see a deer until it is too late. Your dog may never have chased the deer before, but once is too many, and this deer paid with her life.

“If you do not know how your dog will react around the deer, or you know they will chase them, then please respect the wildlife by keeping them under control on a lead, or choose an outside space other than Richmond or Bushy Parks to walk off lead.”

The Met has released the footage of Mr Hiribarne’s dog attacking the deer and members of the public trying to shield it, in order to alert the public to the dangers that dogs can pose to deer in the Royal Parks. Below is the video of the incident, which some viewers may find distressing.

 

‘Genuinely shocked and sorry’ – Hiribarne

Mr Hiribarne said of the incident:

“All of a sudden, I and Alfie came across a lone small deer sitting hidden in the long grass in an open area about 150 metres away from the road and both the deer and Alfie were startled by each other. The deer sprang up and started to run and Alfie got spooked and ran after the deer. I called Alfie back repeatedly and used my dog whistle too but Alfie was too distracted by the deer and continued to chase it and did not respond.

“I ran after them and by the time I caught up with them I saw the injured deer by the road side and some members of the public standing surrounding the deer keeping Alfie away from it who was hyper excited, barking and trying to lunge at it.

“I was genuinely shocked and sorry for what had happened and since then I have refrained completely from letting Alfie off leash in any park. I have also taken a special dog trainer specialised in gun dogs to control more accurately any of his hunting instincts. He has made great progress.”

Images above: Simon Richards, a deer in Richmond Park

‘Significant increase’ in dog attacks during pandemic

Figures collated for the first time on dog versus deer incidents by the Royal Parks, the charity that looks after London’s eight Royal Parks, indicates that the problem has significantly increased since the Covid-19 imposed lockdowns; it has led to a big increase in dog owners going to Bushy and Richmond – especially new users who might not be as familiar with best conduct.

Simon Richards, Park Manager for Richmond Park, said:

“Sadly, this was the fourth deer that died over the last year as a result of dog chases in Bushy and Richmond Parks. We’ve had 58 incidents of dogs chasing deer reported to us since March 2020, and it’s completely unacceptable. It’s imperative that owners ensure their dogs are under control at all times.

“It’s illegal for a dog to chase deer in Richmond and Bushy Parks, and owners may face prosecution if caught. If you witness a dog chasing a deer, please phone the on-call police officers for Richmond and Bushy Parks via 07920 586546.”

On 30 December 2020, also at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court, David Reay, 69, from Kingston, pleaded guilty to allowing his dog to attack and kill a fallow deer in Richmond Park on 12 September 2020. He was fined £135 and ordered to pay £350 compensation to Richmond Park as well as £34 victim surcharge costs and £85 costs to to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Four men charged after cash and cocaine seizures in Chiswick

See also: LB Hounslow has the highest Covid infection rate in London

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Mayor of London acted ‘unlawfully’ in Streetspace programme

Images above: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan; Royal Courts of Justice

The Mayor of London and Transport for London acted unlawfully by introducing a Streetspace scheme at the height of the Covid pandemic, a judge in the High Court has ruled.

The scheme, introduced in London last May, introduced bus-only corridors and restricted licensed taxis from entering the A10 Bishopsgate, a major road in east London, between 7.00am and 7.00pm on weekdays.

Two trade bodies representing the black cab sector took the Mayor of London and Transport for London to court over loss of earnings.

Mrs Justice Beverley Lang ruled the introduction of the Streetspace scheme unlawful, saying the scheme was ‘unfair and irrational’. Mrs Lang told the court the mayor and TfL failed to distinguish taxis from “general traffic” and failed to recognise them as a mode of public transport.

She said Sadiq Khan and TfL “took advantage of the pandemic” to push through “radical changes”. In the lengthy and detailed judgement she outlined a series of failings by TfL and the Mayor, describing their decision-making process as ‘seriously flawed’, with the decision to exclude taxis being based on ‘superficial’ and ‘inadequate evidence.’

The Mayor of London announced his “bold new Streetspace Plan” to “overhaul London’s Streets” on 6 May 2020. The Plan, which he said was a response to the coronavirus pandemic, promised to “repurpose London’s streets” with the intention of “rapidly transforming London’s streets to accommodate a possible ten-fold increase in cycling and five-fold increase in walking”.

At the time, Mayor Khan said:

The capacity of our public transport will be dramatically reduced post-coronavirus as a result of the huge challenges we face around social distancing. Everyone who can work from home must continue to do so for some time to come. The emergency measures included in our major strategic London Streetspace programme will help those who have to travel to work by fast-tracking the transformation of streets across our city.”

TfL said it was “disappointed” and it would appeal the ruling.

What does it mean for other ‘Streetspace’ schemes?

Opponents of the Streetspace schemes, which have been introduced all over the country, immediately claimed this ruling as a victory, and say it sounds the death knell for all Streetspace schemes.

‘Lockdown cycle lanes could now be ripped up across the UK’ said the Daily Mail.

A lawyer acting on behalf of the taxi drivers said the scheme and others like it could now be scrapped. Darren Rogers, of Chiltern Law said:

‘This was a hard fought and complicated Judicial Review where the regulated took on the regulator and sets a precedent when authorities close roads without proper analysis and care’.

‘Mrs Justice Lang’s judgement lays bare the unlawfulness of Streetspace as a plan and in practice.

‘This sets a very decent precedent for similar schemes being challenged in other parts of the country.’

In Chiswick the changes made to Devonshire Rd and Turnham Green Terrace and those south of the A4 are all Streetspace schemes (though plans for the Fisher’s Lane changes and Cycleway 9 both pre-dated the Streetspace Plan).

Tom Edwards, BBC London’s Transport correspondent, says the Judge’s comment that the Streetspace plan would now have to be reconsidered and seriously amended ‘muddies the waters for these types of schemes.’

Streetspace schemes will stay in place pending the appeal

Transport for London said:

‘Temporary Streetspace schemes are enabling safer essential journeys during this exceptionally challenging time and are vital to ensuring that increased car traffic does not threaten London’s recovery from coronavirus.

‘We absolutely recognise the need for schemes such as our Bishopsgate corridor to work for the communities they serve and have worked hard to ensure that people across London, including those who use taxis, can continue to get to where they need to be.

‘We also recognise the need for schemes to be delivered in a fair and consistent manner and have worked closely with the boroughs to create clear guidance for implementing schemes, updating this regularly to reflect what we have learnt. These schemes will stay in place pending our appeal.’

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: All you might want to know about Covid in our area – Kelly O’Neill

See also: Bollo Lane ‘monster tower’ approved

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

 

 

 

 

New test site in Isleworth for people without symptoms

Image above: Isleworth Library; Google Streetview

A new site went live on Tuesday 19 January for asymptomatic testing at Isleworth Library, Twickenham Rd, Isleworth TW7 7EU, which may be the nearest one for some people living in south Chiswick.

Another, at the Wellington Day Centre 292 Staines Rd, Hounslow TW4 5BA went live on Monday 18 January.

The other existing sites where you can get a test if you don’t have symptoms are at the Civid Centre, Hounslow House, 7 Bath Rd, Hounslow TW3 3EB or Heston Library, New Heston Road, Hounslow TW5 0LW

The asymptomatic tests are Lateral Flow tests, which take 15 minutes and provide a result within 40 minutes are available for anyone who still needs to go out for work – key workers, carers, tradespeople and essential retail workers – who need a quick result and regular testing. The tests are free. Book a test here.

A mobile test van has also been set up, which will focus on businesses.

‘It is important that this resource targets areas where the number of case is very high in order to bring down rates where there is significant community transmission’ Kelly told The Chiswick Calendar.

LB Hounslow has highest infection rate in London

The Rapid testing sites have been open at Hounslow House and Heston Library since 4 January and by 14 January more than 1,000 people had been tested.

LB Hounslow now has the highest rate of Covid infection in London. Council Leader Steve Curran and Director of Public Health Kelly O’Neill are urging people to stay home.

Cllr Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council, said:

“The current infection rate in the borough is extremely high and we’re doing all we can to help reduce it as quickly as possible. Rapid testing is an opportunity for us all to do our bit, and plays an important role in tackling the virus by identifying those who don’t have symptoms, but who may still have coronavirus and be spreading it without knowing. If you can’t work from home, or if others in your household still go out for work, please book your rapid test online.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: New test site in Stamford Brook for people with symptoms

See also: Over a thousand residents take part in Rapid Covid testing

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

New test site in Stamford Brook for people with symptoms

Image above: Site of new Covid testing site for people who have Covid symptoms; Google Maps

A new site for testing people who have symptoms is planned to open soon in the car park at Welstead Way W4 1NH in the Stamford Brook area of Chiswick. It will be built on Monday 25 January, with a pilot test due on Wednesday 27 January.

To access the site residents need to go to the request a test portal as usual. This site will be listed after 27 January. You cannot just turn up and expect to be tested.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: New test site in Isleworth for people without symptoms

See also: Over a thousand residents take part in Rapid Covid testing

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Most of Chiswick’s top priority residents already vaccinated against Covid

A high percentage of Chiswick residents who are in the Government’s top category of those eligible to be vaccinated against Covid at this stage have already been vaccinated.

LB Hounslow’s Director of Public Health Kelly O’Neill told The Chiswick Calendar that 78% of the top priority group in Chiswick – those over 80, people who are housebound or living in care homes, have already had their jabs.

‘This higher uptake was due to an additional unexpected delivery which means that the GPs needed to respond and add additional capacity to ensure the vaccination was administered’ she said.

Over LB Hounslow as a whole, total vaccinations given up till Monday 18 January exceeded 8000. Of those, 28% are Chiswick priority residents.

‘Maximum 15 minute wait’ for vaccinations

In Chiswick, the vaccinations are being given at Chiswick Health Centre. Sarah Herdman, the Practice Manager said:

‘We would like to thank all the staff and volunteers who are supporting the delivery of the vaccinations. The delay in delivery and the double delivery led to a change of plan and queues for a short period which we apologise for but after some fast planning and adjustment we cleared any queues and believe that we now have a process that means a 15-minute wait is the maximum’.

READ MORE: All you might want to know about Covid in our area – Kelly O’Neill

New mass vaccination centre being planned for Brentford

A new mass vaccination centre is planned for Brentford which will become operational in mid-February.

There is also another large mass vaccination site planned to be located ‘in a shared location just outside the Borough boundaries’ from the beginning of February. The NHS do not make pubic the addresses of vaccination sites except to people who are invited to attend for vaccination.

Image above: Site of new Covid testing site for people who have Covid symptoms; Google Maps

New testing centres

The public can now get a Covid test whether they are showing any symptoms of the disease or not.

New test site in Stamford Brook for people with symptoms

A new site for testing people who have symptoms is planned to open soon in the car park at Welstead Way W4 1NH in the Stamford Brook area of Chiswick. It will be built on Monday 25 January, with a pilot test due on Wednesday 27 January.

To access the site residents need to go to the request a test portal as usual. This site will be listed after 27 January. You cannot just turn up and expect to be tested.

Image above: Isleworth Library; Google Streetview

New test site in Isleworth for people without symptoms

A new site went live on Tuesday 19 January for asymptomatic testing at Isleworth Library, Twickenham Rd, Isleworth TW7 7EU, which may be the nearest one for some people living in south Chiswick.

Another, at the Wellington Day Centre 292 Staines Rd, Hounslow TW4 5BA went live on Monday 18 January.

The other existing sites where you can get a test if you don’t have symptoms are at the Civid Centre, Hounslow House, 7 Bath Rd, Hounslow TW3 3EB or Heston Library, New Heston Road, Hounslow TW5 0LW

The asymptomatic tests are Lateral Flow tests, which take 15 minutes and provide a result within 40 minutes are available for anyone who still needs to go out for work – key workers, carers, tradespeople and essential retail workers – who need a quick result and regular testing. The tests are free. Book a test here.

A mobile test van has also been set up, which will focus on businesses.

‘It is important that this resource targets areas where the number of case is very high in order to bring down rates where there is significant community transmission’ Kelly told The Chiswick Calendar.

The Rapid testing sites have been open at Hounslow House and Heston Library since 4 January and by 14 January more than 1,000 people had been tested.

LB Hounslow now has the highest rate of Covid infection in London. Council Leader Steve Curran and Director of Public Health Kelly O’Neill are urging people to stay home.

Cllr Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council, said:

“The current infection rate in the borough is extremely high and we’re doing all we can to help reduce it as quickly as possible. Rapid testing is an opportunity for us all to do our bit, and plays an important role in tackling the virus by identifying those who don’t have symptoms, but who may still have coronavirus and be spreading it without knowing. If you can’t work from home, or if others in your household still go out for work, please book your rapid test online.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: New test site in Isleworth for people without symptoms

See also: New test site in Stamford Brook for people with symptoms

See also: LB Hounslow has the highest Covid infection rate in London

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

 

Bollo Lane ‘monster tower’ approved

Ealing Council’s Planning Committee have approved an application by developers to build ten towers, including one which is 25-storeys high, in South Acton. The development will provide 852 new homes.

The ‘monster tower’ development on Bollo Lane was approved by ten votes to three, despite more than 600 residents objecting. The 25 storey block will be by far the tallest in the Chiswick area.

The towers are to be built on the narrow strip between Bollo Lane and the railway line from Acton Town station southwards, bordering Chiswick, on land owned by Transport for London but no longer needed by them. The tower blocks will stretch from Acton Town station to the 25-storey Bollo Brook House at the Chiswick end of the development.

It will be a few metres across the ward boundary from Chiswick’s Southfield ward, but local councillors say the impact of the huge tower will affect Chiswick residents every bit as much and maybe more.

Critics say the towers will change the character of Chiswick and are at-odds with LB Ealing’s zero-carbon pledge. The pledge encourages businesses, including developers, to reduce their carbon footprint or ensure it takes measures to make new buildings are carbon neutral.

Ealing’s planners recommended the development be approved because they say the development offers a good opportunity ‘maximising the potential for additional mixed Build to Rent, affordable and market housing’. Affordable housing meets the Council Policy requirement for 50% on site, they say.

Planning process ‘deeply flawed’ – Cllr Gary Malcolm

Liberal Democrat Southfield Councillor, Gary Malcolm, said during the planning committee it was revealed that no site visit had taken place. Also, when the votes were taking place, some people’s votes had disappeared. Later on Twitter he claimed he had been “gagged” from speaking during the meeting.

On the decision to approve the development, Cllr Malcom said:

“The Labour-run Planning Committee heard many reasons why the ten tall towers – one 25 stories high – were not appropriate. Many cited the change of character to Chiswick and the overdevelopment in the area. Liberal Democrats also feel that the Labour Council are allowing schemes that are against their own policies to ensure that buildings are carbon neutral. The planning process is deeply flawed. We will continue to fight for the residents’ corner.”

‘Fantastic news’ – TfL

Jonathan Cornelius, Head of Property Development at TfL, said:

“It is fantastic news to get the go ahead for our plans at Bollo Lane in Acton Town. The proposals have been designed to reflect the area’s heritage and context, such as the Grade II-listed station next to it, and will bring hundreds of much-needed homes to this part of London.

“The scheme has also been designed to benefit the local community with welcoming green spaces, improvements to pedestrian and cycling facilities and new commercial opportunities for local businesses. Securing this latest green light at planning committee is an important milestone as it is the largest site on which we have secured planning ourselves. We will shortly be approaching the market for a partner as we strive to deliver these homes – including hundreds of new affordable homes – as fast as we can.”

The developers are planning phased construction over five years with work beginning at each end of the site and working towards the middle. Originally it was hoped that construction could have started this Spring but the project has been delayed due to the coronavirus.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Lib Dem councillors determined to have their say on Bollo Lane tower blocks

See also: All you might want to know about Covid in our area – Kelly O’Neill, Director of Public Health for Hounslow

 

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

LB Hounslow has the highest Covid infection rate in London

LB Hounslow now has the highest Covid-19 infection rate in London, with 914 people per 100,000 having the virus. More than 100 residents have died of the disease this month.

In a joint statement on the escalating situation in the borough, Council Leader Steve Curran and the Director of Public Health, Kelly O’Neill said:

“Though infection rates in the borough are coming down, they are not coming down quickly enough. These high numbers are putting our local NHS under great strain and, sadly, will mean more deaths. Already this month we have had more than 100 residents die with Covid-19, double the number we had in December.

“We know this isn’t simply about people ignoring the rules, indeed, most people are doing their bit and following the rules. We have disproportionately high numbers of people who have to travel to work, often on busy public transport and to busy workplaces, and also have many residents living in crowded homes with a wide range of age groups. All this puts them at greater risk.

“However, everyone must redouble their efforts to follow the rules because at the moment too many people are getting infected. You must stay at home as much as you possibly can. If you do have to leave, remember – hands, face, space. Anyone choosing to ignore the rules is making a choice to put themselves, and their friends and family at risk. They are making a choice which results in vulnerable people dying.

“Many of us now know someone who has been seriously unwell with Covid-19, and many have lost loved ones. Everyone needs to pause and think. It needs us all to do the right thing, to take responsibility for our actions; to protect each other.”

Images above: Council Leader – Steve Curran, Director of Public Health – Kelly O’Neill

Support, testing and vaccinations

“We know individuals and families are all wrestling with a range of challenges and this is an incredibly difficult time. There is a wide range of support available with more information at hounslow.gov.uk/coronavirus“, continued the statement.

“Rapid tests are an incredibly useful way to reduce the spread of the virus. If you cannot work from home, I urge you to get tested, regularly, to help protect yourself and your loved ones. Book yours here hounslow.gov.uk/rapidtest.

“Finally, the COVID-19 vaccine is rolling out to the most vulnerable people now. Please do not contact your GP for a COVID-19 vaccine, the NHS will contact you when it’s your turn to have the vaccine – nwlondonccgs.nhs.uk/coronavirus/nhs-covid-19-vaccination-programme. The vaccine is our pathway out, so sit tight, stay safe and respond when asked to go for your appointment.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Confusion as NHS launches national Covid vaccination booking system

See also: Christmas impact – Covid cases up by nearly 50% in Chiswick 

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Something to look forward to …

Images above: Chiswick Flower Market; photographs Anna Kunst

The Chiswick Flower Market team is using this period of enforced hibernation to do a bit of planning.

The organisers (of whom The Chiswick Calendar’s editor is one) intend to continue to operate the market on the first Sunday of every month during 2021 – as soon as we can legally, once lockdown restrictions are lifted and it is safe to do so.

The Flower Market met its 2020 goals – to set up a ‘Columbia Rd of west London’, to bring a much-needed increase in footfall to Chiswick High Road, and to bring local residents and businesses together in a collaborative way. Tick. Tick. Tick.

Image above: Fuller’s horses at the first Chiswick Flower Market in September 2020; photographs Frank Noon

What next?

We plan to continue to operate in Old Market Place and Devonshire Road. The market has no plans to offer food or drink stalls, but we do plan to bring more specialist traders to the market and to continue to prioritise businesses who have strong sustainability credentials.

We will make some noise about the markets to attract people in to Chiswick, once it’s safe to do so, and we’re looking forward to creating special themed markets, for example for Easter Sunday and Christmas. Maybe some horticulturally themed events … maybe a bit of live music. The world is our Osteospermum once this blasted pandemic is on the way out.

Hang in there. Colour and fun WILL return.

If you would like to read the Chiswick Flower Market review of the first three months’ pilot, you can find it here.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Explore Chiswick’s cultural history, online and on foot

See also: Chiswick Garden ‘most important in UK’

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.