Chiswick Cheese Market launches this Sunday

The forecast for this Sunday is Gouda with light Bries, as a brand new Cheese Market pops up on the High Road.

Truckles and wheels of specialty cheeses will be rolling in from all over the UK as far north as the Highlands. There will also be some of the best Europe has to offer, including Red Cow Parmesan, claiming to be the best in the world, and Alpine cheeses from France.

20 Cheese stalls, spreading from the Police Station towards Devonshire Road, will be selling around 90 artisan cheeses, so we can’t list them all here, but we can give you a flavour of what will be on offer.

Heading down from Scotland is IJ Mellis, a family run business specialising in artisan, small producer Scottish cheeses.

“Farmhouse cheese differs from mass-produced factory cheese because the milk comes from a single herd rather than several different sources,” explains Ian Mellis, their founder.

And it sounds like there will be a whiff of Scotch whiskey in a couple of them – Auld Reekie – for instance, is a cows milk cheese from Aberdeenshire which is  smoked over whiskey barrel shavings; and the Isle of Mull Cheddar is made on the Scottish West Coast where the cows are fed on spent whiskey grains, giving it a signature fruity and tangy flavour.

The Mellis Family from Scotland specialise in artisan, small producer Scottish cheeses

Wine plays a part in the making of  a Tomme from The French Comte, a London based cheese purveyor of mountain cheeses from the French Alps. Their Tomme de Jura made with raw milk, is matured for three months and washed twice a week with white wine imparting a unique, fruity flavour. The concentrated flavour of their Comté, which is matured for 36 to 42 months has won more medals than any other Comté at the Prestigious “Concours General Agricole” in Paris, and also a Super Gold medal at the world cheese awards.

Heritage Cheese, run by Enrico ( dubbed King of cheese in Borough) are bringing Irish cheeses, which have been hard to get hold of post Brexit. This includes Ballyisk The Triple Rose made by the Wright family near Portadown. Their punishing schedule starts with them milking the cows at 5.30am, so that by 9 am their milk can be made into a buttery, rich, triple cream cheese with light citrus notes.

The Parma Ham and Mozzarella Stand deals directly with producers

The Parma Ham and Mozzarella stand will be showcasing products from some of the most sustainable food producers in Italy. Philip Crouch works directly with producers to source high-quality salume and cheeses .

La Latteria uses traditional Italian methods to produce their cheeses.

Closer to home, La Latteria make 17 different cheeses based on traditional Italian methods nearby in North Acton.  They take the same traditional product then roll or add things to it resulting in Campagnola and Bocconcini balls, the Nodini knots, the little Ciliegine with and without gorgonzola, the Treccia (rope-shape),  Burratina, Stracciatella, Scamorza,  Ricotta, and Burrata, to name most of them. Their Burrata, originally from Puglia, gets its name from its creamy, buttery centre, “burro”, which means butter in Italian. It is made by encasing fresh shredded mozzarella fior di latte mixed with panna (a UHT specialty cream imported from Italy) in a classic mozzarella fior di latte shaped as a “purse”.

The Marlow Cheese Company are bringing, amongst others, handmade cheeses with names inspired by the Thames –  Bisham, Regatta, and Father Thames, which sound perfect for picnics along the river.

Palace Culture make vegan “cheese”. But is it ‘cheese’? Perhaps not, but these guys are doing something extraordinary with plant based ingredients – ageing, smoking, rolling – processes used in making fine cheeses but adapting them to suit plant based recipes.

This enterprise started in the Parmigiani family kitchen in Crystal Palace when Mirko’s four year old son developed a dairy intolerance. Combining his love for flavour with a focus on health and sustainability, Mirko began making dairy free, nut-based cheeses using raw and local ingredients.

‘Cheese’ Le Bleu is their new batch, a young and creamy product, slightly picante with subtle notes of Roquefort and white wine.

Alex from Palace Culture left

Two new lock down businesses will be making an appearance at the market. The Ealing Relish Company, a local catering company that made the brave pivot during the pandemic to produce delicious relish and chutneys and The Putney Chutney Food Co. run by Lauren, an event planner (pic left) and Al, a designer and photographer.

“We love cooking, so used our time during lockdown at home to make chutney. Our first flavour was Williams Pear and parsnip. We chose Williams pears for their sweet and highly juicy flesh which compliments the earthy flavour of the parsnips and the end result is a delicious textured chutney which can be enjoyed on and off the cheeseboard,”  says Lauren, pictured left.

They also have the more traditional combinations of sweet mango, and tomato chilli and aubergine.

“We really are dedicated to bringing cheese back to Cheesewick,” explains one of the market’s organisers, Jules Kane,

“ We are not serving any hawker style food in order to encourage visitors to eat at our wonderful local bricks and mortar and we are working with local eateries and producing a food map to show visitors where the food outlets are.”

Urban Pantry in Devonshire Road, for instance, has changed the cheese supplier for their award winning ‘Avocado Smash’ to one of the cheese producers coming to market. The Halloumi and Feta in their signature dish are now produced and supplied by the artisan cheesemaker High Weald Dairy.

Keep coming back to The Chiswick Calendar website for more updates; we are plan on giving you some cheesy recipes and predict these will run and run.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: New Antiques Market opens this Sunday on Chiswick High Road

See also: Old Market Place Events

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First pop up Antiques Market a success

By Barbara Chandler
@sunnygran on Instagram
Design writer for Homes & Property at the London Evening Standard

The V word is big in retail at the moment – that’s V for Vintage. Even John Lewis is floating a new vintage department in Kingston, underpinned by the expertise of the successful on-line marketplace Vinteriors.

But the virtuosos of vintage – its life blood if you like – are not to be found closeted in a department store. They are the doughty dealers who have created and nurtured this trend from its inception, first championing the 50s and elevating it into mid-century modern – and indeed inventing that very name. Then came “retro,” a much broader church, encompassing pop, op, the 70s, 80s and even 90s. To this in turn was added the simply the second-hand – and the up-cycled, where an old piece has been adapted for a new use. “Nowadays, many people just want something that’s special, a little old,  that will set their room apart on Insta– they are often not so worried about age, date and investment any more,” as one trade veteran recently remarked – “and vintage does it nicely.”

And the good news for Chiswick  is that 40 experienced specialist dealers came to our very first antiques and vintage  market on Sunday, and, as restrictions ease, the number could double, strung out along the South side of the High Road every second Sunday of the month from 9am to 3pm (chiswickhighroadantiqueandvintagemarket.com).

On its first outing at least, the venture was a resounding success, with sellers and buyers alike manifestly happy to be discovering each other – though many were hampered a bit by masks.

The woman behind it all is Jenny Titmuss, who already runs a successful similar venture in St Albans. She pitched the idea to Hounslow Council to secure a licence for an ambitious run of stalls all the way from Chiswick Police Station into the old market space and on beyond Devonshire Road and Barclays Bank to the South Beach premises at number 123. She is deservedly popular with the dealers.

“I researched the site very carefully,” she says, “and it’s perfect.”  Not only is the market a treasure trove for stylish homemakers, but, she says, it also taps into green ethics and sustainability – “a desire to keep things in circulation rather than buy new.”  Incidentally, over the past six months, searches on johnlewis.com for “sustainable home” are up 650%,”vintage” up 77% and “antique” up 55%.

So on Sunday browsers got ample eyefuls of carefully-curated architectural salvage, old furniture, ironmongery, kitchenalia, memorabilia, ephemera, toys, and French brocante. There were clusters on the pavement of white enamel jugs, traditional baskets, kettles and pans, sporting equipment, and much more. Hand-written labels lovingly gave details – and the price. Fashionistas favoured the clothes and shoe racks, and punctiliously picked over a stash of handbags and jewellery. A stand-out stall had glass of all periods arranged by colour from aqua to ruby red and cobalt.  Reflected in a myriad of individual round mirror mats were vases, bowls, decanters, bottles and ornaments flashing back the rays of an agreeably sunny day.  Here Yvonne of @antiqueadventureslondon  happily shared with punters the provenance of each piece, which she had earlier cleaned and polished to perfection.

Dawn and Stephen from Retrovation, who run the Retrobarn  in Flamstead near St Albans, had laid on a fine spread of decorative antiques and vintage props.  “We want to get antiques back on the High Street,” they say. “And Chiswick is exactly what we have in mind.  There was a great mix of antique, vintage, collectibles and interior pieces. The market was buzzing with the young, the old, the antique lovers and just city dwellers. The stands lined a pedestrian market area parallel to the High Road – the perfect setting.”

Other traders were equally enthusiastic – check out the Instagrams of @peggywilfvintage @vitalvintagehome @vintagewashhouse @thefrenchhomeco @paintedhousekent

“Yes, we all left on a high,” reports Arabella of Oculuseque. With an eye trained by discriminating collector parents and a history of art degree, she was selling French treasures that included an exquisite embellished mirror, modernist paintings, and a fine early pastel. Brexit, though, was already making imports trickier, said another dealer sadly, itemising the pile of paperwork imposed at ports  – “I think the French are trying to punish us.”

No food sellers came with the traders, as Chiswick already abounds with eateries who were benefitting from extra business. The George IV pub got a special commendation from one grateful dealer – “thank you for your warm welcome, use of facilities and end of the day pint @georgeivw4 @fullers

And we had a great busker, too  – “yes, we usually bring him along,” Jenny said affectionately. So Chris Harvey upped the mood with an unstinting stream of smooth jazz and swing – check him out on @nicenjazzy And save me a dance.

See a gallery of photographs of the antiques market taken by Barbara Chandler and Frank Noon  here.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Antiques Market in Pictures

See also: Chiswick Outdoor Markets

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Chiswick House unveils Bring Into Being

New art works designed specifically for Chiswick House were unveiled at a special preview this morning ahead of the house and kitchen garden reopening on 27 May.

Three contemporary artists have created installations continuing the artistic legacy of Chiswick House and Gardens, which was originally conceived in the 18th century as a “complete work of art”  with the grounds designed to frame and reflect the neo-Palladian building.

British Summer Time

Mark Wallinger’s analemmatic sundial, laid out in an elliptical pattern around a central “pavement” has been precisely calculated to the co-ordinates of Chiswick House

The Turner Prize winning artist Mark Wallinger, best known for his social commentaries, has installed a circular sundial, laid out on the lawn in front of the Exedra. Visitors can stand on a precisely calculated, marked strip and act as the vertical part, casting a shadow towards the correct time.  A box at one side blows bubbles on the hour, whilst playing the Tin Pan Alley classic I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles, giving this interactive installation a playful, joyous quality, while the shifting shadows and short-lived fragility of the bubbles evoke the transience of time.  A magnet for Instagrammers and West Ham supporters; let’s hope it also attracts the sun to Chiswick.

Matter as the densest form of energy – energy as the lightest form of matter

The Upper Tribune and detail from “Matter as the densest form of energy – energy as the lightest form of matter”,  by Jaimini Patel

Jaimini Patel’s installation can also be seen to explore ideas of time and change, using organic materials brought into the house from the grounds, echoing the idea of interplay between the spaces originally conceived by Burlington and Kent. From January this year Patel has collected, washed, dried, pressed and frozen leaves to create an eight point star spread out the floor in the Upper Tribune. The symmetry and repetition in the composition of the work mirrors that in the House and grounds and in nature itself.

We Bear the Light of the Earth In Red, Green, Brown and Black

Peter Adjaye’s work draws on styles of music and instruments prevalent across South Asia and West Africa

Peter Adjaye has used ‘a trans-historical approach’ to challenge prevalent historical narratives at Chiswick House. Haunting, layered soundscapes conceived by the composer and improvised by classical Indian and West African musicians on instruments as varied as the sitar, bansuri flutes, tablas, harmonium, cajon, udu, djembe, dhol, kanjira talking drums and alap vocals create a fusion of sound by. These collaborative sonic works have been strategically placed to bring attention to and invite reflection on lesser known stories connected with the site. One called We Bear the Light of the Earth in Red, Green, Black and Brown has been placed in the Red Velvet room by a painting depicting Pope Leo the Great and Attila the Hun.

“I was inspired by this painting as it shows a meeting of two worlds,” explains Adjaye, “I’m also inspired by the architecture and how Chiswick House borrows from different cultures – the architecture builds on influences from Rome and hence Greek, and Egyptian with the sphinxes and obelisks.”

Sunset in Rippling Bronze,  can be heard near the Obelisk, pointing visitors to Europe’s entanglement with north Africa.

“History is about building on and borrowing from different cultures. And what’s interesting is when culture has been erased and that can be strange and uncomfortable,”says Adjaye. ” For some reason the discourse tends to stop at Greek civilisation, but I think it goes beyond that, and that’s what I’m looking at.”

Sunset in Rippling Bronze at the Ionic Temple and Obelisk and Sunrise of Invisible Gold can be experienced at all the entrances to the Gardens via QR codes.

Bring Into Being is a programme of multi-cultural and cross-disciplinary events introducing a new energy and perspective for visitors to Chiswick House and Gardens running until 31 October.

Tickets are available at chiswickhouseandgardens.digitickets.co.uk

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also:https://chiswickcalendar.co.uk/event/chiswick-house-gardens/2021-05-11/

 

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Chiswick Antiques Market in Pictures

Thanks to Barbara Chandler and Frank Noon for the pictures.

Click an image to open the gallery view.

Images above by Barbara Chandler

Images above by Frank Noon

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: First pop up Antiques Market a success

See also: Chiswick Outdoor Markets

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.

Tickets on sale for this year’s Bedford Park Festival

By Torin Douglas

Tickets have gone on sale for the 55th Bedford Park Festival, which will take place in front of live audiences next month, after being held ‘at home’ and online last year because of the pandemic. The Festival – known as ‘Chiswick’s favourite fortnight’ – will run from June 12th to 27th in St Michael & All Angels Church and Parish Hall and the Chiswick Playhouse in Bath Road.

Top performers taking part include Downton Abbey star Phyllis Logan, West End diva Rosemary Ashe, musicians David Juritz, Mark Viner and Jonathan Dods, and sopranos Milly Forrest and Luci de Nordwall Cornish – all local residents, past or present.

Instead of the usual Green Days weekend, opposite Turnham Green tube station, the Festival will open with a Children’s Fancy Dress and Fun Day in St Michael’s Parish Hall, alongside the Bedford Park Summer Exhibition of artworks in the church.  There will later be a Festival Fete in the grounds of the church as part of a weekend finale, with a Flower Festival, a song recital, the Festival Mass and Open Gardens.

“We’re delighted to be welcoming people back to our arts events in person this year” said Fr Kevin Morris, vicar of St Michael & All Angels, which runs the Festival in aid of charities and its own work. “During the year of lockdown, we did our best to help people engage with the arts and local community events online, but it’s not the same as enjoying performances in person, with an audience around you.”

Seating will be limited, nonetheless, and people will be asked to observe social distancing rules at all Festival events, indoors and outside.

At Chiswick Playhouse, there will be ‘An Evening with Phyllis Logan’ (pictured with Fr Kevin when she opened the Festival in 2013), in which she will talk about the new Downton Abbey film currently being filmed, and other aspects of her life and career. She is a patron of the Chiswick Playhouse, and will talk to its executive director Mark Perry. So too will Torin Douglas, director of the Chiswick Book Festival, another patron of the Playhouse.

West End diva Rosemary Ashe will pay tribute to national treasure Dora Bryan, whose showbiz career spanned eight decades, from pantomime to Shakespeare, and Carry On films to a BAFTA winning role in A Taste of Honey. She promises fun, music & laughter with excerpts from Dora’s best known shows!

See more here chiswickcalendar.co.uk/bedford-park-festival-2021

Tickets can be bought online bedfordparkfestival.org/l/events

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Bedford Park Festival Photography Competition 2021

See also: Bedford Park Festival Summer Exhibition 2021

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

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PM confirms lockdown set to ease on 17 May

The Prime Minister has confirmed that the easing of England’s lockdown restrictions will go ahead, claiming the data supported the decision.

As a result the UK’s covid alert level has been reduced from level four to level three, prior to the planned easing of lockdown on 17 May.

The joint decision was made by the Chief Medical Officers of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as cases, hospitalisations and deaths have all reduced significantly. This is all while the vaccine rollout has continued to progress.

The current alert level states the virus is still ‘in general circulation’, a step down from level four which is when transmission of the virus is ‘high or rising exponentially’.

Medical officers have credited the success of the UK’s vaccine rollout to the reduction in cases.

The chief medical officers for England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, as well as NHS England national medical director Stephen Powys said in a statement:

“Thanks to the efforts of the UK public in social distancing, and the impact we are starting to see from the vaccination programme, case numbers, deaths and Covid hospital pressures have fallen consistently.

“However Covid is still circulating, with people catching and spreading the virus every day so we all need to continue to be vigilant. This remains a major pandemic globally.

“It is very important that we all continue to follow the guidance closely and everyone gets both doses of the vaccine when they are offered it.”

Indoor gatherings, hugs and no masks in schools

The Prime Minister finished his statement by saying that the threats of Covid are “significantly reduced” but there are still some “residual issues” that need to be kept a close eye on, reiterating his words that “we need to go carefully and steadily”.

From the 17th May, people will be able to meet outdoors in groups of up to 30 people, and meet indoors in groups of up to six or as two households, overnight stays will also be allowed across the country.

The majority of sectors will reopen, including pubs, bars and restaurants indoors. Indoor entertainment will resume, including cinemas, museums and children’s play areas.

Theatres, concert halls, conference centres and sports stadia can all reopen, with larger events in these settings able to resume with capacity limits.

Organised adult sport and exercise classes can resume indoors and saunas and steam rooms may reopen.

Viva Republic!

Kuldeep Mattegunta, head chef at Republic, puts finishing touches to one of his street food inspired dishes.

Republic is at last set to open for diners on Chiswick High Road this Monday,  five months after their launch was scuppered by the Government announcing London was going into Tier 3.

Chef Kuldeep Mattegunta and manager Mustaq Tappewale, both formerly of Kricket,  will be opening the doors at  301 – 303 Chiswick High Rd,  the former site of Hedone, serving inventive Indian food from May 17th.

Pictured left: Republic’s monogram. Right: Republic’s signature cocktail adds spice to an hibiscus infused Vodka and lemon mix.

“We have been cracking on with new ideas and concepts even during the lockdown and kept proactively working towards an opening to be ready for this,” says Mustaq.

Republic offered a take away service during lockdown, but are now looking forward to realising their ambition of welcoming diners into the refurbished restaurant.

Asparagus, wild garlic achaar,  and homemade carom seed paneer; and although it may look like a very tall burger, it’s actually  a Greenpea & Mature Cheddar Vada-Pao, one of the small plates at Republic

Head Chef, Kuldeep Mattegunta, uses seasonal British ingredients to produce Indian, street style, small plates such as Granny Smith Apple and Ginger Pani Puri, and Charred Cauliflower with tandoori masala brown butter and pickled raisins, which can be paired with natural wines or special cocktails using their spices.  The exotic list of cocktails includes Alaichi Martini, a spiced Gin,  with cardamom, lime and mint and their signature Republic Sour, made with curry leaves, hibiscus infused Vodka, lemon and egg white.

“Our food and drink menu is seasonal so it will change quite often,” says Mustaq.

“We would like to thank all the people and well wishers who supported us through the lockdown and were eager for us to open so that they can truly experience our food while dining in Republic.”

Republic now ready for action and offering a special discount on food until 29th June.

Special launch offer

As a thank you to their supporters, they are having a soft launch on the 17th of May offering 30% off food on Mondays and Tuesdays until 29th June, 2021. The discount does not apply to drinks with cocktails at £10 and the wine list starting at £30 a bottle, £47 for a Gavi, going up to £120 for an Amarone.

301-303 Chiswick High Road, London, W4 republicw4.com Tel:  0208 154 2712

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: New restaurant owners “gutted” they can’t go ahead with Chiswick opening

See also: Chiswick Cheese Market

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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Drug dealers sentenced after being found with £300,000 worth of crystal meth

Two men have been jailed after being caught with almost £300,000 worth of crystal meth.

Michael Harkin of Canterbury Place and Mehrab Akbari of Ealing Road were sentenced on Friday (7 May) to a combined total of 14 years and nine months in prison, following an operation led by the Met’s Specialist Crime Command.

Officers’ suspicions were raised when Harkin was observed having meets in cars and in the street with multiple different males. The nature of the meetings, which were short periods of time and involving multiple people not known to be linked, indicated that illegal transactions were taking place.

In tandem, Akbari was observed visiting a storage unit in Chiswick on a daily basis, which led investigators to believe that it was the location of his stash of drugs.

On occasion, Akbari was travelling by taxi to Kennington to meet with Harkin. It became clear to officers that Akbari was acting as supplier, whilst Harkin was running the trade on the street.

On 23 April 2020, Akbari was arrested inside the storage unit. A search of a locker under his control revealed scales and approximately two kilos of crystal meth, with a street value of up to £278,720.

Met hopes sentencing will deter drug crimes

Investigating officer, PC James Taylor, of Specialist Crime for South London, said: “This sentencing comes as a result of a long and complex proactive investigation targeting the supply of crystal meth and associated drugs, primarily in the ChemSex scene.

“We know that in the long term, methamphetamine use can cause irreversible harm to users including damaged blood vessels in the brain that can cause strokes or an irregular heartbeat that can, in turn, cause cardiovascular collapse and liver, kidney and lung damage. Users may suffer brain damage, including memory loss and an increasing inability to grasp abstract thoughts.

“Aside from the injury caused to users, the supply of this Class A drug is linked to violence which we see on London’s streets – including assault and homicide as suppliers and dealers dispute supply and territory. This illegal enterprise is ruining people’s lives whether they use the drug or not.

“The Met will continue to access specialist assets from across the service to survey, pinpoint, target and arrest all those involved in illegal enterprise across London.

“I hope this sentencing will act as a deterrent to those who would seek to profit from the sale of these harmful drugs and would encourage the public that if you have any information about drug dealing and especially those within the higher tiers of supply, please contact the police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Police release video of armed arrest in Chiswick

See also: Sadiq Khan re-elected London Mayor

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Whale stuck at Teddington Weir put down

The baby minke whale which was stranded in the Thames has been euthanised.

The whale, which was rescued in the early hours of Monday morning after getting beached by Richmond Lock & Weir, broke free from the rescue team near Isleworth and continued to swim further up stream before becoming stuck in Teddington.

On Monday afternoon The British Divers Marine Life Rescue said the juvenile minke whale in the River Thames had “deteriorated rapidly” and had to be put down to “end its suffering”.

The whale is around three to four metres long and was stranded at Richmond Lock & Weir for over six hours on the evening of Sunday 9 May.

A rescue crew composed of staff from Chiswick Lifeboat, the Port of London Authority, London Fire Brigade, British Marine Life Rescue and specialist vets arrived at the scene at roughly 9.00pm. The whale then broke free from its rescue vessel at around 1.00am on Monday (10 May).

Images above: the whale was kept wet by a Port of London Authority worker until the rescue crew arrived (left), the whale being examined by a specialist vet (right) (Photos: Richard Frank, Sunday 9 May)

Images above: the rescue team were there until the early hours of Monday morning (10 May) to refloat the whale who eventually escaped from the inflatable rescue vessel (Photos: Richard Frank)

Numerous onlookers gathered at Teddington to keep an eye out for the whale as it swam upstream.

Speaking to Reuters after Monday morning’s rescue, Martin Garside from the Port of London Authority, which operates Richmond Lock, said he thought it was the furthest a whale had ever been known to swim up the Thames. Mr Garside warned that as the river is far narrower upstream, the whales’ chances of survival would be reduced.

Gareth Furby arrived at the scene in Richmond when the whale was already stranded. He described how difficult it was for the rescue team to pacify the whale. Footage he captured showed the whale struggling to release itself from the rescue vessel.

Gareth told The Chiswick Calendar: “The Divers Marine Life Rescue team was moving in gear and deciding what to do. With the RNLI team they tried to lift and move it back off the concrete slip first with what looked to be a sheet on canvas, but the whale thrashed around and it was clear that technique wasn’t going to work.”

Minke whales are the smallest type of whale and typically grow to about 10m long.

They are usually found in the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans but can be found at the ice edge in the Arctic during the summer and south, near to the equator, during the winter.

In 2019 three dead whales were found in the Thames, including a minke and a humpback.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Richmond Park clamps down on dogs off their leads

See also: ‘Freddie’ the seal attacked by dog near Hammersmith Bridge

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Coot Watch at Chiswick House

By James Yates

One of the few positives to emerge from the multiple lockdowns of the past year is an increasing appreciation for local nature and wildlife.

Whether it has been watching small birds visiting a garden feeder, finding a new local green or taking up a new nature-themed hobby; lockdown has broadened our love for the outdoors as well as all the flora and fauna that inhabit it.

As a local resident, one place I became familiar with over the past year was Chiswick House and Gardens. Chiswick House gardens is home to a wealth of wildlife occupants, making it the perfect local spot for a budding nature photographer such as myself. I feel lucky to have such a space right on my doorstep, especially here in London, and I have become very amicable with the animals that call it home. The garden’s resident pair of mute swans, who are apparently both male (which is a story for another day), or the numerous grey herons are probably the most recognisable of all the animals found here. However, I would argue, close behind are the Eurasian coot couple who have nested just below the Classic Bridge on the lake.

The iconic, steep sided stone bridge traverses the lake and offers a unique aerial perspective of the coot nest found just below.

The Eurasian coot, as the name suggests, is a wide ranging bird that can be found in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australasia.

Here in Britain they are year round residents and Chiswick House has a healthy population, of a number of breeding pairs. Eurasian coot nests are sizeable structures built on the bottom of shallow water and assembled upwards. Both the male and the female coot aid the construction but, typically, the male collects material (plant stems, reeds, leaves and sticks) and the female incorporates this into the structure.

Nests are usually built amongst vegetation at the water’s edge but the coots at Chiswick House seem to enjoy setting up their breeding sites in the open water. The view from the bridge highlights just how vast, and well-built, these nests are.

I, along with many other local residents, have been on ‘coot watch’ for the past few weeks, ever since eggs were first spotted in the bridge-based nest at the beginning of April.

The end of the month finally saw the first chicks emerge and I have been thoroughly enjoying watching the youngsters explore their new surroundings. Most coot clutches contain somewhere between six and ten eggs with youngsters being born precocial, meaning they are fairly mature and mobile from the moment of hatching. The chicks are brooded by the female for the first few days after hatching, during which time food is collected and brought to the nest by the male. I managed to capture a few images of the young coot’s first forays into the big wide world. Some of the chicks were off the nest and swimming on their own less than a week after hatching whilst a few of the others preferred the warmth of being tucked up under mother.

Eurasian coots commonly only have a single clutch of eggs each year and often nest in exactly the same location but last year, this pair, laid eggs twice. On both occasions only one chick survived and so I am hoping for a more successful outcome for the group of youngsters that have emerged this time around.

I used a long-range zoom lens when photographing this coot family in order not to disturb them. It is always important when photographing, or being around wild animals, that you do not seek their attention. Allowing animals to go about their daily business, taking special care during the breeding season, is usually when I get to experience the best interactions and something that I would guide everyone to follow.

James’s photographic work, including prints and blog posts about the history of Chiswick House can be found at: jamesyatesphotography.co.uk

For more information on Chiswick House & Gardens, along with a map highlighting where to find the Classic Bridge, visit: chiswickhouseandgardens.org.uk

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Keeping an eye out for Chiswick’s hedgehogs

See also: Chiswick House Events

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My Corona – Africa

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin
and culture is like a tree without roots.”

Marcus Garvey

That Covid reading blockage

With all the extra time available during the various Lock Downs of the past year or so, I had a fantastic opportunity for reading, which I utterly failed to utilise.  Apparently in common with so many others, the ability to concentrate and read seemed to desert me completely me for several months. Hardly able to read anything for longer than three minutes, blogging became my replacement activity. So, recently it has been such a joy to rediscover my mojo and to see that pile of unread books, glowering on my coffee table with silent accusation, begin to diminish.

The catalyst for this change was that in the space of a few weeks, three authors I knew, or knew of, published a book on a connected topic and one dear to my heart.

Not my roots but………..

Now, when I talk about my time in Nigeria in my blogs it is usually in generic terms.  After all, most of the time I lived and worked in Lagos, a city that is broadly mixed culturally and ethnically.  One that almost all Chiswick Calendar readers would have heard of without necessarily knowing anything about it other than it was once Nigeria’s capital city and has a superficially terrible reputation.

Lagos’ pre-colonial history has a foundation story from the Awori, a clan of the Yoruba people and has strong links to the once mighty city of Benin. The traditional name (Lagos, of course, is Portuguese) is Eko. The traditional rulers are The Oba and his court in which the 13 White Cap Chiefs are paramount.

The city’s rise coincided with its prominence as a trading port and then as the centre for the colonial administration. From the late nineteenth century the return of formerly enslaved people from the USA, the Caribbean, Brazil or from intercepted slaver vessels, usually via Liberia or Sierra Leone created another dynamic.  It goes without saying that during this period there were outbreaks of British colonial violence, the most notorious of which was the shelling of the Oba’s Palace in 1851.

Today, Lagos is the proverbial melting pot and is home to twenty million inhabitants; indigenes of every part of West Africa, let alone the colonial construct that is Nigeria.  Not just the Yoruba, there are many thousands of Igbos, Hausas, Birom, Efik, Itsekeri and representatives of the more than 350 separate peoples that make up Nigeria who call them selves Lagosians, just as there are thousands of residents of London who call themselves Londoners whose roots are in other parts of the UK.

Before 2000 I knew plenty of Igbos and had travelled east of the Niger River but my knowledge of Igbo culture was pretty superficial.  Most of my visits had been to the major cities of the oil producing areas: Port Harcourt and Warri.  Like many people, my first shallow knowledge of the Nigerian-Biafran ‘Civil War’ (1967 – 1970) was that ‘the East’, the entire area that seceded from The Federal Republic and called itself Biafra, was Igbo.  The reality, of course, is that core Igbo-land is a much smaller territory and that many other peoples of the South-South and South-East had been, not always enthusiastically, part of the Biafran independent state.  So when, in late November 2000, I took up the position of boss of a soap factory in Aba, a fully Igbo city just a few miles from Umuahia (that for most of the war was Biafra’s capital), I was in for some serious education.

Aba is a commercial town.  Everything is focussed on commercial activity especially the various markets. The city sprung up in the middle of the Palm Oil belt when in 1915 the British built a railway from Port Harcourt to collect agricultural produce: predominately palm oil and kernels.  With the railway came trade and the uncontrolled growth of the city as a market town so that the infrastructure never caught up with the flood of people.  Over time the availability of resources and location as a transport hub meant that Aba also became famous for small-scale manufacturing.  Outlets for locally produced shoes and clothing, often sporting counterfeit brand names, are everywhere.

I lived in Aba for just under two years.  I have to say, I never really gained an affection for the place, per se, but it did afford me a base for travelling around the area and learning more about one of the many cultures that exist outside Lagos from where few expatriates ever stray.  It also gave me an insight into the massive marginalization of eastern Nigeria and the destruction of much of its original culture after the war.

Infrastructure throughout the entire region, from roads to telecommunications as well as almost any social welfare has suffered from an absence of Federal investment.  At the same time the failure of many of their own State Governments to channel resources meant for the benefit of their people into their own pockets has been shameless.

In case you are wondering what all this has to do with the resurgence of my reading habit……. Please bear with me.

Looted Culture

In the immediate aftermath of the Biafran war there was an orgy of looting.  Some of it was perpetrated by Igbos themselves, desperate and starving after years of economic blockade but the greater part by the Federal troops.  The pictures of their trucks returning to the West and the North loaded with booty are legion.  Much of this was household furniture and the like but the really valuable loot were the many religious and cultural items that found ready buyers among the European and American collector community.

Cast bronze vessel with animal motif, Igbo Ukwu, eastern Nigeria, 9th century

At this very moment debate is heated about the demand for the return of artifacts taken during the colonial conquests of Africa during the nineteenth century that currently reside in museums all over the world.

David Olusoga, the historian whose views have been prevalent concerning the Bristol Colston Statue protests and who has several documentaries on BBC iPlayer at the moment, has called for the return of the Benin Bronzes looted by the British in the punitive expedition of 1897.  It is not just African cultural heritage, nor the British Museum, of course.  Recent controversial examples range from the Elgin Marbles belonging to Greece, Indigenous American religious items, the recent return of Sri Lankan ancestors’ skulls from Edinburgh to Trojan jewelry in German museums.

Benin Bronzes in British Museum

Yet auctions of African art and cultural artifacts are still going on and many of these were not looted from a century ago or even during the colonial era. There have recently been public sales of items of Igbo origin that would almost certainly have been plunder from the Biafran War just a few decades ago.  There is even a market for the very wealthy for items pillaged from Iraq and Syria more recently.

Learning more about these issues, fundamental to how we interact with items that have sat in dusty museum cases or on the designer walls of wealthy collectors, has challenged my own thinking on this subject.  Discovering why it is such an emotional and powerful issue for the people whose religious and cultural foundations have been shattered, has bounced me back into post-Covid reading.

In the second part of this blog I shall share some of the incidents and the books that have recently catalyzed my thinking and helped me understand more deeply an issue that underpins much of the so called Culture Wars and cut through the superficiality of some of the noise there has been about the future of art, artifacts and statues in our public spaces.

Watch this space.

A Voice of Honey covered Coal and Gravel

I have to thank son George for this blog’s musical closing.  As the son of an opera fan I grew up knowing about Paul Robeson’s marvelous rich bass baritone voice on such songs as “Old Man River” and his performances in ‘Porgy and Bess’.  However, George has been reading up Robeson’s incredible life as someone who challenged cultural and racial stereotyping. I hadn’t realised, for example, that he attended SOAS here in London and there is a Halls of Residence there named after him.

Inevitably, his political views did not please a US in the thralls of McCarthyism and he suffered severe racism and FBI persecution. He was a prominent activist and was a considerable intellect as well as being a renowned performer – for all those things as a man of colour in immediate post war America he suffered.

In this clip, very much of its time, his amazing voice is featured but I also chose it because the narration and editing show how far we have come in considering cross-cultural issues while illustrating still some of the broader points I am making in both parts of this blog.

Sorry, I can’t resist it.  The British and Irish Lions squad has just been announced, captained by a proud Welsh man Alun Wyn Jones.  Lions tours still encapsulate everything that we rugby fans love about the game and it is the one time when supporters from every part of the British Isles put aside differences and sing each other’s anthems with gusto.  There has probably been no better rendition of Wales’ ‘Land of my Fathers’ than Robeson’s so you get a double treat. Enjoy.

Read more blogs by Keith

Read the previous one – My Corona – Me Radio Live

See more of Keith’s work on his website – outsiderinside.co.uk

Feel free to post any comments or suggestions there or by email to Keith@outsiderinside.co.uk

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar

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See also: Chiswick Calendar Blogs & Podcasts

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Sadiq Khan re-elected London Mayor

Labour’s Sadiq Khan has been re-elected as Mayor of London. His victory was announced from City Hall on Saturday night.

Sadiq Khan won 39% of first preference votes to Shaun Bailey’s 37%. After the second preference votes were counted, he took 1,206,034 votes, compared to Mr Bailey’s 977,601.

In the 2016 London mayoral election he won with 44.2 per cent of the first preference votes and 56.8 per cent after the second round, where second preferences were added.

Speaking shortly after being re-elected Mr Khan said:

“I’m deeply humbled by the trust Londoners have placed in me to continue leading the greatest city of Earth. I promise to strain every sinew to help build a better and brighter future for London after the dark days of the pandemic and to create a greener, fairer and safer city where all Londoners get the opportunities they need to fulfil their potential. 

“I’m proud to have won an overwhelming mandate today, I want to thank everyone who voted for me. Labour voters and non-Labour voters. And I want to speak to every Londoner who didn’t vote for me this week. I will never ignore your voice, your concerns, or your worries. I will always be a mayor for all Londoners working to improve the lives of every single person in this city”.

As the election was delayed a year by the Covid pandemic, Mayor Khan will serve three years from this election, rather than four.

Shaun Bailey congratulated him on his victory, and said Londoners had not written him off.

He said: “As I went through these, for me what was two years of campaigning, one feeling felt familiar to me, one challenge had always felt the same.

“And that was the feeling of being written off – by pollsters, by journalists, by fellow politicians. But it’s no surprise to me that Londoners didn’t write me off.”

Sadiq Khan said the results of the elections around the country showed the UK remained “deeply divided”, adding: “the scars of Brexit remain, a crude culture war is pushing us further apart. We must use this moment of national recovery to heal those divisions.”

Mayor Khan campaigned on ‘standing up for London’, protecting jobs and making London a fairer society.

These were his campaign promises.

On employment:

“Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on our economy. I know many Londoners are feeling anxious about how it will affect their jobs and family budgets. That’s why I’m fighting to protect existing jobs and supporting businesses to create new well-paid ones, and giving people the training and skills they need to find work.

“I’m backing London’s businesses and entrepreneurs – large and small – and pushing the Government to give them the financial support they need to survive in these extraordinary times. I’m also supporting London’s town centres, high streets, and the small businesses which help our communities to thrive.

“I’m campaigning for the Government to extend its furlough scheme as well as give more support to freelancers, and working hard to improve conditions for Londoners in low-paid and insecure work.

“I’m standing up for Londoners and doing everything I can to help them get back to work.”

On recovery:

“London needs a 1945-style recovery plan. This means focusing relentlessly on jobs, jobs, jobs. This will enable us to narrow the social, economic and health inequalities in our city. 

“We need investment to support existing jobs and create new ones. We need to invest in skills, training and new infrastructure. And we need to invest in public services to help Londoners when they need it most. to invest in public services to help Londoners when they need it most.” 

On crime

“Keeping Londoners safe is the Mayor’s top priority. The London Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) commenced operations in March 2019, with a remit to coordinate a new public health approach to reducing violence and spreading positive opportunities across the capital.

The Mayor’s Young Londoners Fund is helping children and young people to fulfil their potential, particularly those at risk of getting caught up in crime. It supports a wide range of local community projects providing activities for young Londoners.”

He increased Council Tax in 2021 to raise an additional £15.7m for crime reduction, promising to fast-track funding for additional 600 police officers for next financial year. He supported the Metropolitan Police Commissioner’s request for an additional 6,000 officers.

 

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Police release video of armed arrest in Chiswick

See also: Conservative wins SW London seat 

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Conservative wins London SW seat

The Conservative candidate Nicholas Rogers has won the London SW seat on the Greater London Assembly. He will now represent LB Hounslow, Richmond upon Thames and Kingston upon Thames on the GLA.

Speaking soon after his victory was announced, he said:

“I want to thank the voters for placing their trust in me as their Assembly Member. Our three boroughs represent the finest that this city has to offer, and I will fight my hardest to make South West London the best it can possibly be.”

“It is the honour of my life to have been elected to serve the finest area of the greatest city in the world. Thank you to everyone who voted for me – your support is deeply humbling”.

The final vote tally was tighter than expected, with the Liberal Democrats’ candidate, Gareth Roberts, coming in second with 61,222 votes, more than doubling their vote count since 2016. Nicholas Rogers’ final vote tally was 69,212 votes.

Labour’s candidate, Candice Atterton, came third with a total of 56,945 votes.

Mr Rogers is originally from Kent and has been living in south west London for six years, in Surbiton. His husband’s family are from Kingston.
He works for Network Rail as an incident controller. “I deal with any sort of accident, incident, emergency, anything like that that goes wrong on the railway network”, he told The Chiswick Calendar’s Matt Smith before the election.

“I’m a quite old fashioned person in some ways because I believe in public service. I feel if you have something to contribute you should step up and do so.

So I see standing for the Assembly as a way that I can use my real life experience in the railway and being a former special constable, being a community campaigner, I see the Assembly as being a good way to use those skills to step up and make our community in south west London the best it can be.

“One of the main things I want to achieve is improving public transport and I want to use my experience to give me a sort of informed voice on that thing. In Chiswick that would mean, for example, fighting to get full service on the Piccadilly Line at Turnham Green which is I’m sure you well know is a massive issue to anyone who commutes in Chiswick”.

Talking about his campaign platform with Matt, he said:

“I also want to help reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and that’s using my experience as a former social constable to make sure that we have proper community policing and that the police are active and visible and out there in our neighbourhoods.

“I’m also keen to make sure that new development is appropriate as well. There’s been some, certainly in Hounslow borough, there’s been some examples of quite poor development so I think we need to make sure new development is beautiful and appropriate.”

The GLA plays an oversight role, with powers over transport, policing, economic development, and fire and emergency planning. Its 25 members act as a watchdog for London, holding the Mayor and their advisers to public account.

The London Assembly also holds TfL to account and reviews its budget and performance. And it reviews the Mayor’s transport strategy, recommending improvements and monitors its delivery.

Matt asked Mr Rogers what, realistically, he thought he could achieve as an Assembly member. This was his answer:

“It’s a scrutiny role, but I think being an assembly member is a unique role because you’re kind of pitched above the local, below the national and it gives you a platform and that’s the main thing, it’s how you use that platform.

“I would use that platform to be a champion for local communities. To engage in local issues, maybe issues which might be outside the remit for an assembly member but if they’re important to local people then I would be getting involved with them.”

When he spoke to Matt during the campaign, he promised if he won he would be “active, visible and present in the lives of our communities here in south west London.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Sadiq Khan re-elected as London Mayor

See also: Police release video of armed arrest in Chiswick

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Man in the Middle 66: I made a terrible error

A middle aged man realises his elderly mother can no longer cope alone, so she moves in with them. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact?

If you’d like to begin at the beginning and missed the first instalment, you can read
No. 1: The Letter here

No 66: I’ve made a terrible mistake and gone for a walk in the country

My body crumples onto the grass, exhausted. I lay my head down on the damp hillside, jowls folding onto the wet earth like omelettes from a pan. The soil licks its lips and kisses my left cheek. It’s wet and cold like a dog’s nose but it’s not unpleasant.

I sigh. I know, at some point, I will have to get up and move on, but, for the moment, this soggy slab of the Chilterns feels as warm and welcoming as the finest four poster bed at Balmoral. I deserve this rest, frankly. It’s been nearly ten minutes since we left the car park and I’ve been walking nearly non-stop since, mostly uphill.

I close my eyes and try to weigh up how the day lies.

The situation is bleak. I should be at home sipping coffee. I should still be in my jimmy jams. I should be clipping adverts from the back of the Sunday supplements into my ‘Boomer Album of Super Life Hacks’, which is where I collect adverts for things which I think will be useful to me soon: bath chairs (‘for easy transfer in AND out of the bath’); maroon corduroy chinos (‘introductory offer three pairs for £85!’); candles, whose scent takes you ‘overseas without leaving your home’ and cashmere pashminas named ‘coulis’, ‘plum pie’ and ‘Berry-Burst’. (For my wife, obviously). Instead, I’ve made a terrible mistake and come to the country for a walk.

I’m not quite sure how I came to be in this dreadful situation, but I think I’m the victim of WhatsApp Group Think. First, someone shared an article about bluebells being stolen from a private garden. Someone else said ‘let’s go see the bluebells.’ Someone else said we must go soon because bluebells have a short season, as short as politicians’ promises. There was an explosion of emoticons – thumbs up, smiley faces – and, before I could say, ‘my walking boots are at the dry cleaners’, here I am, face down in the grass on a damp hillside with a cyclone of self-pity building up inside me as rough as a Force 9 off Doggerel Bank.

What’s the quickest route back to London? Air Ambulance? Should I go up to the top of the hill or roll back down to the car park? Have I got enough cash on me to persuade the children to carry me the rest of the way? I’m uncertain where to go next, like the Grand Old Duke of York and Keir Starmer.

A muscle in my right buttock, which didn’t exist half an hour ago, is vibrating like a violinist playing pizzicato. I open my eyes and see a pile of sheep s**t three inches from my nose. Two piles, in fact. Two little pyramids of black pellets, lovingly laid down by the local flock to punish the urban unfit, like me, who mistakenly think weekends are for filling their City clotted lungs with rejuvenating country air.

I look at the sheep s**t, again. If I take even one big sniff and things could get very nasty in my nasal passages.

‘Typical,’ I say out loud and close my eyes again.

‘Aren’t you dead yet?’ asks my son, kicking the sole of my shoes.

‘I’m trending that way.’

‘You need to get fit,’ he says. ‘We’ve only walked 1.5km.’

‘Uphill. That’s 4km on the flat.’

He stares down at me.

‘You shouldn’t have had a second croque monsieur in the car.’

‘Is it too much to expect a little sympathy?’

‘Mum said not to show you any sympathy. It just makes things worse.’

I look up the hill. My wife is standing next to three people from our party, chatting and taking photos. One of them has opened out a map and is studying it. My heart sinks. Are they planning to go off piste? Or for a Gold Badge in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards? Maps could signify a recklessness of Olympic proportions. Half of the party are on statins, for God’s sake.

A friend strolls down and stands over me.

‘Skinful, last night?’ he asks.

‘I’ve made a terrible mistake and gone for a walk in the country,’ I say, shaking my head.

‘Easily done. Anything broken?’

‘Just dizzy.’

‘It’s the second croque monsieur, wot done it,’ says my son.

I want to roll onto my back but need to check out the lie of the land first.

‘Is my head lying in sheep s**t?’

‘No,’ says my friend. ‘But there’s quite a lot just in front of your face.’

‘I know.’

I roll onto my back. The sky is clearing up, a little.

‘What’s the plan now?’ I ask.

‘We’ve found a pub on the map. We’re thinking of heading there, now.’

‘Pub? On the map?’

‘Yes. Just up to the top of the hill, left a bit and then down.’

‘Down?’ I say. ‘Down is good.’

‘About half a kilometre. But if you’re not feeling well, I can walk with you back to the car park and we can pick you up after lunch.’

‘No. no. I’m feeling better. I should be able to make it to the pub. Give me a hand,’ I say to my son.

He reaches his hand out and pulls me up. I pitch him a poorly smile.

‘No sympathy,’ he says. ‘No sympathy at all.’

Read more blogs by James Thellusson

Read the previous one – Man in the Middle 65: I drink therefore I am

See all James’s Man in the Middle blogs here

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Chiswick architect returns missing doves type to Emery Walker’s house

Between 1916 and 1917, a disgruntled and increasingly frail, elderly man made his way by foot an estimated 170  times, and under cover of darkness from his home in Hammersmith Terrace along the river to Hammersmith Bridge with the express purpose of tipping the entire Doves type and matrixes, weighing over a ton, into the Thames to meet a watery grave.

Thomas Cobden-Sanderson left and Emery Walker right

The reason? To make sure that his younger, former publishing partner, who he had promised the type to on his death, did not receive his inheritance.

Little did Thomas James Cobden-Sanderson imagine that over 100 years later, architect Jason Sandy, a Member of the Society of Mudlarks living just upstream in Chiswick, would discover some precious pieces of Doves Type on the foreshore near Hammersmith Bridge.

The Doves type found on the Thames foreshore

And one can only imagine how many spins Cobden-Sanderson is now turning in his grave at the thought of Jason’s generous donation of the type to the trust that now runs the home of Emery Walker, the man who TJ had gone to such great lengths to deny inheriting the Dove Press.

“Although I had been searching for the famous type for many years, I only discovered in 2019 that I had been looking on the wrong side of the river,” explained Jason.

“After future research, I was able to pinpoint an area where the type miraculously washes up on the exposed foreshore at low tide. I’m absolutely thrilled to have found pieces of the historic Doves type, knowing that the last person to touch them was Cobden-Sanderson himself.”

Jason Sandy presenting Mallory Horrill – House Manager of The Emery Walker Trust the Doves Type.

The Doves Press was set up by Cobden-Sanderson and Walker in 1900 at No.1 Hammersmith Terrace, and was revolutionary in its use of clean typography and spacious setting.  The aesthetic vision was largely Cobden–Sanderson’s, who believed in ‘The Book Beautiful’.

Exteriors were stark white vellum with gold spine lettering and inside there were no illustrations. Although the typeface was influenced by Renaissance Italian books, the Doves Press letters appeared much lighter on the page than their sources.

The Doves type, named after the popular pub by the river in Hammersmith, was in just one size, occasionally broken up by Edward Johnston’s introductory, large ornamental letters, which were sometimes drawn by hand on every copy.

The Doves Press was deemed a great success aesthetically, and are now prize collectors’ items, two high points being its 1902 edition of Milton’s Paradise Lost – described by one commentator as the best there had ever been or was ever likely to be – and The English Bible, published in five volumes between 1902 and 1905.

Up until this donation, The Emery Walker Trust had never owned any of this infamously missing type, despite the house’s historic link to the press.

“We are hugely grateful to Jason and very thrilled to now have some pieces of Doves.” says Hugh Belsey MBE, Chair of The Emery Walker Trust.

”The Doves Press is, arguably, one of Emery Walker’s most important legacies and therefore a crucial part of the story of Emery Walker’s House.”

Emery Walkers House reopens on May 29th for small, guided tours of just four people, due to social distancing, so pre-booking is essential. Emerywalker.org.uk.

Jason Sandy is an American architect and developer who has lectured and written many articles about mudlarking. He co-authored “Thames Mudlarking: Searching for London’s Lost Treasures” published in 2021 by Shire Publications and available at Blackwells, WH Smith, Waterstones, Foyles and most online bookstores.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: More Chiswick Calendar News & Features

See also: This is Chiswick – History

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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

A Room of Their Own – The Small Library Company in Chiswick Mall

Meg’s new roommates – 1,500 books; photograph Lucinda MacPherson

You know how some adult children quietly moved back in with their parents during lockdown? Something similar happened to Meg Dillon, but it wasn’t her children, but 1,500 books, which suddenly took up residence in a room with a view in her highly desirable riverside home on Chiswick Mall.

Meg explains, “I trained as a librarian, then last year put an ad in the TLS offering to work for small collections, and then a guy phoned me up and said his stepfather had died in 2009 and he thought they might be worth something. Before I knew what had happened all the books were here!”

The guy was the actor, turned writer Sean Chapman, who appeared in many TV and stage shows in the 80s and 90s, and played Frank Cotton in Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, and its sequel, Hellbound. The collection had been owned by his stepfather, the crime writer Angus Hall, and his call inspired Meg to set up a family run live in bookshop.

The Small Library Company buys, sells and organises books for small private collections and is currently managing The Angus Hall collection. “The deal was that I’d find a good home for all the books,” says Meg.

These include literary biography, classic fiction, history, philosophy, psychology and, not surprisingly, a lot of crime,  all collected by Angus from the mid 40’s until his death in 2009.

One corner of her living room is dedicated to what she calls her “Tesco Finest”, anything valued over £40 which includes some highly collectable items. The most prized is the first edition of Conan Doyle’s The  Hound of the Baskervilles (1902) which has been valued at around £2,000 and is to be auctioned at Forum’s on 27th May .

Hardbacks from the 50s  and 60s are prized for their covers, especially by American collectors who prefer the artwork on the British editions.

There is also classic literature by Steinbeck, Camus, Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, as Meg explains, “ he was fairly obsessed with them, so he had not only their work, but books about them, essays and biography.”

“He had little obsessions, he was an autodidact and had no formal education, so you have this sense

that he was desperately trying to find out about things.”

“When I did the price research, I thought about him all the time and he strikes me as an introvert who sat in his room all day reading, and his son said that was completely right.”

Meg has a background in research, so enjoys finding the people who would be interested in buying some of the more niche books.

Photograph Lucinda MacPherson

“There are blogs about Angus Hall films so I stalk them, and a Facebook page called “Movie Tie-In Books”, so I’ve sold a few books that way.”

Meg has leads for more collections now, including  a university friend who owns  a first edition signed by Charles Dickens. And her own father has a valuable collection.

“ I really like the books, its like having a cat, they are very comforting.”

 

Books can be viewed by appointment in Meg’s home in Chiswick Mall, or if you live in West London Meg also offers to hand deliver each book by push bike. thesmalllibrary.co.uk/.

Meg offers a books by bike delivery service to local clients. Photograph, Lucinda MacPherson

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Calendar Books of the Month

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.

Police release video of armed arrest in Chiswick

The Metropolitan Police have released body worn video footage which shows armed officers arresting David Longhor, who was carrying two Skorpion machine guns and 40 rounds of ammunition in his back pack. 

The BWV footage shows the moment of the arrest

Longhor, 19, from Ealing was arrested in the early hours of Monday, 2 March close to Chiswick Park Tube Station. He claimed to have been  transporting the weapons as a way of ‘paying off a debt’.

On Monday, 8 March the Metropolitan Police launched a new operation, codenamed “Elie”, which brings together different teams from across the Met to focus on gun crime in high risk areas of London. The operation aims to clamp down on the availability of illegal guns, and reduce gun crime.

Commander Dave McLaren, who leads the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: “When the restrictions were lifted last July sadly we saw the highest volume of lethal barrelled discharges since 2018. As we move out of the latest restrictions we have been working hard across London to prevent a similar spike in gun crime to that seen last year.

“The Met has thousands of dedicated and really passionate officers whose commitment to taking guns off our streets is unwavering. It’s thanks to their work that London continues to be one of the safest global cities in the world. Operation Elie is adding to that capability. Never before has this organisation worked harder to tackle gun crime and yielded some great results. Over the last four years we have seen the number of shootings reduce, the number of firearms recovered increase and the number of individuals arrested and charged increase year on year.”

A Skorpion machine gun seized by police

In 2019, a total of 366 firearms capable of a lethal discharge were seized. In 2020 that increased to 443. An increase of 74 firearms. This year (to 28 April 2021), the Metropolitan Police have seized 121 firearms capable of lethal discharge – which includes three Skorpion machine guns.

David Longhor

Appearing at Isleworth Crown Court on Thursday 22 April, Longhor pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a prohibited weapon with intent to endanger life and one count of ammunition with intent to endanger life.

He is due to be sentenced on Friday, 4 June.

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.

Playing To The Crowds

Picture left by Lucinda MacPherson, picture right by Anna Kunst

Did you hear a rather classy busker entertaining the queues at the flower market on Sunday?

The last time David Juritz busked in Chiswick was back in 2007 at the start of a 50,000 mile world tour.

David busking on world trip, can you guess where? Answer below.

Now back on his home turf, the virtuoso violinist, and long time Chiswick resident plans on performing in St Michaels on June 19th as part of The Bedford Park Festival. The two concerts will include Mozart’s Divertimento and Flute Quartet, which he and flautist, Paul Edmond-Davies, another Chiswick resident, played at the first concert they ever staged for The Bedford Park Festival a grand total of 30 years ago.

The festival has been a firm fixture for David and Paul these three decades and they look forward to revisiting the Divertimento, as David describes the piece as, “a trio with all the charm, grace and humour you’d associate with Mozart as well as extraordinary emotional depth.”  “The Divertimento is just a gorgeous piece of music. It’s very exciting and challenging, and a great opportunity for musicians to show off a bit.”

They’ll be joined by his “musical besties” Judith Busbridge, co-principal viola at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and cellist Adrian Bradbury.

David has just released his own arrangement of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, a piece of music which allegedly came about when a Russian ambassador who suffered from insomnia asked the composer to write a restful piece to soothe him off to sleep. At the time, Bach employed a talented young harpsichordist called  Goldberg, so the variations became associated with this name as he was thought to be the first musician to perform them.

It was originally written for two manual harpsichord with two keyboards, but is now more usually played on the piano.

Can you guess in which country the picture of this venue was taken? Answer at bottom of feature.

David’s arrangement introduces different instruments, adding colour to the piece.

But how do you make a variation of a variation?

“Bach has done all the work for you really,” explains David, although writing this new arrangement posed several technical problems, especially around the allocation of parts.

“ Every instrument has its own sort of language. The guitar, for instance, is a totally different sort of animal to the piano, and has a different “attack” to, say, a cello, so when you are arranging a piece of music you try and work out what is going to work best for which instrument.”

“What I hadn’t realised when I started was that the guitar is a very low pitched instrument.  The music runs through a wide range. It meant that a lot of the material I had to put right up into the highest register of the guitar, almost off the finger board which meant that its incredibly difficult to play.”

Fortunately, David was working with one of the best guitarists in the world,  Craig Ogden who was unfazed by the technical challenges thrown at him.

.” “ Because it was Bach, I was very reluctant to change a single note that he had written.” There is a long and very coherent narrative running the whole way through with each variation leading to the next one.

“By and large the writing is so clear its almost indestructible; but I didn’t want to be the first person that proved that you could do some damage to Bach!”

That this new arrangement came about at all appears a happy accident, driven by an overenthusiastic promoter.

“I rather foolishly told a promoter I was going to make a new arrangement and then forgot about it for a few months. Then when I looked at it I thought “Gosh, this is going to be a real problem” and was going to forget the whole thing, but, unfortunately, the promoter had already published all the publicity for it and started selling tickets so I couldn’t back out!”

Fortunately, David stuck with it, and has been adjusting and refining his arrangement over the last four years until its launch last month, and its already proved to be a hit with almost 100,000 streams on Spotify and its first review extolling the “engaging and engaged” performances which “totally won over” the critic.

“Its fantastic fun to play. It starts off gentle, but the imagination and brilliance of the writing is more and more astonishing the more you play it.”

“And requests have already started to come in to play gigs, so it’s great to be getting back to normal.”

Getting back to normal at the Chiswick Flower Market Photograph Anna Kunst

Mozart with Friends – the Juritz Concert will be performed at 5pm and 7pm, St Michael & All Angels Church on Saturday 19th June.

To book and find out more about the Bedford Park Festival visit: https://www.bedfordparkfestival.org/e/309/mozart-with-friends-the-juritz-concert

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1759) Goldberg Variations, arranged by David Juritz; David Juritz (violin), Craig Ogden (guitar), Tim Hugh (cello), NIMBUS NI6414 1CD [79.40] is available on big streaming platforms and on CD from Presto Classical

Answers to picture teasers: Hong Kong and  France

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Flower Market in Pictures

See also: Bedford Park Festival 2021

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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Chiswick Flower Market in Pictures

Thanks to Anna Kunst and Frank Noon

Images above by Anna Kunst – annakunstphotography.com

 

Images above by Frank Noon – franknoon.com

New Antiques Market opens this Sunday on Chiswick High Road

Fancy a mooch around an antiques market this Sunday?

Now you don’t have to travel far. A new monthly popup market starts on the 9th May with dealers from all over London and the Shires bringing their latest finds to showcase along Chiswick High Road.

This once a month market will spread out along the south side of the High Road from the Police Station eastwards towards Hammersmith, with over 40 Antique and Vintage traders selling and eclectic mix of decorative antiques from 9am to 3pm.

“We’ve got a real mix this Sunday,” says organiser, Jenny Titmuss.

“We can have up to 60 traders and I select stalls offering a huge range of vintage clothes, jewellery, paintings, embroidered  postcards and painted furniture”.

Chiswick was a natural choice for Jenny to set up her latest market, as she knew the area from her first job at Island Records, a hop across the Hammersmith border.

“I think the people of Chiswick are looking for the unusual and all our stall holders have a bit of flair with what they sell. They have a good eye, and an understanding of what people want.”

There promises to be a good atmosphere with live music and the chance to talk directly with dealers discovering the back story and history of the pieces for sale.

Anona Foley, (pictured above left), owner of Peggy & Wilf Vintage might look a 50s kinda gal, but her stall currently stocks items spanning 200 years including a Georgian pewter meat plate and a 1960s tea set. She always has a range of baskets, small pieces of furniture, ceramics and decorative items.

“I have had a lifetime love of antiques which started when I was small, setting up stall with my antique dealer father at various fairs around the country. I would buy small trinkets and sell them on his stall for some pocket money.

“I love selling at our regular fairs and am really looking forward to coming to lovely Chiswick. It’s exactly the sort of area that will appreciate the great variety of stalls that this sort of fair can offer, there really is something for everyone.”

Dawn & Steve Diggines run Retrovation, based just outside St Albans, and their stall will offer a selection of decorative antiques and salvage pieces. Steve, pictured above is excited to be coming to Chiswick,

“We have many customers who are based in the area who are always on the hunt for unique antique pieces to incorporate into their interiors.”

“We find that mixing the old with new can add real character and soul to a home”.

Expect to find unique mirrors, furniture, gilt frames, aged garden pieces and decorative homewares on Retrovation’s stall. And don’t worry if you fall in love with their apothecary wall cabinet or Singer legged marble topped table, they will be offering free local delivery on any of their larger pieces.

Sabra Swinson trained as a buyer at Harrods during which time she lived off the High Road in Chiswick near her sister and aunt. Now she splits her time between the South of France and UK finding vintage treasures.

Her stall, The French Home Company, will stock ceramics, glassware, furniture, decorative accessories, kitchenalia, garden pieces, architectural salvage as well as her own brand of French textiles.

‘The wonderful thing about markets like this is that you can buy lovely antique and vintage pieces at great prices.’

The new Chiswick Antiques Market starts this Sunday May 9th and plans to be back on June 13th, July 11th, August 8th, September 12th, October 10th,  November 14th, and December 12th.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Upcoming Chiswick Markets

See also: Chiswick gets an antiques market

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.

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

We bid a fond farewell to one of our Club Card members whose food deliveries were a silver lining for many of us over a year of lockdowns.

Harriet and Alan Benton, top end event planners and caterers reinvented themselves as suppliers of elegant dishes for people stuck at home.

Harriet’s friendly emails, extra touches – we were sent hearts on Valentine’s and wonderful team of volunteers – the MacPherson’s meals on wheels, often her signature salmon dish, were delivered with a cheery smile by Tom-in-a-Porsche (so Chiswick!).

We shall miss Harriet and her lovely team, but are delighted that the future looks bright again for her events business. And she promises to stay in touch/be back soon.

“We’ve all had the most extraordinary 15 months & how odd it seems to be emerging, slowly, back into a different world,” says Harriet.

“We’re hoping that in time we may be able to offer a monthly / 6 weekly Harriet’s Kitchen, whenever we see a space in the diary, Chiswick Calendar has introduced us to a much wider audience for which we’re eternally grateful.”

“We’re very wary & very sad to say goodbye to Harriet’s Kitchen but we can’t keep up with the enquiries & roasting salmon at the same time! We’re worried that all the bookings might fall through yet again which would be for the 3rd time in just over a year.”

“Hard work aside, Harriet’s Kitchen has given us a wonderful sense of community, all our clients are so supportive & the testaments over the last few days are fantastic, really quite amazing!”

“The Thursday club formed by the volunteers has become quite the thing, many a glass has been a sunk around 6.30 & so it will continue.”

On the books over the next six months Harriet has lined up:

A 90th for the mum of a long-established client; a lobster supper for a 70th for some folk on the river; a 21st whose christening they did; a celebration for someone who received their knighthood last year; a wedding in Berkshire; an alumni party for Bristol University; a quadruple Christening at Southwark Cathedral then back to Dulwich; a wedding in Gloucester; an evening in Seville in the depths of Surrey, recreating a Spanish Square – fountains flamenco and all; dinner for six in South London; a wedding in Gloucester, two gallery openings with Private Views and, lastly, another wedding in Hampshire.

Which is not only fantastic news for Harriet, but also hugely cheering for the rest of us, as it sounds like life is getting back to normal and we can all start partying again soon!

We wish Harriet and Alan good luck and will keep you posted on Harriet’s Kitchen and its possible revival.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Harriet’s Kitchen – a new place to find delicious food in Chiswick

See also: Out of lockdown Harriet’s Kitchen was born

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.

Richmond Park clamps down on dogs off their leads

Dogs will be required to be on leads in all areas of both Richmond and Bushy Park, from Tuesday 4 May, as the deer enter their birthing season.

Dog walkers are “strongly advised” not to walk their dogs in the parks at all over this time, with lead-wearing being compulsory until 2 August.

Up to 300 new fawns are expected to be born over this period. Along with their pregnant mothers, these deer are particularly vulnerable to predators.

Park management is hoping the strict rules will see less chases between dogs and wildlife, namely the deer population. Over a hundred chases have been reported since last year’s breeding season.

A number of dog owners have appeared in court and been convicted for not having their dog under control.

At least five deer have died after being attacked by dogs in the parks. In January, distressing footage showed a deer being attacked by a dog let off its leash. Members of the public intervened to stop the dog, who continued to attack the animal as it lay wounded.

Image above: deer in Richmond Park

Dog walkers ‘should avoid Royal Parks’ for now

Richmond Park Manager Simon Richards said: “During the deer birthing season, we strongly advise that dogs are not walked in either Richmond or Bushy Park but, if this is not possible, dogs must be on leads in all areas of the parks.

“Female deer are afraid of dogs harming their young. Concern for their newborn means they may act defensively towards dogs – they have been known to give chase and attack, even if the dog is at a distance and not acting provocatively. Dog walkers must remain vigilant, avoid areas of dense vegetation and stick to the perimeter of the park. As a dog owner myself, I know this can be frustrating, but it really is for the safety of both deer and dogs. We’re sorry for any inconvenience caused and we thank all our visitors for their support with these measures.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Ravenscourt Park Farmers Market will defy council and continue

See also: Thousands march on Ealing Council demanding end to LTNs

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.

Petition launched to prevent telecoms masts on ‘iconic’ Chiswick building

A petition calling to scrap the plans to install telecommunications equipment on the roof of a ‘iconic’ Chiswick building has been launched.

The petition was submitted by a local resident, Lynne Metherell, who claims the masts will be a ‘blot on the open spaces we value in the centre of Chiswick, visible from all sides.’

The plans would see assorted steelwork including six antenna apertures as well as four satellite dishes just over half a metre wide installed on the roof of 9 Devonhurst Place, opposite Turnham Green.

Lynne adds: ‘This will be directly on top of flats occupied by families with young children and will take away valuable space on a flat roof used by residents for health and recreational purposes. Say NO to the arbitrary take over by telecoms giant EE without consideration of people living directly below.’

The Chiswick Calendar has approached EE for comment.

Image above: an artists depiction of what the masts will look like once built

To see the petition on LB Hounslow’s website, click here.

See also: Woman’s body recovered from Brentford canal identified by residents

See also: Thousands march on Ealing Council demanding end to LTNs

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.

Good news and last push for Yeats Memorial

The London Borough of Hounslow granted planning permission for the WB Yeats Bedford Park Artwork Project on Friday (30th), which means it can claim a grant of £35,000 from London Borough of Hounslow’s Thriving Communities Fund to add to its final fundraising flurry.

Celebrities and locals have rallied to support pledges for the artwork, Enwrought Light, which reaches its crowdfunding deadline next Tuesday.

Musician and advocate, Bob Geldof, a supporter of the project, says,

“Bedford Park is where the National Poet understood what it was to be impoverished, alien, exiled, became obsessed with a woman who would haunt his life and give rise to the greatest poetry of the 20th century. Surrounded by his extraordinary family and his radically revolutionary neighbours, Bedford Park whipped the beautiful young poet into the maelstrom of poetry that would give rise to a nation.”

A target of £135K must be reached by May 11th to make Conrad Shawcross’s Yeats-inspired visualisation a reality at the ‘gateway’ to Bedford Park by St Michael and All Angels.

The helical swirl of gold and silver not only celebrates Ireland’s ‘national poet’ and former Chiswick resident, William Butler Yeats, who did most of his growing-up here, but acknowledges the area’s role as a hub of late 19th-century artistic creativity, and the community’s egalitarian ethos that made it possible for a migrant family to flourish and produce one of the twentieth century’s outstanding literary figures.

Despite being the only poet brought up in England to win a Nobel Prize (in 1923), Yeats has, perhaps surprisingly, no monument anywhere in Britain. If the project reaches its funding target on May 11th, Chiswick may claim him.

Changing Chiswick

Local poet and artwork-project organiser, Cahal Dallat, says,

‘When English Heritage wanted to put a blue plaque on one of the Yeats’s former homes some years back, locals objected on the grounds that ‘the father’, John Butler Yeats, the much-loved conversationalist and not entirely successful portrait painter who’d brought his family to London when young Willie was just two years old, ‘never paid his rent’.

‘That was a snobbish Bedford Park that had clearly forgotten Dublin-born property developer Jonathan Carr’s radical concept, and had lost sight of the development’s original role as an artists’ colony, less expensive than Mayfair and Belgravia, where a community of artists – painters, poets, playwrights – could rent their share of an invented pastoral idyl, complete with studios and minstrels’ galleries, in which to create, away from steep and narrow Victorian London streets, while still being within a short train ride of the metropolis’s theatres, publishers and patrons.’

Bedford Park rent collectors clearly have a long memory. The Yeatses moved into Woodstock Road in 1879 so that JB Yeats could be near artist friends, and moved to Blenheim Road from 1888 to 1902, so were 80 years gone when their credit-worthiness still came under local scrutiny.

Art in Exile

Arguably, John Butler Yeats’s lack of success turned out to be a positive feature in young Willie Yeats’s development. As the family had had to move frequently in their pre-Bedford-Park days, they’d also, like many migrants when times were tough, sent the children ‘home’ to stay with relatives to ease the financial burden.

And it was in his mother’s native Sligo that William Butler Yeats discovered his love for Irish landscape, legends and lore, developing, on his returns to London, a longing and nostalgia for that Land of Heart’s Desire, as one of his plays is titled, a longing that he felt ‘in the deep heart’s core’ in one of his best-loved poems The Lake Isle for Innisfree, written in Bedford Park’s Blenheim Road and thought to be inspired by Chiswick Eyot.

And if it was exile in London that spurred Yeats’s poetic imagination, it was London contacts, national newspapers, West End theatres, poetry presses, who saw his poems published and his plays performed.

And the crucible for the alchemy that transmuted Irish imagination and invention into Nobel-Prize gold was Bedford Park itself.

A Chiswick for Creatives

Now Chiswick appears more appreciative of creatives in its midst, notably, St. Michael and All Angels, the Yeatses’ old family church, a regular focus for the arts in the community, hosting performances and the annual Bedford Park Festival  and Chiswick Book Festival.

And The Bedford Park Society, while ensuring conservation of the area’s Arts-&-Crafts 19c Queen-Anne-retro built environment, is also keen to promote community pride in Bedford Park as a place of artistic excellence and radical, progressive ideas as well as of beautiful buildings.

The proposed literary landmark shimmering with the ‘golden and the silver light’ of Yeats’s genius and the area’s creativity will be seen by the hundreds of thousands of commuters and international visitors who pass by on District and Piccadilly Lines each year and who might be drawn to visit Chiswick to view the artwork, read Yeats’s lines, study the interpretive signage which will link to a Yeats/Bedford-Park Walk on the project’s webpage and discover the magic of Chiswick’s ‘creative quarter’, building on the work already done by Chiswick Timeline,  Chiswick PlayhouseArts Ed, Chiswick Book Festival and Bedford Park Festival!

Local Support

‘It hasn’t simply been an amazing week’, Cahal says, ‘but an amazing ten weeks since the crowdfund campaign was launched on www.spacehive.com/yeats-bedfordpark-artwork, with, to our surprise, some 200 separate backers, mostly local, showing their support.

‘Of course we’ve had some famous Yeatsians, and poets and actors, literary critics and academics all pledging and sending messages of support – a lovely quote recently from Bob Geldof who’s passionate about our celebration of the ‘London’ Yeats.

‘But what’s been really affirming is the number of local residents among those 200 plus backers, many of whom had little or no awareness of Yeats’s time in Chiswick or Bedford Park’s world-wide significance as the world’s first garden suburb.”

‘Plus we’ve had that amazing grant of £35,000 from London Borough of Hounslow’s Thriving Communities Fund. That funding recognises how much improving the local environment matters in a COVID-recovery situation.  And how a major literary landmark attracting international ‘cultural tourists’ will help Chiswick’s mostly small business and cafés recuperate from so many months of lockdown and restrictions. But it also recognises the importance of community cohesion engendered through pride in a shared arts/cultural heritage.’

All pledges, large or small, are equally important to this community project, a sign that people are engaging with the message, with the idea that a neighbourhood like Bedford Park, the first ever to be built for communal happiness – with its inn, church, social club, schools and sports facilities, the first modern housing development to embrace a holistic approach – can foster and nurture not just creativity but world-class genius. Not just work/life balance in contemporary jargon but a true work/life/art balance.

What Happens Now?

One of the striking things for the project committee in the ten weeks since Shawcross’s visualisation of Yeats’s spiralling genius and Bedford Park’s centrifugal swirl of advanced ideas was ‘unveiled’ and reported in The Chiswick Calendar has been the level of interest from unexpected quarters and the useful practical comments and advice from locals, architects, conservationists, artists and especially teachers, on the role it will fulfil both in explaining Bedford Park to the world and in inspiring local creativity among schoolchildren growing up here.

Discussions have already begun on how to celebrate – with poetry and the arts generally – the unveiling of the finished work on Yeats birthday in 2022 .

Pledges via: spacehive.com/yeats-bedfordpark-artwork

wbyeatsbedfordpark.com

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Why the Yeats sculpture will be a great addition to Chiswick

See also: W B Yeats, Nobel prize winning poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature

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.

Surge testing in Hounslow after South African variant identified

Residents over the age of 16 who live in and around the Woodlands area of the London Borough of Hounslow will be asked to take a PCR COVID-19 test from tomorrow (Tuesday 4 May), whether they are showing COVID-19 symptoms or not.

This follows the notification to the Council that a single case of the variant of concern first identified in South Africa has been identified in the Borough.

Working in partnership with the NHS, this increased testing is being introduced to quickly identify any further cases of the variant and stop any spread.

Two additional test sites across the Borough have been opened to support residents in getting tested, even if they have no other symptoms. The surge testing programme will go on for ten days until 14 May.

It is important that residents in these areas, who have been contacted, take a PCR test. PCR tests can identify specific variants through genomic sequencing, whereas lateral flow device tests are only able to determine whether a patient has a positive or negative coronavirus status.

Contact tracers carrying appropriate ID will be visiting approximately 2000 households from 4 May with home testing kits for residents living in these postcodes. For those who are not home at the time of visit, information on how residents can access PCR testing from Mobile Testing Units will be provided. The testing units will be at Isleworth train station and Tesco in Osterley from 4 May.

Enhanced contact tracing will be used for individuals testing positive with a variant of concern. This means contact tracers will look back over an extended period to determine where they may have been so that we can contact anyone who needs to be tested.

The information gathered by the Council will help to keep residents safe from a further rise in cases of the South Africa variant and help us stay on track with the government’s roadmap out of national lockdown.

Images above: members of the public receive in-person and drive in PCR tests

Testing is vital to stop variants from spreading, says council

The Director of Public Health for Hounslow, Kelly O’Neill, said: “This additional testing is important as we are looking for new variant cases to stop them spreading. If you live in and around the Woodlands area you will receive a letter that asks you to get tested so please test yourself when we deliver your kit.

Residents living or working in the vicinity of Tesco Osterley and Isleworth train station should get tested at the Mobile Testing Units stationed there. The higher the testing uptake the more assured we can be that the variant is not spreading in our community.

“This is also a reminder that if you live or work in the Borough, please self-isolate if you test positive and continue to follow the guidance to keep yourself and your community safe. Remember: Hands, Face, Space.”

The emergence of variants of the coronavirus is part of the way all viruses evolve. There is currently no evidence to suggest that the vaccine offers less protection against the South Africa variant. There is no link between this case and other cases identified in London.

If further positive cases are found in the Borough the Council will investigate whether this is the South Africa variant of the virus.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Local elections: Meet the SW London Assembly seat’s candidates

See also: Thousands march on Ealing Council demanding end to LTNs

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 Lifeboat urges caution to river pub-goers

Chiswick Lifeboat are urging caution to pub-goers planning on drinking at venues along the Thames.

Because current COVID guidelines do not allow for indoor drinking, pubs are making use of their outdoor spaces to accommodate customers more than ever. Chiswick RNLI fear this may increase the risk that those under the influence will end up in the river.

Whilst noting there hasn’t been any specific alcohol related river incidents locally yet, Chiswick Lifeboat hope to remind patrons that entering the water after a few drinks is anything but safe.

Mark Pusey, a crewman for Chiswick Lifeboat, told The Chiswick Calendar:

“Unfortunately ‘beer goggles’ make people feel indestructible, and impair your judgement when it comes to levels of risk. There are many hidden dangers on the river, from objects underneath the water, to strong fluvial flow, hidden currents, fast rising tides, entrapment in mudbanks, cold water shock… the list goes on.”

Chiswick Lifeboat have also been unable to hold ‘throwbag clinics’ with landlords and staff from pubs up and down the river, due to lockdown restrictions. These clinics supplied pubs with standard issue rescue equipment and training for use in emergencies, to prevent injuries from alcohol related accidents.

Mark added: “The general advice we would give, is not to allow alcohol to trick you into thinking the water is safe. Keep an eye on one another when using alcohol near the river, and if you see anyone in danger, don’t be tempted to jump in to assist them. Instead, telephone 999 immediately and ask for the Coastguard.

“Hopefully, it won’t be too long before we can resume the throwback training with the pubs!”.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Woman’s body recovered from Brentford canal identified by residents

See also: Thousands march on Ealing Council demanding end to LTNs

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.

Local elections: Meet the candidates for the SW London Assembly seat

The local elections are coming up this Thursday (6 May).

The elections decide who runs local services – such as schools, libraries and bin collections – in 143 councils across the UK.

Hounslow council isn’t in the running this year, but residents will be able to vote in the London mayoral election, as well as vote for the London Assembly member for South West.

The Chiswick Calendar’s Matt Smith has interviewed four of the major contenders standing for the South West seat on the London Assembly, to find out who they are, what they stand for and what they hope to achieve if elected.

Follow the links below to find out about the candidates and what they’re standing for.

Candice Atterton – Labour

Nicholas Rogers – Conservatives

Gareth Roberts – Liberal Democrats 

Andree Frieze – The Green Party

There are 25 members of the London Assembly, which is the body that scrutinises the activities of the Mayor of London. A two-thirds super-majority is needed to amend the Mayor’s annual budget and to reject the Mayor’s draft statutory strategies.

The SW seat has been held by veteran Conservative politician Tony Arbour for the last 21 years, but the Conservatives are fielding a different candidate this time around.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Richmond’s parks clamping down on dogs off their leads

See also: Thousands march on Ealing Council demanding end to LTNs

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 12: Who’s Responsible?

Mihir Bose, former BBC Sports News Editor, sets the world to rights with journalist mates David Smith, Economics Editor of the Sunday Times, and political commentator Nigel Dudley.

The cost of decorating Boris Johnson’s Downing St flat and who is paying for it is exercising them this week (£200,000 and it looks ‘like an Ottoman brothel’ according to one wag).

Maybe people aren’t bothered about who paid for it, but will Carrie Symonds’ comment that she couldn’t live with Theresa May’s “John Lewis nightmare” lose them the votes of Middle England?

Also the scandal of the sub post office managers whose lives have been ruined by the disastrous failure of a computer system. After some have served time in prison and others have been vilified in their communities, for financial losses that were not their fault, the Three Old Hacks demand to know who is responsible.


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Listen to more episodes here.

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

Episode 53: The County Championship – past, present and future – by its great historian Stephen Chalke

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.

Author, publisher and supreme recorder of cricketers’ memories Stephen Chalke returns as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast. They celebrate a tremendous start to the English County Championship, before Stephen draws on his detailed and beautifully illustrated history Summer’s Crown, to analyse the competition’s past and its prospects.


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Stephen hails the excellence of the new streaming service that allows cricket-lovers to follow at home any part of any county match with the aid of expert commentators who are deeply involved in the county circuit. Streaming is some compensation for the recent shameful neglect of county cricket by major newspapers. Viewing and listening figures for the new services are highly encouraging, although they have yet to be monetized. 1 and 4-9 minutes

Stephen sees a return to old times in the competition, in that the current season provides two months of county cricket with no distractions from international visitors, and with all matches starting and finishing on the same days. He risks a prediction of the eventual winners. 2 minutes

In general he believes that counties with the strongest bowling attacks usually carry off the championship, although this has become less important since four-day matches and Warwickshire won in 2004 primarily by gathering batting points. He also believes that that this year’s increased reward for drawing games will increase the relative reward of strong batting – and revive the forgotten art of batting to save a match, as did Gloucestershire’s last pair, for 75 minutes, to thwart Hampshire. 3-4 minutes

Stephen traces the roots of the championship in the late nineteenth century, the formative era for almost every organized British sport. Cricket then might have followed the path of rugby (a professional version in the north of England, an amateur one in the south). Instead its development was shaped by the astonishing Charles Alcock who managed simultaneously to run Surrey CCC and the Football Association and be a prolific journalist. Surrey’s President, the future Lord Alverstone, rebuked him for winning the new championship too often, playing too many professionals – and worst – allowing them to fraternize with the amateurs. 9- 12 minutes Years later, a similar charge was raised against a great Surrey captain, Percy Fender, and Stephen analyses the sources of prejudice against him, which included  anti-semitism.    12-14 minutes

Stephen analyses the extraordinary survival of the distinction between amateurs and professionals until the 1960s, despite massive social change outside cricket and within the game, the enhanced image which Hobbs and Sutcliffe gave to professionals as a class. He picks out some of the far inferior amateurs who were preferred to professionals as county captains – including the wrong Major Bennett who was appointed by mistake to lead Surrey in 1946. 17-18 minutes Postwar  counties searched more and more desperately for talented players who could maintain the faҫade of amateur leadership and arranged sinecure or even fictitious jobs for them as “shamateurs”, earning more money for playing cricket than the professionals. 14-24 minutes

Stephen comments on the persistent weak finances of county cricket apart from its early heyday (when it had a bigger following than international matches) and two booms in attendance after the world wars. Its initial success led to the admittance of many more teams, playing different numbers of matches; this caused endless complex changes in determining the winners and reduced the financial base of the competition still further. The counties generated no income outside cricket until the 1950s, when Warwickshire led them in establishing a successful football pool. As late as 1965 Surrey stuffily refused commercial sponsorship to replace the Vauxhall end clock. 25-29 minutes

For years, the counties required extraordinary workloads from their players. He cites a season when Hampshire’s Derek Shackleton sent down over 1700 fast-medium overs.  Cricketers also endured long travel times (before motorways or fast trains), poor overnight accommodation, or none at all, and minimal medical support. The schedule was so packed that out-of-form players never had time in practice to analyse and correct faults. 33-38 minutes

Stephen analyses the succession of revolutionary changes in the 1960s and after in county cricket, which belied its stuffy conservative images. He picks out not only the ending of amateurism, but also the beginnings of sponsorship, new one-day competitions, Sunday play and, especially the influence of specially registered overseas players (led by Garry Sobers) in the late 1960s. Unlike today, the new stars were committed to their counties for the entire season. With England’s international cricketers also fully committed to their counties, the championship reached new heights in the 1970s – before the impact of Packer, international revenues from television, commercial sponsorship and other forces shifted power away from the counties to national administrations. County cricket in the 1970s was a superb finishing school (with a great variety of playing surfaces and conditions) for the great West Indian and Pakistani teams of the 1970s and 1980s, and more recently, prepared Chris Rogers for a brilliant entry into Test cricket for Australia. He believes that England’s present management team of Ashley Giles and Chris Silverwood, with strong roots in county cricket, will pay more attention to county performances as a basis for international selection than some of their predecessors. 42-49 minutes

Stephen draws attention to a little-known record set in a recent round of county matches by Hassan Hameed, the Nottinghamshire opener once of Lancashire and England. 46-47 minutes

Finally, he traces the vital influence of the late Duke of Edinburgh on the County Championship during a somewhat accidental supposed centenary year in 1973, and tells the story of the emergency trophy he had to present to Worcestershire in 1988 when no one collected the proper one from the previous year’s winners, Nottinghamshire. 50-55 minutes

Peter and Richard are taking a short break from the podcast for other projects (and possibly to play cricket themselves). They are due to return in the last week of May. In the interim, on behalf of their previous guest Charles Lysaght, they invite listeners to trace any newsreel film of the Duke of Edinburgh batting: please send any link or reference to obornehellercricket@outlook.com

Listen to more episodes of Oborne & Heller

Previous Episode – Episode 52: Wisden 2021 – cricket and class, race, plague and global warming

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. 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 Actors to star in Downton Abbey Sequel

Downton Abbey devotees are counting the months now that it has been confirmed that its highly anticipated sequel to the blockbuster movie will be in cinemas this Christmas.

Picture courtesy of ITV

The first Downton Abbey film, itself a spin off from the hit TV series, featured a royal visit and the sequel picks up where it left off in the late 1920s.

Fans can look forward to fantasising about a bygone era of glamorous gowns, glorious settings and high drama with all the original principal cast, including several local leading ladies.

The Chiswick Calendar caught up with Phyllis Logan, aka Mrs Hughes, who said she was delighted to be back with ‘the same old troupe’ to film Downton Abbey mark two.

Being back with the cast is, “Just bliss”, says Phyllis, a long-term resident of Chiswick, adding it was,

“So nice to see everyone. We were together for six series and it was lovely seeing everyone for the first film after a break of three years.”

“After this last year it was even more so – nice to see everyone in the flesh – the actors and a lot of the same crew from before.”

Phyllis divulged that there’s “some excitement which takes place at the castle” so Mrs Hughes, the housekeeper, has her hands full.

Phyllis Logan in one of Downtown Abbey’s most shocking moments, when she finds a train ticket to York in Mr Bates’ pocket, proving he wasn’t involved in the valet’s murder, contrary to belief. Picture courtesy of PBS.

They’ve already started work filming up at Highclere Castle, the 5,000 acre estate in Hampshire, although the downstairs cast often keep a respectful distance closer to home in the less lavish kitchen set at Ealing Studios.

However, Phyllis says there will be some filming in another ‘slightly exotic’ location – but with the admirable discretion one expects of Mrs Hughes, her lips are sealed as to where.

If you didn’t catch the first film, look away now –  the final shot showed Mrs Hughes and her husband Carson walking away from Downton, saying how it’ll still be there in 100 years, giving a feeling of finality.

However, Phyllis confirms that her character is still working as housekeeper and Carson, although retired,  as in the first film, “is inveigled into coming back for one reason or another.”

According to Jim Carter, who plays Mr Carson, a role that has earned him four nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, the script is “very funny”. It will also include his wife, actress Imelda Staunton reprising her role of Maud Bagshaw.

“It’s a cliche but we are a family,” says Phyllis.

“We have such a laugh. We have a WhatsApp group so we keep in touch. Elizabeth McGovern lives in Chiswick, so I see her a lot and her husband Simon Curtis who he is actually directing this one.”

Michelle Dockery, left and pictured on set with Maggie Smith

Michelle Dockery, aka Lady Mary Crawley also lives in West London, as does Lesley Nicol, who plays Mrs Beryl Patmore, “She’s a really good chum. She was living in LA for a bit but she’s back and lives locally so we’ve met up for a walk”.

The official announcement said that “the entire Downton cast are back”, presumably from the first film, rather than all the beloved characters from the whole series to date.

And there will be a sprinkling of new celebrities including Hannibal’s Hugh Dancy, The Affair’s Dominic West and our very own ArtsEd acting alumna Laura Haddock, currently knocking ’em dead in Transformers.

Pictured left: Laura Haddock former student at ArtsEd, Chiswick; photograph Wolf Marloh.

Downton Abbey 2 is set for release in cinemas on December 22. You can watch the first film on Prime Video.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: An interview with Phyllis Logan and Kevin McNally

See also: ArtsEd ‘delighted’ with alumni on primetime TV shows

 

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.