Celebrating the Rock heritage of SW London

Images above: Alexis Corner’s band Blues Incorporated; Brian Jones and Mick Jagger at the Marquee Club, photograph Young

Ealing Blues Club – the birthplace of Rock

Rock music as we know it dates back to 1962 – specifically 17 March 1962. That was the date the Ealing Blues Club was first opened, a music venue which was to have such a huge influence on young musicians in south-west London that they created the UK’s R&B scene and exported music with Black roots back to the US to become Rock music as we know it today.

This is the claim by the authors of the book Rock’s Diamond Year, commemorating 60 years of the club, and the club’s influence is borne out by many in the music industry.

The Ealing Blues Club’s big claim to fame is as the venue where the Rolling Stones first met and played together. In his autobiography Life Keith Richards quotes part of a letter he wrote to his aunt Patty in 1962:

“The Saturday after Mick and I are taking 2 girls over to our favourite Rhythm & Blues club over in Ealing … They got a guy on electric harmonica Cyril Davies fabulous always half-drunk unshaven plays like a mad man, marvellous.”

That is when they saw ‘Elmo Lewis’ (aka Brian Jones) playing slide guitar for the first time, in the club newly established by Alexis Corner spearheading a revival of Chicago Blues. They made their debut as the ‘Rollin’ Stones’ in July that year at the Marquee Club, but it was the Ealing club where they gigged regularly that winter.

Image above: Crawdaddy Club, Richmond; photograph Jeremy Fletcher/ Redferns

Crawdaddy Club – home of the Yardbirds

In his introduction Ralph Brookfield writes:

“The popularity of the Stones’ music with suburban teens helped other South West London bands to follow in their footsteps.”

Roger Daltrey of The Who was at that time playing the pubs, clubs and hotels around Acton, Ealing, Greenford and Hanwell. John Lord, one of the founder members of Deep Purple, played keyboards with the Artwoods, who were  regulars at the Ealing Club.

In 1963 the Stones took up residency at the Crawdaddy Club in the Station Hotel in Richmond, which has had several incarnations; more a ‘brand’ than a venue, since 2012 it has been based at the Richmond Athletic Ground. The Yardbirds from Kingston, featuring the young Eric Clapton, took over the Stones’ residency when they moved uptown to the Marquee Club.

“An early jamming mate of Clapton’s … was Isleworth-born guitarist David Brock, later the founder and perennial member of space-rockers Hawkwind,” writes Ralph.

Images above: Eel Pie hotel; Rolling Stones Eel Pie card

Ricky Tick clubs & Eel Pie Island

The Ricky Tick clubs were another ‘brand’ putting on gigs in Windsor, Guildford, Reading and Hounslow featuring bands such as Cream, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix and The Who.

The club par excellence where they all played was the hotel on Eel Pie Island. Their gig list reads like a Rock hall of fame.

“The Island already had a reputation as a place to keep your teenage daughters away from at all costs, plus there had recently been an exposé in the Evening Standard of the long-haired types who smoked weed and impregnated young ladies at the Eel Pie Island Jazz Club” writes Gina Way.

So naturally, aged 16, she lied to her parents about where she was going and headed straight there. Hers is one of several accounts from those who experienced the early days of Rock in south-west London.

Images above: Commune at Eel Pie Island; Bridge to Eel Pie Island

Wishlist – a Museum of Rock in west London

Ralph Brookfield was speaking with Robert Hokum, who set up the Ealing Blues festival, and writer and film maker Cheryl Robson at a Chiswick Book Festival event at the University of West London in Ealing on 12 September. They pointed out both Ronnie Wood and Pete Townsend had been students there in the days when it was the Ealing Art College.

While they were doing all they could to raise awareness of the Rock heritage of southwest London with the publication of the book, they said what they would really like to see is a museum in Ealing dedicated to the area’s Rock heritage. They would like to see Ealing Council get behind the idea and promote it in the way New Orleans, Detroit and Chicago promote their music heritage in the United States.

Rock’s Diamond Year is available to buy online from aurorametro.com

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Book Festival 2022

See also: Carry on Regardless at the Chiswick Book Festival

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Saying goodbye to the Queen

Image above: Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral car passing through Chsiwick

People line the route through Chiswick to say goodbye to the Queen as she passes on her last journey from Westminster to Windsor

There was a bit of an ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ moment as we were waiting to see the Queen’s funeral procession pass by. A clear and quite distinct little voice piped up from about my waist height nearby:

“How much longer do we have to wait in this queue?”

Images above: Waiting for the Queen; photographs Madeleine Walker

It broke the ice as people all round laughed, having come out of their houses as one, from the full solemnity and beautifully choreographed ceremonial of the service at Westminster Abbey, to walk up the road to the junction of Sutton Court Road with the A4 to see the Queen passing by.

That was a difficult concept for the young family beside me as well. Trying to explain to a four-year-old that they were waiting to see the Queen, but they wouldn’t actually see the Queen was a difficult one. “She’ll be lying down” his mother said.

I think that might have posed more questions that it answered. He looked confused. But mercifully did not ask the question we were all waiting for. “But why is she lying down?”

Images above: Waiting for the Queen; photograph Joanna Raikes

Distracted by his father with a slice of pizza, our attention turned to the helicopter over Hammersmith, a sure sign that something was happening.

As it hovered overhead the police motorbike outrider appeared, then the plain black vehicles, and then, not the Queen but a procession of coaches carrying dignitaries. You could just see a glimpse of gold brocade on epaulettes through the windows as they passed by.

The guys standing by the barrier on my left were ex-military, at least one was military, the other had been civilian support, both wearing their Operational Service Medal for Afghanistan, for Operation Herrick in Helmand. What did they think of Prince Harry not being able to wear his uniform? They shrugged. It’s just the way it is once you are no longer in the army.

Image above: King Charles’s car

The family on my right were Portuguese, but very clued up on who was who in the royal family. The more savvy of the crowd, about three deep all along the barriers on both sides of the road, were tracking the progress of the funeral procession on the BBC, so we knew the next helicopter and batch of police outriders presaged the King and royal entourage on their way to Windsor to be able to be there for the Queen’s arrival.

And finally the Queen, on her last journey to her final resting place. Oddly, to my mind anyway, the crowd clapped. And then we went home, feeling we had been part of something important.

Image above: Queen Elizabeth II’s car

Images above: Queen’s funeral procession passing through Chiswick; photographs Madeleine Walker, Nick Raikes, Joanna Raikes

Image above: Queen’s coffin; photograph Steve Nutt

Image above: Queen’s funeral car; photograph Steve Nutt

Images above: Queen’s funeral procession passing through Chiswick; photographs Madeleine Walker, Nick Raikes, Joanna Raikes

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Jeremy Vine’s stalker jailed

See also: Heathrow cancels flights so as to not disturb Queen’s funeral procession

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Telecoms work to close Pyrmont road in Chiswick

Image above: Pyrmont Road; photograph Google Maps

Pyrmont Road closed on Tuesday 27 September

Pyrmont road in Chiswick will be closed for half a day on 27 September to facilitate telecommunications works. Openreach will be replacing a telegraph pole.

The work is planned to completed the same day.

Vehicles will be prohibited from driving down the length of Pyrmont Road, between its junctions with Thames Road and Waldeck Road.

The road will be closed off between 8.00am and 6.00pm.

Local residents have been advised traffic will be diverted via Waldeck Road, Geraldine Road and Thames Road.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Jeremy Vine’s stalker jailed

See also: Hospital appointments cancelled and GP surgeries closed for Queen’s funeral

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Queen’s funeral procession will pass through Chiswick

Image above: Queen lying in state, from the BBC’s live feed

Cortege to travel along the A4

The Queen’s funeral cortege is expected to travel through Chiswick on Monday 19 September. The planned route takes the procession along the westbound carriageway of the A4 from the Hogarth Roundabout.

In a letter to residents, Chief Executive of Hounslow Niall Bolger wrote:

‘It will potentially continue along the A4 (Great West Road) and onto the A30 (Great Southwest Road) at Henly’s Roundabout. The anticipated route will pass into the London Borough of Hillingdon at Heathrow, and then briefly re-enter Hounslow, before entering Surrey.’

Roads along the route are likely to be closed from late morning until around two and a half hours after the procession has passed, ‘to ensure the safety of everyone attending the event.’

In a note to businesses he wrote:

‘I know many businesses will be closed during this time for the funeral, but if your business or organisation is planning to open on Monday, please do review the substantial impact on your staff and operational travel plans.

‘With one of the main arterial routes into and out of central London closed for several hours, as well as many side roads, there is expected to be a significant impact on traffic. With crowds expected to line the whole of the funeral procession route, there will also be great additional demand on public transport, while many bus routes will be rerouted.

‘If you usually use vehicles for your business, please plan ahead and make alternative arrangements. Please also consider how your staff will get to and from work.

‘If your business is based directly along the route it is likely you will not be able to access your premises by vehicle, including bicycle, for many hours so please plan accordingly.

Publishing the information on Friday afternoon he added:

‘Please note that I am sharing this information with you at the first available opportunity as details of the route have still not been confirmed.’

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Jeremy Vine’s stalker jailed

See also: A4 roadworks paused for Queen’s funeral

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Jeremy Vine’s stalker jailed

Image above: Alex Belfield; Youtube

Alex Belfield gets five and a half years

Alex Belfield, who was found guilty in August of stalking Jeremy Vine and three others, has been jailed for five and a half years. The former BBC radio presenter who runs his own Youtube channel harrassed his targets online.

Jeremy Vine told the court watching his Youtube videos was like “swimming in sewage” and described Belfield as “the Jimmy Saville of trolling.”

The judge said one of his victims, BBC Radio Northampton presenter Bernard Spedding, came close to killing himself. Belfield had harassed him for nine years and some of Belfield’s followers had  sent him death threats.

“He was seconds away from taking his own life as a result of your conduct,” the judge, Mr Justice Saini, told Belfield.

“You made this highly successful and confident radio presenter lose all joy in life and turned him into a shell.”

When Jeremy Vine gave evidence earlier this year he said:

“I found it shocking and distressing, and it made me worried. I have in the past had a physical stalker who followed me. That is a picnic compared to this guy. It’s like an avalanche of hatred that you get hit by.”

He described how it had affected his family too. He had had to explain to his younger daughter, then 13, that he was worried one of Belfield’s 500,000 online followers could “have a knife or acid or something”.

“I saw her shrink” he said.

It was a year before she regained her confidence in leaving the family home, he added.

“She’s his victim as well, and he doesn’t even know her name.”

He told the court he had received 5,000 to 10,000 hateful tweets after the defendant’s comments.

“I was brought so low. I just thought, ‘There’s no point broadcasting if the effect is that I’ve got this.”

Belfield “weaponised the internet”

In sentencing Alex Belfield today the judge said he had “weaponised hte internet.”

“The stalking you committed was not the conventional type which is popularised in the press.”

“Your methods were, however, just as effective as a way of intimidating your victims, and were in many ways much harder to deal with.”

Belfield was found guilty of pursuing a course of conduct “that amounted to harrassment” in relation to Mr Spedding and videographer Ben Hewis. For each of these charges he was sentenced to two and a half years in prison, to run consecutively.

In relation to Jeremy Vine and theatre blogger Philip Dehany, Belfield was found guilty of two lesser offences of “simple” stalking, which does not require serious alarm or distress to be proved. For each of these offences he was sentenced to 13 weeks, also to run consecutively.

Belfield had accused Mr Vine of stealing £1,000 of BBC licence payers’ money, which, the judge said, was a “wholly false” allegation. The video in which Bellfield made the claim was viewed by more than 400,000 people.

“You were not a whistleblower in any sense but developed a fixation with pursuing Mr Vine with a campaign of abuse,” the judge said.

Belfield also published Mr Vine’s address to a “mass audience”.

“Although you at no stage committed any physical acts, Mr Vine considered himself and his family to be at risk from you and his followers,” the judge said.

“He had to ask his family to watch out for you and to take care in and around their home address.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Heathrow cancels flights so as to not disturb Queen’s funeral procession

See also: Hospital appointments cancelled and GP surgeries closed for Queen’s funeral

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Heathrow cancels flights so as to not disturb Queen’s funeral procession

Image above: a plane over Heathrow Airport

Further cancellations likely in the run up to the Queen’s funeral

Heathrow Airport said ‘appropriate alterations’ will be made their flight schedules over the coming days ‘out of respect’ for the mourning period following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Flights were cancelled or disrupted from 1.50pm and 3.40pm on Wednesday (14 September) to ‘ensure silence over central London’ as the ceremonial procession moved from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall. Prince William and Prince Harry joined their father King Charles III to walk behind the monarch’s coffin at 2.22pm.

The Civil Aviation Authority has also imposed a restriction on airspace over central London which bans aircraft – including drones – flying below 2,500ft between September 9-19.

British Airways has cancelled 16 short-haul flights due to the airspace restriction. More flights are likely to be scrapped on Monday (19 September) when people across the UK and international leaders gather for the Queen’s funeral.

Image above: BA check-in at Heathrow

Passengers to be notified directly about flight cancellations, say Heathrow

A statement from Heathrow said:

‘Passengers will be notified by their airlines directly of any changes to flights.

‘We anticipate further changes to the Heathrow operation on Monday September 19, when Her Majesty’s funeral is due to take place, and will communicate those in more detail over coming days.

‘We apologise for the disruption these changes cause, as we work to limit the impact on the upcoming events.’

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Hospital appointments cancelled and GP surgeries closed for Queen’s funeral

See also: “Extraordinary scenes” as people line A40 to see Queen’s cortege

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Hospital appointments cancelled and GP surgeries closed for Queen’s funeral

Image above: Hammersmith Hospital

Charing Cross, Hammersmith and Chelsea hospitals among those to cancel appointments

Hospitals in west London are cancelling appointments and GP surgeries will be closed on the day of HM Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral next Monday (19 September).

Imperial College Healthcare Trust said in a statement: “on balance, it is best to postpone much of the planned care that was due to take place that day”, including telephone & video-call appointments as well as on-site care.

This includes appointments scheduled at Charing Cross Hospital, Hammersmith Hospital, Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital and St Mary’s Hospital and Western Eye Hospital.

“We will continue with all urgent and emergency care services and any planned care appointments that are time critical” the spokesperson added.

London North West Hospital Trust hospitals running as normal

London North West Hospital Trust, which manages Central Middlesex Hospital, Ealing Hospital, Northwick Park Hospital and St Mark’s Hospital, said there would be no cancellations and “hospital services will continue to run as normal”. A spokesperson for the trust said:

“If we do need to reschedule your appointment we’ll contact you directly. Tell us if you would like to reschedule your appointment so we can offer it to someone else. Details are in your clinic letter.’

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Trust, which oversees Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and West Middlesex University Hospital did not immediately respond to requests for comment but a spokesperson said operations were likely to run as normal.

Image above: doctors and nurses; library image

Which appointments will be cancelled?

Imperial College Healthcare Trust said they expected ‘time critical’ appointments or surgeries to still go ahead, such as treatment for cancer or maternity check-ups. The trust said they would also try to maintain as much surgery and other planned care for patients who have been waiting “a very long time” and who may have had their care postponed previously.

Operations cancelled in other areas of the UK include hip and knee replacements, cataract surgery, maternity checks and some cancer treatments.

The healthcare trust said service teams were reviewing the plans and, before the funeral, they would text everyone booked in for Monday to confirm whether or not their appointment is able to go ahead. Patients would be notified via email, or trust staff would call on a landline if they did not have a number to text.

Appointments or surgeries which were postponed would be rescheduled “as soon as possible” the trust said. Extra clinics and operating sessions will be set up to facilitate rapid rescheduling.

Patients who need to cancel or reschedule appointments are being advised to call the number specified on their appointment letters. Alternatively, patients can email appointments@imperial.nhs.uk or call 020 3313 5000 to reschedule.

Image above: Grove Park Surgery

Chiswick GP surgeries closed on day of the funeral

GP surgeries across Chiswick and Brentford will also be closed on Monday because the Queen’s funeral is taking place.

NHS England bosses told to GPs On Tuesday (13 September) they could close on the day of Her Majesty’s funeral if they wished, as GP practices are contractually able to close their core services on bank holidays.

Chiswick’s GPs surgeries, including Wellesey Road Surgery, Grove Park Surgery, Chiswick Family Doctors Practice, Glebe Street Surgery and Bedford Park Surgery, will all be closed.

The decision was made after the Government confirmed the day of the funeral would become a bank holiday so that members of the public could mourn the monarch.

In a letter written to local managers, NHS England said that while GP services can close for the day, there will need to be enough out-of-hours care for people in need. GPs should also make all patients aware their appointments have been cancelled and must reschedule any cancelled appointments within two weeks.

They added that GPs will also have to consider prescriptions, and may want to put plans in place to make it possible for patients to collect their medication ahead of the Bank Holiday Monday.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Mourning the Queen – some events cancelled, others not

See also: Row over Gunnersbury Park Waterworks festival going ahead on weekend of Queen’s funeral

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

“Extraordinary scenes” as people line A40 to see Queen’s cortege

Image above: cortege travels down the A40; photo SkyNews

Residents spontaneously line A40 to catch glimpse of Queen’s cortege

Tens of thousands of people lined the A40 on Tuesday evening (13 September) to catch a glimpse side of the Queen’s cortege on its way from RAF Northolt to Buckingham Place.

The Queen’s coffin arrived at RAF Northolt from Edinburgh around sunset. Soon after the specially designed hearse took to the road travelling though Perivale, Ealing, Acton and White City before turning off the Westway near Paddington.

Though the eastbound carriageway was closed to traffic, local residents poured out of their homes to get a view of the cortege. The westbound carriage way remained open, but drivers, realising the significance of the moment, pulled over onto the outside lane and stood in the central reservation all along the route.

The journey finished at Buckingham Palace where the King, the Queen Consort, the Prince and Princess of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex along with other members of the royal family were waiting to receive it. The Queen was taken to the Bow Room before being transferred to Westminster Hall, where she will lie in state until the day of her funeral.

Some watching cheered and clapped while others threw bouquets into the path of the hearse. Other sections of the road were said to be in “pin drop silence”.

One onlooker, Neel Radia Tweeted:

Another, Helen Hoddinott Tweeted:

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Mourning the Queen – some events cancelled, others not

See also: A4 roadworks paused for Queen’s funeral

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

 

A4 roadworks paused for Queen’s funeral

Image above: congestion on the A4 caused by roadworks; photograph Matt Smith

Work should resume from Sunday 25 September

Transport for London have taken the decision to suspend roadworks on the A4 for a week, in preparation for the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

LB Hounslow informed local councillors that work to repair the Cromwell Road railway bridge would be be paused from Friday 16 September to Friday 23 September and all lane restrictions are to be removed temporarily.

To facilitate this, there will be a full westbound overnight road closure between Chiswick Roundabout and Hogarth Roundabout from 10.00pm on Thursday 15 September until 3.00am the next day. The pavement on the westbound side of the road,  between Harvard Hill and Oxford Road South, will reopen as planned on Friday 16 September.

Signed diversion routes via the subway at Harvard Hill and the underpass on Wellesley Road will remain in place until then. Works are expected to be reinstated from Sunday 25 September at 10.00pm.

On the day of the funeral (Monday 19 September) the cortege will likely need to travel through Chiswick, past the point of the roadworks, on its way to Windsor Castle after leaving Westminster Abbey. At the moment there are significant delays due to the road being reduced to a single carriageway, near the junction with Sutton Court Road.

Image above: A4 congestion caused by roadworks; photo TfL

Roadworks likely to continue into 2023

The move has been made after concerns were raised by security experts about the likelihood of foreign dignitaries being stuck in traffic on their way from Heathrow to the funeral, who may have been forced to queue for long periods of time.

Government-issued guidance for visiting foreign leaders is to travel in approved coaches from a staging area in west London on arrival at Heathrow, to avoid congestion cause by a succession of presidential, royal or prime-ministerial motorcades.

The roadworks were due to enter a particularly disruptive phase with a lane reduction on the eastbound carriageway, starting on 17 September, while the restrictions on the westbound carriageway continued.

They were planned to finish in September but are now likely to continue into next year.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Mourning the Queen – some events cancelled, others not

See also: Row over Gunnersbury Park Waterworks festival going ahead on weekend of Queen’s funeral

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Residents resist TfL work in conservation area

Image above: heavy machinery parked near proposed site of the new car park

TfL claim site is fly-tipping hot spot, residents say due process should be followed

Transport for London is facing resistance from local residents after trying to start work on building a new car park near Gunnersbury Triangle without planning permission.

A planning application to build a car park on vacant plot of land near Princes Way has been submitted by TfL to LB Hounslow. If approved, the site would accommodate 65 vehicles and is intended to replace the car park on Bollo Lane, made unavailable by nearby building work. Permission has not yet been granted for the development.

Objections to the planning application were received from the public, with consultation ending on 13 September. The site is based in a Conservation Area deemed “Heritage-At-Risk” by Historic England.

The plot is owned by TfL, having been sold by the Gunnersbury Triangle Estate in the 1970s. TfL claim the plot is a hotspot for fly tipping and say their staff need a space where they can park locally, particularly those working unsocial hours.

Those opposing the plans claim TfL are sneaking the work through under the radar. While some residents of Gunnersbury Triangle Estate were told a few weeks ago about the proposals, they say no notices of work were posted, no public announcement of planning permission has been published and no official notice was circulated by the council.

On the morning of Tuesday 13 September, construction equipment hired from company BAM arrived at the site. Residents were surprised by the arrival of the heavy construction equipment and in the face of their objections the contractors contacted their bosses to await instructions but said they had been told they would be digging three-metre holes at the site as exploratory work for the scheme.

Images above: TfL workers carry out ‘exploratory work’ at site, a fox spotted close by 

Concerns about wildlife habitats

TfL decided not to use the ‘Buckets and Breakers’ earth-mover on Tuesday, supplied by contractor BAM, after a fox ran out of the shrub-land at around 12.00pm.

Residents say should the earth-mover be used, the work would destroy wildlife habitats for longstanding fox and hedgehog families.

Responding to local concerns about habitat loss, Hounslow planning officers told residents their worries should be passed onto the Environment Agency. But residents said they had been told by the Environment Agency it should be the other way around, and planning officers should instead be notified.

Councillor Tom Bruce, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Development at Hounslow Council, said:

“Exploratory works were conducted on the site for a short period, which did not breach enforcement controls. These works have now stopped.

“The Council prides itself on having a rigorous planning application process, which encourages resident feedback. Planning Enforcement Officers have responded to the complaints regarding the exploratory works. Our planning officers will give due consideration to all objections raised on a planning application as required by the statutory process.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Hospital appointments cancelled and GP surgeries closed for Queen’s funeral

See also: “Extraordinary scenes” as people line A40 to see Queen’s cortege

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Row over Gunnersbury Park Waterworks festival going ahead on weekend of Queen’s funeral

Image above: Waterworks festival

Council hits out at festival organisers for going ahead

The Leader of Hounslow Council has criticised the organisers of the Waterworks festival of electronic music taking place in Gunnersbury Park on Saturday (17 September) despite the period of national mourning for the Queen, whose funeral is the following Monday.

Hounslow Council issued a statement saying it “has made representations in the strongest terms advising against this event proceeding.

“We are clear this massive multi-stage festival event is completely out of keeping with the mood of the nation at this time of grief.”

Cllr Shantanu Rajawat said:

“We are extremely disappointed in the decision of Waterworks Events Ltd to proceed with their planned multi-stage electronica festival in Gunnersbury Park during this period of mourning for the passing of our late Queen and Sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second.”

The one-day festival will take place from 12pm to 10.30pm on Saturday, with tickets costing from £51.50 – £69.50. Among the artists performing are Ben UFO, Midland, Palms Trax, Craig Richards and Skee Mask.

Image above: Waterworks festival

‘Team Waterworks’ say their decision to go ahead is in line with Government guidance

Waterworks Festival is a collaboration produced by the creative teams who are also behind Percolate and Team Love. ‘Team Waterworks’ have issued their own statement in response saying their decision to go ahead was in line with guidance from the Government Cabinet Office advice issued on 9 September, which states the following:

‘There is no obligation to cancel or postpone events and sporting fixtures, or close entertainment venues during the National Mourning period. This is at the discretion of individual organisations.

‘As a mark of respect, organisations might wish to consider cancelling or postponing events or closing venues on the day of the State Funeral. They are under no obligation to do so and this is entirely at the discretion of individual organisations.’

Cancellation “impossible” at this stage

Team Waterworks say they were asked by Hounslow Council if they would consider cancelling or postponing the event, but decided:

“With the event already ten days into the build, over 500 people booked in to work across the event and 80+ artists travelling from across Europe to play the event, the task of postponing to rearrange for a later date, especially for an outdoor event, this year is unfortunately an impossible one.”

They also make the point that their event does not plan to, or expect to draw on “public services who might now be called in to support plans for the state funeral.” ie. the police and emergency services.

“The event is safe and adequately resourced to continue as planned” they say.

CEO of Gunnersbury Park CIC David Bowler backs festival’s decision

The Community Interest Company which runs Gunnersbury Park has backed the organisers’ decision. Chief Executive David Bowler told The Chiswick Calendar that as a decision to cancel would be considered “voluntary” by insurers, they would be bankrupted if they cancelled now and it would send Gunnersbury Park into debt if they had to pay back the fee paid to the park by the organisers.

“We as managing agents support their position” he told us. “Guidance from Cabinet office and Department for Culture, Media and Sport is that whilst they would encourage event organisers to look at the mood of the nation, they are not giving an instruction to cancel.

“They don’t believe they will make unnecessary calls on emergency services. They won’t be an undue burden. It costs £1m to put it on. As it would be a voluntary decision to cancel they would go broke.”

Images: Waterworks festival Instagram

Cancelling would put Gunnersbury Park “in financial danger”

David Bowler said cancellation would also put the finances of the park at risk:

“If we were required to refund their hire fee, combined with 700% increase we have been quoted for energy bills this autumn, it would push us into the red and put Gunnersbury Park CIC into jeopardy.”

He considers the festival organisers’ response to be “a proportionate response to a very real and significant business risk.”

He has asked them to consider holding a minute’s silence or making a statement about the Queen’s passing.

“We believe we are acting within the term of the licence. It is not in our interest to upset long term relationships with our local councils but even less is it in our interest to go bust.

“If we cancelled the festival we would be in breach of the contract and it would expose us to being sued.”

Images: Waterworks festival Instagram

Cancelling “would mean incredible loss of earning for a huge number of people” say organisers

Waterworks costs over one million pounds to put on and whilst it holds cancellation cover, cancellation due to the death of a monarch and period of national mourning is excluded from this cover.

“If we had taken the decision to cancel the show then all tickets would have to be refunded to ticket buyers and with the build already well under way, hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of equipment already delivered to site, nine months of promotion and artist fees and deposits paid, this would mean immediate placement of the company into administration” they said.

“This would mean hundreds of staff not being paid for the work that they have already undertaken as well as future work that they had committed to for the forthcoming weeks.

“With a huge number of self-employed or freelance staff working on the event it would mean incredible loss of earning for a huge number of people. It would also mean a very large number of suppliers, firms and small business owners not being paid for their services.

“It is not out of a lack of respect for the Royal Family that we continue with the event, it is due to the respect for the individual staff, artists and small companies that we employ for the show that we have decided to continue.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Mourning the Queen – some events cancelled, others not

See also: Tributes to the Queen

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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 Cheese Market, September 2022

Image above: Chiswick Cheese Market; photograph David Insull

The Chiswick Cheese market deeply mourns the passing of Queen Elizabeth II

Guest blog by Lucy Cufflin

Please join us at the next market on Sunday 18 September, which we dedicate to the memory of Queen Elizabeth II. We will display some of our favourite photos of the Queen and we hope that we can all come together, chat, mingle and share some memories of the second Elizabethan era together.

For showing us your total dedication to duty, care and genuine smiles for your entire life time we say – ‘thank you Ma’am and we will miss you’.

We believe that our late Queen would want us to carry on and so we are,  with an exciting September market ………..

Image above: Mont d’Or

As the autumn rolls in so does the cheese!

Many cheeses are seasonal – One such cheese is Mont d’Or and it is heralded in with as much fanfare in the cheese world as the first Beaujolais Nouveau is in the wine world.

Why? Well, during a milking season, an animal’s milk production reduces in quantity but increases in fat. Mont d’Or is made using milk from the same cows that give their milk to make the enormous wheels of the world famous Comté.

Towards the end of summer, the alpine farmers needed to make a smaller sized cheese that was ready to eat sooner than the long maturing Comté and so Mont d’Or was born. Made from the milk of cows that graze above 700m and using whole full fast milk, this cheese is rind washed and wrapped in a spruce band to hold this soft cheese in shape.

Both give the cheese a funky, herby flavour and its unctuous texture is more reminiscent of a much older cheese –  but the rules are strict – this cheese cannot be made before 15 August and must not be sold at market until it is at least 21 days old.

So bring on the trumpets as its release date, 10 September is upon us. A mountain of this year’s first release Mont d’Or will be brought to the cheese market on the 18,th by Roberto, www.thefrenchcomte.com. Get there early not to miss out!

How to eat it? Fab on a cheese board but bake it in the oven at 180C for 15-20 minutes and watch it ooze as you dig in with some crusty bread – even better add some small boiled potatoes, charcuterie and pickles and you have an exciting instant delicious main course – it is a WOW!

Now, there are those that believe this cheese should wait until it is six weeks old to be sampled but we say ‘bring it on!’ – come and buy it early, try it and you’ll be back for more – that way you can make up your own mind on when exactly this very special cheese should be eaten!

Image above: Bianca Mora, sellingsSpecialities of Emilia Romagna

Red Cow Parmesan and fig balsamic vinegar

Ewa is back with some exceedingly aged Red Cow Parmesan and her brother is bringing his fig balsamic vinegar again – we know that many folk were distraught to find he could not make the August market. Oh no – think I’m going to need more than one shopping bag!

Don’t forget Roi with his wonderful Trethowan brothers Gorwydd Caerphilly – although produced all year round the summer and winter cheeses are different and with two – three months’ maturing we are most definitely still in the summer milk batches – crumbly, lactic and refreshing. His Pitchfork Cheddar is not half bad either!

Don’t forget to stock up on your favourite crackers from cradocssavourybiscuits.co.uk and look out for award winning Pevensey Blue from Faye at Big Wheel cheese.

Drunk Cheese, Ealing Relish, Gastronomia, Marlow Cheese, Heritage Cheese, Nut Knowle, palace Culture, The bread lady, The Olive bar, La Latteria and some fabulious vintage from Rooms and Roots will all be joining us.

Image above: Cookery book writer and chef Jo Pratt

Jo Pratt at the market

And last but not least

We are very excited to welcome Jo Pratt at market HQ – you know we love to bring you interesting things at our market and this month one of our best loved local cookery writers and a part of the Cheese Market team is hot-footing it from appearing at Pub in the Park and the Chiswick Book Festival to bring us her new cookbook.

Come and chat to Jo about her fabulous range of ‘flexible’ cookery books, sample a few tasty bits she has baked for us and she’ll even have some signed copes for sale – perfect if you love to get some Christmas presents in the bag early! In the meantime, here is one of Jo’s recipes.

See Jo’s recipe for roasted mushroom brioches with goat cheese here: ckbk.com

Lucy

Chiswick Book Festival 2022

Image above: Dame Eileen Atkins; photograph Roger Green

Dedicated to HM Queen Elizabeth II

News of the Queen’s death was announced at 6.30pm on Thursday 8 September, just as Chiswick Book Festival Director Torin Douglas was preparing to introduce of of Britain’s greatest actors, Dame Eileen Atkins for the opening session of this year’s book festival. He announced the news, with the poise of one who has handled many momentous occasions live on air as a BBC broadcaster; they held a minute’s silence and got on with the interview.

They thought about cancelling the festival as they thought through the implications of the period of national mourning, but settled in the end for dedicating the festival to the memory of the Queen. I’m glad they did. She would have been in good company with Dame Eileen, born 1934, Dame Sheila Hancock, born 1933 and Selma Van de Perre, a Dutch-British resistance figher born 1922, and she would have felt at home with their shared memories I think.

Many of the guests had met the Queen. Torin himself had received his MBE from her. Chris Patten, former Governor of Hong Kong, was appointed to the Privy Council in 1989 and made a Companion of Honour in 1998. He told the audience he had written to the Queen asking if he could be excused from wearing the traditional costume of Governor when he took the job in Hong Kong, because he said, it looked ridiculous on someone of his size. ‘As long as you wear a collar and tie’ came back the reply.

So with that image of Lord Patten in joggers, having listened to King Charles III’s speech to the nation played live in St Michael & All Angels Church on the Friday night, we were off, with the rest of the book festival programme:

Radio 1 DJ Greg James and Chris Smith entertaining children at George IV with dressing up and fun; Cressida Cowell introducing her new book for children with her customary enthusiasm and vivacity; Justin Webb, Rev Richard Coles, Pam Ayres, Mihir Bose talking to audiences who had listened to them on radio and watched them on TV for years; well-known novelists Adele Parks and Lucy Foley, sharing their books with an audience which had been reading them for years…

Pictures by Roger Green (with the exception of the one of Adele and Lucy, which I took).

Images above: Radio 1 DJ Greg James and Chris Smith; Cressida Cowell; Chris Patten; Sheila Hancock; Selma Van de Perre; Fr Kevin Morris with Rev Richard Coles; Justin Webb; Pam Ayres; Mihir Bose; Lucy Foley & Adele Parks

Hands up those of you who worked for the BBC

Before the Queen died, the book festival was promoting its celebration of 100 years of the BBC. I went to a very good session on Sunday with Will Wyatt, formerly managing director of BBC Television (1991–96), Roger Bolton, former editor of Tonight, Panorama and Nationwide for BBC television and until last week the presenter of Feedback on BBC Radio 4.

Also on the panel was Caroline Frost, a commentator for TV, radio news and feature programmes and RTS Panel moderator, also an author, and preceeding the discussion was a presentation of 100 years of great programmes from the BBC by Head of BBCHistory Robert Seatter.

The event was chaired by Torin Douglas, who asked how many of the audience had worked or were still working at the BBC. This was the result:

Image above: Hands up who has worked at the BBC

I’ve often thought Chiswick is a bit like a retirement village for people who worked at the BBC.

Thanks to Torin and programme director Jo James for another stimulating, informative and entertaining festival.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Mourning the Queen – some events cancelled, others not

See also: Tributes to the Queen

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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 26: Delivery, Delivery, Delivery

The Three Old Hacks, who regularly review the week’s news for us, recorded a podcast on Thursday morning, before the Queen’s death was announced.

“Spare us from this false positivism”, says Nigel Dudley, commenting on Liz Truss’s keynote speech after she was elected Leader of the Conservative Party and our new Prime Minister.

“She sounded like a midwife on speed” he said.

Political commentator Nigel Dudley joins Sunday Times Economics Editor David Smith and former BBC News sports editor Mihir Bose to discuss Trussonomics and whether she should be Trussssted.


More Platforms

Listen to more episodes here.

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

Episode 97: Can serious cricket survive pornography asks Simon Heffer

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.

Simon Heffer has had a distinguished career as a journalist, historian, academic and man of letters, above all as a cricket-lover who contributes a monthly column on the game to the Daily Telegraph. He is the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.


More Platforms

They begin with a tribute to the late Queen, tracing her visits over more than sixty years to matches at Lord’s and other grounds and her meetings with international teams. She was not a devotee of the game (although there are touching images of her watching Prince Philip play it) but Simon suggests that she recognized the power of cricket as a common bond for her Commonwealth family of nations. Of current Test-playing countries she never saw Sri Lanka, Bangladesh or Ireland in a Test at Lord’s (Afghanistan have yet to play one). Simon cites her epochal visit to Ireland in 2011 and suggests that King Charles might add to its success by visiting the Ireland Test at Lord’s next year.

Many players have cited their presentation to the Queen as a highlight of their careers. One was Dennis Lillee, who had the temerity to pull out his autograph book at the Centenary Test in Melbourne and ask for her signature. He was rebuffed at the time but the Queen arranged for him to receive a signed photograph of their meeting afterwards. A leading Pakistan batsman, Saeed Ahmed, claimed to have had a private encounter with her at Lord’s on their 1967 tour – in which she issued him a remarkable personal invitation. If he had accepted in his post-cricket career, when he became intensely religious, she might have had difficulty recognizing the dashing batsman and dapper man-about-town she met in 1967.

Turning to the current cricket scene, Simon is scathing about the Hundred, which he does not regard as cricket at all, mocks the ECB’s commercial ambitions in introducing it and predicts its collapse in six years or fewer. He has no faith in the Strauss blueprint for English cricket, envisaging a further reduction in the County Championship and suggests that it simply has no understanding of the highest standards of the game in the form of red-ball cricket and the ways in which it inspires its players and devotees. He believes that the ECB is still in a “Gerald Ratner” phase (after the jewellery maker who memorably trashed his best products). For five years in his columns he has castigated the ECB for citing Test cricket, rightly, as the pinnacle of the game but destroying the first-class cricket which is its nursery.

He acknowledges the appeal of white-ball cricket, especially T20, but instead of surrendering to it and destroying first-class cricket he urges the cricket authorities to set up a system of separate co-existence for the two forms which would enable white-ball revenues to continue to support the first-class game.

He makes a telling comparison with publishers, who sustain their lists of serious academic works from the revenues of pornographic novels and other popular works. He suggests that the ECB has lost interest in its “serious list” and is seeking salvation only in promoting “pornographic” forms of cricket. Since the 1960s the cricket authorities have never attempted to promote first-class cricket and has pursued ever-shorter forms of the game. The first of these, the former Gillette Cup, was an innovation that preserved high-quality cricket (such as Geoffrey Boycott’s century in the 1965 Final which he had witnessed). But the culmination – the Hundred – had lost all connexion with the game. The ECB, he suggests, now regard the public as morons with a tiny attention span – a mistake which good newspapers never make about their readers.

The ECB’s failure to promote first-class cricket was all the more fatal given the migration of Test cricket from free-to-air television.

Simon suggests that critical analysis of the Hundred and its impact has been muted by journalists and administrators who are under contract to its promoters, the ECB, Sky and the BBC. As a member, he suggests that the MCC has abandoned its guardianship of standards in the game through its dependency on the ECB to allocate two Test matches to Lord’s each season.

He castigates the MCC’s decision to drop the Eton versus Harrow match from its calendar and its manner of reaching it. Arguments about elitism were irrelevant: the fixture at Lord’s  had a continuous history of over 200 years and should have been defended by the MCC as a body claiming to preserve England’s cricketing heritage.

He cites a very entertaining passage in his edition of the Chips Channon diaries when Chips visits Eton-Harrow match of 1927. The American-born socialite never took to the game and his visit seems to have induced a mood of existential despair. The newly published edition traces his long relationship with Terence Rattigan (who opened the batting for Harrow at Lord’s two years later): he never understood Rattigan’s devotion to cricket. Another American who famously failed to take to cricket at Lord’s was  Groucho Marx.

Simon deplores attempts to impose “woke” attitudes and behaviours in cricket. While condemning any display of racism in cricket and calling for its strict punishment, he believes that all team sports excite sharp clashes and sharp personal comments on performance. They were part of human nature.

Simon describes his youthful support of Essex and the joys of watching the county at its many out-grounds. His present relationship with the county is more restricted. He presents his own blueprint for the county cricket season, including restored visits by touring teams.

In 1990 Simon published The Daily Telegraph Century Of County Cricket. Might he produce another cricket book? His present commitments would make it very difficult. But he does plan a book on British culture from 1939 to 1951, in which the Golden Summer of Compton and Edrich will be a major part.

Get in touch with us by emailing obornehellercricket@outlook.com, we would love to hear from you!

Listen to more episodes of Oborne & Heller

Previous Episode – Episode 96: Rebuilding Ukraine cricket and children’s lives – despite the ICC

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.

Julian Worricker part of the team of BBC presenters commentating on the Queen’s state funeral

Image above: Julian Worricker broadcasting from King Charles’ Proclamation on Saturday from St James’s Palace

Julian Worricker is a familiar face around Chiswick. The BBC TV and radio journalist was at the Chiswick Book Festival on Sunday chairing a session, having broadcast live from the proclamation ceremony of Charles III on Saturday.

He will be part of the team covering the Queen’s coffin moving from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall on Wednesday, and then the culmination of her state funeral in Windsor on Monday for BBC Radio 4.

He has written a guest blog for The Chiswick Calendar website on his feelings about being a part of this momentous state occasion.

The privilege of being a journalist

by Julian Worricker

When I’m teaching the journalists of tomorrow, as I do at two universities in London, I always talk about the privilege of the job.  By that I mean the privilege that I and others have to witness major events, to ask questions of key individuals, and to hear the stories from people caught up in the news of the day. That theme of privilege has been at the forefront of my mind in recent days, as I’ve joined BBC radio colleagues in trying to convey the enormity of the death of a much-loved monarch and the immediate accession to the throne of her eldest son.

For some time now I’ve known what my role would be during the coverage; I don’t think it’s a great secret that the BBC – both on television and radio – has planned and rehearsed for this moment.  I knew I would be at St James’s Palace for the proclamation ceremony of Charles the third on the first full day after his mother’s death, and I knew I would then guide listeners through similar ceremonies around the UK a day later.

At St James’s Palace I had a rooftop vantage point, overlooking Friary Court.  The ceremony itself, largely unchanged for hundreds of years, was short, respectful and vibrantly colourful.  Can there be a brighter scarlet than that worn by the military unit taking part or shinier brass instruments than those held by the musicians on parade?

The privilege of the job comes not just from the formal, planned moments but also from the chance ones.  It took us a while to get into the building, and while I was waiting at one doorway I was asked – quite urgently – to move aside. As I did so, I turned around to see no fewer than six former Prime Ministers walk by.  For the record May was talking to Major, Blair to Brown, Cameron to Johnson.

I’ll keep that sense of privilege in mind as I prepare to commentate on the Queen’s coffin moving from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall on Wednesday, and then again as I witness the culmination of her state funeral in Windsor on Monday. These are remarkable times, and I’m very fortunate to witness them.

Image above: Julian Worricker

Julian Worricker is a presenter for the BBC News Channel’s rolling news and the BBC World Service’s ‘Weekend World Today’ programme. He has been a familiar voice on BBC radio since 1985 presenting on various programmes across BBC Radio 4, including ‘Any Answers?’, ‘You & Yours’ and ‘Last Word’. 

Over the years he has reported from around the world on breaking international news stories, covered UK general elections, commentated on Royal events, and announced Ryder Cup and Ashes victories. Julian was entertainingly ‘photobombed’ by the Queen, live on BBC News, when she visited the BBC news room. Over the years he has won several broadcasting and journalism awards.

instagram.com/julianworricker612

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Mourning the Queen – some events cancelled, others not

See also: Tributes to the Queen

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Mourning the Queen – some events cancelled, others not

Image above: Sarah Moule and Simon Wallace celebrating The Genius of Duke Ellington

Shock at the Queen’s death turns to uncertainty and confusion

It seems an age since the death of the Queen was announced last Thursday. It will be one of those landmark occasions where in future years people will always remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news.

READ ALSO: Saddened by the death of the Queen

I was setting up in the Boston Room of George IV with our jazz partner Larry Pryce for the first session of Jazz at George IV after the summer break. We wondered what we should do. In the end singer Sarah Moule made reference to the Queen’s passing and said how sad we all felt.

Across Chiswick in the marquee at Chiswick House Director of the Chiswick Book Festival Torin Douglas was about to introduce the first major guest of this year’s book festival, Dame Eileen Atkins. They held a minute’s silence before they started.

There followed a period of uncertainty as anyone organising a public event tried to work out the implications of the period of mourning.

Images above: Tom Stade, Allyson June Smith, Peter Brush; Saturday night’s line-up at Headliners

Too soon for comedy?

Simon Randall, owner of Headliners comedy club, told me on Thursday night he was not sure whether he should proceed with comedy nights at George IV on Friday and Saturday.  Stand-up comedy is topical and maybe it was too soon, but on the other hand he could ill afford to lose the income. He decided to compromise by cancelling Friday’s performances and transferring the bookings to Saturday.

“We’ll have to change the name of the Elizabeth Line” he told the audience. “We’ll have to call it the Charlie Line, but pretty soon it will become ‘the line of Charlie’ – and it does go all the way to Essex.”

Too soon? His paying audience did not seem to think so. The comics made a few other references to the Queen but on the whole decided to play safe and respectful and steer well clear of monarchy jokes.

“I think we made the right decision” said Simon. “We had a packed house an there was a nice atmosphere. I thought afterwards, had we cancelled what good would it have done?”

Image above: Audience for Dame Eileen Atkins at Chiswick House on Thursday night; photograph Roger Green

Chiswick Book Festival went ahead dedicated to the Queen’s memory

Chiswick Book Festival organisers also had to decide quickly. After the grand opening on Thursday night with Dame Eileen there was a whole weekend of events planned in several venues across Chiswick. From politician Chris Patten to poet Pam Ayers and Radio 1 DJ Greg James, the guest speakers needed to be told, as did the hundreds of people coming to hear them speak. On Thursday night there was a moment when they thought they might have to refund £30,000 worth of tickets.

Book festival Director Torin Douglas and vicar of St Michael & All Angels Fr Kevin Morris issued a statement on Friday morning saying the festival would go ahead dedicated to the memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and in thanksgiving for her life. The start of the first session on Friday with Chris Patten, former Cabinet minister and Governor of Hong Kong, coincided perfectly with King Charles’ first televised speech. They played the speech live and went smoothly to Chris Patten remembering his dealings with the Queen, with warmth and wit.

READ ALSO: Chiswick Book Festival goes ahead

Image above: Catherine Pepinster; Defenders of the faith book cover

Children’s events at Chiswick Library cancelled

One of the speakers who had two minutes to give an ‘elevator pitch’ of their book on eve of festival Local Authors night on Wednesday, found herself catapulted into the limelight. Catherine Pepinster, who has recently published her new book: Defenders of the Faith: The British Monarchy, Religion and the next Coronation, suddenly found that not only did she have a whole hour to talk about her subject at the book festival on Sunday, but she was picked up as an expert by a number of media.

On the downside, the festival’s website crashed, with the volume of people trying to check whether events they had booked for were still happening, and two sold-out children’s events scheduled to take place at Chiswick Library were cancelled, as Chief Executive of LB Hounslow Niall Bolger announced the Council would be cancelling events in their buildings during the period of national mourning. This also affected an event planned to place at Hogarth’s house.

A couple more children’s events were cancelled and also the Georgina Moore Proof Party for The Garnett Girls on the Saturday evening, which they felt might be thought inappropriate.

Many people have told the organisers how much they appreciated the way it was handled – and that the event wasn’t cancelled and was so enjoyable. They are hoping to reinstate some of the cancelled events at a later date.

Image above: Chiswick Antiques & Vintage Market; photograph Frank Noon

Antiques and Vintage market cancelled

The Chiswick Antiques & Vintage Market which usually runs on the second Sunday of the month was also cancelled by the Council’s edict. Jennifer Titmuss, who runs it, told us she rang the Council on Friday morning .

“A lovely lady in licensing said she couldn’t imagine why it wouldn’t go ahead” said Jennifer “but she went away to check. I got an email at 4.30pm on Friday from the senior events officer saying:

“As a mark of respect the Chief Executive of LB Hounslow has instructed that all events and activities taking place on Council owned / managed land is to be cancelled. This includes markets.”

The notification covered the period of mourning until the week commencing 26 September.

“I didn’t say anything but many of my stallholders commented to me that they couldn’t imagine any of the royal family wanting people to lose income.”

Jennifer has lost several hundred pounds. She had to contact 62 stallholders, who would have been set up in the High Rd on Sunday outside the shops, restaurants and cafes which were all open as usual. One of her antiques dealers was already in Chiswick staying at a local hotel in readiness for the market.

Image above: Chiswick Cheese Market; photograph David Insull

Cheese market to go ahead

The Chiswick Cheese Market was also initially told it would have to cancel its stallholders next weekend (18 September) but the Council has had a bit more time to think about that one and to gauge the mood of the nation.

Organiser Lucy Cufflin wrote a letter to the Chief Executive pointing out that other traders on Chiswick High Rd such as flower sellers had exactly similar licences to theirs and were being allowed to carry on trading, and that other streets markets were going ahead elsewhere.

“The cheese market is an opportunity for people to come together. We just want to show our respects in our own way” she told The Chiswick Calendar.

She has received an email back telling her they can go ahead. The Council has suspended political meetings and is has cancelled celebratory events in premises they own or manage, such as dance festivals, but they have re-evaluated the status of the cheese market.

The Leader of Hounslow Council, Cllr Rajawat, said:

“During the period of national mourning, Council events and events managed by the Council will be cancelled.

“The Cheese Market, like other markets in the borough, will be able to go ahead this weekend. However, we are advising – in the strongest possible terms – for partners and businesses to consider carefully the nature of their planned events and whether their event is in keeping with this period of national grief.

“Chiswick Library is still open, and residents can write in the book of condolence.”

Image above: Brentford football supporters; image Liz Vercoe

Premiership football matches cancelled but community rugby went ahead

This weekend’s Premier League and English Football League fixtures were postponed as a mark of respect, though this decision was hotly contested within the game. That included the match Brentford were due to have played against Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday.

Brentford – Arsenal match in doubt

The club is awaiting updates about next weekend’s match but at the moment is assuming it is going ahead. The game between Arsenal and Brentford on Sunday could be postponed if it is considered the police are too stretched to manage football crowds as well as the thousands of people likely to be heading into London for the Queen’s funeral on Monday.

READ ALSO: Brentford FC Premiership match cancelled this weekend but Chiswick Rugby Club game goes ahead

Image above: Children’s rugby at Chiswick Rugby Club

“We have had 70 years to plan for this moment but when the time came nobody knew what to do”

The RFU have took the decision that rugby should go ahead, so both Chiswick Rugby Club’s match against Hitchen and the Rugby League match between Civil Service Stags and Medway took place at their ground in Dukes Meadows, as did their training and children’s sessions over the weekend.

Some in rugby were uncomfortable that their sport had taken a different decision to other sports, but the teams wore black arm bands, as is the tradition when someone important dies, and Chairman Kelvin Campbell told The Chiswick Calendar no one had complained to him that they went ahead.

It was odd though he said, that “We have had 70 years to plan for this moment but when the time came nobody knew what to do, so they had to have meetings before they could tell us what to do.”

Image above: Pygmalion, Theatre at the Tabard

Theatre at the Tabard opens their new show Pygmalion this week

For a small enterprise like Theatre at the Tabard, just beginning to find its feet after the new company took over the theatre in the summer, making a go of the autumn schedule will be crucial. Fortunately they had no performances booked in over the weekend and they do not have one on the day of the funeral.

“We would have cancelled if we’d had a show on the day of the funeral” co-director Simon Reilly told The Chiswick Calendar.

The Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre confirmed early on Friday that, in accordance with guidance from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, scheduled theatre performances would go ahead during the official period of mourning.

Theatre at the Tabard is launching their production of Pygmalion on Tuesday 13 September, “a lovely compact show with just five performers which is a lot of fun” says Simon. The show will be on for the next three weeks.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Tributes to the Queen

See also: Chiswick’s new sculpture sparkles in the rain as Rowan Williams declares it “definitively there”

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Royal proclamations in Ealing and Hounslow

Image above: Royal proclamation, Ealing; photograph LB Ealing

Ealing

King Charles III was officially proclaimed King at St James’ Palace on Saturday and proclaimed King the following day in cities, boroughs, districts and counties across the country.

On Sunday 11 September at 2pm, the Mayor of Ealing, Councillor Mohinder Midha read the formal Proclamation of Accession of His Majesty, King Charles III in front of watching crowds outside Ealing Town Hall.

The mayor was joined on the steps of Ealing Town Hall by the Deputy Lieutenant, Richard Kornicki CBE, Leader of the Council Peter Mason, current and past councillors, MPs, representatives of the police and fire brigade, senior council staff and local residents.

Image above: Royal proclamation, Hounslow; photograph LB Hounslow

Hounslow

At the same time the Mayor of Hounslow Councillor Raghwinder Siddhu read the proclamation at Holy Trinity Church on Hounslow High Street. Also present were the Leader of the Council, Cllr  Shantanu Rajawat,  Leader of the Opposition Cllr Peter Thompson, LB Hounslow Chief Executive Niall Bolger, Ruth Cadbury MP and Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London, Rosi Prescott.

Images above: Proclamation in Hounslow; photographs LB Hounslow

The Proclamation

This is the wording of the proclamation that was read out:

Whereas it has pleased Almighty God to call to His Mercy our late Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth the Second of Blessed and Glorious Memory, by whose Decease the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is solely and rightfully come to The Prince Charles Philip Arthur George: We, therefore, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of this Realm and Members of the House of Commons, together with other members of Her late Majesty’s Privy Council and representatives of the Realms and Territories, Aldermen and Citizens of London, and others, do now hereby with one voice and Consent of Tongue and Heart publish and proclaim that The Prince Charles Philip Arthur George is now, by the Death of our late Sovereign of Happy Memory, become our only lawful and rightful Liege Lord Charles the Third, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of His other Realms and Territories, King, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, to whom we do acknowledge all Faith and Obedience with humble Affection; beseeching God by whom Kings and Queens do reign to bless His Majesty with long and happy Years to reign over us.

Image above: The Mayor of Ealing, Councillor Mohinder Midha, and Leader of the Council, Peter Mason laid floral tributes outside the town hall on Sunday; photograph LB Ealing

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Tributes to the Queen

See also: Chiswick Book Festival goes ahead

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Tributes to the Queen

Image above: Bus stop in Chiswick High Rd; photograph Tim Cole

Digital advertisers quick to display their tributes

Digital advertisers were among the first and most noticeable to pay tribute to the Queen when her death was announced at 6.30pm on Thursday 8 September. JC Decaux and Clear Channel, the main owners of digital advertising space on the high street, very quickly had their tribute to the Queen on bus stops and billboards and the advertising display at Piccaddilly Circus was quickly switched to a respectful black and white tribute to Her Majesty.

JC Decaux’s social media were perhaps a bit too quick off the mark, sharing a picture of the Queen with ‘1926 – 2021’ written beneath. I noticed it on social media but did not realise it revealed the advertising industry had a long established plan for what to do when the Queen died, as did broadcasters, but had just not updated the graphic since last year. They noticed their mistake very quickly and changed it.

Praise, admiration and affection for the Queen … from politicians

As the news broke on Thursday night there was a steady flow of tributes being shared on social media.

Ruth Cadbury MP said:

“At this saddest of times, I send the thoughts, prayers and condolences of my family and my constituents to the Royal Family.

“The Queen was first and foremost devoted to her family; her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and wider family. For over 70 years the Queen has been a constant in all our lives; a beacon of dedication and stability. She served graciously and tirelessly as our monarch and personified just what public service should be.”

Leader of Hounslow Council, Councillor Shantanu Rajawat, said:

“Our late Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth the Second was the longest serving Monarch in this country’s history.  She visited the Borough on several occasions during her reign and will be remembered with affection and gratitude by residents, as she will be by people across the country and indeed the globe.”

“The Queen’s devotion to public service was truly exemplary. Over a period in history that saw many momentous changes she provided a consistency that was invaluable to all living in our country. We owe her a tremendous debt of gratitude.”

Speaking for Chiswick’s Conservative councilors, Cllr Ron Mushiso told The Chiswick Calendar:

“We are deeply saddened at the passing of Her Majesty the Queen. Our thoughts and prayers are with her immedite family and with the community as she was Queen to us all.”

Cllr John Todd added: “I was a great fan of her commitment.”

Cllr Gabriella Giles Tweeted: “Thank you for your service and leadership.”

Nick Rogers, Conservative Assembly Member for South West London wrote:

“We have lost a titanic figure. I can barely conceive of our nation without Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty inspired millions by her dignity, her sense of duty and her patriotism.”

Cllr Gary Malcolm, councillor for Southfield, Leader of the Ealing Liberal Democrats and Leader of the Opposition on Ealing Council commented:

“I am sure that we all feel shocked at the news of The Queen’s death. She was a rock for the country and the Commonwealth regardless of who ran the country. The @EalingLD pass on our condolences, and from the residents of Ealing, to the Royal Family. She will be sorely missed.”

Hounslow Labour Party Tweeted:

“Our condolences, thoughts and prayers to the Royal Family. As we enter a period of mourning, we will be suspending all campaigning activity immediately.”

Image above: Queen Elizabeth II; photograph Adam Gasson, Commonwealth Secretariat
At the Commonwealth Heads of Government lunch hosted by Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Marlborough House, London, UK. 6 June 2012.

… from businesses and organisations

Among those businesses and organisations in Chiswick and west London to give their shocked reaction on Thursday night:

Chiswick School – “Our @ChiswickSchool community is deeply saddened by the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.”

John D Wood – “Her Majesty the Queen’s passing is a great loss to the world. She will be missed by so many.”

West London College – “We are all deeply saddened to learn of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Our thoughts are with the royal family at this time.”

Chiswick Cinema – “Throughout her long life and historic reign, the Queen became one of the greatest icons of the modern age, inspiring generations of families and uniting the country during times of trouble or celebration. Her unique appeal was truly global.”

Chiswick House – “The staff, trustees and volunteers at Chiswick House & Gardens are saddened to hear of the passing of Her Majesty the Queen. Our thoughts are with the Royal Family at this time.”

The Polish Centre hung flags at half mast.

… from individuals

Journalist Peter Oborne, whose wife Martine is the vicar of St Michael’s Church Elwood Rd, described the Queen as ‘quiet force for national stability.’

Writing in Middle East Eye he says:

‘I believe the greatest moment of her magnificent reign was her remarkable act of reconciliation when in May 2011 she made the first British state visit to Ireland since its independence, dressed in bright republican green. She visited Croke Park, where British forces had massacred 14 Irishmen in 1920.

‘It was a visit that could so easily have gone terribly wrong. But Queen Elizabeth II was pitch perfect, winning the hearts of millions of Irish men and women who had every reason to hate the British state.’

He describes the news of her death as sending a ‘shattering psychic blow across the United Kingdom.’

Torin Douglas MBE, former BBC correspondent and Director of the Chiswick Book Festival, remembered meeting the Queen when she awarded him his MBE.

“It was a great honour to receive my MBE from the Queen” he told The Chiswick Calendar – “an increasingly rare thing to happen in recent years. She was very warm, friendly, smiley.”

Chiswick based author and TV presenter Richard Osman just commented: “What a sad, sad day.”

Belmont School had just received a card from the Queen

Belmont School shared news about receiving a card from the Queen less than two hours before the news of her death was announced.

“Back in June the children and staff in The Hive celebrated The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee by colouring pictures of the queen. We sent them off to Buckingham Palace and today we received a card from Buckingham Palace and The Queen!

Images above: Tweet by Belmont School; Princess Elizabeth during World War II

RMT calls off next week’s rail strikes

The RMT announced immediately the news broke that they would call off next week’s rail strikes. Mick Lynch said:

“RMT joins the whole nation in paying its respects to Queen Elizabeth.

“The planned railway strike action on 15 and 17 September is suspended.

“We express our deepest condolences to her family, friends and the country.”

Churches open books of condolence

Nicola Moy, vicar of Christ Church, Turnham Green emailed The Chiswick Calendar to say:

“Joining a nation in gratitude for a life well lived and in prayer this evening.

“HRH Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has been an inspiration to us all. Along with churches around the country we will be opening Christ Church Turnham Green in the coming days for those who wish to sign our book of condolences or mark the occasion in another way. We will begin by being open from 8am – 5pm tomorrow [Friday 9 September].

“May she rest in peace and rise in glory.

“Please look at our website: www.christchurchw4.com for details of services.”

Fr Simon Brandes, who is currently away on holiday, told us he would be put something on St Nicholas Church website “ASAP telling people home we are going to remember and pray for the late queen.”

St Michael & All Angels Church will also have condolence books for people to sign and will be inviting people into the church to light a candle.

LB Hounslow also announced that there would be a book of condolence at Chiswick Library and another at Chiswick Town Hall for people to sign.

Image above: Mural being painted in Hounslow

New mural of the Queen in Hounslow

Much has been written over the past few days about the Queen’s role in keeping the Commonwealth together and promoting harmony amongst nations. This photograph was shared on social media on Monday of a mural of the Queen being painted in Hounslow.

‘What’s common between an Indian, Sri Lankan, Pakistani and Bangladeshi. They are all painting the first community mural in #Hounslow in honour of #HerMajesty. #RaceRelations have come a long way here! RiP Your Majesty’ Tweeted @ksehmi5.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick’s new sculpture sparkles in the rain as Rowan Williams declares it “definitively there”

See also: Interview with Conrad Shawcross, designer of Chiswick’s new sculpture Enwrought Light

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Brentford FC Premiership match cancelled this weekend but Chiswick Rugby Club game goes ahead

Image above: Brentford fans; photograph Liz Vercoe

Brentford FC’s away match with Southampton postponed

This weekend’s Premier League and English Football League fixtures have been postponed as a mark of respect following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. That includes the match Brentford were due to have played against Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday.

The Premier League made the decision at a meeting this morning and made this statement:

‘To honour her extraordinary life and contribution to the nation, and as a mark of respect, this weekend’s Premier League match round will be postponed, including Monday evening’s game.

Richard Masters, Premier League Chief Executive, said:

“We and our clubs would like to pay tribute to Her Majesty’s long and unwavering service to our country.  As our longest-serving monarch, she has been an inspiration and leaves behind an incredible legacy following a life of dedication.

“This is a tremendously sad time for not just the nation but also for the millions of people around the world who admired her, and we join together with all those in mourning her passing.”

Brentford FC put a statement on their own website on Thursday night saying:

‘Brentford FC join in the mourning across the world following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.’

Further updates regarding Premier League fixtures during the period of mourning will be provided in due course, the clubs say.

This follows the decisions by other sporting organisations to cancel fixtures as soon as the news of the Queen’s death was announced on Thursday night. Horse racing was cancelled immediately on Thursday. Friday’s cricket in the Test match between England and South Africa was called off, as was the second day of the PGA Championship golf.

According to BBC Sport, the government’s national mourning guidance states cancelling or postponing sports fixtures is not obligatory; it is “at the discretion of individual organisations”, including on the day of the state funeral.

Image above: Chiswick Rugby Club

Chiswick Rugby Club games and training sessions to go ahead

The RFU have taken the decision that rugby is a community event and should go ahead, so both Chiswick Rugby Club’s match against Hitchen at 3pm on Saturday and the Rugby League match between Civil Service Stags and Medway at 2pm will go ahead at their ground in Dukes Meadows, as will their training and children’s sessions over the weekend.

The RFU sent out a statement saying:

‘The overwhelming opinions shared so far within the game, are that teams and supporters want to come together to honour Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to be united in our grief as we express sorrow at her passing.

‘Rugby, at its heart, is about community and bringing people together, in good times and in sad. Rugby clubs are a source of strength and support during times of uncertainty, and we hope that by enabling games and other rugby activity to go ahead this weekend, with families and friends congregating it will help us all to unite at this time of national mourning.

‘We strongly encourage all those playing sport this weekend to respectfully pay tribute to Her Majesty The Queen by holding a minute’s silence ahead of all fixtures this weekend. This an opportunity for teams from different areas to join together in honouring and celebrating her life.’

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Saddened by the death of the Queen

See also: Chiswick Book Festival goes ahead

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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 Book Festival goes ahead

Image above: Chiswick Book Festival 2022 line-up

Dedicated to the memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

There was a pause on Thursday night as everyone took stock of the news of the death of the Queen. First came the expressions of sadness and the messages of condolence to the royal family. Then anyone involved in organising public meetings and events started to think through the implications of the period of mourning.

Chiswick Book Festival, which opened on Thursday night with a session with actor Dame Eileen Atkins, started with a minute’s silence, as they had just heard the news. This morning they have released a statement from Fr Kevin Morris, vicar of St Michael & All Angels Church, and Torin Douglas, director of the Chiswick Book Festival saying that in light of the Queen’s death, this year’s festival would be dedicated to the memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second and in thanksgiving for her life.

“It has been suggested we should find ways to bring people together in thoughtful reflection at this time. We believe our community-based Festival, in aid of reading charities – is an appropriate way to do this.”

The Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre have also confirmed that, in accordance with guidance from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, scheduled theatre performances will go ahead during the official period of mourning. King Charles has just announced the period of mourning will last from today until seven days after the Queen’s funeral.

Extra session on the role of religion in the reign of Charles III

The book festival events will go ahead and they are putting on an extra event on Sunday afternoon (11 September) in which the religion commentator Catherine Pepinster will reflect on the Queen’s reign, as discussed in her new book: Defenders of the Faith: The British Monarchy, Religion and the next Coronation.

Catherine, a Chiswick resident, gave a brief introduction to her book at the Local Authors night on Tuesday. As the first female editor of The Tablet, the Catholic international weekly review, as such she is well placed to comment on matters of theology and church history.

In her book she explores the powerful connection between the British monarchy and religion, from its earliest times, to the Reformation, the Civil War, and ‘the reconfigured wholesome family monarchy of Victoria and her successors, whose Christian faith steered their response to the atheistic regimes of fascism and communism that threatened Europe and their royal relatives’.

She asks what part religion will play in the reign of Charles III in a nation which is increasingly secular and diverse in its religious beliefs.

St Michael & All Angels Church has also opened a condolence book, as has St Nicholas Church and Christ Church, Turnham Green.

Book tickets for Chiswick Book Festival events here: chiswickbookfestival.net

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Saddened by the death of the Queen

See also: Chiswick’s new sculpture sparkles in the rain as Rowan Williams declares it “definitively there”

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Saddened by the death of the Queen

Image above: Bus stop in Chiswick on Thursday night; photograph Tim Cole

The country enters a period of mourning

People in Chiswick have been expressing their sadness at the death of Queen. Businesses, political parties, churches and individuals have published formal statements expressing their sorrow and sending their condolences to the royal family. The churches are opening books of condolence.

As the news sunk in on Thursday night organisations running events were trying to work out whether they should continue with their plans.

The Chiswick Book Festival opened with a minute’s silence before the opening session with Eileen Atkins talking about her memoir at Chiswick House. The Chiswick Calendar and our jazz partner Larry Pryce heard the news as we were setting up for Jazz at George IV. Singer Sarah Moule made reference to the Queen’s passing and said how sad we all felt.

Director of the Chiswick Book Festival Torin Douglas told The Chiswick Calendar they were waiting for guidance from the Government on whether events such as the book festival should go ahead as the nation enters a period of mourning.

Simon Randall, who runs Headliners Comedy Club said he was considering cancelling this weekend’s shows. He would see what other people were doing and would make a decision by lunchtime on Friday.

Political meetings have been cancelled. Thursday’s Planning committee meeting was cancelled by Hounslow Council as a mark of respect and other Council meetings next week have also been cancelled. Cllr Ron Mushiso told us next week’s Chiswick Area Forum is likely to be cancelled also.

Brentford Football Club has put up a statement on their website paying tribute to the Queen but has not said yet whether its away match with Southampton will go ahead on Saturday.

Chiswick Rugby Club said they were waiting for guidance. The RFU told them they understood the clubs would have questions around planned fixtures this weekend but the were in communication with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and were expecting guidance from them for sporting organisations on Thursday evening.

They said they would share an update with the game on Friday morning (9 September) to confirm protocols with regards to scheduled fixtures.

Image above: Queen Elizabeth II; photograph Crown copyright; Photographer: Sergeant Adrian Harlen
Her Majesty The Queen, Colonel-in-Chief Grenadier Guards,at a ceremony to present new colours to Nijmegen Company Grenadier Guards in the Gardens of Buckingham Palace in June 2013.

Praise, admiration and affection for the Queen … from politicians

Ruth Cadbury MP said:

“At this saddest of times, I send the thoughts, prayers and condolences of my family and my constituents to the Royal Family.

“The Queen was first and foremost devoted to her family; her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and wider family. For over 70 years the Queen has been a constant in all our lives; a beacon of dedication and stability. She served graciously and tirelessly as our monarch and personified just what public service should be.”

Leader of Hounslow Council, Councillor Shantanu Rajawat, said:

“Our late Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth the Second was the longest serving Monarch in this country’s history.  She visited the Borough on several occasions during her reign and will be remembered with affection and gratitude by residents, as she will be by people across the country and indeed the globe.”

“The Queen’s devotion to public service was truly exemplary. Over a period in history that saw many momentous changes she provided a consistency that was invaluable to all living in our country. We owe her a tremendous debt of gratitude.”

Speaking for Chiswick’s Conservative councilors, Cllr Ron Mushiso told The Chiswick Calendar:

“We are deeply saddened at the passing of Her Majesty the Queen. Our thoughts and prayers are with her immedite family and with the community as she was Queen to us all.”

Cllr John Todd added: “I was a great fan of her commitment.”

Cllr Gabriella Giles Tweeted: “Thank you for your service and leadership.”

Nick Rogers, Conservative Assembly Member for South West London wrote:

“We have lost a titanic figure. I can barely conceive of our nation without Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty inspired millions by her dignity, her sense of duty and her patriotism.”

Cllr Gary Malcolm, councillor for Southfield, Leader of the Ealing Liberal Democrats and Leader of the Opposition on Ealing Council commented:

“I am sure that we all feel shocked at the news of The Queen’s death. She was a rock for the country and the Commonwealth regardless of who ran the country. The @EalingLD pass on our condolences, and from the residents of Ealing, to the Royal Family. She will be sorely missed.”

Hounslow Labour Party Tweeted:

“Our condolences, thoughts and prayers to the Royal Family. As we enter a period of mourning, we will be suspending all campaigning activity immediately.”

Image above: Queen Elizabeth II; photograph Adam Gasson, Commonwealth Secretariat
At the Commonwealth Heads of Government lunch hosted by Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Marlborough House, London, UK. 6 June 2012.

… from businesses and organisations

Among those businesses and organisations in Chiswick and west London to give their shocked reaction on Thursday night:

Chiswick School – “Our @ChiswickSchool community is deeply saddened by the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.”

John D Wood – “Her Majesty the Queen’s passing is a great loss to the world. She will be missed by so many.”

West London College – “We are all deeply saddened to learn of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Our thoughts are with the royal family at this time.”

Chiswick Cinema – “Throughout her long life and historic reign, the Queen became one of the greatest icons of the modern age, inspiring generations of families and uniting the country during times of trouble or celebration. Her unique appeal was truly global.”

Chiswick House – “The staff, trustees and volunteers at Chiswick House & Gardens are saddened to hear of the passing of Her Majesty the Queen. Our thoughts are with the Royal Family at this time.”

The Polish Centre hung flags at half mast.

… from individuals

Journalist Peter Oborne, whose wife Martine is the vicar of St Michael’s Church Elwood Rd, described the Queen as ‘quiet force for national stability.’

Writing in Middle East Eye he says:

‘I believe the greatest moment of her magnificent reign was her remarkable act of reconciliation when in May 2011 she made the first British state visit to Ireland since its independence, dressed in bright republican green. She visited Croke Park, where British forces had massacred 14 Irishmen in 1920.

‘It was a visit that could so easily have gone terribly wrong. But Queen Elizabeth II was pitch perfect, winning the hearts of millions of Irish men and women who had every reason to hate the British state.’

He describes the news of her death as sending a ‘shattering psychic blow across the United Kingdom.’

Torin Douglas MBE, former BBC correspondent and Director of the Chiswick Book Festival, remembered meeting the Queen when she awarded him his MBE.

“It was a great honour to receive my MBE from the Queen” he told The Chiswick Calendar – “an increasingly rare thing to happen in recent years. She was very warm, friendly, smiley.”

Chiswick based author and TV presenter Richard Osman just commented: “What a sad, sad day.”

Belmont School had just received a card from the Queen

Belmont School shared news about receiving a card from the Queen less than two hours before the news of her death was announced.

“Back in June the children and staff in The Hive celebrated The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee by colouring pictures of the queen. We sent them off to Buckingham Palace and today we received a card from Buckingham Palace and The Queen!

Images above: Tweet by Belmont School; Princess Elizabeth during World War II

RMT calls off next week’s rail strikes

The RMT announced immediately the news broke that they would call off next week’s rail strikes. Mick Lynch said:

“RMT joins the whole nation in paying its respects to Queen Elizabeth.

“The planned railway strike action on 15 and 17 September is suspended.

“We express our deepest condolences to her family, friends and the country.”

Churches open books of condolence

Nicola Moy, vicar of Christ Church, Turnham Green emailed The Chiswick Calendar to say:

“Joining a nation in gratitude for a life well lived and in prayer this evening.

“HRH Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has been an inspiration to us all. Along with churches around the country we will be opening Christ Church Turnham Green in the coming days for those who wish to sign our book of condolences or mark the occasion in another way. We will begin by being open from 8am – 5pm tomorrow [Friday 9 September].

“May she rest in peace and rise in glory.

“Please look at our website: www.christchurchw4.com for details of services.”

Fr Simon Brandes, who is currently away on holiday, told us he would be put something on St Nicholas Church website “ASAP telling people home we are going to remember and pray for the late queen.”

St Michael & All Angels Church will also have condolence books for people to sign and will be inviting people into the church to light a candle.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick’s new sculpture sparkles in the rain as Rowan Williams declares it “definitively there”

See also: Interview with Conrad Shawcross, designer of Chiswick’s new sculpture Enwrought Light

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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 travel agent “incredibly frustrated” with British Airways

Image above: library photograph of a beach

Usually quiet month of August was “busiest ever” after passenger cap and cancellations announced

A travel agents in Chiswick had the “busiest August ever” after Heathrow Airport introduced a cap on the amount of departing passengers over the summer.

In July, Heathrow announced they would be capping departing passengers at 100,000 a day. They have since extended the cap by another six weeks until the end of October and Airlines have been asked airlines to sell fewer flights.

In response, British Airways said 10,000 flights to and from Heathrow would be cut until the end of March 2023. BA said that more than 600 return flights would be cancelled between late August and 29 October, while the winter schedule, which runs until the end of March, would be cut by 8%.

While BA are not the only airline that have made cancellations, Shane Mallon, the manager of Capricorn Travel on Turnham Green Terrace, said it was primarily BA which has had an impact. Being in west London, the vast majority of Capricorn Travel’s business is from people who are travelling out of Heathrow, as opposed to Gatwick, Luton and Standstead.

Shane described the situation as “incredibly frustrating” and said this August, usually one of the quieter months for travel agents as clients are already booked and on holiday, has been one of the busiest yet. Despite this, the business has seen fewer corporate and business bookings. There are fears, also, that the cost of living crisis and skyrocketing holiday prices will dissuade leisure customers from travelling in the near future.

Image above: a British Airways plane

Getting in touch with BA is “virtually impossible” 

Attempting to contact BA rebook or reschedule flights, whether directly as a customer or as a travel agent, is “virtually impossible” due to overwhelmed phone lines and their understaffed reservation team, Shane told The Chiswick Calendar.

“It’s probably had a bigger impact, for us, on our business clients rather than our leisure clients”, Shane said, “Because a lot of our business clients either have really reduced their travel during the summer because there were so many cancellations taking place or because boarding rules for people who only fly direct meant they had to travel hand luggage only.”

In June, Heathrow urged passengers to travel hand luggage only to avoid disruption to their journeys and to avoid losing their luggage. Globally, airports are struggling with an unprecedented missing luggage crisis related to short-staffing.

Shane continued:

“It is pretty much impossible to get to speak to British Airways. So obviously there’s a public telephone number which is a free phone number for people to call, and it’s very hard to get through if you do. We as travel agents have to dial a different number that BA have specifically for travel agents, BA charges a pound a minute and it’s virtually impossible to get through.

“…Like all airlines, they’ve cut the number of human beings down, these algorithms, when it works and when things are smooth its fine but once there’s bumps in the road or capacity issues… They just do not have enough people on their reservations line whether that’s for the public or for us as agents and that makes it incredibly frustrating for people.”

Image above: children on holiday; library image

Most holidaymakers manage to be rescheduled 

The majority of holidaymakers with Capricorn book well in advance or very last minute. Those booking last minute usually are aware of cancellations already, and it is unlikely further cancellations will be announced before they fly. It’s those who booked well in advance who had primarily been affected.

Shane said most of Capricorn’s clients had been lucky enough to reschedule their flights, despite having to deal with an unresponsive BA. Of the people who have had an airline cancel and offer to reschedule, over summer they managed to get everybody bar one group of people away. That group instead got a full refund and re-booked for next Easter.

“That was a benefit for them really for going through a travel agent, whereas an airline would just try and push them on another BA flight for example. So if, for arguments sake, Air France or Lufthansa were flying to that destination we’d say ‘well, hold on British Airways have done this, if you don’t accept that you’ll get a full refund on that and we can re-book you on Air France’. Maybe it’s a little bit more expensive, but at least you know you’re travelling – we can give people alternative offers.”

One recent client was unable to change his flight last minute in time for his and his wife’s holiday to Corfu, due to BA’s busy phone lines. Shane said:

“We must have rung 80-90 times this week and we haven’t been successful at getting through yet. We’ll get through and it will just tell us it’s very busy, please try later. Just to give you an example, we had a client due to travel on Sunday [4 September] on a flight out to Corfu, his wife took ill and wasn’t able to travel. We’re not open on Sunday, so he tried to go through BA, couldn’t get through then went all the way to Heathrow and nobody could help him there.

“Then his missed his flight which is technically classed as a no-show, which then becomes non-refundable and non-changeable. He had to buy a completely separate ticket and pay, again, for his flights. We’ve been trying to get through to BA since Monday on his behalf to see if they’d give authority to process a refund for his ticket… it’s impossible to get through to them.”

Image above: a plane flies over Heathrow

“The days of cheap travel are probably gone”

Shane said the ongoing crisis in the travel industry is two fold: a woeful lack of responsiveness from airlines in dealing with rescheduling and skyrocketing prices making flights and holidays much more expensive than they were pre-Covid.

“What people are seeing now is that they’re paying a lot more for travel than they were before, particularly on intercontinental travel. If you’re travelling outside of Europe, it’s very, very expensive. Very expensive. Prices have gone up considerably. The demand is still there, because a lot of people are travelling for the first time in three years, seeing family friends or whatever. If that demand remains strong next year we’ll have to wait and see. Will prices reduce? I don’t know.”

Travel is a discretionary spend and with the cost of living crisis becoming more and more relevant every day, it is likely to have an affect on people’s spending going forward.

“People will always book a holiday”, Shane said, “but they also might maybe book in winter for a city break, or catch some winter sun. Our concern is that will we see people decide ‘Oh, we can’t afford that this year’. We’re in Chiswick, which a relatively affluent area, but everyone’s been affected by that at the moment. When people are getting quotes telling them how expensive it will be, especially to travel over Christmas and new year, people might just wait until next summer.”

“We’ve had a very busy four to five months, but our industry was on stop for nearly two years with next to no sales. It’s been a good few months but doesn’t make up anything for what we lost out on and we’re still, wouldn’t say trepidatious, but the coming winter and in terms of what demand will be like particularly on the leisure side [is concerning].”

Image above: British Airways Premium Cabin seat

What is driving more expensive travel?

As prices increase, the question many holidaymakers are asking is: why?

The scarcity of flights is one reason, supply is mismatched with demand. Another is a drop in corporate clients, who no longer need to travel across the world for meetings, which they have discovered they can carry out over Zoom. Losing these clients, Shane said, is when airlines like BA see a significant drop in their revenue.

“With British Airways, if you walk onto the plane and turn left, that’s where they make all their money – in the premium cabins. That’s where airlines earn their revenues. So if economy’s full and premium is empty, they’re not making the revenue and it’s not profitable.

“If it’s half full, and premium is stacked out they’re making their money, and at the moment they’re struggling to get the corporates back into their premium cabins.”

Staff at Capricorn are hopeful business travel will increase as flight schedules stabilise and travellers are able to get from A to B smoothly. But for the moment leisure travellers in economy could be picking up the tab for an empty business cabin.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: BA cuts 10,000 flights to and from Heathrow

See also: Two men arrested in connection with Packhorse and Talbot stabbing

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

String of London gym thefts revealed after woman robbed in Chiswick

Image above: Charlotte Morgan; Facebook

Affluent gym-going women are being targeted

A thief is targeting female gym-goers in London, a BBC investigation has found, after one woman’s story of being robbed in Chiswick went viral.

Charlotte Morgan’s bag, bank card and mobile phone were stolen after her locker was broken into during her workout in Chiswick’s Virgin Active gym. After initially being cold-shouldered by gym staff and her bank, with the latter refusing to reimburse the £8,000 thieves spent on her card, Charlotte took to social media with her story which was shared tens of thousands of times.

Responses to her post on Twitter uncovered various similar cases. Female victims reported putting their belongings in a locker, only to return and discover their phones and cards had been taken. The thief makes high-value purchases at luxury shops across London. They also treat themselves to a fast-food meal.

Women have reported thefts from gyms in Finchley Road, the City, Putney, Mill Hill, Notting Hill and Chiswick. After a theft, the thief tends to visit a mix of high-end shops including Harrods, Selfridges, Apple Stores and designer fashion retailers, spending anything up to £10,000 each time.

The thief is able to rack up these hefty bills by circumventing online banking security protocols. Because they have access to both the victim’s card and their phone, they register the card on the relevant bank’s app on their own phone or computer. Since it is the first time that card will have been used on the new device, a one-off security passcode is demanded.

That verification passcode is sent by the bank to the stolen phone. The code flashes up on the locked screen of the stolen phone, leaving the thief to tap it into their own device. Once accepted, they have control of the bank account. They can transfer money or buy goods, or change access to the account.

Image above: Virgin Active gym in Chiswick Park

Gym membership passes keenly sought after by criminals

Security and crime experts say gym membership passes are keenly sought after by criminals, who tend to use the anonymity of 24-hour gyms to their advantage. These gyms could be a good place to put illegal items in a locker, which can then be picked up by someone else.

Would-be thieves face few obstacles getting into a gym locker room, since there isn’t someone on the door to reference the face or name of the passholder.

Once a person is in the locker room, they do not have to be particularly cautious because CCTV is not allowed in changing rooms.

The thief is thought to choose their victims in a number of ways, spotting a woman wearing expensive jewellery or with other valuable items. People with regular routines are thought to be more attractive targets for this type of thief.

Breaking into lockers is apparently fairly simple too, by prying open a padlock with a ‘shim’ – a slim metal device that can be inserted into a lock, popping it open.

Thefts of this nature have been reported in GymBox, Virgin Active and other more high-end gyms.

Above: Charlotte Morgan’s viral Tweet

Ordeal left victim “financially and mentally” broken

When Charlotte decided to go public with her story said the ordeal had left her “financially and mentally” broken.

Immediately after realising she had been robbed she reported the theft to front counter of Virgin Active in Chiswick, where there were two other women who had also been robbed. Despite the urgency of the matter, Virgin Active staff allegedly refused to let her use the computer or landline to report the crime claiming they would be in breach of data protection rules.

A colleague of Charlotte’s provided her with a phone for her to stop transactions on her card, but by then it was too late. The thieves had managed to evade Santander’s fraud alert system and spent £8,000 within 90 minutes. At one point the bank queried a transaction by sending a message to Charlotte’s phone but as this was in the thieves’ possession, they were able to approve the purchase.

Unable to get home as her keys had also been stolen, Charlotte was forced to go back to her nearby office, where she works as a TV producer, where she tried to deal with the wave of problems the theft caused her. The next morning, she had to walk for 50 minutes to the nearest Santander branch because the lock on her bike had also been stolen and she didn’t have her card to pay for public transport.

Santander told her that she wasn’t going to be refunded for the transactions. She said an advisor blamed her for the transactions and accused her of keeping her pin number on a piece of paper in her bag, which she denied. Eventually, after the media storm created by her story, Santander relented and told her she would be fully reimbursed. Charlotte was also paid £750 in compensation for the poor customer service she received and for “incorrectly declining her refund request”.

Similarly she says Virgin Active took little interest. While the theft was reported to the police the gym said it did not take responsibility for thefts at its premises, despite the fact the barriers to get into the gym were broken on the day of the theft, meaning anyone could have entered.

Image above: gym lockers; library image 

Protect yourself from possible theft 

The most effective solution for many the likely to be the least feasible: go to the gym with no valuables.

Failing that, the second best option is to never leave your phone and bank card together in a locker. Depriving the thief of either severely restricts how much damage they can cause.

Another method is to make sure they cannot read the verification code sent by the bank. This is done in your phone’s settings:

For iPhones:

  • Go to Settings
  • Scroll to Messages
  • Scroll to Notifications
  • Scroll to Show Previews where there are three choices: Always / When Unlocked / Never
  • Select either When Unlocked or Never. Your messages will no longer flash up when your phone is locked

For Android:

  • Go to Settings
  • Select Lock Screen
  • Select Notifications
  • Select Don’t Show Notifications. Your messages will no longer flash up when your phone is locked

Above: a Met Police officer

Police and Virgin Active continue to investigate

A Met Police spokesperson said:

‘We have been made aware of a number of similar offences in which property has been stolen from gym lockers and bank cards then used to make fraudulent purchases.

‘Each offence is now being re-assessed and where appropriate, these will be investigated as part of a linked series. The victims in each case will be contacted by officers and provided with updates as the investigation progresses.

‘Anyone with information or who believes they have been subject to a similar burglary should call police on 101.’

Virgin Active said it is helping police with their inquiries and ‘fully investigating all of the circumstances around the brief failure of the access gates’.

Above: Chiswick’s branch of Santander 

Santander apologises and defends “comprehensive” fraud prevention systems

Santander apologised for their poor customer service on Twitter. Charlotte said the bank admitted it had made “the absolute incorrect decision” and offered her an “unreserved apology”.

The bank said:

“As part of our standard process, customers can always contact us if they disagree with the decision made on their case. We are not proactively re-opening cases.”

A Santander spokesperson added:

‘We take protecting our customers’ accounts extremely seriously and have comprehensive fraud prevention systems in place.

‘We are investigating the details outlined by our customer on social media as a matter of urgency and contacted them as soon as we were alerted to the case to discuss the issue further.’

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick’s new sculpture sparkles in the rain as Rowan Williams declares it “definitively there”

See also: Interview with Conrad Shawcross, designer of Chiswick’s new sculpture Enwrought Light

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Two men arrested in connection with Packhorse and Talbot stabbing

Image above: police photographs of the two men who were arrested

Arrested on suspicion of attempted murder

Detectives investigating a ‘serious assault’ outside the Packhorse and Talbot pub in Chiswick on 19 February have arrested two men.

The pub’s general manager was stabbed four times as he was standing outside the pub, calling an ambulance after a fight broke out. Police were called at 11.20pm and attended with paramedics. The 40-year-old man had serious injuries to his head, neck, arm and hand.

He was taken to hospital where he underwent extensive reconstructive surgery. His injuries required ongoing treatment and rehabilitation. A second man was also assaulted.

Police had previously appealed for the public’s assistance to help locate John Paul McDonagh, now 31, and Shamus Mongan, now 19. Both men were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder on Tuesday 6 September and remain in custody.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: String of London gym thefts revealed after woman robbed in Chiswick

See also: Chiswick’s new sculpture sparkles in the rain as Rowan Williams declares it “definitively there”

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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’s new sculpture sparkles in the rain as Rowan Williams declares it “definitively there”

Image above: L to R: Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rt. Rev. & Rt. Hon. Dr.Rowan Williams; Ireland’s Ambassador to UK Martin Fraser; Cahal Dallat; Mayor of Hounslow Cllr Raghwinder Siddhu; Chief Sangha Nayaka of Great Britain, Bogoda Seelawimala Thera; Vicar of St Michael & All Angels Church, Fr Kevin Morris; Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London, Rosi Prescott; Conrad Shawcross RA –  photograph Roger Green

The rain held off for a beautiful ceremony unveiling the Yeats memorial sculpture

Chiswick’s new sculpture, Enwrought Light, the memorial to W.B Yeats designed by sculptor Conrad Shawcross RA, was unveiled on Tuesday by the former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams. A little crowd of about 200 well-wishers gathered on the green outside St Michael & All Angels Church to take part in the ceremony on the corner of Bath Rd and The Avenue.

There was much putting up and taking down of umbrellas as the sky darkened and the rain threatened. The sculptor’s understanding of structure came into play as the archbishop’s umbrella turned itself inside out and stubbornly refused to be righted until he stepped in.

Irish Heritage musicians Robert Finegan and Tara Viscardi played beautiful, haunting music on saxophone and harp respectively from the relative shelter of a gazebo and local school children from Belmont Primary School, ArtsEd and Southfield Primary came up to the microphone to read Yeats’ poems.

The great Irish poet, who won the Nobel prize for literature in 1923, lived in Bedford Park with his family as a young man and wrote several of his best-known poems there. He could have looked out at Southfield School from his bedroom window, had it been built then, said Cahal Dallat, the prime mover behind getting the sculpture installed.

Images above: Fr Kevin Morris with sculptor Conrad Shawcross; former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams (centre) and Cahal Dallat (right)

Then it poured down as the Great and the Good went off for tea

St Michael & All Angels was Yeats’ local church, said vicar Father Kevin Morris and he went to services there, though not very regularly. Having knelt in prayer one day, the poet was amused by the sign in the church porch telling worshippers that ‘kneelers must be hung up.’

The new Ambassador for Ireland Martin Fraser, who had only been in post for about ten days, said the Irish government would be bemused to read in his daily despatch that instead of paying attention to the new prime minister’s first speech he had been standing in the damp drizzle in a corner of west London listening to Yeats poetry and Irish music.

His predecessor Adrian O’Neill had given a great deal of support to the project, said Cahal, and as a result Bedford Park bears the distinction of being the only place in the whole of the UK to have a Yeats memorial.

The sculpture was designed to reflect the seasons and the conditions around it, explained Conrad. As the leaves turned it would reflect the gold and tawny colours of autumn. At dusk and dawn it would reflect the pinks of the sky and in winter the grey and the drear.

Rowan Williams treated us to a visual picture of how it might have been had he actually unveiled it. It might have been tricky, as the sculpture is quite spiky. Instead the scuplture, never veiled but standing proud for all to see since its installation at the end of last week, looked on in all its glory as the archbishop said he would content himself with merely “waving my hand expansively to declare it to be definitively there.”

It was a “massive priviledge”, he said, to have been involved.

Images above: Ireland’s ambassador to the UK, Martin Fraser; Cahal Dallat and Fr Kevin Morris

It was quite grey on Tuesday but the serious rain held off until the great and the good, including the majors of Ealing and Hounslow and the Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London Rosi Prescott,  were tucked safely up in the Buddhist Vihara across the road for a cup of tea.

It poured with rain in the interval between the ceremony and the Josephine Hart Poetry Foundation’s poetry evening in the church while the sculpture twinkled prettily with raindrops.

Images above L to R: Sinéad Cusack, Ciarán Hinds, Ruth Negga, Jeremy Irons

Leading lights of Irish theatre and film, Sinéad Cusack, Ruth Negga and Ciarán Hinds illustrated Yeats’ work with readings on the various themes and periods of his life – his fascination with the fairy folk, his love for Maud Gonne, politics, Irish nationalism, the rage of an old man – along with Jeremy Irons, an “honorary Irishman” (he has a castle in the west of Ireland).

Rowan Williams had commented earlier that Yeats never stood still as a poet. The three great phases in his career as a poet were all totally different from each other, which made the design of the sculpture particularly fitting.

The evening was magical, the audience in the packed church rapt as the famous actors transported us with Yeats’ words, though their voices were so gorgeous, so deep and mellifluous and their delivery so flawless, I suspect the audience would have sat there and listened if they’d read out the phone book.

Images above: Unveiling of Enwrought Light, Tuesday 6 September 2022

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Interview with Conrad Shawcross, designer of Chiswick’s new sculpture Enwrought Light

See also: Bedford Park – the hotbed of radical free-thinkers

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

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

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Chiswick In Film festival

Introducing … the inaugural Chiswick In Film Festival

This autumn sees the first Chiswick In Film festival – a weekend of films and talks about films which have associations with Chiswick, which The Chiswick Calendar is organising in partnership with Chiswick Cinema, 30 September – 2 October.

There are so many films which have sequences shot in Chiswick and so many actors, writers, directors and producers who live here, with the inspiration of the Chiswick Book Festival to draw on, we thought it was high time there was a festival of Chiswick In Film.

Bafta winning editor Andrea Carnevali, successful scriptwriter Rob Sprackling (Mike Bassett, England Manager, Gnomeo & Juliet) and I have had the terrible task of watching lots of films, spotting shots of Chiswick and getting touch with people who live locally who work in the film industry.

We have been looking through the options with Chris Parker and Katherine Smith at Chiswick Cinema and have come up with a programme of fims and talks we hope you will enjoy.

So far we can tell you this is the programme:

Chiswick In Film festival programme

Friday 30 September, 6.30pm The Servant

1963 British drama film directed by Joseph Losey and written by Harold Pinter, starring Dirk Bogarde and Sarah Miles. There will be a screening of the film, scenes from which were shot in Chiswick, followed by a Q&A with Torin Douglas and Harold Pinter’s Biographer Michael Billington. Both Pinter and Michael Billington also have associations with Chiswick.

Saturday 1 October, 3pm, Maudie

2016 biographical drama film directed by Chiswick resident Aisling Walsh, starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke. There will be a screening of the film followed by a Q&A with Aisling and the Daily Mail’s Sandra Parsons.

Saturday 1 October, 7pm, Misbehaviour

2020 British comedy-drama film directed by Philippa Lowthorpe, from a screenplay by Rebecca Frayn, starring Keira Knightly, Jessie Buckley and Phyllis Logan. There will be a screening of the film followed by a Q&A with producer Suzanne Mackie, creator Rebecca Frayn, actress Phyllis Logan, all Chiswick residents, and Sue Finch, one of the protestors whose story is told in the film.

Sunday 2 October, 11am, Gnomeo & Juliet

2011 computer-animated romantic comedy film directed by Kelly Asbury from a screenplay by Rob Sprackling and John Smith. A screeing of the film, followed by Q&A with Screenwriter Rob Sprackling, who lives in Chiswick.

Sunday 2 October, 1.30pm, Darling

1965 film directed by John Schlesinger starring Dirk Bogarde and Julie Christie.

Sunday 2 October, 6pm, Downton Abbey, A New Era

2022 historical drama film and the sequel to the 2019 film Downton Abbey, following from the hugely successful TV series. A screening of hte film, followed by Q&A with Executive Producer Gareth Neame, Director Simon Curtis, and others TBC.

Tickets now available to book on the Chiswick Cinema website.

Chiswickcinema.co.uk

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Dame Eileen Atkins heads line-up for Chiswick Book Festival 2022

See also: Interview with Conrad Shawcross, designer of Chiswick’s new sculpture Enwrought Light

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Brentford 5, Leeds United 2

Image above: Brentford fans at the Brentford – Leeds match, 3 September 2022

Revenge is sweet

‘Looking at strikers on form, Harry Kane is number one, but there is not a better one after him other than Ivan Toney.’ So spoke Thomas Frank and a host of commentators and pundits following the Brentford hotshot’s hat-trick against a Leeds side revitalised by some buying and selling and a rethink of their playing strategy.

First things first: what is the new plan introduced up there in Yorkshire that has been introduced by Leeds United’s head coach, Jesse Marsch?

Well, according to Jesse Vertical Play dictates that as soon as you win the ball, you are looking to get a shot on goal. You are looking at a matter of seconds before the ball is in the box or around the box and you are putting pressure on the opposition’s goalkeeper. It’s direct football, without being route one.

Clear? I thought not, so let us move on to the rise and rise of Ivan Toney, beginning with a flashback to the last game of the Bees’ return season to the Premier League, when only victory could save Leeds from relegation to the Championship. Several mishaps determined that Brentford finished with nine men on the pitch – careless, you may conclude – and Leeds won 2-1, guaranteeing them another PL season and removing some of the gloss of the Bees’ promotion the previous season, although their collection of players and supporters being what it is, limited depression lasted only a few minutes before the Freedom from Desire song and dance took over.

Now flash forward to Saturday’s first return match, which saw the home side start out like a firecracker. What a difference a few months makes. Leeds, dangerous in attack, resolute in defence, matched the Bees for all of half-an-hour. Then the fireworks really began, with one player constructing a game plan of his own, namely win the ball, get it into the goal and repeat as many times as possible.

A demonstration of this began after half-an-hour when a long throw-in was seized upon by Toney, arriving like an express train, only to be brought down from behind by winger Luis Sinisterra. Referee Robert Jones appeared not to know whether it was a penalty or teatime and four minutes passed while he visited the touchline monitor and studied the evidence before awarding the penalty. Toney, as is his wont, fired his kick into a corner of the net while keeper Illan Meslier departed in the opposite direction.

Despite Leeds’ efforts, Brentford’s pressure mounted following the goal and thirteen minutes later Toney scored his second with a finely judged free kick from outside the box that flew inside that same goalpost as Meslier gaped, possibly in disbelief.

Sinisterra, possibly beginning to see the light shining in the Brentford striker’s eyes, narrowed the scoring gap – a splendid shot that deserved more appreciation than it received – just before the interval. But this was Toney’s day and he claimed it and a hat-trick after fifty-eight minutes with the most picturesque goal of the trio.

A long ball into the Leeds’ half required Meslier to make ground in an effort to claim it, but Keane Lewis-Potter shared his ambition. The lurking Toney collected the ball when neither succeeded and set of on a diagonal run that evaded the remainder of the defence and a scampering Meslier, suffering, it seemed, from the misapprehension that he could catch him.

Toney’s chip floated over a rapidly backtracking defender Robin Koch on its way into the net. Meslier, possibly by now searching for a pair of binoculars, came third.

Visiting coach Marsch departed around this time, red-carded for over-the-top appeals for a penalty that did not impress Mr Jones. Then Marc Roca prodded another Leeds’ goal, only for the Bees to respond within a minute when Bryan Mbeumo raced clear to stroke home score number four.

Done and dusted? Not yet. In the first minute of the eight of extra time awarded by Mr Jones – that’s right, eight! – Yoane Wissa planted the ball in Meslier’s net for the fifth, his present to himself on his twenty-sixth birthday.

The home crowd didn’t take long to launch into Freedom From Desire and the arm-waving celebration that accompanies it. Ivan Toney took the lap of honour with his teammates, match ball clutched under his arm.

‘And all done without vertical play,’ I observed to my mate Charlie.

‘Eh?’ said Charlie.

Brentford:  Raya; Hickey, Jansson, Mee, Henry; Baptiste (substitute Onyeka 68), Janelt (M Jorgensen 67), Jensen (Damsgaard 83); Mbeumo (Wissa 83), Toney, Lewis-Potter (Dasilva 59).

Leeds: Meslier; Drameh (Ayling 70), Koch; Llorente; Struijk; Adams, Roca (Greenwood 83); Sinisterra (Summerville 59), Aaronson, Harrison (Bamford 45); Gelhardt (Klich 59).

Bill Hagerty is a contributing editor of the Bees United supporters’ group. Pictures by Liz Vercoe.

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.

Rendezvous restaurant joins The Chiswick Calendar Club Card scheme

Image above: Rendezvous restaurant, 18-20 Chiswick High Rd

Traditional Persian food

Some years ago, when I first moved to Chiswick, I got to know Homi, a parent at my daughter’s school. She is good at many things, cooking amongst them, and she introduced me to Persian food. To someone whose only interraction with walnuts growing up was trying to crack the blighters at Christmas, spending all Christmas day picking little tiny bits out the crushed remains of the shells, if came as something of a revelation to me that you could cook with walnuts, as in actually make sauces from them.

This revolutionised my thinking about walnuts. I think she made Fesenjan, a chicken stew with walnuts, chickpeas and pomegranates. A traditional dish from Northern Iran, near the Caspian Sea, the walnuts are ground, making a rich, sumptuous sauce, with turmeric, cinnamon and nutmeg. The recipe dates back to the Persian Empire (500 BC) and was often made on the night of winter solstice (‘Yalda’) the darkest night of the year.

Images above: Kofteh Tabrizi; sharing platter of grilled meat

George Zomodi, owner of Rendezvous restuarant at 18-20 Chiswick High Rd, tells me his menu is composed of traditional Persian dishes, but the stylish presentation is European.

Though Iranian himself, he has been in London for many years and owned several restaurants before this one. His family were hoteliers, who owned the Milestone hotel opposite Hyde Park. He set up Monkey Business in the 1990s, a Tex Mex restaurant in Covent Garden, which boasted a train running around inside, was featured in Tatler magaine and frequented by the likes of Boy George and George Michael.

Since then he has set up and sold on several other restaurants, including one themed on Chicago in the 1920s, another themed on Native American culture and more recently a French restaurant. Now he has returned to his own culture, providing authentic Persian food in Chiswick since 2018.

Image above: table at Rendezvous restuarant

Sharing platters for tasting a variety of dishes

The sharing platters at Rendezvous are a good way of trying out different dishes. We tried Kofteh Tabrizi – meatballs with rice, split peas, chopped resh herbs and spices cooked with fresh tomatoes and onion paste.

We had Mirza Ghasemi – mashed chargrilled smoked aubergine with tomatoes and garlic, topped with a quail’s egg. We shared some Kashke Bademjan – chargrilled mashed, baked aubergine with onion paste, yoghurt, mint and walnuts (my favourite) and Mast O Khiar, a strained creamy yoghurt with chopped cucumber and mint, topped with crushed walnuts. All were delicious, served with Taftoon, a Persian flatbread topped with sesame seeds.

There are pages of kebabs and grilled meat of offer in the menu -a lot of lamb, sliced, diced, skewered and minced, but also beef, chicken and fish. Again we had a sharing platter, to try differnt dishes – succulent lamb chops, kebabs and chicken pieces with rice. Iranians serve rice with butter on top, which gives the dish a crispy topping.

The vegetarian menu inclues Fesjoone Kadoo Gerduie – pan friend butternut squash with a sweet and sour sauce made from ground walnuts and pomegranate puree. There is also Khorosht Bademjan – Fresh grilled tomato, onion paste, red sauce and unripe grape topped with fried filipion aubergine with a touch of smashed, fresh garlic.

Unusually the menu offers choices for people on the Keto diet as well as gluten free options (though not the bread). Rendezvous also has an extensive wine list.

Rendezvous are members of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme, offering Club Card holders 20% off food and drink between 5-8pm, Monday – Thursday and a complementary glass of wine with food Friday – Sunday.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Dame Eileen Atkins heads line-up for Chiswick Book Festival 2022

See also: Interview with Conrad Shawcross, designer of Chiswick’s new sculpture Enwrought Light

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

 

 

Carry on Regardless at the Chiswick Book Festival

Images above; Carry On Regardless book cover; Caroline Frost

Corny, puerile, non-PC and utterly predictable. And yet …

There is something very comforting about watching a Carry On film. I don’t usually admit publicly to liking them. They are corny, puerile, non-PC and utterly predictable. And yet … they were a part of my childhood, always on TV and there was something very innocent about them.

The warmth and comradeship of the cast came across in spades. There was a kind of working-class solidarity about them too. The bosses and the toffs never won, they always got their comeuppance.

Author of Carry On Regardless Caroline Frost says there was a “beautiful chemistry” between the actors and the body of work they produced over 30 films was “an extraordinary part of our cultural history.”

The best-selling author, journalist and broadcaster was asked to write a book to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the last of the franchise, and being in lockdown at the time she got thoroughly stuck in.

Researching it and writing about it “became a labour of love in a way I didn’t expect it to” she told me.

Caroline lives in Ealing, west London where, almost every day, she passes the blue plaque marking Sid James’s family home. She is a lifelong fan of the films and one of her earliest memories is of meeting Barbara Windsor backstage after the Christmas pantomime at Richmond Theatre, where the star sweetly let her try on her stage wig.

Images above: Carry On Camping poster; Hattie Jacques and Kenneth Williams; Barbara Windsor 

An accidental series

All the films were produced by Peter Rogers and directed by Gerald Thomas, so there is a cohesion and continuity to the franchise.

“It was an accidental series” Caroline says. “Peter Rogers’ wife Betty Box produced the Doctor in the House series and he wanted something like that of his own. They made Carry On Sergeant in 1958 and due to its success they were invited to do another.”

When they came to make the last one Carry On Columbus in 1992, a new generation of comedians including Rik Mayall and Julian Clary were delighted to have the opportunity to work with director Gerald Thomas and the other comic actors they had grown up watching: Bernard Cribbins, Leslie Phillips and John Dale.

Images above: Carry On Doctor poster; Charley Hawtrey in Carry On Doctor

Sexist? Not me gov

But wasn’t it terribly sexist? Not to mention racist and anything else-ist you can think of?

“It wouldn’t be made now” says Caroline “We don’t have access to that puerile humour, the humour is too ripe for this sensitive age. The films exist in a magical mystery land between our secret desires and those that society allows us to express – that’s where the double entendre lived. Now we can say exactly what our desires are.

The characters certainly had sex on the brain.

Bernard Bresslaw to a nurse in Carry On Doctor: “I dreamed of you last night nurse.”

Nurse: “Did you?”

Bernard Bresslaw: “No, you wouldn’t let me.”

Caroline says: “The biggest criticism is how women were treated but I don’t think that stands up to scrutiny. Women invariably saved the day, they always came out on top. There was that constant maternal presence of Hattie Jacques and if you think about Barbara Windsor she was always a feisty, independent, strong-willed figure.”

Images above: Sid James and Terry Scott in Carry On Henry; Sid James and Joan Sims 

Caper, comradeship and comedy

Ultimately, she says, the films showed a great victory for comradeship. There was always some senior figure who wanted to put one over on the rest and they always failed.

That reflected the comradeship of the company. Kenneth Williams, Joan Sims, Sid James, Bernard Bresslaw, Hattie Jacques, Jim Dale, Charles Hawtrey, Kennth Connor and Barbara Windsor were together in most of the films, playing familiar characters: Sid James the wise-cracking lech, Charles Hawtrey timid and effete, Barbara Windsor the wide-eyed and chippy sex bomb, Hattie Jacques the maternal figure.

Jim Dale described the cast as “a repertory company of the cinema.” They worked hard, they turned up on time, hit their marks and remembered their lines and brought in the films on budget and on time.

There was resentment as the films became more and more successful that the actors were paid so little. Peter Rogers kept a tight grip on the purse strings and would not allow the stars to cut individual deals that gave them preferential treatment. The Carry On brand was more important than the individual stars in his view.

Jim Dale, Bernard Cribbins and Leslie Phillips left to take up more lucrative work. Joan Sims and Kenneth Williams complained, but ultimately they stayed because they enjoyed the security and the camaraderie.

Images above: Hattie Jacques, Frankie Howerd and Kenneth Williams in Carry On Doctor; Kenneth Williams and Bernard Bresslaw in Carry On Up the Khyber

Role models?

A lot has been written about some of the lead actors’ chaotic personal lives – Hattie Jacques’ divorce from Dad’s Army star John Le Mesurier; Barbara Windsor’s divorce from Ronnie Knight, sentenced to seven years in prison for handling stolen money from an armed robbery. On set on the Carry On films they were among family.

Something else she found in her research is that a lot of gay men have said seeing Charles Hawtrey and Kenneth Williams being camp on screen, clearly gay, though Kenneth Williams never spoke openly about it, helped them a lot at a time when society considered homosexuality unacceptable.

“They suffered in their private lives but they were a source of inspiration to young gay men. They were incredibly helpful.”

“Everyone has a favourite film” says Caroline. A lot of people pick Carry on Camping, Carry on Cleo or Carry On Up the Khyber (mine is Carry On Doctor, 1967)

She had great access to those of the actors who are still alive. “The families of Sid James and Gerald Thomas were very helpful. They opened doors and I was able to meet Bernard Cribbins, Kenneth Cope, Angela Douglas and Valerie Leon.

“It was a delight to meet Valerie Leon – she was a stunner, she had knock-out looks.”

Caroline is talking to comedy historian Robert Ross next Saturday (10 September) at the Chiswick Cinema at 12.45 as part of the Chiswick Book Festival. You can buy her book at Waterstones Chiswick on online.

Book tickets – Carry On Regardless at the Chiswick Book Festival

Buy the book – Carry On Regardless – Amazon

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Meeting Bernard Cribbins

See also: Dame Eileen Atkins heads line-up for Chiswick Book Festival 2022

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.