Chiswick Auctions hold ‘first ever’ Indian Silver auction

Image above: Baluster form teapot by Oomersi Mawji of Bhuj. It is expected to sell for £3,000 – £5,000

The Stewart Collection of Indian and Burmese Silver

Guest blog from Chiswick Auctions

Chiswick Auctions is holding what they believe is the first ever auction devoted to Indian silver, on Valentines Day (14 February).

Indian and Burmese silver of the Raj period at the turn of the 20th century was admired across the world. Its reputation for exceptional design and craftsmanship has been revived in recent decades with the publication of key reference works.

The Stewart Collection, inspired by items inherited from grandparents who were based in India and Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) in the early 1900s, was guided by Wynyard Wilkinson’s seminal book Indian Silver 1858-1947 that was published in 1999.

The contents (offered across 228 lots) cover all the major silversmithing centres of British India from prolific cites such as Lucknow to the little-known Trichinopoly. Chiswick Auctions’ specialist John Rogers believes it is the most comprehensive offered in recent memory:

“As the only silver department to have a dedicated approach to non-European silver, presenting the Stewart Collection is an especially proud moment. I know of no other collection of Indian silver with such a holistic and thorough approach to ornamentation and design.”

Of all the silversmiths working in British India, one name stands out – Oomersi Mawji of Bhuj. Pieces by this accomplished master began to appear c.1860 and they continued to be produced by his sons and grandsons will into the 20th century.

“Working the silver with ingenious skill and patience, Oomersi Mawji and his sons raised the quality of decoration on Cutch silver to an art form” notes Wynyard Wilkinson. A baluster form teapot in the collection is expected to sell for £3,000 – £5,000. Made around 1880, the whole surface is chased with a detailed design of plants and animals with a Black Francolin bird forming the spout, a lizard the handle and a scorpion the finial.

Image above: From Lucknow is this very rare three-piece tea service made in Lucknow c.1890 in the so-called ‘Sikh Vignette’ pattern (estimate £800-1200)

Another fine example of the Cutch style from this period is an unmarked silver cigarette case, made in Poona c. 1890 and attributed to the city’s main craftsman Heerappa Boochena. The design on this cigarette case of a tiger hunt is almost certainly borrowed from Our Tiger Shooting (1859), one of the 40 prints in the Curry & Rice album penned by George Franklin Atkinson (1822-1859), a captain in the Bengal Engineers. The estimate is £400 – £600.

Many of the forms created by Indian silversmiths mirrored those that were popular in Britain at the time although some were new or adapted for life in the subcontinent. These include milk and butter coolers that countered the intense heat, and covered vessels which kept flies at bay.

From the Kashmir region there is a scarce mid to late 19th century butter dish on a stand – a classic English form here modelled after a Kashmiri lacquered papier mache turban box (estimate £500-800) while from Lucknow is a very rare three-piece tea service made in Lucknow c.1890 in the so-called ‘Sikh Vignette’ pattern (estimate £800-1200). Embossed with multiple portrait busts of Sikh royals or military heroes, the teapot is applied with a caparisoned elephant finial.

Image above: From the Kashmir region is this scarce mid to late 19th century butter dish on stand – a classic English form here modelled after a Kashmiri lacquered papier mache turban box (estimate £500-800).

The seller’s favourite lot is an early 20th century Karachi table casket by Soosania estimated at £600-800. Raised on lion paw feet, the lid is chased with a scene of a church with spire (probably Saint Andrew’s Church, Karachi) with two biplanes circling above. The two aircraft are curved much like birds in flight, a charming naivety that suggests the silversmith was unfamiliar with the new concept of powered flight.

The first pieces owned by the vendor were inherited, a Kashmir tea caddy and a Kandy moonstone tray. A similar tea caddy with chased decoration in the typical style, is guided at £80-120, while a similar Ceylonese (Sri Lankan) moonstone tray by the KAA (Kandyan Arts Association) is guided at £120 – £160. The design for these trays is based upon the semi-circular carved stone bases found at the entrance thresholds of Anuradhapura period temples or palaces, termed moon stones or Sandakada Pahan.

For more information or to bid on the lots see:

chiswickauctions.co.uk

This page is paid for by Chiswick Auctions

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Brentford 3, Southampton 0

Images above: Aaron Hickey joins the starting 11, Captain Christian Nørgaard takes early control

Second Season: Saints all at sea

Funny game, football, in many ways. We have earlier discussed how teams riding the crest of a wave can suddenly plunge into the doldrums. Or vice versa. But how about the strange case of Southampton, a side that looked doomed as it lost one Premier League game after another but found form to do well in both of the major cup competitions.

Having beaten Manchester City on their way to the quarter-finals of the EFL trophy, the Saints fell at that hurdle when Newcastle dismissed them home and away. As for the still-prized FA Cup, they look likely to progress beyond the fifth round no matter whether Luton Town or Grimsby emerge victors in their imminent fourth-round replay.

At the Gtech Stadium last Saturday, however, Southampton were metaphorically wearing their PL kit (their actual two-tone blue strip was quite fetching, but that has nothing to do with it). They looked dispirited before a ball was struck, a jaded bunch who possibly thought their position glued to the foot of the table could a bit too grand for them.

Enough of the Saints. Let’s look at Brentford, unbeaten in eight matches prior to this one and here bristling with confidence once they realised there were three points just waiting to be plundered.

Wissa showed how easy it might be after just a few minutes, or would have had the ball not hit a post instead of finding a net empty for anyone except visiting goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu, who was already looking as if he would prefer to be somewhere else.

Images above: All eyes on Saints’ James Bree fighting Kevin Schade for the ball, Start them young…

Brentford were not perfect. Irritatingly they frequently gave the ball away to opponents who, luckily for the home team, appeared unsure as to what they should do with it. Christian Nørgaard’s play was patchy, although he dealt with his duties as captain well enough, and as the game wore on Ivan Toney appeared more disenchanted than usual of a visiting defence determined that he should spend much of the game on the ground.

Bryan Mbeumo, conversely, was enjoying the purple patch that has been seeing him inventive, industrious and in the thick of the action as the home crowd began to itch for a goal to emphasise their superiority.

And you know how it is: when you are anxious for an overdue bus to come along, two will turn up at once? And it almost happened here.

After 41 minutes, Mbeumo shook off the attentions of the defence to craft a splendid cross that the ever-competitive Ben Mee gained considerable height to guide his header out of Bazunu’s reach. It was only the airborne collision of Mee and his attentive defender Mohammed Salisu, taking two or three minutes to see them back on their feet, that delayed the arrival of the second bus.

A peach of a crossfield ball from Josh Dasilva enabled Wissa to make ground and deliver a pass that Mbeumo side-footed home from close range. One could almost hear the exhalation of breath signalling more woe from the Southampton side.

Image above: Soon-to-be-rewarded Ben Mee takes a flyer at goal.

They perked up a little after the interval when manager Nathan Jones – subject of some caustic complaints from the travelling fans – sent on two new signings, Kamaldeen Sulemana and Paul Onuachu. The latter a striker of some 6ft 7ins, was possibly going to pose a problem for the relatively diminutive – 6ft-nothing – David Raya, but there was another bus just around the corner, Mathias Jensen, who should thank the dispirited Southampton for leaving him alone in the penalty area as he headed home Rico Henry’s perfect cross.

It was, said my mate Charlie, an especially pleasing afternoon following Fulham’s draw with Chelsea the previous evening. A point each for the two west London rivals meant that Brentford leapfrogged Fulham into seventh place in the PL table, a point ahead of Fulham and three in front of Chelsea.

What’s more, I mentioned to Charlie, we have played a one game fewer than Fulham.

‘Tee-hee,’ said Charlie.

Brentford: Raya; Hickey (substitute Roerslev 61 minutes), Pinnock; Mee, Henry, Dasilva (Janelt 61). Nørgaard, Jensen (Damsgaard 82); Mbeumo (M Jorgensen 89), Toney, Wissa (Schade 74). 71).

Southampton: Bazunu; Bree, Bednarek, Salisu, Perraud; Diallo (Sulemana 65), Lavia (Alcaraz 65); Edozie (Walcott 65), Ward-Prowse, Elyounoussi (Onuachu 45); Adams (A Armstrong 81).

Bill Hagerty is a contributing editor of the Bees United supporters’ group.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Turkish charity set up by a group of friends in London raises £150,000 in a day for earthquake relief

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CEO Secrets – Book review

Image above: Dougal Shaw; CEO Secrets

Pearls of wisdom from those who have succeeded in business

Dougal Shaw’s excellent book CEO Secrets is a collection of advice, insights and stories collected by the BBC’s Business news team over the past seven years as famous entrepreneurs and business leaders have pitched up to be interviewed by the BBC.

Unlike the usual business memoirs, ghost-written for those too famous and busy to write their own, you don’t have to plough all through the turgid bits about what their school days were like and whether they got on with their fathers.

This is just the good bits – the golden nuggets of advice and salutary tales from leaders in a range of industries from engineering to fashion: men and women, entrepreneurs and ‘corporate ladder climbers.’ He asked them all the same question: “What’s the advice you wished you had when you started out”.

It is both very useful to anyone who is thinking of running their own business, or already running one and thinking of expanding it, and it is well edited and entertaining enough to be of interest to the general reader. The book is a selection of 47 interviews from the video series recorded between 2015 and 2022and here are a few of the highlights.

Images above: Tom Blomfield; Monzo card

Tom Blomfield – Monzo

There are very few ‘Unicorn’ businesses in the UK -privately held start-up companies which have grown to be valued by investors at $1 billion. We do not have the experience the United States does of building companies like Google or Amazon which become huge global names, but we do have a few.

Tom Blomfield started Monzo, which I only came across because my children got Monzo cards to access their money when they were off travelling. And that’s the point, these so-called ‘challenger banks’ sprouted up from around 2015, Dougal writes, realising that regular customers no longer required a physical bank branch on the high street.

‘A new breed of millennials that had grown up online (with phones and apps in their pockets during adolescence) was happy to bank primarily through an app. Banking is ultimately about trust – and this generation put their trust in online services.’

Tom Blomfield started his career with a management consultancy firm, where he was seen as ‘disruptive’. He realised that he was not suited to working in big organisations where you have to learn to live within the rules. He wanted to make his own rules and his number one piece of advice is “trust your gut”.

He was offered a job with a prestigious city firm.

“A family friend, who used to work in investment banking, took me for a drink in a fancy champagne bar at the top of a tower in central London and told me it would be the worst decision of my life if I turned down this job. I think he chose the bar as a subliminal message: choose the city job and you can have this lifestyle.

“And I thought about what he said for a few days and I turned it down. I started my own business and honestly I haven’t looked back since.”

Saying this, he recognises the privilege involved in that statement.

“I had when I started out two parents, a good education and a stable family background. That meant that if everything went wrong, I could go and live in my parents’ house. There was a safety net there and it’s not true of everyone, and there is evidence that shows that the biggest indicator of entrepreneurial success is whether you have a wealthy family.”

Images above: Justine Roberts, photograph BBC; Mother feeding her baby, image from Mumsnet

Justine Roberts – Mumsnet

Justine Roberts, founder of the online community with over a million registered members and seven million unique users visiting the site each month, nearly gave up before she started because of sexism.

When she floated the idea of reaching other parents to share information and experience with a potential investor, he said he liked the idea but didn’t like her to run it because she “didn’t look the part.” In her mind, she was quite clear that meant “because you are a woman.”

The social forum which has created its own acronyms, such as AIBU (Am I Being Unreasonable), and is considered such an important target audience they are courted by politicians during election campaigns, almost didn’t exist because of that remark.

“I went away from that and I doubted myself. I thought ‘Well, maybe he’s right.’ I almost, almost took him seriously. And then I thought ‘No, I’m not ready to give up just yet.’ ”

Amy Golding of the recruitment company Opus had a similar experience. She was told she was “too girly to be a CEO”.

Images above: Alex Depledge, photograph Breat British Speakers; Cleaner, featured picture on helpling.co.uk, which bought hassle.com

Alex Depledge – Hassle.com

In general, Dougal has found women more ready to share their doubts and failings, which is probably why he also found women preferred to receive business advice from other women.

Alex Depledge, co-founder of the online domestic cleaning platform Hassle.com told him such a disarmingly honest tale that he was quite taken aback.

“She recalled the time, just after she had raised millions in funding, when her husband had found her at home rolled up in a ball, crying on the floor, saying over and over again: ‘I don’t know how to be a CEO.’

“That’s a million miles away from the kind of Wall St, Gordon Gekko stereotype of the alpha-male, all-powerful, super-confident business boss.”

Images above: Devacci fashion brand; Gerald Manu

Gerald Manu – Devacci

Predictably, Black business people also have to deal with negative stereotypes which act as an additional barrier, but they are still shocking when you hear the ordinary every day tales of racism recounted.

Fashion designer Gerald Manu started his business when still at school in south London. He told Dougal how, after promising sales, he arranged a meeting with an angel investor.

“It didn’t go well. The investor told him: ‘I know that if I give you this money, you will most likely blow it all on an expensive lifestyle or spend it recklessly. Why don’t you go and ask other Black, influential, wealthy people in the UK for the money instead?’ ”

Images above: Ojoma Idegwu, photograph BBC; Dearcurves fashio, photograph Dearcurves

Ojoma Idegwu – Dearcurves

Black women of course receive a double whammy. Fashion entrepreneur Ojoma Idegwu, founder of Dearcurves, which specialises in designs for plus size women, is routinely overlooked and says she has to fight twice as hard as white designers to even get a look in.

“I’ve been stared at in disbelief [at business events] when I introduce myself as the owner of Dearcurves. From their reaction you can tell they didn’t expect to see a Black person… I’m often asked again, as if to clarify I am who I ‘claim’ to be! It can end up with them walking away in embarrassment.”

When they spoke in April 2020 Ojoma had four members of staff, including herself, and was shipping her clothing to customers in more than 40 countries. In 2019 her label had been selected to represent Britain as part of a delegation to Sweden, organised by the UK Government’s Department for International Trade. She had even managed to persuade some Hollywood celebrities to wear her creations – “the holy grail of aspiring fashion labels in the digital age.”

Image above: Stephen Allan; image from BBC video

Stephen Allan – MediaCom

I have picked out some of the deeper purple passages, which are to me what makes this book so much more interesting than the usual dry-as-dust ‘how to succeed in business’ books, but CEO Secrets is by no means all garment-rending and emotional sharing. There are some vitally important practical tips.

“Cash is king. Do not run out of money!” says handbag designer Anya Hindmarsh.

“Listen” says Stephen Allan, CEO of global advertising and marketing brand MediaCom.

While the entrepreneur’s mantra is self-belief and perserverance – not being put off by the boulders thrown in your path – Stephen Allan is the other sort of CEO Dougal highlights in the book – the corporate ladder climber. He talks about how to rise up in large organisations, having joined MediaCom in 1982 and taken over as CEO in 2008.

He now runs a business which has more than 8,000 employees in 100 countries, handling accounts for brands such as adidas, Uber and Coca-Cola. When he became CEO one of his first actions was:

“to literally hide myself away for about a month and spend time, one on one, with every single member of the team, no matter what they did in the agency; whether they were front of house or back of house.

“It was one of the best things I ever did, it really informed me on where we needed to go as a business. And actually, in a sense, those people that I spoke to wrote the business plan. All I did then was put it together, edit it and do some prioritization.”

Image above: MediaCom image from their ‘About Us’ page

“Be relentless”

Other than listening, his other big piece of advice is “be relentless”. As a teenager he decided he wanted to get into advertising but did not know anyone in the business. He sent out 82 letter and received 82 rejections.

From a chance meeting at a bus stop, someone introduced him to their next door neighbour who worked in a design team. Through meeting them, he networked his way into some work experience, which gave him a reference.

“I wrote again to many of the same companies that previously rejected me. I managed to get a number of interviews, which then led to me being offered jobs.”

His advice for young people:

“There comes a point in organisations where younger people in particular need to speak up and ‘be in the room’. Sometimes the cleverest person in the room might be the quietest person in the room. And if you are the quietest person in the room – but happen to have the best ideas – no one’s going to know.

“So I think it’s really important we hear about hand-raisers. I think it’s important that people put their hand up and make suggestions. Wherever possible, volunteer to get involved in anything. Be a participant, a doer, a leader, and you won’t go wrong.”

CEO Secrets is published by Bloomsbury business and is available online and in all good bookshops.

Dougal Shaw works in BBC News ‘Money & Work story team’ (formerly known as the Business Unit) and lives in Acton. He frequently draws inspiration for business news stories from west London.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: February 2023 books – Fiction reviews by Dan Coombes

See also: Why the outlook for retail in Chiswick is not as bad as national figures would suggest

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February 2023 books

What’s new and good to read this month? Dan Coombes has a look at what’s on offer and chooses Salman Rushdie’s Victory City, Rebecca Makkai’s I Have Some Questions for You and Samantha Shannon’s A Day of Fallen Night.

Victory City, by Salman Rushdie

The new novel from the bestselling, Booker-Prize winning author Salman Rushdie.

In the wake of an insignificant battle between two long-forgotten kingdoms in fourteenth-century southern India, a nine-year-old girl has a divine encounter that will change the course of history.

After witnessing the death of her mother, the grief-stricken Pampa Kampana becomes a vessel for a goddess, who tells her that she will be instrumental in the rise of a great city called Bisnaga – literally ‘victory city’ – the wonder of the world.

Over the next two hundred and fifty years, Pampa Kampana’s life becomes deeply interwoven with Bisnaga’s as she attempts to make good on the task that the goddess set for her: to give women equal agency in a patriarchal world.

But all stories have a way of getting away from their creator, and as years pass, rulers come and go, battles are won and lost, and allegiances shift, Bisnaga is no exception…

Images above: Victory City; Sir Salman Rushdie

I Have Some Questions for You, by Rebecca Makkai

From one of America’s most critically acclaimed modern writers and the Pulitzer-nominated author of The Great Believers

Bodie Kane is content to forget her past: the family tragedy that marred her adolescence, her four largely miserable years at a New Hampshire boarding school, and the 1995 murder of a classmate.

Though the circumstances surrounding the death and the conviction of the school’s athletics coach, Omar Evans, are the subject of intense fascination online, Bodie prefers to let sleeping dogs lie. But when The Granby School invites her back to teach, Bodie finds herself inexorably drawn to the case and its increasingly apparent flaws.

In their rush to convict Omar, did the school and the police overlook other suspects? Is the real killer still out there? As she falls down the very rabbit hole she was so determined to avoid, Bodie begins to wonder if she wasn’t as much of an outsider at Granby as she’d thought-if, perhaps, back in 1995, she knew something that might have held the key to solving the case.

Rebecca Makkai reinvents herself with each of her brilliant novels. Both a transfixing mystery and a deeply felt examination of one woman’s reckoning with her past, I Have Some Questions for You is her finest achievement yet.

Images above: Rebecca Makkai; I Have Some Questions for You

A Day of Fallen Night

From the award-winning writer of Tik-Tok sensation The Priory Of The Orange Tree comes a standalone fantasy epic that takes us back to this mesmerising, magical world.

Tunuva Melim is a sister of the Priory. For fifty years, she has trained to slay wyrms – but none have appeared since the Nameless One, and the younger generation is starting to question the Priory’s purpose.

The dragons of the East have slept for centuries. Dumai has spent her life in a Seiikinese mountain temple, trying to wake the gods from their long slumber. Now someone from her mother’s past is coming to upend her fate.

When they are suddenly thrust into an age of terror and violence, these women must find the strength to protect humankind from a devastating threat. A Day of Fallen Night sweeps readers back to the world of A Priory of the Orange Tree, showing us a course of events that shaped it for generations to come.

Images above: A Day of Fallen Night; Samantha Shannon

Dan Coombes

Dan Coombes is a bookseller at Bookcase, an independent bookshop open in Chiswick since 1993. A specialist in science fiction, Dan has been a bookseller for 15 years.

See all The Chiswick Calendar’s previous monthly book reviews here.

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W4 Youth perform at Chiswick Flower Market to raise money for youth club

Images above: W4 Youth’s dance troupe, founder W4 Youth member & singer Aliché at Chiswick Flower Market; photos by Anna Kunst

Parent’s vision on track to become a reality

Young people from W4 Youth performed at Chiswick Flower Market on Sunday (5 February) in order to help raise awareness and money for their new youth centre. Aliché, a founder W4 Youth member, sang to the crowd and the W4 Youth dance group entertainted them with some confident and well rehearsed moves.

Sally Chacatté, founder and chair of W4 Youth, created the charity after her son was shot in the face with an air gun one afternoon after school. Her mission is to build a youth and community centre to give the young people of Chiswick and south Acton somewhere safe to go and something good to do seven days a week.

That aspiration is soon to be realised, as the charity is now in a joint venture with Ealing Council to develop the youth & community centre in Southfield Park by 2025.

Image above: the current facilities at Southfield Park

W4 Youth chair ‘delighted’ to announce temporary home

Sally said:

“We were delighted to be invited along to the Chiswick Flower Market to share the news that we will have a temporary home in Southfield Recreation Ground from February 2023 and share the plans for our new youth & community building for which we’ve recently started raising money.

“We will be at a number of community events over the coming weeks and months including the Chiswick Cheese Market, a Padel Tennis tournament at Rocks Lane and an official opening of our temporary home. We’ll be partnering with Brentford FC to provide football and youth provision once our temporary home is in place.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Famous faces join opening of ‘Rainbow Junction’ on Chiswick High Rd

See also: Parking wardens in LB Hounslow on strike for one month

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Famous faces join opening of ‘Rainbow Junction’ on Chiswick High Rd

Image above: Chiswick celebrities pose at the rainbow crossing

Clare Balding, Harry Judd and Nicki Chapman join launch

Celebrity guests, smiling faces and laughter welcomed Chiswick’s new rainbow crossings, dubbed ‘Rainbow Junction’, on Friday (3 February).

Famous faces at the 10.00am opening event included broadcasters (and spouses) Clare Balding and Alice Arnold, McFly drummer Harry Judd and TV & radio presenter Nicki Chapman.

The group posed crossing the newly painted rainbow crossings at the junction of Chiswick High Rd, Turnham Green Terrace and Annandale Rd with the Leader of Hounslow council, Shantanu Rajawat, Aubrey Crawley, founder of West London Queer Project, Ollie Saunders, one of the directors of the Chiswick Flower Market, and members of the Actonians Womens’ football team, while a coterie of amateur and professional photographers sought to get better pictures.

With colours representing the Progressive Pride flag, the crossings celebrate LGBTQ+ people and Black Lives Matter. Work to bring the initiative to fruition has been going on in the background for around two years.

The initial idea of having a rainbow crossing in place of one of the existing zebra crossings in Chiswick was ditched because colours on the road make it difficult for visually impaired people and guide dogs to recognise as a crossing. It was decided instead to put the rainbow crossings at a junction which already had tactile signs and audible signals for blind and visually impaired people, to overcome that problem.

One of Chiswick’s blind residents, Eran, who uses a guide dog, told us:

“As long as the tactiles and the crossing buttons stay the same I am really not bothered what colour it is.”

READ ALSO: Chiswick reacts to the new rainbow crossings with bemused tolerance

The crossings have been organised by the West London Queer Project and Chiswick Flower Market director Ollie Saunders, with the support of Chiswick Councillor Ranjit Gill, one of the Conservative group of councillors on Hounslow Council, who is himself gay.

Hounslow Council paid for the project, which cost  “in the region of £35K”, describing it as a “vivid demonstration of our commitment to LGBT+ rights”. Perhaps nervous of the reaction at a time when Council Tax is expected to be raised in the budget meeting at the end of the month, they told us:

“Whilst we acknowledge the financial pressure on our budget, equally as a Council, it is important that we raise awareness of equality issues and given the rapid growth of WLQP we know our LGBT+ community value the fact that they are beginning to feel more recognised and supported.”

The Council has also supported West London Queer Project’s work on wellbeing and social connection through Thriving Communities funding.

Images above: Clare Balding poses with Actonians Womens’ team, Clare Balding, Alice Arnold, Aubrey Crawley and Harry Judd pose in front of one of the crossings (left to right)

Celebrating diversity

Sports broadcaster and Chiswick resident Clare Balding told The Chiswick Calendar:

“It’s brilliant. I think it looks great and it’s going to become a real point of interest, I think lots of people are going to want photos. It just celebrates complete diversity and I love it.”

Shadia Edwards-Dashti, who plays for Actonians Womens’ team, said:

“Today is all about the community. We want to kick out homophobia out of football. Actonians is a very inclusive club and that’s at the heart of our team.”

Chiswick resident and BBC Radio 2 host and TV presenter Nicki Chapman told us:

“What they’ve done is amazing, it’s inclusive and I defy anyone to walk down the High Rd without it putting a smile on their face.”

Leader of Hounslow Council Shantanu Rajawat said:

“This is a fantastic initiative. WLQP make an amazing contribution to our community and it’s fitting start to LGBT history month.”

He added:

“Hounslow is a borough where everyone is welcome regardless of sexual orientation or identity.  WLQP have grown from a small group of friends to a borough wide organisation of more than 5,000 members in under a year; a clear indication of the need for our LGBT+ community to have a voice, recognition, and support.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Teachers strike closes or partially shuts swathe of schools in Chiswick and west London

See also: Ealing Lib Dems criticise Council over green space proposals

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London Assembly Member for South west London considers running for Mayor

Image above: London Assembly Member Nicholas Rogers

London Assembly member believes he is best suited to beat Sadiq Khan

Nicholas Rogers, the London Assembly Member for South West London, has said he is considering running as as the Conservative’s candidate for Mayor of London.

Mr Rogers, who represents the boroughs of Hounslow, Richmond-upon-Thames and Kingston-upon-Thames, said:

“I have been considering it for a while, and I’ve been speaking to colleagues and also thinking a bit about what we as a party need to do in order to win the next mayoral election.

“I think the choice of our candidate is so important, because we need to run a campaign that strikes the right tone and talks to the right people and hits the right issues.

“The tone has to be one of positivity, it really does. It needs to be a positive, forward-looking optimistic campaign that recognises London is the greatest city in the world, but the best can still get better.”

Image above: Nicholas Rogers campaigning in Hounslow in 2021

“Who better to stand up for millennial Londoners than a millennial Londoner?”

If nominated as the Mayoral candidate, Mr Rogers said he would pursue a policy platform which engages millennials, something which he says the Conservative Party is failing to do, an issue he describes as an existential threat. He said:

“We need to address it. The place to do that, I’m convinced, is in our next mayoral campaign. That’s the place we can do that. I think it’s actually an opportunity for the party,” he said.

“In London, we can get out ahead of this issue. We can set the tone for the party in the rest of the country. Who better to stand up for millennial Londoners than a millennial Londoner?”

Mr Rogers said his party needed to make “solid offerings” for millennial Londoners, including a “manifesto for renters”, with specific policies for people who don’t yet own their own home in the capital.

Mr Rogers, 37, was elected to his incumbent role on 6 May 2021 winning the seat by a majority of 12,267 and 31.9% of the vote. SW London has historically been a safe seat for the Conservatives’ London Assembly, having previously been held by the veteran Conservative politician Tony Arbour since its creation in 2000.

Unlike his predecessor, Mr Rogers is a prolific Tweeter and often engages with policy issues and political opponents directly on Twitter. During the 2021 London Assembly campaign, while paying tribute to Tony Arbour’s time in office, he pledged to modernise the representation of the seat by being “active, visible and present” through utilising social media.

Image above: proposed boundaries for the ULEZ expansion

ULEZ expansion plans ‘have made Sadiq Khan vulnerable’

The Assembly Member said he was confident Khan is beatable at the next election and that the incumbent Mayor’s plans to expand the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) have made him vulnerable.

Rogers frequently criticises the Mayor’s ULEZ expansion plans, saying the issue is uniting people across the political divide. He said if he were mayor, he would scrap the change.

Polling carried out by YouGov in October 2022 commissioned by City Hall showed that 51% of Londoners supported the ULEZ expansion, while only 21% opposed.

Critics believe Mr Rogers may face an uphill battle should he choose to use ULEZ expansion as main point of attack to win back millennial voters, since implementation of the ULEZ expansion polled as even more popular among those under 50, with 56% saying they support it compared to 21% who oppose it.

Local environmentalist and cycling enthusiast Paul Campbell said on Twitter:

Nick Rogers (⁦@NJROnline⁩) on how the Conservatives need to win millennial voters to restore their fortunes in London. While complaining about ULEZ. Because millennial Londoners are famously pro-pollution and anti-environment”.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: “Underpaid, overworked and undervalued”, nurses strike at Charing Cross Hospital

See also: Famous faces join opening of ‘Rainbow Junction’ on Chiswick High Rd

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Chiswick reacts to the new rainbow crossings with bemused tolerance

Image above: Rainbow crossing at the junction of Chiswick High Rd and Turnham Green Terrace

Four new crossings to promote “love and inclusivity” says Cllr Ranjit Gill

The newly painted rainbow crossings at the junction of Chiswick High Rd, Turnham Green Terrace and Annandale Rd took most people by surprise this morning.

They appeared overnight and workmen will be back again to finish them tonight, before a grand opening ceremony at 10am on Friday.

“What are they for?” was the baffled reaction of most customers talking about them in Snappy Snaps, on the corner between two of the crossings. None the wiser, most were of the opinion that whatever they were for, it was nice that they brightened the place up.

The colours in the crossings are those of the Progressive Pride flag, which celebrates LGBTQ people and also Black Lives Matter. The crossings have been organised by the West London Queer Project and Ollie Saunders, one of the directors of Chiswick Flower Market, with the support of Chiswick Councillor Ranjit Gill, one of the Conservative group of councillors on Hounslow Council, who is himself gay.

Cllr Ranjit Gill

“I took it up with the Council to bring it to their attention that we needed it” Ranjit told The Chiswick Calendar. “It’s an all-inclusive thing to show that everybody needs to be included in our community, whether they are gay or transgender, Black, whoever they are.

“Unfortunately, homophobia still exists. You can see some people are against this, but we are all tax-payers and we all need to be included. All other boroughs are doing this, so Hounslow should too.

“Youngsters these days should be made aware that you can be who you are and express yourself, whoever you are.”

Ranjit and his partner of 43 years Peter have both experience homophobic abuse.

Aubrey Crawley

Aubrey Crawley, founder of the West London Queer Project, told The Chiswick Calendar:

“I know some people will say it’s a waste of money but for me to have seen something like that growing up would have meant a lot. It’s a real public affirmation of support.”

Not a problem for guide dogs

The crossings have been a subject of discussion on social media today, with a few making comments such as: ‘World’s gone bonkers’ and ‘We are all going loopy.’

Critics more or less fell into two camps – cyclists who were concerned that the safety markings had disappeared, perhaps not aware that there is another night of work still to be done on the crossings – and those who thought the rainbow crossings would be dangerous for visually impaired people because guide dogs would not be able to distinguish them as crossings.

Image above: Rainbow crossing on Chiswick High Rd 

Dogs are colour blind, at least they have a don’t appreciate the entire spectrum of colour that humans do. They can only discern blue and yellow.

The initial idea was for there to be a rainbow zebra crossing, which Transport for London vetoed because of the issues with visually impaired people and guide dogs not being to recognise colours as easily as they might a black and white crossing.

After more than two years of discussion, TfL and Hounslow Council agreed there could be rainbow crossings at this crossroads, because it has audible crossing signals for visually impaired people already in place.

One of Chiswick’s blind residents, Eran, who uses a guide dog, told us:

“As long as the tactiles and the crossing buttons stay the same I am really not bothered what colour it is.”

Image above: Rainbow crossing on Chiswick High Rd 

A kind and welcoming community

Ollie Saunders told us:

“I think it adds something different and very colourful to our corner of West London!

“Rainbow Crossings have been popping up in recent years in towns and cities across the UK and Europe, so I thought that it would be great to have one in Chiswick – to say that it’s okay to gay (or whoever you are), that it’s a kind and welcoming community here, and that W4 is a great place to visit or live in.

“Having a junction of four crossings is a new and bold thing to do and people across London are already noticing that Chiswick has done this after less than 24 hours – that says a lot.”

TV presenter and Chiswick resident Nicki Chapman will be at the opening at 10am on Friday 3 February, along with organisers Aubrey Crawley, Ollie Saunders and Cllr Ranjit Gill and Leader of Hounslow Council Shantanu Rajawat.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Teachers strike closes or partially shuts swathe of schools in Chiswick and west London

See also: Ealing Lib Dems criticise Council over green space proposals

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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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.

Teachers strike closes or partially shuts swathe of schools in Chiswick and west London

Image above: Supporters of the teachers’ strike from Hounslow on the march in central London 

Chiswick School, Hogarth, Cavendish and SotG schools closed or partially closed

The first of three teachers’ strikes affecting London schools took place on Wednesday (1 February), shutting or partially shutting a swathe of schools in Chiswick and across west London.

Some schools were partially open, such as Chiswick School and Strand on the Green Juniors, whereas others, including William Hogarth, Cavendish primary and Strand on the Green Infants were closed completely.

The National Education Union (NEU) announced the strike action across the UK following its ballot of teacher members in pursuit of  a “fully funded, above-inflation pay rise for teachers”.

The National Education Union said Education Secretary Gillian Keegan had “squandered an opportunity” to avoid Wednesday’s strike action, after talks on Monday ended without resolution.

The next strike action will be taken by NEU members in Wales on 14 February. On 28 February, members in the north of England, Yorkshire and Humber will go on strike, followed by a day of action on 1 March in the Midlands and east of England, and on 2 March in London, the south-east and south-west.

The final two days of action on 15 and 16 March will involve all eligible NEU members in England and Wales.

Image above: Lucilla Fermi outside Strand on the Green Junior School, SotGJ School

“It’s all about the children at the end of the day”

Lucilla Fermi, a parent who was waiting outside Strand on the Green Junior School on Wednesday afternoon, said she “completely supports” the teachers’ strikes and says there is “absolutely loads” of supports from parents. She told The Chiswick Calendar:

“There’s more and more pressure on schools and staff and the strikes aren’t just about pay, they’re about working conditions which then affect the children, and it’s all about the children at the end of the day.”

Lucilla works as a year 1 teacher in Richmond, which is where she had spent the day supporting striking teachers. There was no picket line outside Strand on the Green Juniors, but Lucilla still had her NEU flag and was waving it in line to collect children with the other parents, many of whom looked on with a smile.

“We’re working too hard and our mental health is affected, then it goes down to the children and their mental health is affected. We work very long hours and it’s a really difficult job.

“All of the parents I’ve spoke to have given us nothing but positive feedback.”

Lucilla said she was hopeful the Government would listen to the demands of teachers, but said it probably wouldn’t happen after just one strike. She said more strikes would be necessary to bring the Government round the bargaining table.

Support from parents and teachers on social media

 

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick to have four rainbow crossings

See also: Sylvia Syms dies

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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Application to convert Duke of York pub to flats approved

Image above: Duke of York pub, Devonshire Rd

No demand for the building as a commercial premises 

Hounslow Council has approved plans to turn the ground floor of the old Duke of York pub in Devonshire Rd into two modern, two-bedroomed flats. The building already has a three bedroomed flat above.

The site, on the corner of Devonshire Road and Fraser St, has been vacant since 2018. The planning application claimed a change of use for the building was justified as a new business could not thrive there due to its ‘poor location’.

The owners, Willmotts, have tried to let the property to a new landlord but had received no serious interest. A letter from them attached to the planning application stated:

“Since the start of Covid in March 2020 we have had no enquiries, this just demonstrates the lack of need for a commercial premise within the location of this property.”

The previous tenant was evicted in 2018 and then squatters moved in, leaving the condition of the building in a ‘horrendous’ state by the time they left in April 2020, according to the report.

Image above: CGI of the new flats inside the Duke of York in Chiswick; photograph Tsuruta Architects

Renovations hope to restore original exterior of building

New openings to rear and flank walls will be added to the existing building, together with an attic-level balcony. The street-facing facade will be upgraded, in order to bring them back to what the architect believes was the building’s original condition. The original design used architectural terracotta, which can be seen on the ground floor external walls.

The application was submitted by Tsuruta Architects, established by Japanese architect Taro Tsuruta, who worked with other design practices, including Portcullis House in Westminster, before setting up his own studio.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick to have four rainbow crossings

See also: Teachers’ strike Wednesday 1 February – how it affects schools in Chiswick

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.