Mary Fedden painting sells for £23,750

Image above: The Fish Pot

Mary Fedden and Julian Trevelyan – the original ‘Artists At Home’

A painting by Chiswick artist Mary Fedden has been sold at Chiswick Auctions for £23,750. The painting, The Fish Pot, went for considerably more than expected in the Modern British and Irish Art sale on 29 March.

The pre-sale guide price was £10k – £15. A second painting, Still Life with Milk Jug, sold for £7,500. Its guide price was £7k – £10k.

Mary and her husband Julian Trevelyan started the tradition of open studios in Chiswick and Hammersmith, ‘Artists At Home‘, which is celebrating its fiftieth year this year.

A painter in the Britisn Modernist tradition, Mary was the first woman tutor to teach at Royal College of Art, where David Hockey, Patrick Caulfield, Allen Jones and R.B. Kitaj were all pupils.

Originally from Bristol, she studied at the Slade School of Art and moved to Chiswick in 1949 to live with Julian at Durham Wharf on Chiswick Mall, where she continued to paint until she died, aged 96, in 2012.

Image above: Still Life with Milk Jug

‘Playful, whimsical subject matter’

Chiswick Auctions describe her work as: ‘characterized by bold, bright colours, simplified forms, and playful, whimsical subject matter, it is particularly admired for its sense of joy and optimism.

‘Her work often featured still-life objects, landscapes, and animals, and was deeply influenced by her travels in Italy and France.’

Still Life with Milk Jug has a guide price of £7k – £10k. The Fish Pot is advertised at £10k – £15.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Clean sweep for Cambridge in the Boat Race

See also: Boat Race focuses attention on Hammersmith Bridge

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Thames Water urged to fix leaks before swapping out river water with treated sewage

Image above: A burst water main on Bath Road in January 2023

Agency criticises plans to swap 75 million litres of water from Teddington weir with treated sewage 

Thames Water has been told by the Environment Agency it needs to do more to fix the 630m litres of water lost in leaks each day before it starts taking water from the River Thames or from Wales to tackle drought problems.

The water firm says it needs to increase domestic water supplies to cope with a rising population and the risk of future droughts and has proposed taking 75 million litres of water a day from the Thames upstream of Teddington Weir and replacing it with treated effluent

The Environment Agency warned the company must justify it is making the right decisions, especially when the proposed scheme carries “substantial risk”. Thames Water itself has previously admitted replacing the water with treated effluent potentially poses a threat to river life.

READ ALSO: Plans to swap out water from River Thames with treated sewage meet resistance

The company has made a number of proposals and set up public consultation meetings at various points along the Thames, from Cirencester, to Oxford, Abingdon and Reading. There have been meetings in Paddington and Richmond, but nothing organised in Brentford or Chiswick by either Thames Water or Hounslow Council.

The Environment Agency said alternative schemes would cost more but the company “needs to consider whether the short-term costs are outweighed by better long-term benefits”. It also warned the security of water supply will be at risk if the company does not drastically reduce leaks and customer demand for water.

Image above: A burst water main at Chalker’s Corner in December 2022

Thames Water leaks “more water than any other company”

Thames Water’s initial version of the scheme was rejected in 2019 over concerns about unacceptable impacts on the environment. The Environment Agency said Thames Water had reintroduced the scheme and made “substantial improvements”, but it still has reservations about the impact on the environment and long-term viability.

The report says:

“Given that the Teddington direct river abstraction has not yet been shown to be feasible or environmentally acceptable, the company should ensure alternatives are progressed. Thames Water should ensure any options selected are resilient, reliable and do not cause any adverse environmental impacts.”

The Environmental Agency also urged the company to explore how to “substantially reduce leakage” beyond the 50% reduction target it has set by 2050.

It said Thames Water “leaks more water than any other company” and while it welcomed the company’s ambition to reduce leaks, added it “must demonstrate it can deliver its ambition”.

Image above: Artists impression of the drainage infrastructure planned for the River Thames

Environment Agency urge Thames water to “develop alternative options”

An Environment Agency spokesperson said:

“The whole of the South East is determined as being in serious water stress. Climate change and population growth mean we need to take action now to ensure resilient water supplies are available to meet the needs of all users in the future.

“We require further evidence that the direct river abstraction proposal put forward by Thames Water would not have adverse impacts on the environment, along with proof of its long-term viability in light of climate change.

“We urge Thames Water to produce this evidence as quickly as possible and develop alternative options to ensure that it can deliver a secure supply of water for its customers for the next 25 years and beyond.”

Images above: sewage in the River Thames by Chiswick Riverside 

Thames Water claim water quality will not be negatively impacted

Thames Water claim they have met leakage reduction targets for the last three years, cutting leaks by more than 10% from 2017/18 levels and aiming for a 50% reduction by 2050. A Thames Water spokesperson said:

“Reducing leakage is a priority for us and is one of the foundations of the plan. Even with an ambitious target of halving leakage by 2050 we still need more storage in the future to account for growing population demand and climate change.”

“We are repairing over 1,300 leaks per week – whether they are visible or hidden below ground across 20,000 miles of pipes across our network – that’s one leak every 7.5 minutes. We’re also working with our customers to reduce leakage from their water pipes, which make up a third of our total leakage.”

Thames Water said the Teddington scheme is only a potential option, along with others including a new reservoir near Abingdon and water transfer from the River Severn to the Thames, and that it would not negatively impact water quality. The spokesperson added:

“We’ve worked closely with the Environment Agency throughout the consultation process and in developing the scheme. We are now carefully reviewing their feedback on our draft water resources management plan, including comments regarding proposed river abstraction at Teddington.

“As the scheme is only at the conceptual design stage the precise locations have not been confirmed. If the scheme is taken forward, there will be detailed option appraisal and design work, where we will carry out engagement and consultation with the local community.

“The scheme will not negatively impact the river water quality. The treated wastewater effluent taken from Mogden sewage treatment works would go through an additional stage of treatment to ensure there is no deterioration to the water quality in the river. This would also compensate for the volume of water abstracted from the river.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Acton Park rapist jailed after DNA breakthrough in 2004 case

See also: Riverside Studios enters administration process

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Having a street party for the coronation?

Image above: Jubilee street party in Chiswick; photograph Jennifer Griffiths

Free beer and singalongs (the modern equivalent of the Roman emperors’ ‘bread and circuses’)

I am getting the sense that there are not so many street parties being planned for the coronation bank holiday as there were for the Jubilee last year, yet there is funding available from the local councils and free beer from Fuller’s, who have a Coronation ale created specially for the coronation of King Charles III.

Hounslow Council has so far had 18 applications to close the road for street parties, eight of which have come from Chiswick, and they have had two applications from Chiswick for community funding.

The coronation takes place on Saturday 6 May. Chiswick Cinema is planning to screen it live, with a lunchtime tea service and we have an extra bank holiday to celebrate it on the Monday, 8 May, bringing the bank holiday total for April and May to five days this year.

Image above: Last year’s Big Sing for the Jubilee at St Michael & All Angels Church

The Big Sing for the King – Saturday 6 May

Following the success of last year’s ‘Big Jubilee Sing’ for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, St Michael & All Angels Church and The Tabard pub are inviting Chiswick residents to celebrate the coronation with ‘The Big Sing for the King’ on the Saturday afternoon, on the piazza and lawn outside St Michael & All Angels Parish Hall.

Singers will be provided with song sheets and there will be a lead singer and an outdoor bar.

Fr Kevin Morris, the vicar of St Michael & All Angels, and John Higginson, landlord of The Tabard, say:

“We were delighted so many people came and sang last year – and many told us they wanted to do it again. We’ll be singing some of last year’s favourites and some new ones, including several by performers and songwriters from Chiswick and Ealing.”

‘The Big Sing for the King’ has been scheduled to run from 4.30 to 5.45pm on Saturday May 6th so as not to clash with any ‘Big Lunch’ street parties and events taking place on the Saturday and Sunday of the Coronation weekend.

Image above: You will be seeing this flyer for the Strand on the Green Lunch; Jubilee street party; photograph Ollie Mathews

Lunch on the Green – Sunday 7 May

The Strand on the Green Association (SoGA) is holding a street party on the Sunday, much like it did last year for the Jubilee, but with tables laid out along the grass opposite the Steam Packet pub so people can participate in a community lunch.

Lunch on the Green will be open to all and you can either bring your own picnic or buy food from the Steam Packet or the Bell & Crown, or other local traders who will have stalls.

The tables and chairs under cover will be free to use and there will be live music from 12 noon, with sideshows and activities for all the family throughout the afternoon. You might have a ride on the Fuller’s dray, drawn by their beautiful Suffolk Punch horses, or take a tour with a Blue Badge guide. There will also be home made cakes on sale.

If you fancy helping out, Lucy Cufflin and Ann Collins will be delighted to hear from you: lucycufflin@gmail.com / ann.soga@yahoo.com

Image above: The Great Conservatory at Syon Park

A free visit to the gardens of the Duke of Northumberland at Syon Park – Monday 8 May

Syon House, the London home of the Dukes of Northumberland, the Percy family, for over 400 years, is throwing open the gates for people to visit the gardens and Great Conservatory for free on the Monday.

No need to book they say, just bring a coronation picnic, dress up in your most royal costume and wear your tiara. There will be crafts, facepainting and storytelling for the children.

Money available for community events from Hounslow and Ealing Councils

There is money available from the local councils for community events.

Hounslow Council say there is not a specific Coronation focused grant, but:

“With a host of Coronation plans announced by the Palace, including the Big Lunch on Sunday 7 May and the Big Help Out on Monday 8 May, communities are being invited to come together to share friendship, fun and food, and take part in a day dedicated to good causes.

“To support residents who plan to host community-led events, Hounslow Council will be waiving all street party fees and offering grants of up to £1000 through the Council’s Thriving Communities Fund.

Residents will need to apply for funding by 9am on Monday 17 April 2023. Find more information on how to apply at www.hounslow.gov.uk/smallgrants

Ealing Council say they are also removing the fee for closing a road for coronation street parties and they are offering up to £150 to help out with the costs. Applications need to be made to Ealing by 7 April and late applicaitons will not be considered!

See how to apply here: Ealing Council / The King’s Coronation

Images above: Fuller’s Griffin Brewery

Beer available from the Fuller’s Griffin Brewery

To celebrate the coronation of Charles III and his wife, Camilla, as king and queen consort of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms, Fuller’s Brewery is giving away ten casks of beer to street parties being organised as part of the Big Coronation Lunch.

The competition is open to any street party which has registered with the Eden Project’s Coronation Big Lunch programme, whether in Chiswick or further afield, but winners will need to collect their casks from the Brewery shop in person.

Winners can also enjoy a guided tasting with one of the brewing team, followed by a quick lesson in how to prepare and tap a cask (all kit will be provided)

For the chance to win a cask for your local street party, simply fill in this form before Monday 17 April and you’ wil be entered into the ballot.

New Coronation King’s ale

The brewry is bringing out a special ale for the occasion, described as ‘a rich and flavourful strong ale, at 5.5% strength.

‘Rich mahogany in colour, our Coronation Ale tempts with aromas of orange marmalade, balanced by soft malt toffee.

‘The Huell Melon hops add melon, strawberry and apricot notes alonfside hints of citrus fruit – while the Pale Ale and Crystal malts bring distinctive biscuity flavours.

‘A smooth, delicate bitterness lingers on the palate to give a supreme finish.”

Let’s hope their Majesties appreciate it!

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Clean sweep for Cambridge in the Boat Race

See also: Boat Race focuses attention on Hammersmith Bridge

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Air – Andrea’s film review

Air ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ½ – Review by Andrea Carnevali

Follows the history of shoe salesman Sonny Vaccaro, and how he led Nike in its pursuit of the greatest athlete in the history of basketball: Michael Jordan. Out in cinemas from 5 April.

In his official nineth collaboration with his long-time friend Matt Damon (who can forget their Oscar glory from the Good Will Hunting days?), Ben Affleck brings the story of how Nike (yes, the sport label), signed the then relatively-unknown Michael Jordan to their brand and revolutionised the world of sports.

Yes, I know, on paper that doesn’t probably sound the most appealing pitch for a film, and yet, despite the fact that this is essentially just about people talking in rooms and on their phones, Air manages to work even for somebody like me,  who has very little interest (and time) for sports and movies about sports in general. In fact, I’ll go even further and say that this was by far the most entertaining film I’ve seen so far this year.

It is of course mostly all down to a smart and funny script by newcomer Alex Convery, a great ensemble cast, which includes the ever-reliable Viola Davis (who plays Jordan’s mother, Deloris), Jason Bateman and the surprisingly hilarious Chris Messina.

But of course, most of all, it’s all down to the director at the helm, Ben Affleck, whose work behind the camera makes it all look effortless.

His directorial decisions, whether the choice never to show Jordan himself, or his use of archive footage and his style of film making in general are all spot on.

There was a time when his attachment to any project was almost a mark of shame (Gigli, Daredevil, Pearl Harbor anyone?), but it has to be said most of his directorial choices have been right from the start: his dramatic thrillers Gone Baby Gone (2007) and The Town (2010) showcase a great flair for telling stories about working class people living in Boston, while of course his Oscar winning Argo (2012) cemented his status and earned him some real credibility to the point that to this day, we are still able to forgive him for the abysmal recent Batman DC movies.

This film has a palpable and infectious energy right from the start and Affleck’s choices of music, film clips, brands and styles of film making show clear love and devotion for the ‘80s (or specifically 1984). The film even looks and feels like it could have been shot back then and that’s probably one of the best compliments I can give it.

Yes, you’ll probably feel a bit dirty having to root for a big corporation to succeed and there are moments of rousing American speeches which are on the edge of being palatable, and of course we all know how it’s going to end, but the audience I saw this with, in a packed cinema, lapped it up and the spontaneous applause at the end was definitely a proof this will leave very few people disappointed.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick, and a co-creator of the Chiswick In Film festival.

Air is on in cinemas from 5 April.

See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali

Chiswick In Film festival: Chiswick In Film festival will be back next year

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

‘Just Like That’ the Tommy Cooper show comes to the Tabard in Chiswick

Image above: John Hewer as Tommy Cooper; photograph Steve Ullathorne

“A goldmine of comic material”, most of which has never been seen by today’s audiences

Tommy Cooper used to live in Chiswick, in Barrowgate Rd, where there is now a blue plaque to mark his house. Famously he died on stage, doing his act, entertaining the audience with magic tricks which mostly ‘went wrong’ and telling gags to cover his ’embarrassment’.

“He absolutely loved touring” says John Hewer, who is performing a one man show of his magic tricks and gags at the Tabard on Sunday (2 April). “He loved appearing in working men’s clubs. Some of his contemporaries, like Frankie Howerd, once they were on TV, stopped touring, but he didn’t, which is why so much of his material was never recorded.”

With the permission of Tommy’s daughter, John has set about recreating the act to bring the genius of Tommy Cooper to a whole new generation.

John was not born until several years after Tommy Cooper had died, but was brought up on his comedy, introduced to it by his father. He appreciates the work of the wartime generation of comedy actors – Ronnie Barker, Alastair Sim, Terry Thomas, Margaret Rutherford and shows such as Fawlty Towers and Dad’s Army which entertained the baby boomer generation.

It was when he came home from an unpleasant encounter with a dentist and thought “what can I do to cheer myself up?” that he hit on the idea of making a show fron Tommy Cooper’s scripts, watching his old videos.

“70% his output is no longer available to watch because it was performed live on stage and never recorded.”

Image above: John Hewer as Tommy Cooper in Just Like That

“Impish, childlike humour – There was nothing satirical, political or nasty”

John describes himself as primarily an actor and a writer, definitely not a comedian himself, but a character actor. His show is not in the style of Tommy Cooper or inspired by Tommy Cooper. In Just Like That he is doing his level best to be Tommy Cooper, impersonating his mannerisms and using his scripts.

I asked if anyone who knew the real Tommy Cooper had seen the show. Yes, he said, both the actor Leslie Phillips, who had performed with him, and Barry Cryer, who had written for him, had seen the show.

“Barry Cryer was kind enough to say there were moments when he felt his old mucker was there with him on the stage again.”

For those young enough not to have seen him on television, whose parents did not provide them with the singular education John’s did, Tommy Cooper is instantly recognisable by his red fez and catchline ‘Just like that’ (as in: How did he do a trick? “Just like that”, with a swish of the hands).

“His humour was innocent, impish, childlike. There was nothing satirical, political or nasty. It was the biggest in-joke in the industry that here was a guy who really could do magic, pretending he couldn’t do it.

“He got the tricks right about one in five times and always seemed surprised at the outcome, which made the act feel fresh, and he hung all the shaggy dog stories, the ‘dad’ jokes around the magic.”

Image above: John Hewer as Tommy Cooper; photograph Jack Lovett

“The joy of Tommy Cooper is you can put a fez on anyone and immediately they’re Tommy Cooper. My job is to sustain it over an hour and a half”

John had previously made a successful show from the lost episodes of Tony Hancock, so he already had a good reputation for treating his subject’s material sensitively when he approached Tommy’s daughter Victoria for the rights.

She wanted to know his motivation and was satisfied that the show was a genuine homage, that John just wanted to bring her father’s genius to a new audience and get paid for mining a “goldmine” of comic scripts.

The show is the product of many hours of study, watching and re-watching videos and transcribing gags, getting his timing and his mannerisms, and picking up his rhythm.

“If I do a trick wrong unintentionally, I feel bad.”

At six foot three he has Tommy Cooper’s presence, but he does not look like him. Does it matter?

“The joy of Tommy Cooper is you can put a fez on anyone and immediately they’re Tommy Cooper. My job is to sustain it over an hour and a half.”

Which he does with the help of his good friend Christopher Peters and a piano. Just Like That is presented by Theatre at the Tabard on Sunday 2 April. Tickets from the theatre website.

tabard.org.uk

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Vanessa Redgrave and Stephen Frears wow audience at Chiswick Cinema 

See also: Two one-man plays by Mark Farrelly – Theatre at the Tabard

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.

Episode 116: From teenage record breaker to players’ champion: James Harris of Glamorgan and the PCA

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.

After a record-breaking early start in county cricket for Glamorgan, James Harris is back with them after spells with Middlesex and Kent. He has also begun his second term as chair of the Professional Cricketers Association. He is the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast. In this edition Roger Alton replaces Peter as co-host.


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James has just returned from Glamorgan’s pre-season tour of Zimbabwe. He gives an upbeat account of the country and its cricket. 1-2 minutes

He looks forward to reconnecting with his colleague Marnus Labuschagne, who will be rejoining the county in advance of the Ashes series. He describes him as a great player who has kept the eagerness of a 12-year-old. 3 minutes

He gives an overview of the PCA. Its founder, Fred Rumsey of Somerset and England, had found it hard to recruit among the generally conservative cricketers of the 1960s. But this was not true today: membership for first-class cricketers was almost automatic, as they took stock of its wide range of services at a very reasonable subscription. It represented professional players in the first-class game, present and past (for life if they wanted). Present membership was 475 men and 99 women (up from 18 in just a few years). 3-4 minutes The membership included overseas players with an English professional contract and when necessary the PCA represented English players overseas. It had relationships with other countries’ players unions through the Federation of International Cricket Associations. 8-10 minutes

He had involved himself under the influence of friends and team mates at Glamorgan, and as a payback for a fulfilling professional career of 17 years (at just 32). Re-elected for a second term, he would now serve as chairman for another two years. Although demanding, the job was a rich opportunity for personal development, combining board membership of the PCA, being a trustee of its charity, and a regular place at the table on major issues with the England and Wales Cricket Board. 5-6 minutes As the voice of playing members, he saw its prime responsibilities in securing for them a fair share of all the game’s revenues, looking after their welfare and well-being, creating an environment that encouraged them to play at their best, and to prepare them for life after their playing careers. The PCA had to react rapidly to constant change in domestic and global cricket. 5-6, 10-11 minutes

James explains the complex arrangements that now determine English county finances and players’ earnings. Although some counties are better off than others, he believes that English cricket is now reasonably stable financially, helped by money from the Hundred filtering down to all levels of cricket. He sees no danger of county clubs following rugby union clubs into insolvency with unsustainable wage bills. 11-13 minutes He describes the impact of the salary collar and cap in county cricket and the range of earnings from professional county cricket. The PCA had secured its objective of £27,500 a year as a starting salary for a professional in his first year. The 18 counties were independent employers not tied to a salary scale but he thought that their best-paid players were on something over £100,000. 14-15 minutes Earnings and opportunities were not remotely comparable with those of football, and he suggested that there was no economic motive for sportspeople to choose cricket for over other sports – they do this for the appeal of the game itself. 19-21 minutes

County cricket faces the risks of an economic squeeze on talent, given that players might see the chance to make much more money for less work in global T20 competitions. But James notes that a large majority of PCA members are still playing county cricket. He emphasizes its attractions to them, especially as a showcase for them for offers outside and as a home, treatment centre, and training and technical environment superior to any short-term franchise. 16-18 minutes

He produces a striking statistic: the average professional playing career ends at 26. He describes two major strands of the PCA’s work, in helping players prepare for new careers and to cope with the emotional stress of leaving the game as a player (common to all sports) with the loss of personal identity and changes in lifestyle this entails. 26-30 minutes

He sets out the PCA’s dedicated work in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, headed by a full-time Director, the nature of its relationship with the ECB’s Independent Commission for Equality in Cricket (whose report is awaited) and its involvement in current proceedings on alleged racism in Yorkshire cricket. This had highlighted the PCA’s special difficulty in representing members in dispute with each other and the PCA was now able to offer each party separate independent legal advice. He describes the intimidating experience of giving evidence for the PCA to the Commons DCMS Select Committee inquiry on these issues. 31-39 minutes He emphasizes that the PCA is the voice of players who have already achieved professional first-class careers: it has no remit to take up wider issues of access to cricket. Speaking personally, he comments on the growing expense of the game for young players and their families and the increasing concentration of emerging players in independent schools with great cricket facilities. He is concerned with the lack of cricket on free-to-air television (and other sports) to inspire young people into entry. 39-40 minutes, 44-45 minutes

Glamorgan’s first county championship match will start next week. James comments on the cluttered season created by the shunting of other competitions to either side of the Hundred and the extra stress it puts on players. However, he sees no consensus on how to resolve it and on which kinds of cricket should prevail in a revised season: PCA members cannot agree on this within themselves. 46-48 minutes

He does not share the fear of many that the ECB aims to cut the number of first-class counties, which the PCA would oppose strongly for obvious reasons. 49-50 minutes

He says that the PCA has no desire to become formally involved in the governance of English cricket: it seeks to remain the independent voice of first-class players, helping to bring cricket’s administrators to account. 50 minutes

James tells the story of his own very early entry into cricket, shaped by luck: his cricket-free comprehensive school was next door to a fine local cricket club. He joined it with a small group of equally obsessed friends. Early recognition with the club and in age-group cricket had secured access to great coaches, including Tom Cartwright. From age 12, his life had been dominated by cricket: his A Level preparations were interrupted by travel to Sri Lanka and Malaysia with England’s under-19 squad. He sets out the circumstances that led to a successful first-class debut at 16 years old in 2007 and why this has become less likely for present-day stars of the same age. 21-25 minutes, 41-43 minutes

Finally, James gives his personal experience of one of the most astonishing cricket matches in history last summer, when Glamorgan beat Leicestershire after yielding them a first innings of 584. He watched his colleague Sam Northeast score one of cricket’s very rare quadruple centuries and his electrifying stand with Chris Cooke and a vital earlier century by Colin Ingram. At lunch on the last day Glamorgan took the key decision to declare and take a slim chance to win on a still perfect batting wicket.  James describes how this happened and the unusual setting for his celebration afterwards. 51-56 minutes

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

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Peter Oborne, Richard Heller & Roger Alton

Roger Alton, guest host for this episode, was formerly editor of The Observer and The Independent, and is currently the Sports Columnist for The Spectator. 

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.

Vanessa Redgrave and Stephen Frears wow audience at Chiswick Cinema 

Image above: Stephen Frears and Vanessa Redgrave at Chiswick Cinema

“I would not have been a film director without Karel Reisz” – Stephen Frears

Vanessa Redgrave and Stephen Frears gave a question and answer session after the screening of Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment on Sunday (26 March), the last in the season of four films shown for the Karel Reisz retrospective season at Chiswick Cinema.

The four films have been about as different as they possibly could have been: documentary We are the Lambeth Boys, his breakthrough ‘kitchen sink’ northern drama Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, psycho thriller Night Must Fall, and a typical 1960s flight of fancy Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment.

Stephen Frears (BAFTA and Emmy award winning director of My Beautiful Launderette, Dangerous Liasons and The Queen, amongst others), worked as Karel Reisz’s assistant on this film. Not as assistant director, but his assistant.

“I wouldn’t have been a film director without Karel. I was working at the Royal Court, the play collapsed and Karel said “Come and work for me”.

“The assistant runs the floor, gets the actors out of the dressing room and on set on time.”

Image above: Vanessa Redgrave in Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment, screened at Chiswick Cinema

Vanessa Redgrave’s favourite film

For Vanessa Redgrave it was her first film, she said.  (Although she did make one with her father in 1958). She was stunningly beautiful as a young woman, born into the business as the daughter of actors Sir Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson and married to director Tony Richardson.

“This was the first film I made and it came as a surprise. I was at a Royal Court party and I’d done my hair and makeup and that’s when Karel met me and asked me to do it. It was a total surprise.”

In her career spanning more than six decades she has picked up an Academy award, a Tony and two Emmy awards. She has starred in more than 35 productions in London’s West End and on Broadway. Her films include period dramas The Bostonians and Howard’s End, A Man for All Seasons, Blow Up, Camelot, The Devils and Murder on the Orient Express, amongst others.

Asked whether there was any film she held in particular affection, she said:

“This one. Absolutely this one. And Isadora, the second one I made with Karel. And The Charge of the Light Brigade which I made with Tony Richardson.

“It was special because Karel was so special. It’s an extraordinary, wonderful, unique film.”

Images above: Stphen Frears, Vanessa Redgrave and Phillip Bergson

“It must seem very odd seeing this now”

Karel escaped Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia during the Second World War as a child, on the same Kindertransport as Lord Alf Dubs.

“Karel really taught me how to live” said Stephen Frears. “He had such a level of tragedy in his life, yet he dealt with it.”

Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment is an exploration of mental health, which, Stephen told the audience, was originally intended to be a TV drama.

“Karel said ‘Let’s make it a comedy’.

“It must seem very odd seeing this now. It is very much of its time but then it just fitted right in.”

An extra, surreal titbit of information was that Groucho Marx happened to walk past while they were filming in Mayfair.

Images above: David Warner as Morgan in Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment

It has that crazy ’60s feel of how you might imagine an acid trip to be. The key character Morgan, (played by David Warner), keeps seeing visions of wild animals, pretends to be a gorilla and has a stuffed gorilla in his artist’s studio. At one point he is zooming around London on a moped in a gorilla suit which has caught fire and billows smoke as he drives along.

His wife Leonie (Vanessa Redgrave) wants rid of him and divorces him, but he refuses to be divorced. In truth she is almost as detached from the real world as he is, but she has money, her upper-class parents drive her around in a Rolls Royce, so she has no real need to focus on anything as mundane as earning a living.

He is a working class socialist, who tries to rile her by daubing / shaving / carving a hammer and sickle on various of her possessions.

Image above: David Warner and Vanessa Redgrave as Morgan and Leonie

This led to some inspired casting. Irene Handl plays his mother, Arthur Mullard is a professional wrestler friend of his mother’s and Bernard Bresslaw plays a particularly dopey policeman. If you nodded off for a moment and woke up again, you would think you were watching a Carry On film.

Various members of the audience commented on wittiness of the script – it still got a lot of laughs nearly sixty years on – and the energy of it, which came over in spades.

Image above: Vanessa Redgrave as Leonie, in Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment

“I thought I looked beautiful”

Vanessa Redgrave at 86 is as sharp as ever, waspish even, as she sparred with Stephen Frears and challenged the audience.

One man had the temerity to ask her: “What’s it like seeing yourself 60 years ago in such clarity?”

“In such beauty you mean”, she shot back. “You’re very British. Clarity means you can be heard. You mean beautiful. I thought I looked beautiful.”

Host Phillip Bergson asked her if she watched the rushes as they were filming.

“I’ve never asked to see rushes unless the director wanted it”, she said, adding rather coyly:  “I was married to a film director, Tony Richardson. Tony said you must always do what the director said. Good advice.”

Stephen: “Not that you took any notice.”
Vanessa: “You directed me once. I wasn’t a pest, was I?”
Stephen: “You were adorable.”

He also gave one of the audience short shrift. Asked about the atmosphere on set he said they were just doing a day’s work.

“You want it all to be magical but it was just a day’s work.”

Just doing a day’s work or not, the film and the Q&A after made for a very entertaining evening. Congratulations to Chris Parker at Chiswick Cinema for organising the season.

Image above: Audience hanging on every word of the great film star; Stephen Frears with Chris Parker, marketing manager of Chiswick Cinema, in the bar afterwards

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Melvyn Bragg introduces the Karel Reisz retrospective at Chiswick Cinema

See also: “The National Film Theatre of Chiswick”

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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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.

10 pelvic health issues women shouldn’t have to put up with

SPONSORED CONTENT

Guest blog from Ten Health & Fitness

There is a large shortfall in women’s health services in the UK; with awareness, education and access to treatment falling far behind Scandinavia and other European countries.

The incidence of women’s health issues in the UK is huge. One in three women have urinary incontinence, 1 in 12 have faecal incontinence and 8 out of 10 women experience invasive menopause symptoms, to list just 3 examples. The scale of the issues is only matched by the lack of support available. (For context, of the 16 million women going through menopause or perimenopause, fewer than 1.5% are on HRT, even though it’s safe for most women.)

At Ten, we think women have put up with this for too long. We believe that women deserve evidence-based advice and treatment. Women should not have to suffer in silence or feel embarrassed. And we – Ten’s specialist Women’s Health Physiotherapists – are here to help.

Here are 10 of the most common pelvic health issues that most women don’t know they can get help with:

1. Feeling unsure or lost about how to do pelvic floor exercises, whilst being told they’re incredibly important and must be done correctly
Your pelvic floor controls your bladder, bowel, sexual function, supports your internal organs, stabilises your pelvis and rotates your baby’s head during labour. Recent UK Guidelines suggest that pelvic floor exercises should be taught to girls in school to prevent pelvic floor issues developing in the future. Recent studies indicate that up to 70% of women do not complete pelvic floor exercises correctly – and this widespread lack of understanding of how to perform pelvic floor exercise is inextricably linked to the lack of awareness of who to go to for help. Most women don’t even know that there is such a thing as pelvic floor physiotherapy, let alone that a suitable qualified Physio can show you the correct technique, and can tailor your exercise programme to suit your individual needs, as every pelvic floor is different.

2. Constipation
Persistent constipation isn’t always linked to diet (though we’re usually told that it is). Tension in the pelvic floor encourages the body to store faeces for longer than needed, resulting in constipation and straining when emptying your bowel. Haemorrhoids and anal fissures are a tell-tale sign that you have pelvic floor tension. Pelvic health physiotherapy treatment can reduce the muscle tension and help to regulate your bowels long-term.

3. Painful periods
Painful periods are too often dismissed as being a normal part of life. They are common, but they’re not normal. There are lots of different reasons why women get painful periods. Our lifestyle choices, stress and inflammatory levels, pelvic muscle strength and length, pelvic floor health, choice of exercise during our cycle and daily habits can all contribute. Hormonal contraception can help some women, but not all. Pelvic health physiotherapy looks holistically at your symptoms, identifies the triggers and shows you effective ways to treat your pain.

Images above: Many of the issues in this post are either preventable or treatable – Ten believes women deserve evidence-based advice and treatment

4. Being told that you’re not perimenopausal because you’re still having periods
Many women are frustrated at being told they are not perimenopausal when they clearly have bothersome, and sometimes life-changing symptoms. Admittedly, perimenopause is difficult to diagnose and is not dependent on hormone testing or your periods – you can still have regular periods and normal blood hormone levels, and still be perimenopausal. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept what you’re told, especially when you suspect it’s wrong. An accurate diagnosis of perimenopause – and an effective treatment plan – can be made by reviewing your symptoms and trialling different treatments to regulate your hormones.

5. Being told that it’s ok to run at 6 weeks post natally (it most certainly is not)
Your ligaments and connective tissue in your abdomen take time to heal and recover. This takes a minimum of 12 weeks. It is safe to start body weight exercises and light weights if it feels comfortable, but you should not run or do any high intensity training within the first 12 weeks of giving birth.

6. Being told that pelvic pain during pregnancy is normal and just related to your hormones
Pelvic pain is common during pregnancy and caused by a number of different factors, such as pelvic position, sleep, stress levels, joint mobility, daily postures, activity levels (too much or too little), strength and muscular endurance. Pelvic health physiotherapy can address these issues and treat your symptoms to ensure you can stay fit and active throughout your pregnancy.

7. Worrying you’ll leak when you cough, sneeze or laugh
1 in 3 women have incontinence. The issue often starts after having a baby or going through the menopause, although it can start as early as your teenage years. Many have come to expect symptoms of incontinence and have been told that there is nothing that can be done. This is wrong, and a failure on the part of the health system. Pelvic health physiotherapy alone can resolve up to 75% of bothersome symptoms. If the issue can’t be resolved with physiotherapy alone, our pelvic health Physiotherapists will explain the other non-invasive options available.

Images above: Pre and post-natal advice from trained specialists

8. Being sent home after having a baby without understanding how to care for your stitches or what to expect over the next 6 weeks
Many women report that the information they receive after having a baby doesn’t adequately prepare or inform them about what to expect in the postnatal period. Women are unsure what is normal and what’s not, and there is very little focus on the well-being of the mother as she recovers. Persistent perineal and vaginal pain, vaginal heaviness, incontinence, abdominal separation and pain are a few of the symptoms that women report. Postnatal GP checks are brief and often focused on the health of the baby. Our Postnatal MOTs screen you for postnatal complications, including vaginal and pelvic floor health, abdominal separation (rectus abdominis diastasis) and address any pain that you may be experiencing. Our experts will get you back to feeling yourself again.

9. Not being told that your perineal length is directly related to your risk of serious tears during vaginal delivery
Perineal body length (the length of the area between your vagina and rectum) is a good predictor of your risk of sustaining a serious grade 3 or 4 perineal tear. Grade 3 and 4 tears run from the vagina to the rectum and can lead to both bladder and bowel incontinence. 3 in 100 women will sustain a tear of this nature during vaginal delivery. All women should have their perineums measured if they’re planning a vaginal delivery to assess their risk of sustaining a serious tear. This information can then be used by your midwife and obstetrician to develop your birthing plan. Unfortunately, perineal measuring is not routinely carried out in the NHS during pregnancy. Our prenatal MOTs measure your perineal length, teach you perineal massage techniques that can reduce the risk of tearing by 20%, and fully prepare you for labour and the postnatal period.

10. Suffering with incontinence after having chemotherapy or radiotherapy and not being told this can be treated
Radiotherapy and chemotherapy can weaken the pelvic floor and lead to bladder and bowel incontinence, as well as vaginal sensitivity and pain. Pelvic floor physiotherapy strengthens your pelvic floor muscles and addresses the sensitivity. We can also advise you on how to get back into physical activity and strengthen the muscles that work with the pelvic floor for optimum recovery.

Women’s Health Specialist Samantha Rule is now available at Ten Chiswick. To book a session, call Ten Chiswick on 020 8996 1710 or email chiswick@ten.co.uk

Ten Health and Fitness has been part of the Chiswick community since 2008, with its friendly welcoming studio located opposite the Post Office in Barley Mow passage just off Chiswick High Road. The award-winning fitness and wellness provider offers Massage, Physiotherapy, Personal Training and Clinical exercise alongside the trademark Dynamic Reformer Pilates classes that have kept it’s loyal clientele lengthened strengthened and toned. 

Free Women’s Health Niggle Clinics

‘What’s a Women’s Health Niggle Clinic?’ you may be asking. Well, as the name suggests, it’s a short appointment (usually 15 mins or so) where women can get help and advice for dealing with any niggling issues, concerns or worries, with particular focus on the pelvis and pelvic floor. Even if it’s nothing specific that you can put your finger on – just a feeling that something isn’t quite right – the Niggle Clinic is for you. Appointments are available both in person and via zoom/teams.

Women’s Health Specialist Samantha Rule is hosting free ‘Niggle Clinics’ on the next 2 Wednesdays & Saturdays (29 March, 1 April, 5 and 8 April). To book or to find out more details, call the team at Ten Chiswick on 020 8996 1710 or email chiswick@ten.co.uk

Ten’s WoW23 Event, Wellbeing of Women ,15 April 2023 @ Fora, Spitalfields

Ten Health & Fitness is proud to bring you a female-only event, partnering with the likes of JUDE, Spiced Pear Health, Megan Hallet and Laura Wilkes who will all be speaking or running workshops on the day. There’s product sampling from Free Soul and Sylk, free cholesterol testing from the clinical team at Ten and a big open Q&A at the end with a panel of Women’s Health experts.

Women are able to purchase the ticket that reflects their interest (for example, menopause, pre/postnatal or general pelvic health) and then on the day will be guided to the relevant talks/activities.

More details on WoW23 as well as tickets can be found here.

Ten Health & Fitness is a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme. To see their current offers to Club Card members go here: Ten Health & Fitness Club Card offer.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Massage – the healing power of touch

See also: Prepare for the London Marathon

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.

Flat fire in Acton

Image above: London Fire Brigade library picture

Clothes left on an extractor fan

Two women and a child were brought safely out of a building in Acton after fire broke out in a flat on Curtis Drive on Friday 24 March.

Three fire engines and around 15 firefighters tackled the fire in the three-roomed flat on the first floor of a residential building.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus led the two women and the child to safety via an internal staircase. They were treated on scene by London Ambulance Service crews.

The Brigade was called just before 9pm and the fire was under control in just over half an hour. Fire crews from Acton, Park Royal and Willesden fire stations attended the scene.

The fire is believed to have been accidental, caused by clothes left on an extractor fan.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Clean sweep for Cambridge in the Boat Race

See also: Boat Race focuses attention on Hammersmith Bridge

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.

Boat Race focuses attention on Hammersmith Bridge

Image above: Hammersmith Bridge

Sunday Times asks: Why has no one fixed Hammersmith Bridge?

The Boat Race has focused attention on our bit of west London, prompting the Sunday Times to ask ‘Why has no one fixed Hammersmith Bridge’?

Transport editor Nicholas Hellen pointed out on Sunday it is nearly four years since the bridge was closed to motor vehicles because of hairline fractures in the pedestals. He says the lack of resolution is down to ‘buck-passing, a row over money and a shortage of good ideas’.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council is now holding a series of drop-in events to showcase radical plans for a temporary double decker bridge, to allow traffic to pass over the upper level while work proceeds below, but it still needs to be funded.

‘It’s been four years and nobody wants to pay the £163m bill for the Boat Race landmark’ writes Nicholas Hellen.

The Government announced a task force in 2020, with Grant Shapps blaming “a lack of leadership in London” for the lack of action on the bridge. He promised speedy action:

“We’ll be decisive and quick to make sure we can take steps that’ll be good for commuters, good for residents and good for business.”

He said the cost should be split three ways, between the Department of Transport, Transport for London and Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

‘That is a recipe for inaction’ writes Nicholas Hellen, ‘the council says it does not have the money and could pay its one-third share only if it was allowed to impose a toll’.

Image above: Hammersmith Bridge

“An absolutely classic parable of our times” – Professor Tony Travers

The Sunday Times‘ Transport editor spoke to Professor Tony Travers, director of LSE London, who described the standoff between central and local government as: “an absolutely classic parable of our times.

“The bridge is easily repairable and runs across one of the most productive parts of the United Kingdom.

“The cost-benefit ratio for the UK economy is substantially better than a whole range of other projects. Yet three levels of government in one of the richest countries in the world can’t rebuild and reopen a bridge in an important part of the capital city.”

He thinks the Government does not want to be seen to be helping out what is perceived to be an affluent part of London while it is committed to its ‘Levelling up’ policy.

The Council says it is in no way equipped to cope with costs of this magnitude and points to other similar projects around the UK where central government is stumping up for the lion’s share.

The Department for Transport is paying 94% of the cost of the Chetwynd Bridge upgrade in Staffordshire and 91% of the cost of repairing Cleveland Bridge, the grade II listed bridge over the River Avon, it says.

Image above: Image above: Hammersmith Bridge double-decker proposal; Foster & Partners

Drop-in sessions to view Foster & Partners’ plans

The idea of a temporary double decker bridge, put forward by H&F Council with architects and engineers from Foster & Partners and COWI, is on display to the public at a series of drop-in events, the first of which was on Saturday. There is one at St Paul’s Centre, Queen Caroline Street in Hammersmith on Monday March 27 from 4.00pm till 8.00pm.

Two further sessions are being held south of the river at St Paul’s School, Lonsdale Road, Barnes on Tuesday 28 March from 4.00pm till 8.00pm and Saturday April 1 from 11.00am till 2.00pm.

As well as viewing the plans, visitors will be able to discuss them with those in charge of the bridge’s restoration.

LB Hammersmith & Fulham is at the beginning of the planning consultation for this scheme. It needs to get it past the Planning Committee and to have the support of Historic England for the temporary bridge to go ahead.

Only then will they be able to finalise an accurate costing to put to the Department of Transport. If it gets their sign-off on the basis of sharing costs three ways, it will then need legislation for the final sign-off.

Meanwhile LB Hammersmith & Fulham say they are making “massive progress” on stabilizing the bridge. Some 1200 custom made steel supports have been added. They are hoping to complete the stabilization and resurface the bridge to reopen it fully to pedestrians and cyclists later this year.

At the moment pedestrians and cyclists walking their bikes can only use the walkways at the sides of the bridge while work continues on the main carriageway. Opening the bridge to vehicular traffic is still some 18 months – two years off, say the Council.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Clean sweep for Cambridge in the Boat Race

See also: Council holds drop-in sessions to explain Hammersmith Bridge proposals

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.

Clean sweep for Cambridge in the Boat Race

Image above: Cambridge men’s team; photograph Gemini Boat Race

“An exceptional day of racing”

Cambridge won the men’s Boat Race, making it their fourth win out of the last five races.

Their cox, Jasper Parish made an early decision early on in the race which put them ahead and they kept their advantage.

He decided to stay close to the bank beside the new grandstand at Fulham Football Club because of the conditions on the Tideway, rather than competing for position in the middle of the river.

It was cause for great celebration in the Parish household. His brother Ollie was also in the Cambridge boat and their father Matt had rowed twice for Cambridge in the early 1990s.

Ollie said: “It was the game-changing moment. It was the key moment in the race. To come up with it on the fly is amazing. It was amazing coxing and it won us the race.”

Cambridge women also held the day and Cambridge also won the two reserves races. The women’s team beat their Oxford rivals by a full 12 seconds.

Boat race organisers said it was “An exceptional day of racing, these students really seized their moment to create a new chapter in boat race history.”

Images above: Cambridge Women celebrating; Spectators; photographs Gemini Boat Race

Two of the Oxford crew taken to hospital

Two of the Oxford men’s team were taken to hospital at the end of the race. Their stroke, Felix Drinkall, collapsed at the finishing line and a second crew member was also seen to be in difficulty.

The RNLI crew lifted them into their boat and ferried them to the bank for medical attention. They were taken to hospital for a check-up and both are ‘doing well’, according to the Boat Race organisers.

The Chiswick station had 27 crew on duty to keep people safe, including Ella du Breuil and Rosie Allen.

Ellen, a qualified paramedic, has been an RNLI volunteer for 20 years; Rosie is also medically qualified, working as an emergency practitioner at East Surrey Hospital.

Images above: RNLI volunteers from Chiswick staion, Ella du Breuil and Rosie Allen

Chiswick RNLI patrolled the shores to stop people getting into difficulty

RNLI lifeboat crews and lifeguards were on duty along the Thames in two lifeboats and nine inshore rescue boats to provide safety cover and offer advice to the thousands of spectators watching from the riverbank.

RNLI officer David Clarke told The Chiswick Calendar they were patrolling the shore for some hours before the race making sure people did not put themselves in a hazardous situation. In previous years people have had to be rescued when they found themselves cut off by the tide.

The RNLI is the official charity partner of The Gemini Boat Race 2023. Wayne Bellamy, Station Manager at Chiswick RNLI said:

“We’re proud to be the official charity partner of The Gemini Boat Race and to be part of the historic race between Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Clubs

“The partnership aims to raise funds to support the Thames’ lifesaving service with all proceeds going towards the running costs of the four RNLI stations along the river.”

The RNLI is run largely by volunteers and relies on donations. You can donate to the RNLI here: Support the RNLI.

It was a bit of a miserable day for spectators. Chiswick Pier Trust hold an annual Boat Race party at Chiswick Pier. Their numbers were down, possibly not helped by the closure of the A4 for roadworks and also part of the A316 during the morning, which created chaos with traffic queues and drivers doing U-turns, forced to turn off the road and seek an alternate route.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Council holds drop-in sessions to explain Hammersmith Bridge proposals

See also: A4 and M4 closures 24 – 27 March

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.

Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race

Image above: Finish of the Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race at Chiswick Bridge; photograph Anna Kunst

Sunday 26 March

The Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race takes place this Sunday (26 March), finishing at Chiswick Bridge.

The 77th Women’s Boat Race is at 4pm, the 168th Men’s Boat Race at 5pm.

Do go and watch it. Don’t stand on the shore line and get cut off by the tide and have to be rescued by the RNLI (as people are every year). Do take your litter home with you, rather than letting it get washed into the river.

Best place to watch it? Chiswick Pier, where you can see the race live along a whole sweep of the river and then nip inside to watch the finish on a big screen, while drinking from the Fuller’s bar.

Food from Salt Beef Shack, Abdul’s Moroccan and ice creams from Super Scoop gelato. Pier House opens at 1pm, serving food and drinks all afternoon.

Image above: Ella du Breuil and Rosie Allen

Chiswick RNLI on patrol

Volunteers from the Chiswick RNLI station will be patrolling the river before the race. The Chiswick station will have 27 crew on duty to keep people safe, including Ella du Breuil and Rosie Allen.

Ellen, a qualified paramedic, has been an RNLI volunteer for 20 years; Rosie is also medically qualified, working as an emergency practitioner at East Surrey Hospital.

In past years the RNLI have had to rescue spectators who have chosen to watch the race from the shore and then found themselves cut off by the tide, so since 2016 they have taken to patrolling the shore for some hours before the race to make sure people are not putting themselves in a hazardous situation.

The RNLI is the official charity partner of The Gemini Boat Race 2023. Wayne Bellamy, Station Manager at Chiswick RNLI said:

“We’re proud to be the official charity partner of The Gemini Boat Race and to be part of the historic race between Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Clubs

“The partnership aims to raise funds to support the Thames’ lifesaving service with all proceeds going towards the running costs of the four RNLI stations along the river.”

The RNLI is run largely by volunteers and relies on donations. You can donate to the RNLI here: Support the RNLI.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: A4 and M4 closures 24 – 27 March

See also:  Council holds drop-in sessions to explain Hammersmith Bridge proposals

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.

Thames Tradesmen’s Rowing Club Head of the River winners

Image above: Thames Tradesmen’s Rowing Club (TTRC) Novice Men and Women Crews: Backrow (L to R): Dominic Warren, Lee, Brewster, Nathan Goodman, Tim Primmer, Jackie Marie, Kasia Wroblewska, Isabelle Meron, Hana Fegutova, Adela Williams, Francesca Streeter, Louise Martin. Front Row (L to R): Jonathan Geitner, Jay Sitaraman, Sophie Mandler, Michael Gatzoulis, Ian Koh (cox), Andy Sharp.

Two teams win their categories

Thames Tradesmen’s Rowing Club Men (TTRC) and Women VIII’s crews each won their categories at this year’s Masters Head of the River Race on Sunday 19 March.

The Head of the River is one of the biggest fixtures in the rowing calendar, with over 200 teams taking part in 30 categories, including interntional teams.

The length of the course is the same as The Boat Race (about 7km), but in the opposite direction, from Chiswick Bridge to Putney Bridge. The whole event takes about an hour and a half.

Winners in the Women’s Masters Novice category

The TTRC Women’s crew, coached and coxed by Michael Tchoubouroff won the Masters Novice category.

The women, who live locally around Chiswick were: Louise Martin, Francesca Streeter, Jackie Marie, Isabelle Meron, Kasia Wroblewska, Hana Fegutova, Adela Williams and Sophie Mandler.

“The ladies settled in extremely well and rowed the race at a consistently high rate” said Isabelle Meron, the Ladies Captain.

“The boat felt really good throughout the race, everyone in the boat performed magnificently, it felt like the boat was hovering above water”.

Image above: Thames Tradesmen’s Novice Women crew in action (L to R): Michael Tchoubouroff (cox), Louise Martin, Francesca Streeter, Jackie Marie, Isabelle Meron, Kasia Wroblewska, Hana Fegutova, Adela Williams, Sophie Mandler  

Winners in the Men’s Masters C category

The TTRC Men’s Masters C crew, a composite team with some members from Guildford Rowing Club, won their race in a highly competitive category consisting of crews from the Netherlands, France and Italy as well as some local crews.

The crew was coxed by TTRC veteran Alan Sherman (Woody) and the local men in the crew were Luke Howard, Dave Bulmer, Tom Jack and Adrian Elliott.

Thames Tradesmen’s Rowing Club had two other VIII crews in the race: the Novice Masters Men and the Masters G crew, a composite crew with local club Mortlake Anglian and Alpha Boat Club, who came a respectable fourth in their category.

Club Chairman, Nigel Brophy said:

“To see so many of our members competing in the Head of the River Race is a magnificent achievement. The club is rapidly growing, thanks to our fantastic Learn To Row courses and to see our crews win at such prestigious events is a lovely, lovely sight to behold.”

The club is celebrating its 125th year this year, having been set up in 1897. It was particularly successful in the 1980s, with Olympic medallists Steve Redgrave and James Cracknell rowing for the club.

They are currently rowing out of the University of London boathouse off Hartington Rd.

Images above: Thames Tradesmen Chairman and coach Nigel Brophy; Coach Nicky; Coach Woody

Learn to row

The next Learn to Row course starts in mid April 2023 and anyone interested in ‘giving it a go’ should email their details to info@ttrc.org.uk

ttrc.org.uk

Image above: Thames Tradesmen rowing club

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race

See also: A4 and M4 closures 24 – 27 March

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.

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Composer Cecilia McDowall’s music performed in her home town of Chiswick

Image above: Cecilia McDowall

One of Britain’s leading choral composers, Cecilia McDowall talks to The Chiswick Calendar about the themes she chooses and the process she follows when she is composing

West London Chorus will be performing A Time for All Seasons by Chiswick based composer Cecilia McDowall as one of three pieces for their Spring concert on Saturday 1 April at St Michael & All Angels Church.

Cecilia is considered one of the leading choral and vocal composers of her generation, having been short-listed eight times for the British Composer Awards. In 2014 she won the Choral category for Night Flight, a haunting piece which celebrates the pioneering flight of the American aviatrix, Harriet Quimby, across the English Channel.

She has won many awards for her work and her music has been commissioned and performed by leading choirs and artists, including the BBC Singers, The Sixteen, Oxford and Cambridge choirs, ensembles, and at festivals worldwide.

In December 2020 she was presented with the prestigious Ivor Novello Award for ‘outstanding works collection’ for a ‘consistently excellent body of work’. She has received two honorary doctorates and an honorary fellowship award from the Royal School of Church Music for her outstanding contribution to church music.

Image above: BBC Singers

“It is essential that the BBC Singers survive”

Cecilia spoke to The Chiswick Calendar on the day the BBC Singers heard they had a reprieve – that the BBC had ‘paused’ its decision to close them down to save money, after a number of organisations came forward to offer alternative funding.

They are the UK’s only full-time professional chamber choir and it is so important that they survive, Cecilia told The Chiswick Calendar, because of their musical excellence and because of their mission to promote diversity.

“They are excellent in what they do in every way… This is what musicians aspire to.”

They are committed to making all their commissions and performances 50-50 male and female, giving rare opportunities to women. Cecilia has received commissions from them several times, including a commission for Seven Ages of Women, for International Women’s Day in 2020.

BBC Singers asked a different composer to write a piece for each decade and Cecilia, then in her sixties, represented the sixth decade.

“What has made people very angry is that the BBC has not understood their value…

“Classical music is having such a bad time and it’s because the BBC does not support classical music.”

She does not just mean financially, she means fundamentally. Cecilia is passionate that music should be taught in schools, children should be given the opportunity to play musical instruments and it should be available to everyone; it should not be allowed to become elitist.

The Government is failing by not providing better musical education in state schools, she said, and the BBC is failing by buying in to the idea that classical music is elitist.

Images above: BBC Radio 3’s Seven Ages of Women, featureing the work of Helena Paish (b.2002); Electra Perivolaris (b. 1996); Samantha Fernando (b.1984); Emily Hall (b. 1978); Deirdre Gribbin (b.1967); Cecilia McDowall (b. 1961); Rhian Samuel (b. 1944)

Featuring women’s stories in her music

It is noticeable that Cecilia features the stories of remarkable women in her work: Clara Barton, who nursed soldiers on the battlefield during the American Civil War and went on to found the American Red Cross; aviatrix Harriet Quimby; Dr Rosalind Franklin, who discovered the double helix, paving the way for James Watson and Francis Crick’s work on DNA; Edith Cavell, the British nurse who helped some 200 Allied soldiers escape German-occupied Belgium during the First World War.

A contemporary story of Cecilia’s: Everyday Wonders: The Girl from Aleppo tells the extraordinary tale of how Nujeen Mustafa, a Kurdish teenager with cerebral palsy, was forced by war to flee her home and make the arduous journey to Europe in her wheelchair, with her sister, to settle finally in Germany.

“I’ve never really set out to do this but I do seem to come across stories about extraordinary women which just seem to get lost. They don’t seem to get the recognition they should have.

“James Watson and Francis Crick won Nobel prizes but Rosalind Franklin didn’t”, yet she had taken an X-ray photograph showing unmistakable evidence of a helical structure, which they had seen before they built their model of a double helix.

She died before the Nobel prize was awarded to them.

Images above: Clara Barton, photograph American Battlefield Trust; Harriet Quimby; Dr Rosalind Franklin; Edith Cavell; and Cecilia’s five-movement cantata featuring Nujeen’s story ‘The Girl from Aleppo’ 

Concept … words … setting

I asked how she even began to make a story like that into a piece of music. “I always start with the words”, she told me.

Edith Cavell was executed by a German firing squad. The night before, she told a priest “Patriotism is not enough; I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone”. These words, which are to be found on her statue opposite the National Portrait Gallery in London, Cecilia gave to poet Sean Street to put into a poetic setting.

A Time for All Seasons, (2016) which the West London Chorus will be performing on 1 April, is taken from the famous passage in Ecclesiastes:

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up …”

For this she worked with poet Kevin Crossley-Holland to put it in a form which she could take on and set to music. Once she has the words she can produce a vocal score which a choir can take away and rehearse and she can continue orchestrating it.

‘The Ice is Listening’

She will not be at St Michael & All Angels to hear their recital unfortunately, she said, because the same night the Henley Choral Society is performing a new work of hers commissioned for their 50th anniversary.

“They wanted something on the theme of water and the river”. She has given them The Ice is Listening, a piece about climate change. The title comes from something one of the climate scientists, Josh Willis, working with the Oceans Melting Greenland Mission, said:

“When the ocean speaks, the Greenland Ice Sheet listens.”

For this piece she has been working with poet Kate Wakeling, who has linked in the themes of ice, water and humanity.

“She found a contemporaneous account of the frost fairs they used to have on the Thames and made it into a poetic libretto.”

Cecilia was multi-tasking while she was talking to me. It occurred to me that if you can score a piece of music with parts for 20 or so individual instruments, you would probably be quite good at multi-tasking.

“I think all women are, don’t you?” she said blithely.

Images above: New CDs about to be released – The Da Vinci Requiem and Coronation: Music for Royal Occasions

The Da Vinci Requiem

She is certainly very busy. As well as the choirs commissioning and performing her work, she has several recordings about to be released.

Wimbledon Choral commissioned her to write a piece for their centenary in 2019. She thought she would like to write a requiem and as it was coincidentally the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, she settled on the Renaissance artist as her subject.

“When my parents married, my mother gave to my father a copy of the Da Vinci notebooks, so I grew up knowing them and looking at the pictures. They were old friends.

“The philosophy tied in very closely with the formula of the requiem mass and I thought Da Vinci’s philosophical writings might be suitable for both religious and humanist services.”

The piece was performed in the choir’s centenary year. Some 2,000 people went to hear it at the Festival Hall, but the recording of it with a large orchestra was disrupted by Covid and only now is it about to be released. The CD will be released by Signum on 7 April. She has since reshaped it for a chamber orchestra, which premiered in Britain last week.

Coronation: Music for Royal Occasions

She is not directly involved in the music for the coronation of King Charles III, but she was commissioned to write something for the Queen’s Jubilee, which turned into a tribute for Her Majesty, performed at the Tower of London in October, after her death.

That piece commemorating the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II has been recorded by The Sixteen, in an album presenting 500 years of royal music, to commemorate the coronation of King Charles III. The CD comes out on 2 April. Pre-order here: Coronation: Music for Royal Occasions

Image aboev: Cecilia McDowall

What makes a composer?

Cecilia has been making up music since she was around five years old. “My trajectory has been unusual” she says, though it will resonate with many working mothers.

She acquired her first degree in music, and taught at all sorts of schools from a comprehensive to the most expensive and elite schools before studying for her Masters, which she did only after bringing up her children.

I asked at what point is someone who makes up music entitled to describe themselves as a ‘composer’.

“If you want to be a composer, you just do it” she said.

You hope for someone to commission you to write something, for them to like it and for word of mouth to get around so someone else commissions you. A significant step was being signed by the Oxford University Press as a ‘house composer’ in 2010.

‘McDowall’s distinctive style fuses fluent melodic lines with occasional dissonant harmonies and rhythmic exuberance.’ OUP

High praise from the music press

Cecilia’s work is consistently very well reviewed in the music press.

‘McDowall’s work has qualities that include a communicative gift that is very rare in modern music, a composer well worth seeking out’ – Gramophone

‘The life-affirming, restorative strength of her direct and unaffected speech is fully communicated in these carefully prepared, joyous performances’ – Tempo

‘There is much sparkling and shimmering in McDowall’s writing. Cadences quiver and shiver unresolved, then vaporise as though overcome by their mysteriousness’ – The Times

Tickets to West London Chorus’s Spring Concert – Psalms, Songs and Seasons are available through their website.

Chichester Psalms – Leonard Bernstein
Five Hebrew Love Songs – Eric Whitacre
A Time for All Seasons – Cecilia McDowall

ticketsource.co.uk

Read more about Cecilia’s work on her website: ceciliamcdowall.co.uk

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Accidental Death of an Anarchist – The Lyric, review

See also: Two one-man plays by Mark Farrelly – Theatre at the Tabard

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

My new guilty pleasure – having a facial at The Door W4

Image above: The Door W4 entrance

Never have I ever …

I had never had a facial before. On the basis that there have been whole radio and TV series predicated on the idea of people describing an experience which is new to them, but a pretty common experience for most of their audience, here goes …

It is one of the treatments offered by The Door W4, Chiswick’s new(ish) clinic, which opened alongside the Hogarth Centre last year. I had wondered why they chose to call it ‘The Door’ but that question was quickly settled on arrival. The entrance is through a very distinctive door at the end of the car park, with carvings of fig leaves and grape vines entwined.

It does rather give the impression you are stepping into another realm – a portal into a light and airy space, with more interesting carvings and an atmosphere which immediately conveys that you will be pampered and looked after.

Image above – The Door W4 reception area

In the capable hands of Victoria Voysey

Victoria Voysey, who did my facial, has been in the skincare and aesthetic industry for more than 20 years and clearly knew what she was about. She started as a beauty therapist at Champneys spa chain, worked at the Sanctuary in Covent Garden, the first day spa just for women, now sadly closed, and ran her own beauty salon before going off travelling.

Since then, she has trained beauty therapists and aestheticians and worked for the French beauty brand Clarins, so really there is nothing much about the business she does not know.

The reason I have never had a facial before is partly cost, but also that I have never quite seen the point. Victoria told me she had also worked at the International Institute for Anti-Ageing, a concept that I find intrinsically self-defeating.

Fair enough, human-kind has always sought eternal youth, but it is a battle we have always ultimately lost, so should we not just give it up and age gracefully, with acceptance?

It is a term that has become unfashionable, Victoria agrees. ‘Pro-ageing’ is now the fashionable term in the industry, by which she means not setting out to change people’s faces, but making people look their best at any age.

Image above: Victoria Voysey, aestheticist

In Victoria’s hands that means a facial massage, exfoliating, tightening and hydrating the skin. She offers “hands on skin solutions’ rather than the more hard core injectables.

Having established we were on the same wavelength, we turned to the wave sounds. White noise is supposed to empty your mind and aid relaxation. In her treatment room, you lay down, close your eyes and listen to the sound of waves crashing on the shoreline.

Hardly her fault that I had just watched the most recent episode of Vera, the one in which the Northumberland detective is sent to investigate a body washed up on the beach.

“That’s not quite what I was going for” she says ruefully, with a laugh. Thank goodness, she is not at aesthetician who takes herself too seriously.

Her clients tend to be loyal, they come back and see her again. She has several who are well-known, including TV presenter Nicki Chapman and one of the directors of Vogue.

Image above: Victoria with a client

She does not see as many men as women. Probably 20% her clients are men.

“They tend to come in for a specific procedure” she says, “but then they come back. They are loyal and they tend to listen more than women do.”

She now has one more returnee. I bought some products, made another appointment, and left with my face lifted, hydrated and tightened. A cursory glance in the mirror showed at least one less double chin, I swear!

Image above: The Door W4 treatment room

Range of treatments on offer from a number of specialists

Victoria is one of a number of specialists at The Door W4, who offer a range of treatments, including advanced aesthetics, laser, life coaching and mental health support, a private GP, health screenings, surgical consultations and advanced dentistry.

Amongst the services they offer is a Menopause Clinic, with three doctors – Dr Houda Ounnas, Dr Awfa Paulina and Dr Vivek Nama. Houda is a Psychotherapy trained GP, Awfa an aesthetic practitioner and Vivek a gynaecologist.

Services for men include testicular ultrasound, ECG with a Cardiologist Interpretation and STD screening.

Cancer care is another of their specialisms:

‘Our greatest satisfaction is the knowledge that cancer patients will experience a remarkable improvement in their appearance, with younger, healthier and more radiant looking skin.”

The Door W4 is at the far end of the car park at the Hogarth Club, Airedale Avenue, Chiswick London W4 2NW.

For the full range of treatments go to their website thedoorW4.co.uk

Image above: Victoria with The Chiswick Calendar’s editor Bridget Osborne

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: “The National Film Theatre of Chiswick”

See also: Melvyn Bragg introduces the Karel Reisz retrospective at Chiswick Cinema

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.

Fire assault cases linked, man charged

Image above: West London Islamic Centre

Mohammed Abbkr charged with two counts of attempted murder

A man has been charged with two counts of attempted murder after two men were set alight outside mosques, one in Ealing and one in Edgbaston, Birmingham.

Mohammed Abbkr, aged 28, from Edgbaston, was charged on Thursday 23 March and remanded to appear at Coventry Magistrates’ Court.

Abbkr is alleged to have sprayed a substance on two men and set it alight in separate incidents in Ealing and Birmingham on Monday 27 February and Monday 20 March respectively.

Mohammed Rayaz, aged 70, suffered severe burns to his hands and face when he was sprayed with a substance and set alight on Shenstone Road in Edgbaston.  His injuries are described as ‘life-changing’.

In London an 82 year-old man was attacked in a similar way outside the West London Islamic Centre in Singapore Road.

Police made the connection when they arrested Abbkr was arrested on Tuesday 21 March. The investigation has been carried out jointly by the Metropolitan Police Service, West Midlands Police and Counter Terrorism Policing.

Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson, of the Metropolitan Police West Area Command, said after the arrest:

“We completely understand the shock that resonated throughout the community following this incident.

“Despite a man having been arrested, we continue to be vigilant and urge local people to do the same. Highly visible patrols around Singapore Road will continue in the coming days to provide reassurance to local people and I urge anyone who is concerned to approach officers.”

The Police are asking for anyone with CCTV, ring doorbell footage or video footage that could help their investigation to send it to them directly by using this link: https://mipp.police.uk/operation/20HQ23C02-PO1

Anyone with information has been asked to get in touch on 101 or alternatively, via the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Silent Witness filming sparks emergency services call out

See also: Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter warns Elizabeth Line risks being overwhelmed

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.

Council holds drop-in sessions to explain Hammersmith Bridge proposals

Image above: Hammersmith Bridge double-decker proposal

Double-decker plans will be available to public for scrutiny 

Hammersmith & Fulham Council are holding a series of drop-in events to showcase the radical plans for the reopening of Hammersmith Bridge

The proposals include a temporary double decker bridge, which will allow traffic to cross the river while the Grade II listed bridge is strengthened and restored.

The drop-in events are at St Paul’s Centre, Queen Caroline Street in Hammersmith on Saturday 25 March, from 1.00am till 2.00pm and Monday March 27 from 4.00pm till 8.00pm. Two further sessions are being held south of the river at St Paul’s School, Lonsdale Road, Barnes on Tuesday 28 March from 4.00pm till 8.00pm and Saturday April 1 from 11.00am till 2.00pm.

As well as viewing the plans, visitors will be able to discuss them with those in charge of the bridge’s restoration.

Foster and Partners, the architects and structural engineers commissioned by H&F Council, and bridge specialist engineers COWI plan to reopen Hammersmith Bridge to motor vehicles by installing a temporary double-decker truss within the existing bridge structure.

The structure will allow pedestrians, cyclists and river traffic to continue to cross or use the river earlier than would otherwise be possible, while restoration works are undertaken to the historic bridge.

As well as these in-person events, there is a new dedicated website, hammersmithbridgerestoration.com due to go live on 25 March, where local people can leave feedback on the plans and sign up to receive updates.

H&F Council says that the proposal for the truss and the works to the Hammersmith Bridge will require both planning permission and listed building consent. If the work goes ahead, the final design will be chosen when the council procures a contractor to carry out the restoration, with the current proposal used as a reference design.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Silent Witness filming sparks emergency services call out

See also: A4 and M4 closures 24 – 27 March

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.

A4 and M4 closures 24 – 27 March

Image above: A4 / Cromwell Railway Bridge

Significant congestion likely 

Sections of the A4 and M4 will be closed this weekend, and significant congestion is expected in Chiswick and Brentford as a result.

The M4 will be shut from 10.00pm on Friday 24 March to 5.00am on Monday 27 March eastbound between Hogarth Roundabout and Junction two.  There will also be a closure of one lane westbound between Hogarth Roundabout and Chiswick Roundabout.

This is a continuation of work on Cromwell Railway Bridge near Harvard Hill. Originally it was due to be completed in December, but work was postponed on several occasions because of the Queen’s funeral and periods of severe weather.

Roadworkers will also be resurfacing the A4’s junction with Sutton Court Road.

Transport for London says work on this section of the A4 will be now completed by mid-2023.

Night time work is also taking place from Tuesday 21 March and Wednesday 22 March from 10.00pm to 5.00am.

This will require the closure of the A4 (westbound) between Chiswick Roundabout and Hogarth Roundabout with no access from all routes leading onto the A4 westbound between these points. There will also be no access to Sutton Court Road from the A4 westbound.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Silent Witness filming sparks emergency services call out

See also: Teenager charged with murder in Ealing

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.

Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter warns Elizabeth Line risks being overwhelmed

Image above: Acton Main Line station

HS2 change could see Elizabeth Line services swamped

The Elizabeth Line could struggle to hold thousands of extra passengers if the HS2 service does not continue to Euston, the MP for Hammersmith has warned.

Andy Slaughter MP raised concerns in Parliament about what would happen if the fast-speed railway was to terminate at Old Oak Common, rather than the Camden transport hub.

Recently the Government announced HS2 trains may not continue on to their final destination of Euston station until about 2040, after the £100 billion rail project was adapted to save money. The Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, has promised to prioritise the first stage of the project between Birmingham and Old Oak Common station, next to Wormwood Scrubs Prison.

Many west London commuters regularly complain about the Elizabeth Line being full of passengers going to and from Heathrow. Some feel the service has not lived up to its expectations.

Under stage one, passengers would be expected to travel on to central London for half an hour on the Elizabeth Line. But with train carriages already regularly packed, many fear trains could become too busy.

The closest Elizabeth Line station to Chiswick & Hammersmith is Acton Main Line.

 Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter

Consequences for west London commuters “Game-changing”, says Hammersmith MP

Speaking in Parliament Andy Slaughter MP asked:

“The consequences of this announcement for Old Oak Common include doubts about the capacity of the Elizabeth line; limited interchange between lines at the station, especially for disabled people; very limited access to the station site; and the postponement of development of HS2 land until after Euston opens.

“Will the Minister meet me and other MPs who are concerned about the indefinite delay to Euston’s opening to discuss the consequences for my constituents, which are game-changing?”

In response, Minister of State for Rail and HS2 Huw Merriman said:

“Old Oak Common is a massive regeneration opportunity that is being realised for west London. As I have stated, it will be one of the largest train stations delivered.

“It offers connectivity not just into London via the Elizabeth Line, but to the west country and Wales via Great Western Railway. One amazing thing about Old Oak Common when I visited was that rather than lorry loads of spoil being taken away through the community, a conveyor has been built so we can use the existing freight line to take the spoil away.

“That is better not only for costs but for the environment, so I am very proud of the work being done at Old Oak Common.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Silent Witness filming sparks emergency services call out

See also: Teenager charged with murder in Ealing

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.

Silent Witness filming sparks emergency services call out

Image above: London Fire Brigade rescue boat on the River Thames by Chiswick Mall;@jmacrodgers

Calls from the public coincide with report of missing person

Filming of the BBC TV drama Silent Witness at Hammersmith Bridge sparked an emergency service call out on Wednesday (22 March), after several people called them thinking there was a person in trouble in the river.

The calls coincided with the report of a missing person, also a false alarm, resulting in several fire engines arriving on the scene at Chiswick Mall.

An RNLI lifeboat was deployed to the scene, but found the ‘incident’ was just a production team filming Silent Witness. The producer was reportedly unimpressed that  their filming had been interrupted.

The series has recently returned to our TV screens for its 26th season.

Image above: Silent Witness; BBC TV

A Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokesperson said:

“Chiswick RNLI Lifeboat and a Marine Police unit were sent to Hammersmith Bridge at approx. 8.30am today (22 March), following multiple reports from members of the public about a person in the water. On arrival, it was determined there was no one in danger.”

The fire brigade were spotted at Chiswick Mall by local resident James Rodgers, with four fire engines and a fire rescue boat stationed near St Nicholas Church around 7.50am.

Chiswick RNLI confirmed to The Chiswick Calendar that after a brief search, the Fire Brigade concluded there was no missing person.

Images above: fire engines at Chiswick Mall; @jmacrodgers

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Teenager charged with murder in Ealing

See also: Chancellor’s plans for free childcare will “destroy the industry” says Chiswick nursery principal

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 ask Hounslow to withdraw latest Grove Park traffic management proposals

Image above: Barrier closing off entrance to Burlington Lane from A316

Officer’s decision will just ‘open the floodgates’ to traffic again

Strand on the Green and Grove Park residents associations have asked LB Hounslow to withdraw the latest proposal for traffic management in Strand on the Green and Grove Park.

Chief Officer for Transport Jefferson Nwokeoma announced in February he was planning to lift the permanent access restriction on access on Burlington Lane from the A316, removing the barrier and installing signs instead, limiting access to restricted hours.

There has been opposition to the Low Traffic Neighbourhood from the beginning. This latest change is intended to appease residents who live east of the A316 who want access to Grove Park.

Access to Burlington Lane would be restricted Monday to Friday between the hours of 8.00am & 9.00am and 2.45pm & 3.45pm during school term time, in the stretch alongside Chiswick School between the junctions of Burlington Lane with A316 and Staveley Road.

No change is planned for access to Staveley Rd. It would remain as it is, with access only for permit holders and buses Monday – Saturday between the hours of 8.00am to 7pm.

Cllr Peter Thompson

According to Cllr Peter Thompson, who represents the Riverside ward and leads the Conservative group on the Council, the change:

“will reintroduce thousands of cars a day back into our area – a decision which will undermine the only success that the scheme can claim to date.”

The Strand on the Green Association say the change is “to the detriment of South Chiswick residents.

“SoGA and the Grove Park Group believe that reintroducing commuting and through traffic into and through Grove Park and Strand on the Green is against the goals of the Council’s own LTN scheme and will have lasting impact on the Thames Road ‘access only’.”

The proposals will be considered by the Council’s Oversight and Scrutiny Committee on 11 April before going to a formal decision by the Cabinet on 18 April.

SoGA has circulated to its members a request that they email the councillors on the Oversight and Scrutiny Committee to let them know their views.

“We urge you to recommend rejection of the COD [Chief Officer’s Decision] and demand further consultation with the relevant residents’ associations to achieve an LTN with common traffic measures across the entire South Chiswick area that meets the following fundamental requirements.”

The South Chiswick Liveable Neighbourhood project (ie. south of the A4) was launched in 2019 and measures were introduced during the pandemic which have since been put out to consultation. Some measures have been made permanent while others have been changed subsequently.

Residents have complained consistently that they are too complicated, badly signposted and leave residents and visitors confused as to where they can drive.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Grove Park LTN decision pushed back after traffic officer’s view published

See also: Silent Witness filming sparks emergency services call out

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 Auctions sell paintings by Mary Fedden

Image above: The Fish Pot

Mary Fedden and Julian Trevelyan – the original ‘Artists At Home’

Two original paintings by the much-loved local artist Mary Fedden (1915-2012) come up for sale at Chiswick Auctions this month. Still Life with Milk Jug and The Fish Pot are both being auctioned in the Modern British and Irish Art sale on 29 March in the auction rooms in Barley Mow Passage.

Mary and her husband Julian Trevelyan started the tradition of open studios in Chiswick and Hammersmith, ‘Artists At Home‘, which is celebrating its fiftieth year this year.

A painter in the Britisn Modernist tradition, Mary was the first woman tutor to teach at Royal College of Art, where David Hockey, Patrick Caulfield, Allen Jones and R.B. Kitaj were all pupils.

Originally from Bristol, she studied at the Slade School of Art and moved to Chiswick in 1949 to live with Julian at Durham Wharf on Chiswick Mall, where she continued to paint until she died, aged 96, in 2012.

Image above: Still Life with Milk Jug

‘Playful, whimsical subject matter’

Chiswick Auctions describe her work as: ‘characterized by bold, bright colours, simplified forms, and playful, whimsical subject matter, it is particularly admired for its sense of joy and optimism.

‘Her work often featured still-life objects, landscapes, and animals, and was deeply influenced by her travels in Italy and France.’

Still Life with Milk Jug has a guide price of £7k – £10k. The Fish Pot is advertised at £10k – £15.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: A4 and M4 closures 24 – 27 March

See also: Silent Witness filming sparks emergency services call out

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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Chiswick Repair Cafe celebrates success with new website

Image above: Chiswick Repair Cafe volunteers

Mending for a sustainable future

The Chiswick Repair Cafe, which launched last summer, has been such a success it has now launched its own website. Since the first few experimental repair sessions have proved so popular, they are planning on the cafe becoming a permanent fixture.

“It has been a tremendous success” Charlotte Bullock tells me, so much so that they now have 30 or 40 volunteers on their books who are willing and able to mend things and they have to tell people not all to come at 10.30 when they open, as they have had queues of people down the road, waiting to get in.

People bring chairs, picture frames, coffee machines, Hoovers, jumpers, teddy bears… “if you can carry it, bring it” says Charlotte. Unlike charity shops, their insurance covers electrical goods.

“We have a brilliant group of volunteers. The men have bonded, which is lovely. There are some younger men who tend to do the computers. There is rather an embarrassing gender divide, in that the men tend to do the gluing and fixing and the women the sewing and darning, but we have one volunteer who crosses that gender divide.”

Image above: Chiswick Repair Cafe volunteer

The Repair Cafe takes place once a month month in Christ Church on Turnham Green, set up by four Chiswick women who wanted to do their bit to save the planet, by working towards a sustainable future rather than contributing to the throw-away society the baby boomer generation have become used to.

They met through Hounslow Council’s initiative to create ‘environmental champions’.

“None of us can fix anything” she says, “but we met at a webinar, realised we were all from Chiswick and decided to meet up to see how we could support each other.”

Charlotte at that time was working with an eco start-up, Kate Hollis was a clean air campaigner, Jill Spencer was organising litter-picking, and Marie-Claire Meisels trying to organise the planting of a ‘Great West hedge’ along the A4.

Image above: Organisers Kate, Charlotte, Jill and Marie-Claire

The four of them sought the advice of the ‘Six Dads’, who had set up a repair café in Twickenham a few months earlier and joined the Repair Café Foundation, a worldwide network of repair cafes started originally in the Netherlands some 20 years ago, with members in New York, cities in India, all over the world. They received a £1,000 ‘Thriving Communities’ grant from LB Hounslow and rented the space from the church.

Six months later they now have their own website, where they are promoting existing businesses in the area which already mend things.

chiswickrepaircafe.com

Image above: Chiswick Repair Cafe volunteers

When I went on Saturday the church was busy. Christ Church has an inner and an outer area, divided by glass doors. The inner area was laid out with tables where the volunteers were mending things, and clearly signposted; the outer area was laid out with tables and chairs for people to sit and wait their turn to be seen.

It is all very well organised. Someone approached me the minute I walked in the door, to give me a form to fill out and a raffle ticket to secure my place in the queue. I had not realised that you are only meant to take one item. I had brought some sewing and a picture frame, so I had two separate tickets and I was lucky they were both done.

While you wait there is tea and coffee and home made cakes, made by the church ladies (and therefore very good. It seems to go with the territory; church cake is always excellent). I also got chatting to a couple of people while we waited, which was not long, so it was quite a social experience.

Image above: Jill Revie, on sewing machine duty

I realised I knew the volunteer who took on my sewing. Jill Revie, an artist who for years has been a leading light in Artists At Home, set about mending the straps to my bag. Then Steve tapped a few pins into the frame of my picture to hold it more securely.

They were both happy to chat while the worked. It is a very convivial atmosphere. You are asked to make a donation of £5 – £10. It’s cheap, it’s efficient, it’s quick – no hunting around to see it there is anywhere that might mend your item anywhere in range of Chiswick; no having to come back next week to see it it’s been done. It’s social and you go away happy with a much loved item looking better and the positivity which comes with not contributing more to landfill.

We list Chiswick Repair Cafe sessions in our What’s On listings, so keep an eye out for the next one in a month’s time.

Image above: Chiswick Repair Cafe volunteers

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: ‘Repair Cafe’ to launch in Chiswick

See also: Finite – The Climate of Change documentary, review

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Brentford 1, Leicester City 1

Post warm up, Toney leads 

Second season: points go missing

Picking up where they left off – unbeaten at home since last October – the Bees remained in eighth place in the Premier League table after entertaining the team they came from behind to twice equalise in their first match of the season. Only a point behind Brighton and Liverpool, well that isn’t bad.

No, but it isn’t what the Bees’ faithful wanted, or expected. Three points from a team languishing in the lower reaches of the division would have seen Brentford reaching sixth spot, with the possibility of competing in Europe next season still more than a dream.

The truth is that Leicester deserved to go home with a point in the bank, even though Leeds United’s win at Wolves meant the Foxes dopped a place in the skirmish at the bottom. Brentford, with eleven matches to play, and Arsenal, Manchester United, Newcastle, Tottenham and Manchester City among their opposition, will need to dig deep for character and skill to earn a place in Europe.

The atmosphere at the Gtech was edgy, probably reflecting the importance of every game for both sides. Brentford’s crackerjack start was encouraging but chances to score were rare at both ends until just after the half-hour when the Bees went ahead with a set-piece that may not have gone exactly to plan but worked out well enough to baffle Premier League debutant goalkeeper Daniel Iversen.

Wissa you were here

Bryan Mbeumo’s short comer found its way into the penalty area, where Ivan Toney and Christian Norgaard helped the ball on its way until Matthias Jensen seized the opportunity to shoot. The strike was not hard and its direction speculative, but double deflections, off Ricardo Pereira and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, saw it nestle in the net.

Conceding a goal, and from a set-piece at that, seemed to galvanise Leicester. Their passing was smart, their approach play enough to keep the home defence awake, but the visitors remained unrewarded until seven minutes after the break, when the best movement so far – and for the remainder, as it turned out – saw a diamond-studded through ball from James Maddison enabled Harvey Barnes to lift it past the advancing Raya.

In terms of scoring opportunities, that was about the lot. Ivan Toney was, for once, closely shepherded by Harry Souter, whose six-foot-five-inches helped him no end. Rarely has Toney been seen so out-jumped. And despite Maddison’s class, the visitors’ mostly attractive network of passes failed to penetrate the home defence.

Images above: One way to slow up Ivan; Who’s the fastest? Henry v Pereira?

Raya, like Iverson, was largely under-employed for much of the game, so much so that his propensity for go walkabout when the mood takes him broke new boundaries. Dashing towards a far touchline to clear a long ball, he found himself challenged by two Leicester sprinters and to extricate himself from danger performed a few kicky-uppies before despatching it back from whence it came.

A splendid diversion and the game ended with another, although far less satisfactory for the Bees. Shandon Baptiste, having been substituted for Jensen fifteen minutes from time, managed to register two fouls – one yellow, the other red – within minutes (possibly only seconds), and departed the field at the referee’s request.

And so to the international break, then Brighton and Manchester United away followed by the visit to the Gtech of Newcastle United, currently in fifth place in the table and separated from Brentford by a slender three points plus a game in hand. The Magpies beat the Bees 5-1 at St James’s Park in October and will present a stiff challenge, as will Brighton and Man. U.

One point not enough from them, I told my mate Charlie. We need to resume winning games to be in the hunt come May.

‘Oh, I dunno,’ said Charlie. ‘No other team has drawn twelve times.’

Brentford: Raya; Hickey, Pinnock, Mee, Henry; Damsgaard (Dasilva 61), Norgaard, Jensen (Baptiste, 75▪); Mbeumo (Jansson 90+), Toney, Wissa (Schade 61).

Leicester City: Iverson; Ricardo Pereira, Amartey, Souttar, Castagne; Ndidi (Soumaré 74; Dewsbury-Hall, Teté (Praet 66); Maddison (Iheanacho 90+), Barnes; Daka (Vardy 66).

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

Photographs by Liz Vercoe.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Louise Casey report finds Met Police racist, misogynistic and homophobic

See also: Chancellor’s plans for free childcare will “destroy the industry” says Chiswick nursery principal

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Louise Casey report finds Met Police racist, misogynistic and homophobic

Image above: Library picture, Metropolitan Police

“Public consent is broken”

The report by Louise Casey, commissioned by the Metropolitan Police after one of their officers, Wayne Couzens, kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard, has found the Metropolitan Police to be institutionally racist, misogynistic and homophobic.

The force has suffered a collapse in public trust because of the way they have behaved. “Public consent is broken” she said. The period of her report was bookended by the Wayne Couzens case and that of David Carrick, the police officer who waged a campaign of terror and humiliation against women for two decades, committing 48 rapes.

The 363 page reports has details of sexual assaults which have been either covered up or downplayed, a bullying culture, and discrimination “baked into the system”.

The report comes more than 40 years after Lord Scarman called for changes to policing in an attempt to restore public confidence in the police after the Brixton riots.

It comes more than 20 years after Sir William Macpherson accused the Met of instiutional racism following the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence.

Baroness Casey gave an example of one Muslim officer had bacon stuffed in his boots, and a Sikh officer had his beard cut. She found ethnic minority officers were much more likely to be disciplined or leave the force, and that Britain’s biggest force remains disproportionately white, in a capital city that is increasingly diverse.

As with the Lord Scarman report, she found that the use of stop and search powers against Black people was excessive and used far more by the Met than by any other police force.

She goes as far as to say that the Met is failing so badly it might have to be disbanded:

Baroness Louise Casey

“If sufficient progress is not being made at the points of further review, more radical, structural options, such as dividing up the Met into national, specialist and London responsibilities, should be considered to ensure the service to Londoners is prioritised.”

She blames failures of leadership within the police force but also says the government’s austerity measures have hit the force hard:

“Austerity has profoundly affected the Met. In real-terms, the Review has calculated that the Met now has £0.7 billion less than at the start of the previous decade, meaning its budget is 18% smaller. This is enough to employ more than 9,600 extra Police Constables at full cost.

“It has lost 21% of its civilian staff and two thirds of its Special Constables while the number of Police Community Support Officers has halved.

“Between 2010 and 2022 it closed 126 police stations. Specialist units and functions have been prioritised, including through ringfenced Government funding.

“Together, this has eroded frontline policing, weakening the strongest day-to-day point of connection with Londoners, as well as impacting the Met’s reactive capabilities, its response levels, and its response to male violence perpetrated against women and children.”

Louise Casey’s full report is availalbe to read here: Baroness Casey review.

Report must be a caralyst for police reform, says Police chief

The Metropolitan Police has welcomed the report and has called for it to be a catalyst for police reform.

Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said:

“This report sparks feelings of shame and anger but it also increases our resolve.

“I am proud of those people, our officers and staff, whose passion for policing and determination to reform moved them to share their experiences with such honesty.

“This is, in many ways, their report. It must be a catalyst for police reform.

Met has no “God-given right” to exist in its current form, says outgoing chair of the National Police Chief’s Council

Martin Hewitt, the outgoing chair of the National Police Chief’s Council, said it would take years for the Met to regain lost trust. Over the past few days crisis talks have takien place between Sir Mark Rowley, the Met commissioner since September, and the home secretary, Suella Braverman.

The Met has no “God-given right” to exist in its current form, said Hewitt.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Ruth Cadbury attacks Government cuts to neighbourhood policing

See also: Another west London police officer charged with sexual misconduct as Met put into “special measures”

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

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Teenager charged with murder in Ealing

Image above: Junction of Boston Road – Uxbridge Road; Googlemaps

16-year-old boy arrested

A teenager has been charged with the murder of a man in Hanwell, west London.

Police were called shortly after 12.50am on Sunday (19 March) to reports that a man had been assaulted on Boston Road near to the junction with Uxbridge Road, W7.

Officers and medics from the London Ambulance Service attended and a 62-year-old man was taken to hospital. He died at hospital later that day. The man’s family have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers.

Although officers await formal identification, they are satisfied that the deceased is Jerald Netto from Southall. A post-mortem examination will be arranged in due course.

A murder investigation has been launched, and a 16-year-old boy was arrested a short time after the incident. He was charged with murder and is due to appear in custody at Ealing Magistrates’ Court.

Two other males were arrested in connection with the incident. A man, aged in his 20s, has been bailed pending further enquiries. A 16 year-old boy was released without further action.

Nobody else is currently sought in connection with the incident.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Cycleway 9 extension into Brentford to last six months and cause ‘significant disturbance’ to area

See also: Hammersmith & Fulham call on Thames Water to stop dumping sewage in the Thames

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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Chancellor’s plans for free childcare will “destroy the industry” says Chiswick nursery principal

Image above: Increasing of children to carer ratio ‘will put children at risk’; nursery photograph Dukes Education

Government proposals are “absolutely diabolical”

The Chancellor’s plans to expand free childcare and increase the ratio of children to carers within early years settings will see many nurseries go under and put children at risk, according to the principal of five nurseries in west London.

Aimee Kimbell, Principal of Riverside Nursery Schools in Richmond, who lives in Chiswick, told The Chiswick Calendar the Government’s priorities were all wrong, and nobody with any real knowledge of the industry would approve of their proposals.

“In a nutshell, it is absolutely diabolical what they’ve said” Aimee told me.

“We have a staffing crisis in the sector anyway by them belittling the career. By saying they can up the ratio of the amount of children we can look after and by saying its free, it’s going to destroy the industry I think.”

As part of a wider drive to help people into work and boost growth, the Chancellor announced an extra 30 hours a week during term time to parents of children from the age of nine months to two years, matching the existing offering for three- and four-year-olds.

The Chancellor also announced an increase in ratio of two-year-olds each adult can look after in a childcare setting from 1:4 to 1:5.

Image above: Aimee with one of the nursery children in her care

Ratio increase “a time bomb waiting to happen”

The safety of children will be at risk should the Government proceed with their plans to increase, Aimee said, describing the increase as “a time bomb waiting to happen for accidents”.

“We’re hoping we wont have to abide by these rules, we’re going to to try to stick to 1:4, because it’s hard enough 1:4 as it is.

The company Aimee works for, Dukes Education, oversees 34 private schools, colleges and nurseries. She says they will probably be able to afford to stick to the 1:4 ratio, but others may not be so lucky.

“It does mean that some nurseries will [adopt a 1:5 ratio] and I do think there will be a serious accident that will happen because of it, I don’t think they’ve thought it through.

“The Government were trying to say even babies could be changed from a 1:3 ratio to a 1:4 and I think everyone put their foot down on that and realised that really is just ridiculous and unsafe. They don’t seem to have followed up on that, but they do want to change the ratio for the two-year-olds.”

Image above: Riverside nursery

Focus should be on staffing issues rather than free childcare “lies”

Aimee added that the offer for free childcare for one and two year olds is “just lies” and the Government should instead focus on fixing staffing issues in the sector.

“It’s them pulling the wool over parents eyes.” The money on offer to nurseries will not meet their actual costs, she says. “Obviously nurseries can’t exist on that kind of funding, so it isn’t free and a lot of nurseries will go under.”

The Chancellor promised more funding for the early-years sector, which has long argued that the amount providers receive from the government for the current free hours offer leaves them out of pocket. The funding gap has already driven many providers out of business.

In an effort to prevent further nursery closures, Jeremy Hunt promised an increase of free hours funding of £204m from this September, rising to £288m next year, which he claimed was a 30% rise.

The Women’s Budget Group estimated that funding the current hours for three- and four-year-olds would cost an additional £1.82bn – far greater than the amount promised by the government.

So what should the Government be doing instead?

Aimee Kimbell

“…They should do something about getting overseas candidates to come and work here who we’ve lost… We’ve lost our members because of Brexit, Covid and because it’s not paid enough.

“Young people going into the industry can get paid more working in a coffee shop than they would working with children, working with children is much more challenging and a bigger responsibility.”

“They should have said they’re going to put us on the list of other industries that need more workers, which we’re not currently on the list of which is ridiculous. People that want to come other from say South Africa or other parts of the world can’t… They should have supported the industry rather than making us suffer more.”

“They should have consulted with the experts in early years education to find out about the funding and what works. Because what will happen is more people will apply, more families will apply, thinking it’s for free then they’ll find out it’s not for free but people will make important family decisions based on these lives.”

“Anybody that has [been consulted] like the National Day Nurseries Association and the Early Years Alliance have always fought these kind of decisions but it seems they haven’t listened to them at all and have just gone ahead.

“Anybody who is an expert in working in early years have always said no, and we’re thinking we’re gonna have to start a big petition because – we’re okay because we think we’ll be able to survive, but there will be lots of stand-alone nurseries that will just go under.

“Obviously I understand people need childcare and they do it in other countries very successfully, but this isn’t the way to do it.”

Image above: Aimee Kimbell

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Ruth Cadbury MP brands Governments new migration bill as ‘inhumane and cruel’

See also: Cycleway 9 extension into Brentford to last six months and cause ‘significant disturbance’ to area

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Ruth Cadbury MP brands Government’s new migration bill as ‘inhumane and cruel’

Image above: Stop the Bill demonstration

“Yet another inhumane and cruel attack on some of the most vulnerable people here in the UK”

Ruth Cadbury MP has described the Government’s new illigal immigration bill as “inhumane and cruel”.

Speaking after voting against the bill on Monday (13 March) Ruth said it would not disrupt the operations of the gangs which organise people smuggling.

‘‘The Governments latest legislation is yet another inhumane and cruel attack on some of the most vulnerable people here in the UK” said Ruth.

“It is particularly appalling that this new law could see unaccompanied children seeking asylum being deported from the UK.

‘‘Those seeking asylum here in the UK have fled war and persecution, and the UK should live up its historic traditions of welcoming those who are fleeing conflict.”

Labour’s policy, outlined by Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, is to reach an agreement with France to handle returns and family reunions and to work on tackling the humanitarian crises which force people to leave their homes around the world at source.

Image above: West London Welcome

Bill “incompatible with the 1951 Refugee Convention” – West London Welcome

Hounslow has a proud tradition of welcoming and supporting refugees, who have come from places as varied as the Balkans, Ukraine, East Africa, Syria and Afghanistan. There are several organisations which help refugees and asylum seekers navigate their way through the requirements of British society when they first arrive.

West London Welcome, which helps refugees and asylum seekers from anywhere in the world, said the Illegal Migration Bill was is incompatible with the 1951 Refugee Convention and risked  breaching the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“The legislation would effectively mean a ban on claiming asylum for anyone arriving on or after 7 March 2023 who does not come here via one of very few formal resettlement routes, and appears to extend to children. We stand against the Bill and the harm it seeks to inflict on people seeking sanctuary here.”

What it would mean for Chidi

West London Welcome gives the example of Chidi, a Cameroonian girl who was trafficked here as a teenager.

“Put yourself in the shoes of one of our community members. Chidi, a young person who was trafficked here from Cameroon as a 17 year old unaccompanied child, who managed to escape her traffickers before claiming asylum at the Home Office and was accommodated in West London.

“When we met Chidi, she was frightened, withdrawn, and found it difficult to trust others. She had no documentation because her trafficker had taken it from her. We welcomed her to our centre, supported her to get into education, found her a good lawyer, and she was taken into care by the Local Authority. She was determined by the Home Office to be a victim of trafficking.

“Despite her traumatic past, she is now a confident student who works hard at college, has made good friends through our centre, and wishes to train to become a nurse for the NHS one day.”

“Under the Government’s new legislation, Chidi would find herself unable to claim asylum because she arrived ‘illegally.’ The Home Secretary will have a duty to remove asylum-seeking people who come here in breach of immigration law, even if they are forced to come to the UK illegally due to their trafficking or modern slavery situations.

“Chidi’s asylum claim would be deemed ‘inadmissible’ and she would not have a right of appeal.

“The Home Secretary will also have a power to remove unaccompanied children, which will become a duty when children become 18. Rather than being taken into care by a local authority and accommodated in the community, Chidi would be detained and possibly live in Home Office-run reception centres for unaccompanied children, likely for months or years until the Government decided where to send her – to Rwanda or another deemed ‘safe country’.”

“The Government has lost control of our immigration system” – Ruth Cadbury

Ruth Cadbury MP

‘The Government have lost control of our immigration system’ says Ruth Cadbury, “and rather than tackling the huge backlog in asylum applications the Government are once again introducing new laws that will not work.

“The Government need to instead focus on targeting the people trafficking gangs who are making millions. Meanwhile the Home Office need to urgently work to reduce the huge backlog in asylum applications which is leaving thousands of people in limbo as they wait for a decision.’’

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Life as an asylum seeker in west London

See also: Britain abandons the rights of children

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.

Accidental Death of an Anarchist – The Lyric, Hammersmith, review

Image above: Jordan Metcalfe (Detective Daisy), Daniel Rigby (The Maniac) and Tony Gardner (Superintendent Curry); Photograph copyright Helen Murray

Review by Simon Thomsett

Dario Fo and Franca Rame’s modern classic, Accidental Death of an Anarchist first saw light of day in 1970 and is now the subject of an updated adaptation by Tom Basden playing at the Lyric Hammersmith until 8 April.  The play dates from an age when political theatre set out to be essentially popular and accessible.

The original was unashamedly angry, funny and unrestrained. This new production, a collaboration with Sheffield Theatres, is faithful to that spirit and Basden’s updating is bold and gripping. It is one-paced but that pace is breakneck, so much so that a second viewing is possibly necessary to fully appreciate the torrent of ideas and genuinely hilarious moments that never let up for the 100 minute running time.

A suspect, known only as “the Maniac”, is being held for questioning in a police headquarters in present day London.  After making a fool of his interrogator (a blustering Howard Ward), the Maniac sees an opportunity to impersonate a judge who has been sent to conduct an investigation into the suspicious death in custody of the anarchist of the title, whose fatal fall from a fourth-floor window some time previously has been written off as accidental.

Image above: Daniel Rigby, Jordan Metcalfe and Tony Gardner; Photograph copyright Helen Murray

Easily fooling the three policemen who were present at the time of incident, he examines their statements, forcing them re-enact the events of that evening and their parts in it.

As the Maniac, Daniel Rigby’s performance is a breathless and a brilliant comic tour-de-force. Breaking the fourth wall with his entrance right at the start sets the tone as he tips us the wink and sets about creating mischief and gradually uncovering the truth.

He is matched throughout by his co-stars: Jordan Metcalfe as the detective who led the questioning, Shane David-Joseph as a put-upon constable who witnessed everything, and Tony Gardner as their Superintendent, are given the run around as their various accounts of what happened are exposed as unlikely at best and often physically impossible.  Ruby Thomas, doubling as a constable and an investigative journalist rounds out the uniformly excellent ensemble.

Images above: (L) Daniel Rigby;  (R) Jordan Metcalfe and Tony Gardner on the window sill, Daniel Rigby; Photographs copyright Helen Murray

Director Daniel Raggett controls things with enormous skill, trusting his cast and confidently managing the comic energy of Basden’s up-to-the moment script. Underpinning it all is a serious theme, the scandalous number of deaths in custody and a few almost throwaway moments bring that theme back into focus; it’s a difficult trick to pull off but it works spectacularly well here.

For me, the ending of the main narrative falters a little but there is another knowing and satisfying twist to follow and it does not detract from the overall effect of the evening.  It is a hilariously funny, theatrical breath of fresh air, straight from the ’70s.

Image above: (L) Howard Ward (Inspector Burton), Daniel Rigby; (Right) Ruby Thomas (Constable Jackson); Photographs copyright Helen Murray

Accidental Death of an Anarchist is on at the Lyric theatre, Hammersmith until Saturday 8 April.

Tickets: lyric.co.uk

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Two one-man plays by Mark Farrelly – Theatre at the Tabard

See also: “The National Film Theatre of 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.

Two one-man plays by Mark Farrelly – Theatre at the Tabard

Images above: Mark Farrelly as Quentin Crisp and as Patrick Hamilton

Quentin Crisp: Naked Hope, Tuesday 28 March

Theatre at the Tabard is staging two one-man plays next week, written and performed by Mark Farrelly and directed by Linda Marlowe.

The first, on Tuesday 28 March, Quentin Crisp: Naked Hope, portrays the extraordinary life of the author of The Naked Civil Servant. The second, The Silence of Snow: The life of Patrick Hamilton, on Wednesday 29 March, is about the Chiswick writer whose novels about the seamier side of life in London in the 1920s made him rich and famous when he was still a young man.

Mark came across Quentin Crisp’s show An evening with Quentin Crisp when he was at a particularly low ebb himself, and found him inspirational. He was known for his wit, his flamboyance, and his refusal to hide who he was at a time when homosexuality was illegal and refusing to hide who he was got him regularly beaten up.

He was briefly a rent boy in his teens, then spent 30 years working as a life model, hence the name of his biography. He became a gay icon, with his distinctive fashion sense and success as a raconteur making him a trailblazer.

He wore big hats and capes, bright make-up, crimson dyed hair and painted his fingernails and toenails when such things were not seen on the streets of London. It brought him admiration and curiosity from some, but more often hostility and violence.

” ‘I wear makeup to reveal, not to conceal’ he said” Mark told The Chiswick Calendar. “He was ostracised and beaten, yet he refused to compromise.”

Image above: Mark Farrelly as Quentin Crisp

The Silence of Snow: The Life of Patrick Hamilton, Wednesday 29 March

Both Quentin Crisp and Patrick Hamilton were habitués of Soho in the 1920s. Patrick’s father was an alcoholic who drank the family’s funds, leaving them living in a succession of boarding houses.

The family came to Chiswick first when Patrick was ten, to a substantial six bedroom property at 2 Burlington Gardens, but they moved about, staying in a succession of boarding houses, rented rooms and small hotels in London, Hove and Brighton. When they returned to Chiswick it was to a boarding house in Barrowgate Rd.

He left school prematurely, his schooling cut short by an outbreak of Spanish flu. His mother was afraid of him catching it and withdrew him from Westminster School at the age of 15. He wanted to be a poet, but realising that didn’t pay, turned his hand to novels and plays.

By the age of 25 he had a hit play in the West End – Rope, which Alfred Hitchcock subsequently turned into a successful film – and a critically acclaimed novel The Midnight Bell, in which he described falling in love with a prostitute. His play Gaslight gave rise to the current term ‘gaslighting’.

“He wrote about obsession” Mark told me. “His father had been an alcoholic and he also gradually became one. As the world darkened in the 1930s, so his world view also darkened. He became a maudlin drinker and went from this heady, excitable life into a darkness.

“Hangover Square, his most accessible book, is about a guy who becomes obsessed with an actress who is narcissistic.

“By the time he wrote his last good book, The Slaves of Solitude, he was on the slide, finding it difficult to write because of his addiction to alcohol. By the 1950s he was on three bottles a day.

“The play covers the whole sweep of his life.”

Mark has been touring with both these plays for ten years now, alongside two more plays: one about the comedian Frankie Howerd, Howerd’s End, the other about Derek Jarman –  artist, film maker, costume designer, stage designer, writer, gardener and gay rights activist.

Tickets: tabard.org.uk

Image above: Four plays by Mark Farrelly

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: “The National Film Theatre of Chiswick”

See also: Finite – The Climate of Change documentary, review

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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