Passers-by prevent bike theft on Chiswick High Road

Image above: Balfe’s Bikes in Chiswick

Local people round on thief outside Balfe’s Bikes

Local people prevented a bike theft on Chiswick High Road on Tuesday (30 May), chasing the would-be thief from outside the shop.

Balfe’s Bikes sometimes keeps bikes outside locked with bike locks to prevent thefts.

The thief was using an angle grinder, an industrial tool which can cut through thick locks, when passers-by noticed him and started shouting at him.

Spooked, the man fled the scene empty-handed.

The police were called, but no officers turned up, a Balfe’s Bikes worker told The Chiswick Calendar.

The incident took place between about 11.00am and 12.00pm.

One person outside was thought to be filming, but the shop said they have not seen the footage.

Ruth Cadbury condemns Government U-turn on animal welfare

Image above: A puppy raised on an illegal puppy farm

“Extremely disappointing” says Ruth Cadbury

Brentford and Isleworth MP Ruth Cadbury has strongly criticised the Government’s recent decision to backtrack on promised reforms aimed at enhancing animal welfare standards in the UK.

The proposed Kept Animals Bill, which had received support from various animal welfare organisations and dedicated campaigners, would have introduced stricter measures to combat puppy smuggling and the prohibition of live animal exports from the UK.

Despite this, on Tuesday (30 May), the Government unexpectedly announced its withdrawal of support for the legislation, effectively halting its progress through the current parliamentary session.

Speaking in full after this announcement Ruth Cadbury MP said:

‘‘It’s extremely disappointing that the Government have U-turned on introducing these much needed reforms around improving animal welfare. Our laws have long been too weak and this is why so many campaigners and animal rights charities have called on the Government to take action, and introduce new legislation to tackle the evil abuses carried out against animals.

“Whether it’s tackling the awful growth in illegal puppy smuggling, banning the import of dogs with cropped ears or banning the export of live animals for slaughter this bill was an ambitious chance to improve animal welfare laws. That’s why it is so disappointing that the Government have u-turned on a previous commitment to introduce the kept animals bill.

“This is simply the wrong decision and shows how out of touch the Government is about the strength of support for improving animal welfare conditions. I will continue to campaign in favour of stronger protections and regulations to protect animals, and hope the Government reverse this decision.’’

Announcing the Government was scrapping the bill and breaking its commitment to its own Tory party supporters, Environment Minister Mark Spencer said:

“Unfortunately this multi-issue nature means … the bill risks being extended far beyond the original commitments in the manifesto and the action plan.

“In particular Labour is determined to play political games by widening the scope of this bill.”

Leader of Hounslow Council writes to Rishi Sunak to urge Government to cooperate with Covid inquiry

Image: Cllr Shantanu Rajawat

‘Too serious for you to hide behind Government lawyers’

The Leader of Hounslow Council has added his voice to the row going on over what information the Government should make available to the Covid Inquiry.

Labour’s Leader in Hounslow, Shantanu Rajawat has today (31 May) written to the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to demand that he co-operate fully with the inquiry. The letter states:

‘Dear Rishi,

‘People in Hounslow faced devastating hardship during the pandemic. Lives were lost, families were ripped apart, and we were all asked to make enormous sacrifices for the good of the country.

‘Those sacrifices had real cost – we all missed our loved ones, many of us missed huge events in our families’ lives, and far too many of us missed the chance to say goodbye. Countless more lost jobs, income and any sense of security around their family finances.

‘Many are still trying to rebuild their lives and local employers have not yet returned to pre pandemic levels.

‘What people in Hounslow want now is to ensure that lessons are learnt. No one believes that the Government response was perfect, and the sad truth is that during a global pandemic mistakes cost lives.

‘To learn from those mistakes we need real openness and honesty from you and your government as the Covid Inquiry gets under way. It is therefore staggering that you are refusing to fully co-operate.

‘I am not writing to rehearse arguments about lockdowns, multimillion pound contracts for Tory donors or Downing Street parties. That is for the inquiry. I am simply writing – on behalf of the people of Hounslow – to insist that you do the right thing. This is too serious for you to hide behind government lawyers and the same old blocking techniques we saw during the partygate scandal.

‘Do the right thing, co-operate with the inquiry, and let’s ensure we learn all the lessons we can. The people of Hounslow will accept nothing less.”

Sadiq Khan demands new powers to tackle “scandal” of empty homes in London boroughs

Image above: Library image of housing in London

Housing worth £954 million standing empty in Ealing and Hounslow

The Mayor of London has demanded new powers to deal with the number of empty homes in London. New data shows there are more than 30,000 long-term empty homes in the capital, worth a total of £20 billion. The number of long term vacant homes it at the highest level since 2010, which Sadiq Khan says is a “scandal”.

The latest data shows that some 34,327 properties in the capital were “long-term vacant”, meaning that they had not been lived in for more than six months and were “substantially unfurnished”, as of March 31, 2022.

The Mayor wants the power to set higher rates of Council Tax on empty homes, and wants to make it easier for councils to temporarily take over empty homes by using Empty Dwelling Management Orders.

“It’s a scandal that so many much-needed homes across London lie vacant in the midst of a housing crisis” he said.

“That’s why I’m working with Westminster City Council to call on the Government to implement a range of measures to crack down on long-term empty homes, including the devolution of powers so that local councils can set higher rates of Council Tax on vacant properties.

“We are also urging Ministers to make it easier to allow the temporary take-over of empty homes using Empty Dwelling Management Orders, which have been restricted in recent years. Ministers should start by making it easier for councils to bring long-term empty homes back into use so we can continue building a fairer and more prosperous London for everyone.”

In LB Hounslow there are currently 1,384 properties empty, worth more than £650 million. In LB Ealing the figure is 553 homes, worth an estimated £304m.

“Decisions taken by Ministers to date have taken us backwards”

The Mayor needs the Government to sign off on new powers so his administration can begin to put the empty properties back into use. Answering the criticism that the number of empty houses had increased on Mayor Khan’s watch, a spokeswoman for the Mayor’s Office added:

“Decisions taken by Ministers to date have taken us backwards, by dramatically weakening councils’ ability to use Empty Dwelling Management Orders to crack down on empty homes.

“Sadiq is doing what he can with the limited powers he has, including allowing councils to buy up empty homes through his Right to Buy-back scheme. However, this issue needs Government to act, and the Mayor has been clear he wants to see Empty Dwelling Management Orders toughened up, as well as additional tough measures put in place such as raising the amount overseas owners must pay for leaving their home empty.”

Conor O’Shea, Policy & Public Affairs Manager at Generation Rent, said:

“As long as people are moving house or refurbishing properties we’ll always have some empty homes, but it’s particularly concerning that the number of long term empty homes in London has increased by 10,000 since 2019, at a time when rents have been surging to historic highs.

“We need to make it more difficult for owners to leave properties empty and deprive locals of much needed homes.

“A healthier supply of homes will dampen rents which are forcing people on ordinary incomes further out of London.”

Firefighters warn against balcony BBQs after Bank Holiday flat fire

Image above: A fire broke out after a barbecue at a flat on Gunnersbury Avenue

Four engines and 25 firefighters needed to tackle blaze

The London Fire Brigade has warned against lighting barbecues on balconies after one caused a fire at a flat on Gunnersbury Avenue on Bank Holiday Monday (29 May).

Four fire engines and around 25 firefighters from Acton, Chiswick, Wembley and Richmond fire stations attended the scene after receiving the first call about the fire on the second floor above a shop at 6.40pm.

It took less than half an hour to get the fire under control and there were no reports of any injuries.

The fire is thought to have started due to a barbecue being lit on an adjacent balcony with embers blowing over the barriers.

Firefighters have warned balcony fires can be devastating as they can easily spread to adjoining properties, potentially leaving people homeless if the fire is serious enough. The Brigade has previously written to manufacturers and retailers highlighting its concerns about barbecues which were being specifically marketed for use on balconies.

BBQ fire “can spread quickly” says LFB

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said:

“Many balconies have combustible materials as part of their construction and there are often combustible items stored in outside spaces so if a fire starts, it can spread quickly.

“Another worry is that wind can fan or carry smouldering ignition sources such as cigarettes and embers from barbecues to lower or adjacent balconies.

“We understand people want to enjoy their outside space if they have it, but please don’t think it won’t happen to you, because it can.

“Don’t be the reason you and your neighbours end up looking for somewhere else to live because of your cigarette or barbecue.”

The Fire Brigade has issued the following advice on how to barbecue safely:

1. Never use a BBQ – including disposables – indoors or on your balcony.
2. Be careful where you position your BBQ – it is suggested to put them on level ground, well away from anything flammable like sheds, fences, trees, or tents.
3. Don’t use petrol, paraffin, or any flammable liquids on your BBQ.
4. Carefully supervise children – little ones can all too easily trip and fall, while older children might hurt themselves trying to help.
5. Be pet-aware – dogs (and some cats!) love to snaffle sausages and can cause accidents getting under your feet. To be really safe, keep pets indoors, or at least out of the immediate vicinity of the BBQ.

What connection does Chiswick have with The Liver Birds?

Images above: Nerys Hughs and Polly James in the ’70s sit com The Liver Birds; creator Carla Lane

Chiswick Writers Trail updated with 15 more novelists, dramatists and poets, including Carla Lane

Director of the Chiswick Book Festival Torin Douglas has launched the first publicity for this year’s festival – the 15th – with the news that he has updated the Chiswick Writers Trail, a map showing where famous writers have lived in Chiswick, with 15 new names – novelist, dramatists and poets.

Perhaps the most excitng to those of us of a certain generation who were glued to TV sitcoms in the seventies is Carla Lane, the writer of three of TV’s most popular comedies, The Liver Birds, Butterflies and Bread, who used to live at Strand on the Green.

Wendy Craig, who starred in Butterflies said of her: “Her greatest gift was that she understood women and wrote the truth about them … She spoke about what others didn’t.”

The Liver Birds definitely had that refreshingly realisic sense of two young women just being themselves. Carla Lane lived at 65 Strand on the Green in the late 1980s, the house with the blue plaque which had belonged to the artist Johann Zoffany.

Image above: Some of the titles of books by Chiswick authors

Keeping company with Harold PInter, Dame Iris Murdoch and W.B. Yeats

Torin first created the writers trail in 2018.  The map included the homes of WB Yeats, Harold Pinter, Dame Iris Murdoch, John Osborne, WM Thackeray, Alexander Pope, EM Forster, JG Ballard, Anthony Burgess, Nancy Mitford and Robert Bolt.

The trail represents the tip of the iceberg though, as it forms part of the Chiswick Timeline of Writers & Books, an online archive of more than 400 writers who have lived in Chiswick – or are linked with the area – and written a book,  listed chronologically and by genre.

The idea was inspired by the Chiswick Timeline: A History in Art and Maps, the mural under the bridges outside Turnham Green tube station, created by Karen Liebreich and Sarah Cruz of Abundance London, which shows how Chiswick has developed over the centuries and highlights its best known artists, from William Hogarth to Camille Pissarro.

The list of names researched and put together by Torin, with help from local historian Val Bott and others, prompted The Observer to write in 2019 that ‘Chiswick may be Britain’s most literary location’.

The names he has added to the revamped trail also include Lynn Redgrave, who wrote Shakespeare for My Father and other plays about her famous family; Samuel Richardson, called ‘one of the fathers of the English novel’ for Pamela and Clarissa; Geoffrey Household, author of Rogue Male; and Edgar Wallace, creator of King Kong and one of the most prolific and filmed writers of the 20th Century.

The 2023 edition of the Chiswick Book Festival’s Writers Trail celebrates 36 notable dramatists, novelists and poets who lived in Chiswick. It boasts one Booker Prize, two Nobel Prizes for Literature, three Oscars, five plaques and a Poet Laureate. The enlarged map, sponsored by The Chiswick Cinema, can be picked up in local bookshops, at St Michael & All Angels Church and Chiswick Cinema or downloaded from the Chiswick Book Festival website.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Brentford 1, Manchester City 0

Goalkeeper Raya, team captain for the day, v City’s Walker

Second Season: Glorious Finale

So near, but oh, so far. Brentford would have to beat the Premier League champions, and then Spurs and Aston Villa lose, for them to be leapfrogged into a position that would deliver a place in next season’s Europa Conference League.

With manager Pep Guardiola allowing some of his key players having a rest day and others to sit on the bench, the Bees duly delivered. Spurs and Aston Villa duly didn’t, both achieving last-day victories. But were the home side, and the Gtech Stadium home crowd, disappointed? Not a bit.

The post-match celebrations of ninth place in the League, and now the only team to have beaten City home and away during a spectacular season, might easily have served for topping the table while also winning both the cup competitions on offer (less to be said about the latter, what with them exiting both while still on no more than casual acquaintance).

As it was, the Brentford faithful behaved impeccably in refraining from rushing on to the pitch – not one interloper, let alone a swarm – and then waiting for the jubilant players to fulfil ‘media duties’ before remerging to bathe in the all-round glow of achievement that settled on them, the coaching staff, the spectators the stewards and, for all I know, the ladies who sell the samosas in the Dugout lounge.

 (L) Frank says thanks…to the team, to the owner, to the fans; (R) A rare moment in front of the cameras for owner Benham, with Frank

It was not just the almost last-gasp match-winning goal that sparked such merrymaking. Club captain Pontus Jansson, off to Malmo after the four ‘best years of my life’, blubbed as he told the crowd ‘Brentford football club, you have been my passion, now you have won by heart’ and the crowd chanted ‘He’s one of our own’.

Pontus also waxed vociferous about club ambassador Peter Gilham – ‘Mr Brentford’ – and the crowd responded warmly to Saman Ghoddos, off to pursue his career elsewhere, and Thomas Frank, even if his emotional message of the Bees as ‘the best f—–g team in West London’ had anxious parents reaching too late to put fingers in the ears of their offspring.

Mingling on the pitch with players, their families and members of the coaching staff was owner Matthew Benham, resplendent in green shirt and green sunglasses perched back on his head. Quite rightly, everyone else concerned thanked him. Famously reserved, today he looked pleased bordering on euphoric. Long may he remain so.

All that remained was for Ted Lasso to turn up, such was the dramatic recognition of a season that for Brentford had been written off by many pundits before a ball had been kicked.

 Mbeumo and  Damsgaard mark City’s Foden

Prior to the carousing on and off the pitch, there had been a football match.

Early on, there were those who greeted the news that midfielder Mathias Jensen had joined Christian Norgaard in the injury department with some dismay. Certainly, Mikkel Damsgaard, Vitaly Janelt and Frank Onyeka looked a makeshift midfield engine room and David Raya – captain for the day – was kept watchful, especially by the energy of Phil Foden, one of the City stars to have avoided the cut.

Apart from a claim for a rejected claim for a penalty by the Bees, the most notable incident of the half was Ben Mee’s collapse and subsequent medical attention for three or more minutes. Come the break, and the one additional minute awarded was a puzzlement to us all.

Brentford winning goalscorer Pinnock puts his back into defence

In the second period, Brentford established a rhythm that unsettled the visitors, even though referee John Brooks did his best to interrupt their momentum with a cluster of yellow cards, four in all by the end.

Raya was still required to intervene in City’s sporadic attacks – only a full-stretch dive foiled Cole Palmer and, later, a double-save again prevented the ever-dangerous forward from scoring.

One goal by either side would probably settle the outcome, I told my mate Charlie.

And so, five minutes from the end of normal time, it came to pass: substitute Kevin Schade supplying a fine cross that was nodded into the path of Ethan Pinnock by Bryan Mbeumo. A goal scored with Pinnock’s feet rather than his head is not exactly unknown in this particular bus stop in Hounslow, but this one – left boot, in case you’re wondering – made the five minutes of added time especially pleasurable.

And it makes next season look even more welcome, I told Charlie.

‘Europe, here we come’, said Charlie.

Brentford: Raya; Hickey (substitute Dasilva 70), M Jorgensen, Mee, Pinnock, Henry; Damsgaard (Schade,70), Janelt, Onyeka (Baptiste 81); Mbeumo (Ghoddos 89), Wissa (Roerslev 89).

Manchester City: Ederson; Aké (Charles 63), Laporte, Walker; Phillips, Foden; Palmer, Lewis, Gómez, Alvarez; Mahrez.

(L) “We want you to stay” the fans sang to Raya, but will he? (R) And now for season 23-24. Come on you reds!

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

Pictures by Liz Vercoe

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West London hospitals lose out in reprioritisation of NHS capital spending

Image above: Charing Cross Hospital; Imperial College Healthcare Trust

Rebuilding of St Mary’s, Charing Cross and Hammersmith downgraded in favour of more urgent work elsewhere

Major building projects to refurbish St Mary’s Hospital, Charing Cross and Hammersmith hospitals have been downgraded in the Government’s reprioritisation of capital spending on the NHS.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay announced in Parliament on 25 May the Government would be spending money on seven hospitals in urgent need of repair:

“An independent assessment shows they are not safe to operate beyond 2030.”

Two of the hospitals were already included in the Government’s building programme, but five are new. These include Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn, which has been pictured on the internet recently with thousands of steel and timber support props supporting its dilapidated roof, and Airedale General in Keighley, which has experienced more than 200 leaks in a year.

The Government had underestimated the lifespan of hospitals built with Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete, but now realises these hospitals built between the mid-1950s and mid-1980s were literally falling apart.

“We now know that RAAC has a limited lifespan with difficult and dangerous consequences for the people who rely on or work in those hospitals,” said Barclay.

As a result, some of the hospitals listed in Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock’s promised building programme announced in October 2020 to be completed by 2030 have now been demoted to a “rolling programme” of building work which will be started but not finished by the end of the decade.

Among them are St Mary’s Hospital, Charing Cross and Hammersmith hospitals, run by the Imperial College Healthcare Trust.

Images above: Professor Tim Orchard; St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington; Imperial College Healthcare Trust

Delay “hugely damaging for the health and healthcare of hundreds of thousands of people”

The chief executive of the Trust, Professor Tim Orchard, says a delay until 2030 for work to begin on St Mary’s Hospital, Charing Cross and Hammersmith hospitals “would be hugely damaging for the health and healthcare of hundreds of thousands of people.”

He said: “If we waited until 2030 to start building works at St Mary’s, it would become impossible to continue to patch up our oldest facilities, many of which house key clinical services. As the provider of London’s busiest major trauma centre and host of the NHS’s largest biomedical research centre, that would be hugely damaging for the health and healthcare of hundreds of thousands of people.”

Boris Johnson’s 2019 general election manifesto included a promise to build ’40 new hospitals by 2030′. The Government has committed capital spending of over £20bn, describing it as “the biggest capital investment the NHS will have seen.”

There has been much discussion since then as to whether these were genuinely new hospitals or whether they were mainly refurbishment programmes.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay admitted in an interview with the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg on Sunday 28 May that they are not building 40 new hospitals, they are building five new hospitals and the rest of the capital will be spent on a “range” of work which includes new wings for some hospitals and a programme of refurbishment for others.

Image above: Steve Barclay and Laura Kuenssberg; BBC Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg

West London hospitals now “part of a rolling programme” of work

Mr Barcley also confirmed that some of those on the list, including St Mary’s, Charing Cross and Hammersmith hospitals, were part of a “rolling programme” which would be started by 2030 but not finished by then.

“We are being honest in saying that there will be difficulties on some of the schemes” he said. “The key is that they will be starting work and we will make progress on enabling works…

“We are being honest that some schemes will take slightly longer than 2030.”

The original list published in October 202 promised: “Rebuild of St Mary’s Paddington … Rebuild of Hammersmith Hospital, new clinical academic redevelopment near ICL White City Campus, co-located with Imperial College biomedical campus at White City. Major floor-by-floor refurbishment of Charing Cross.”

In his statement to parliament on 25 May none of these are scheduled for completion by 2030.

“The remaining seven hospitals within this cohort will also proceed as part of the New Hospitals Programme. The work will start on these schemes over the next two years but they will be part of a rolling programme where not all work will be completed by 2030.”

He said the work at Charing Cross would start within the next year:

“At Charing Cross in Hammersmith, work will begin on temporary ward capacity to enable the floor-by-floor refurbishment to proceed.”

Images above: Wes Streeting; Andy Slaughter

“Programme hit with delays and uncertainty for years”

Commenting on the Health Secretary’s statement, Shadow Secretary of State for Health Wes Streeting said:

“The fact is that, thanks to the dither and delay and the churn of personnel from one Health Secretary to another and one Prime Minister to another, the programme has been hit with delays and uncertainty for years …

“This is not just about cost, but about the very real threat to patient safety, which this irresponsible Government are presiding over day in, day out.”

Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter said:

“This is the most shameful, self-serving and nakedly political statement I think I have ever heard. We have heard that Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust has the biggest backlog in the country.

“The Government tried for eight years to demolish Charing Cross Hospital, and now they are promising a portacabin there. The only thing that gives me comfort is that the Secretary of State and the whole rotten lot of them will be out of here in a year’s time, and we will have a Labour Government who will actually deliver for Imperial, for Charing Cross, for Hammersmith and for my constituents.”

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Shakespeare In Love (1998) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Shakespeare In Love (1998) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ – Review by Andrea Carnevali

The world’s greatest ever playwright, William Shakespeare, is young, out of ideas and short of cash, but meets his ideal woman and is inspired to write one of his most famous plays.

Shakespeare In Love will be screened at Chiswick Cinema on Tuesday 6 June 2023 with director John Madden taking part in a Q&A afterwards.

I have a sort of love/hate relationship with this film… and by the time you’ll get to the end of this review, you’ll understand why.

It is an undeniably charming film: historical escapism at its best (even though it takes few liberties with historic accuracy). A little gem of a movie, that continues to delight audiences whenever it gets shown around.

The script by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard has a lot to do with how well the film works. It is indeed a manual of screenwriting. Witty, clever, and endlessly entertaining, it creates a story that manages to be both a love letter to Shakespeare himself, as well as a unique and original tale in its own right.

The dialogue is sharp, filled with puns, wordplay, and so many references to Shakespeare’s plays, that any Bard lover will feel in heaven. But it is also a well-structured and tightly plotted story, with subplots and characters are all woven together seamlessly, creating a rich and complex tapestry of a story that never feels overwhelming or confusing. It stands as a testament to the power of great writing, and a reminder of why Shakespeare’s work still has so much power.

Director John Madden expertly balances the film’s comedic and dramatic elements, treating the source material with the respect and reverence it deserves. He keeps the film moving at a brisk pace, keeping it always fun and allowing the playfulness of the script to shine, while at the same time making every quiet and more reflective moment resonate.

Madden has a great eye for detail and he captures the essence of the Elizabethan era beautifully: a world that is rich and immersive, that feels authentic and lived-in, from the lavish costumes, to the bustling streets of London, to the energy and excitement of the live theatre (courtesy of his dynamic camera angles and quick cuts which convey the frenetic energy of a live performance).

It may get overly sentimental at times, but obviously at the heart this is a love story between Will Shakespeare and Viola: a romance that is both passionate and bittersweet, echoing of course the tale of Romeo and Juliet, both thematically and structurally, another reason why it is hard not to like this film.

Shakespeare in Love is a real crowd-pleasing romp through Elizabethan England filled with witty banter, swoon-worthy romance, and a cast of characters that will leave anyone grinning from ear to ear; from the charmingly bumbling Shakespeare to the feisty and independent Viola. Joseph Fiennes brings the perfect mix of charm, wit, and vulnerability to the role of the Bard, making him a character that you cannot help but root for.

This of course was not Fiennes’ only entry in the Elizabethan world in 1998, (the splendid Elizabeth was the second), but despite that, more than 30 other films to his resume and his more recent (and rather controversial) role in four seasons of the Handmaid’s Tale, Shakespeare in Love is really the film he gets remembered for. And I guess, rightly so: his scenes with Paltrow, filled with passion and humour, are some of the film’s most memorable and their chemistry is really electric.

Paltrow is equally fantastic as Viola, a woman who dreams of being an actress in a world that doesn’t allow it. The fierce determination she manages to bring to the role, as well as a vulnerability that makes her character all the more relatable and probably what got her the Oscar.

The supporting cast is equally strong too, with standout performances from Geoffrey Rush as the conniving theatre owner, Tom Wilkinson as the pompous actor-manager. But also we have Ben Affleck, Colin Firth, Simon Callow, Jim Carter, Imelda Staunton and of course Judi Dench as Queen Elizabeth, who in less than 20 minutes of screen time, steals the show and get away with an Oscar in the process.

Finally, to top it all up, the evocative score by Stephen Warbeck, which beautifully conveys the epic sweep nature of the story while also capturing the intimate moments between the characters and the romantic and whimsical tone of the script.

But of course, it is impossible to talk about Shakespeare in Love without mentioning its controversial Best Picture win over Saving Private Ryan. Spielberg did win Best Director (I mean, it would have been a real travesty if he hadn’t), but the film missed out on the big one.

Those who know me can easily imagine how I must have felt at the time when the winner was announced and while I can understand why Shakespeare in Love resonated with audiences and critics alike (after all it is a film that celebrates the power of storytelling and the magic of theatre, with such joy and enthusiasm that it’s hard not to be swept up in its charms.), Saving Private Ryan, not just an epic war drama, but a masterpiece of filmmaking, with stunning visuals, heart-wrenching performances, and a story that will stays with you long after the credits roll, deserved that Best Picture Oscar.

There you go, I’ve said it!

Do catch a special 25th Anniversary screening of Shakespeare in Love, followed by a Q&A with John Madden, at the Chiswick Cinema on Tuesday 6 June 2023.

Shakespeare In Love will be shown at a special screening at Chiswick Cinema on Tuesday 6 June with director John Madden taking part in a Q&A afterwards.

Book tickets here:

Chiswick Calendar Freebie – Win a Golden Pass to Riverside Studios Bitesize festival

Image above: Bitesize at Riverside Studios, Hammersmith

Bitesize festival returns to Riverside Studios

Riverside Studios is running its third Bitesize festival in July, with the most ambitious programme yet: 33 theatrical productions – plays, dance, poetry, stand-up comedy – from creatives who are new to the business and those who are more established, but trying out new work.

The four week festival is an opportunity for writers, producers and performers to have a platform for their work early in their career and a chance for those who enjoy theatre but find it too expensive, to take advantage of £10 tickets (concessions £6.50).

Images above: Bacon(L);  Ivo Graham (Top R); Jenan Younis (Bottom R)

Programme highlights

The Riverside’s programme highlights for the festival include Taskmaster star Ivo Graham’s work in progress presentation of his new stand-up show; the return of the multi-award-winning play Bacon, ‘an unflinching and humorous look at masculinity, sexuality and power’; BBC New Voices Winner and founder of Guardian recommended Weapons of Mass Hilarity, Jenan Younis presents an hour of new material; Mark Glentworth presents 7½ years, an award-winning autobiographical musical about him composing the world-famous percussion piece Blues for Gilbert; and Run To The Nuns, a new, queer musical set in a fictional nunnery.

Images above: 7½ years; Run to the Nuns

An open call to artists

Programming Manager Phoebe Stringer told The Chiswick Calendar she had selected the acts by putting out an open call, asking early career writers, producers and performers to submit their scripts and a bit about themselves. The work had to be self-produced and last under an hour. She was inundated with scripts.

“I read all the scripts” she told me, “even those I turned down. We were able to accept around a third. The application form was designed to be accessible, but detailed enough for us to be able to tell what the shows would be like.”

33 shows – all very different

The age range of those who will be showing their new work covers people in their twenties through to people in their sixties and the subjects are broad-ranging, from Fiji, “an interesting show about cannibalism” to Sophie, “an autobigraphical one woman show”.


Fiji comes from the makers of “modern masterpiece” Clay Party and the “vividly stark” Conflicted Theatre.

‘Inspired by shocking true events, watch True Crime blend with Romantic Comedy to deliver a thrill-ride as hilarious and touching as it is oh. so. TWISTED. Nick’s cooking for Sam and, if all goes to plan, this will be their first and last meeting.’



Sophie, a play about a young woman who lives with Downs Syndrome and her sister, is told from the point of view of the sister Emily.

As the girls grow up and Emily begins ‘consuming plenty of cheap booze, snogging boys, and dancing to some great girl bangers, Sophie gradually becomes excluded from the independent life that Emily is freely able to enjoy. The sisters then begin to grow further apart when Emily’s ignorance is fuelled by the discriminative views of her peers in high school.’

Sophie and Emily, sisters in real life, want to challenge people’s perceptions about Down syndrome and create ‘a social, cultural, medical, and educational impact through live and digital storytelling, in a sexy, sassy and sparkly way’.

Bossa Nova

Bossa Nova: Tribute to João Gilberto by Mario Bakuna is a conventional concert which does what it says on the tin.

‘After sold-out nights in the UK, Portugal, France and the Netherlands, Mario Bakuna is delighted to perform this concert at the Riverside Studios and invites the audience to celebrate one of the greatest Brazilian musicians of all times.’


Blood, Gold and Oil 

Blood, Gold and Oil has been produced to mark the 20th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq and is set in three parts representing war, commerce and energy. The actors use museum artefacts to tell the story of the Arab revolt and of British imperialism and invite the audience to re-think what they know about Lawrence of Arabia.

‘From the 1916 Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire of the First World War, a modern hero is constructed; the brilliant, flawed, figure of Lawrence of Arabia. His legacy is as conflicted as his psyche. Brilliant military commander? Certainly. Agent of British Imperialism? Maybe. Vulnerable fantasist? Yes. Freedom Fighter? In his head.’

Image above: The first three shows, 2 – 5 July 2023

Chance to win a Golden Pass

Just singling out these four productions gives a flavour of the variety of shows Bitesize has on offer. Some of the shows, such as Run to the Nuns, have just finished a run at Brighton Fringe, while others are gearing up for a go at the Edinburgh Fringe. Some are unique to the Riverside. Browse the full list on the Riverside Studios webiste.

The Riverside has made 20 Golden Passes available to the public to buy and has given one to us to give away to one of our readers. The pass entitles you to book two tickets per performance for as many performances as you want, for free.

Our competition question is: Ivo Graham appears in the Channel 4 show Taskmaster. Who are the show’s two presenters?

To win the Golden Pass, email us at with the answer to the question. Please put ‘Golden Pass competition’ in the subject box of your email. The winners will be chosen at random from the correct answers received by midnight on Friday 2 June.

If you don’t win but you would like to go to several performances, best value is the Festival Pass, which gets you ten pairs of tickets across the festival for £60.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Police issue eFit image after attempted rape in Dukes Meadows

Image above: eFit image of the man police would like to trace; photograph Metropolitan Police

Police wish to question man in connection with attempted rape on Promenade Drive

Police investigating an attempted rape in Chiswick have issued an eFit image of a man they would like to speak to.

The attack took place in the late evening on Saturday 13 May near Anstice Close (W4 2RJ), a cul-de-sac close to the river by Dukes Meadows.

At around 11.50pm a woman was returning home from Barnes after attending a party. She crossed Barnes Bridge and walked through the housing estate. When she reached Promenade Drive she was approached by the man who asked her why she was walking alone.

He then attacked her, pushing her to the ground. The woman, who was wearing a white dress, immediately began screaming and kicking her assailant as he pulled off her underwear.

As the assault was in progress, a man who was out looking for his dog approached, walking in the direction of Promenade Drive using the torchlight on his phone to search. When the attacker saw the torchlight, he ran away in the direction of Barnes Bridge.

The police are asking anyone who thinks they may recognise the person in the eFit or witnessed anything on the evening of the attack to call 101 and quote the crime reference 0510851/23.

If you wish to remain anonymous call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit:

District Line commuters evacuated from train after fire beside the tracks

Image above: Commuters walk along the tracks with the help of TfL staff on Friday 26 May; Photograph Olivia Freeman

Commuters stuck on District Line train “like a sauna”

District Line commuters had to walk along the railway tracks on Friday (26 May) to continue their journeys after a fire was spotted next to the tracks at Gunnersbury Station.

Commuters said they were stuck on a District Line train for nearly two hours and that it felt like a sauna.

Roger Hill Tweeted at 7.32pm:

“Stuck on District line train outside Gunnersbury for over two hours now. Officially Londons biggest public sauna. Shame it’s not free!”

At 7.35pm, Neal Patel Tweeted:

“We have been trapped on a District Line train for over 2 hours with no air con between Gunnersbury and Turnham Green. What is going on?”

Images above: Passengers disembark; Photographs Olivia Freeman

TfL staff excorted passengers along the tracks

Another commuter, Olivia Freeman, told The Chiswick Calendar paramedics eventually boarded the train and the remaining commuters disembarked onto the tracks, where they were guided to Turnham Green station by Transport for London staff.

“We walked towards a gap opposite Chiswick Park and came out through a hole in hedge. Then passengers had to walk across park to TG [Turnham Green]” Olivia said.

National Rail confirmed the disruption was caused by a fire “next to the track” at Gunnersbury station and that trains to and from Richmond were cancelled.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Brentford striker Ivan Toney’s ban reduced after independent report highlights gambling addiction

Image above: Ivan Toney

Toney diagnosed with gambling addiction and says he is determined to address it

The detailed independent report that played a crucial role in determining the ban length for Brentford striker Ivan Toney has been made public, revealing he suffers from a gambling addiction.

The report reveals that no evidence of match-fixing was found in relation to Toney’s gambling activities. As a result, his suspension has been reduced from 11 months to eight.

The investigation uncovered more than 200 bets placed by Toney, which violated the rules set by the Football Association (FA). It was revealed that some of these bets were against clubs he was associated with, although not in matches in which he personally participated. Initially, the governing body of the sport had sought a 15-month ban for Toney.

The commission handling the case took into account evidence presented by Dr. Philip Hopley, an expert in psychiatry, who conducted two interviews with Toney. Dr. Hopley’s findings influenced the commission’s decision to reduce the duration of Toney’s ban.

During the initial stage of the inquiry, Toney repeatedly lied about his gambling activities and deleted records from his mobile phone. These actions prompted calls for a more severe punishment. Since then, Toney has now expressed his determination to address his gambling addiction through therapy, although he continues to place bets on sports other than football.

Image above: Brentford v Brighton – Ivan Toney’s 20th successful penalty; Photograph Liz Vercoe

No evidence Toney influenced his own team losing

The regulatory commission concluded:

“There is no evidence that Mr Toney did or was even in a position to influence his own team to lose when he placed bets against them winning – he was not in the squad or eligible to play at the time.”

Brentford said that they would do ‘everything possible’ to support the player during his suspension and manager Thomas Frank expressed frustration that he was not allowed to have any contact for the first four months. He said:

“If I can’t speak to him, I guess they will have to ban me as well. If I am not allowed to support him there must be something wrong.

“What I on a personal note don’t get at all is how can you not let him be involved in football for the first four months? What do you gain from that? If you want to rehabilitate someone, give them education, do something. So now it’s like ‘okay, this is the sanction, leave to yourself, find out, die or survive.”

Toney should do community service in schools, says Thomas Frank

Mr Frank suggested Toney should do work in the community including going to schools to talk about the challenges he has faced. He also addressed broader issues raised by the case saying:

“Football and gambling’s relationship needs a review. We got a massive reminder. Do we do enough to educate our players?”

Toney will not be allowed to train until September and cannot play until 17 January next year. In addition he has been fined £50,000.

Brentford said in a statement following the publication of the report:

“The club will now be doing everything possible to provide support to Ivan and his family to deal with the issues raised in this case. Conversations regarding this and all matters relating to the case will remain confidential in order to protect the player and his family.

“We consider this matter closed and look forward to welcoming Ivan back to training in September and seeing him representing Brentford in the Premier League in January.”

Mawson’s Row to be turned back to residential use

Image above: Mawson’s Row next to Fuller’s Griffin Brewery

Historic houses where 18th century poet Alexander Pope lived

Proposals have been put forward to convert a row of historic houses in Chiswick, known as Mawson’s Row, back to their original residential purpose.

These houses, beside the fuller’s Griffin Brewery, were constructed at the beginning of the 18th century, shortly before Chiswick House was built. Among the residents were the poet Alexander Pope, often described as the best English poet of the 18th century.

Thomas Mawson, who founded Fuller’s Brewery in 1699, commissioned the construction of these Grade II listed five-storey buildings in 1715. The corner house became the Mawson’s Arms, used by brewery workers and visitors and in the 1990s the rest was converted into office space.

Now, a planning application (P/2023/1567) has been submitted to restore Mawson’s Row, 112-118 Chiswick Lane South, W4 2QA, into four family homes. Number 110, the former home of Alexander Pope, will undergo a separate planning process due to its ground-floor conversion into the Mawson’s Arms and Fox and Hounds pubs.

When the houses were built they were part of hamlet in countryside outside London. Now the houses are beside the busy A4 at Hogarth Roundabout. Behind the houses there is a large car park accessible from Mawson Lane, leading to Fuller’s Brewery.

When they were converted into offices connecting doors were added to allow passage between the properties. The current proposal would close off these connections and transform each building into an individual property.

If successfully converted, these houses would become some of the oldest residential properties in the Chiswick area. Other properties in Chiswick Square near Burlington Lane are thought to be even older, dating back to the seventeenth century.

Images above: Mawson’s Arms was the house where poet Alexander Pope lived and bears a blue plaque to remember him

One of the houses, Number 110, bears a blue plaque commemorating Pope, who lived there with his parents from 1716 to 1719. Pope had a close friendship with the third Earl of Burlington, the owner of Chiswick House.

READ ALSO: Alexander Pope, greatest English poet of the 18th century, lived in Chiswick

Pope lived in Chiswick between 1716 and 1719 with his mother and father and completed his highly successful translation of The Iliad while living here. He would have walked from Mawson’s Row to visit his friend Lord Burlington at Chiswick House when the old Jacobean Chiswick House still stood.

Pope’s father passed away in Mawson’s Row in 1717, after which Alexander moved to Twickenham with his mother.

This area is known as “Old Chiswick”, based around the parish church of St Nicholas with Mary Magdelene and the fishing community on the river, with village boundaries stretching roughly from Chiswick House to the west, along Chiswick Lane to Mawson Lane in the north, and up to the eastern end of Chiswick Mall.

The application includes a heritage statement highlighting that each house still retains its unique character, featuring original staircases, room plans, and period features. Although the interior is described as “tired” and equipped with modern windows, the external front facades of the houses are of significant historical value, contributing to the harmonious and well-designed terrace.

The houses have been on the market for 20 months as office space without any ‘credible’ offers, while there has been interest expressed in Mawson’s Row as housing. The offices have now been vacant for nearly three years.

Dutch seek details of WWII airman who lived in Chiswick

Image above: An information board at the crash site in Holland with missing details; Stichting Luchtoorlog Onderzoek Drenthe

Dutch research foundation seeks information about British war veteran who lived in Chiswick until his death in 2001

A research foundation based in Holland has reached out to the residents of Chiswick for help in finding out about an airman whose plane crashed at Odoorneveen during World War II.

Stichting Luchtoorlog Onderzoek Drenthe organises the “Lost Wings” project, to commemorate the sites of both Allied and German planes shot down during the war by installing information panels providing information about the individual crew members involved. With a primary focus on the Drenthe region, which shares a border with Germany, the organisation has successfully erected 39 of these panels in various locations across the Netherlands and Germany.

Flight Sergeant Alexander Henry Milton served as the rear gunner on a Halifax DT630 VR-T aircraft downed by the Luftwaffe over Odoorneveen on February 3, 1943.

Flight Sergeant Milton was born in Hounslow in 1916 and after the war lived in Chiswick until his death in 2001. He served with RAF Bomber Command with the service number 1003107 but enquiries to various veterans’ organisations have yet to yield any further information about him. His mother was Elizabeth Susan Skinner (1882–1952) and his father was Alexander John Milton (1868–1959) and he was baptised on 25 June 1916, St Augustine, Highbury.

The aircraft Milton served on belonged to the 419 RCAF (Moose) Squadron and departed from RAF Middleton St. George Air Base at 6.34pm, joining a wave of 263 planes on a mission to  attack Hamburg.

Image above: The site of the crash in Holland; Stichting Luchtoorlog Onderzoek Drenthe

Flight Sergeant Milton’s story

Due to adverse weather conditions, many of the bombers turned back before reaching their target. Flight Sergeant Milton’s aircraft continued despite falling behind the main body of the attack. In an attempt to catch up, pilot Jack D. MacKenzie made the decision to slightly lower the nose of the plane, increasing its speed. Compounding their challenges, the intercom system on board was malfunctioning, leaving the crew with no means of contacting Flight Sergeant Milton.

Approximately 25 minutes away from Hamburg, they found themselves under attack by a Messerschmitt Bf 110 nightfighter, piloted by Oberfeldwebel Karl-Heinz Scherfling. The Halifax executed an evasive manoeuvre known as the corkscrew, but it sustained severe cannon fire, resulting in the fatal injuries of pilot Jack D. MacKenzie and dorsal turret gunner Lennox AJ Gonnett.

The enemy’s gunfire also ignited the incendiary bombs on board, causing significant damage to the aircraft’s engines and controls by burning through vital cables and pipes. Flight engineer William P. Duthie attempted unsuccessfully to extinguish the fire. Meanwhile, navigator William N. Garnett, unable to rely on the intercom system, used a prearranged sequence of light flashes to communicate with Flight Sergeant Milton, giving the order to abandon the aircraft.

Bombardier Eric R. Marquand was the first crew member to leave the plane, followed by William N. Garnett, who checked on the remaining crew. At this point, radio operator Raymond H. Hill and William P. Duthie were preparing to evacuate. But the German fighter turned back and launched another attack on the descending Halifax.

During the chaos, Eric R. Marquand was struck in the ear. Meanwhile, Flight Sergeant Milton valiantly continued firing at the German fighter, allowing the other crew members an opportunity to escape. He fought until he eventually fell from his turret, while Duthie and Hill were unable to make it to safety.

The three surviving crew members were subsequently captured and sent to Stalag 344 Lamsdorf, where they remained as prisoners of war until 1945.

Stichting Luchtoorlog Onderzoek Drenthe hopes that the people of Chiswick can contribute any information or insights regarding Flight Sergeant Alexander Henry Milton, enabling them to complete the airman’s story.

The Lost Wings project aims to have more detail as well as a photograph of the airmen shot down so if you have any further information about Flight Sergeant Milton, see the Lost Wings website:

Joanna Bird – Contemporary ceramics collection, Chiswick Gallery

Joanna Bird’s summer exhibition

Joanna Bird lives in a gallery. At least, that is how it seems, as her house is full of the most exquisite ceramic and glass objects, beautifully displayed, with none of the clutter associated with normal life.

She used to sell ceramics from the Day & Bird gallery in Bond Street but when her art dealer husband Bunny Bird died in 2009 she decided to turn her home at 19 Grove Park Terrace, W4, into her gallery instead.

At any given point in the year friends round for dinner may find themselves sharing the large kitchen table with her latest acquisitions, but in early summer she fills the ground floor and the garden with work for her latest public exhibition.

‘Rites of Passage’ opens on Thursday 8 June and continues until Wednesday 19 June and will also include a series of evening events with artists talking about their work.

Images above: Bernard Leach Fritillary vase; Bernard Leach Hare dish

Rites of Passage

Why ‘Rites of Passage’?

“I’ve put together some of the masters of the British tradition with contemporary artists who have learned from them.”

Visitors will find examples of the work of Bernard Leach (1887 – 1979), regarded as the ‘Father of British studio pottery’ who established the Mingei folk art movement with Japanese potter Hamada Shōji, and  philosopher and art critic Yanagi Sōetsu. They will also find the work of Michael Cardew, Bernard Leach’s first pupil and other 20th century potters now considered as masters, Richard Batterham and Lucie Rie.

Among the contemporary ceramicists whose work will be on show are Emmanuel Boos, Carina Cisato, Hanne Heuch, Akiko Hirai, William Plumptre, Matthew Warner and glass artist Gregory Warren Wilson.

Image above: Work by William Plumtre using rope pattern inlay 

It is interesting to trace their lineage as potters. William Plumtre learned from the Japanese master Tatsuzō Shimaoka, who in turn learned from Hamada. Emmanuel Boos was apprenticed to French master Jean Girel and realising his passion for glazes studied at the Royal College of Art, specialising in glazes for his PhD. He was then chosen for a residency at Sèvres.

There is a particular technique, a rope pattern inlay which Plumtre uses which illustrates his artistic inheritance from Tatsuzō. With Emmanuel Boos the cultural lineage is in the glazes.

“You can see it in his glazes” says Joanna. “The French have a history of fancy glazes – complicated, sophisticated glazes.”

Images above: Work by Emmanuel Boos 

Learning from the best

Joanna is herself a potter. Having found out at Goldsmiths that she was not cut out for the Sociology degree she was studying, she discovered pottery and moved to Cornwall to learn her craft from Michael Cardew at his studio at Wenford Bridge.

“He was standing there in an African smock, regarding a lump of earth, with a robin on his spade and I thought ‘yes! this is where I want to be’.”

It was not an apprenticeship which would be recognised as such now. There were no formal targets or appraisals.

“He never said ‘you’re doing that wrong’ or ‘do it this way’. You could do whatever you wanted as long as it was in the spirit of Wenford.”

Images above: Dish by Michael Cardew; Stem cup by Joanna Bird

“Being a potter makes you a philosopher”

She was with him for three years.

“He was a brilliant man. He studied Greats at Oxford and we spent evenings just talking and talking and talking about pottery.”

Michael Cardew is credited with developing the technique of wood firing in this country.

“Bernard [Leach] had a go and abandoned it. Michael was determined. He decided it was the only way to achieve the most beautiful pots.”

Their love of their craft was as much a philosophy as it was a practical discipline. They stood for the appreciation of beautiful work in any material and, like the Arts & Crafts movement before them, wanted good design to be accessible to ordinary people.

“Being a potter makes you a philosopher I think, because you never know what will happen ” says Joanna.

Cardew spent years in Africa, in Nigeria and Upper Volta, sharing knowledge about techniques and designs. He produced earthenware and stoneware and Joanna learned about making pots “from grass roots”.

Cornwall is rich in china clay and Devon is one of those areas of the country where there are seams of ball clay, which they mixed in a ball-mill with other ingredients, breaking it up with water and sea pebbles into a slip which they then sieved and mixed with high fired Staffordshire red clay.

“It came out a lovely aubergine colour.”

Joanna set up her own studio in Devon and worked as a potter for the best part of a decade before she met her husband, had children and realised running a studio in Devon and a family in London was not sustainable. Hence the transition to curator.

“It’s a natural thing having been a potter. I understand what they are trying to achieve. I enjoy encouraging them and seeing them and their work develop.”


Images above: Work by Akiko Hirai and Hanne Heuch

Exhibition and talks

Having set up Joanna Bird Contemporary Collections in 1994 she is now recognised as an expert in the field of contemporary ceramics and glass. Private collectors and curators from museums all over the world regularly consult her on important acquisitions and she also lectures internationally. In 2012 she set up the Joanna Bird Foundation, with a mission to support emerging talents in the decorative arts.

You can hear Joanna talking about contemporary avant-garde work and its roots in 20th century art in one of a series of talks to accompany the exhibition:

Wednesday 14 June, 6.30 – 8pm – Artists in conversation 
Julian Stair, Carina Ciscato & Matthew Warner

Wednesday 21 June, 6.30 – 8.00pm – Artists in conversation
Akiko Hirai & Gregory Warren Wilson

Wednesday 28 June, 6.30 – 8.00pm – Artists in conversation
William Plumptre & Joanna Bird

All of the contemporary work on display in her summer exhibition has been made specifically for it. The exhibition will be open from Thursday 8 June – Wednesday 19 July, Tuesday – Saturday, 10.00am – 5.00pm, or by appointment.

19 Grove Park Terrace, London W4 3QE

Images above: Work by Gregory Warren Wilson

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Rare and collectable Patek Phillippe watch goes on sale at Chiswick Auctions

Image above: Philippe Patek Nautilus watch with a diamond set Sigma dial

Increase in pre-owned luxury watches available for sale

Even the market in luxury watches is affected by the cost of living crisis it seems. Arjen van de Vall, chief executive officer of pre-owned watch specialists Watchfinder, told Bloomberg earlier this year:

“There is pain for sure. You see supply going up significantly for models that we would literally have killed for just a couple of months before.”

Watchchart, which puts together an overall market index comprised of 60 watches taken from the top 10 luxury watch brands by transaction value, shows the average market price had dropped from $33,000 US on 10 December to $31,349 US at the end of May.

Watch dealers and investors have flooded the market with models such as Rolex Daytona, Patek Nautilus and AP Royal. All of which is good news for auction houses and anyone with the money to take advantage of the price drop.

Image above: Philippe Patek Nautilus watch with a diamond set Sigma dial

Chiswick Auctions has a rare and collectable Patek Phillippe watch for sale in their specialist sale of watches on Wednesday 14 June. The Nautilus reference 3800 in stainless steel with a white gold and diamond set Sigma dial is expected to sell for £45,000 – £55,000.

‘Sigma’ dials were first used from the early 1970s, the term referring to dials with indexes and hands made of solid gold. They are easily recognised by the use of Greek letters around the word Swiss – an indication that the watchmaker belonged to L’Association pour la promotion Industrielle de l’Or. Only APROI members were allowed to mark their products in this way.

The reference 3800 has a diameter of 38mm. It was launched in the early 1980s, as a scaled-down version of the Nautilus 3700 – the ‘Jumbo’ – featuring an integrated watertight ‘porthole’ case by Swiss watch designer and artist Gérald Genta (1931- 2011).

Most version of the Nautilus were made in solid gold or platinum for this watch made in stainless steel with a diamond set Sigma is a rarity and one of only around 15 that have appeared at auction. The watch, dating from 1994, comes with paperwork, including a recent service document from Patek Philippe London, plus extra bracelet links.

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This Sporting Chiswick – Chiswick Cricket Club

Image above: Chiswick Cricket Club pavilion on Riverside Drive, Dukes Meadows

A club re-energised since the fall of the ‘Berlin Wall’

Guest blog by James Thellusson

There used to be a long grey concrete wall running along Staveley Gardens. The wall hid the Chiswick Cricket Club from passers-by and the gaze of the local community. It was a literal and metaphorical boundary line.

“We nicknamed it the Berlin Wall,” says Bernard Hughes, the club’s chair. “In 2016, it came down. Years of disrepair had wrecked it. This was a wake-up moment for the club. We knew we couldn’t just carry on as before. We needed a plan to put the club on a sustainable trajectory.”

Since the fall of the wall, the club has focused on improving its facilities and extending its reach into the local community and schools. It has laid an artificial pitch, bought new nets, covers and netting to protect neighbours from stray sixes from the club’s more powerful pinch hitters.

Progress has been underwritten by interest free loans or grants from Sport England, London Marathon and the England Cricket Board (ECB). The club is sponsored by Whitman & Co, whose ten-year commitment helped the club survive the cashflow constraining days of Covid. Randox and environmental bathroom company Ecoprod also sponsor the club, as it embraces a green agenda.

“We’re investigating solar panels,” says Bernard.

Images above: The Duck & Ball bar; cocktail; burger and fries

Pub / Pavilion The Duck & Ball

The club has also overhauled its changing rooms and its clubhouse, which doubles as a pub called the ‘Duck and Ball’. The clubhouse is now a place members of High Road House would feel at home in with a wood panel bar, stylish seats and an a la mode menu featuring calamari, haloumi fries and bavette steak on the day I visited.

Non-members are welcome and, frankly, it would make a wonderful place to sip away an afternoon while watching Ben Stokes’ England and their absurdly aggressive Bazball tactics bamboozle the Aussies in this summer’s Battle for the Ashes, on the club’s big screen TV. Or to hire for a party.

As well as their main pitch at the former Fuller’s sports ground, the club use the Kings House school ground and the beautiful square at Chiswick House, described by Bernard as “one of the most beautiful grounds in England.”

‘Poor pitches put players and parents off. Our pitches are good now.  That makes for a fairer, safer game and attracts better players,’ says Bernard. ‘The next step is to get a lease on the bungalow on the ground so we can have a live-in groundsman able to spend more time on the pitches.’

Image above: Chiswick Cricket Club from the Mound

A long and venerable history in Chiswick

The current club is the hybrid offspring of the Turnham Green cricket club, and the Polytechnic Cricket Club, which used to play in Hartington Rd. Its local roots are deep. The Turnham Green club was born in the 1850s and the extraordinarily talented, Chiswick born, English batsman Patsy Hendren may have played for the club. He certainly played here for Middlesex, his county side, in a festival game.

He’d be proud of his birthplace today. The club has over 120 members. It fields six teams, who play in the Middlesex County League, as well as a new women’s team (which won their first league game recently) and a visiting disability team (the club has full disabled access). There are junior girls and boys team and a regular try out slot for youngsters on Friday nights at 5pm from May to July.

READ ALSO: Chiswick Women’s Cricket team to play in beginners league

It’s a cliché, but new blood is key to – well – pretty much everything. But it’s especially true of sports clubs. Bernard is aware recruiting and retaining young players is critical and acknowledges the cost of equipment and match fees can be a barrier for young people.  Annual adult membership is £150 for and youngsters pay between £130 and £100. There’s a £13 match fee.

So, the club run early bird discounts and are ‘understanding’ if members or potential members are having temporary challenges meeting the costs of playing. Last year, for example, they supported a talented Afghan refugee by providing free kit and waiving match fees.

“We want to grow and sustain our base. We don’t want people dropping out because of costs. So, we are discreetly understanding if members are finding things temporarily difficult financially or if young players need help finding kit. If you are struggling but want to play, come talk to me or one of the other members of the executive.”

Image above: Chiswick Cricket Club ladies team 2022

Three generations enjoy cricket together

On the May Bank holiday weekend, Bernard, who has been with the club for over 30 years, played a game with two of his young cousins and his dad came to watch  The thought of three generations of the Hughes family playing and watching cricket together epitomises the loyalty and family spirit the club is trying to create with its members and the local community.

The finances of most amateur sports clubs are fragile. Traditional team games struggle against the lure of the gym, solo sports and the weekend sofa siesta. Unexpected events, like the spike in energy prices, can be as devastating as a Shane Warne googly. Earlier this season, the washout of a game cost the club £500 in lost match fees, halloumi fries and beer takings.

Nevertheless, my impression is the Chiswick cricket club will survive and prosper. It has a vision and a plan. It has a great ground and an enthusiastic committed team. It has even set up a charitable link with cricketers in Grenada, through the connnections of one of its members.

Twenty-seven years after the wall dividing east and west Germany collapsed, Chiswick cricket club’s own version of the Berlin Wall fell down. Instead of causing chaos, the fall of the wall at Staveley Gardens has unleashed the energy of the people at the club. Just like the fall of the Berlin Wall did in Germany.

Image above: Three generations of Bernard’s family; Glayson Baptiste

The Duck & Ball is a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme. See their current discount offer to subscribers here: The Duck & Ball Club Card offer

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Chiswick’s Jules The Foodie celebrates three years

Image above: Jules Kane

A lockdown business success

Jules The Foodie is three years old. Not Jules herself you understand, but Jules Kane’s business of that name, of which she is the director and head chef.

She used to make the food for the Crucial Cafe at the Hogarth Club, but when the kitchen closed because of Covid she took a long hard look at how she was going to make her living.

She launched in that strange period when none of us was sure from one week to the next whether restaurants would be open or closed, whether we would be able to eat in, eat at tables outside on the pavement or get a takeaway, and supermarket supplies were uncertain.

Consumer demand for home deliveries exploded. But is the demand still there or have we gone back to normal?

Jules, whose only makes food for home delivery or specially catered events, told The Chiswick Calendar the demand for home cooked food delivered to your door has continued to grow.

Images above: Choices from previous delivery menus

Good home cooked food for people with busy lives

“The people who buy from me are really busy. I have quite a lot of couples with new babies and some clients with older children who come in at different times from sports and after school activities. They can go to the fridge and take out a home cooked meal that they have chosen.”

She offers seven main courses, including two salads, and two soups, changing the menu weekly, providing enough choice for even the pickiest of teenagers.

The other reason people buy from her, she says (other than that her food is excellent, which as a lockdown orderer I can testify to) is that they like the fact there is no waste. She asks customers to put in their orders for the week by 8pm on Sunday for deliver on Tuesdays (Wednesdays when there is a bank holiday) and only cooks to order.

“It means I only order what’s needed. I don’t have a fridge full of food and the kitchen switched on the whole time on the off chance that someone will put in an order.”

Unlike the Deliveroo model she does not employ someone to take out each individual order on separate trips. She delivers the whole lot herself in one go.

“It reduces the carbon impact, so I am as energy efficient as I can be.”

Images above: Choices from previous delivery menus

She is up against some big names who have seen the potential for home deliveries. Gusto generated an estimated $260 million in revenue in 2021, which represents a significant increase from the $100 million in revenue it generated in 2018. Hello Fresh has similarly seen a swift uptick in sales over the past few years, with global net revenue growth of nearly 27 % in 2022 compared with the previous year.

They both deliver do-it-yourself meals with recipe cards and instructions and exactly the right amount of ingredients to cook the meal, so you would have to try really hard to mess it up, but the result can be claimed as something you have made yourself.

Still, you have to set aside up to an hour to cook and Jules finds there are enough people in Chiswick who want home cooked nutritious food but do not want to cook it themselves for her to carve out a niche in a highly competitive market.

She works with fellow chef Kenny Malcolm, who has worked as a chef de partie at the Dorchester, Grosvenor House and the Royal Garden hotel in Kensington. They buy fresh produce from local suppliers including The Whistling Oyster in Devonshire Rd for fish and Macken Brothers on Turnham Green Terrace for meat.

She herself grew up in Chiswick and trained at Prue Leith’s cookery school and gained experience at some of the capital’s best restaurants including Le Gavroche and Bibendum.

“I was lucky enough to be mentored by “the godfather of modern British cookery ‘Alastair Little.’ I’ve also run the kitchens at Paramount Pictures HQ and Gail’s.”

She is also to be seen at the monthly Chiswick Cheese Market, as she is one of the organisers.

Their kitchen is an industrial kitchen tucked away in the basement of a building up the alleyway between the toy shop and Fletcher’s estate agents on Turnham Green Terrace, and this being Chiswick, their helpers when they cater for events are an interior designer, (Juliette Avidan), a City worker, (Clare Dawbarn) and a professional cellist (Emma Vigeon) who plays for the Royal Ballet when not plating up for Jules.

Images above: Choices from previous delivery menus

This week’s menu

This week’s menu (being delivered on Wednesday 31 May) gives you an idea of the selection of food Jules offers.

Main courses

Mango baked salmon fillet with quinoa, lentil & brown rice pilaf with stem broccoli and mango salsa
£12.50 per portion

Coconut crispy chicken with Wasabi mayo, spicy sweet potato wedges & raw purple slaw with Tamari dressing
£12.50 per portion

Baked lamb & herb kofta with tomato & pea ragu with mint & crumbled feta served with soft flatbreads
£24 for two – freezer friendly

Roast marsala aubergine rounds with red lentil & coconut dal with spinach, lime & coriander
£10.50 per portion

Tahini marinated chicken kebabs with toasted sesame & pomegranate with roast summer vegetable couscous & tzatziki
£12.50 per portion

Images above: Choices from this week’s menu


Greek salad with feta, Kalamata olives & oregano
£10.50 (V)

Shredded rainbow slaw with pickled ginger, crushed peanuts & spicy coriander dressing
£10.50 (V)

Soups – all freezer friendly

Roast beetroot, Puy lentil & dill
£10.50 for two portions (Ve)

Thai butternut squash with lime & coconut
£10.50 for two portions (Ve)

Ready to eat pasta sauces – serves 2 generously!

Macken’s slow cooked beef & tomato ragu with basil

Puttanesca sauce with capers, black olives & anchovies

Minimum order £40 value for free delivery within W4, otherwise a £5 delivery charge added to your invoice. The menu will of course change completely next week, but the main crowd pleasers have a habit of coming back.

Images above: Choices from previous delivery menus

Jules also offers a tailored ‘Nourish & Thrive’ menu for those wanting specific nutritionally beneficial dishes, cutting out wheat or sugar for example.

Tempted to try it? Go to Jules The Foodie’s website and sign up for her newsletter, which tells you on Friday evening what there is on offer for you to order by Sunday evening. Jules The Foodie is a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme. See the current offer here: Jules The Foodie Club Card offer.

Images above: Choices from this week’s menu

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Chiswick Calendar Freebie – Free tickets to Shakespeare in Love – Director Q&A at Chiswick Cinema

Image above: Gwynneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes in Shakespeare in Love; photograph IMDb

John Madden on the making of Shakespeare in Love (1998)

John Madden’s romantic comedy Shakespeare in Love is 25 years old and Chiswick Cinema is screening the film with a Q&A with the director afterwards to mark its quarter century.

The film had an all-star cast: Judi Dench, Ben Affleck, Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Rupert Everett, Geoffrey Rush, Simon Callow, Colin Firth, and it won the Academy Award for Best Picture that year.

Set in 1593, the story tells how William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes), is struggling to make a living as a playwright and owner of The Rose Theatre, especially when he finds out his mistress is also sleeping with his patron (Geoffrey Rush) and he loses his inspiration to write.

He tears up the play he has been working on – comedy Romeo and Ethel the Pirate’s Daughter – and starts writing a tragedy instead – Romeo and Juliet, but is stuck on how to finish it. Nevertheless he starts casting for Romeo.

Enter Viola de Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow), the daughter of a wealthy merchant who wants to act. As women are barred from the profession, she disguises herself as a boy and does the audition as ‘Thomas Kent’.

Of course he is impressed by her acting and of course he rumbles her disguise. They begin a passionate affair and she becomes his new muse. The rest, as they say, is history, except for some convoluted comings and goings at court, which involve Viola trying to get out of an arranged marriage to Lord Wessex (Colin Firth), and the discovery of her illegal career, leading to her pursuit by the Master of the Revels, Edmund Tilney (Simon Callow).

Win a free ticket to the screening and Q&A

The film was nominated for 13 awards at the 71st Academy awards. How many Oscars did it win?

To win a free ticket for the screening and Q&A at Chiswick Cinema on Tuesday 6 June, email us at with the answer to the question. The winners will be chosen at random from the correct answers received by midnight on Wednesday 31 May.

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Two retired police officers admit to child porn plot with West London Chief Inspector


Images above: Jeremy Laxton, left, and Jack Addis, right, pleaded guilty to conspiring with Ch Insp Richard Watkinson to distribute or show indecent images of children

Chief Inspector found dead at his home on the day he was due to be charged

Two retired Metropolitan Police officers have pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court to conspiring with Chief Inspector Richard Watkinson of the West London Command Unit to distribute or show indecent images of children. Jeremy Laxton and Jack Addis, both 63, will be sentenced at a later date.

Ch Insp Watkinson, 49, was arrested in July 2021 and later found dead on the same day the Metropolitan Police were due to charge him with the conspiracy. His body was found at his home in Buckinghamshire on 12 January.

At the time of his arrest, he had been suspended from duty and was facing charges of making indecent photos of a child, voyeurism, and misconduct in public office.

Laxton, from Linconshire, also confessed to three counts of making indecent photos of a child, possession of prohibited images of a child, possession of extreme pornographic images, intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence of misconduct in a public office, and possession of cannabis.

Addis, of Perthshire, appeared in court via video-link from HMP Dumfries, where he is currently serving an 18-month sentence for three counts of voyeurism and possessing indecent photographs of a child.

During the police investigation a computer hard drive containing thousands of images was discovered. These images included 2,516 images categorised as the most severe Category A, 1,032 images in Category B, and 1,701 images in Category C.

Police colleagues ‘utterly betrayed by their disgusting actions’

According to the charge sheet, these included seven prohibited images of a child and 56 extreme pornographic images depicting a person having sex with an animal.

Judge Tony Baumgartner adjourned sentencing to a date to be fixed, and granted Laxton conditional bail, telling the court:

“A lengthy custodial sentence is inevitable but I will extend bail again to allow him to put his life in order.”

Commander Jon Savell, head of professionalism in the Met Police, said investigators described the content the men had viewed as “some of the most serious that they had ever seen”.

“As a police service we strive to protect the most vulnerable members of society, especially children, and I know officers who served with them will feel utterly betrayed by their disgusting actions.

“We are sickened that they are former colleagues.”

An inquest into Ch Insp Watkinson’s death has been opened and adjourned. The Met said Thames Valley Police were dealing with the case and were so far treating the death as unexplained but not suspicious.

Cabinet reshuffle at Ealing Council

Image above: Ealing Council Leader Cllr Peter Mason (centre) with Cllr Polly Knewstub (left) and Cllr Louise Brett (right)

Two Councillors stand down in ‘amicable’ Cabinet reshuffle

Changes to the composition of Ealing Council’s Cabinet were officially recognised this week, at a meeting on Tuesday 23 May.

Cllrs Lauren Wall and Aysha Raza have stood down from their roles as cabinet members and have been replaced by Cllrs Louise Brett, who represents North Hanwell, and Polly Knewstub, who represents Hanwell Broadway.

Additionally, there has been some movement of existing Cabinet members between portfolios.

The Cabinet is now made up as follows:

• Leader – Cllr Peter Mason
• Deputy Leader and climate action – Cllr Deirdre Costigan
• Decent living incomes – Cllr Louise Brett (new to cabinet)
• Inclusive economy – Cllr Steve Donnelly
• Genuinely affordable and safe homes – Cllr Bassam Mahfouz (Formerly cabinet member for decent living incomes)
• Good growth and new homes – Cllr Shital Manro
• Thriving communities – Cllr Polly Knewstub (new to cabinet)
• A fairer start – Cllr Kamaljit Nagpal
• Tackling inequality – Cllr Jasbir Anand (formerly cabinet member for thriving Communities)
• Healthy lives – Cllr Josh Blacker

Image above: Cllr Aysha Raza, Cllr Lauren Wall

“Honour and privilege to serve the borough of Ealing”, Cllr Raza

Cllr Wall had already indicated her intention to stand down earlier this year in March when she wrote to Council Leader Peter Mason. She said:

“I remain strongly committed to the renewed and inspiring vision that you, as leader, have shown for the improvement of our borough, and I have been very pleased to have been part of this.

“I am personally particularly proud of our many achievements since 2021, despite significant financial and capacity challenges and pressures as a direct result of the pandemic. Our resolve to refer ourselves to, and work with, the Regulator of Social Housing, with urgency, to address the shortcomings we discovered in relation to the health and safety of council tenants, was particularly salient for me.

“We also radically improved the way we allocate council homes in Ealing, brought our Housing Revenue Account back onto a stable footing, all without losing sight of our ambition to build the genuinely affordable homes that Ealing residents so desperately need. I know that Cllr Mahfouz will take up the challenges of this role with energy and commitment, and I look forward to supporting him – and you – as he does so.”

Councillor Raza said:

“As the first Muslim Cabinet member, it has been an honour and a privilege to serve the borough of Ealing as cabinet member for tackling inequality. I am very proud to have delivered on our Safer Ealing for Women listening exercise, and the work we have done to support refugees who have chosen to make Ealing their home.

“We have been exemplary in terms of keeping our young people out of the criminal justice system, and we are well on the way to delivering on the demands of the Ealing Race Equality Commission. I would also like to thank council officers for their dedication and hard work.”

Cllr Peter Mason thanks Clls Wall & Raza for their contributions

Council leader Peter Mason, thanked Councillors Wall and Raza and welcomed the newly appointed cabinet, saying:

“I want to thank both Councillor Lauren Wall and Councillor Aysha Raza for the contributions they have made, driving forward our collective commitment to improving the lives of Ealing residents, and ensuring that everyone in our borough has the opportunities they need to realise their potential.

“I am particularly grateful for Councillor Wall’s forensically fair approach to changing the way we manage our housing stock in the borough, and to Councillor Raza’s work with the Race Equality Commission and subsequent Citizen’s Tribunal to tackle racial inequality in Ealing.

“I warmly welcome Councillor Louise Brett and Councillor Polly Knewstub, who have accepted cabinet roles that directly address two of this administration’s key priorities – creating good jobs and putting residents at the centre of our decision making. I, the rest of the cabinet and council officers look forward to working with both Louise and Polly.”

New Councillors “thrilled” to be part of Cabinet

Councillor Louise Brett, incoming cabinet member for decent living incomes, said:

“The opportunity to earn a decent living income is the foundation for so much in life, and yet too many of our residents face precarious working conditions and multiple barriers to entering the workforce.

“I’d like to thank Cllr Mason for asking me to become part of his Cabinet. I’m excited to hit the ground running and continue Cllr Mahfouz’s work to create 10,000 new, good jobs in Ealing by 2026, to support those residents facing the toughest barriers to employment and continue to enforce against businesses who break the rules.”

Councillor Polly Knewstub, who will take on the thriving communities portfolio, said:

“I’m thrilled to be taking on the thriving communities brief as a member of Councillor Mason’s cabinet. Building on Cllr Anand’s achievements over the last two years, I look forward to progressing our work to empower local communities to be part of the decisions that affect them through Town Forums, and to re-designing and delivering a new, state-of-the-art leisure centre at Gurnell.”

Man who brutally murdered ex-girlfriend in South Ealing convicted

Image above: Dennis Akpomedaye; Photograph Metropolitan Police

A man who killed his former girlfriend in a brutal knife attack in South Ealing has been convicted of murder.

Anna Jedrkowiak died after being found with multiple stab injuries in Roberts Alley, off Church Gardens, just after midnight on Tuesday 17 May 2022.

The 21-year-old, who was known to friends and family as Ania, had finished work at a restaurant in Ealing and was walking home with a friend when she was victim to the premeditated attack by her former boyfriend Dennis Akpomedaye.

Akpomedaye was arrested within 22 hours of her murder as a result of CCTV footage which enabled police to track his movements, leading to recovery of evidence and DNA.

The investigation, led by the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, resulted in his arrest at Victoria coach station.

After his arrest, further investigation also brought to light Akpomedaye’s obsessive nature and revealed a man who was in debt, without a job and unable to accept the end of a relationship.

Image above: Anna Jedrkowiak, Anna’s (Ania’s) friends attend a vigil for her during the trial; Photographs Metropolitan Police

Akpomedaye stalked Anna prior to her murder

A post-mortem examination carried out on Thursday 19 May confirmed Anna died from multiple stab injuries.

Akpomedaye had travelled from his home in Newport, arriving by coach at Victoria on the evening of 15 May. He travelled by tube to Ealing and from there he went straight to the restaurant where Anna worked. She was not at work that evening, and Akpomedaye could be seen in CCTV footage pacing back and forth in front of the restaurant with his hood up and his face covered by a scarf.

That same evening, detectives were able to show via telephone records that Akpomedaye had connected to telephone masts in the vicinity of Anna’s address, supporting CCTV evidence that from her place of work, he went straight to her home in Stirling Place, W5.

CCTV also showed that Akpomedaye retuned again to her place of work and then spent much of the following hours riding buses in the Ealing area.

The following day, Monday 16 May, Anna arrived for her restaurant shift just before 5.00pm. Akpomedaye reached Ealing Broadway station around an hour later. Just before 8.00pm he bought a knife for £4.99 from a local shop on New Broadway and was captured on CCTV, again pacing back and forth in the area near to the Anna’s place of work.

Images above: The murder weapon and other evidence was found by the Round Pond in Gunnersbury Park, Photographs Met Police

Akpomedaye to be sentenced on 31 May

Anna left work with her friend at 11.40pm and it was shortly after this that they were seen being followed by Akpomedaye, wearing a balaclava. He came towards them with the knife and fatally attacked Anna, before running from the scene.

CCTV and telephone records were then key to placing Akpomedaye near to the scene and locating the murder weapon in Round Pond in Gunnersbury Park on Wednesday, 18 May. The knife was forensically examined and found to have bloodstains which were later matched to Akpomedaye and Anna. Also found in the pond were items including two mobile phones belonging to Anna and Akpomedaye. A photograph frame with a picture of them together was also found.

Further CCTV investigation captured the moment at on Tuesday 17 May when Akpomedaye approached an ambulance driver who had stopped at a petrol garage close to Gunnersbury Park.

He asked for help with an open wound to his fingers, which he said had been caused by a pitbull dog. Akpomedaye was referred that day to a hospital in London and CCTV showed him on a bus without the black rucksack that he had been carrying prior to the murder. This was later recovered by TfL’s lost property department and gave the forensic team the chance to match bloodstains to Akpomedaye. Inside the bag was the receipt for the murder weapon.

He was arrested at 9.50pm at Victoria coach station on Tuesday 17 May, and further forensic examinations discovered DNA matches to Anna on his right shoe.

Dennis Akpomedaye, 29, of Blewitt Street, Newport, was charged on the evening of Wednesday, 18 May 2022. He stood trial at Kingston Crown Court and was found guilty on Thursday, 25 May.

He will be sentenced at the same court on Wednesday, 31 May.

Image above: Police at the scene in South Ealing on the morning of the murder

Akpomedaye “cowardly but extremely dangerous” man, says Met Chief

Detective Chief Inspector Brian Howie, the senior investigating officer, said:

 “Anna’s life was taken by someone who is cowardly but extremely dangerous.

“Anna was scared of him and attempted to end the relationship. When she did this, he said to her “We will be together no matter what … I will find you”.

“She had moved away to start what should have been an exciting new life in London but now will never be able to fulfil that promise, and her family will never see her again.

“It was moving that so many of her family, university and work friends attended a vigil in her honour during the trial.

“My thoughts and sympathies remain with the family and friends of Anna, both in the UK and in Poland, who will never get over the tragic circumstances surrounding her death.

“Even in the context of a murder investigation, the ferocity with which she was attacked was extreme, and this individual belongs in prison where he cannot harm another woman.”

Ruth Cadbury condemns “injustices” facing leaseholders in her constituency

Image above: Brentford and Isleworth MP Ruth Cadbury

Local MP criticises escalating costs leaseholders face 

Ruth Cadbury MP has condemned what she described as “injustices” faced by leaseholders in her constituency.

In a speech to Parliament on Tuesday (23 May), the Brentford and Isleworth MP highlighted the high service charges and subpar property maintenance which local leaseholders have to endure. Specifically, she emphasised the escalating costs borne by leaseholders, who have witnessed a surge in service charges and building insurance premiums in recent years.

Ruth also mentioned that many key workers, such as NHS staff and leaseholders, were being impacted by the unfair leasehold system, while also mentioning a number of local cases where managing agents had refused to support residents with issues ranging from lift repairs, to the maintenance of communal areas.

Following her speech, Ruth cast her vote in support of an Opposition motion which aimed to abolish the sale of new private leasehold houses and replace the existing leasehold system with Commonhold, as practiced in Scotland and many other countries. The motion criticised the government for reneging on its promise to reform leasehold regulations.

Leaseholders in Brentford and Isleworth “getting such an unfair deal”

Speaking after the vote, Ruth said:

‘‘I know from listening to leaseholders across my constituency that they’re getting such an unfair deal. Their service charge bills are rising and rising, they’re facing increases of over 100% in their building insurance charge, and issues around maintenance, crime and security are not being addressed by their management agents. Leaseholders locally are paying more and more, yet they’re still receiving a substandard service.

“These problems stem from the outdated and antique leasehold system in England which is full of holes. Building owners and managing owners, as well as some solicitors have taken advantage of  these loopholes, at the expense of people trying to own and retain their home.

“It is therefore extremely disappointing that the Government have u-turned on their commitment to reform leasehold and ensure that leaseholders have better rights and protections while moving to common-hold to be the default ownership model for flats.

“Over recent years I’ve been campaigning hard to support leaseholders and I know how frustrated they are about the lack of action from the Government. I will continue to campaign to ensure that leaseholders locally have a strong voice in Parliament and to put pressure on the Government to finally reform these outdated and antique laws.’’

Residents assured residential roads off Chiswick Lane will not be closed entirely as Council admits signage “confusing”

Image above: Cornwall Grove

Council say they have removed “confusing” handwritten signage

LB Hounslow say they have removed some of the handwritten parking suspension signs which they admit were “confusing” for residents living in side roads off Chiswick Lane.

Residents in Cornwall Grove, Balfern Grove and Chiswick Lane found out Monday (22 May) from temporary road signs that they would not be able to park in their roads for three days this week. Assuming it meant parking would be suspended along the whole road they were left wondering where they could park their cars instead and why they had not received a warning.

But it seems that poorly written signs have created the confusion. The Council say they only authorised the suspension of  shared use bays to make way for the installation of e-bike parking bays. They never intended for parking to be suspended along the whole length of the roads.

Riverside ward Councillor John Todd told The Chiswick Calendar:

‘A 4 metre bay outside 58 Chiswick lane is being converted into an e-bike bay. That was the only work site with a decent sign. All the others that I saw in the last hour in Chiswick Lane, Ashbourne Grove and nearby roads were handwritten and virtually illegible.

‘None of them gave any location apart from the road name.  Most of them said it was for “cleaning and line painting”.  There were a number of yellow no-waiting cones which were presumably meant to define the location more precisely, but appeared to be randomly spread about.’

Hounslow Council spokesperson, said:

“We can confirm that there are no road closures on Chiswick Lane and the Council only authorised the suspension of a shared use bay at Balfern Grove/Chiswick Lane, relating to the e-bike trial.

“Any suspensions outside of this have not been authorised by the Council and we have asked for any signs around this to be removed by the end of the day.”

Asked whether residents had been notified of the suspension beforehand, the spokesperson said this was unlikely to have happened since residents are only sent letters if entire roads are closed.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Just Stop Oil protest in Chiswick

See also: Police interview men about fatal attack at Chiswick Station

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Just Stop Oil protest in Chiswick

Image above: Just Stop Oil Protestors on Chiswick High Road; photograph Ray Elias

Protestors bring traffic to a halt on Chiswick High Road and Goldhawk Road

Just Stop Oil supporters have been out slow-marching in Chiswick today (24 May), demanding an end to all new oil, gas and coal projects in the UK.

Two protestors were spotted on Goldhawk Road and Chiswick High Road, where they were slowly walking in front of traffic while wearing high-vis vests and being recorded by a third person.

The protestors then moved onto Chiswick High Road, where they drew the attention of the Metropolitan Police. The Met posted on Twitter that they had approached two protestors slowly walking down Chiswick High Road at 11.55pm.

At 11.58pm, officers say they ‘imposed conditions’ and protestors then moved out of the road. The road was clear by 11.59 and traffic was moving.

Earlier this morning, at 8am, 39 supporters in five groups started marching slowly on roads in Islington, Marylebone, the City. Three of the marches were “mini marches” composed of between two and five people, carrying placards reading: “We march for survival” and “I have grandchildren”.

The protestors in Chiswick carried similar signage.

Images above: Just Stop Oil protestors on Chiswick High Road; photographs Ray Elias

Protests part of wider campaign of civil resistance 

Just Stop Oil say the Met issued Public Order Act (Section 12) notices on four of the teams and arrested six marchers at Marylebone Road before they could leave the road. All five teams moved off the road by 9.00am.

Further marches are planned throughout Wednesday.

Since the Just Stop Oil campaign launched on 14 February 2022, there have been over 2,100 arrests and 138 people have spent time in prison. There are currently two Just Stop Oil supporters serving three year prison sentences for resisting new oil, gas and coal.

Just Stop Oil supporters have been marching every day since 24 of April. Just Stop Oil is calling on everyone to ‘get off the sidelines’ and join in civil resistance against new oil, gas and coal.

According to research from the World Meteorological Organisation, the world is almost certain to experience new record temperatures in the next five years, and temperatures are likely to rise by more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, which will have dire consequences for life on earth.

W4 Youth launched with tea and cake

Image above: Grove Park Rangers at Tea Party in the Park on Southfield Recreation Ground

Organisers celebrate successful Youth & Community Centre launch

The W4 Youth Tea Party in the Park event on Saturday afternoon (20 May) on Southfield Recreation Ground went “really well”, organisers say.

On the day, Rocks Lane Chiswick hosted a 5-a-side football tournament from 2.30pm onwards where prizes were given out by W4 Youth Founder, Sally Chacatté. Rocks Lane Under 12s won the tournament and Grove Park Rangers were runners up.

Shortly after that, Chiswick singers and former W4 Youth members, Alichė & Erire, performed during the afternoon.

Sally and the W4 Youth Trustees, including Liberal Democrat Councillor Gary Malcolm, chatted with local residents to celebrate the W4 Youth Hub opening in Southfield Recreation Ground and explained plans for the permanent Youth & Community Centre.

W4 Youth received donations from parents and local residents, who bought cakes and refreshments at the event.

Sally Chacatté, W4 Youth Founder and Chair, said:

“Thank you to everyone who came along to our W4 Youth Tea Party in the Park and especially to Rocks Lane Chiswick for the 5-a-side tournament they organised in aid of our charity and Aliche and Erire for their wonderful performances. We’ll be sharing our opening date for activities soon.”

Images above: Chiswick singers Erire & Aliche (left to right), W4 Youth Founder Sally Chacatté

Residents in roads off Chiswick Lane find out from signs that they cannot park in their roads for three days

Image above: Cornwall Grove; photograph Google Streetview

“Where on earth should we park?”

Residents in Cornwall Grove, Balfern Grove and Chiswick Lane found out on Monday from road signs that they would not be able to park in their roads for three days this week.

Ward councillor John Todd wants to know why they did not get any advance notice and where they are supposed to park instead.

One of the residents noticed the signs on Monday and emailed their neighbours and Cllr Todd saying:

“Unless you have walked from Chiswick Lane into our street, you might have missed the sign telling us there should be no parking in Cornwall Grove from 8 a.m to tomorrow, FOR THREE DAYS!

“What’s more, the same applies to Balfern and Chiswick Lane, probably Ashourne as well, I didn’t walk that far.

“By chance I met a traffic warden and asked him where on earth about 200 cars should be parked.  Naturally he didn’t know, didn’t appear to know anything about it.”

Cllr Todd has now written to the senior parking officer for LB Hounslow, Jefferson Nwokeoma, to ask why so many parking bays are being suspended, what alternative arrangements have been made and why there has been no dialogue with local councillors on the subject.

The Chiswick Calendar has also asked the Council the same questions.

This story has been updated

Admitting the signs were confusing, LB Hounslow has told The Chiswick Calendar the signs were only meant to apply to the shared use bays which are being turned into e-bike parking bays, not residents’ parking along the whole length of the road.

READ ALSO: Residents assured residential roads off Chiswick Lane will not be closed entirely as Council admits signage “confusing”

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Drop in for a chat in Chiswick

Image above: Coffee and croissants

Cafe Conversations looking for volunteers

Cafe Conversations is a conversation group which meets once a week in Chiswick for a chat. Just that. No strings. It is not a dating organisation or a religious group proselytising, it is just conversation.

The idea came from Louise Kaye, who set up the weekly meetings in 2018 after she heard a BBC Radio 4 programme about how difficult it was to meet people in London and how isolated people feel as a result.

“One of the things I love about it is that you get people of all ages coming” she told The Chiswick Calendar. “When do you ever have someone in their twenties and someone in their seventies just sit down together and have a good conversation?”

Image above: Louise Kaye

The idea caught the imagination of the media and she was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour about it; she set up her own website and it was all going swimmingly until the pandemic put everything like that on hold. Cafe Conversations stopped for about a year and a half, but now they are back, as popular as ever and they are looking for volunteers to host the meetings.

So people feel comfortable, politics and religion are banned, as is talking about yourself. Volunteer hosts have crib sheets with suggested questions to initiate conversations.

“We talk about things like: ‘What would be your first question when you woke up after being cryogenically frozen?’ or ‘Is is possible to live a normal life and never tell a lie?’

Usually there are eight to ten people: “people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities turn up, who would never normally meet each other.”

The host’s job is to steer the conversation, to make sure everyone gets a chance to contribute, and the sessions are not hijacked by someone who is more confident or has a particular agenda.

If you would like to go and take part or become a volunteer, Cafe Conversations take place every Monday afternoon from 3 – 4.30pm in Avanti at Bedford Corner, W4 1LD.

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Police interview men about fatal attack at Chiswick Station

Image above: Chiswick Station

Interviews follow appeal to the public for help

British Transport Police have found three men they wanted to talk to in connection with a serious assault at Chiswick Station last year after which the victim died.

The police issued photographs of three men last week, with an appeal for help from the public.

Two of them have been interviewed and released under investigation and officers say they have now traced the third man.

The victim of the attack, which took place at the station on 14 October 2022 at around 11.50pm, died recently in hospital. The 38-year-old man was pushed with force against a concrete wall, resulting in him hitting his head and losing consciousness.

The three men involved in the attack ran away from the scene and got on a bus towards the centre of Chiswick.

The injured man was taken to hospital where it was found that he had a fractured skull and had suffered a bleed on the brain. In December, he suffered a cardiac arrest and died in hospital in January of this year.

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