Hounslow Council move to designate Glebe Estate a Conservation Area

Image above: Glebe Estate – Dale Street

Public consultation on proposals to begin in ‘early 2024’

The Glebe Estate south of Chiswick High Rd could soon have its own Conservation Area, after Hounslow Council approved a key step in a process designed to preserve the estate’s historical significance and archaeological integrity.

At a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday (12 December), the Council unanimously approved a report recommending a public consultation, specifically focused on designating the popular residential area a Conservation Area. The Council wants to engage the community in discussions and is inviting detailed scrutiny of the draft Conservation Area Appraisal for Glebe Estate.

The estate has been identified as a site of historical and architectural importance, reflecting the roots of Chiswick’s first working-class housing estate. Its well-preserved Victorian terraces are a testament to Chiswick’s heritage as the home of skilled workers in the Victorian era.

Among those to have lived in the Glebe Estate was the writer Anthony Burgess, author of A Clockwork Orange. When he and his wife lived there in the 1960s the Glebe Estate was considered quite ‘rough’ but it has become a much sought after place to live, with two bedroom terraced houses changing hands at well over a million pounds.

READ ALSO: Anthony Burgess blue plaque bid

Not everyone who lives in the Glebe Estate is in favour of it becoming a Conservation Area, because the houses are quite small and some residents want to be able to expand. If residents use the consultation to object, a further report will be presented to the Cabinet for deliberation.

The public consultation is set to start in early 2024.

The Secret Garden review – Theatre at the Tabard

Image above: Daisy Rae as Mary Lennox, Theatre at The Tabard; photographs by Charles Flint

A story about loneliness and loss, and overcoming adversity – which is upbeat, and funny

I was curious to see how a story which relies on switching between two dramatically different locations – one an austere and rather forbidding grand house, and the other a wildly overgrown garden – would work in such a small space as the theatre at the Tabard.

Designer Hazel Owen and lighting designer Nat Green have come up with a creative solution which elevates the production beyond what you would expect from a pub theatre, setting the scene for an excellent production.

Set in the days of the British Raj, Mary Lennox (Daisy Rae, making her professional stage debut) arrives from India to live with her uncle, the emotionally unavailable, but essentially kind and well meaning widower Archibald Craven (Richard Lounds), after her parents die in a cholera outbreak.

The traumatised child has never known love, as her parents had been distant and uninterested in her, and she says her ayah, the servant who had brought her up, “hated me”.

Image above: Mary learns to skip

The story is about loneliness and loss, overcoming adversity, and the healing power of nature. Mary’s misery is mirrored by that of her uncle, still grieving his wife who died ten years earlier, and his son Colin, an invalid, who Mary discovers when she hears the sound of someone crying echoing eerily through the corridors of the house.

This is billed as a ‘family’ show, and it is about children, but there is nothing childish about it. I went with a ten year old, Justin, a fifteen year old, Victoria, and another adult, and we all enjoyed it immensely. Justin and Victoria had no idea what to expect, but found it funny, moving and surprising as the story unfolded in ways they did not anticipate. Both said they would recommend it to friends.

The story, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, is a classic which has been reproduced over and over in film and TV. This very strong cast did it justice, contributing equally to its success.

Daisy Rae plays Mary as a brittle, defensive and quite unpleasant child who physically relaxes and psychologically recovers as she is welcomed by her warm and generous maid Martha Sowerby (Mari Luz Cervantes) and her kind and easy going brother Dickon (Jordan Rising).

She is rejuvenated by the fresh air and rugged openness of the Yorkshire moors and the magic of the ‘secret’ garden. She even begins to pick up their thick Yorkshire accent (a nice touch).

Justin was impressed by how “tense” Daisy made the atmosphere.

READ ALSO: Interview with Daisy Rae, playing the lead role in The Secret Garden at the Tabard

Image above: Jordan Rising as Dickon and Daisy Mae as Mary, in the snow

Jordan Rising owns the stage, as he is completely relaxed, transforming the tiny theatre space into the wide open moors just by his presence. He is helped by some very cute puppets playing the wild animals and birds he befriends.

Sam McHale plays Colin as a petulant and imperious self-pitying brat, starved of love and attention and terrified that he will die before he reaches adulthood, yet he provides some hilarious moments as well as moving ones. Victoria and I both admit to having shed a tear at a particular moment.

Image above: Sam McHale and Daisy Rae as Colin and Mary with animal puppets created by Hazel Owen

Richard Lounds doubles as both the sensitive and aristocratic Archibald Craven and plain talking gardener Ben Weatherstaff, switching characters with ease.

Freya Alderson doubles as Mrs Medlock, the housekeeper, and the chief puppeteer, in charge of the robin, who is really the star of the show.

If I had any criticism at all, I wish they had made more of the backstory of Mary’s life in India. In the original story it was not just the cholera outbreak which brought her to England, but the violent clashes which characterised the end of British rule in India.

There is a passing reference to it, with noise and the suggestion of fire in Mary’s nightmare when she first arrives, but it is not explained. The book has as much to say about class and empire as it does about the characters’ personal stories.

But that is just a minor quibble.

Image above: Daisy Rae as Mary and Sam McHale as Colin, enjoying the secret garden

Director Simon Reilly has developed a strong tradition of producing family friendly Christmas stories as an alternative to pantomime – classics which have included The Famous Five, Stig of the Dump, Just So and last year’s Five Children and It.

As a story about displacement and the jarring clash of cultures experienced by a refugee, The Secret Garden is startlingly relevant, even though it was written over a hundred years ago.  This production deserves to be just as popular as Theatre at the Tabard’s previous Christmas shows.

The Secret Garden runs until 31 December.

Book tickets

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Thames Water ‘cannot pay back £190m debt in time’

Image above: Thames Water van; library image

Chairman of UK’s largest water company grilled before MPs

Thames Water says it cannot pay back the £190m loan due to be paid off next April.

Appearing before MPs on the Environment Committee in Parliament on Tuesday, chairman Sir Adrian Montague said the company, which supplies water to London, was  facing a “seminal moment”.

The chairman was being grilled by MPs alongside the two acting Co-Chief Executive Officers of Thames Water, Alastair Cochran and Cathryn Ross in light of recent news reports surrounding the firm’s finances.

Although Thames Water is facing the debt repayment crisis, with the looming deadline of April which it has now acknowledged it cannot currently meet, Sir Adrian Montague warned that if the company were to be nationalised, taxpayers would face a hefty bill. There was speculation in July over whether the government might intervene.

Thames Water faces other alarming financial indicators: a stark 54% drop in profits within the first half of the year, a troubling 13% rise in customer complaints, and a staggering £18 billion debt that continues to escalate.

“We have stabilised the business” says Thames Water chief

The recent announcement of a £500 million cash infusion may have solved a short term problem, but it was facilitated through an additional loan to its parent company.

Thames Water foresees a need for an additional £2.5 billion in investment in the coming years. This projection hinges significantly on regulatory approval from Ofwat, necessitating a substantial 40% rise in household bills above inflation by 2030.

Speaking to the Environment Committee in Parliament, Sir Adrian Montague said:

“This is a seminal moment for Thames. You know, we were very fragile in July. The chief executive resigned without notice ten days before a change of chairman. The financial markets took fright.

“We have stabilised the business. We need to make a fresh start. I know management always says this, but it’s true in this case, because this is a fresh team.”

Images above: Ruth Cadbury MP, Andy Slaughter MP

West London MPs condemn Thames Water

Both the MP for Brentford and Isleworth, Ruth Cadbury, and the MP for Hammersmith, Andy Slaughter, have been very critical recently of Thames Water’s abysmal lack of service.

In an interview with The Chiswick Calendar Andy Slaughter attacked Thames Water’s “hopelessly inadequate” record. He told us:

“I think people are seriously worried about whether they are going to survive. If they don’t survive, what’s going to happen? Are they going to sell out to new private owners, who will somehow bail them out the debt crisis they’re in? Is the government going to step in and and take over, either temporarily or permanently? I don’t think anybody knows the answer to those questions”.

Andy, who is likely to become the MP for most of Chiswick after the next general election, as Chiswick has been subsumed into the new constituency of Hammersmith & Chiswick, recently spoke out about the mismanagement of Thames Water in the House of Commons after a “large number” of people in his constituency were left without water.

People in Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush were without water for three days last month – with “no communication from Thames whatsoever” said Andy.  The water company is legally required to hand out bottled water if supply is cut off, but this did not happen.

READ ALSO: Andy Slaughter interview in full

Ruth Cadbury has also attacked Thames Water for it’s environmental record. She said:

‘‘Residents across West London have had to put up with a terrible service from Thames Water for far too long. This has included the smell and mosquitos from Mogden Sewage Treatment Works, the flooding of the Duke of Northumberland river in early 2020 and the continued pumping of dilute sewage into the Thames.

“I know from listening to people locally that they are fed up with the lack of action from Thames Water, which comes alongside a continued rise in water bills. The river Thames is the beating heart of our local area and of London, and provides a space not just for animals but also for water activities such as kayaking, rowing and for riverside walks.

“I also know how concerned and worried people are about the new plans to take water out of the Thames at Teddington and replace it with diluted sewage.

There are serious environmental problems about this scheme and I will be raising this directly with Thames Water on behalf of people locally. I’m especially worried as Thames Water have a poor record on sewage releases locally and have previously released billions of tonnes of dilute sewage into the Thames.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Three guilty of murdering west London woman Shakira Spencer

Image above: Shakira Spencer; photograph Metropolitan Police

Shakira was ‘treated like a slave’ up until her death

Three people have been found guilty of the murder of west London woman Shakira Spencer, who was subjected to agonising torment and degradation, leading to her death. Ashana Studholme, 38, Shaun Pendlebury, 26, and Lisa Richardson, 44, from west London, were convicted after a harrowing trial at the Old Bailey.

The court was presented with disturbing details of Spencer’s ordeal, revealing a series of tormenting acts that reduced her to a “gaunt and skeletal” state. Reports unveiled how she was scalded, starved, and forced to subsist solely on ketchup from sachets.

Over an extended period, she was isolated, exploited, and stripped of her dignity and financial resources. The transformation from a “beautiful, happy, healthy” size 16 to a “gaunt and skeletal” size six before her death was described by jurors.

Shakira’s badly decomposed body was discovered last September in Ealing, after neighbours raised concerns about maggots coming from her flat.

Despite the defendants’ denial of the charges, the jury delivered a unanimous guilty verdict on counts of murder and preventing Spencer’s lawful burial. After the verdict, Pendlebury stood and clapped his hands as departing the dock.

Images above: Lisa Richardson, Ashana Studholme and Shaun Pendlebury; via Metropolitan Police

Shakira’s level of suffering “simply unimaginable”

Prosecutor Allison Hunter KC outlined a disturbing sequence of events leading to Spencer’s death, highlighting a frenzy of abuse culminating in a brutal assault at Studholme’s residence. Shakira was then confined in a hallway cupboard in her own flat, where efforts were made to conceal her remains, including packing ice around her body and arranging newspapers to give a false impression. Hunter said:

“It was only when neighbours saw maggots crawling out from under her door that the police were called to Shakira’s address on Sunday 25 September 2022 and the painstaking investigation which ensued revealed in detail what they had done.”

The court also learned about the defendants’ prior criminal records, exposing a pattern of violence and disregard for the law.

Devi Kharran, senior Crown prosecutor, said:

“Evidence presented during the trial proved that Pendlebury, Studholme and Richardson exercised twisted and sadistic control of Shakira Spencer over an extended period. They spun a web of lies in every effort to hide their actions.

“The level of suffering that Shakira endured is simply unimaginable. Our thoughts remain with all of Shakira’s family and friends. I hope this conviction brings them some sense of justice.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Andy Slaughter MP attacks “hopelessly inadequate” Thames Water record

See also: Hounslow Council criticised for cancelling Jewish event

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Andy Slaughter MP attacks “hopelessly inadequate” Thames Water record

Image above: Andy Slaughter MP

Hammersmith MP attacks record of Thames Water amid series of crises facing the water company

The Co-Chief Executive Officers of Thames Water, Alastair Cochran and Cathryn Ross are due to give evidence today (Tuesday 12 December) before the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, to answer MPs’ questions on Thames Water’s financial arrangements, in light of recent news reports surrounding the firm’s finances.

The company, which is grappling with financial instability and mismanagement, looks like it is on the verge of insolvency as it is submerged in crises on several fronts which critics say are of its own making.

In an interview with The Chiswick Calendar, Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter was scathing about the company’s record, having dealt with them over many years as both an MP and a council leader:

“I think people are seriously worried about whether they are going to survive. If they don’t survive, what’s going to happen? Are they going to sell out to new private owners, who will somehow bail them out the debt crisis they’re in? Is the government going to step in and and take over, either temporarily or permanently? I don’t think anybody knows the answer to those questions”.

Thames Water’s recent dividend payment, its mounting debts, and concerns raised by auditors have triggered investigations by Ofwat, further exacerbating the company’s precarious financial position.

Large number of people in Hammersmith constituency left without water for several days

Andy, who is likely to become the MP for most of Chiswick after the next general election, as Chiswick has been subsumed into the new constituency of Hammersmith & Chiswick, recently spoke out about the mismanagement of Thames Water in the House of Commons after a “large number” of people in his constituency were left without water.

People in Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush were without water for three days last month – with “no communication from Thames whatsoever” said Andy.  The water company is legally required to hand out bottled water if supply is cut off, but this did not happen.

Thames Water said only approximately 650 homes were without water and due to the “complicated nature” of the burst, it was not possible to quickly shut-in the burst and re-route the water so supplies could be returned to normal while a full repair was carried out.

The Hammersmith MP has long-standing interactions with the company, dating back to his council days, and he has expressed his deep concern over the worsening situation over the last two decades. Andy says the future of the company looks bleak and uncertain.

Image above: A burst water main at Chalker’s Corner in April 2023

“We need tougher regulator”

Thames Water is consumed with a staggering debt crisis, which has ballooned from £4 billion to over £14 billion in about a decade in full view of the regulator, Ofwat.

“That’s the fact alone should have started the alarm bells ringing. Because the other villains here are the regulator, Ofwat, who have simply not been tough enough on all sorts of issues on this.”

Critics describe Ofwat as toothless. Fines handed out to Thames Water have previously had no tangible effect on how the business is managed and run, Andy told me. But is there anything the regulator can do to address the crisis?

“There is, they can certainly go in and look at the accounts. They can say what they think is wrong with the company structurally and financially in terms of what it’s doing. We need a tougher regulator in that way and that should be the absolute minimum what happens with companies when they get privatised.

“If they’re not privatised, then you can have a direct intervention from the government. In that way, the government is the ultimate owner of the business. Then the Secretary of State can step in and do things. If you’re a private company you can’t do that and therefore you have to have a strong regulatory system, and that’s what has been lacking”.

Of particular concern are Thames Water’s financial decisions. Andy says there is an alarming pattern of diverting resources, swelling debts, and rewarding shareholders and management while failing to uphold the basic service obligations of supplying fresh water and managing sewage. Asked whether dividends should continue to be stopped until the crisis is resolved, Andy said:

“They’re not paying dividends at the moment but yes they certainly shouldn’t be rewarded, because they’re not providing even a basic service. So why on earth should they be rewarding the owners of the company if they’re not even able to supply fresh water and take away sewage – which is two things we’re supposed to do!”

Image above: Sewage in the River Thames near Strand-on-the-Green

“Complacent” Conservatives not up to the challenge

Andy says the Conservatives, namely Rebecca Pow, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, come out with some of the “most complacent stuff I can remember hearing for a long time” over the crisis.

He added: “I mean they’re not really very high quality people in charge. [Rebecca Pow] just showed no awareness of the seriousness of the problem because these things really are mortal.”

The spectre of a potential sewer flood, like the one which happened recently in Shepherd’s Bush, adds urgency to the situation, painting a grim picture of the potential consequences of inadequate management.

“You’ve got a supply network which is incredibly old prone to bursts at any time, hence what happened in beginning of November [in Shepherd’s Bush & Acton]

“Thames Water replied saying they didn’t put out any comms because ‘it might confuse people with what was happening in Surrey [another burst pipe] so they basically left us completely in the dark, which is why I was running around like a headless chicken and trying to tell people what’s happening because they deliberately decided not to to do any comms work themselves.

“I’m going to write back and tell them how it’s all hopelessly inadequate. They don’t tell me how it’s they’re going to prevent it happening next time or anything.”

Image above: A Thames Water van

Nationalisation “not a priority” for a new Labour government – but not ruled out

Asked whether a change of ownership and better financial controls would actually solve all of the problems Thames Water is facing – and whether renationalising the industry would be the answer, Andy stopped short of calling for nationalisation in the immediate future, but did not rule out a future Labour government committing to it.

“I’m not dodging your question, but Thames could act together under it’s current owners, it could either voluntarily sell out which one that’s happened three times already or be forced to by its perilous financial situation or there could be a government intervention because of that happening, so yeah this has happened with some of the rail networks have been taken into public ownership… I mean it would almost becomes handing it over because they couldn’t cope.”

But rather than waiting until that tipping point when they can’t cope, and when debts are at current levels, is intervention not merited sooner rather than later? And would it be a priority for a new Labour government?

“I think this will probably all come to a head in the next by the end of this financial year, if not it might be dragging on and therefore if if it’s a new Labour [government]…clearly the current government is sort of washing their hands of it – they’ll have to do something if Thames are saying ‘we are insolvent we can’t continue where we are.’

“I think we would all prefer, I think huge majority of the public would prefer, that they hadn’t been privatised in the first place, and asset stripped, dividends paid out things like that kind…

“I think we would all like it to be a priority, but we’re just being realistic. I don’t think nationalisation or renationalisation would be a priority just because resources are so limited and the demands are so great.

“So query then, what do you want? You want proper regulation and you want a financial stable or organisation in that way. But I would I don’t think you would it rule out [nationalisation] in the long term term. That would have several beneficial effects: one is that you wouldn’t have the asset stripping of the profit taking and the other is you would have much clearer control over the the services that operated and failures.”

Christmas Chiswick Cheese Market on December 17

Image above: Buttercup the Cheesewick cow

Firstly and very importantly  – Hello Buttercup!

Guest blog by Lucy Cufflin, of the Chiswick Cheese Market

Thank you to all who entered our ‘Name the Cheesewick Cow’ competition at the last market. We are pleased to announce that the winning name is ‘Buttercup’ – well done Greg Larsen for your creative thinking putting the name forward. Buttercup will be attending each and every market so please come and say hello to her – she’s perfect for a festive selfie as she will be looking very Christmassy on the 17th #cheesewick.

Thank you to all at The Barley Mow Centre (Barley Moo Barn as we like to call it) who have taken Buttercup into their hearts and given her a new home when she is not at the market. We had a lovely wine and cheese tasting evening with everyone at the centre to welcome her.

There is no doubt that Christmas is a time for sharing, so come along to the market, sample your way along the stalls and build your perfect Christmas cheese board – what better time to share some of the best cheeses in the word with friends and family?

We love our Stilton and we would not be without it, but join us on Market HQ to try some other ‘blues’ and perhaps add something new to your festive cheese selection – Pevensey and Oxford Blues, Stichelton, or what about a smoked Stilton? Come along and you might just find a new festive favourite.

Image above: Stichelton Cheese

With Christmas chutney from Ealing Relish (perfect for those turkey sandwiches) and wonderful Xmas pud from Steff’s Kitchen, you can add some truly handmade flavours to your Christmas eats. Wood and Leg Smokery is offering a hamper of his hand smoked meats which is sure to delight any charcuterie lovers over the festive period.

Image above: Wood and Leg Smokery hamper

Every single stall has extra special delicious offerings for you to share with friends and family over Christmas so come along and browse, taste, sample and take home some utterly marvellous cheeses and accoutrements that will make your Christmas truly extra special.  So that’s the sharing part of Christmas sorted – what about the giving?

So many gifts from special gift packs of olive oil and balsamic, cheese selections and handcrafted wooden cheese mice to cheer up your cheeseboard. We even have a cheese lovers board game on sale and don’t forget our legendary Cheesewick tea towels and totes – what could be better to add to any cheese lover’s Christmas stocking?

Image above: Cheesewick tea towel

And there is still time to book this wine and cheese tasging event taking place this Sunday at George IV.

Book here – victoriadaskal.com

We are so excited for Sunday, so join us for mulled wine, hot cheese toasties, Mac’n’cheese and raclette whilst you browse some of the very best cheese in the world. The Christmas Chiswick Cheese Market is on its way…

Can’t wait – see you there!

Sam’s Waterside, Brentford review

Image above: The centrepiece at Sam’s Waterside: the bar, where you can also eat

Open a month, the restaurant that residents of Brentford have been waiting for

Brentford’s on the up. Finally. A new town centre is beginning to emerge from the long years of planning blight. There are now some 300 people who have moved into the newly built flats on the high street.

About two thirds are still unoccupied but the pioneers have been greeted with a brand new Morrisons, a Specsavers, a Sam’s Larder for special groceries and coffee and a new restaurant for fine dining.

Sam’s Waterside opened a month ago. The new restaurant from Sam Harrison, the owner of Sam’s Riverside in Hammersmith and Sam’s Larder delicatessens in Hammersmith and Chiswick, welcomed nearly three thousand people in the first two weeks of ‘soft launch’, when Sam offered his new menu at a 50% discount while they were still trying things out and the kitchen staff were getting used to working at speed.

The day we went was quieter, but still looked companionably full, with about 30 or 40 people sitting down for lunch on a rainy Thursday.

“People don’t know us well enough yet to organise their Christmas parties here” Sam told The Chiswick Calendar, so this is probably the best time to go, before word gets round and it’s heaving and you can’t get a table.

It looked spectacular, the glasses at the marble-topped bar gleaming in the lights illuminating the centrepiece of the restaurant with its pretty flowers and the Christmas tree twinkling in the corner. As you walk in from outside, immediately your spirits lift. The whole atmosphere leads you to believe something good is about to happen.

The staff are lovely. Sam is going for a friendly neighbourhood vibe and that’s certainly what you get from the very welcoming maître d’ and our attentive waiter, who, Sam told us, had not worked in a restaurant before but has the right personality naturally to succeed in hospitality.

Images above: Starters Crispy Duck and Heritage Beetroot

The food at Sam’s Waterside is very similar to that of Sam’s Riverside – modern European with lots of fish and shellfish and the best of British produce, freshly prepared in the kitchen. Like Sam’s Riverside, a feature is Oyster ‘happy hour’.

The price range is a bit cheaper, with main courses ranging from a burger at £16 to halibut at £38 on the day we went. The menu, put together by the head chef Jacob in collaboration with Sam, changes two or three times a week.

I had crispy duck with watercress, persimmon and citrus to start, while my companion had the heritage beetroot, with seeded cracker, tahini and orange blossom. For mains we had the Cornish fish & shellfish stew, with grilled sourdough and harissa mayonnaise, and sherry braised pork cheeks, with three cornered leek mash.

The courses were beautifully presented, the fish stew with a strong, distinctive flavour, the pork cheeks more subtly flavoured comfort food for a grey winter’s day.

To finish we had dark chocolate fondant, salted caramel ice cream with toasted hazelnuts, and the cheese – a Baron Bigod brie with pane carasau flatbread, damson jelly and wildflower honey. Delicious.

We could have had Chiswick House apple pie, made with apples from Chiswick House Gardens, with homemade vanilla ice cream. Sam collaborates with head gardener Rosie Fyles to buy produce from the Kitchen Garden. He also buys honey from Brentford producer Sara Ward at Hen Corner.

READ ALSO: Kitchen Garden at Chiswick House supplies Sam’s Riverside

READ ALSO: ‘Living the Good Life in the City’

Image above: The Christmas tree in front of the windows looking on to the canal to the south

“I don’t do any of the cooking, but I can talk chef”

Sam trained with Trusthouse Forte, having studied hotel and restaurant management at what was then Oxford Poly.

“I do the menu development with the head chef” he told me. “I don’t do any of the cooking, but I can talk chef”.

He ran Rick Stein’s restaurants in Padstow for four years before moving to Australia to work in Luke Mangan’s restaurants in Sydney, which he loved, but ultimately decided was too far from home. He became known to Chiswick foodies when he opened Chiswick Brasserie in 2005.

“When I opened I had seven competitors” he said. Ten years later when I closed Sam’s Brasserie there were 77″.

He describes Chiswick as “a bit edgier” in those days. “There was a good gay scene, and I was able to hire lots of staff locally”, which is no longer the case.

Brentford is now beginning to have that buzzy, on-the-up kind of feel, he thinks.

“People in Brentford have been waiting for a fine dining restaurant” he said.

The actor Lesley Manville (Mrs Harris goes to Paris, Princess Margaret in The Crown) has been in, and given Sam’s Waterside the thumbs up. She is one of many who have told Sam this is what they have long been waiting for.

Image above: View onto the canal side, looking east

Outside the restaurant is still a building site on the canal side, with workmen constructing a dock, but in the summer when the work is finished and it is opened up there will be tables and chairs outside so you can sit and watch the sun go down over the water, it will be even more attractive.

By then Sam is expecting a Gail’s bakery and a Pret A Manger to join him alongside the canal, and a new cinema complex. The Kew Bookshop, beloved by the residents of Kew Village, is also planning to open a new branch here in January.

I can see a steady trail of Chiswick residents making their way here. Meanwhile we have Sam’s Larder in Turnham Green Terrace, which is a member of our Chiswick Calendar Club Card scheme. See their offer to subscribers here: Sam’s Larder, Chiswick, Club Card offer.

To book a table for Sam’s Waterside, go here: samswaterside.co.uk

Set menu, two courses, £23.50.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Food Market Chiswick, Christmas markets

Image above: John Dench of Ringden Farm, selling fruit juices, fresh apples, jams and preserves.

The market – going 20 + years, rain or shine – will have some special Christmas features this Sunday

The Food Market, Chiswick, at the Pavilion in Market Drive in Dukes Meadows, is having a special Christmas market on Sunday 17 December.

The food market takes place every Sunday morning from 10am to 2pm. The last one before Christmas will be on Christmas Eve, but on 17 December there will be a choir singing carols, lots of seasonal food on offer from a bumper number of stallholders, and a caricaturist will be drawing free portraits.

Michael Bradstone, one of the UK’s leading caricaturists, was a great hit at the market last year, making people laugh with his quick portraits. He will be back entertaining the Christmas crowds, making pen and ink sketches on request.

Images above: Michael Bradstone caricatures

Among the stalwarts will be John Dench of Ringden Farm, selling fruit juices, fresh apples, jams and preserves. He has been coming to the market since it first started, more than 20 years ago. All his produce (except the cherry juice) is made on the farm at Flimwell, in East Sussex.

Also there will be Gill Exton with a range of fabulous home-made cakes, Terrence, from Big Wheel Cheese (who also have a stall at the Chiswick Cheese Market on Sunday 17 December) and Tom and Abdul, selling their freshly cooked Moroccan food ready to eat.

Mari Deli & Dining, based at the café-deli on Chiswick Mall, have also recently taken a stall at the market and will be selling Italian specialities such as Panforte and several varieties of Panettone.

Image above: Jams and preserves from Ringden Farm

To order, or pick up the essentials, Hook & Son, who sell raw milk, butter and cream, will be there both weekends, on Sunday 17 and Sunday 24. They also sell beef from their completely grass-fed dairy herd – 28 day aged dairy beef in the form of roasting joints, steaks, burgers, sausages, stewing steak and mince.

To pick up fresh meat on Christmas Eve you will need to pre-order it, but their unpasteurised, organic milk, butter, thick double cream and crème fraîche (especially popular for Christmas) you can just come and buy on Christmas Eve without pre-ordering.

Images above: March House Farm; cakes from Gill Exton; cheese from Big Wheel Cheese; Moroccan food from Tom and Abdul, based in Fulham; Italian specialities from Mari Deli & Dining on Chiswick Mall

For all your other meat requirements, Mike Belcher from March House Farm will be there. Pick up fresh bread from Astons Bread (I can recommend the potato bread and the soda bread in particular) and fresh veg from Kath Dawson at Ted’s Veg.

The nut man (introduction: “I’m the nutter”) will not be there on 17 December, but he will be there on 24 December. His speciality is Kent cob nuts (British hazelnuts), which are very good baked in the oven for half an hour, and also English walnuts, grown by Nut Farms. He also sells the oils, perfect for salad dressings to go with your cold turkey and ham on Boxing Day.

Images above: Nut Farms; Kentish cobnut oil; English walnut oil; walnuts and cobnuts

thefoodmarketchiswick.com

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Hounslow Council criticised for cancelling Jewish event

Image above: Hounslow House – where the event was set to take place

Conservative Leader “extremely concerned” about decision

Hounslow Council has faced criticism from Jewish organisations following the cancellation of an educational event, the Jewish Living Experience, slated to be hosted at its headquarters.

For four decades, The Board of Deputies of British Jews has been organising the Jewish Living Experience, an exhibition designed to familiarise the broader community with Judaism. This initiative, touring the country, invites local schools to educate children about Jewish life and traditions.

Initially planned for April at Hounslow House, the exhibition was discussed at Hounslow Council’s Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE) meeting on 23 October. SACRE, representing major faith communities in the borough, had endorsed the event.

The exhibition was scheduled from 23 November to 1 December , with local primary schools allocated three days for visits, complemented by volunteer guides from the Jewish community. The Times reported Hounslow Council’s decision to cancel the exhibition citing “personal safety” concerns. Edwin Shuker, vice-president of the Board of Deputies, said:

“At a time of hugely increased antisemitism around the country it is baffling that any council would choose to cancel an exhibition with the potential to provide context and understanding.

“We have asked for a meeting and been refused. The Jewish community will not accept being marginalised.”

A spokesperson for Hounslow council said:

“Hounslow is one of London’s most diverse boroughs and we cherish and celebrate this diversity.

“The decision to postpone the two-week exhibition, due to take place in a public space, was not taken lightly and we appreciate the disappointment and inconvenience it caused.

“However, due to the current situation in Gaza and associated increase in reported hate crimes, there is significant heightened risk to personal safety across London and consideration of this had to take precedence.”

The leader of the Conservative Group on Hounslow Council, Peter Thompson, said:

“I am extremely concerned about Hounslow Council’s decision to cancel the Jewish Living Exhibition. We agree with the Jewish Board of Deputies that it is totally unacceptable to cancel an event aimed at increasing understanding around the Jewish community, particularly at a time when antisemitism continues to rise to horrific levels across our capital.

“The council must now urgently publish the police advice it received about their decision to cancel this event, and arrange for an alternative date for this important event as early as possible in the new year.”

Cllr Shantanu Rajawat, leader of Hounslow Council, extended Hanukkah wishes to the Jewish community in a video on December 8, amidst the ongoing controversy.

Best-selling toys at Snap Dragon toy shop in Chiswick for Christmas 2023

Image above: Snap Dragon on Turnham Green Terrace

Jellycat, Tonies and Brio

You have to hand it to the creative people who make and market children’s toys. If you had told me that a soft toy of a piece of sushi would be a best-selling toy this Christmas I would not have believed you. Yet here we are.

“Anything by Jellycat is popular this Christmas” says Fiona Wallis, owner of Chiswick’s toy shop Snap Dragon on Turnham Green Terrace. “They make soft toys of anything – sandwiches, sushi”.

Images above: Oswald Orangutan, Ginny Goat and Odette Ostrich from the Jellycat ‘Mad Menagerie’ range

Jellycat

To be fair, they have plenty of cute cuddly animals as well – teddy bears, penguins, rabbits, puppy dogs .. I can definitely see the appeal of the ‘Mad Menagerie’; my favourite is Odette Ostrich. It’s the ‘Amusables’ that lose me – Pizza, Taco, Ramen, Sushi and Sandwiches for example.

Images above: A burger, a sandwich and Sushi Hosomaki from the Jellycat ‘Amusable’ range

The burger is described by Jellycat as ‘rocking a brilliant two-tone golden bun, cordy arms, a fluffy green gherkin, suedey yellow cheese and foldy lettuce’.

Jellycat toys are ‘suitable from birth’.

Images above: The Toniebox ‘Starter Set; The Gruffalo, Peppa Pig and Paddington Bear Tonies

Tonies

Tonies are the best sellers. They are the modern equivalent of children’s cassette players – an audio box (the ‘Toniebox’) onto which you put little statuettes of magnetic characters – Peppa Pig, or the Gruffalo for example – who then read their stories to children in person.

‘Such a great idea and a change from yet another video/screen to watch – so much better for the imagination’ said one grandmother – reviewer.

Again, suitable from birth, but most popular for two to six years old.

Images above: BRIO Central Station set, My First Railway and Little Forest set from the ‘Classic’ selection

BRIO railway sets

BRIO was Fiona’s third recommendation, railway building sets suitable mainly for three years old and upwards, which are very popular again this year.

There are many different train sets from ‘My First Railway’ (18 months +) to ‘Classic’ railways (suitable for ages two +), ‘Disney’ (with Snow White, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse or Sleeping Beauty characters) or ‘Railway Sets’ with many different options, including a farm train, a rescue firefighter set and a ‘Central Station’ set.

I would like to think you couldn’t go wrong …

Fiona has been running Snap Dragon in Turnham Green Terrace for nearly 22 years now. The shop has been in the Terrace for more than 30 years.

“I used to go to the big international toy fair in Nuremberg”, she told The Chiswick Calendar, “but I haven’t been there for years. Instead I go now to the London toy fair at Olympia in January and I get my ideas from that, from various other gift exhibition and from my grandchildren.”

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The Secret Garden – starring Daisy Rae as Mary Lennox

Image above: Daisy Rae as Mary Lennox, Theatre at The Tabard; photographs by Charles Flint

Theatre at the Tabard’s Christmas production, The Secret Garden, on until 31 December

From the creative minds behind last year’s Five Children and It, the Tabard beckons you to immerse yourself in the heart-warming classic story The Secret Garden and allow your imagination to flourish.

Enter the world of young Mary Lennox, a spirited and inquisitive orphan despatched to her Uncle Archibald’s Yorkshire estate. Wrestling with the unfamiliar, she finds solace in the outdoors and stumbles upon the key to a long-lost secret garden. With the help of local lad Dickon, she nurtures the neglected flora and fauna, unravelling the garden’s mysteries.

The big house also has secrets. The widowed Archibald has a sickly son, confined to his bed. Mary’s resilient spirit refuses to let her take ‘no’ for an answer and she makes it her mission to accomplish his recovery.

Adapted from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 1911 classic novel, this in-house production has been brought to life by Louise Haddington’s adaptation and the guidance of Simon Reilly, the Tabard’s Artistic Director.

The Chiswick Calendar has interviewed Daisy Rae, the lead actress, who trained at ArtsEd and plays Mary.

Image above: Daisy Rae as Mary and Sam McHale as Colin

Interview with Daisy Rae by Matt Smith

On her familiarity with the story and how she prepared for the role

“I remember watching the film with my grandparents and I’ve always been inspired by nature. I am an ambassador for the Tree Council and I’m always learning about birds in British wildlife and and the flora and fauna of the UK.”

The first play adaptation of The Secret Garden:

“Apparently, there is a Secret Garden musical, but for me this is the first time I’ve seen a play version adaptation of it. I haven’t actually read the book myself, but I am familiar with the film.”

Reflecting on portraying Mary and her challenges:

“She’s been through a really traumatic experience, and she just doesn’t know how to explain that to people. As she gets to know people, she starts to come out of her shell, and you realize that she is just a child…

“That manifests in her behaviour which comes across as really unsavoury [at first], but everything that’s happened to her it is not her fault… she’s navigating it the same as anyone would.”

Image above: Daisy Rae as Mary

On character development with fellow cast members:

“Dickon is the most far ahead in his sort of development, and he’s at one with nature. Mary starts following in his footsteps, and then she comes across Colin, who is like five steps behind that. It was helpful for us to see where our character might end up going.”

Which scenes she was excited to portray?

“For me, it’s the very first moments that Mary steps out into the outside world, the first moment she meets the robin. The first time she experiences any kind of joy, it’s not actually with any person; it’s when she meets a robin.”

The biggest theme of the play:

“Transformation and the connection with nature. Caring about the flora and fauna around you is so important for our mental health and well-being. Earlier in in the year in February I was in Scotland with my mum, and we were visiting community orchards and seeing how nature was a lifeline for communities and who literally could not afford food any other way.

“So caring about the flora and fauna around you the things that grow (and the things that help things grow) beetles and the animals that come along and and keep your own garden and your own natural space around you alive – that is so important.”

Image above: Jordan Rising as Dickon and Daisy Mae as Mary, in the snow

On the importance of portraying a connection with nature, especially with the climate crisis

“One of the biggest issues we face with the climate and ecological crisis is that people just don’t care. People are just not aware and not connected, a lot of people are in the habit of just not looking up and some people, some people have just never been taught anything about the natural world…

“This play is such a brilliant way of sharing that message which is one of the reasons I was just say delighted to be able to do it and because I was just hoping that some people come along and see it and think ‘Ok, maybe I will pay a bit more attention to the things that grow around me’.

How have the audience reacted 

I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but there are some very magical moments and when you hear audience members reacting, you think, ‘Wow, we really have brought the magic to this room’ and some people have been feeding back that they are just so amazed at how the space has been used. Sharing this experience with an audience is really important.”

A quintessential family show for the Christmas season, The Secret Garden is on at Theatre at the Tabard until 31 December.

Book tickets

Image above: Sam McHale and Daisy Rae as Colin and Mary with animal puppets created by Hazel Owen

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New Japanese tea cafe to open on Chiswick Back Common

Image above: The premises (in green) are currently being prepared for opening

Matcha-oriented cafe to open this week

Matchado, a new café specialising in traditional Japanese tea, is gearing up for its grand opening near Chiswick Back Common. Located at the former site of Good Boy Café on Elliot Road’s corner, Matchado is poised to introduce locals to the authentic flavours of Japanese tea culture.

Previously renowned for selling this unique tea – the very essence used in the revered traditional Japanese tea ceremony – through online platforms and pop-up stalls, Matchado is making its inaugural foray into the physical realm with this venture. Alongside serving the classic tea, the café will also offer various products infused with this exceptional tea, including baked goods.

While the anticipated opening is expected during the week commencing Monday, 11 December, the café is still in the final stages of interior fittings, delaying the exact launch date.

Described as ‘smooth, mellow, and devoid of bitterness’, Matcha boasts a distinctive rich and frothy texture. Its vibrant green hue is a product of natural ingredients, ground meticulously into a fine powder, allowing for the smooth and frothy concoction when whisked.

Renowned for its high concentration of antioxidants, as the entire leaf is consumed, Matcha is purported to surpass other green teas in health benefits. It is claimed that it can aid metabolism and promote weight loss, contributing to its longstanding popularity in Japan for centuries.

Beyond its traditional role as a tea, Matcha is used for cooking. Whether enhancing the flavour of smoothies and ice cream or being used as a key ingredient in sweet and savoury Japanese dishes, Matcha is ‘a staple in diverse gastronomic experiences’.

Artists make themselves At Home at Chiswick Cinema

Image above: Members of Artists At Home celebrating the opening of their new mini gallery

Celebrating the opening of a new mini gallery

Artists At Home, the collective of local artists who open their homes to the public each summer, now have a new showcase for their work.

Chiswick Cinema has refurbished the dark recess in the foyer with new lighting to illuminate the work of Artists At Home members. The display will feature a different artist every six weeks, starting with the work of Louise Richards.

Artists At Home have a website where all the current members’ work is displayed, but it is difficult to get a feel for how a picture might actually look in your home unless you see hanging on a wall.  They already have a gallery at the Hogarth Club, where the members’ work is shown in rotation. Now Chiswick Cinema will do the same.

Images above: Paintings by Louise Richards, Salome Gallan, Kit Line, Sophie Ashdown Coady, Henrietta Parsons, Kathryn Davey, AJ Ashdown Coady, Carol Tait, Sonja Kennedy

The schedule for the coming year

Artists whose work will be shown throughout 2024 are:

Louise Richards until 9 January 2024

Salome Gallan, 10 January – 20 February

Kit Line, 21 February – 2 April

Sophie Ashdown Coady, 3 April – 14 May

Henrietta Parsons, 15 May – 25 June

Kathryn Davey, 26 June – 6 August

AJ Ashdown Coady, 7 August – 24 September

Carol Tait, 18 September – 29 October

Sonja Kennedy, 30 October – 10 December

Artists At Home are also featured in our Christmas Shopping guide of ideas for Christmas presents from local makers and businesses.

Christmas Shopping

artistsathome.co.uk

Rail chaos after passengers stuck on trains for hours

Image above: Elizabeth Line commuters ushered off the train onto the tracks after being stuck for hours on Thursday; Photograph via X (Tom Edwards BBC)

Rail company GWR scrambling to return services to normal after damage to overhead cables

There is severe disruption on some of London’s railways following damage to overhead electric cables in the Ladbroke Grove area of west London.

The incident has affected services for the Elizabeth line, Great Western Railway, and Heathrow Express trains, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded on trains for several hours in dark and cold conditions on Thursday evening (7 December).

Passengers reported being stuck for over three hours with little or no information provided. Engineers managed to open two lines for electric trains serving Paddington, but major disruptions are expected until 6.00 pm on Friday, with cancellations or delays to trains to and from Paddington. Great Western Railway (GWR) advised against travelling between London and Reading until further notice.

Elizabeth Line trains are running with delays, and a reduced half-hourly service is in place for the Heathrow Express. The incident involving damaged overhead cable. According to the train drivers’ union Aslef the damage occurred when a manager, covering for strike action, was driving the train.

The manager was deployed to drive the train as GWR workers have been on strike in a dispute over pay. In response to criticisms, a GWR spokesperson clarified that only qualified train drivers with route knowledge, including train driving instructors, operate their trains.

The £19bn Elizabeth line, which opened in May 2022, uses mainline rail infrastructure west of Paddington.

Paddington services have been repeatedly affected by rail system faults in recent weeks. Incidents on the Great Western line include four damaged rails discovered in eight days last month.

Above: Post on X showing some of the hundreds of passengers trapped on an Elizabeth line train in the cold and dark on Thursday (7 December)

“Strikebreaking is dangerous”

The Trade Union Congress seized upon the travel chaos faced by GWR, blaming the train operator for hiring unqualified drivers in order to break strikes.

In a post on X, The Trade Union Congress said:

‘A short story…

‘1.⁠ ⁠Train drivers go on strike to protect pay during cost of living crisis.

‘2.⁠ ⁠GWR train manager drafted in to break picket and drive Elizabeth Line train.

‘3.⁠ ⁠Train manager damages overhead cables, causing serious disruption, report Aslef.

‘4.⁠ ⁠1,000 passengers stranded in the dark for almost 5 hours.

‘Strikebreaking is dangerous.’

TfL issued an apology to commuters on Friday, but made it known they were not to blame:

“We’re sorry that the damage caused to Network Rail’s overhead power lines by another rail operator’s train has caused significant disruption to our Elizabeth line customers as well as all train operators out of London Paddington.

“We worked to get customers off of stranded trains as quickly as possible and to provide any support needed. Network Rail are continuing to urgently to repair the power lines and we’d encourage all customers to check before they travel while they do this.”

Hundreds gather to see King Charles III at Ealing Broadway shopping centre

Image above: King Charles visits Ealing Broadway – Screen grab from royal family YouTube channel

King visits Ealing and local community groups

Hundreds of people gathered at Ealing Broadway shopping centre on Thursday (7 December) to see King Charles III, who came to meet six local volunteer-run community groups awarded The King’s Award for Voluntary Service.

The King spoke to members of the voluntary groups and toured the Christmas market stalls, engaging with local business owners and briefly meeting Santa and two elves.

The recipients of The King’s Award for Voluntary Service and The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service included:

  • Ealing Wildlife Group (KAVS 2023)
  • LAGER Can (QAVS 2021)
  • Descendants (QAVS 2019)
  • PACE (QAVS 2021)
  • Mael Gael (QAVS 2021)
  • The William Hobbayne Charity (QAVS 2022)

The King also met local school children from Christ The Saviour COE Primary School and a Polish choir, who performed Christmas carols at the Town Square Stage.

Dr Rupa Huq, the MP for Ealing Central and Acton, met the King at the entrance of Ealing Broadway shopping centre. She later posted on X:

‘Honoured to welcome his Majesty King Charles 3rd to Ealing Shopping centre today with [the] Mayor of Ealing – fittingly seeing as the late Queen opened it in 1985. I did not bunk off school that day like most of [the] rest of Ealing did but Labour whips let me attend today.’

Above: Posted on X by Rupa Huq – MP for Ealing Central and Acton

‘Please call for a ceasefire’

In a video widely circulated online and reported by Middle East Eye, one woman can be heard shouting ‘Free Palestine’ and asking the King to call for a ceasefire, while he explored the Christmas markets.

In the footage, the female protestor says:

“Free Palestine King Charles! Merry Christmas! Free Palestine!”

The King does not respond directly to the woman, instead continuing to greet other members of the crowd.

Police officers, and the security team created a human barrier between him and the woman, who continued to shout as he walked away.

Above: Post on X by Middle East Eye showing King Charles being confronted with a pro-Palestinian protestor

Plans submitted for massive development at old Sega site

Image above: Impression of the scheme from the developer viewed over the M4 flyover

Heights of 23 storeys to be reached as 1,000 new flats proposed

A planning application has been submitted outlining proposals for the transformation of the former Sega headquarters, adjacent to the A4/M4 in Brentford.

The highly anticipated plans detail the construction of five tower blocks, ranging between 15 to 19 storeys, situated on a podium close to the motorway. Initial versions of the proposal had projected the creation of over 1,000 flats across six blocks, reaching heights of up to 23 storeys.

The site, situated at 27-1053 Great West Road, positioned just north of the Brentford Community Stadium and to the south of Gunnersbury Park, is slated to encompass 916 flats, alongside a blend of retail and light industrial spaces. Additionally, a new public area named Golden Mile Square is earmarked as part of the envisioned project, which would be known as Brentford Works.

Tikehau Capital secured ownership of the land in March 2021, reportedly at an estimated cost of £40 million. Entrusting the project leadership to Areli Developments, with Benoy as the Architects and Design Team leaders, the developer aims to replicate the success of the Fourth Mile project nearby, with ongoing involvement in 30 projects across the UK.

The residential segment of the proposal is set to accommodate 630 flats for private sale and 286 deemed ‘affordable’, amounting to 35% of the total in terms of habitable room. The application states 91 of the flats will be three or four-bedroom units, complemented by 6,170 square meters of commercial space designated for office and workshop use, along with an additional 1,600 square meters allocated for retail purposes.

Images above: Impression of Brentford Works Scheme looking east along the A4/M4 submitted with the application, CGI of Golden Mile Square showing the Brentford Fountain submitted by the developer

New train station set to be built under proposals

The developers say the commercial spaces will be tailored for local independent businesses, to promote ‘regional crafts’ and job opportunities. They envisage a retail area with cafes, restaurants, and shops clustered around the public square.

Accompanying documents submitted with the application assert that despite the proposed buildings’ height, meticulous attention has been paid to sculpting structures that harmonise with the local context and heritage, preserving crucial sight-lines from Kew Gardens and Gunnersbury Park.

The proposed new public square is slated for extensive greenery and landscaping, designed to accommodate year-round events. Plans include the relocation of the Brentford Fountain to this square, enhancing its aesthetics and functionality.

The residential towers are designed to feature several podium gardens, while commitments have been made to enhance connections with Gunnersbury Park, including the relocation of a crossing on the A4 beneath the flyover, though the specifics of this development will come only after the project receives approval.

Provisions have also been made for the potential construction of a new train station at Lionel Road, aligning with the proposed West London Orbital Line.

Should the scheme be approved, forecasts estimate it could yield approximately £20 million in Community Infrastructure Levy payments, alongside supplementary S106 contributions. The application is set to be considered at a borough planning meeting in early 2024.

For more details regarding the application or if you wish to comment on it, see Hounslow Council website’s planning section using the reference P/2023/3208. The deadline for comment submissions remains undisclosed at present.

Image above: Map of proposed site, Sega offices Brentford

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Grove Park access restrictions to be suspended over Christmas

Image above: Hartington Road will be open to all between Christmas Day and New Years’ Day

Non-residents will not be fined during Christmas

Hounslow Council has confirmed that access restrictions in the Grove Park area are to be suspended over the festive period.

From Christmas Day to New Year’s Day there will be no enforcement of the restrictions on Staveley Road, Hartington Road and Strand on the Green/Thames Road.

Motorists who do not live in the area, and who are without exemptions, will begin to receive fines again on Tuesday 2 January 2024, with the normal operational hours of 8.00am to 7.00pm, Monday to Saturday.

Chiswick Riverside ward councillor Peter Thompson said:

“This is welcome news for residents in Grove Park and Strand on the Green and I would like to thank the Council for bringing a little Christmas cheer to winter days for residents and visitors. The last thing anyone wants is a penalty notice for family and friends using the wrong road over the holiday period.

“This scheme was imposed on us by the London Borough of Hounslow against the overwhelming opposition of both local residents, businesses and councillors, and to the great detriment of the most vulnerable in our community. There are huge cost-of-living pressures on the people right now which is why we think that where there is not local support low-traffic neighbourhood projects should be looked at again.”

Through traffic has been reduced in the South Chiswick Liveable Neighbourhood area as a result of the introduction of restrictions, according to Hounslow Council.

Hogarth Club Santa Run 2023 to support homeless charity Shelter

Image above: The Hogarth Santa run 2022

Sign up online now

The Hogarth Club is gearing up for its annual Santa Run on Sunday, 17 December, aimed at raising funds for Shelter, the charity dedicated to housing and homelessness.

The event begins with registration starting at 9.45 am at The Hogarth Club. A group Santa warm-up kicks off at 10 am, followed by the run at 10.30 am. Participants will cover a 7.5km route, starting from The Hogarth Club and running anti-clockwise along the river via Barnes and Hammersmith bridges. After the run, everyone is invited back to The Hogarth Club for mulled wine, mince pies, and other festive treats.

Tickets are priced at £20, inclusive of a Santa suit, a donation to Shelter, and the post-run refreshments. Bookings can be made through the Eventbrite page, and the event is open to everyone, including members, non-members, families, and dogs. Participants can run or walk at their own pace and take breaks along the route.

Shelter is the chosen charity for this event, working tirelessly to support those affected by housing and homelessness issues. The aim is to make a positive difference, particularly during the festive season.

The Hogarth Santa Run welcomes all who wish join. Book your tickets online now and join in supporting Shelter’s mission.

Book online now

Ofsted improve rating for Hounslow’s Children’s Services

Image above: library image

Substantial progress on similar report from 2018 

Hounslow’s Children’s Services have received an improved rating, following the latest inspection conducted by the independent regulator Ofsted. While maintaining an overall ‘Good’ status, the recent assessment showcases substantial progress compared to the 2018 report.

During the inspection period spanning from 16 to 20 October, Ofsted inspectors visited Hounslow and commended the strides made within the Children’s Services. Notably, all categories now boast a ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ rating, a notable enhancement from the prior evaluation where certain areas had required improvement.

Acknowledging the efforts of the dedicated staff, inspectors lauded their unwavering commitment to meeting the needs of children within the borough. The report specifically highlighted a relentless pursuit of service enhancement as a cornerstone of their approach.

According to the report, there has been a discernible improvement in the experiences and progress of children necessitating assistance and protection, as well as those in care. It underscored the prevailing child-centric ethos embedded across the organisation.

The report also spotlighted specific services that earned commendation, including provisions for children with disabilities, vulnerable children in education, unaccompanied minors, and adoption services.

A significant elevation was observed in the impact of leaders within the Council, spanning from Members to operational managers. Notably, their performance surged from a ‘Good’ rating in 2018 to an ‘Outstanding’ assessment in the recent report, signifying commendable advancements in leadership effectiveness.

Results are “testament to hard work of Council officers”

Two of Hounslow’s practitioners, Nazir and Dionne, responded to the report by saying:

“Although having Ofsted visit can feel like a nervous time for all, it was great to have the opportunity to showcase first-hand the amazing work that is completed across children services.

“It’s really rewarding as a practitioner to be able to make a positive impact on the children and their families’ lives. We work hard as a team to provide a caring service and adapt to individual’s needs. The hard work and dedication of the team, including commitment to the families we work with has really shone through.

“The support we receive from managers and senior leaders makes a huge difference and provides us with the tools we need to reflect on the service we deliver and make continuous improvements.”

Councillor Lily Bath, Cabinet Member for Education, Children, Skills and Employment said:

“We are committed to ensuring every child has the best start in life and I’m thrilled that Hounslow’s Children’s Services has received another positive rating from Ofsted. Most importantly it shows clear progress since the last inspection, and I want to thank our staff and partners who continually strive to improve the support provided in the borough.

“The inspectors highlighted and praised the platform provided to young people to help shape our services. It’s vital that we give children a voice to influence the decisions made about them and this increased engagement is a key part of our radical overhaul of consultation and engagement.”

Councillor Shantanu Rajawat, Leader of the Council added:

“This inspection and report are a testament to the hard work of Council officers and our partners to make these significant improvements to our services for children and young people. As the report highlights, there is a constant desire and ambition across the Council to change and improve.

“The report also praised the Council’s One Hounslow approach which ensures vulnerable children’s needs are embedded across the organisation.

“Despite increasing demands on Council services, we have responded effectively with a clear focus on the needs of our children and introduced new ways of working to strengthen the support on offer for families and enhance children’s lives.”

Read the Ofsted report in full here.

Lib Dems raise concerns over Acton Green conservation area

Image above: Acton Green Common

Residents want their open spaces protected, say Lib Dems

Liberal Democrat councillors are cautioning against proposed alterations to the Acton Green Conservation Area, citing potential threats to a local green space from imminent development.

Ealing Council is currently in the process of seeking public input on proposed changes that would involve excluding the Beaconsfield Estate on Acton Lane from the conservation area. The rationale behind this move is that the estate’s architectural style diverges from the prevailing Victorian and Edwardian buildings characteristic of the area.

Among the sections slated for removal is the elongated strip of land situated across the road from the estate, which accommodates residences along Kingscote Road. This area is colloquially referred to as the Beaconsfield Triangle by residents.

The Liberal Democrats, who are the Opposition party on Ealing Council, are expressing their concern that the protective measures afforded by the Conservation Area designation could be compromised, potentially opening up the green space to future construction. While much of the space might be too narrow for new housing, there are concerns the northern portion could be considered for development while still providing access to properties at the rear.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Andrew Steed, Opposition Spokesperson on Education, Health & Social Care and Southfield Councillor said:

“Liberal Democrats say that the Labour-run Ealing administration has chosen to remove green spaces from some conservation areas and has designated lots of green belt and Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) spaces as building sites for the future. Liberal Democrats have listened to residents who want to see their open spaces protected. Labour’s plans seem contrary to their claims to promote net zero and actions against climate change!”

Smash and grab thefts on the rise in Chiswick

Image above: Van broken into in Chiswick (2020)

“They did it right in front of me as I stood there. They were totally unconcerned”

Eye witness account by Billy Beatty

On Tuesday evening I was heading home from the Chiswick Area Forum. I was there to speak about Hogarth Youth Centre, my place of work. I spoke to local councillors about the importance of keeping our young people safe and the need for increased lighting on the alleyway linking Duke Road to the A4.

I was just walking past Nando’s on the Old Market Place parade when I spotted two men wearing all black, on pushbikes, using torches to look into cars. Unbelievably while I was stood there they broke into six vehicles, helping themselves to bags and belongings of the owners.

This type of crime is on the rise in Chiswick and the fact they did this in the same carpark where there was once a police station is ironic.

Over the past year I have spotted at least fifty cars with broken glass all over Chiswick. This isn’t just a problem isolated to Chiswick. At the end of 2022 AA Insurance Services says that theft from vehicles rose by 9.9%, with 212,900 people having items stolen from their vehicle compared to 193,647 the year before.

I spoke to a local resident who asked not to be named who was a victim of one of these thefts, and they said:

“I woke up one morning and my disabled badge was gone. They had smashed my driver’s side window and taken the badge that allows me to park outside of my home free of charge.

“I contacted the people who supply the badges and they sent a replacement but I had to wait up to a week for it and this worried me immensely as I thought I was going to get a parking ticket.”

The Metropolitan Police have set out steps to help protect yourself from these thefts:

1. Always lock it

Fuelling up or popping back into your house to get something are perfect examples of how easy it is to turn your back for a moment and forget your vehicle is unsecured. So get into the habit of locking your vehicle even if you’re only going to be away from it for a moment.

If your vehicle has wing mirrors that fold in automatically when locked, make sure you lock it properly. Criminal gangs are looking for vehicles like these where the wing mirrors are still out because it is clear to them that the vehicle has been left unlocked.

2. Close windows and the sun roof to prevent ‘fishing’

Leaving windows and the sunroof open invites fishing for items through the gap by hand or with, say, a bent coat hanger, which could also be used to unlock a door for them to get in. Thieves can be ingenious. Don’t give them the opportunity.

3. Secure your number plates with tamper-resistant screws

The easiest way to change the identity of a stolen vehicle or avoid speeding tickets and parking tickets is to fit stolen number plates. Using security screws to attach your vehicle’s number plates makes it harder for thieves to get your number.

4. Fit locking, anti-tamper wheel nuts to secure alloy wheels

Stolen wheels are valuable, either as parts or for their scrap value. Using locking wheel nuts reduces the risk of your vehicle’s wheels being stolen.

5. Secure anything that’s on the outside of your vehicle

Anything left on roof-racks, tailgate racks, holiday top boxes or in tool chests are easily stolen when the vehicle is parked. The use of cable locks, padlocks and self-locking tools chests, which are secured to the vehicle, makes them more secure, but still, don’t leave things in them if you can avoid it.

Sadiq Khan rejects calls for Turnham Green to have constant Piccadilly Line service

Wonka (2023) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Wonka ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ½

With dreams of opening a shop in a city renowned for its chocolate, a young and poor Willy Wonka discovers that the industry is run by a cartel of greedy chocolatiers. Out in cinemas on Friday.

For all those who are slightly apprehensive about this latest “prequel”, maybe  because their loving connection to the original story, or because of their fond memories of the classic film with Gene Wilder, or even the one by Tim Burton with Johnny Depp (yes, I am told there are people who love that too), I can safely reassure them and tell them that not only this film is the perfect pre-Christmas present for all those who want to spend some time in a cinema with their family, but I might even take it a step further and say that this is better than any previous incarnation of the Dahl classic.

I came into it suspicious and within just a few minutes, by the time first song was over, I was absolutely with it. In fact, I’d say it is pretty impossible not be swept up by its charm.

I should have known really. You just have to look at the Paddington films to realised that director Paul King (and writer Simon Farnaby) seem to have an innate ability to make instant family classics: stylish, inventive, whimsical, dazzling, heartfelt and magical. And even though this might not reach the stylistic heights of Paddington 2 (one of the best sequels of the last decade, or more), the winning formula is very similar and it certainly makes it the most crowd-pleasing film I’ve seen the whole year.

A satire on capitalism for grown-ups, a tale about magic and chocolate for kids.

Yes, there may be some weird leaps in the story, which at times feel slightly forced, also it’s got a bit too much going on (possibly too many moving parts and subplots), and there are few gaps here and there, which are certainly the results of a longer version being hacked to pieces in the editing room (a version which I would LOVE to see by the way), but this film gets so many things right, that I’m willing to forgive those shortcomings.

The tone, for a start, perfectly pitched with the right amount of whimsy, wackiness and poignancy, just like the main character himself, Willy Wonka, who is clearly the best thing in it.

Timothée Chalamet, once again, proves that he can pull anything off, whether it’s a mystical warrior in Dune or a closeted gay in Call me by your name, or a hopeless drug addict in Beautiful Boy, the aloof, too-cool-for-school kid in Lady Bird or even a cannibal in Bones and all. He is definitely the most accomplished actor of his generation and certainly destined for glory and huge success.

In Wonka Chalamet makes the character his own, resisting from mimicking any of the previous characterisations from Wilder or Depp. Instead, he transforms what could have been a rather annoyingly whimsical, goody-goody, much-too-optimistic, saccharine, over-the-top, character into a joyous, loving, gentle wide-eyed dreamer, with just the right amount of quirkiness, sweetness, wit and poignancy, all mixed together to make him instantly charming.

It may not have the dark edge from Dahl, quite yet, but let’s give him time (the inevitable sequel will be very welcome, if this is successful) the film soars with him and because of him.  Right from the start, as he appears singing on a boat, with his un-shameful baggage of optimism, you cannot help but like him.

And yes, I did say “singing” because, despite what the fact that the marketing campaign tried to hide this completely, make no mistake, this is a good old-fashioned musical from start to finish, the way Mary Poppins was. In fact, it reminded me a lot of that film too: there is a wonderful scene in which Wonka floats and dances on top of some glass rooftops with a bunch of balloons, which feels like it could have come out straight from the pages of P.L. Travis.

The musical numbers, with songs from Neil Hannon and a score by Joby Talbot are glitzy, cheerful, instantly catchy, full of colours and joy just like the world depicted here.

The rest of the cast is just as perfect, from the grumpy Oompa Loompa played with gusto by Hugh Grant, to the wicked Mrs. Scrubitt, played with an unashamed nastiness by Olivia Colman. Keegan-Michael Key, Jim Carter, Matt Lucas and Rowan Atkinson are just some of the most recognisable stars who seem to have a ball in this film. And the fun is infectious.

I saw this in a previous screening filled with BAFTA members, who are usually quite uptight and reserved. Here they were laughing and lapping it up as if there was no tomorrow.

I cannot wait for this to be released soon, so that I can take my son along (and have the excuse to watch it again).

Utterly delightful!

Wonka is out in cinemas on Friday.

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

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

Chiswick In Film festival: Chiswick In Film festival 2023

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Person arrested after police raid on property in Chiswick

Image above: Officers before the raid

One person arrested after stolen goods found

Police have raided a house in Binns Rd on the Glebe Estate in Chiswick and arrested one person for handling stolen goods.

The raid, on Friday 1 December, was led by Chiswick’s Safer Neighbourhood Team with assistance from Dog Units & the Ealing Safer Neighbourhood Team. Police found a large amount of property they believe had been stolen and are now working on identifying the victims and putting together their case to bring charges.

Image above: Property recovered from the address

Warrant was based on information from local community

The police activity was noticed by the public because of the large number of officers involved. A shop owner having a coffee on Devonshire Rd saw the running down the road “with helmets on and stuff to break open doors” and six police vans blocking the road.

Police say they acted on a tip-off:

“This warrant was based on intelligence received from the local community and allowed us to focus on the individuals using this address and will hopefully have an impact on reducing the number of theft, shoplifting and theft from motor vehicles offences across all the Chiswick wards.”

Theft from motor vehicles is on the rise in Chiswick. I witnessed this personally on Chiswick High Road.

READ ALSO: Smash and grab thefts on the rise in Chiswick

Does Chiswick need a ‘banking hub’?

Image above: Rupa Huq opening London’s first ‘banking hub’ earlier this year’

As Chiswick faces a dearth of banking services, is a ‘banking hub’ like the one in Acton the answer?

Two big banks have announced over the past couple of weeks that they are closing their branches in Chiswick High Road. Brentford and Isleworth MP Ruth Cadbury says she fears Chiswick could become a “bank-free town”.

“Physical banking services are vital,” said the MP, “and these closures also continue to add to the strain on high streets. I have raised this wider issue with the Government and will make sure that the concerns of local residents are heard.”

First Lloyds and then NatWest announced the closure of their branches within days of each other, adding to the vanishing presence of major banks locally. Barclays, Santander, and Halifax have all shuttered their doors in recent years.

Metro Bank, which has a branch at 137 Chiswick High Road, announced on Friday it would be reviewing whether to stay open seven days a week, as they revealed plans to cut 20% of their  workforce.

Metro Bank’s business model was based on bucking the trend, making a point of opening high street branches when others were moving away from it. They have made much of their opening hours being longer than other banks, but it appears they too are struggling. The measures, they said, are part of a strategy to save around £50m per year.

Nationwide is one of the few chains that offer banking services who have committed to keeping all of their branches open, including in Chiswick, until at least 2026 – unless ‘circumstances out of [the bank’s] control’ force them to do otherwise.

In each case the banks have cited falling numbers of people banking in person, favouring online and telephone banking instead. The solution in Acton has been to create a ‘banking hub’, which was opened earlier this year.

Maybe it’s time we asked for one in Chiswick.

 Above: Post on X by Rupa Huq at the opening of the first banking hub in London

What is a ‘banking hub’? And how do we get one?

The first banking hub in London opened in Acton this year on 15 June to much fanfare. Rupa Huq, the MP for Ealing Central and Acton was present for the opening and has praised the initiative as something that “combats loneliness and mechanisation… exemplifies cooperation not competition [and] is rejuvenating the high street”.

Banking Hubs are dedicated places where communities can access everyday personal and business banking services, such as withdrawing and depositing cash easily, or paying in cheques, over the counter. They are also somewhere to speak in person with a local community representative from your own bank, with several banks present in the same building.

Representatives are on site for a specific day each week to help with more complicated transactions, such as mortgages, loans and pensions. Your local ‘community banker’ can offer debt advice and help with fraud prevention on their dedicated day of the week.

Owned by Cash Access UK, funded by the banks, and run by the Post Office, they’re billed as a way of ‘bringing back banking to the people and areas that need it’.

Above: Post on X by Rupa Huq MP praising Labour’s pledge to expand banking hubs

Labour ‘would accelerate rollout of banking hubs’ if it wins next election 

Labour’s Rachel Reeves, the Shadow Chancellor, has pledged to bring banks back to British high streets if Labour win the next general election. Her plan is to roll out of banking hubs like the one in Acton.

Labour has said extra controls could allow the Financial Conduct Authority to step in and stop people being left without access to face-to-face services. At present a hub cannot open until all bank branches in a town have closed.

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said:

“Labour’s plan will bring banking services back to communities who have seen them disappear over recent years, meaning more people across the country will be able to access the services they need closer to home.

“Labour will tackle ghost high streets and ensure that every community has access to high street banking services.”

Labour blueprint to restore banking to local high streets could see at least 350 banking hubs established across the UK. The policy proposal follows the publication by the party last week of its Plan For Small Business.

Image above: Leader of the Hounslow Conservative Group on Hounslow Council –  Peter Thompson

Local Conservatives are in support, but Government say Labour can’t afford it

Both the Conservative Government and local Tories support expanding banking hubs, though the Government claim Labour’s pledge to build hundreds more isn’t affordable.

Peter Thompson, Leader of the Conservative Group on Hounslow Council told the The Chiswick Calendar:

“A Banking Hub is a fantastic service that ensures our local community maintains access to essential in-person banking services, and we absolutely support the creation of a local hub here in Chiswick.

“As more and more High Street bank branches close down in Chiswick, the lack of day-to-day banking services is clearly becoming an issue that needs to be urgently addressed. We’re pleased to see hubs being supported by MPs and councillors of all parties across the country, and back Conservative MP Duncan Baker’s campaign to make it easier to establish banking hubs in communities like Chiswick.”

Bim Afolame, Economic Secretary to the Treasury said last week:

“Another day, another example of Labour taking the easy way out and just saying what they think people want to hear — without saying how they would pay for it.

“Their sums don’t add up: Keir Starmer is claiming Labour can afford to launch new banking hubs, scrap business rates which would cost tens of billions of pounds, borrow £28 billion more every year, cut people’s taxes and somehow keep debt falling.

“This is simply not possible – they are not being straight with the public.

“The Conservatives are taking the long-term decisions to strengthen the economy, including ensuring that people, wherever they live, can access banking and cash services.

“This includes working with banks to roll out banking hubs across the country whilst ensuring access to banking services is available in almost 12,000 Post Office branches.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Strand on the Green photography competition winners

Image above: Strand on the Green photography competition winning photograph by Rosie Hayward

Beautiful pictures of the picturesque riverside

The winners of the Strand on the Green photography competition were announced on Wednesday (29 November) at the Steam Packet pub. The local residents association, Strand on the Green Association (SoGA), organised the competition to celebrate the beauty of the picturesque riverside beside Kew Bridge, and were delighted to have over 175 entries.

The theme was ‘Autumn on the Strand’. The organisers shortlisted ten photographs and chose a winner for the under-18 category and a winner for the adult entries.

Rosie Hayward won the adult award, with her picture of Strand on the Green on a blustery autumn day, above, and nine year-old Ben Rhoda won the under-18 category, with this photograph of a rainbow over the river, below.

Ben, pictured below, went to the award ceremony with his mother Emma, and received his certificate from Lucy Cufflin, one of the organisers on the SoGA committee, and Ann Collins, Chair of SoGA. We don’t have a picture of Rosie receiving her certificate, as she is happier being behind a camera lens rather than in front of it.

Ben told The Chiswick Calendar:

“I saw the poster for the competition and kept looking for ideas. Then, as I was walking to my school, Kew Green Prep, I looked up in the sky and saw the rainbow over Strand. It also had a lovely yellow autumnal tree. I thought it was perfect for the theme.

“I’m so glad I won. I didn’t think would! I really enjoy photography, particularly pictures that include trees and nature. I have taken photos of palm trees and cactuses in Spain which are framed at home. I’m really so happy I entered this competition and my photo will be seen by other people.”

SoGA is planning to have the pictures put on display in the Jubilee Arch walkway underneath Kew Bridge.

Here are some of the other photographs shortlisted. Anya Javanshir’s photograph won second prize; Ljubima Woods’ photograph won third prize.

Images above: Photograph (L) by Mehdi Karimi; Photograph (R) by Anya Javanshir

Image above: Photograph by Ljubima Woods

Image above: Photograph by Efrosini Haughton

Image above: Photograph by Derek Barker

Image above: Photograph by Barry Proner

Image above: Photograph by Jonny Hines

Image above: Photograph by Huw Harries

The judges were SoGA committee members Alan McBride and John Davidson, both keen amateur photographers, and Lucy Cufflin.

Strand on the Green Association was formed in 1959.  The association seeks to protect the unique character of Strand on the Green, working to improve the environment and preserve the character of this historic area for the benefit and enjoyment of all.

The Association preserves records of local interest, arranges social functions and keeps members informed through a bi-annual newsletter (Signals) and an Annual General Meeting.  Membership is open to anyone who loves Strand on the Green.

See also the ‘Big Lunch’ organised by SoGA to celebrate the King’s coronation:

READ ALSO: Chiswick celebrates King Charles III coronation

strandonthegreen.org.uk

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Episode 38: Holding the line for a free press

The Culture and Media Secretary Lucy Frazer has intervened to scrutinise the sale of the Daily Telegraph to a company backed by the Abu Dhabi ruling family, over concerns around public interest.

Would they interfere with the editorial in pursuance of their interests? It wouldn’t be the first time a newspaper owner had tried it, with more or less success. The Three Old Hacks, aka Sunday Times Economics editor David Smith, political analyst Nigel Dudley and former BBC Sports News editor Mihir Bose,  compare notes on interfering owners with whom they have worked over their long careers.

Listen to the podcast on all the usual podcast platforms or on The Chiswick Calendar website.


More Platforms

Listen to more episodes here.

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

Rude cufflinks anyone?

Christmas present ideas from the Chiswick Antiques & Vintage Christmas Market this Sunday

The Chiswick Antiques & Vintage Market comes into its own this Sunday (10 December). Three weeks before Christmas is absolutely the time to buy stuff you don’t actually need but just want, or you think someone else might, just because it’s pretty, or perhaps it has a history.

“There’s nothing at that market that anybody necessarily needs, it’s all about what we love and what we want,” says Catty Patel, who has been a trader at the Chiswick Antiques & Vintage Market since it opened here three years ago.

“Whether that’s as a stallholder or someone who’s buying stuff,” she told The Chiswick Calendar, “it is just pure pleasure.”

The market, run by Jennifer Titmus, takes place on the second Sunday of the month in Old Market Place, aka the car park outside George IV pub. Unlike the other Sunday markets it continues eastwards along the south side of the High Rd almost as far as Metrobank and it is, says Jennifer:

“the perfect place for people to come and do their Christmas shopping.”

Images above: Catty Patel’s stall at the Chiswick Antiques and Vintage Market; photographs Catty Patel and Jennifer Titmus

Meet the traders

Catty Patel

Traders with a keen eye for spotting treasure amongst junk sell everything from clothes to kitchenware.

Catty, whose stall is outside the Old Fire Station, sells an eclectic mix of items including vintage paintings and 1960’s and 70’s ceramics. She has had a passion for antiques since she was a child, inspired by her parents.

She says the real winners at her stall this Christmas won’t necessarily be gifts, but pretty decorations or Christmas china to wow visiting relatives, such as “a nice sauceboat that they can use for gravy or bread sauces.”

If you do see Mrs Patel this Sunday, she encourages potential buyers to have a playful haggle (so long as the price is not insulting) but, she says, don’t buy items for the sake of it.

“People should only buy if they know in their souls that they would love to look at this thing every single day, or if it brings back a lot of happy memories”.

Images above: Malcolm Myers’ stall; Malcolm Myers; photographs Malcolm Myers

Malcolm Myers

Now 75 years old, Malcolm Myers has been interested in antiques his whole life. When her retired from his job as a senior manager at Heathrow airport, he decided it was time to follow his passion and start trading.

He has had a place at the Chiswick Antiques and Vintage Market for just over two years, selling mainly Georgian and Victorian items, mainly 18th and 19th century furniture and paintings.

“Recycling at its best,” he quips.

Over the years he has noticed that at the Christmas markets it is smaller items that usually sell best as presents.

“Candlesticks are extremely popular at this time of year … also small furniture pieces,” he says, but he also buys in pretty little stocking fillers:

“beautiful handmade scrunchies and lavender bags exquisitely made using vintage silk and cotton liberty fabrics.”

Much like Catty, Mr Myres encourages potential buyers to trust their own instincts.

“Buy what you like, do not be put off by fashion trends. If you like it, so will someone else,” he tells me.

His stall sits on the corner of Devonshire Road and features a 6ft tall ‘Antiques’ sign.

Images above: Wanda Tumilowicz’s stall; Wanda top right; display of cufflinks below; photographs Wanda Tumilowicz

Wanda Tumilowicz

Wanda Tumilowicz trades in jewellery. She has her Sunday market stall and she also works at Marmalade Fine Jewellery on Turnham Green Terrace. She fell into trading in jewellery by accident:

“I was selling junk from home, and that’s when I got the bug.”

Friends and family started to use Wanda to flog their wares, before she eventually looked to other businesses to increase her stock. She’s had a stall at the market since the first day, gaining some notable fans along the way. Visitors to her stall include television presenter Stephen Mulhern and Strictly Come Dancing’s Johannes Radebe.

“[Johannes] just leaps out of bed when he knows it’s the ‘Vintage’,” Mrs Tumilowicz says. She has seen him at the market regularly: “We’ve just become friends and he’s so nice.”

For those looking to buy Christmas presents this Sunday, she suggests vintage cufflinks.

“The cufflinks are a perfect present for everyone. Because they’re themed, there’s one for every age and every gender,” she says.

“The themes are [anything from] the rude ones to the more sort of gentlemanly ones.”

Mrs Tumilowicz’s stall is opposite Planet Organic, near the pitch where local musicians play. If you can’t find her stall, just “follow the music” she says.

Hounslow Council rejects calls for a dedicated team to tackle crime in Chiswick

Image above: Officers working for Hammersmith & Fulham’s Law Enforcement Team

Chiswick Conservatives attack “limited scope” of Labour’s motion to tackle shoplifting and anti-social behaviour

LB Hounslow have voted down an amendment by Chiswick’s Conservative councillors designed to create a dedicated team to tackle crime, specifically shoplifting and anti-social behaviour across the borough.

At a meeting of the Borough Council last Tuesday (28 November), Chiswick councillors Jack Emsley and Gabriella Giles put forward the amendment to Labour’s motion on crime in the borough, calling for the creation of a Law Enforcement Team similar to the one that operates in Hammersmith & Fulham.

While welcoming Labour’s motion on tackling crime in the borough, which was put forward by Riverside ward councillor (and Chiswick’s only Labour councillor) Amy Croft, Cllr Emsley criticised the scope of the motion and argued it should go further. During the meeting Cllr Emsley said:

“This motion is only really proposing improving communications, sending a few more Tweets, writing a few more letters and Cllr Shaheen isn’t here but I’m sure if he was, as a fellow PR professional he would join me in welcoming this motion’s increase in focus on comms. But I believe more can and should be done.

“And that’s what this amendment is all about, taking this motion that step further and creating real, local action on tackling crime.”

Citing The Chiswick Calendar’s special report on shoplifting in August, and our later follow-up piece speaking with members of Hammersmith & Fulham’s Law Enforcement Team, Cllr Emsley told councillors that Chiswick had experienced a “particularly acute” rise in shoplifting and anti-social behaviour.

“It’s clear this scheme is working in Hammersmith and it could for our borough too. We know that Hammersmith created their team by pooling resources from existing enforcement teams in different council departments and we hope this council can look at a similar amalgamation into a borough-wide team.”

Image above: Cllr Jack Emsley speaking at the meeting of the Borough Council on Tuesday 28 November

Councillors reject amendment, passing “watered-down” motion

All but one Chiswick Councillor backed the amendment, with Labour’s Cllr Amy Croft rejecting the creation of a Law Enforcement Team. Cllr Croft told The Chiswick Calendar in August that she backed the idea “in principle”.

Speaking after the vote, Cllr Emsley said:

“The Chiswick Calendar revealed earlier this year the extent to which local shops in my ward have been suffering from shoplifting and antisocial behaviour, and I wanted to address that issue with this amendment. Whilst it’s a shame that Labour councillors voted against the proposal, despite previously suggesting they would back it, we’ll continue to push for action to tackle local crime.

“Chiswick Homefields Councillors were recently successful in our campaign to install CCTV in the Barnes passage to help improve local safety, and I know all of Chiswick’s Conservative Councillors will continue advocating for action on crime rather than party political grandstanding.”

READ ALSO: Hounslow Council agrees to put cameras in Barnes Passage

Labour councillors eventually passed their own, “watered-down” motion on crime, which removed references to a new Law Enforcement Team and instead committed to “provide more information on initiatives already running within the Council to tackle anti-social behaviour.”

In the final motion which was passed, Hounslow Council said they would:

“[Resolve] to ensure that our work to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour is better communicated to residents, as are the ways that we can assist residents to feel safe.

“We will work with Councillors and residents to ensure they are aware of clear channels to report these issues in the most appropriate way. We further commit to provide more information on initiatives already running within the Council to tackle anti-social behaviour, this will allow us to better enhance the work of the Police, and make our residents feel safe.”

Busted and Jools Holland headline at Pub in the Park in June

Image above: Busted

Tickets on sale

Tickets go on sale today (Tuesday 5 December) for Pub in the Park at Chiswick House, which next year will be taking place in June.

Busted are headlining on Saturday night (29 June). They have been touring this autumn, celebrating 20 years (though they have spilt up and come back together and spent time working as solo artists in between) to promote their Greatest Hits album.

Busted bounced into the charts with the irrepressible pop-punk energy of their debut single What I Go To School For. It kickstarted a succession of hits for the trio, including the #1 smashes Crashed The Wedding, Who’s David, Thunderbirds Are Go, You Said No and the Top 3 singles Year 3000, Air Hostess and Sleeping With The Light On. James Bourne, Charlie Simpson and Matt Willis will be playing their hits and fan-favourites next summer in the gardens of Chiswick House.

Image above: Scouting for Girls

Just a short walk from your house to see bands who regularly sell out London’s top music venues

On Saturday afternoon Scouting for Girls are playing. They have  sold over two million albums, had four Brit Award nominations, an Ivor Novello nomination, four top ten singles and they have performed sold-out concerts at the Wembley Arena, the Royal Albert Hall and most recently at the London Palladium.

Image above: Jools Holland hosting the BBC 2 New Years Eve Jools’ Annual Hootenanny

On Sunday afternoon (1-7pm) Jools Holland is the main attraction, playing with his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra featuring Gilson Lavis and guest vocalists Ruby Turner, Louise Marshall and Sumudu Jayatilaka.

Jools is constantly touring. He was awarded an OBE in 2003 for his services to the British music industry. From playing pubs in the East End docks as a teenage greaser, to leading his rhythm and blues orchestra and selling millions of records this century, it is his passion for music that has made him such a master and so much liked an revered within the British music industry.

The ‘About Jools’ section of his website says: ‘He is married with four children and lives in a world of his own’ ! It’s a lovely world that many of us have entered on New Years Eves past for his Jools’ Annual Hootenanny on BBC2 and I look forward to entering at Chiswick House next summer.

Chiswick marked as a particularly foodie venue

Pub in the Park has from the outset been successful because it mixes good food and good music. Conceived by celebrity chef Tom Kerridge, famous for the Hand and Flowers pub, as well as the Coach and the Butcher’s Tap and Grill in Marlow and Kerridge’s Bar & Grill in London, Pub in the Park offers interesting menus, not just the usual burger and chips fare.

This year the festival weekend will be run by a new company, Pub in the Park Festivals Ltd, formed by Tom Kerridge to salvage his project after the company which had been running it, Brand Events, went into administration due to significant losses during the pandemic.

READ ALSO: ‘Pub In the Park’ will go ahead in 2024 run by a new company

The festival is going ahead at a reduced number of locations: Tom Kerridge’s home town of Marlow, Reigate, St. Albans, and Chiswick.

It has been noted that we in Chiswick like our food. More emphasis is being given to the food in Chiswick because they have us down as foodies. Hence two new tickets available for 2024: a ‘Tasting Menu’ ticket available for up to six guests, where your group will be offered a covered private dining area with seating and a set menu of four dishes delivered to you, doing away with all the queuing and the mad dash free-for-all between sets.

There will also be an ‘Enter & Eat’ ticket, which offers entry to your chosen session and two dishes from any of the food stalls, as well as the usual standard entry / VIP and Family tickets.

Tickets go on sale on Tuesday 5 December to those who sign up to the pre-sale list, and the day after to those who don’t.

Book tickets here: Pub in the Park Chiswick 2024