Brentford 2, Sheffield United 0

Image above: Ever-involved Maupay takes a tumble

Third Season: Win at last

At last! Having put together a small but respectable list of drawn games, Brentford managed to collect three points from a desperate Sheffield United, who finished the afternoon at the GTECH Stadium even more firmly cemented to the foot of the Premier League.

Bad luck, United. But the Bees’ success catapulted them into fourteenth in the table. Okay, they had slipped to fifteenth by the end of the weekend, but this was a cataclysmic event for an injury-shredded squad whose recent poor form had begun to convince all but the most diehard fans that relegation was either just around the corner or, maybe the corner after that.

It is by no means a given that Brentford can avoid the drop, but one could almost see the tension evaporate as two second-half goals put them five and six points clear of Everton and Nottingham Forest, two strugglers handicapped by FA fines for misdemeanours.

Against United, despite the home ground choir in fine voice, Brentford failed to dominate play in the first period. Yoane Wissa, running like a racehorse, was a danger to United’s disciplined defence, Bryan Mbeumo caused occasional havoc on the right, and Neal Maupay was… well, Neal Maupay, missing chances, including one when clear with only the keeper to beat he clipped the ball wide.

With time not exactly standing still, one fully expected Ivan Toney to be propelled from the substitutes’ bench to the pitch after the break, which proves that fully expectations are not what they were. Toney remained on the bench, probably still troubled with a rogue muscle. Then things looked up when Zanka had the ball into the net; then things looked down again, correctly, when his effort was nullified for offside.

Images above: Zanka steadies the ball for his 101st Premier League appearance, The Blades’ defence effectively pinned down Mbeumo

The rotten luck continued when a Mbeumo free kick was converted by Damsgaard but, after a longish delay, ruled out because Nathan Collins was judged to have committed a foul.

But, hey, things looked up again itself just after the hour when Damsgaard, gaining in authority every minute, let loose a shot that goalkeeper Ivo Grbić seemed to have covered, but was sharply diverted by Oliver Arblaster to rack up an own goal.

Now the Bees were so near to those illusive three points that the fans as well as the eleven men on the field were tense. The opposition players probably weren’t at their calmest, either.

Keane Lewis-Potter arrived from the bench and promptly turned the United defence inside-out to send a shot towards a tantalising gap patently beyond Grbić’s reach. No, it wasn’t – Grbić’s save palmed it away for a corner.

Referee Sam Barrott allocated seven minutes extra for sundry stoppages. What a quandary for the players: could they score again or concede in trying? Mark Flekken galloped into the Sheffield half and thumped a long ball that wasn’t going anywhere with Bees written on it.

Images above: Defender Collins’ in position for an attempt on goal, Three vital points! It’s been a long time coming…

And then with four minutes, give or take a heartbeat, back-from-injury Kevin Schade – remember him? – bustled into the penalty area to send a pin-point cross to the feet of Frank Onyeka. Having been off the bench for all of a minute, Onyeka shot low and accurately. Such drama is what football dreams are made of.

It is a Brentford tradition that good fortune is greeted with celebration. Thomas Frank and his squad embarked on a triumphal tour of the pitch. The fans in the stand were dancing; so were some of the team. Back at the dugouts, owner Matthew Benham appeared on the touchline to hug Frank. ‘This has definitely been the most challenging season’, he was to tell the BBC.

Five games to go, I reminded my mate Charlie. Not sure I can stand it!

‘Cissie,’ said Charlie.

Brentford: Flekken; Roerslev, Zanka, Collins, Reguilón; Damsgaard (substitute Yarlmoliuk 88), Janelt, Jensen (sub Onyeka 90+1); Mbeumo (sub Schade 90), (Maupay (sub Lewis-Potter 79), Wissa (sub Pinnock 90).

Sheffield United: Grbić; Holgate (sub Ben Slimane 90+1), Ahmedhodzic, Trusty; Bogle (sub Archer 76), Hamer, Arblaster, Osborn, Larouci (sub McAtee 57); Brereton, McBurnie.

Bill Hagerty is a contributing editor to the Bees United website. Photographs by Liz Vercoe.

Bill, who lives in Chiswick and is a former Fleet Street editor, was named Journalist Laureate 2023 the London Press Club awards:

Is the river wall at Strand on the Green in danger of collapsing?

Image: The gap between the tow path and the river wall beside the Bull’s Head pub

No action yet from Hounslow Highways or Hounslow Council more than a year after detailed inspection concluded repairs were ‘urgent’

A gap has appeared between the river wall and the tow path at Strand on the Green over the past few years. Hounslow Council and Hounslow Highways have acknowledged urgent work is needed to repair the river wall, and have promised to do something about it, but more than a year on from a report which concluded there was damage of ‘high severity’ where ‘urgent’ work was needed, they have yet to carry out the work.

The gap, which measures about 5cms, is underneath Kew Railway Bridge, and runs along the edge of the path outside the Bull’s Head pub. It looks as if the wall has moved away from the path.

The river wall supports not only the tow path but the ground behind it, on which stand the pub, the railway bridge and houses. If the retaining wall collapsed, the consequences could be catastrophic.

Images: The gap between the tow path and the rivver wall beside the Bull’s Head pub; foot for scale

Gap first reported by Chiswick Calendar three years ago

The gap was first reported by The Chiswick Calendar in July 2021, and an inspection of the wall was carried out as a result.

READ MORE: Gap opens up along the tow path at Strand on the Green

The Network Manager at Hounslow Highways, Satbir Gill, told us then it did not look as if the wall was in imminent danger of collapse, but they would continue to monitor it while they considered their options, and they were looking at the best long-term solution. He explained one option would be to anchor the wall, to stop it moving, but there were other techniques to be considered.

Cllr Guy Lambert, the Cabinet Member on Hounslow Council with responsibility for highways, said it was quite clear it was the Council’s responsibility and is something which “clearly should be addressed before it develops into something much worse.”

Images: River wall by the railway bridge at Strand on the Green from the foreshore (L) looking east; (R) looking west

February 2023 Strand on the Green Residents Association takes it up with LB Hounslow and Hounslow Highways

In February last year concerned local residents met LB Hounslow officials and councillors and Hounslow Highways engineers to discuss the problem and it was decided that a planned inspection of the wall due in 2025 should be brought forward.

There is a regular programme of inspection – some are cursory, visual assessments, while others, ‘Principle’ inspections, which are detailed inspections, are carried out every six years.

The next Principle inspection, due in 2025, was brought forward to March 2023, resulting in the report identifying areas of ‘high severity’ that needed ‘urgent’ work.

Chair of the Strand on the Green residents association (SoGA) Ann Collins has been in touch with LB Hounslow and Hounslow Highways through a series of emails, conversations and meetings since she took over the Chair in January 2023. Though she has not seen the full, detailed report, she has seen a summary and been told it indicated ten “high priority core defects” and that areas of the wall were classified as “close to collapse”.

Image above: Further along the tow path, looking west

Second meeting in April

Ann was at the February meeting and at a subsequent meeting in April with Hounslow Highways, LB Hounslow and Cllr Guy Lambert, at which the draft report was discussed. At first she was optimistic the Council was taking the problem seriously and would act.

“I left that meeting under the impression they were going to do the work”, she told The Chiswick Calendar.

Maintenance of the wall and the tow path is the responsibility of Hounslow Council. Although Hounslow Highways looks after highways in the borough, and the tow path is recognised as a designated highway, repairs to the river wall are not part of the package of work for which they are regularly responsible.

Instead, when work needs doing to the tow path or the river wall, the Council allocates a budget and commissions Hounslow Highways to do that specific piece of work.

Images above: Steps up from the Strand; Close up of the wall

Work scheduled for ‘early spring’

In November Ann was told works would be scheduled for early spring. Realising that the Council were setting their budget for the year in February and they would have to allocate budget to it, she got in touch with the Council again in February, a year on from their first meeting, this time contacting Council Leader Shantanu Rajawat directly, as well as officials in the Highways, Environment and Climate department.

“Shantanu said he would pass it on to the relevant people” Ann told us, “and Sabeel [the officer responsible for organising the work to be done], said they had commissioned, and had budget for further detailed analysis and a plan, which was surprising because this is what they were supposed to be doing last year.”

But still there has been no sign of workmen on the foreshore and no indication of when the work is scheduled to be done.

Images: Stretch of the path looking west, beheath the railway bridge; Stretch of the path looking east from the slipway

“Nothing that has happened in the past 12 months gives me any confidence that this is going to happen soon.”

Ann has asked again this week when it will be carried out. She has been in touch with the Council and Hounslow Highways regularly since that first meeting over a year ago.

“Nothing that has happened in the past 12 months gives me any confidence that this is going to happen soon.”

Meanwhile, in the period since the report was carried out the towpath has been soaked repeatedly by high autumn and spring tides, and there has also been heavy rainfall draining down the widening gap between the path and the wall and potentially washing away the foundations.

England saw a record amount of rainfall in the year and a half leading up to last month, according to figures from the Met Office. They have recorded the highest amount of rain for any 18-month period in England since the organisation began collecting comparable data back in 1836 – 1,695.9mm of rain between October 2022 to March 2024.

To the untrained eye, it looks as it the wall is tilting.

“If you stand on the slipway underneath the railway bridge you can see quite clearly that the wall is not at a 90 degree angle,” said Ann.

This is not just a concern for local residents, she says. Strand on the Green is an outstandingly beautiful area, used by many hundreds of local people routinely and by many visitors to London, and the river wall is part of the flood defences for London.

Image above: A popular spot for visitors; photograph Anna Kunst

Response from LB Hounslow and Hounslow Highways

After talking to Ann, The Chiswick Calendar put the following questions to the Council and Hounslow Highways:

Can you tell me what is happening?

I understand the Principal inspection last March found damage of ‘high severity’ and that areas of the wall have been classified as ‘close to collapse’ – can you explain what is happening to the wall?

  • Is there a programme of work scheduled for repairing the river wall?
  • What is planned?
  • When will it be carried out?
  • Has the budget for it been allocated?
  • What is the process? Will it be carried out by Hounslow Highways engineers or a specialist firm brought in?
  • If so, have you chosen one? Signed a contract? Agreed a start date?

Here is what they said:

‘Hounslow Highways, on behalf of Hounslow Council and working with the PFI Client Team, have been actively engaged in conducting Annual Structural inspections of the Strand on the Green retaining wall since before concerns were raised in 2021.

‘These inspections, which assess the condition of the wall, initially yielded satisfactory scores.  However, in 2022, some signs of deterioration began to emerge, and by 2023, more serious issues were identified and raised for further investigation and attention.

‘In light of these pending findings, it has been recommended that a thorough, close-up inspection of the retaining wall be undertaken by external specialist surveyors to facilitate a comprehensive analysis. This in-depth examination will enable the identification of specific areas requiring different  types of repairs. This inspection will occur within the next four weeks and a final report produced soon after.

‘These findings will form the basis of a Capital Project proposal for the Council to consider, review and confirm a programme of works with a specialist service provider, incorporating recommendations provided by the Strand on the Green Residents Association (SOGA).

‘Throughout this process, there has been ongoing communication between the involved teams and relevant stakeholders, including Ward Councillors and SOGA.  This communication  will continue as project findings unfold, ensuring transparency and keeping stakeholders informed of progress.’

Image: Enjoying the sunshine at Strand on the Green; photograph Jennifer Griffiths

Another detailed report needed before the budget can be put to Cabinet

When I asked for further clarification they said as the ‘Principle Inspection’ last March identified serious defects, there now needed to be a ‘Design Inspection’ to provide a detailed solution as to how to make the repairs.

The Design inspection (and report) is being done by a different supplier to the Principle inspection, whose expertise is structural maintenance, as opposed to structural inspections. Only once they have the detail of how to solve the problem will they be ready to put the budget to Cabinet.

They did not elaborate on why the process, given that this is ‘urgent’, is taking so long.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Chiswick RNLI Lifeboat station planning to relocate

Image above: A Chiswick Lifeboat crew out on duty

Chiswick RNLI station investigating a move to Wandsworth 

Chiswick’s RNLI Lifeboat crew is planning to relocate to Wandsworth, The Chiswick Calendar has learned.

A feasibility study is currently underway into what role the charity could play if it were based in Wandsworth rather than Chiswick.

The RNLI has a building in Wandsworth, and we understand some members of the crew based in Chiswick have long wanted to be based right on the river, to improve their response time. At the moment they have to run the length of Chiswick Pier to get from their office to their rescue boat.

Image: The Chiswick lifeboat at Chiswick Pier

Chiswick is one of the RNLI’s newest lifeboat stations and one of four operating on the River Thames, the others being at Teddington, Tower Bridge and Gravesend. The stations were the first in the UK to specifically cover a river rather than estuarial waters or the sea. Chiswick’s station opened in 2002, and operated with an e-class Tiger Marine fast response boat.

A spokesperson for Chiswick Lifeboat said there were still “many hurdles to go through” and that the move was by no means imminent.

The feasibility study being carried out includes figuring out how the building in Wandsworth could be used, as a location for the lifeboats has not yet been identified. Other considerations include what roles might be needed at the new site.

Until all the necessary permissions are granted, the spokesperson added “nothing was certain” but the move is definitely an option under strong consideration.

Asked whether the move is being considered to make rescues along the river more efficient and whether more people will be able to be helped, Chiswick Lifeboat said it was too early to comment.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

New owners set to take over The Crown

Image above: The Crown in 2021

New high-end restaurant chain set to take over

New owners are set to take over the site of The Crown pub in Chiswick and open a new pub.

According to a report in Propel, a hospitality industry newsletter, an upmarket pub venture backed by JKS Restaurants is planning to take on the lease. This would be the group’s third pub after The George in Fitzrovia and The Cadogan Arms in Chelsea.

The opening of The Cadogan Arms in July 2021 was funded by the group, in partnership with Dominic Jacobs and James Knappett. The George followed later the same year. James Knappett is  the culinary director. He is the chef at the two Michelin starred Kitchen Table on Charlotte Street which is owned by JKS.

JKS has a number of high-end restaurants in its portfolio, including those with Michelin stars such as the Spanish restaurant Sabor. It also owns the Chinese dumpling chain Bao and Bubbledogs, the hot dogs and champagne restaurant.

The business was set up by three siblings from North London, Jyotin, Karam and Sunaina Sethi whose initials form the name of the company.

The group’s first Michelin star was gained by Gymkhana in Mayfair and it gained a second one in this year’s guide.

The Crown stopped trading recently after an earlier unsuccessful attempt to sell it by the owners Harcourt Inns. No timeframe has been given for the redevelopment of the site.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Chiswick Cheese Market April 2024

Guest blog by Lucy Cufflin

It feels like Spring is here, finally, which is good timing for our market on 21 April because we are showcasing three spring milk cheeses – Soft Joyce, Golden Cross and Rachel – on Cheesewick HQ this month – with thanks to Faye from Big Wheel Cheese (read on to find out a bit more about Faye below).

Soft Joyce is made by Harriet Cooke in Wales from a small flock of sheep. The bloomy rind is washed in a local cider half way through the ageing process and the cheese has a sweet, earthy and honest flavour usually with a gooey velveteen texture from the extra ageing they get from maturing at Big Wheel Cheese.

Golden Cross is a raw goat’s milk cheese made by the Blunt family in East Sussex from their own herd. It’s a lovely bright white cheese with a thin layer of charcoal underneath the white bloom rind. It is smooth, creamy and delicious!

Rachel is a hard goat’s cheese made by White Lake and is not your typical goat’s cheese. It’s a semi hard, washed rind cheese with a delicate yet more-ish sweet/medium flavour.

Images: (L) Soft Joyce; (Centre) Golden Cross; (R) Rachel

Come and see us on Cheesewick HQ and get a spring in your step with these gorgeous cheeses!

Images: Faye; Big Wheel cheese stall

Trader of the Month

Faye runs Big Wheel Cheese and she started her appreciation for cheese when working in a deli after Uni. She subsequently fell in love with the market scene, the bustle, hustle, quirky customers and other traders. Markets are full of characters! Even the obscenely early mornings seeing London before it wakes are a pleasure for her. Most of the time…

When choosing new cheeses, other than it needs to taste great, what’s important to Fay is that the animals are well looked after and the farm is trying to be as environmentally friendly as possible. She listens to customers feedback too and takes requests – so if there is something you’re looking for, then talk to her.

Big Wheel also have a cold room and storage area on a farm in Surrey. They have a few different fridges at different temperatures to mature cheeses which is why they are able to sell cheese like Soft Joyce at a different maturity to other retailers.

Cheese Hero Award 2024

The Virtual Cheese Awards are asking for votes for their Cheese Hero Award 2024. Know any cheese heroes locally? Could it be the volunteer team behind The Chiswick Cheese Market that’s raised over £20,000 for good causes since its inception 3 years ago and brought over 200 cheeses to Chiswick AND got a mention by Alan Sugar on The Apprentice last month… If you think they deserve the award then follow the link below and fill in your details.

virtualcheeseawards.com/cheese-hero

Image: Ricotta, pumpkin and sage muffins; Jo Pratt

Recipe of the Month

Ricotta, pumpkin and sage muffins

By Jo Pratt, from her book The Flexible Baker

These incredibly light muffins are super easy to make and are fantastic addition to a packed lunch or picnic due to the fact that they transport well. They also freeze well, simply defrost and eat warm or cold. I like to make these in mini loaf cases, but if you don’t have any then you can just use a muffin tin lined muffin cases.

Time taken: 50 minutes

Makes: 8 mini loaves

·       300g pumpkin or butternut squash, grated

·       250g/9oz ricotta or sheep/goats curd cheese

·       6 eggs, beaten

·       175g/6oz self-raising flour

·       2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

·       1 tbsp chopped sage leaves

·       30g grated parmesan cheese

·       20g pumpkin seeds

·       1 tsp flaked sea salt

·       Freshly ground black pepper

·       Olive oil for drizzling

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Place 8 mini loaf cases on a baking tray.

Put the grated pumpkin or butternut squash, ricotta or curd, eggs, flour, parsley, sage, two thirds of the Parmesan, pumpkin seeds, salt and a good twist of black pepper in a large mixing bowl. Mix until combined then divide between the loaf cases.

Scatter over the top with the remaining parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake for 25 minutes until the tops are lightly golden.

Serve warm or cold.

See you Sunday 21 April 9.30am-3pm!

Find a full list of all traders chiswickcheesemarket.uk

Lucy Cufflin is one of the directors of the Chiswick Cheese Market

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Who are the 2024 candidates for the South-West London seat on the London Assembly?

See also: Armed police seen in Acton Green after man (46) dies

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Sara Ward on Living the Good Life April 2024

Image: Bee products from Hen Corner

Come on you Bees!

Guest blog by Sara Ward

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s with great pleasure that I officially announce that this year’s Bee Keeping Season is officially open!

With it always being a little warmer in London, Spring seems to start a little earlier (if you follow us on Instagram, you may have seen that our first spears of asparagus peeped through almost a month early in mid March) and the bees have been out foraging for a plethora of local nectar for many weeks already.

As we dare to open each hive for the first time after their winter clustering, when they hunker down to nurture their queen whilst feasting on the stored honey from last summer, we ‘read the hive’ looking for signs of good health and new life.

As well as checking that they have enough food, we are looking for eggs, larvae and cocoons of new bees, and if we are lucky, we may also see the queen. In most cases, it will be last year’s queen marked with the colour that indicates her first year laying eggs, but sometimes we are surprised and discover that the worker bees have gently reared a new queen to replace their mum and the old queen and new princess live side by side until the younger proves her fertility and mum is quietly ‘retired’.

Images: Glass hive; Sara inspecting her bees

To help us recognise our queen bees, and display their age, we mark all new queens with a colour that reflects the year allowing us to easily know how old she is, how many years she has been laying eggs for and whether she may need to be replaced in the coming months.

Queen bees can live up to five years and, as she lays around 2,000 eggs a day in the warmer months, can eventually lose momentum along with her fertility.

The nationally recognised colour coding for marking queens is based on the mnemonic: Will You Raise Good Bees? With years ending in 1 and 6 marked by white, 2022 and 2027 will be yellow, last year was red, this year green and, you guessed it, next year will be blue.

I do own a couple of specialist pens that can administer a small drop of colour onto the back of a young queen, but often find that the small brushes of a nail varnish bottle can deliver the perfect size blob. Last year, whilst not having any red nail varnish to hand (I rarely wear it on my fingers with all that baking), I found a pot of pink that my daughter had claimed from her grandmother who sadly passed away last year, so in memory of my lovely mother in law, Pat, all our queens were marked pink in 2023…

When I opened with the announcement that the bee keeping season was open, I wasn’t completely clear, as there are bee keeping tasks right throughout the year, but what is really happening in the warmer months is a massive increase in productivity.

For the worker bees, that’s collecting nectar and making honey and for the queen bees it’s producing generation after generation of new bees, and if we remember that summer hatched bees live only six weeks, thousands upon thousands are therefore  being reared in each and every hive.

Images: Collecting a swarm; Inspecting her bees

If the colony is particularly prolific in its reproduction, they may decide to create not just individual bees, but to rear a new queen allowing the old queen to leave with half the bees to start a whole new colony elsewhere.

In this process, a swarm of bees might seem quite scary to an onlooker (particularly if they appear to be flying around you), but be assured that whilst swarming, they are so focussed on the task of reconvening outside the hive, in a cluster with their queen, that they are not particularly interested in anything else.

They have no brood or food to defend whilst swarming and are simply waiting for the ‘all clear’ to move into the predetermined home – which may inconveniently be a chimney stack, cavity wall, or unused compost bin.

If you ever see a swarm of bees, once they’ve settled, take a photo and send it to your local swarm collector who should be able to arrange a prompt collection. We particularly like collecting them early in the season as they have a good chance of building up to a strong colony during the summer months.

A swarm in May is worth a bale of hay

A swarm in June is worth a silver spoon

A swarm in July is not worth a fly..

If you’d like to know more about the secret life of honey bees, why not come on a course? You can also come and say hello when I bring some in a glass hive to the Chiswick Flower Market on Sunday 5th May along with copies of my book and honey for sale.

Let’s hope that our bees thrive this season and continue to make their Great Taste Award Winning Premier League honey!

Coming up at Hen Corner:

April:

Tuesday 23  Introduction To Gluten Free Baking

Wednesday 24 Making New Cheeses

Tuesday 30 Full Day Making Sourdough

May:

Thursday 2 Full Day Bee Keeping

Saturday 11 Full Day Bee Keeping

Wednesday 15 Introduction To Scandinavian Baking

Tuesday 28 Bees For Children (Family Course)

Wednesday 29 Introduction to Making Cheese

Thursday 30 Bees For Children (Family Course)

All courses, virtual & face to face, can be found at HenCorner.com

Sara Ward is the owner of Hen Corner and author of Living the Good Life in the City: A journey to self-sufficiency

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Piccadilly Line to close to prepare for new trains

Image above: Piccadilly Line trains being tested in Germany in 2023; TfL

Piccadilly Line to close for unspecified amount of time, says Mayor of London 

The Piccadilly Line is set to be closed for an unspecified amount of time later this year, as preparations are made for the rollout of new, air-conditioned trains.

There is no word yet on when the line will close and exactly how long for, but it is expected to come later on this year, with new trains expected to be in service by 2025.

While there are no set timeframes for the closure, the disruption it will cause is expected to be significant, as Transport for London works to install infrastructure for the £2.9 billion upgrade on the line and passengers have to find alternative travel routes.

Eventually, there are also plans to run more trains on the line, which would be a nice bonus for commuters on the dark blue line.

Speaking at the London Assembly, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said:

“In preparing for the new Piccadilly line trains there will be closures on the line for both infrastructure enhancements and testing the new trains. The dates of these closures are being agreed at the moment. An integrated customer communications plan is also being developed. Customers can sign up for email updates related to closures on the TfL website.”

Last year, TfL released images of the new models which were being tested in Germany. The new trains will soon be tested in London, pencilled in for some time later this year.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Wrong time to sell property? It depends on the property, say Horton & Garton

UK Land Registry figures show stagnant housing market, with Chiswick experiencing some of the lowest periods of activity it has had in decades

The latest house price index has been published by the Land Registry, showing a slight drop in residential property prices of 0.6% across the UK last year and a fall in the number of property transactions of nearly 12%. One of the grimmer statistics for London is that it was one of the areas with the highest number of repossession sales in November 2023.

Throughout the last year, Chiswick’s property sector experienced one of its lowest periods of activity. This year is not looking much more promising as the uncertainty of a General Election always makes people cautious about moving.

But if you do want to move, look beyond the headlines, says John Horton, owner of Chiswick estate agents Horton & Garton.

Chiswick Property Market Update | Spring 2024

Whilst some data outlets may paint a less positive outlook, it’s useful to look at long-term trends and recent activity to make a well-informed decision when moving house.

The Chiswick property market, underpinned by its resilience and strategic location, offers relative stability versus the fluctuating landscape of the wider London property market.

Throughout the last year, Chiswick’s property sector experienced one of its lowest periods of transactional activity, exacerbated by high interest rates which influenced market affordability and borrowing. Despite this, detached homes in the area maintained their value appreciation; over the past five years the average price of a house in Chiswick has grown by 13.3%, according to the Land Registry.

On the contrary, the apartment sector corrected moderately, reflecting market recalibration post-pandemic. For example, comparing the average sold price of a two-bedroom apartment in W4 at the end of 2019, to the latest recorded average sold price from Land Registry, excluding new build properties, there has been a change of -7.62%.

As the year concluded, average property prices in the W4 area declined; the overall average sold property price in Chiswick, as reported by Land registry, is now just under £871,000, down from a year ago, when the average was £890,000.

This contraction may not fully reflect the market’s current trajectory as of Spring 2024 and is in part due to the low transaction volume in the later part of 2023.

It is important to note, however, that throughout these changes to the broader market, high-value property transactions have persisted, particularly in the family home segment, with the average price of a detached house in Chiswick now fetching just shy of £2.05 million.

In alignment with the sales market, Chiswick’s rental sector displayed strength with rising rents, despite a shrinking number of available flats, indicative of a market with reduced supply but consistent demand.

This robustness in the rental market is aligning with early signs of stabilisation within the flat market, where the need for price reductions prior to sale is diminishing, suggesting a market correction nearing its end.

The divergent trends within Chiswick’s property types emphasise the importance of nuanced understanding for potential buyers, sellers, and investors.

“While the local market has seen a modest improvement in housing stock and a noticeable uptick in quality buyers at the turn of the year, the overall market is cautiously optimistic, with signs pointing towards stabilisation.” John Horton, Director

Considering the significant decrease in property transactions across England at the end of 2023 and the cautious recovery in mortgage approvals from the downturn at the end of the year, Chiswick’s property market presents a composite picture of challenges and resilience. It is imperative for those involved in the market to stay abreast of these trends and to leverage the expertise of seasoned agencies like Horton and Garton to navigate the current landscape.

While Chiswick has not been entirely immune to the headwinds facing the UK property market, its fundamentals remain strong, underlining its status as a desirable location in London’s property scene. With thoughtful analysis and strategic engagement, there is a pathway through the market’s complexity for informed decision-making.

Talk to Horton and Garton about your plans to move.

Horton and Garton sponsor The Chiswick Calendar website.

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Tower block proposal at Hogarth roundabout scaled down

Image above: CGI of the proposals at Hogarth Roundabout

New building would be ten storeys rather than 13

Fresh designs have been submitted for the redevelopment of the vacant office block next to Hogarth Roundabout.

Backlash from the original 13-storey proposal, which was submitted last October, prompted the developer to submit new plans. If approved, the current five-storey office building would be demolished to construct a mixed-use building. The site has been vacant since 2016.

The previous proposal had 170 flats with ground floor commercial space and basement parking. Under the new proposals, the building would now have 134 flats in a ten storey block, which would be for market sale rather than build-to-rent as in the original scheme.

The flats would be 435 1-bed,  39% 2-bed, 17% 3-bed and 1% 4-bed apartments. The scheme would be ‘tenure-blind’ with all residents having access to the amenities as well as being ‘the maximum practical viable amount of affordable housing’ aligned with the Hounslow and London plans.

Architects Simpson Haugh have designed the building, with the interiors to be created by Jaysam.

They propose space for a shop and a café on the side of the building facing Burlington Lane and the developers are offering to fund ‘improvements’ to the surrounding area, including a cycle lane through the underpass. They are also suggesting a public art/historic time line on the walls similar to the one created by Abundance London at Turnham Green Terrace.

No timescale has been given for the proposals, but a full planning application is likely in the summer.

Where to invest in Artificial Intelligence in 2024

The award winning wealth management and investment experts Killik & Co have opened a new space on Devonshire Road – House of Killik Chiswick. The Chiswick Calendar is pleased to share their guest blogs on how best to plan and save to acquire the wealth to achieve your goals.

Killik & Co won “Best Discretionary / Advisory Wealth Manager’ in the 2023 FT Investors Chronicle Awards.”

Where to invest in Artificial Intelligence in 2024

The rapid growth of generative Artificial Intelligence was arguably one of the biggest drivers of innovation in 2023, but what opportunities are there for investors today?

In this article, Phil Sole, Relationship Manager at House of Killik Chiswick shares his thoughts on how AI will continue to impact financial markets, and outlines the different types of companies that are set to benefit from it.

Why are investors interested in AI?

While early forms of Artificial Intelligence (AI) led to increased business efficiencies through Machine Learning and powerful data analytics, generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) could disrupt entire industries and ways of working. In fact, AI is already being integrated into day-to-day business practices at some of the world’s largest companies.

The rapid adoption of GenAI is similar to the introduction of the PC, internet and smartphone, which led to significant behavioural shifts and the creation of entirely new markets like eCommerce and online advertising. The promise of AI is one of maximum productivity and increased operational efficiencies, as greater automation enables companies to increase output exponentially.

Does AI still matter in 2024?

The short answer is yes. Even if you did not use ChatGPT or similar GenAI tools in 2023, chances are high that you at least heard about it, and developments in this space continue to make headlines with the promise of increased productivity. We believe the ongoing development of GenAI will influence company performance well into the future and could even cause new industry leaders to emerge.

While the current GenAI models facilitate “context retention”, which has manifested in the form of AI models completing new tasks via the likes of AI assistant and Copilot-style applications, this is just the beginning – as before long, we expect to see wholesale changes in the way work is defined and executed.

Companies we are investing in

Our Thematic approach connects investors directly to the trends, industries and companies shaping the future, and we have been closely monitoring the theme of AI for many years. Below are a few examples of companies we are investing in as they look to recognise the potential of adopting AI to gain a competitive advantage:

Microsoft was an early investor in Open AI, the minds behind ChatGPT, and has incorporated the software into its Bing search engine. Microsoft are also utilising AI to enhance their existing products, an example of this being Copilot, a productivity enhancing tool designed to function alongside the Microsoft office programmes that are so embedded in our everyday life.

Nvidia is a US listed global leader in industries such as gaming, professional visualisation, and automotive markets. Its popularity with investors lies in the fact that the company’s products have thus far proved integral to the development of AI. AI models require thousands of high-powered GPUs to run effectively and Nvidia currently dominates this space, holding over 80% of the market share. Furthermore, Nvidia is also taking advantage of the opportunities around AI services, offering pre-built models and consultations to a variety of industries.

McDonalds may not stick out as an obvious beneficiary of AI at first, but we have identified some key areas where its implementation could drive huge increases of efficiency. In recent years McDonald’s has put more emphasis on its digital operations ranging from its in-store ordering boards through to the development of its mobile app. We believe that generative AI can provide a further chapter in McDonald’s digitisation story by driving sales and cutting labour costs. AI could be implemented into McDonald’s drive throughs and its mobile application to create a more tailored experience, recommending different menu items depending on factors such as the weather and time of day.

Navigating opportunities in a rapidly evolving market

It is important for investors to remain aware of developments in AI to ensure they can capitalise on opportunities to see greater returns, especially as it is too early to say who the winners will be in this space. Whether your preferred investing strategy is buying company shares, targeting specific industries or contributing to funds to own a bit of everything, we can help.

With fast-moving situations, like that of AI, seeking financial advice can help you take the most effective course of action. If you currently manage your own investments, you may wish to consider delegating management to an expert from Killik & Co, who will closely monitor the markets and recommend further opportunities   to positively position your portfolio.

To learn more about how we can help with investing in this space and within other industries, please drop into House of Killik Chiswick for a complimentary chat or email chiswick@killik.com.

Please be aware that as with all investments, your capital is at risk and you may not receive back the same amount that you invest. This article is designed to throw an everyday lens on some of the issues being discussed and debated by investors across the world; it is not research, so please do not interpret it as a recommendation for your personal investments.


If you have any questions about this article, or wish to discuss your financial circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact Relationship Manager, Phil Sole and House & Community Coordinator, Emma Walker.

We welcome all Chiswick residents to House of Killik, no appointment necessary.  Pop in for a chat and a coffee at 13 Devonshire Road – we look forward to meeting you soon.


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Sculpture at the Brewery opens

Images: Fuller’s Griffin Brewery shop; photograph Asahi; Madeleine and John setting up; photograph Roz Wallis

Who said we couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery?

‘Sculpture at the Brewery’ launched on Sunday afternoon (14 April) – Sculpture and ceramics by nine Chiswick 3D artists at the Fuller’s Griffin Brewery, organised by The Chiswick Calendar. The work will remain on show and available to buy in the ‘Tun Room’ inside the brewery shop until Sunday 12 May.

A Tun Mash is used in the brewing process, to mix the ingredients for brewing. The Tun Room is a round room made to look like the inside of a one.

It is used for gathering people together for the introduction at the start of the brewery tours, but Fuller’s Griffin Brewery are keen for more people to discover the place, so for the next month it will be home to our sculpture and ceramics show, the dark wood walls and barrel hoops the perfect setting for the materials used by the artists – clay, wood and steel, and bits and pieces mudlarked from the Thames.

I can now confirm, to any who may have doubted it, that we can organise a piss up in a brewery. Anna Kunst was on hand with her camera.

Images: The Tun Room; Woman looking at Gillian Brett’s work; Danillo Cooper talking to fellow artist Cristina Lorenzet about his portrait busts; photographs Anna Kunst

Images: Gillian Brett’s work; Cristina Lorenzet’s installation; Danillo Cooper’s portrait busts; photographs Bridget Osborne

Images: (L) Gioilla Zordan with her ceramics; (R) Gillian Brett (in red) with hers; photographs Anna Kunst; photographs Anna Kunst

Images: Kit Line talking to people about his work; photographs Anna Kunst

Image: (L) Ceramics by Sylvie Joly; (R) Sculptures, jewellery and mirror by Madeleine Marsh; photograph Bridget Osborne 

Images: Madeleine Marsh telling people how she finds bits and pieces mudlarking on the foreshore of the Thames and researches their provenance; photographs Anna Kunst; posing with Dead Ringers star, Jan Ravens 

Images: Roz Wallis pots; Antonia Young water feature and pots; photographs Bridget Osborne

Image: Roz Wallis talking to people about her Korean moon jars; photograph Anna Kunst

Images above: People enjoying the afternoon; photographs Anna Kunst

Image above: Anna Kunst taking a picture of people enjoying the afternoon; photograph Anna Kunst

To read more about the artists taking part:

READ ALSO: Sculpture at the Brewery – 12 April – 10 May

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Three men charged in connection with Ealing murder

Image above: Wimbledon Magistrates Court

Three men charged after murder of 39-year-old Mark Barrs

Detectives investigating the murder of a man in Ealing earlier this month have charged three people with murder.

The three men charged are Leon Woods, 42, of Cherry Close, Ealing; Cleveland McEntee, 39, of Henchman Street, Hammersmith and Tron McEntee, 34, of Jubilee Road, Perivale.

All three men were arrested on Wednesday 10 April and charged overnight on Thursday 11 April. They appeared in custody at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court on Friday 12 April.

Police were called at around 7.50pm on Saturday 6 April, to a disturbance and a man stabbed in Uxbridge Road at the junction with Singapore Road, West Ealing. Officers attended along with an ambulance crew

They found a critically injured 39-year-old man. Despite the efforts of emergency services, the man died at the scene. He has been identified as Mark Barrs, 39, from Fulham.

A 30-year-old woman also arrested on suspicion of murder on Wednesday 10 April has been bailed until a date in mid-June.

Any witnesses or anyone with information should contact the incident room on 0208 785 8244.

Jan Ravens talks to Jonathan Maitland for The Upper Room Winter Lectures

Image: Jan Ravens

The Dead Ringers impressionist will be talking about her career on Wednesday 24 April at 8pm at St Michael & All Angels Church

Listening to Dead Ringers on BBC Radio 4 at 6.30pm on a Friday night signals the end of the working week for me, and the beginning of the weekend. Me and millions of others.

The satirical comedy, which alternates with The Now Show and The News Quiz in the Friday night comedy slot, is the perfect way to unwind from the tensions of the week and ease into the weekend.

The huge cast of characters drawn from the worlds of celebrity and politics has been developed over nearly 25 years by the accomplished team of impressionists which includes Jon Culshaw, Jan Ravens, Duncan Wisbey, Lewis MacLeod and Debra Stevenson. Jan has been with the award-winning show since 2000, almost from the beginning.

“I didn’t do the first two programmes, but I did the second two of the first series of four” she tells me. And she has been doing it ever since. They are now on series 24.

Image above: Dead Ringers; BBC Radio 4

Sending up everyone from the Queen to Kirsy Wark

The radio programme was taken up as a TV programme, which ran for seven series and made her a well-known face, before it returned to radio in 2014. The team does eight or nine shows a year now, and in between, Jan is to be found on lots of quiz shows (Mastermind, Pointless, Eggheads and Richard Osman’s House of Games) and podcasts.

You can catch her on shows such as Just A Minute and I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, on BBC Radio 4. Her stage work includes seasons at Chichester Festival Theatre, and a stint with the RSC.

She received rave reviews and broke box office records with her solo show Difficult Woman, at the Edinburgh Festival in 2017, in which she presented her portfolio of characters: Theresa May, Nicola Sturgeon, Diane Abbott, Hillary Clinton and many others, including Kirsty Wark, Lyse Doucet and Fiona Bruce, and this was followed by a sellout tour with Rory Bremner.

She is currently writing a comedy drama for television, which is in development with Hat Trick.

“Liz Truss is the gift that just keeps on giving”

When she started her career in the 1980s Margaret Thatcher was prime minister – the first female prime minister, perfect for an up and coming impressionist, you would think, except that Steve Nallon had beaten her to it, developing his impressionist act by performing it on the northern Working Men’s Club Circuit in and around his native Yorkshire in the 1970s before finding a national audience on ITV’s satirical puppet show Spitting Image.

Did she resent him nicking the best female part?

“You can’t take it away from him. His Margaret Thatcher was brilliant. He became her.”

She was however the only woman on the first Spitting Image shows, so she got to do all the other women – Princess Diana and the Queen, Ann Widdicombe and Edwina Curry.

It is slightly unnerving how she lapses into their characters as we speak, capturing not only how they sounded, but how their voices changed over time.

“The Queen and all those women in films in the ’40s and ’50s, like Deborah Carr, sounded so high pitched. The Queen in her twenties sounded like she was on helium, whereas when she was older her voice got lower and more husky,” she says, dropping an octave, her voice becoming more husky.

“It’s lovely to veeseet at the time of yeah; we are so gled and heppy to be heah.”

Did she get to impersonate any of the men?

“I did Tom Cruise once on Dead Ringers, and Arthur Scargill – he was quite high pitched. I like finding characters as well as the tics in their voices [lapsing into Liz Truss]. Liz Truss always sounds like she’s out there, living her best life.”

Liz Truss is one of the most popular of her current characters.

“She is the gift that just keeps on giving. When she makes a speech, she always waits endless moments at the end of a sentence for people to laugh. She’s like a little girl whose daddy has told her she was funny, with that inane grin.

“Nadine Dorries is like a posh Scouser with a cob on.”

It takes one to know one. Jan describes herself as a “posh Scouser”, from the Wirral. Her Theresa May is legendary.

“She’s got that diplophonic voice – two voices, one beneath the other”, so she sounds like her voice has two concurrent pitches. “It’s why she coughed all the time when she was giving speeches at conference. It’s on your throat the whole time.”

She also portrays Priti Patel “droppin’ her H’s” and Suella Braverman.

“We thought Priti Patel was cold and extreme until Suella Braverman came along. She sounds permanently furious,”(sounding furious).

“With political impressions, what they say is as important as how they say it.”

“We can’t bring down the Government, but we can laugh at them”

Jan does not believe she has any political influence, and she says satire cannot bring down a government, but:

“What it can do is show what they’re really saying rather than what they purport to be saying.

“Satire provides a safety valve for our frustrations. It provides a laugh and by showing them from a different perspective, it tells people they don’t have to buy into it, we can laugh at them.”

She finds it interesting that teenagers have become interested in politics by watching comedy.

If Labour wins the next election, is she ready for the next crop of politicians?

“Everyone is longing for a change at the moment. It’s funny when a new government comes into power because you haven’t got the measure of them yet.

“Angela Rayner has that ‘can’t really be bothered’, ‘devil may care’ thing about her. Jess Phillips is naturally funny herself and clever, so she’s quite difficult to take the piss out of. Lisa Nandy has a lisp, which is not something you want to take the piss out of too much.”

Somehow I think Jan will rise to the occasion. Her talk with Jonathan Maitland promises to be a very entertaining evening, and The Upper Room, which supports homeless people, is an excellent cause.

Wednesday 24 April at 8pm at St Michael & All Angels Church. Tickets are free, but there will be a collection on the door.

Reserve a place here: The Upper Room Lectures, Jan Ravens

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Civil War (2024) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Civil War ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A journey across a dystopian future America, following a team of military-embedded journalists as they race against time to reach DC before rebel factions descend upon the White House. On at Chiswick Cinema now.

While most blockbusters these days tend to just numb your senses with explosions, loud music and fast cutting, and are packed with people in spandex and flashy visual effects, often with not a lot of substance and a plot which could be written on the back of a stamp, Civil War (ironically named just like one of those Marvel movies) felt like a breath of fresh air.

Sure, there is action and all, but despite its miss-marketing, which sells it just like another one of the above-mentioned, what sets it apart is the atmosphere this film creates and how the images depicted by director Alex Garland feel uncomfortably close to home.

Garland’s first novel The Beach put him on the map back in the ‘90s and his subsequent screenplays on acclaimed movies like 28 Days Later, Sunshine, and Ex Machina, (also his directorial debut) solidified his reputation as a versatile and innovative filmmaker with a knack for thought-provoking narratives and dark themes, blending intriguing stories, suspense and social commentary.

Civil War, with its intense narrative and an earie atmosphere, perfectly fits into his body of work.

It is a gripping ‘road movie’ set against the backdrop of a divided America as California, Texas, and Florida (a strange, weird mix) have declared war on the U.S. President.

The story follows a group of journalists as they navigate through the war-torn landscape, heading to DC, chasing after an elusive last interview with the US President.

What comes across is a raw and intense portrayal of a society on the brink of collapse. And it’s terrifying.

But Garland decided not to delve into the politics so much, nor the reasons for the actual war itself, instead preferring to focus on his characters, the journalists and photographer (including Lee, played with a fierce intensity and spooky detachment by Kirsten Dunst) as they are trying to stay objective while documenting the horrors unfolding around them.

It is a gut-wrenching film that poses poignant questions about the nature of journalism, the ethical dilemma of having to take photos of the most unspeakable things, and humanity in general in the face of adversity.

Civil War is filmed mostly in a gritty, documentary-style, which puts you right in the midst of the action, but it’s also mixed with beautiful imagery, in stark contrast with the horrors depicted.

Its perfectly calibrated sound design, mixing the earie stillness of the ‘quiet before the storm’ and sudden bursts of gunfire (a lot of which made me jump off my seat!) enhances the tension to unbearable levels.

A scene (also teased in the trailer) with an armed soldier replying to the journalists claiming, “We are Americans” with “What kind of Americans are you?” must be one of the most terrifying things I’ve seen in the last few years.

What makes it so spooky is how believable it all feels. But while I was watching it, shaking my head and the madness of it all, I couldn’t not help thinking “I’m sure there are people cheering at this, somewhere in some not-too-remote part of America” and that sad lingering thought stayed with me long after the credits rolled.

Grove Park man jailed after Sainsbury’s burglary

Image above: Sainsbury’s Local on Bell St in Henley-on-Thames

Pair jailed for burglary in Henley-on-Thames

A man from Chiswick has been sentenced to eight months imprisonment after a burglary at a Sainsbury’s Local store in Henley-on-Thames. Scott Webb, 45, of Grove Park Road, was sentenced alongside Alex Barrow, 38, of Shaftesbury Close, Bracknell.

The Sainsbury’s on Bell Street was broken into at around 2.45am on Tuesday 13 February and alcohol was stolen. Officers later stopped a vehicle containing the stolen alcohol and weapons.

READ ALSO: Chiswick man charged in connection with burglary

“A pretty pathetic attempt at a burglary”

The pair were caught on CCTV entering the store via a side door, causing £400 damage. They caused further damage to the self-checkout tills by using a crowbar. They escaped in a silver Ford Focus. The vehicle was later stopped by officers on the A404 after being flagged to police as having earlier been involved in drugs.

Both were arrested and pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary and going equipped for burglary. The value of the alcohol stolen was £103.75.

During sentencing, Judge Nigel Daly said: “It was a pretty pathetic attempt at a burglary.”

Protest at closure of Watermans

Image above: Watermans protest (11 April); Photograph Brentford TV

Watermans Centre closes despite last minute protests

The Watermans Arts Centre in Brentford closed yesterday, (Thursday 11 April) despite a last minute protest. The Hounslow Arts Trust announced last month the centre was to close because it could no longer afford to keep the building open. The announcement of the closure sparked protests from local residents and councillors.

The riverside venue in Brentford has served the population of west London for decades with live theatre, dance and music, a cinema and restaurant, and a gallery for contemporary art shows. The Trust has put on school holiday programmes for children in everything from Manga, the Japanese style of cartoon drawing, to Capoeira, the Brazilian dance martial art and game that includes elements of dance, acrobatics and music.

READ ALSO: Watermans arts centre in Brentford closes

READ ALSO: Watermans closure “the only viable option” for Hounslow Arts Trust, says Ruth Cadbury

A subject of debate in the by-election

The debate over the closure has become a political football at a time when there is a Council by-election coming up in Brentford and a General Election expected later in the year.

The Hounslow Labour Group has made it very clear that the decision to close Watermans was made by Hounslow Arts Trust, which ran it. Cllr Shivraj Grewal, Labour Group Spokesperson for Communities, Equalities and Culture, said:

“We are saddened that the Hounslow Arts Trust has taken the difficult decision to close the Watermans Arts Centre in Brentford from mid-April. There has been a lot of discussion surrounding the closure of the Watermans Arts Centre, and we would like to provide some much needed clarity on the Council’s position.

“Hounslow Council’s Labour administration is committed to supporting a rich cultural offer for everyone across the borough, recognising the many benefits culture provides for our diverse communities.”

The Trust will continue to provide community arts programmes in different parts of the borough, such as the outdoor events programme they produce at Bell Square in Hounslow town centre.

Image above: Conservative councillors among protesters demonstrating against the closure on Saturday

Conservatives called for closure to be stopped

Michael Denniss, the Conservative candidate for the Brentford West by-election and Laura Blumenthal, the Parliamentary candidate for Brentford and Isleworth have both written to Hounslow Council’s Cabinet asking for an “emergency pause” on the closure.

“The Watermans provides a crucial hub for art, education and culture,” they say. “It stands as a beacon of community excellence, not only for Brentford and the London Borough of Hounslow but for the whole of London too.

“St Faith’s Players, Hart beeps and Hounslow Visual Arts are just some of the many organisations that provide a truly inclusive service to all. For many schoolchildren, the Watermans is their first experience of theatre and it provides a valuable venue for workshops.

“Brentford has already given so much land for the creation of new housing compared to other parts of the borough. It is now time to give something back and support the Watermans to flourish and continue as a real source of value for its current and future residents.”

Image above: Design for Albany Riverside development; CGI London Green

As part of the development of Brentford town centre there is supposed to be a mixed development on two sites – the current Watermans site and the old police station site – by developer London Green.

The Watermans site is set to become a residential only development, ‘Albany Riverside’, with 193 flats in five blocks with views over the river and towards Kew Gardens.

The old police station site is due to be redeveloped as a mix of affordable housing and a new arts centre with a larger theatre, two cinemas with a gallery for film festivals, and space for a café/restaurant. But the development is on hold because building costs have shot up so much since the development was agreed.

Image above: Old police station redevelopment CHI; London Green

Conservative opposition blames the Labour council

The letter from Michael Denniss and Laura Blumenthal continues:

“We are concerned not only with the decision to close the Watermans, but also with the way that the Council treated residents and businesses . Notice of the closure came completely out of the blue on 20 March with a hasty shut down date of 11 April.

“We had the opportunity to speak to some of those businesses working in the Watermans and we understand that they were legally entitled to a notice period of a minimum of six months. This alleged breach of contract has caused considerable distress particularly for those employees who are particularly vulnerable.

“We are further concerned of the Council’s exposure to this entirely avoidable legal and financial liability, and that residents may be the ones who are left to foot the bill.

Image above: Members of the Green Party protesting at Watermans closure

“There has further been a lack of communication with residents, with many still saying they aren’t aware that the Watermans is planning to close. We hope that you acknowledge this strangely short notice and stand up for the residents, its many business leaders, artists and fundraising professionals, by allowing them the time to create a plan to keep the centre open and financially viable. This can only be done with a decision by you to stop the closure of Watermans on 11th April.

“We stand shoulder to shoulder with those residents and local business leaders who have come together to commit to finding ways to make Watermans financially viable. We maintain the view that it is viable, and that the Council has historically missed opportunities to make it so, such as the failure to advertise the cinema’s films or use the large car parking space with a more commercial mind. There are plenty of ways to commercialise the centre, leverage local developer funds that will make the Watermans an economic success.

“We therefore request that you pause the closure, publish the centre’s financial accounts for full transparency and allow the Save the Watermans campaign group to produce a plan for long-term financial sustainability for the centre, until the new arts centre opens.

“Please back the local community by believing that they can make Watermans financially sustainable. ”

Image above: Cllr Katherine Dunne’s response to Conservative candidate Mike Denniss

“You don’t even understand what’s happened” says Deputy Leader Cllr Katherine Dunne

The letter was posted on ‘X’ (formerly Twitter) by Mike Denniss, prompting a reply from Deputy Leader of the Council, Katherine Dunne, who said:

“Small chance of that when you don’t even seem to understand what’s happened. Watermans gave notice to the Council it was closing, not the other way around. Will you publish your replies? Here’s mine”

Cllr Dunne posted screenshots of her response, which read:

“People from Brentford and beyond and rightly upset that the Watermans is closing and the council has received requests to step in and keep it open. However, this would have meant a huge injection of new funding, and the Trust felt that running the building would have been too expensive and not sustainable, therefore this would have negatively impacted on its provision of community and arts events across the borough, as well as its ability to attract external grants.

“Hounslow council and Arts Council England are committed to supporting the Trust in providing its valuable arts and cultural engagement work in the community. It will continue to deliver its outdoor events at Bell Square, its Creative People and Places activities, and its other community-based programmes that provide exciting cultural experiences for Hounsl0w residents each year.

“Furthermore, the Council is committed to delivering a new arts centre on the Police Station site in Brentford and we are working closely with all our local partners, including the Hounslow Arts Trust, to achieve this.

“This work on this important development is ongoing and continues to be a top priority. We also remain committed that there will be no development at the current Watermans building until the new arts centre is delivered.

“We would like to see the current Watermans building continue to be used, and have started conversations with the community and voluntary sector to explore how best we can use it. We’re happy to consider any fully costed proposals that would enable the building to be brought back into use without the need for subsidy.

“I hope that reassures you that, while the news about Watermans is a blow, we are doing all we can to continue the provision of arts in Brentford and across the borough for the long term.”

Image above: Members of the Green Party protesting at Watermans closure

“Labour are focused on concrete and steel not how the locals feel” say Green Party

The Green Party issued a statement saying:

“Labour are focused on concrete and steel not how the locals feel.”

Freya Summersgill, the Green Party Candidate for the Brentford West by-election, and Chas Warlow, the Green Party Candidate for London South West, joined local residents to protest against the closure.

Freya said: “Today our community is not just losing a theatre, cinema and contemporary art gallery, we are also losing an important affordable social hub.  Like many families in the area, Watermans children’s theatre has captivated my two boys.  With the closure, however temporary, our children’s creative education will suffer.

“This is a dark day for the local community and is short-sighted considering the significant increase in demand the new housing developments in Brentford will bring.

“Labour are focused on concrete and steel not how the locals feel. Labour needs to recognise how important Brentford’s vibrant cultural life is for the community and understand the anger this decision has caused.  Fortunately, the up-coming by-election gives people a chance to show them exactly how they feel.”

Image above: Watermans

“High energy prices and maintenanance costs to blame”, say Hounslow Arts Trust

Hounslow Arts Trust blames energy price increases and on-going maintenance costs. In a statement made at the time the closure was announced they said:

‘The charity has taken the difficult decision to close Watermans as the best possible way of protecting both the interests of Hounslow residents and the organisation’s financial viability ahead of its relocation to the site of the old police station building in Brentford.

‘In the context of a challenging recovery period following the pandemic, the impact of energy price rises and the on-going costs of maintenance for the current venue, it makes operational and financial sense to focus on the delivery of outdoor events at Bell Square, Creative People and Places Hounslow activities and other community-based programmes which do not require use of the current building.’

The closure is “very sad”, says Ruth Cadbury MP

Ruth Cadbury told The Chiswick Calendar that the closure was the “only viable option” for the Hounslow Arts Trust. During an interview with The Chiswick Calendar she said:

“If you look at the Companies House records for Hounslow Arts Trust, they were operating at something like a £400,000 loss in 2022-23. Their big bills went from something like £49,000 to £125,000.

“Going into Covid they were financially vibrant. Ticket sales provided over 75% their income. Grants from Hounslow and national grants were less than 25%. Since then, grants have flatlined, bills have shot up and ticket sales have decreased, so the costs outweigh their income.”

It was, she said, “Very sad. I’ve been going there since I used to take my children when they were small, 20 years ago.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Motorcyclist seriously injured in Goldhawk Road accident

 

Image above: Library image, Police car

Man in his twenties suffers serious head injuries

A motorcyclist in his twenties was taken to hospital with serious head injuries after being involved in a road traffic collision on Goldhawk Rd. The incident happened shortly before 10pm on Tuesday (9 April). The rider was hit by a car near the junction with Wingate Rd close to Ravenscourt Park.

An air ambulance was called and the motorcyclist was treated at the scene before being rushed to hospital. No arrests have yet been made.

Goldhawk Road was closed at the time of the incident and bus routes 94 and 237 were diverted.

Anyone who witnessed the collision or any information, is asked to call police on 101 quoting CAD 6841/9Apr.

Brentford FC launches new series of ‘Thousands of Stories’

Image above: Brentford FC

Four short films to be released by football club

Brentford FC has launched the next series of “Thousands of Stories”, a series of short films sharing the stories of the club’s community. Thousands of Stories shares the tales of the people that make up Brentford.

Following the success of the inaugural series, the upcoming instalment consists of four films which delve into the experiences of fans, exploring what supporting the Bees means to them and how the club has impacted their lives.

The club say: “Every story is important, and unique and makes the club what it is today.”

Image above: Raymond Harrison

Series two kicks off with ‘The Moment’: The story of Raymond Harrison, a lifelong Bees supporter who experienced a cardiac arrest at the Gtech Community Stadium before the fixture against Newcastle last season. Thanks to stewards and medical support staff performing CPR, Raymond’s life was saved.

In The Moment, Raymond explains how his life has changed since that day.

Raymond’s story is available here.

Three further films from Thousands of Stories will be released across the next three weeks:

Image above: Connor Wolfheimer

‘The Dream’ (17 April) – follows the story of Connor Wolfheimer, a Brentford fan who came through Brentford FC Community Sports Trust’s football programme and is currently on a two-year scholarship playing for Brentford’s under-18s.

Image above: Claire Peleschka

‘The Local’ (24 April) – shares the story of Claire Peleschka, the landlady of The Griffin, one of the four pubs surrounding Brentford’s previous stadium, Griffin Park

Image above: Andy Godfrey

‘The Sound’ (1 May) – tells the experience of Andy Godfrey, a long-standing Brentford supporter who is visually impaired and uses the club’s audio commentary to experience matches at the Gtech.

The series last year included four stories focusing on Brentford manager, Thomas Frank and cardiac health in ‘The Pressure’, staff member Mariia Manirko in ‘The Chance’, participants of the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust’s women’s football recreation session in ‘The Team’ and Peter Gilham’s legacy at the club in ‘The Voice’.

Sally Stephens, Brentford’s fan and community relations director said:

“Thousands of Stories shines a spotlight on some of the incredible individuals who make up our vibrant Brentford FC community. We’re fortunate to have such fantastic fans.

“The films share how being a Brentford fan is about much more than football. Being a Bees fans means being part of a trusted community, supporting each other and showing togetherness during the good times but also through adversity. We look forward to continuing to celebrate the stories that make our club so special.”

Police release CCTV after fatal collision involving moped in Hammersmith

Image above: Ina Rodrigues

Police appealing to track moped rider and pillion passenger after fatal collision

Police have released CCTV of a moped rider and pillion passenger involved in a fatal collision that killed a woman on the A4 in Hammersmith. Ina Rodrigues, a 58-year-old woman, was crossing the road at the junction with Gliddon Road shortly after 6pm on Tuesday 16 January when she was struck by the moped.

Police and London Ambulance Service were called to the scene and the woman was taken to hospital for treatment to the injuries she sustained but despite the efforts of medical professionals she sadly died in hospital on Sunday 21 January.

The moped rider and passenger did not stop at the scene and police have released CCTV that shows them abandoning the moped on a nearby street and fleeing on foot.

Police video

Detective Constable Matt Jackson, from the Roads and Transport Policing Command, leads the investigation. He said:

“Our investigation has managed to track the moped to where it was abandoned but we now need the public’s help to try and identify the two people who were on it at the time of the collision.

“Ina’s family has been devastated as a result of this collision and we need to provide them with answers as to what happened to their loved one. If you can help, please get in contact immediately.”

There has been no arrest as yet and enquiries continue.

Anyone who witnessed the collision or who has information that could identify the people on the moped is asked to call 101 (24 hours) or the Serious Collision Investigation Unit witness line on 020 8543 5157 – please quote 6001718/24.

You can also provide information anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

The Government Inspector – St Michael’s Players

“We need a good comedy to cheer us up” says director Guy Fairbanks

St Michael’s Players is celebrating its 75th anniversary year. What better way to start it than with a comedy, says director Guy Fairbanks.

The Government Inspector, by Nikolai Gogol, was written about Tsarist Russia in the 1840s. A rake is staying in a small town inn, unable to pay his bill. But help is at hand. The Mayor has had a letter warning him that there is a Government Inspector due to descent upon the town.

“It’s a classic piece of mistaken identity” says Guy. “A farce.”

Putting two and two together and making six, the Mayor decides the man at the inn must be the inspector and proceeds to wine and dine him and suffers the cad flirting with both his wife and his daughter.

Images above: Rehearsals are progressing nicely

Philip Goulding has adapted the play to fit 1860s Britain. The setting is an indiscriminate provincial town, and the humour translates easily, says, Guy, as the good burgers of where ever it is in England are just as greedy to take the opportunity they think they see for advancement and perhaps the chance to get to London and the big time, as were the Russian townspeople.

“It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, people identify with this kind of corruption” says Guy, “and the play is still very funny. We read it at one of our monthly paly readings and we all really enjoyed it”.

They considered cancelling the production, as Bryony Wilman, the member of St Michael’s Players who died recently, was due to be in it.

“We decided she would want us to go ahead” says Guy, “and we hope we can put on a show she will be proud of.”

The Government Inspector, by St Michael’s Players, will be performed at St. Michael’s Centre, Elmwood Road, Chiswick, W4 3DY, from 17 – 20 April.

£10, book at stmichaelsplayers.com

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Metropolis Studios in Chiswick – one of the best recording studios in the world

Image above: Metropolis Studios, 70 Chiswick High Rd; Photograph Jennifer Griffiths

Not particularly well known locally, but on speed dial for music producers in Atlanta and LA

Amy Winehouse, Queen, The Rolling Stones, George Michael, U2, Lady Gaga, Elton John, Harry Styles, Ed Sheeran, Adele, Rihanna, and Jay-Z; this eclectic group of musical titans all have one thing in common: Metropolis Studios in Chiswick.

Europe’s largest independent recording complex, where these artists and many others have recorded, mixed or mastered their music, is discreetly located just off Chiswick High Road, tucked away behind the Villa di Geggiano restaurant, inside the Power House – a Grade II listed building which was once an electricity generating station.

Over a period of more than 30 years, since 1989, Metropolis has become a staple of London’s music scene. For the past seven years the Studios have been run by CEO Richard Connell, who has himself notched up 35 years’ experience in the industry.

Richard talked to The Chiswick Calendar about the Studios’ rich history.

Image above: Queen, photograph Kentarotakizawa; Amy Winehouse Back to Black album, Island Records

Queen and Amy Winehouse – “Two pillars that have built Metropolis”

With so many to choose from, which artists have had the most profound impact on the work of Metropolis?

Richard’s answer was quick and assured:

“It’s very hard to [overlook] Amy and Queen, who are two pillars that have built Metropolis. Queen, because they were the first, and Studio A has a big part to play in Queen’s story due to it being in the videos for the Innuendo album.”

Studio A is Metropolis’ expansive live room. Its fame spread thanks to that album, but also because it was the place where George Michael’s second solo studio album Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 was recorded in 1990. Studio A is also used for concerts and album playbacks.

Image above: Metropolis Studios CEO Richard Connell; photograph Ben Dimmock

“We have a reputation for female vocalists”

Amy Winehouse’s number one album Back to Black was mixed by Tom Elmhirst at Metropolis in 2006 and mastered by Stuart Hawkes, who has said:

“I knew from the moment I heard the demos that this was going to be a very special album. One which I knew, I wanted to be involved with. Albums are so important, we get to experience tracks that wouldn’t really work as singles. The album allows for greater experimentation and opens you up to the artists’ creativity.”

Back to Black has won numerous awards and has been listed as one of the greatest albums of all time by Rolling Stone magazine

Amy Winehouse’s work at the Studios has had a profound impact on their business:

“We have a reputation for female vocalists and I put that all down to Amy and what those sessions captured when she was here,” said Richard.

Among the female artists who have used the studios to create their music are London based rapper Kamille, Adele (albums 21, 25 and 30), Little Mix (Confetti), Dua Lipa (Boys Will Be Boys and Club Future Nostalgia), Rihanna (Unapologetic), Madonna and Lady Gaga.

With so many very famous people coming and going, it seems bizarre that the Studios are not better known locally.

“People don’t actually know that we’re here,” Richard told me.

Perhaps with the filming of the recording scenes for the new biopic of Amy Winehouse’s life, Back to Black taking place at the studios and all the kerfuffle that goes with filming, that will change.

“We recently just had a coach of tourists, Queen fans from Japan, come to look at the building. That’s usual for Abbey Road, it’s very unusual for us.”

Images above: The alley way leading to the Power House; The entrance to Metropolis Studios; photographs Jennifer Griffiths

West London as the home of music in London

West London is known as the home of the music industry in London. From the days when Chris Blackwell set up Island Records across the street from Metropolis on the border of Chiswick and Hammersmith, and The Who and The Rolling Stones were making their names at the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond, the Ealing Club and the Eel Pie Island Hotel.

“West London has always been the home of music in London, after it moved out of the centre. There were a lot of labels that moved to Kings Cross, but we’re finding a lot of artists still live here in West London.”

Apart from the early success with Queen and the impact of working with Amy Winehouse, the Studios has several other things working in its favour: the building itself, and its proximity to Heathrow airport, the quality of the work they produce and the engineers’ ability to keep up with technology.

Images above: The Engine Room of the Central Power Station as it was; Metropolitan Studios relaxation area now

Originally built as an electricity generating station for the London United Electrical Tramway Company at the end of 19th century, the Power House is massive. The architecture is inspiring, and it comfortably houses six studios as well as production rooms and a cafe.

Thanks to a campaign by the Victorian Society, it was saved from development and listed – the first 20th century building to have been considered worth preserving.

“There is something in these walls, just something in this building and there’s something in this place,” Richard told me, becoming quite emotional about it.

“She is such a wonderful old girl, and I couldn’t dream of doing this anywhere else. It’s in the walls. The atmosphere and creative tension that comes from this building is wonderful.”

Image above: Studio A; Photograph Metropolis Studios

“The US is very significant for us”

The size of the studios and the location so near to Heathrow means they can cater for touring American artists:

“The U.S. is very significant for us. We find our summers are taken up with a lot of US artists. Touring is difficult now for UK artists because of Brexit and all the faff that comes from trying to be a working musician in Europe now.

“The US clients have always had to deal with that and what we find in the summer is that US clients come in at the start of the summer to tour through festivals and come here to record.

“I would say we are the only studio in London that has got control rooms the size of Studio A and Studio B. Those are very reminiscent of L.A. and Atlanta recording studios.”

Image above: Studio A; Photograph Metropolis Studios

Keeping up with the technology

When legendary producer and engineer Gary Langan established the Studios, his vision was to create a haven where artists could fully immerse themselves in their creative process, benefiting from state-of-the-art equipment and an unparalleled sonic environment.

Renowned for his work with iconic artists such as Queen and Yes, he was the one who made the Studios’ reputation, but keeping hold of that reputation in an ever-changing technological landscape has meant employing music engineers who stay ahead of the game.

“For us in the recording side of the business, we’ve gone from analogue to digital and that was a massive change. We’re now going through the shift to Atmos recording, so 360 surround-sound recording. But Atmos recording was invented by a bloke in EMI in the 1950s. This is not new technology, it’s just new ways of listening to it. The technology has caught up with the innovation.

“We have a very simple aim here at Metropolis: to be the finest recording studio in Europe. The reason that we have that as our mantra is because the word ‘finest’ keeps changing, and the words ‘recording studio’ keep changing.

Images above: IAMDDB; Poté; photographs Metropolis Studios

“Built into our DNA is adaptation, and we are not a museum. We are only as good as the artists that we recorded and helped reach their potential today. Amy Winehouse and Queen are massively important to us, but they are not as important to us as the artists that are in this building today.

“Big, small, indifferent, it doesn’t matter. We come to work every day of the week to help an artist reach their full potential.”

Some of the artists recording today are Hip Hop and Rap artists, including Kendrick Lamar, Loyle Carner and Dave, Grammy award winning R&B artist Kamille and Afro-Fusion artist Burna Boy.

On the classical side, Bryn Terfel, Simon Keenlyside and Joseph Kalleja have recorded there. Indie bands include The Big Moon, Jelani Blackman, Easy Life and Connie Constance.

And the list goes on …

Image above: Noel Gallagher recording at Metropolis Studios; photograph Metropolis Studios

Notable work created at Metropolis Studios

Queen – Innuendo

Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson – Back to Black

George Michael – Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1

Harry Styles – Girl Crush

U2 – Every Breaking Wave

Michael Jackson – I Have This Dream

Adele – 21, 25 and 30

Ed Sheeran X and ÷ 

Little Mix – Confetti

Dua Lipa – Boys Will Be Boys and Club Future Nostalgia

Rihanna – Unapologetic

The Verve – Urban Hymns

Kendrick Lamar – Fear

Drake – More Life

Justin Bieber – Second Emotion

Lewis Capaldi – How I’m Feeling Now

The Rolling Stones – Hackney Diamonds

Arctic Monkeys – Sculptures of Anything Goes, Body Paint and The Car

And work by

Madonna

Elton John

U2

Led Zeppelin

Lady Gaga

Jay-Z

Image above: The Power House interior; photograph Metropolis Studios

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Sam’s Kitchen joins the Club Card

Image above: Head Chef Abbie Henden; Sam’s Kitchen Chiswick

Brunch with hints of fine dining

It’s tricky ‘reviewing’ a restaurant or cafe which is part of our Club Card scheme, because you’ll be thinking ‘well they would say that, wouldn’t they?’ But hand on heart, I think Sam’s Kitchen offers Chiswick something new, something different which you can’t find elsewhere, despite the myriad options you could choose for brunch or lunch in Chiswick that are of a high standard.

Sam’s has the advantage of having big sibling restaurants in Sam’s Riverside and Sam’s Waterside in Hammersmith and Brentford respectively, where the offer is fine dining. Sam’s team can take what works best that can be translated to a smaller space with a high turnover of customers and deliver a cheaper menu for breakfast and lunch, which still has that something special.

Sam’s team you may recognise. The manager Chris used to manage The Crown, which has recently closed, while the head chef Abbie spent five years learning her craft at La Trompette. She, at only 27, is a real star in the making, says owner Sam Harrison.

An example of a straight lift from another of Sam’s restaurants is the Sam’s Full English breakfast – Fried egg, bacon, Jumbo sausage, mushroom, tomato, fried slice and house baked beans – which has proved so popular. It sounds like any old English breakfast to be fair, but the meat comes from one of London’s most respected butchers, HG Walter, and the eggs from St Ewe’s free range eggs. The hash browns are Abbie’s own recipe.

Images above: Sam’s Full English; Lemon & Ricotta Hotcakes with Poached Yorkshire rhubarb

Sam’s Kitchen, open from 8am to 3pm on Turnham Green Terrace, has spent the past couple of weeks finding out what works in the new space. Some dishes they served on the first day, like the sweet potato rosti, have not survived the cut (delicious, but too difficult to make with reliable consistency when they’re really under pressure) and have been replaced with others which have been popular and they can be sure to replicate on a day when they have 200 covers.

The Portland Crab English Muffin, with poached egg and Hollandaise sauce, is one dish which remains in the menu, as does the Lemon & Ricotta Hotcakes and the Roasted Pineapple, Cardamon Yoghurt, Spiced Oat Granola.

“We have taken note of which dishes people have wiped the plate and eaten every morsel of” says Chris.

On the day we went, I had the Chicken Schnitzel, fresh and simple, with Crispy Sage, Caesar dressed leaves, Anchovy and St Ewe’s egg – another dish which has become a menu staple. My vegetarian companion had the Sweet Potato & Adobo Quesadilla, with Avocado, Black Beans, Rocket and Mojo Verde.

She often feels she doesn’t have much choice as a vegetarian, (partly because she doesn’t like mushrooms, which is a distinct drawback as a vegetarian eating out, as everywhere seems to offer Mushroom Risotto). That was not the case here.

We considered ordering fries and decided against. My Schnitzel was filling enough without them, but the Quesillada could have done with the added bulk. it was “flavoursome and juicy” she said, and interestingly different.

Of course that left room for dessert. I hope the Pineapple Upside Down Cake stays in the Dessert / Cake of the Day menu. The perfect sponge, crispy at the edges, soft in the middle, with hot pineapple and a homemade vanilla ice-cream.

But it was the coffee which was the most surprising – Café Bonbon, a layer of condensed milk, a layer of expresso and a layer of steamed milk. I don’t know how you’re supposed to drink it, but if you sip without stirring you get the shock of the bitter coffee and the sweet creamy condensed milk separately, but together, which is a bit of a shock to the taste buds, and then if you stir it up you get a lovely creamy, sweet, rich coffee.

Glancing round at the other diners, they all seemed happy, and I noticed Sam’s Kitchen had resisted the temptation to cram in too many tables, so there was ample room for the two young mums beside us to park their huge baby chariots without getting in the way of the waiters or other customers.

Definitely bears further investigation. Especially as they are in the Club Card scheme, offering 10% off food and drink Monday to Thursday.

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Who are the 2024 candidates for the South-West London seat on the London Assembly?

Image above: Kew Bridge and Brentford beyond, from Strand on the Green; photograph Ljubima Woods

Chiswick councillor stands for election to the London Assembly

The Mayoral elections take place on Thursday 2 May. Sadiq Khan is defending his record, and up for election also are the 25 London Assembly members whose job it is to hold the mayor to account. The Mayor’s office and the London Assembly together form the Greater London Authority, responsible for transport, policing, planning, culture, environment, health, fire and emergency services and economic planning in London.

Chiswick Conservative councillor Ron Mushiso is standing for election in the South West London seat, which includes Chiswick, covering the whole of the three boroughs Hounslow, Richmond and Kingston. He has been very busy over the past few months, knocking on doors with his supporters and attending public events.

Matt Smith has been talking to him and the other candidates for the South West London seat, about the platforms on which they are standing and what they personally might bring to the role if elected.

Ron Mushiso – Conservative

Ron’s campaign materials for London Assembly election features an enlarged version of his name, with Conservative Party branding conspicuously minimised. He admits retaining this seat, which has always been held with a comfortable majority by a Conservative, is going to be a tough battle – not least because the unpopularity of the Tories at the national level is  making it more difficult to campaign.

The Chiswick Gunnersbury ward councillor is hoping to appeal to voters because of his life experience. He told our reporter Matt Smith the extraordinary personal story which brought him from a rural village in Uganda to London as a child and his experiences growing up in foster care.

Read his interview here: 2024 London Assembly candidate Ron Mushiso

Marcela Benedetti – Labour

The SW London seat on the London Assembly has traditionally been a Conservative seat. Marcela thinks people in the south-west are ready for a change, and thinks they are ready to vote Labour.

Marcela ia a Latin-American-European who has lived in London for 16 years. She brings her skills as a barrister working with victims of domestic violence. The role of the London Assembly is to hold the Mayor’s office to account and she thinks her experience as a barrister would be useful in that role.

Read her interview here: 2024 London Assembly candidate Marcela Benedetti

Gareth Roberts – Liberal Democrat

Gareth is the Leader of Richmond Council, with many years’ experience as a borough councillot behind him. He thinks experience running local government is important if Members of the London Assembly are to have a realistic understanding of how things work.

“What we really need for the London Assembly are people who are experienced politicians, people who are experienced in London Government people are experienced in leadership and people who will be able to offer challenge to Sadiq Khan, but at the same time constructive challenge. Because at the moment, what we do tend to get particularly from the Conservatives is opposition for opposition’s sake.”

Read his interview here: 2024 London Assembly candidate Gareth Roberts

Steve Chilcott – Reform UK

Steve has no previous experience in local government or politics, but is standing for Reform UK because, he says, people feel disenfranchised by all the traditional political parties.

He is an HR professional who lives in Ealing.

Read his interview here: 2024 London Assembly candidate Steve Chilcott

Chas Warlow – Green Party

Chas Warlow is one of five Green Party Councillors who made history to become the Official Opposition on Richmond Borough Council at the last local elections in 2021. In the 2021 London Assembly elections the Greens took three seats out of the 25 – one more than the Lib Dems and he says they are ambitious to build on their “impressive” electoral performances in London.

The single most important issue he would like to get across is the importance of helping residents insulate their houses and install low-carbon technology such as solar panels.

“It’s absolutely vital that the Mayor ramps up support for home insulation and renewables”

Green Party candidate Chas Warlow is the only one of the five who did not give us his time for an interview. Instead he sent us a statement.

Chas WarlowStatement

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2024 SW London Assembly elections: Interview with Conservative candidate Cllr Ron Mushiso

Conservative Party’s candidate for the SW London Assembly seat Ron Mushiso

It’s going to be a challenge” for Conservatives to retain seat

The Mayoral elections take place on Thursday 2 May. Sadiq Khan is defending his record, and up for election also are the 25 London Assembly members whose job it is to hold the mayor to account. The Mayor’s office and the London Assembly together form the Greater London Authority, responsible for transport, policing, planning, culture, environment, health, fire and emergency services and economic planning in London.

In the run up to the 2024 London elections, The Chiswick Calendar is interviewing contenders for the South-West seat, which covers the three boroughs of Hounslow, Richmond and Kingston.

The Conservatives have chosen Chiswick Gunnersbury ward councillor Ron Mushiso as their candidate, who is hoping to appeal to voters because of his life experience.

Ron’s campaign materials for London Assembly election feature an enlarged version of his name, with Conservative Party branding conspicuously minimised. Ron admits retaining this seat, which has always been held with a comfortable majority by a Conservative, is going to be a tough battle – not least because the unpopularity of the Tories at the national level are making it much more difficult to campaign.

When we spoke, Ron signalled that if he is elected, he would be lobbying for an expansion of stop and search powers for the Metropolitan Police. He also said he wants to scrap the Ulez, which he says is “unfair”,but he also wants to use any funds raised from non-compliance charges towards re-opening Hammersmith Bridge.

Read my interview with Ron below.

The Chiswick Calendar’s interview with Ron Mushiso – Conservative Party

Could you give voters a bit of background about yourself?

“I moved to London when I was 12 from a small village in Uganda called Bududa. What’s interesting about that is that I didn’t see anyone of a different race to me, or cars or electricity or anything like that until after my 10th birthday basically.

“So it was a really big shift to go from a village where I had no shoes, no running water, we had no electricity to then be thrust into south-west London. Obviously learning a new language was difficult, making friends at school and all that kind of stuff.

“I was 12 when I got here, but it was a bit of a weird journey. I left my village at 10, but I went to Kenya, went back to Uganda as we were working out paperwork to bring me to London which took two years. The reason why I came to London was because I was witness to a murder, my grandfather and also my mum had died four months earlier. My grandad got hacked to death by machetes.

“My life was basically in danger, but luckily my dad was already living in London with his wife and his two kids, so they sent for me to give me a fresh start.

“I arrived in London in ’93, and by the end of ’94 I was placed in foster care. At the time of my arrival they were investigating my step mum [accused of ] abusing a house-girl that we had at the time, basically modern day slavery type thing, it was that sort of investigation. So when I arrived Social Services … got me out of there.”

That’s sounds like it was quite a rough childhood Ron, is your upbringing what inspired you to get involved in politics? 

“Yes, actually yes. What inspired to get me into politics was actually the fostering. When I was being fostered they used to try and get us to help in the community, like help out in your local youth club, things like that. By helping others you help yourself.

“I started doing that from the age of 15, helping out at social services youth clubs and stuff. But I also started coaching rugby because I was coaching rugby professionally from aged 17 until 21. When I was playing rugby we would also go to schools, primary schools, and teach them about healthy living and give them tickets to come to our matches.

“Both of those things combined got me interested in doing community work and helping out. So when I fully went away from rugby and went to university, I carried on doing a bit of coaching, giving back. I helped doing a bit of coaching on the council estate I was living Brentford, I was into that helping phase.”

And what drew you to the Conservative party?

“It’s the fact that I found a party that was looking to promote personal responsibility, I felt that I had the safety net of having the welfare state help me through social services and I’m thankful for that – which by the way happened under a Conservative government.

“I was not thankful of seeing experiences of fellow looked-after children, who were not taking responsibility for their actions who were very dependent on the state. I thought the best way to help somebody, like the best way to help the village in Uganda, is not to send them loads of money is to actually equip them with the ability to do things for themselves, and I think that’s more long-lasting.

“I learned that through, I have a half-sister in Uganda. I paid for her upbringing paid for and her schooling, she was younger than me and an orphan because our mum had died. It actually didn’t work out for her as well because she was so dependent on my support, it was only when I took a step back that she took responsibility and now she’s flourishing. She’s 36-years-old, still living in Uganda but doing really well.

“The reason I’m Conservative is because of that, so people can [take] responsibility into their own hands. Yes, be helped I agree with that 100%, but that help should be geared towards self-sufficiency.”

So what can you tell me about your candidacy for the SW London assembly seat?

“Certainly I think I have to pay homage to the people who have gone before me, Tony Arbour and Nick Rogers. They are exemplary public servants and I’m standing on the shoulders of them.

“My candidacy is about giving a unique voice at City Hall who can say they have a story like mine and there’s no-one at City Hall who can articulate the struggles they’ve been through and how they can translate that into ways they can help some of the most vulnerable people through the other side.

“My campaign really is that that I am a unique voice on this, I have experience as a teacher, not many GLA members are teachers. I have experience helping others and bringing people up, I think I can take that background, of coaching, and bringing people who are not well-performing wise in sports to make them better. I would like to be a role model to especially young men who are struggling with law and order and so on.”

The seat has always been held by a Conservative, do you expect to retain the seat?

“No, I think it’s going to be tough. It’s going to be a challenge. I think it would be, what’s the word, very boisterous of me to think that this is a dead set. It’s going to be a very big challenge, we have some excellent candidates. I can’t name them unfortunately, but I know Labour has a fantastic lady candidate. We’ve got the Leader of the Council in Richmond. It’s going to be a tough one.

“I think all I can do is stay positive, keep doing what I’ve been doing because that’s who I am and let the best person win.”

What are people saying on the doorstep to you? Has the Government made it easier or harder for you to be campaigning?

“As a serving government it’s always going to be tough on the doorstep, to defend, to attack. I think we are being attacked by our opponents because it’s so easy to do. But when you actually speak to people on the door step and you explain, you are not the government. You are the GLA candidate and explain what the London Assembly does, once people get that message it’s actually quite easy to have those conversations.

“I think the hard bit is when people can’t help but read the national news, and think a Conservative stands at the door they think “Well, that’s the Government”. They’re really very different things. So what I’ve been saying is you’re voting for the guy who’s going to be your voice. You’re not voting for the government.”

Did you see that video that was released the other day by CCHQ (Conservative Campaign Headquaters), it was a video about Sadiq Khan’s London. They used the phrase that Sadiq Khan had “seized power”, London has been taken over by crime and that there were ULEZ patrols keeping people indoors. A couple of Conservative MPs have attacked that ad and disowned it, do you endorse what was said on it?

“I haven’t seen it, but they’re saying that he seized power?”

Effectively yes, the last two times Sadiq Khan was elected they’re saying he seized power.

“I haven’t seen it, but I don’t like that phrase very much. This is a democratic country. He won the election fair and square in 2018 and 2021. I hope we have a fair and square election again in 2024. But I haven’t seen the video so I can’t really comment.”

What do you think you can achieve as an Assembly Member, as at it’s heart its a scrutiny role?

“Shedding light on issues. I think I will be in a much better position to shed light on issues. The first one being Hammersmith Bridge, that needs to be reopened ASAP, and we need to be on top of that.

“I’ve just listened to a recent training session for what GLA elected person can and cannot do, and I think putting issues like that front and centre will be important.

“The second thing, which was actually going to be my first thing until I got this training course, was to say to many many residents that stop and search is a good policy. It does work, lets not hide around the bush. It does work, and actually when you look at some of the data of young black men who have been stabbed and killed by other young black men, stop and search actually saves lives.

“I think its a bit prejudiced of us to say that stop and search is targeting young black men, it isn’t, it’s actually helping to save lives of young black men. I can be the one to actually say that because I am that young black guy who could have easily been a victim or a perpetrator. 58% of people in young offenders institute had a looked-after background – I could have been one of those people.

“I think stop and search needs to be front and centre for London. We have to get it in a much better place than it is right now.”

Anything to say about Ulez?

“Yes, I think Ulez is unfair. The mayor has done it without a mandate. He’s rushed it without a mandate and he’s done it deliberately because he knew it wouldn’t be an election winner.

“It’s unfair because it penalises people who want to use their cars, now they have to pay £12.50 per day. We were going in a direction anyway of people buying cars that are less pollutant and hybrid and so-on. He’s just whacked this on even though his data says it wasn’t necessary.

“I would like to use that money to fix Hammersmith Bridge, the money he has raised. But I would scrap that straight away because we are going in a direction of cleaner cars.

“Cars are important, they’re the lifeblood of London. I love cycling but I still need my car.

Why are you a better choice than any of the other candidates and do you have anything to say about the other contenders?

“I wish them well because I hate negativity, I wish them well because they seem too me like good candidates.

“Why am I different? I’m different because I’m in touch with the youth of our area, who are the future of south-west London. I get good and honest feedback every day from young people who tell me what they like and not like.

“I am different in that I’m a teacher, I’m from a fostering background, I’ve lived with six different families in south-west London and one of those candidates can say that they’ve lived with six different families in one patch of south-west London. None of them can say they also have two dads, my foster dad and my biological dad – both still alive.

“The guy with two dads, six different foster homes, seven including my original family. So I have loads of experience of living in south-west London.”

2024 SW London Assembly elections: Interview with Labour candidate Marcella Benedetti

Labour Party’s candidate for the SW London Assembly seat Marcella Benedetti

“I think people in the south-west are ready for a change and I think they’re ready to vote Labour”

The Mayoral elections take place on Thursday 2 May. Sadiq Khan is defending his record, and up for election also are the 25 London Assembly members whose job it is to hold the mayor to account. The Mayor’s office and the London Assembly together form the Greater London Authority, responsible for transport, policing, planning, culture, environment, health, fire and emergency services and economic planning in London.

In the run up to the 2024 London elections, The Chiswick Calendar is interviewing contenders for the South-West seat, which covers the three boroughs of Hounslow, Richmond and Kingston.

Marcela Benedetti is standing for the Labour Party, a Latin-American-European who has lived in London for 16 years. Marcela brings her skills as a barrister working with victims of domestic violence. The role of the London Assembly is to hold the Mayor’s office to account and she thinks her experience as a barrister would be useful in that role.

She says people in Chiswick have told her on the doorstep they are are hungry for change, and she believes many will vote Labour. She hopes she will work closely with the incumbent Mayor of London to deliver and expand on what she has described as the successes of his time in office: free school meals, tube fare freezes and reducing air pollution across London.

Marcela also hopes to be working closely with a Labour Prime Minister in the not-too-distant future.

During our interview I quizzed her on ULEZ, shoplifting in Chiswick and what she thinks are the most important pressing issues facing Londoners – and what she’ll be doing about them if elected.

Read my interview with Marcela below.

The Chiswick Calendar’s interview with Marcela Benedetti – Labour Party

Could you give voters a bit of background about yourself?

“I have been living here for 16 years. I arrived in the UK and in southwest London, that was my first home and my only home, but I am originally from Argentina. I was born and grew up there but my mother is a Bolivian. My great grandparents were Italian immigrants to Argentina at the end of the 19th century. So I’m coming from a family of immigrants, we have moved around the world.

“Moving to the UK was a choice, looking at the UK from South America I thought this was a country with a lot of values and opportunities that were really attractive to me. Even though I didn’t speak English when I first arrived, so it was a bit of a challenge

And what’s motivated you to run for the London Assembly?

“Well it’s together with my story, what motivated me to get into politics was that when I was a baby there was a military coup, my dad was a prisoner, he was a political prisoner and we as a family suffered quite a lot.

“He was later released and we needed to move internally in the country to to small city where I grew up for security and safety reasons. I witnessed the coming back of democracy when I was a child, there was big party and my family was very political, my dad was a local councillor there. By the time I was 12, 11, I was knocking doors with my dad and I was helping with local politics.

“But when I made the decision to move in the UK, I didn’t speak, as I say, didn’t speak the language and after a while when I learned the language and I was settled and all of that, I wanted to participate in politics.

“So I went to my first political meeting and what happens? A Tory councillor said that migrants of the first generation didn’t have the right to participate in politics. So, I thought, you know, back then, I thought that was true, I went back to focus on my child and focus on my job in the domestic abuse sector.

“In that journey I met another councillor and his accent was stronger than my accent, so I thought I can participate in politics and I joined the Labour Party.

“In terms of the Assembly, the south-west is my home in London and as given me so much and now that I feel I have the tools and I feel like have the experience and I’m in a good moment in my life to represent and to give back all the good things I received, me and my family received, from the south-west.

What issues do you see are the most pressing ones facing southwest Londoners

“Yeah, that’s a good question because I’ve been knocking doors and one of my favourite things as a politician is to be able to be knock doors and talk to people, so I’m listening to their concerns but also to things they enjoy.

“I think the number one concern in almost every household is the cost of living crisis and I think that is true for everybody in different of the same issue. That is one thing that is a number one concern.

“I think that I another the concern is, in terms of what platform I’m standing, I think the the free school meals that the Mayor planned and has been supplying for to all the state Primary School children is making a huge difference for those families as well as the freezing of the TfL fares, that is making a huge impact.

“I was thinking for example with myself, some years ago those two policies will have made a huge difference in my life, when I was a single mother working full time in central London looking after my son…

“So I’m standing in a platform that is helping families to go through the crisis.

“But another thing that is very close to my heart as well is the pollution in the river, all over our constituency we are so lucky we have such beautiful places to walk along the river and green spaces. I hear in Chiswick it’s the best place to watch the Boat Race at Chiswick Pier – I haven’t been there to watch the boat race but maybe next year if I am a representative for the south-west it would be great.

“And also [the issue of sewage in the Thames] is important for families around here and important for me as one of my favourite things to do is to walk around the river. So that’s another thing I would like to put to Sadiq and to push him for the cleaning of the river.”

With regards to pollution, let’s talk about air pollution and Ulez, other candidates have complained about ULEZ and have said that it hits poorer households the hardest, what would you say to that critique and would you say there’s anything that could have been done to mitigate that impact?

“I think that Ulez as a public health issue, it is important. I was lucky to meet the mother of the little girl who died [due to] air pollution, and after having a conversation with her I was absolutely convinced that was the right decision to make.

“I think that the Mayor has put Londoners first with the scrappage scheme, so that everybody can apply for a car that is compliant, and he has heard people and amplified that for every Londoner now so everybody can apply for that.

“But if we look the statistics, we will see that only one in ten cars in London are not compliant. But I think it was the right decision to make, it was a difficult decision and I understand the concerns of some people but I think it was the right decision.”

On to police reform, how would you assist with Sadiq’s plans for police reform? I’m not sure whether you’re familiar with any of our reporting on shoplifting and the increase of shoplifting locally, how do you think police reform can assist with that problem?

“I think that, I like because Sadiq always talks about the causes of crime and not only the impact of crime, it’s just we have to look at crime in a more holistic way. If we are seeing an increase in certain crimes we also have to look at the causes. We have to see that in the last 14 years, all public services have had huge cuts including the police.

“We in the past have had community police where we would have known their names, they would have kept an eye on the local area – that was cut and one of Sadiq’s pledges is to put more community police in the streets.

“But also it is really important to remember that a the Conservative Government has cut youth services and youth clubs a lot, and it’s something Sadiq wants to invest in as well. That is an issue very close to my heart because I work in domestic abuse, so I work with crime all the time and I’ve saw first hand how those cuts, in those public services, have made it almost impossible for women and children fleeing abuse to be able to do it…

“The MOPAC, which is the Mayor’s policing service, has done an absolutely great job in keeping alive small organisations providing support to young people, but also to victims of domestic abuse, hate crime, trafficking and so-on.”

Can you tell me a bit about your role role in the domestic abuse organisation that you work with?

“I am a barrister by training in South America and when I came here I joined the voluntary sector, where I have been working for 15 years now. As I told you I didn’t speak English but I really wanted to do something and I found this organisation that supported Latin-American women living in the UK, so I started to work with them and at the same time able tolearn the language and going into a master’s degree, which I did in London.

“I was working for them for five years then moved to a national organisation, I’ve been working in the front line, I’ve been managing services, I’ve accompanied clients to court, I’ve been in training, working with the police and training different organisations about domestic abuse and other forms of violence.”

The seat has been traditionally by a Conservative since its inception, do you think this time around they’ll be unseated? What are people saying on the doorstep?

“Yes absolutely, the seat has always been Tory, I haven’t met any of my previous AMs, but I think people are looking for a change absolutely. I think people are looking for a change at the national level and that an impact what is said on the doorstep.

“I was just out knocking doors in Chiswick and was having conversations with neighbours there and they were welcoming of Sadiq’s all of policies, they were happy to vote for him and to give him their support again. They were happy to meet me as well and have a conversation with myself. I think people in the south-west are ready for a change and I think they’re ready to vote Labour.”

But what difference do you think you can make, realistically, as an Assembly member? As it is a scrutiny role, we’ve spoken about the cost of living and pollution in rivers, what difference can you make?

“As I said before I am a barrister so I have been trained to ask difficult questions in difficult circumstances, I think I am really well placed to ask those difficult questions to organisations. Transport for London, the Metropolitan Police, adult education, all those questions to deputy mayors and to the Mayor himself I think our job as Assembly Members is as you say scrutiny, and we need to be prepared to make those difficult questions.

“But I also think we are the ones who will be advocating for people in the south-west. I think it’s time for the south-west to have a Labour AM who will work close with the Mayor and also close hopefully with the future Prime Minister and we can help put the south-west on the map together.”

My final question will be why are a better choice than your fellow candidates

“I am, first of all I really believe in representation, as I told you before I really believed politics was not for me because I was told that until I met somebody who sounded like me. I think representation is important and I would be the first every Latin-American-European AM in history and we do have a huge community of Latin-Americans and Europeans living in London they deserve to have representation. That is something.

“But also I have a lot of experience, I have had other jobs in my life. I also have a lot of energy that I want to put onto this, this will be my full time job, it will be an absolutely honour to represent the south-west people and I will be humbly taking that honour.

“I also would like to say so many women, and some men, will recognise this. I have wanted to do this for a while but I had a small child and now my child is out at university and now I have all my time for the job and I think the people of the south-west should have a full time Assembly member that will be a full time Assembly member to not have other responsibilities and to focus on the job.”

2024 SW London Assembly elections: Interview with Liberal Democrat candidate Gareth Roberts

Liberal Democrats’ candidate for the SW London Assembly seat Gareth Roberts

“At the moment, what we do tend to get particularly from the Conservatives is opposition for opposition’s sake”

The Mayoral elections take place on Thursday 2 May. Sadiq Khan is defending his record, and up for election also are the 25 London Assembly members whose job it is to hold the mayor to account. The Mayor’s office and the London Assembly together form the Greater London Authority, responsible for transport, policing, planning, culture, environment, health, fire and emergency services and economic planning in London.

In the run up to the 2024 London elections, The Chiswick Calendar is interviewing contenders for the South-West seat, which covers the three boroughs of Hounslow, Richmond and Kingston.

Gareth Roberts is standing for the Liberal Democrats, as he did in the 2021 elections. As the Leader of Richmond Council since 2018, Gareth says his many years of experience in local government qualify him for the job.

As an Assembly Member, Gareth hopes offer constructive criticism to the new mayor, the bookies favourite being Sadiq Khan. Gareth says the Conservatives, who have comfortably held thee seat since it was created in 2000, have squandered the opportunity to properly represent their constituents.

During our interview, I asked what would Gareth’s constructive criticism as an Assembly Member look like, and how he would approach tackling issues such as the shoplifting epidemic in Chiswick.

Read my interview with Gareth below.

The Chiswick Calendar’s interview with Gareth Roberts – Liberal Democrats

Could you give voters a bit of background about yourself?

“I’m the Leader of Richmond Council, Leader of the council since 2018. We took control of the council then with I think 39 councillors and we held control of the council in 2022. We now have 49 out of the 54 councillors on the council.

“Local government experience, good local government background and similar platform to what we were standing on on before.”

And what is that platform?

“Well it’s experience first and foremost, whilst I would like us to have a Lib Dem mayor, I think it’s odds on that it’s going to be Sadiq Khan that’s going to win. If you go down Ladbrooks at the moment you can get 12 to one on Susan Hall, and 33 to one on Sadiq Khan, so yeah every 33 quid you put down you get a pound back, so it looks as though it was going to be Sadiq Khan.

“So what we really need for the London Assembly are people who are experienced politicians, people who are experienced in London Government people are experienced in leadership and people who will be able to offer challenge to Sadiq Khan, but at the same time constructive challenge. Because at the moment, what we do tend to get particularly from the Conservatives is opposition for opposition’s sake.

“You don’t get people who are wanting to work with the mayor at the right point, but also challenge the mayor when he needs challenging. From the Conservatives all you get is opposition opposition opposition, with very little nuance going on there and you can see that from the campaign they’re running at the moment.”

Which policies of Sadiq Khan’s would you offer constructive criticism and what would you have to say?

“Well the key thing at the moment that most people have said that I’ve been speaking to is crime and the current state of the police. The Met police, as we all know, needs reform and Mark Rowley is leading that reform.

“But at the same time I think we also need to make sure that MOPAC, the Mayor’s Office of Police and Crime is also reformed because all of these issues that have been happening with the Met Police have been happening on their watch and the question, is where has the scrutiny been? Where has the oversight been? Where has the challenge been?

“It seems to have been largely absent and, you know, I find it really quite astonishing that we’ve had Sophie Lindon in post as the Deputy Mayor for Policing for all of this time, with going on and she is still in post.

“It just feels absolutely extraordinary to me, I mean, you wouldn’t find the mayor resigning but you would expect there to be some senior heads going within MOPAC, as you’ve seen within the police, Cressida Dick for example had to stand down as a result of some of these scandals.”

I’m not sure whether you saw some of our reporting over the last few months to the last year, but there’s been basically an epidemic of shoplifting and it’s a nationwide trend. How would you approach that on the London Assembly?

“We need to ensure that the the Mayor’s hiring enough ward officers, we need to make sure that we give Sir Mark Rowley the complete support, which we have been giving in Richmond-upon-Thames, about his policy for returning to frontline neighbourhood policing. We need to ensure that we’re getting the the the ward officers recruited we need, need to ensure that we’re getting the PCSOs recruited, we need to give far more support to PCSOs.

“Because, at the moment, there is um this rather unfortunate perception, people call them plastic policemen and they’re not they have a they have a wide range of powers, they’re widely respected in the local area, they’re the boots on the ground we need to make sure that we’re getting them in place, we need to make sure that we’re getting the ward officers in place, the full police officers, and we also need to make sure that they’re not getting taken away from their local area with the same policy of abstraction every five minutes.

“You’ll find police officers from Hounslow, Richmond and Kingston will be taken out of their local area and sent up to Central London to police protests and all manner of things. That needs to stop, it needs to stop draining the resources from Greater London into the centre.”

What is your opinion on Ulez?

“Ulez was the right policy just at the wrong time. When Ulez was first mooted back in 2017 I think it was, the idea was that it was either going to go to the North and South Circular or it was going to go to the London Boundary.

“Those people who lived within the North and South Circular were going to get Ulez no matter what, because obviously they lived within both of the areas it extended to. Because it wasn’t this question should we expand Ulez, it was we are going to to expand Ulez where are we going to expand it to?

“So those people had about four years to prepare, they had about four years to decide how they were going to change their car, if they needed to car in the first place, they have lots of opportunities. Also within the immediate Ulez expansion area, the first expansion, they had really good public transport for for the vast majority of the of the first expansion area.

“Now when they expanded for the second time, people were given about nine months and it came as a shock, so people didn’t have that time to transition, they didn’t have the time to change.

“The scrappage scheme, which we always argued needed to go far further and be much more generous, it wasn’t a universal scrapple scheme until about three weeks before Ulez was about to go live. So there were plenty of people who changed their car who would have qualified for the scrappage scheme and now they feel aggrieved because they weren’t taken care of.

“It was definitely the right thing to do, to try to improve London’s air quality, but what we need to do is to bring people with you on journeys such as that, and the way in which the mayor handled the second expansion it was it was amateur to be frank.

“He should have really taken a look, found out what people needed, found out how it was going to affect people, deliver or give concrete examples of how public transport was going to be improved particularly with the buses before bringing in the next phase.

“If he given people two years, for example, to prepare I think he would have had a far easier round of it.”

The south-west London Assembly seat has been held by a Conservative since its inception, do you think this time around they will be unseated? What are people saying on the doorstep?

“Well, it’s been held and ignored for the last 24 years by the Conservatives. Tony Arbour spent very little time on his job as the assembly candidate and Nick Rogers has been invisible despite promising that he would be “fresh new voice”…

“People are saying on the doorstep is that they do want somebody who is going to champion them. They want somebody who is going to go to City Hall and fight their corner, that’s what they need.

“People are very angry with Labour, particularly in Hounslow, with the handling of the whole Gaza issue. We’re finding lots of disquiet about that. We’ve been very clear with our policy, Layla Moran’s been knocking it out of the park for the Lib Dems on this, we need to have a bilateral ceasefire, release of hostages and humanitarian aid getting into Gaza straight away, there can’t be any discussion on that, that that just needs to happen.

“People are finding Labour’s position to be weak, and not supportive of ceasefire. People are finding that they haven’t seen their Conservative Assembly Member. He came in just three years ago, as I say promising to be the fresh new voice, when you ask people ‘Who’s your Assembly Member for south-west London?’, they can’t tell you.”

So what difference do you think you can realistically make as an assembly member, especially with regards to what you just mentioned on Gaza?

“Well what we need to do is to ensure that people who want to be heard, are heard. The role of the assembly member is is relatively limited, particularly on things like Gaza, and but they want to have voices from their elected representatives.

“The Mayor will speak out on many many things which are not within his remit whatsoever, but seems to have been vaguely, I don’t know whether he’s been towing the the Labour line too much on this, but he speaks out on the EU quite happily at every opportunity, but on this particular issue what they would want is somebody who is is not going to be afraid to speak, who is not going to be trammelled within narrow party confines, somebody who will be their local representative.

“Whether it’s going to be on matters which are directly relating to City Hall, or wider issues. Because, councils and council leaders we often have opinions and are asked for opinions on matters which are not necessarily within the confines of what we do as councillors.”

And why are you a better choice than your fellow candidates?

“So first and foremost it’s experience. Been a councillor since 2010, so that’s 14 years of local government experience, six of those as a leader. I sit on various panels and bodies, such as the Royal Parks board for example, I’m a trustee of the Royal Parks. I’m one of the London Councils liaison members for MOPAC and the Metropolitan Police, which they used for the the London Crime Reduction Board, which Sadiq Khan scrapped quite recently, but we still have our voice in there.

“I’m used to tackling the difficult issues, this is what we do as a council what people do as a council leader every day. Whether it’s the cost of living crisis, whether it was standing up for residents during Covid, whether it was making sure that those people who need the support financially through both of those things got that support, delivering excellent quality school places, all of these things. It’s that experience, it’s over a decade within local government.

“Because as I say Sadiq Khan is going to win, barring you know an absolute miracle for Susan Hall to come up on the inside, so what people will need need what people will need is somebody who’s going to be able to fight him on his own level.

“Just letting people in who are going to go for Labour, Labour have been spineless in the last three years on the Assembly. They’ve said nothing, they’ve just been there like nodding dogs and they’ve just you know, nodded through everything through that the mayor has wanted to get through.

“The Conservatives have been ineffective because they just comment everything from a position of oppose, oppose, oppose what you need to have are other parties, other voices on the Assembly who will oppose when necessary, but offer that constructive challenge to make things better for London.

“I always go back to this idea that right at the very beginning of the London assembly, 2004 there were far more voices, it wasn’t just this binary red and blue blocks, with a bit of green and a bit of yellow scattered around the edges.

“There was I think at one point about five Lib Dems on the Assembly out of 25. At the very beginning, real change happened so you got things like the congestion charge came in, the Olympics was successfully bid for and delivered when there were more voices working together to make things better for London. That’s what needs to happen again.”

2024 SW London Assembly elections: Interview with Reform UK candidate Steve Chilcott

Reform Party’s candidate for the SW London Assembly seat Steve Chilcott

“People are dispossessed by all the parties”

The Mayoral elections take place on Thursday 2 May. Sadiq Khan is defending his record, and up for election also are the 25 London Assembly members whose job it is to hold the mayor to account. The Mayor’s office and the London Assembly together form the Greater London Authority, responsible for transport, policing, planning, culture, environment, health, fire and emergency services and economic planning in London.

In the run up to the 2024 London elections, The Chiswick Calendar is interviewing contenders for the South-West seat on the London Assembly, which covers the three boroughs of Hounslow, Richmond and Kingston.

Steve Chilcott is Reform UK’s candidate for the London Assembly. Having worked in HR for most of his professional life and having never been involved in politics before becoming a candidate for Reform, I asked Steve why he found the right-wing populist agenda enticing.

In 2021, Reform polled at just 1.6% in London’s local elections and the SW London Assembly election, but national polls in 2024 put them at a close third to the Conservative Party and they are on at least 5% in London-wide polls.

During our interview, sticking with the party’s line, Steve said ULEZ should be scrapped and efforts to reduce toxic air pollution in London are a waste of time, amounting to a stealth tax on the poorest Londoners. He criticised the record of City Hall on policing, as well what he described as the failure of the Opposition in holding the Mayor to account. Steve says proper scrutiny is what he can offer.

Steve goes as far to question whether the office of the Mayor of London and the London Assembly are worth having at all.

Read my interview with Steve below.

The Chiswick Calendar’s interview with Steve Chilcott – Reform UK

Could you give voters a bit of background about yourself?

“I’m 54, separated, teenage son currently doing GCSEs. Grew up on the south coast and moved to London in 2000 so I’ve been here 24 years now. Studied biology at University of Bath then did a post-grad in Human Resources at Portsmouth university and have worked in HR now for most of my adult life across lots of different sectors.

“Previously lived in Chiswick near Gunnersbury Station, but currently now live in the borough of Ealing where I’ve now lived for the last 13 years.

“Never previously been involved in politics, never stood for election before this is my first time…

What’s motivated you to run for the London Assembly?

“Initially I was appointed by Reform to be a parliamentary candidate and I applied for that process, they actually asked me if I’d be interested in being a GLA member so I thought absolutely why not?”

What was it that enticed you to stand for Reform?

“In the past, throughout my adult life I’ve supported all different parties, I supported the Lib Dems at one point, I voted Labour in the past. But I like a lot of people are, am fed up with the sort of status quo in our political world in Britain. It’s a two horse race with our first past the post system we just swing from Tory to Labour to Tory.

“I think they’ve both left and forgotten their grass roots, whether its the Labour Party forgetting the working people that they originally stood for or the Conservatives forgetting they’re actual conservatives…

“The one thing George Galloway said that I completely agree with is that they’re different cheeks of the same backside. I just don’t think they understand where most people are and what most people’s concerns and thoughts are.”

What do you see as the most pressing issues facing Londoners, or the most pressing concerns?

“I think lots of things, I think ULEZ is of particular concern particularly in the outer boroughs like we are here in the south-west. I think a lot of people who do use cars are often at the lower-pay end or are pensioners.

“I think that what seems to be a continual attack on the car driver is one very big issue, obviously ULEZ being a large part of that. But not just ULEZ, LTNs, 20-MPH limits, the continual narrowing of roads and frankly the increasing congestion that we see in Chiswick and going on in Brentford as we speak.

“Another big issue is crime, crime has just being going up and up and up. Particularly violent crime and sexual based crime, both in Hounslow the borough of Chiswick and across London.

“I think people are worried that there’s not an awful lot going on, police station are being closed, stop and search is reduced and the crime levels just go and up and up and the London politicians, in their actions, don’t seem to be tackling it or accepting that it’s a big concern to people.”

With regards to ULEZ, what would you change about it, how do you feel about it? Is it a worthwhile policy or do you think there are things that need to be tweaked?

“My personal view and the view of my party and certainly the view of Howard Cox our Reform mayoral candidate, is that should be scrapped in its entirety. It is a tax on the poor, it is an additional tax, it is an additional source of income generation.

“Luckily the air in London has been getting significantly cleaner since way before ULEZ was even thought about, I don’t think the claim that is made that ULEZ is anti-pollution and is a health measure, I simply do not believe and I don’t think they have the statistics to show that. It is another tax ultimately to fill a massive chasm in TfL funding which has got a huge black hole in its funding. It’s another way of getting more money off of us. It’s a tax and it’s a regressive tax a Labour leader has introduced.

“I think it’s astounding, a Labour Party formed for the working people, for people that are at the lower end of the pay spectrum. The rich people with two Rolls Royce, paying the ULEZ charge to them is of no consequence if their car is not compliant, the only people it hurts is the lower paid people.”

What do you have to say about the report which found that toxic-air pollution was reduced thanks to Ulez, and do you think that air pollution is an issue?

“We know Sadiq Khan put pressure on the university that released that data because he wasn’t happy with what the conclusion was. I don’t think there has been definitive evidence that Ulez has had an impact on cleaning the air in London. Hasn’t Sadiq Khan apologised that data will not be made available until after the election? Well there’s a surprise.

“I refute the claim that there is data that Ulez has had any significant impact on cleaning the air pollution.”

Moving onto police reform, if you have read any of our reporting on shoplifting in Chiswick, it’s a national trend. How might Reform approach the issue?

“Well certainly to ensure the police won’t be making it an unimportant crime so they don’t give time and attention to. It seems the police have taken the decision to de-prioritise it, I guess is the word I was looking for.

“It affects all retailers and all businesses, whether they’re big ones like Sainsbury’s and Tesco, it hits them in the pocket but its the smaller businesses where its more impactful. We’ve all seen videos that are Tweeted etc, with people showing their faces walking out with stuff unchallenged and the poor business owners and shop owners can’t do anything about it.

“We do need to look how the police are utilised, the amount of time they spend out on the beat is a very small portion of their time. Community policing seems to be largely non-existent across London now, so I think community policing needs to be increased and police presence needs to be increased.

“We need to seriously think whether it was the right decision to close down all these police stations. Whether we open police stations or just have small access points where people can access police locally is something that might needs to be done.”

And with regards to police reform? There’s been a number of reforms by the Policing Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley, is there anything you would oppose in police reform or suggest otherwise that hasn’t already been suggested?

“The Metropolitan Police force is a vast entity and there does seem to have been to a move towards more centralisation and bigger zones that are managed, I’m not sure that is right.

“Obviously there are certain police services that do need to be looked at from a bigger size, but when it comes down to the majority of crime that does need to be managed locally and I think local leadership of the police is really important.

“They know what the priorities are, they know what the issues are they know what the community’s concerns are. So I think a move back to local policing in London would be a good thing.”

So the South-West London Assembly seat has been held by a Conservative since its inception, do you think this time around they’ll be unseated? What are people saying to you on the door step?

“The south-west Greater London constituency is quite unusual because it’s quite a mixed patch. Hounslow, the council is very much Labour-led, Kingston, Richmond swing between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives.

“What I’m hearing on the door is that people are dispossessed by all the parties. People don’t even know who their constituency GLA members are, I think that’s quite telling in itself. I didn’t know until I looked into it when I knew I was standing.

“The fact that these are just unknown, invisible faces that are supposed to be representing their constituencies is very indicative of the poor state of politics across London. They’re not even known let alone holding the mayor to account which is ultimately the main responsibility of a GLA member.

“I think it will be very interesting nationally, the polls are saying Labour are ahead, the Conservatives are crashing down and Reform are rapidly approaching the level of Conservatives nationally. That according to the polls doesn’t seem to be completely mirrored in London, but the support for Reform is increasing in London but maybe not at the same rate it is nationally.

“I think the biggest thing that will affect this is how many people both coming out and voting. Unfortunately the turnout might be quite low, it might be in the 30s and 40s and democracy suffers when that happens. I hope I and all the other candidates can encourage people to get out and vote.

“I think its down to whether Reform can come to people’s attention. I feel like if we do then people will see we are sensible people who have not necessarily come from the political background but have sensible, practical policies. So that’s the challenge for reform in the coming weeks up to the second of May.”

As you said it’s a scrutiny role, so what different do you think you could realistically make make if you were elected as an Assembly Member

“Hold the mayor to account, Susan Hall herself, who is obviously the mayoral Tory candidate, has been on the GLA for eight years, she charges the Police & Crime Committee. What has she and all of them been doing to hold Sadiq Khan to account? It’s very difficult to see what they’ve done to achieve that.

“In a way it makes me think is what is the purpose of the GLA and the purpose of the London Mayor? Are they serving their purpose or do we need to go back to square one and review these structures and review these roles?

“Are they right for London, are they benefiting London, are they adding value or is just a wasteful additional cost of bureaucracy that achieves nothing more than having “specialists” in charge of these different areas? A policing expert, a business expert or whatever. Because it’s quite questionable at the moment the benefit and the value-add the Mayor of London and the GLA is giving us all.”

My final question Steve is why are you a better choice than your fellow candidates?

“Because I’ve worked all my life in different industries, across different sectors, doing proper work. I am not a career politician. I will listen to people and I will do what my community wants me to do, not being driven by some ideologically driven view. I want what’s best for London and what’s best for Londoners, and I want sensible pragmatic policies that people will want.”

2024 SW London Assembly elections: Green Party candidate Chas Warlow

Green Party’s candidate for the SW London Assembly seat Chas Warlow

It’s absolutely vital that the Mayor ramps up support for home insulation and renewables”

The Mayoral elections take place on Thursday 2 May. Sadiq Khan is defending his record, and up for election also are the 25 London Assembly members whose job it is to hold the mayor to account. The Mayor’s office and the London Assembly together form the Greater London Authority, responsible for transport, policing, planning, culture, environment, health, fire and emergency services and economic planning in London.

In the run up to the 2024 London elections, The Chiswick Calendar is interviewing contenders for the South-West seat, which covers the three boroughs of Hounslow, Richmond and Kingston.

Chas Warlow is one of five Green Party Councillors who made history to become the Official Opposition on Richmond Borough Council at the last local elections in 2021. He, and the “ambitious” Green Party are hoping to building on what they describe as their “impressive” electoral performances in London.

The Chiswick Calendar has tried to contact Chas and the Green Party on numerous occasions for an interview but have yet to secure one.

Chas has issued a statement on the WhoCanIVoteFor website about his candidacy platform, which is so far all we can report on for this series of interviews.

If we manage to interview Chas, this page will be updated.

Statement by Chas Warlow – Green Party

“I was elected in May this year – it was a huge moment for us collectively and I’m very proud of my colleagues and all our members who worked so hard to help us get elected. In my work as a councillor I’m focusing on pushing the Council to do all it can to help residents insulate their houses and install low-carbon technology like solar panels. As a group, we have been pushing for our Council to become a registered social landlord so that we can insist on the highest standards of energy efficiency of future housing.

“We’ve also made sure that our Council gives more help to residents on low incomes. Before I became an active member of the Green Party I used to be involved in a lot of community projects like a hydro power project on the River Thames, and running energy advice projects to help people save money on their energy bills andcut carbon emissions. I also ran projects to help residents in Lewisham and Greenwich get grant funding for vital upgrades to their insulation and heating systems. Now I work for a renewable energy company that installs solar pv and electric vehicle chargepoints.

“If I get elected to the London Assembly, I’ll use that experience to build better policy and better outcomes for Londoners. I’m focusing on these areas because I have knowledge and experience that would be vitally useful for our team of Assembly Members. It’s absolutely vital that the Mayor ramps up support for home insulation and renewables.

“I got into politics because I saw that we need a positive vision in government at all levels. In the Green Party we share a common purpose to build a sustainable way of life, to preserve the planet’s biodiversity and resources, to create a future for future generations. It’s that positive vision that people are crying out for – because we all know that time is running out. Please give me your vote in the South West constituency at the 2024 London Assembly elections.

“London Assembly Member and former co-leader of the Green Party of England & Wales Sian Berry has given this endorsement:

“Chas is a committed and multi-talented Green, with a fantastic way with words, a strong record of working hard as a councillor, plus real expertise in green energy and transport. We need to get more people with his kind of experience on the London Assembly in 2024 and I would love to gain him as a colleague.”

Interview with theatre and film producer Robert Fox by Torin Douglas for The Upper Room series of winter talks

Images above: Some of Robert Fox’s many productions; Robert Fox Limited

Where to start?

On Thursday I’m interviewing the charming and extremely well-connected theatre and screen producer Robert Fox (The Crown, Another Country, The Hours, Iris, The History Boys, The Lady In The Van, Chess, Lazarus, Atonement, A Voyage Round My Father…) and, perhaps not surprisingly, given the range of his work, I don’t know where to begin.

Maybe start with his famous family?

The Fox dynasty is theatre and acting royalty: Robert’s elder brothers are the actors James and Edward; he is uncle to Emilia, Freddie and, yes, Laurence; and his father Robin Fox was theatrical agent to the stars in the 1950s and 60s.

There is even a distant connection to the legendary Ellen Terry, though a report that the theatrical producer Cameron Macintosh is his uncle is not true – which makes me also doubt the story that his mother Angela (nee Worthington) was the subject of Noël Coward’s song “Don’t Put Your Daughter on the Stage, Mrs Worthington!”

Images above: (Top row) Edward Fox; James Fox; Emilia Fox – image BBC; (Bottom row) Freddie Fox; Laurence Fox; Robert Fox

A life in theatre and film production, with a string of award-winning titles to his name

Or perhaps I should start by asking why he gave up acting after only a year?

He became a producer instead, working for Michael White Limited on shows including A Chorus LineAnnie and The Rocky Horror Show. He formed Robert Fox Limited in 1980 and his first hit was a farce, Anyone for Denis, at the Whitehall Theatre, based on the ‘Dear Bill’ letters in Private Eye, and written by John Wells (who played Denis to Angela Thorne’s Margaret Thatcher).

Images above: Early successes for Robert Fox Limited

In 1984 Fox produced Another Country by Julian Mitchell, based on the life of the spy Guy Burgess – in which Rupert Everett, Kenneth Branagh, Daniel Day-Lewis and Colin Firth all made their West End stage debuts.

He formed a lifelong friendship with Everett, and last year produced him in the Theatre Royal Bath production of A Voyage Round My Father, directed by his longtime collaborator Richard Eyre.

And 40 years after he first met David Bowie, Robert Fox produced Lazarus, the musical of The Man Who Fell to Earth – taking it from planning to production in just 12 months, knowing his good friend had only a limited time to live. After Bowie’s death, he wrote a moving tribute in British Vogue.

So maybe I should ask him which are his favourites of the many actors, directors and writers he has worked with?

Images above: Benny Andersson and Tim Rice talking about Chess on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show

Working with all the great names of British theatre

There have been so many memorable productions: Chekhov’s The Seagull starring Vanessa Redgrave, Jonathan Pryce and Natasha Richardson; Chess by Tim Rice, Benny Anderson and Björn Ulvaeus; Lettice And Lovage by Peter Shaffer starring Maggie Smith;

Anything Goes starring Elaine Paige; Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? starring Diana Rigg; and A Delicate Balance, with Maggie Smith and Eileen Atkin; The History Boys by Alan Bennett, directed by Nicolas Hytner, with Richard Griffiths, Frances de La Tour, James Corden, Dominic Cooper and Russell Tovey, which won numerous awards in London and on Broadway;

The Blue Room on Broadway starring Nicole Kidman and directed by Sam Mendes; Closer written and directed by Patrick Marber; the World Premiere of Alan Bennett’s The Lady in the Van starring Maggie Smith and directed by Nicholas Hytner;

Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker starring Michael Gambon; David Hare’s The Breath of Life starring Judi Dench and Maggie Smith; Peter Morgan’s Frost/Nixon starring Frank Langella and Michael Sheen; and The Audience by Peter Morgan, starring Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II, directed by Stephen Daldry.

And then there are the films.

Image above: Dame Judi Dench and Jim Broadbent in Iris (2001); photograph IMDb

Making films with some of the best film actors and directors both here and in the US

A Month By The Lake starring Vanessa Redgrave, Edward Fox and Uma Thurman; Iris directed by Richard Eyre starring Judi Dench, Kate Winslet and Jim Broadbent (who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor); 

The Hours starring Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore, directed by Stephen Daldry with a screenplay by David Hare; and Notes on a Scandal starring Dame Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett & Bill Nighy.

Fox was also Executive Producer on Another Country starring Rupert Everett and Colin Firth, Closer, directed by Mike Nichols starring Julia Roberts and Atonement from the novel by Ian McEwan, directed by Joe Wright.

Image above: Meryl Streep and Jeff Daniels in The Hours (2002); photograph IMDb

Put your questions to Robert Fox

Then again, maybe we should just start with The Crown, the multi-award-winning Netflix production for which Fox was executive producer over six series?

Maybe I should ask him exactly what is that an executive producer does?  Which of the different art forms he prefers? And what is the future of theatre, film and television in these difficult economic times?

Image above: Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench in Notes on a Scandal (2006); photograph IMDb

If you’ve got your own thoughts about the questions I should ask Robert Fox, please let me know by emailing me at torindouglas@gmail.com. Or come along in person to St Michael & All Angels Church on Thursday and put up your hand when we ask for questions from the audience. Or simply come and enjoy our conversation in a very good cause, raising money for The Upper Room charity.

The Upper Room Winter Lecture with Robert Fox is on Thursday April 11 at 8.00pm in St Michael and All Angels Church, close to Turnham Green tube station.

Entry is free (but you are encouraged to book a seat here on Eventbrite and to add a financial contribution to support the work of The Upper Room. You can do so at the event, or by visiting the Donations page on their website.

Torin Douglas is the Director of the Chiswick Book Festival. The Upper Room supports homeless people in west London.

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Cache of paintings of Chiswick found, painted by once-celebrated artist Heather Jenkins

Image above: Portrait of Heather Jenkins by Marjorie Jenkins

Heather’s treasure

By Robert Eagle

A treasure trove of watercolour paintings of Chiswick by a once celebrated local artist who died last year has been discovered by her daughters, who had no idea they existed. They are now debating what they should do with more than 40 works, most of which feature locations in Chiswick, Kew, Richmond and the Thames from around 50 years ago.

Heather Jenkins, who was 95 when she died in March 2023, showed artistic promise from an early age. After studying at St Martin’s in the late 1940s and marrying a fellow student, she worked in the theatre, becoming the chief scenery painter at Sadlers Wells.

Image above: Strand on the Green by Heather Jenkins

When the births of her children brought that career to an end, she worked from home, striding out daily with her easel to paint locations close to home.

“She was a strong woman,” her daughter Tina recalls. “Her work at Sadlers Wells was often very physical and she had developed a strong right arm!”

But it was a deft wrist rather than strong arm that she employed to best effect in her watercolours.

Image above: Kew Pier by Heather Jenkins

From her home it was barely a five-minute walk to favoured locations on Strand-on-the-Green or the other side of Kew bridge, where she returned time and again, occasionally venturing to Richmond, to record the light playing on the river, bridges and brickwork in different weathers and times of day.

And when family obligations kept her at home she focused on her garden and views of the backs of neighbouring streets and houses in Oxford Road South.

Image above: Oxford Gardens from Oxford Road South – Heather Jenkins

Her devotion to the local landscape played well with a growing number of admirers. In the 1970s she was having exhibitions of her work in galleries (now sadly gone) in Chiswick and Richmond Hill.

“I remember people coming round to our house to buy pictures too,” recalls her daughter, Tina, who now lives in Twickenham.

But while Tina and her sister Karen knew their mother was a painter, she seldom showed them her work or invited them into her little studio. “It was her private place,” says Tina. The only paintings on display were by their grandmother, Marjorie Jenkins (Heather’s mother-in-law), who had also been an accomplished artist in her day.

Image above: Low tide at Strand-on-the-Green – Heather Jenkins

As she grew older, Heather’s health became less robust and her eyesight was blighted by cataracts, eventually leaving her unable to accomplish much more than simple daubs of flowers that she could barely still see clearly.

Her daughters had by now left the family home, and though they often visited Heather, she never mentioned the pictures she had stashed away years ago in a cupboard at the back of her studio. These would only come to light when Tina and Karen began sorting out Heather’s estate last year. A few of the works are framed; most are simply watercolours on paper.

Image above: Thames Path, Kew – Heather Jenkins

The daughters are now in a quandary about what they should do with them. “They are all we have left of her,” says Tina. “I’m not sure we’d feel happy about selling them; and while we don’t want to hide them away, parting with them would be painful.”

While sympathising with the daughters’ dilemma, I feel sure that readers of Chiswick Calendar might enjoy seeing Heather Jenkins’ work for themselves. So I have included here a few from her portfolio. A wider selection will be posted on my website at roberteaglefineart.co.uk.

Image above: Interior Oxford Road South – Heather Jenkins

Robert Eagle is an art dealer who lives and works in Chiswick.

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