Three men charged with murder following death of Tyler Donnelly

Parents urged to vaccinate children against measles as number of cases surges

Image above: A child infected with measles

England has seen 347 confirmed cases of measles in the last four months

There has been a surge in measles cases among children across the UK, and London’s health providers are sounding the alarm, urging parents to prioritise vaccination against the highly contagious disease.

Over the last few weeks, there has been a concerning rise in measles cases, says LB Hounslow’s health team, with 347 confirmed cases reported in England in the last four months alone, according to government figures.

Speaking to The Chiswick Calendar, Kelly O’Neil, Director of Public Health for the LB Hounslow said while there hasn’t been a community outbreak of measles since 2022 in Hounslow, it was important to remain vigilant:

“The last community measles outbreak in Hounslow was in 2022, and while we haven’t had any outbreaks this winter, we have been responding to individual cases and family clusters of measles. We will remain vigilant as we have seen an increase in outbreaks in neighbouring London boroughs.”

Measles, characterised by symptoms such as cough, runny nose, rash, sore red watery eyes, and fever, poses a significant risk, particularly in environments such as classrooms where unvaccinated children are present. Ms. O’Neil warned:

“In a classroom of children, it’s highly likely that one case of measles will affect all unvaccinated children.”

Image above: Hounslow’s Director of Public Health Kelly O’Neil

Imperative children are vaccinated against measles, says Hounslow’s Director of Public Health

Highlighting the importance of vaccination, Ms. O’Neil stressed that it was “vital” children be up to date with both doses of their MMR vaccinations, to avoid getting ill and spreading measles to other children.

The MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, is safe, free, and highly effective. Ms. O’Neil encouraged parents to check their child’s vaccination status and ensure they are up to date.

“If your child has missed one or both doses of the MMR vaccine, please make an appointment with their GP to get up to date with their vaccinations.”

Hounslow’s Public Health team has been putting out the message by engaging with communities in schools and early years providers, to raise awareness about measles and the importance of vaccination. Ms. O’Neil explained:

“We are constantly working to increase knowledge around MMR so that we can combat any misinformation that prevents people from vaccinating their children.”

Addressing concerns about vaccine hesitancy, Ms. O’Neil added:

“It’s also never too late to get vaccinated, so we are encouraging people to catch up with both MMR doses if they missed out themselves when they were young.”

If parents have any questions or concerns, they are encouraged to reach out to Hounslow’s Public Health team at publichealth@hounslow.gov.uk for guidance and support.

Lyric Hammersmith sees”unprecedented” number of auditions for FANGIRLS musical

Image above: Fangirls on stage in Australia – Photograph: Dayna Ransley

Over 2,000 people applied and 600 auditioned for the play

The Lyric Hammersmith Theatre recently hosted auditions for the Australian musical, FANGIRLS, with over 600 aspiring performers auditioning over a two-day span.

Co-produced by Sonia Friedman Productions, the sought-after auditions welcomed people without professional representation, although actors with representation could also apply through Spotlight.

The demand for the open call was “unprecedented”, with over 2,000 applications flooding in from artists across the nation, from Bristol to Aberdeen. Auditions were conducted in groups of 25, allowing participants the opportunity to showcase their singing, dancing, and acting skills before a seasoned panel of professionals.

Guiding the audition process were esteemed figures including FANGIRLS’ original and returning director, Paige Rattray, Casting Director Lotte Hines CDG, Imogen Brodie from Sonia Friedman Productions’ Head of Creative Development, and Lyric Associate Director, Nicholai La Barrie.

Unlike traditional auditions, the specific role being sought was not pre-defined, fostering an atmosphere where the attending performers could potentially influence the casting decisions for the musical’s upcoming UK premiere scheduled for July.

Image above: Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith

FANGIRLS to hit the stage in July

Rachel O’Riordan, Artistic Director & CEO of the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, said:

“Working alongside Sonia Friedman Productions and the creators of FANGIRLS, Yve Blake and Paige Rattray, to make these auditions as open as possible has not only been a delight, but – at a time when pathways into the industry might seem few and far between – also felt absolutely essential.

“A huge part of the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre’s ethos has always been to remove barriers to engagement for young people, so we’re thrilled we could offer this opportunity to over 600 people, including those not currently represented by an agency.

“FANGIRLS is a vibrant, hugely loved Australian musical. Alongside being able to mount its UK premiere, the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre and Sonia Friedman Productions wanted to give auditionees the opportunity to influence the casting process to bring the production a fresh, UK-orientated DNA. We’re excited for the next steps of the casting process and to see how these open call auditions feed into the final decisions.”

FANGIRLS hits the stage at Lyric Hammersmith from Saturday 13 July – Saturday 24 August 2024

Acton man charged with importing £10m worth of cocaine inside bananas

Image above: unboxed bananas which appear to be partially covered in cocaine

Cocaine bananas seized at Portsmouth International Port 

Three men, including one from Western Avenue in Acton, are to appear in court today (31 January) having been charged with importing cocaine which was discovered in two shipments of bananas.

The drugs were found by Border Force officers at Portsmouth International Port on 20 and 26 January.

The two shipments were traced to an address in Acton where Met Police officers made three arrests.

Nathanael Colado-Jiminez, 30 of Western Avenue, Acton along with Jose Manuel Perez De La Cruz, 37 of Thomson House, Beckway and Ronny Sierra Guerrero, 34 of no fixed address will appear at Uxbridge Magistrates Court.

UK Border Force officers searched the shipments and discovered the drugs, with a street value of £10m, hidden within the cardboard packaging. Metropolitan Police specialist crime officers helped to gather further evidence and their investigations led them to an address in Acton where they arrested the three men.

Det Ch Insp Lewis Sanderson, whose team is leading the investigation, said:

“Working closely with UK Border Force has been integral in acting so quickly and arresting those suspected of these offences.

“I have no doubt these drugs were intended to be sold across London and beyond. By working together we can dismantle large-scale drug networks who profiteer from vulnerable people and cause misery.”

Image above: Dozens of boxes of cocaine bananas

London boroughs urge Government to continue providing financial support for families

Image above: Cash library image

Fund helps support almost 500,000 children

London boroughs are urging the Government for the continuation of the Household Support Fund, described as a “lifeline” for thousands of London’s schoolchildren and families. Over the past year, the fund has provided essential aid to a staggering 472,000 children in London during school holidays, alongside emergency food support extended to 218,000 families.

A recent survey conducted by the local government association London Councils highlights the profound impact the fund has had on Londoners.

In London, where the high cost of living weighs heavily on low-income families, the fund has played a critical role in addressing these challenges. According to London Councils’ recent Survey of Londoners, 75% of residents identify the cost of living as the most pressing issue facing the city.

The Household Support Fund, which amounted to £135.7 million in London for the 2023/24 period, has empowered London boroughs to offer tailored assistance to residents based on their specific needs.

  • Provision of meals for 472,000 children during school breaks.
  • Emergency food aid for 218,000 families.
  • One-off payments for essential items like food, clothing, and utilities, as well as for replacing crucial household appliances and school uniforms.
  • Financial support for support and advice workers aiding with long-term issues such as housing, employment, and debt.
  • Funding for voluntary and community sector organizations to deliver services and support.

Despite its evident impact, the Government has yet to confirm whether the Household Support Fund will be renewed for the next financial year. London Councils is urgently calling for the continuation of funding at existing levels for 2024/25, stressing the importance of prompt confirmation to prevent job losses and disruptions in essential service provision.

Impact of the fund is “life-changing” says London Councils deputy chair

Cllr Claire Holland, Deputy Chair of London Councils, said:

“The life-changing impact of the Household Support Fund is clear. London boroughs have put the £135.7 million fund to good use, providing meals for thousands of children during school holidays and giving low-income families a precious lifeline to help them get back on their feet, whether that involves covering a gas bill or paying for school uniforms.

“As our most vulnerable residents continue to face high living costs, we are calling on Government to continue the Household Support Fund and confirm this as soon as possible. Then boroughs can get on with the job of transforming lives by delivering support where it is most needed.”

A Harrow resident who attended the Conversation Café, a welcoming and safe drop-in session funded by the Household Support Fund said:

“I found out so much and everybody was so welcoming and helpful. I spoke to a CAB (Citizens Advice) officer, and she helped me and has given me so much helpful advice and I will be back. Thank you all for your kindness.”

Two men sanctioned for plotting to kill Iranian journalists in Chiswick

Image above: Sima Sabet and Fardad Farahzad alleged targets in the ‘Wedding Plot’

Two people accused of plotting to attack journalists at Chiswick Business Park among seven sanctioned by US & UK over threats to national security 

The UK and US governments have sanctioned seven Iranian officials, including two accused of orchestrating a plan to target two journalists at Chiswick Business Park. Mohammed Ansari, affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – Qods Force, and Muhammed Abd al-Razek Kanafani have been identified as key figures in the alleged plot.

The scheme, dubbed the ‘Wedding Plot’, aimed to harm two employees of Iran International, a Saudi-funded TV station. According to an ITV News investigation led by Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo, Ansari and Kanafani were implicated in coordinating threats against the journalists. Evidence including video recordings and text messages exchanged between the two shed light on the plot during the autumn of 2022.

‘Ismail’, a former people smuggler with ties to the IRGC, disclosed details of the plan to Western intelligence agencies. Kanafani, linked to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, reportedly initiated the orders, indicating ties to Unit 840, a clandestine group within the IRGC responsible for targeted attacks on Iranian dissidents and regime critics abroad.

Originally intending to deploy a car bomb at Chiswick Business Park, the perpetrators adapted their plan due to heightened security measures. Instead, they aimed to carry out knife attacks outside the journalists’ homes. But thanks to a timely intervention by security services, based on intelligence provided by ‘Ismail’, measures were put in place to safeguard the journalists.

The Foreign Office denounced the Chiswick plot as part of a broader pattern of Iranian aggression targeting British nationals and UK-affiliated individuals. At least 15 such threats have been recorded since January 2022.

The UK’s response includes asset freezes and travel bans on the seven sanctioned individuals, adding to over 400 existing sanctions imposed on Iranian entities and individuals in response to human rights violations, nuclear proliferation, and global destabilisation efforts.

Iran poses “unacceptable threat” to UK security

Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron said:

“The Iranian regime and the criminal gangs who operate on its behalf pose an unacceptable threat to the UK’s security.

“Today’s package exposes the roles of the Iranian officials and gangs involved in activity aimed to undermine, silence and disrupt the democratic freedoms we value in the UK.”

Home Secretary James Cleverly said:

“The Iranian regime has tried to undermine our democracy through repression – we will continue to take action when necessary to protect our country, values and freedom of speech.

“We cannot allow foreign regimes to collaborate with criminals to threaten us. Sanctioning these criminal networks working for the Iranian regime will remind them that we will fight back.

“My priority is to protect our people and to defend our way of life, and the UK will not tolerate threats from the Iranian regime.”

The Home Office wants Chiswick Hothouse Cafe’s license revoked for employing illegal workers

Image above: The Hothouse Cafe at 448 Chiswick High Rd

Cafe owner fined twice for employing illegal workers, in 2019 and again in 2023 – fines totalling £55,000

The owner of the Hothouse Cafe on Chiswick High Rd, Samy Amer, is applying to renew his license to serve alcohol, but the Home Office has written to Hounslow Council’s Licensing panel asking the Council to revoke it. Writing to support Mr Amer’s application, his accountant says if the Council cancels his licence ‘he may have no other choice but to close.’

The cafe currently serves alcohol from Sunday to Thursday between 11am and 11pm, and until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. Several of his customers have written to the Council saying what a great place it is, with a friendly relaxed atmosphere and Karaoke, but Mr Amer has been raided twice and caught both times employing staff who do not have the right to work in the UK, and he has been found to be paying them below the minimum wage, which is also an offence.

One woman, who worked eight hours a day for six days a week, (48 hours) was paid £220 per week, which works out as £4.58 per hour.

‘A firm response to this criminal behaviour is required’

The Immigration Enforcement team at the Home Office visited the Hothouse Cafe in September 2019 and found four women working there illegally. They visited the premises again in June last year and found an Algerian man working there as a chef, who did not have the right to work.

Publishing the documentation in preparation for the Licence panel hearing on Tuesday 6 February, the Home Office gives details of the five illegal workers’ employment conditions. They describe Mr Amer as ‘a repeat offender’:

‘We have grounds to believe the license holder has failed to meet the licensing objectives of prevention of crime and disorder’.

They point out that the use of illegal labour provides an unfair competitive edge and deprives the UK economy of tax revenue, and conclude:

‘A firm response to this criminal behaviour is required to ensure that the licence holder and/or its agents are not allowed to repeat the exercise and in particular, in the interests of the wider community to support responsible businesses and the jobs of both UK citizens and lawful migrants.’

Image above: Application registration card belonging to one of the four people working illegally at the Hothouse Cafe in 2019, showing very clearly that they were not allowed to work

2019 visit discovered four illegal workers

The cafe was initially visited by Immigration Enforcement in September 2019 where four women were identified as working illegally: two behind the counter, one in the kitchen preparing food, and a fourth who had been working as a cleaner.

One said she had been working for about four weeks on the weekends prior to the enforcement visit.

‘She stated that she was paid £7 per hour in cash by the owner. She claimed that she presented her ARC card (Application Registration Card) before she was offered the job. She confirmed that the manager knew she was not allowed to work.”

The second woman, who was paid £4.58 an hour, said she had not shown any identification to gain employment.

The woman working in the kitchen had entered the country ‘clandestinely’ by boat. She said she had been working for nearly two months and had yet to be paid, and her employer had not asked to see any documents.

The fourth woman had been working as a cleaner for over a year and was paid £7 an hour. Mr Amer said he was not aware she did not have the right to work.

Mr Amer was fined £40,000 in 2019. He appealed against the decision, but it was upheld and he paid the fine in full.

Image above: Home Office Enforcement officers took a photograph of the chef working illegally, but did not reveal his identity in their submission

2023 worker ‘presented French passport’

In June 2023 the West London Immigration, Compliance and Enforcement team went back to the Hothouse Cafe, with a licensing officer from Hounslow Council. They found an Algerian national working as a chef, who they said appeared very nervous: ‘shaking hands, avoided eye contact.’

Home Office records showed no lawful record of entry to the UK. He had an outstanding appeal, but did not have the right to work. He said he had been working at the Hothouse Cafe for 18 months, sometimes paid by cash, sometimes by bank transfer, not paying tax or National Insurance.

Mr Amer said he had been shown a French passport and that he had only been there two weeks. Then he said he had been there only one day.

The Algerian chef (not named by the Home Office) said:

“Samy has helped me to obtain a job here. I know him for a long time, and he is my friend.

“He asked me but because I was only coming to help. I did not provide any right to work or immigration status documents.”

On that occasion Mr Amer was fined £15,000. He objected, but the decision was upheld.

We asked Mr Amer for his comments and he said: “It’s all lies.”

We asked why in that case he had paid the fines. He told us his solicitor had advised him that if he had challenged it, he would have had to pay a lot more.

“Easy to check”

Employers have to check that everyone who works for them has the right to work, including British people. Those who are not British have to prove they have settled status. They are given a ‘share code’ which employers can easily look up online on the Home Office website.

We asked an employer in the hospitality industry how easy it was to check if a potential employer had the right to work here.

“It’s very easy to do” he told us. “You search for the share code and it tells you whether they are verified to work, the ‘valid to’ and ‘valid from’ dates, and whether there are any conditions – people here on a student visa are capped at 20 hours a week, for example.

“Since Brexit, everyone has been made very well aware that you have to check.”

Cllr Joanna Biddolph among those supporting Samy Amer

Cllr Joanna Biddolph

There are a number of Mr Amer’s customers who have written to the Licensing panel to support Mr Amer. There are 28 supporters whose comments appear in the documentation for the panel, describing a ‘friendly atmosphere’ and a ‘good service’.

It is variously described as ‘a great local bar which supports the community’ and ‘a beautiful hub for the community’.

‘Revoking the license of the restaurant would not only be unjust to the owners and staff, but would also deprive the local community of a valuable and cherished establishment.’

The names are redacted, but one supporter who does give her name is Cllr Joanna Biddolph, who writes:

‘He had an application from someone whose documents (such as passport and visa) later turned out to be fake. When he discovered this he paid the fine immediately, recognising the seriousness of the situation and wanting to rectify it. I understand he now has more robust systems in place to check the legality of potential employees.’

‘As this is a first, and that I am as certain as anyone can be that it will not happen again at Hothouse Cafe, I think it would be very harsh for a licence to be refused after one unintentional breach. I support the renewal of this licence.’

Update on Thursday 1 February: Cllr Biddolph says she made her comments without reading the Home Office report in full

The Opposition group of Conservative councillors on Hounslow Council have sent The Chiswick Calendar a statement from Cllr Biddolph, saying she has withdrawn her support for Mr Amer’s licence application.

“I made my comments without having read the Home Office report in full”, she said.

“I realise not reading the report in full is an error and an embarrassing one. I was shocked and visited the licensee wanting to know the background. On 22nd January, on receiving the papers for the panel hearing, I read the Home Office review and immediately wrote to the licensing department to say that I was reviewing my position.

“Later that day I said the Home Office report changed my position. I spoke to, then messaged and emailed, the licensee to say that I could not support him. That remains my position.

“As a fellow human being, I remain concerned for the licensee’s mental health and his future and have contacted him a couple of times to see how he is. This is entirely separate from the fact that I cannot support his behaviour as outlined by the Home Office.”

Part time job fair, Wednesday 21 February

Image above: Richmond American University, London – building 12 at Chiswick Business Park

Calling all employers looking for part time workers

Much is made of the labour shortage. Particularly in the hospitality industry, the difficulties in finding and retaining staff post Brexit are legend. Richmond American University London would like to point out they have a pool of willing labour, aged 18 – 25, on our doorstep.

They are organising a part time jobs fair on Wednesday 21 February at their campus in Chiswick Business Park, and if you are looking for part time staff you are invited to come along. You will be able to talk to the students who are there looking for work.

The job fair will take place in the main reception area of the campus, in building 12 at the Chiswick Business Park, between 12.00 and 2.30pm. If you are not able to be there at that time, perhaps  because that is your busiest time at work, you can contact the organisers who will put your details on their bulletin board as a local employer looking for staff.

The university has students from all over the world. They have to attend classes on campus, so they live nearby. Having moved in to Chiswick Business Park during the summer of 2022, the university careers office is looking to build their connections with the local community.

While it would be great for their students to gain experience in a field in which they want to develop their career, they also need to earn a bit of money to live on while they are studying, so the whole range of part time opportunities is of interest.

Image above: Students in the reception area at the campus at Chsiwick Business Park

As they are on student visas, they are able to work for 20 hours a week during term time. The university runs on American semesters – September to December and then January until May. Many of them would also be available to work full time over the summer.

They have biometric residency permits, making it easy for potential employers to check their work status, and as they are all over 16, there are no legal safeguarding issues. Students are also able to work here for two years after they graduate, so potentially a local employer who takes someone on could have them on the staff for several years. Typically they are studying four year liberal arts degrees.

Each year the University organises a number of careers events, which are open to students from every discipline and level of study. These events are an opportunity to plan the next steps in students’ careers, develop their employability skills and meet employers.

“We look forward to welcoming a range of employers of various sectors to advertise their vacancies and boost their brand recognition,” says event organiser Maria Theodosopoulou.

For the event itself you can just turn up, but you are also encouraged to contact the university’s careers service about this and other events they have coming up, at

careerservices2@richmond.ac.uk

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Two new art exhibitions for spring 2024 at Pitzhanger Manor in Ealing

Contemporary art amidst historical elegance: discover Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery’s newest exhibitions

Guest blog by Isabelle Carey

As winter blankets West London, Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery has become a beacon of warmth and creativity with the unveiling of two new exhibitions by artists, Alice Irwin and Sinta Tantra.

Opened on January 24, 2024, the exhibitions, Alice Irwin: Chinwag and Sinta Tantra: The Lightclub of Batavia, offer a fascinating juxtaposition of contemporary art within the historical setting of Pitzhanger Manor, the Grade-I listed former residence of renowned architect Sir John Soane.

Image above: Alice Irwin: Chinwag. Photo by Aston Law. © Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery

A Glimpse into Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery’s Legacy

Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery stands as a living testament to the visionary genius of Sir John Soane (1753–1837), one of Britain’s most influential architects.

Acquired by Soane in 1800, the Grade-I listed manor was transformed into his idyllic country estate, showcasing his mastery of neoclassical design and innovative use of natural light. Following an extensive £12-million restoration project, the gallery reopened in spring 2019, meticulously restored to Soane’s original vision.

Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery promotes Soane’s legacy by juxtaposing his timeless architecture with contemporary art exhibitions, inspiring creativity through outreach and events.

Pitzhanger Manor. Photo by Andy Stagg. © Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery

Welcoming Alice Irwin and Sinta Tantra

Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery welcome the newest exhibitions, Alice Irwin: Chinwag and Sinta Tantra: The Lightclub of Batavia. Both exhibitions, while distinct in their approaches, share a common thread of dialogue between contemporary artistic expression and Sir John Soane’s historic legacy.

Alice Irwin: Chinwag takes centre stage in Pitzhanger Gallery, marking a significant milestone in Irwin’s career as her first major exhibition in a London-based public gallery.

The exhibition, curated by Svetlana Panova, immerses visitors in a realm of youthful creativity, blurring the boundaries between print, sculpture, and drawing. Irwin’s innovative use of materials is showcased through her Peeps series—boldly coloured 3D figures inspired by childhood experiences.

Drawing inspiration from Pitzhanger’s history, the exhibition playfully questions the social norms of Soane’s era, presenting a dialogue on the evolution of social structures over time.

Image above: Alice Irwin: Chinwag. Photo by Aston Law. © Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery

In parallel, Sinta Tantra: The Lightclub of Batavia unfolds across the historic Pitzhanger Manor, offering a visually striking journey through Tantra’s geometric paintings and sculptures. Part of Pitzhanger’s Artists at Home series, the exhibition explores themes of light, wealth, and the duality of beauty and colonialism.

Tantra’s fascination with gold, symbolising energy and extraction, adds a historical and cultural layer to her works. The pieces, including six new works from her miniature painting series, interact seamlessly with Soane’s architecture, redefining the viewer’s perception of space and history.

Hosting Alice Irwin and Sinta Tantra simultaneously at Pitzhanger is an exciting venture. Continuing the tradition of giving a platform for contemporary artists across Pitzhanger — just as Sir John Soane did, set up a fascinating dialogue between new and old and makes us look at the classical artchitecture in a new way.

Together, these exhibitions enrich each other, offering more than their individual parts and inviting visitors into a world where art and history intersect.”

Image above: Sinta Tantra: The Lightclub of Batavia. Photo by Aston Law. © Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery

Accompanying Talks and Events

Complementing the exhibitions are talks and events.

Pitzhanger Late: Triple Exhibition Tour on February 1, 2024, offers guided tours of ongoing exhibitions, providing insight into the creative worlds of Irwin, Tantra, and Tim Bret-Day’s photographic exhibition, Echoes & Idioms. This unique evening promises an intimate exploration of art and history.

Additionally, an artist’s talk featuring Alice Irwin and Thomas Marks will delve into the intricacies of Chinwag, exploring themes of social interaction and the human experience. The conversation unveils how Irwin’s art playfully questions social norms of Soane’s era, creating a dialogue on the evolution of social structures over time.

For more information, please visit: pitzhanger.org.uk

Isabelle Carey is Executive Assistant to the Director at Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery, Ealing Green, London W5 5EQ.

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Remembering gay history in west London

Image above: Roebuck pub, Chiswick High Rd

Who remembers the Birdcage?

The Birdcage pub was a well-known gay pub in Chiswick, before it was rebranded as a family gastro pub and became The Roebuck.

The barman at the Birdcage was David Morley, who lived upstairs. He had been barman at the Admiral Duncan in Soho when it was attacked with a nail bomb, which killed three people and wounded around 70 more in 1999.

Five years later he was beaten up on his way home after a night out in a vicious and unprovoked attack near Waterloo station, and died of his injuries. Four youths from Kennington went to prison for manslaughter. It is important to remember people like David, known as ‘Cinders’ and widely regarded as a lovely man who would help anyone.

Image above: Aubrey and Joe from West London Queer Project

West London Queer History project

West London Queer Project wants to remember the gay history of west London and capture it before it is forgotten.

“We turn to local archives which can hold old newspaper articles, leaflets, advertising, photographs, letters and more to help us celebrate, remember, and understand progress made over the years. But LGBTQ+ history is currently not well represented in archives, which tend to focus mainly on the AIDS epidemic or the legalities of being gay, or there no material at all,” says Aubrey Crawley, founder of the West London Queer Project.

He would like to celebrate LGBTQ+ History month with an exhibition showcasing west London’s “diverse and colourful queer history.

Having scoured the archives he has found: “there is very little documentation or history on lesbian women, non-binary, black, ethnic, or trans members of our community.

“We want to celebrate the joy, love and community that has existed so that our full history is not forgotten.”

The West London Queer Project need your memories and memorabilia

“I’m calling for a West London shout-out to anyone willing to share their memories of life in West London, documents, pictures, or anything that could be donated to the local LGBTQ+ archive collections” says Aubrey.

There are four events taking place throughout February to mark LGBTQ+ History Month and members of the public are welcome to join in.

  • Thursday 8 February, 6 – 10.30pm at The Chelsea Theatre – Let’s Make History film screening, Q&A and Queer Tango performance
  • Saturday 17 February, 6 – 10.30pm at The Ealing Project – Pride film screening, Q&A and After Party
  • Monday 19 February, 1 – 4pm at Hounslow Council – Annual LGBTQ History Month event with guest speakers and community groups
  • Thursday 29 February, 7 – 10.20pm at The Fulham Library – LGBTQ+ History Month Quiz Tutorial hosted by drag act Beary Poppins

Submissions for the archives can emailed to info@wlqp.org, taken to one of those four events in February for photocopying or scanning, or you can take them to Hammersmith Library (W6 7AT) on Monday & Tuesday between 3-5pm.

The West London Queer Project (WLQP) has partnered with the London Boroughs of Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Hounslow, and Kensington & Chelsea to promote awareness of LGBTQ+ history and the importance of capturing memories and telling stories.

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Chiswick gets its own colouring book

Colour Your Streets – 16 images of Chiswick to colour in

A company called Colour Your Streets has created a series of colouring books of areas of London. The latest in the series, just published, is of Chiswick.

Jeremy Weil and his wife Emma came up with the idea while Emma was on maternity leave with their second child. Wandering about Brixton and Herne Hill, where they live, they were taking photographs and thought how nice it would be if they could turn them into a colouring book for their first child.

“It happened by accident” Jeremy told The Chiswick Calendar. “We just thought how nice it would be if we could capture these images and turn the photographs into colouring book images so our five year old could colour them in.”

They consulted a designer, who used available software to translate the outlines of the photographs into line drawings. The colouring book of Chiswick has 16 images, each with a page between them so the colour does not bleed through to the next page.

Image above: Colour Your Streets – Chiswick House

The places they have chosen in Chiswick are:

  • Chiswick House
  • Chiswick High Road
  • Bus depot
  • Chiswick Pier
  • Chiswick Mall
  • Chiswick Station
  • Chiswick Town Hall
  • Duke’s Meadow footbridge
  • Fuller’s Brewery
  • Gunnersbury Park Orangery
  • St Michael & All Angels Church
  • The Mawson Arms
  • Turnham Green Station
  • Voysey House
  • St Nicholas Church
  • Christ Church Turnham Green

Image above: Colour Your Streets – Chiswick Mall

“There is a lot of beauty in the architecture of London”

Why choose Chiswick, and why these particular places?

“There are certain areas which spring to mind; I’ve been to Chiswick a few times.

“We did our first one in October, of where we live. I am a Londoner through and through, and I know different areas of London, so I’ve chosen areas to the north, south, east and west.

“I quickly realised there is a lot of beauty in the architecture of London, so we tend to go for pubs, libraries, green spaces, train stations and bridges, especially those across the river.”

The Chiswick book is number 15 in the series and they have another five in the pipeline.

You can buy the Chiswick colouring book, or any of the others (Brixton, Herne Hill, Clapham, Dulwich, Crystal Palace, East Dulwich, Forest Hill, Hampstead, Islington, Stoke Newington,  Walthamstow and Wimbledon) online. There is also one of London Bridges and in a big of a departure from London landscapes, one of Brooklyn in New York.

Available to buy from their website for £9.99.

colouryourstreets.co.uk

Image above: Colour Your Streets – Chiswick Pier

Image above: Here’s one I made earlier.  Brockwell Lido, coloured in by Jeremy and Emma’s five year old son.

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Three men arrested in Tyler Connelly murder investigation

Police still looking for evidence

Three men have been arrested on suspicion of the murder of 19 year old Tyler Donnelly in Hanworth Park.

Police were called at 7.40am on Thursday 25 January by joggers who had come across the body of an unresponsive man at Hanworth Park. When the police got there they found Tyler, who had been stabbed and assaulted. Tyler was from Feltham.

On Sunday 28 January three men aged 21, 27 and 32, were arrested at different locations in London and taken into custody. The crime scene at the park has now been closed.

Detective Chief Inspector Brian Howie, leading the investigation from the Met’s Homicide Command said:

“Tyler left his home around 9.10pm on Wednesday evening and rode his bike along Elmwood Avenue and at some stage entered the park. He never returned home.

“If you were in the park and saw something, regardless of the reason you were there, please get in touch. Our focus is on what happened to Tyler and who was responsible.

“Similarly, if you were driving through Elmwood Avenue, returning home or out walking, did you notice anything? Did you see anyone else in the park on bikes alone or in a group? Did you perhaps see Tyler, who was wearing dark clothing, riding his grey bike?

“The H25 bus route goes through Elmwood Avenue, were you travelling through this area on Wednesday or in the early hours of Thursday? Did you see Tyler or anyone matching his description?

“Tyler’s family and friends are inconsolable after receiving the worst possible news imaginable – our thoughts are with them and they are being supported by specialist officers.”

Anyone with information or footage relating to this incident can also call police on 101 or Tweet on ‘X’ @MetCC quoting 1197/25JAN.

To remain 100% anonymous call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit crimestoppers-uk.org.

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Garry Diamond, owner of Covent Garden fishmongers in Chiswick, retires after 40 years

Image above: Govent Garden fishmongers closed since Christmas; photograph Hamish Pringle

Speculation over what will happen to the shop

Speculation has been rife as to what is happening with Covent Garden fishmongers in Turnham Green Terrace in Chiswick. The shop did not reopen after Christmas and rumours started about the shop closing permanently and owner Garry Diamond being ill.

Garry, who has run the shop for over 40 years, has now confirmed that he is taking retirement because of illness, but says the shop will reopen soon under new management.

There have been two hand-written signs which have appeared in the shop window. The first said:

‘Due to a well deserved staff holiday + refurb we will be reopening on Tuesday 23rd, or a little earlier if possible.’

As 23 January came and went, another sign was put up, this time saying:

‘Dear customers, just to let you know we are “still fishing” but will be back soon, Jackie and the team x And new management’.

Image above: Messages in the window

A personal mesage from Garry

Garry has now left a message on the shop’s answerphone saying he is retiring through ill health and thanking customers for their loyalty. Here is the message in full:

“With great sadness I need to tell you that due to pretty serious illness I am being forced into early retirement, therefore I personally will not be running the show any more.

“However, after a very well-deserved holiday, Jackie will be back with my good friend and super-qualified fishmonger and new owner in a couple of weeks’ time.

“On a personal note, I would like to thank you for your loyalty over the past 40 years. Wishing you a very happy new year. Over and out.”

 Image above: Garry in November 2022

40 years of fishmongering

Covent Garden fishmongers celebrated 40 years in November 2022. Garry worked with his father, whose Covent Garden stall the shop is called after, for many years, and took over the business fully from him a few years ago.

He had started running his own business selling jeans when he left school, but got involved in running the fishmongers when his father asked him to help out. When his father opened a shop in central London, he wanted Garry to take over his Covent Garden stall. They moved to Turnham Green Terrace after a couple of years.

Like Macken Brothers butchers opposite, the shop in Turnham Green served the locals, while their clients were all over London, as they supplied a lot of the central London hotels and restaurants.

“The road has changed a lot” he told The Chiswick Calendar in an interview to mark the shop’s 40th birthday in 2022.

“There was a lot less traffic and the shop was never empty. It was incredibly busy”.

 Images above: The shop in November 2022

Opening under new management

When he first went to work with his father in the 1980s they had many more customers – perhaps a third more than come into the shop now – but, he told me, his clients now spent a lot more individually.

The business they built up has an excellent reputation, but it has not been the easiest of career choices for Garry – he gets seasick if he sets foot on a boat, and his daughter is severely allergic to fish, so much so that he had to strip off his clothes as soon as he got home and shower before picking her up as a baby.

His business was also impacted by the opening up of the Whistling Oyster in Devonshire Rd, by his former employee and two of their regular customers. Garry told me 95% his clients were repeat customers, so Jackie and the new owner must be hoping that loyalty will transfer to them.

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Musical Museum in Brentford on brink of closure

Image above: The Musical Museum

Fundraiser started with hopes of raising £60,000

The Musical Museum in Brentford is in dire need of financial assistance, and its closure is a distinct possibility. The institution, which has been open for 60 years, has warned that without crucial funding, it may shut down as soon as April this year.

The museum has been a significant attraction for music and technology enthusiasts, boasting a collection ranging from small music boxes to the impressive Mighty Wurlitzer theatre organ. It also houses nearly 20,000 music rolls and other rare artefacts, earning it a five-star rating on TripAdvisor as one of Greater London’s top attractions.

Beyond its exhibits, the museum serves as a hub for various community events, including social gatherings for the elderly, dance classes, theatre workshops, and more.

The Covid-19 pandemic severely impacted the museum’s operations, leading to increased financial strain alongside rising operational costs and energy bills. Despite efforts to reduce expenses, the museum, run by a registered UK charity, faces the risk of permanent closure.

To address this crisis, the Musical Museum has launched an emergency appeal for financial support through a GoFundMe campaign, to cover essential operating expenses such as lighting, heating, and building maintenance.

In a post on their GoFundMe page, the museum’s staff said they had been “very moved” by donations. They added:

“Although we still have a long way to go, we’re really encouraged by the progress to date.”

Furniture retailer Loaf hope to open large store on Chiswick High Road

Image above: Artist’s impression of Loaf at 147 Chiswick High Road

Two applications submitted by the furniture retailer

Furniture retailer Loaf is eyeing the prominent vacant premises briefly occupied by electric bike retailer Fully Charged. At 147 Chiswick High Road, adjacent to the Packhorse and Talbot, the expansive unit is at the centre of two planning applications submitted by Loaf.

The shop chain, known for its range of furniture and homeware, is exploring the prospect of expanding its presence to Chiswick, adding to its existing “Loaf Shacks” in Leeds, Edinburgh, Birmingham, and Battersea.

Established in 2008 under the name The Sleep Room, the brand evolved its focus to sofas and armchairs, backed by significant investment from the founder of Monsoon & Accessorize in 2014.

The proposed alterations to the site include modifications to the shopfront, installation of new signage, and the addition of illuminated displays, as depicted in accompanying computer visualisations submitted with the planning applications.

In response to enquiries, a spokesperson for Loaf revealed that while the site is under consideration for a new store, a final decision regarding its launch is pending.

“This is one of many sites we’ve recently been looking at for a new location, but we haven’t confirmed anything just yet,” the spokesperson said.

The 350.23 square metre unit was for a long time the home of the Sofa Workshop, but financial challenges led to its closure in 2020. Despite efforts to rejuvenate the brand, by March 2022, all but one outlet in the group had been shuttered, including the Chiswick showroom.

Following a period of vacancy, the premises briefly found new life as an e-bike retailer, Fully Charged, in May 2023, but it did not last long.

The prime location, boasting a 61-foot frontage onto the bustling High Road, has been advertised for £150,000 per year.

Mayor scraps peak fares on Fridays in bid to encourage Londoners back onto Tube

Images above: London Underground

Hopes that “Off-peak Fridays” will encourage more people back into the city

London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan has proposed ‘Off-peak Fridays’ on London’s transport network, aimed at bolstering the city’s economic recovery and encouraging more people back into the office.

The Mayor hopes the move, which forms part of broader efforts to revitalise Fridays in the capital, could transform the morning commute for Londoners and provide a much-needed boost to the city’s economy.

Th number of tube journeys taken on the Tube midweek has seen a significant uptick, reaching up to 85% of pre-pandemic levels, with weekend levels already back at 100%. Fridays continue to lag behind, with only around 73% the number of peopple who took Tube journeys pre-pandemic.

Recognising this trend, Mr. Khan has called for a three-month trial starting in March, during which all Tube and rail fares on Fridays will be off-peak.

By making transport more affordable and attractive on Fridays, the initiative seeks to encourage more people back onto public transport and into the city.

Mr. Khan said:

“London is the greatest city in the world. From the bustling office districts to its rich offering of bars, restaurants, galleries and theatres, I want everyone to be able to make the most all week of living or working in London.

“I’m doing all I can to support Londoners with the cost-of-living crisis and to support London’s economic recovery. This includes freezing TfL fares for another year to make transport more affordable for millions of Londoners and to encourage more people to use our transport network.

“But I want to do even more. London has really bounced back since the pandemic, but the lack of commuters returning on Fridays is a clear exception – with a major knock-on effect on our shops, cafes and cultural venues. That’s why I’ve asked TfL to trial off-peak fares on Fridays, and I encourage Londoners to get involved.

“A trial will help us to see if it’s an effective way of increasing ridership and giving a welcome boost to businesses as we continue to build a better, fairer, more prosperous London for everyone.”

Hounslow Council announce plan to turn empty garages into affordable housing after criticism over hundreds of sites left unused

Image above: Empty garages in London; library image

Six sites targeted by report into Hounslow’s housing need

Hounslow Council has approved the transfer of ownership of several garage sites across the borough from Council ownership to a housing association, to make way for affordable housing, after being criticised as one of several boroughs in London  “hoarding” empty garage sites.

According to Government figures published in December 2023, LB Hounslow has 1,382 empty “surplus assets” out of 2,020. These include empty garages, which critics have accused local councils across the UK of holding for unnecessarily long periods of time, exacerbating the national housing crisis.

At a meeting of Hounslow’s Cabinet on Tuesday (16 January), members approved recommendations from a report aimed at addressing the borough’s housing need.

The report outlined changes to the Registered Provider Small Sites Transfer Programme, aiming to deliver 200 units of affordable rented homes across 62 sites. The focus of this report was on six sites, contributing to a total of 37 affordable homes.

The Cabinet approved the transfer of ownership for four existing Council garage sites to Habinteg Housing Association.

In Chiswick, Cabinet members agreed to transfer ownership of the garage block adjacent 25-36 Beaconsfield Close to Habinteg Housing Association for the development of affordable rented homes.

According to the report, residents are expected to benefit from the proposals through the addition of affordable homes, reducing the need for temporary accommodation, and providing a greater choice of housing types and tenures. The construction phases of the developments will also create jobs locally, the report claims.

Pending planning permission, the new housing units are expected to be built between 2024-2028.

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Boy detained in young offenders institution for tripping and killing 62-year old man in west London

Image above: Jerald Netto was described as “a good soul”

17-year-old given a 24 month detention and training order

A teenager from west London who tripped and pushed a 62-year-old man to the ground resulting in his death from a brain injury and heart attack, has been detained in a young offenders institution after confessing to manslaughter.

The incident, which occurred in Hanwell in 2023, involved the then 16-year-old boy causing the death of Jerald Netto.

Now aged 17, he has been given a 24-month detention and training order.

Family members of Mr Netto expressed their dissatisfaction at the sentencing, feeling they had not received adequate justice.

During sentencing at the Old Bailey, Judge Rebecca Trowler KC emphasised the gravity of the offence, stating “custody was the only option”.  The boy will spend 12 months in a young offenders’ institution followed by 12 months of community supervision.

Judge Trowler added Mr Netto was “entirely blameless” in the incident and his death had “caused unthinkable pain and sorrow to those who loved him”.

Mr Netto’s daughter Jennifer has started an online petition advocating for stricter bail conditions for young offenders, after the boy breached his bail conditions but was merely sent back home after being recalled to court.

“The message being sent to the youth is that they can act with impunity, that it is excusable and acceptable to be the cause of a person’s death,” she said.

In his defence, the court heard that the boy, whose identity remains protected due to his age, was immature and had special educational needs. He expressed remorse during a police interview, stating he had no intention of causing harm or killing Mr Netto.

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Murder investigation launched after young man stabbed dead in Hanworth Park

Teenager named as Tyler Donnelly, 19

A murder investigation has been launched after joggers found a man unresponsive in Hanworth Park. He has been identified as Tyler Donnelly, a 19 year old man from Feltham.

Police say he had been stabbed. They have not made any arrests as yet.

Detective Chief Inspector Brian Howie, leading the investigation from the Met’s Homicide Command said:

“Members of the public called us shortly after 7:40am reporting that they’d found a man’s body in Hanworth Park. We now know that the victim is 19-year-old Tyler Donnelly, who was from Feltham.

“Tyler left his home around 9.10pm on Wednesday evening and rode his bike along Elmwood Avenue and at some stage entered the park. He never returned home.

“If you were in the park and saw something, regardless of the reason you were there, please do get in touch. Our focus is on what happened to Tyler and who was responsible.

“Similarly, if you were driving through Elmwood Avenue, returning home or out walking, did you notice anything? Did you perhaps see Tyler, who was wearing dark clothing, riding his grey bike or did you see him with anyone?

“The H25 bus route goes through Elmwood Avenue, were you travelling through this area on Wednesday or in the early hours of Thursday? Did you see Tyler or anyone matching his description?

“Tyler’s family and friends are inconsolable after receiving the worst possible news imaginable – our thoughts are with them and they are being supported by specialist officers.”

An extensive crime scene remains in place at the park. This is expected to be the case for some days to come.

Officers conducting extra patrols

Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson, leading policing in Hounslow, said:

“It saddens me to see another young life so needlessly cut short and I urge anyone who has information about who is responsible to get in touch with the investigation team.

“I know that this incident will be a shock for those living and working in the area and my officers will be conducting additional patrols to provide reassurance to the community.

“If you are worried or have concerns please do approach those officers or get in touch with your local neighbourhood policing team.

“I thank you for your patience and understanding as our specialist teams work at the scene and make their enquiries.”

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FoodSt Chiswick market founder welcomes decision to let the market continue with more stalls

Images above: Food St Market founder Richard Johnson, a stall at FoodSt Market

Founder welcomes expansion of market after what he describes as a “nasty personal campaign” against him

The founder of Chiswick’s Sunday street food market, entrepreneur Richard Johnson, has expressed his relief that he has been given a licence to operate for a further six months, and says he remains optimistic the market will continue to be a success, despite Hounslow’s licensing panel restricting the number of pitches to two thirds of what he had applied for.

Mr Johnson heard on Tuesday (23 January) that the FoodSt market was being granted a six month licence to trade on Chiswick High Rd on the fourth Sunday of the month, after a trial three month period during which time he successfully ran markets in October, November and December.

During the trial period the number of stalls he was allowed to have was restricted to 20, which was not enough, he says, to make a profit. When he applied to renew the licence, he asked if he could expand it to 62 pitches. The licensing panel have said he can have 44 pitches, taking into consideration the objections of a small group representing residents living close to Chiswick High Rd, and a restaurateur with an established businesss on the high road.

At the licence panel meeting last week several opponents spoke out against his application, opposing it on the grounds of the potential for litter, damage to Hogarth’s statue and competition to existing food businesses.

READ ALSO: Chiswick street food market given licence to continue

Speaking to The Chiswick Calendar, Richard said he is determined to make the most of the situation and told us the conditions imposed would merely require a few administrative tweaks on his end.

“It just means I need to be clever about the way I use the generator. If I could run it as all gazebos, then I could make a profit. But I think the kind of market I want to run would feature food trucks; I think it’s an important part of what this movement is showcasing.”

The license allows for an expanded 44 pitches in Old Market Place, the car park area between Linden Gardens and Devonshire Rd, and an additional 10 pitches, subject to specific conditions, including the width of the licensed area. It also requires FoodSt to provide litter management.

The number of allocated pitches does not directly correlate with the number of food stalls there would be, as some need more space than others, especially if they are using a food truck. Richard acknowledged the challenges but stressed the significance of obtaining approval for the food market.

“The key thing is that we got approval; the Council saw the virtue of what we were doing after a nasty personal campaign.”

Image above: Crowds at the Food St Market in October

Richard Johnson says he hopes to work in collaboration with local businesses and address legitimate concerns

Reflecting on the successful trial period, (with no objections from Council officers who had monitored it), Richard highlighted positive feedback and the cleanliness they had achieved during the three autumn markets.

“The trial couldn’t have gone any better; there were glowing reports of how clean we left Chiswick. We left Chiswick cleaner than it was when we arrived in terms of litter, and we did ourselves credit.”

Regarding the opposition from the one local retauranteur who went to the licensing panel to voice her objections, (and requested not to be named), Richard said he would like to collaborate with her and change her perception.

“We could get them a gazebo, a burner, tables, and make all of that happen. We could do that for free and support them on social media,” he explained.

Richard sees the food market as an opportunity for businesses to expand their reach, which the Whistling Oyster on Devonshire Road and Ma Ma Boutique Bakery at the Hammersmith end of the High Rd have done.

“When Whistling Oyster had a stall at the market, that afternoon they had completely sold out because people had come and had the oysters at FoodSt and got excited at the prospect of a local independent fishmonger around the corner. It’s that kind of thing, it’s Ma Ma [Boutique] Bakery being discovered by lots of people and then selling out again.”

Looking ahead, Richard said there was still potential for expansion after the initial six-month period,if he can build on the “glowing” success of the trial period.

The next Food St Market will be on Sunday 25 February at Old Market Place, the car park between Linden Gardens and Devonshire Rd.

“Utterly brazen” thief sings while stealing products worth £5000 from Chiswick Boots

Image above: Thief turns to look at an eyewitness recording him steal products

Maskless thief heard singing as he steals high-value products

A pair of thieves stole roughly £5,000 in items from Boots on Chiswick High Road on Wednesday (24 January), in an instance of shoplifting one eyewitness described as “utterly brazen”.

Footage of the incident shows one culprit, a white male dressed in a navy cap, black puffer jacket, black Adidas joggers and grey Nike trainers, crouching and scooping products into a Sainsbury’s bag while the shop’s alarm blares in the background.

While filling the bag, the thief notices he is being recorded and continues taking items. After filling the bag, he shouts “Come on! Come on!” to his accomplice, who was at the other end of the shop.

Both men made no attempt to hide their faces and one could be heard singing as he stole items. The singing thief later tried to bash the phone out of the hands of the person recording and can be heard threatening them to not record.

They both ran out of the shop at about 3.22pm.

The second thief was also wearing a black puffer jacket, as well as a black cap and distinctive pair of black jeans, which were covered in white specks of paint.

Both were reportedly spotted earlier in the day stealing from hardware shop Robert Dyas, using similar tactics and Sainsbury’s bags.

The police were called, but had still not arrived at 6.30pm on Wednesday.

Boots staff confirmed to witnesses the rough amount of what had been stolen and said it was unlikely police would arrive until the next day to collect any CCTV footage. Some witnesses stayed in store for two hours after the incident in the hopes of speaking to police.

Images above: One thief just before hitting the person recording him, the second thief in his distinctive black jeans with white specks of paint

Ruth Cadbury condemns government response to crisis in special needs education

Image above: Ruth Cadbury in Parliament on 11 January

Government cuts are “making life much harder” for children with special needs and disabilities says MP

Ruth Cadbury MP has spoken out in Parliament about the challenges facing children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND).

In her speech earlier this month, the Brentford & Isleworth MP focused on the huge challenges and hurdles facing SEND children that local parents and teachers have told her about, including the long delay facing students trying to get health and education care plans (EHCPs).

Ruth also mentioned “the impact that 13 years of funding cuts to local councils like Hounslow has had”, while warning the government these cuts were “making life much harder” for SEND children, their parents and teachers.

Ruth spoke about the gaps in schooling, with many children missing out on much needed lessons and specialist teaching due to school and mental health funding cuts.

She also mentioned the huge pressure placed on families and parents locally when navigating the complex and bureaucratic SEND system.

Government “have failed to respond to this crisis in SEND”

Speaking after the debate the Brentford and Isleworth MP said:

“I know from listening to families across Hounslow just how difficult it can be for children with special educational needs and disabilities. When I met with the Hounslow Parents Carers forum I heard just how difficult it was for them.

“Whether it’s the long waits for EHCPs or to get the support in school, I know this is putting a huge amount of pressure on families who are already struggling. The housing crisis is also having a huge impact as many children with SEND are living in small cramped accommodation, with many stuck in temporary accommodation miles from their school, friends and family.

“The government have failed to respond to this crisis in SEND and have made it even worse by imposing sweeping cuts on local authorities such as Hounslow where we have seen over £140 million cut in their budget over the last 10 years. Likewise schools across Hounslow are having their budgets squeezed and are struggling to afford the additional teaching assistants and specialist support needed to support pupils.

“I will continue to stand up to ensure the voices of young people with SEND, their parents and teachers are heard loudly by the government.”

January 2024 books

What’s new and good to read this month? Dan Coombes has a look at what’s on offer and chooses The Mystery Guest by Nita Prose, The Last Word by Elly Griffiths and Piglet by Lottie Hazell

The Mystery Guest – Nita Prose

Socially awkward cleaning enthusiast and amateur sleuth Molly the maid returns in this standalone follow up to last year’s excellent murder mystery The Maid. Nita Prose (what else was she going to do with that name?) has an eye for quirky characters, dark comedy and a good mystery just on the right side of cosy.

A new mess. A new mystery. Molly the maid returns.

Molly Gray wears her Head Maid badge proudly for every shift at the Regency Grand Hotel, plumping pillows, sweeping up the guests’ secrets, silently restoring rooms to a state of perfection.

But when a renowned guest – a famous mystery writer – drops very dead in the grand tea room, Molly has an unusual clean-up on her hands.

As rumours and suspicion swirl in the hotel corridors, it’s clear there’s grime lurking beneath the gilt. And Molly knows that she alone holds the key to the mystery. But unlocking it means thinking about the past, about Gran, and everything else she’s kept tidied away in her memory for so long.

Because Molly knew the dead guest once upon a time – and he knew her.

Images above: The Mystery Guest front cover, author Nita Prose

The Last Word – Elly Griffiths

A bit more cosy(ish) crime, as the long nights and post Christmas comedown make the perfect time for it. Elly Griffiths is a bit of a crime writing powerhouse with 30 novels under her belt. She knows exactly what she’s doing, and her latest has the fun bookish theme of murder in a writer’s circle.

Natalka and Edwin are perfect if improbable partners in a detective agency. At eighty-four, Edwin regularly claims that he’s the oldest detective in England. Natalka, Ukrainian-born and more than fifty years his junior, is a math whizz, who takes any cases concerning fraud or deception. Despite a steady stream of minor cases, Natalka is frustrated. She loves a murder, as she’s fond of saying, and none have come the agency’s way. That is until local writer Melody Chambers dies.

Melody’s daughters are convinced that their mother was murdered. Edwin thinks that Melody’s death is linked to that of an obituary writer who predeceased many of his subjects. Edwin and Benedict go undercover to investigate and are on a creative writing weekend at isolated Battle House when another murder occurs. Are the cases linked and what is the role of a distinctly sinister book group attended by many of writers involved? By the time Edwin has infiltrated the group, he is in serious danger…

Images above: The Last Word front cover, author Ella Griffiths

Piglet – Lottie Hazell

This looks pretty much set to be one of the first ‘everyone’s talking about…’ books of the year, and plenty of folk seem to be enamoured of it already. A tale of conformity and expectation versus freedom and impulse, this novel has plenty to say and takes a bit of a different approach in saying it.

 For Piglet – an unshakable childhood nickname – getting married is her opportunity to reinvent. Together, Kit and Piglet are the picture of domestic bliss – effortless hosts, planning a covetable wedding … But if a life looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Thirteen days before they are due to be married, Kit reveals an awful truth, cracking the façade Piglet has created. It has the power to strip her of the life she has so carefully built, so smugly shared. To do something about it would be to self-destruct. But what will it cost her to do nothing?

As the hours count down to their wedding, Piglet is torn between a growing appetite and the desire to follow the recipe, follow the rules. Surely, with her husband, she could be herself again. Wouldn’t it be a waste for everything to curdle now?

Images above: Piglet front cover, author Lottie Hazell

Strike action takes Hounslow Loop line out of service week beginning 29 January

Image above: A South Western Railway train at Chiswick Station

No rail service through Chiswick on Tuesday 30 January

In response to the impending industrial action by the ASLEF union, South Western Railway has released details of the significant disruptions passengers can expect next Tuesday (30 January). The strike is expected to cause considerable disruption, with drastic reductions to the train services.

The Hounslow Loop will be completely shut down on the affected day, meaning stations including Chiswick, Brentford, Kew Bridge, and Isleworth.

Putney, Wimbledon, and Wandsworth Town will also experience limited services, with trains running only between 7.00am and 7.00pm.

The reduced timetable will see trains operating solely on the following routes:

  • London Waterloo and Basingstoke
  • London Waterloo and Feltham via Twickenham
  • London Waterloo and Guildford
  • London Waterloo and Woking
  • Basingstoke and Salisbury

Passengers are strongly advised to reconsider travel plans and only embark on journeys if absolutely necessary. It is also recommended to avoid the first and last trains of the day, which are expected to be exceptionally busy.

South Western Railway decide against taking advantage of new law requiring striking staff to provide a minimum service level

Additionally, an overtime ban is set to be in effect on Monday, 29 January, and from Wednesday, 31 January to Tuesday, 6 February. This may result in short-notice cancellations and alterations, causing further frustration for commuters.

Passengers are urged to check journey planners for updates on Tuesday, 30 January, and remain vigilant about potential disruptions during the broader period of industrial action. Despite the challenges, South Western Railway extends gratitude to its customers ‘for their continued patience during this testing time’.

South Western Railway’s Chief Operating Officer, Stuart Meek, expressed regret over the disruptions, stating:

“It has been a tough start to the year due to adverse weather conditions, and these damaging strikes will cause yet more disruption for our customers.”

Under new laws, employers can require staff who are planning to strike to provide 40% of timetabled rail services. South Western Railway are opting not to use these laws, at risk of inflaming tensions further. The only train operator using the legislation during this strike is LNER.

Aslef’s General Secretary Mick Whelan has warned in the past that more industrial action would be “a natural by-product” of trying to impose minimum service levels.

Access to Kitchen Garden in Chiswick House to be made free

Image above: The Kitchen Garden at Chiswick House 

Kitchen Garden will be free to access from 28 March

Chiswick House & Gardens Trust has announced access to the walled Kitchen Garden will be free from Easter. Currently adults are charged £4.50 to enter the garden; a family ticket (two adults, three children) costs £10.50. Effective from Thursday 28 March, the public will no longer be required to pay an entrance fee.

By then the garden will be bursting with spring flowers, with over 200 apple and pear trees coming into blossom and beds of Narcissus and tulips, featuring varieties such as Tulipa ‘Groenland,’ ‘Apricot Pride,’ and ‘Menton’ blooming through March and April, .

Although ‘kitchen garden’ suggests fruit, vegetables and herbs, the the garden produces crops of flowers for sale, as well as food crops.

Rosie Fyles, the Head of Gardens at Chiswick House & Gardens Trust, said:

“Our dedicated gardening team and volunteers invest incredible effort in cultivating this bountiful space. However, the majority of visitors to the grounds have yet to explore this hidden gem, previously behind the paywall.

“Our vision for the Kitchen Garden is to seamlessly weave inspiration from our storied past, sharing a space that enriches the local community and serves as a haven promoting wellness. It’s really exciting to enable more people to visit it regularly.”

Image above: Volunteers working in the Kitchen Garden

A garden with more than 300 years of history

The walled garden at Chiswick House date from 1682, when it was created by Sir Stephen Fox, financier to Charles II and, as Paymaster of the Forces, diarist Samuel Pepys ‘ boss. It was added to the neighbouring grounds of the more famous Chiswick House in 1812.

After Chiswick House and Grounds became the property of the local authority, the garden was closed to the public and became neglected, but local volunteers rediscovered it and decided to revive it, forming an association in 2005.

The two and a half acre walled garden was restored and now serves as a communal resource for local groups to learn about gardening, as well as source of revenue for the Trust, as a mini market garden supplying small quantities of vegetables to Sam’s Riverside restaurant in Hammersmith and Sam’s Waterside restaurant in Brentford.

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

READ ALSO: Sam’s Waterside, Brentford review

Over the past year the Kitchen Garden has made a significant impact by donating over a tonne of fresh produce, equivalent to more than 2,600 meals, to local food charities such as The Felix Project and Surplus to Supper, addressing the issue of local food poverty.

Image above: Visitors at The Kitchen Garden

Visitors encouraged to get involved with seasonal activities

Visitors to the Kitchen Garden are encouraged to wander round and enjoy the abundant flowers and produce, but also to actively participate in ‘pick your own.’

Employing no-dig techniques and fostering wildlife habitats, the gardening team would like to ignite enthusiasm for locally grown produce, from roses to mushrooms, with seasonal opportunities for getting involved in a bit of harvesting.

The Kitchen Garden will be open to the public from Thursday to Sunday, 10.30am to 3.30pm, starting from 28 March until 27 October 2024. With the Conservatory now closed due to its increasing fragility, access to the Kitchen Garden will be facilitated through the newly-named Gardeners’ Gate, located on the path between the Conservatory and the Rosary.

Chiswick street food market given licence to continue

Image above: FoodSt market; photograph Andrea Carnevali

Food St given permission to operate for six months

The street food market in Chiswick has been granted a licence to continue. Food St, which sells ready to eat food from an international mix of traders in Old Market Place in Chiswick High Rd, held three Sunday markets for a trial period in October, November and December. They have now been given permission to operate for six months, but with fewer stalls than they applied for. They are allowed a maximum of 44 stalls to be placed between Devonshire Road and Linden Gardens.

Chair of the Licensing Panel Amy Croft told The Chiswick Calendar:

“The panel was clearly mindful of the strength of feeling from both supporters and objectors of the application and of community cohesion in Chiswick more generally; on the balance of probabilities the panel felt that the stronger argument and strength of support was with the Applicant.

“The Applicant additionally showed a genuine intention to support local businesses, including any objectors to the proposal, and we felt that the additional conditions imposed would go some way to finding a compromise.”

Image above: FoodSt market; photograph Andrea Carnevali

A finely balanced decision

It was touch and go whether the licence would be given. Although there was overwhelming support from the public for the street food market, which was very popular, there was a small group of opponents, led by Cllr Joanna Biddolph, who argued the market would cause problems with litter and noise, and there could also be damage to the statue of the artist William Hogarth caused by smoke and fat droplets in the air from cooking.

They also argued the market would provide unfair competition to Chiswick’s existing food businesses. The four residents speaking out at the meeting of Hounslow Council’s Licensing Panel on Wednesday 17 January asked not to be named. One was the owner of a restaurant in the High Rd, who told the meeting the Sunday food market was hurting her business:

“We can’t compete with someone paying £40 / £50 for a stall. We continually innovate, we work seven days a week, mostly 12 – 14 hour days … The markets do bring people in, but the high road isn’t seeing the spend.”

Image above: Antiques & Vintage market

Of all the markets which have been introduced, she said it was the antiques and vintage market which brought her most trade.

“The antiques market is brilliant for me. People come with disposable income. That’s bringing exactly the right kind of customers.”

But she said, a food market was direct competition:

“In April the new business rates are going to hit us and I know two or three restaurants who are contemplating closing. Chiswick High Rd is not in a healthy place. I am not the only restaurant objecting. People are just not confident to speak out.”

Richard told the Licensing Panel he had the support of six local food businesses, including the George IV in the middle of the market space, for which Sunday lunches are also an important source of revenue.

There were a number of businesses from Chiswick who had had stalls at the markets: Le Vacherin, The Whistling Oyster, Mari deli & diner, Heisenberg café and Ma Ma Boutique Bakery. They were also supported by the Japanese Knife Company and Borough Kitchen, he said.

He invited the objector at the meeting to take a stall. Although he offered her a gazebo, she said it wouldn’t be worth the outlay required for equipment to serve food outside unless he could guarantee her a pitch at every market, which he was not prepared to do.

Image above: FoodSt market; photograph Rosie Leyden

No guarantees for local traders, but “I want to help”, says Richard Johnson

Cllr Vikram Grewal asked if Mr Johnson would be prepared to guarantee spaces for traders from other parts of Hounslow, which Richard said he could not guarantee either:

“I would like to encourage traders from Chiswick, Ealing and Hounslow but my priority is to get the best. Hyperlocal businesses are given a 50% discount on the pitch fees and we try and rotate them. We found out very quickly that there are some favourites our customers really like, and you drop those at your peril.

“With only 14 stalls [during the initial three month trial the spaces were restricted], I haven’t been able to make anything like a profit, so I couldn’t guarantee 50% of pitches would go to traders from the whole of Hounslow.”

The owners of Ma Ma Boutique Bakery, at 30 Chiswick High Rd, were at the Licensing Panel meeting to support the application. Marjena and Nigel, who make gluten free bread and cakes, have had a stall a couple of times at FoodSt and had never taken part in a food market before. Marjena said:

“I love being at the market. There is so much positive energy. I enjoy it as a personal experience and as a business experience.

“We are a fledgling business. Our problem is that people don’t know we’re here, and we have had such a positive response from the market. We need to have the shop open as well now on Sundays because so many people are now aware of us because of Richard.”

Mr Johnson said Blue Collar, the company he works with to run the market, had helped them out with equipment, to make it easier for them to take part. He had also brought social media influencers to the market, who had spread the word about Ma Ma Boutique Bakery’s bread and cakes.

Image above: FoodSt market; photograph Andrea Carnevali

What to do about litter

The subject of litter was brought up by another resident there to oppose the market, who represented the residents’ association covering the area directly across the road from the market. She was concerned about litter being dropped by people who had bought food at the market, eating it as they walked down the side streets towards the Common on their way to Turnham Green tube station. She said:

“This market is different to the other markets. If you buy flowers, you take them home with you, but if people buy street food, they eat it there and drop the litter. There is a litter issue generally … it’s not an ‘if’, it’s a definite, and we need a sensible way to handle this.”

On the question of litter, Mr Johnson said they had cleared up assiduously after each market.

“We only had one negative comment, and that was about a full bin, which was full when the market started. The George IV told us the site was cleaner when we left than it was when we arrived.

“We were really careful. We have video evidence there was no litter left after the market.”

He said they had checked the surrounding streets for litter and he would be prepared to make sure the roads immediately opposite were included when they clear up after the markets.

The panel heard that the Council’s Traffic and Transport departments had raised no objections to the market trading on public land after its three month trial.

Image above: Chiswick Flower Market; photograph Frank Noon

Markets bringing people to the high road

Mr Johnson told the meeting he had commissioned a market research survey of people coming to the street food market, which found 90% said they were likely to visit local shops as well. He is himself a local resident and he found the market was a focal point to catch up with friends, a chance to meet and chat with neighbours and friends. Local celebrities Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Jeremy Vine and Krishnan Guru Murthy are among those who have visited.

Cllr Biddolph said if people were eating at the market that meant they wouldn’t be eating elsewhere.

“This sector is really struggling. If someone who comes also buys a book, that’s terrific, but they’re not buying food.”

Mr Johnson replied:

“You’re making all sorts of assumptions. Not everyone who comes here would otherwise have eaten in a restaurant.”

One of the residents at the meeting to support the proposal said she had a 20 year old daughter who now went to Chiswick High Rd when the market was on, instead of going to Westfield shopping centre to hang out with her friends, and that she was typical of young people who would not otherwise go to the High Rd on a Sunday.

Another said her 12 year old daughter was now asking to go to the High Rd on her own, to go to the food market. A third local resident told the restaurateur who had objected:

“I came with my family, including my 91 year old mother. There is no seating, so I came to you. I love your food and I eat there a lot, but mostly with my husband during the week. When we came as a family we then went to Waterstones and bought books.”

In the written submissions to the panel there were 19 against and 91 in favour. At the licensing panel itself there were four residents there to oppose the market, with Cllr Biddolph, and five to support it, with the applicant Richard Johnson.

Image above: FoodSt market; photograph Andrea Carnevali

A smaller market than the organisers wanted

Richard Johnson resubmitted the original application he made last May, for 62 pitches spreading from 209 (the empty police station building) down to 123 Chiswick High Rd, beyond the Metro Bank, on the basis that the Antiques and Vintage market has a licence to extend that far and the flower market has on occasion added in a vegan market which extends along the south side of the high road.

There was some confusion as to whether that meant there would be 62 traders. He explained it wouldn’t, as many would serve food from their trucks, which would take up two spaces. The markets during the trial period had been restricted to 20 pitches, with 14 traders at the police station end of the car park, and customers had complained of overcrowding, as the market had proved so popular.

“The only complaints I’ve seen are that it has been too crowded”, said Mr Johnson. “We can make it a much nicer experience. That’s why I watch to stretch out and have seating and a small performance area.”

The panel – three Hounslow Councillors, Vikram Grewal, Rashid Bhatti and Amy Croft, who represents Riverside ward in Chiswick – decided the number of pitches should be extended, but only as far as Devonshire Rd.

Richard Johnson offered to put vendors of cold food only near the statue of William Hogarth, but a representative of the Hogarth Trust argued it was not just grease and smoke in the air which concerned her, but the statue being crowded.

“It should be respected” she said. “It’s not just about the conservation of the bronze, but how it’s respected. We need to give it space and respect, so people recognise its importance.”

The FoodSt market is the fourth to be added to the schedule of regular open-air markets. Chiswick Flower Market operates on the first Sunday of the month; the Antiques and Vintage market is held on the second Sunday; Chiswick Cheese Market takes place on the third Sunday of the month and FoodSt will now take place on the fourth Sunday.

The Licensing Panel was made up of three Hounslow Councillors, Vikram Grewal,  Rashid Bhatti and Chair Amy Croft, who represents Riverside ward in Chiswick.

Chiswick street food market waits to hear whether its licence will be renewed

Image above: FoodSt market; photograph Andrea Carnevali

Application to renew for another six months hotly debated at licensing panel

The street food market in Chiswick is waiting to hear whether it has been granted a licence to continue. Food St, which sells ready to eat food from an international mix of traders in Old Market Place in Chiswick High Rd, held three Sunday markets for a trial period in October, November and December. Their application to renew for another six months was heard by Hounslow’s Licensing Panel last Wednesday (17 January) and they were told they would hear the decision within five working days.

Image above: FoodSt market; photograph Andrea Carnevali

A finely balanced decision

It is touch and go whether the licence will be given. Although there has been overwhelming support from the public for the street food market, which has been very popular, there is a small but important group of opponents, led by Cllr Joanna Biddolph, who argue the market, if continued, would cause problems with litter and noise, and there could also be damage to the statue of the artist William Hogarth caused by smoke and fat droplets in the air from cooking.

They also argue the market provides unfair competition to Chiswick’s existing food businesses. The four residents speaking out at the meeting of Hounslow Council’s Licensing Panel on Wednesday 17 January asked not to be named. One was the owner of a restaurant in the High Rd, who told the meeting the Sunday food market was hurting her business:

“We can’t compete with someone paying £40 / £50 for a stall. We continually innovate, we work seven days a week, mostly 12 – 14 hour days … The markets do bring people in, but the high road isn’t seeing the spend.”

Image above: Antiques & Vintage market

Of all the markets which have been introduced, she said it was the antiques and vintage market which brought her most trade.

“The antiques market is brilliant for me. People come with disposable income. That’s bringing exactly the right kind of customers.”

But she said, a food market was direct competition:

“In April the new business rates are going to hit us and I know two or three restaurants who are contemplating closing. Chiswick High Rd is not in a healthy place. I am not the only restaurant objecting. People are just not confident to speak out.”

Richard Johnson, the organiser of FoodSt, told the Licensing Panel he had the support of six local food businesses, including the George IV in the middle of the market space, for which Sunday lunches are also an important source of revenue.

There were a number of businesses from Chiswick who had had stalls at the markets: Le Vacherin, The Whistling Oyster, Mari deli & diner, Heisenberg café and Ma Ma Boutique Bakery. They were also supported by the Japanese Knife Company and Borough Kitchen, he said.

He invited the objector at the meeting to take a stall. Although he offered her a gazebo, she said it wouldn’t be worth the outlay required for equipment to serve food outside unless he could guarantee her a pitch at every market, which he was not prepared to do.

Image above: FoodSt market; photograph Rosie Leyden

No guarantees for local traders, but “I want to help”, says Richard Johnson

Cllr Vikram Grewal asked if Mr Johnson would be prepared to guarantee spaces for traders from other parts of Hounslow, which Richard said he could not guarantee either:

“I would like to encourage traders from Chiswick, Ealing and Hounslow but my priority is to get the best. Hyperlocal businesses are given a 50% discount on the pitch fees and we try and rotate them. We found out very quickly that there are some favourites our customers really like, and you drop those at your peril.

“With only 14 stalls [during the initial three month trial the spaces were restricted], I haven’t been able to make anything like a profit, so I couldn’t guarantee 50% of pitches would go to traders from the whole of Hounslow.”

The owners of Ma Ma Boutique Bakery, at 30 Chiswick High Rd, were at the Licensing Panel meeting to support the application. Marjena and Nigel, who make gluten free bread and cakes, have had a stall a couple of times at FoodSt and had never taken part in a food market before. Marjena said:

“I love being at the market. There is so much positive energy. I enjoy it as a personal experience and as a business experience.

“We are a fledgling business. Our problem is that people don’t know we’re here, and we have had such a positive response from the market. We need to have the shop open as well now on Sundays because so many people are now aware of us because of Richard.”

Mr Johnson said Blue Collar, the company he works with to run the market, had helped them out with equipment, to make it easier for them to take part. He had also brought social media influencers to the market, who had spread the word about Ma Ma Boutique Bakery’s bread and cakes.

Image above: FoodSt market; photograph Andrea Carnevali

What to do about litter

The subject of litter was brought up by another resident there to oppose the market, who represented the residents’ association covering the area directly across the road from the market. She was concerned about litter being dropped by people who had bought food at the market, eating it as they walked down the side streets towards the Common on their way to Turnham Green tube station. She said:

“This market is different to the other markets. If you buy flowers, you take them home with you, but if people buy street food, they eat it there and drop the litter. There is a litter issue generally … it’s not an ‘if’, it’s a definite, and we need a sensible way to handle this.”

On the question of litter, Mr Johnson said they had cleared up assiduously after each market.

“We only had one negative comment, and that was about a full bin, which was full when the market started. The George IV told us the site was cleaner when we left than it was when we arrived.

“We were really careful. We have video evidence there was no litter left after the market.”

He said they had checked the surrounding streets for litter and he would be prepared to make sure the roads immediately opposite were included when they clear up after the markets.

The panel heard that the Council’s Traffic and Transport departments had raised no objections to the market trading on public land after its three month trial.

Image above: Chiswick Flower Market; photograph Frank Noon

Markets bringing people to the high road

Mr Johnson told the meeting he had commissioned a market research survey of people coming to the street food market, which found 90% said they were likely to visit local shops as well. He is himself a local resident and he found the market was a focal point to catch up with friends, a chance to meet and chat with neighbours and friends. Local celebrities Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Jeremy Vine and Krishnan Guru Murthy are among those who have visited.

Cllr Biddolph said if people were eating at the market that meant they wouldn’t be eating elsewhere.

“This sector is really struggling. If someone who comes also buys a book, that’s terrific, but they’re not buying food.”

Mr Johnson replied:

“You’re making all sorts of assumptions. Not everyone who comes here would otherwise have eaten in a restaurant.”

One of the residents at the meeting to support the proposal said she had a 20 year old daughter who now went to Chiswick High Rd when the market was on, instead of going to Westfield shopping centre to hang out with her friends, and that she was typical of young people who would not otherwise go to the High Rd on a Sunday.

Another said her 12 year old daughter was now asking to go to the High Rd on her own, to go to the food market. A third local resident told the restaurateur who had objected:

“I came with my family, including my 91 year old mother. There is no seating, so I came to you. I love your food and I eat there a lot, but mostly with my husband during the week. When we came as a family we then went to Waterstones and bought books.”

In the written submissions to the panel there were 19 against and 91 in favour. At the licensing panel itself there were four residents there to oppose the market, with Cllr Biddolph, and five to support it, with the applicant Richard Johnson.

Image above: FoodSt market; photograph Andrea Carnevali

A larger and less crowded market

Richard Johnson resubmitted the original application he made last May, for 62 pitches spreading from 209 (the empty police station building) down to 123 Chiswick High Rd, beyond the Metro Bank, on the basis that the Antiques and Vintage market has a licence to extend that far and the flower market has on occasion added in a vegan market which extends along the south side of the high road.

There was some confusion as to whether that meant there would be 62 traders. He explained it wouldn’t, as many would serve food from their trucks, which would take up two spaces. The markets during the trial period had been restricted to 20 pitches, with 14 traders at the police station end of the car park, and customers had complained of overcrowding, as the market had proved so popular.

“The only complaints I’ve seen are that it has been too crowded”, said Mr Johnson. “We can make it a much nicer experience. That’s why I watch to stretch out and have seating and a small performance area.”

Richard Johnson offered to put vendors of cold food only near the statue of William Hogarth, but a representative of the Hogarth Trust argued it was not just grease and smoke in the air which concerned her, but the statue being crowded.

“It should be respected” she said. “It’s not just about the conservation of the bronze, but how it’s respected. We need to give it space and respect, so people recognise its importance.”

The FoodSt market is the fourth to be added to the schedule of regular open-air markets. Chiswick Flower Market operates on the first Sunday of the month; the Antiques and Vintage market is held on the second Sunday; Chiswick Cheese Market takes place on the third Sunday of the month and FoodSt, is it is allowed to continue, would take place on the fourth Sunday.

The Licensing Panel was made up of three Hounslow Councillors, Vikram Grewal,  Rashid Bhatti and Chair Amy Croft, who represents Riverside ward in Chiswick.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Brentford 3 Nottingham Forest 2

Bringing ultimate versatility: Ivan Toney relishing being back centre stage

Third Season: Welcom back Ivan

Thomas Frank made no secret of what he hoped to get from the game: Ivan Toney to score and the team to win. Too much to ask? Not really, especially as Toney was on the scoresheet at 19 minutes to equalise Forest’s three-minutes opener.

It wasn’t any old goal, of course. Toney was playing his first match following eight months’ suspension (266 days, actually, since Nottingham Forest lost 1-2 at the Gtech).

Toney scored that day also – a free kick not dissimilar to his comeback strike, except that was from even further away from the goal. This time it was also controversial, causing some of the Forest camp to howl when Toney moved the ball slightly before taking an extraordinary free kick, but it died away when it seemed no-one could actually say which law had been infringed.

Toney remained unflustered, as is his habit. His shot kept low for the entire journey into just inside the right-hand upright, somehow managing to skip over the prone Forest player deployed to prevent the ball breaching the human wall. Goalkeeper Matt Turner stood no chance at all.

Bearing in mind that Forest, having gone ahead through Danilo after just three minutes, were dominant up until the equaliser, the change in Brentford’s attitude and fluidity of play was especially remarkable. The defence became more regimental in quickly reshaping their line, pushing the opposition back towards halfway with their frustration suffering silently with only gritted teeth to show.

Mee’s goal equalises

Brentford’s ascendancy continued with Mathias Jensen – regaining his poise since returning from getting demobbed from the squad’s injury list – flighted a corner into the penalty area, where the defence appeared to have a momentary blackout. Ben Mee must have noticed and he arrived at speed to place a perfect airborne header beyond Turner’s skills.

Come half-time and the team seemed to be enjoying themselves and their lead. Could it last. Of course not!

Presumably the interval chit-chat consisted of more than discussions about the weather (cold but bright). Certainly, upon resumption Forest largely gave up trying to penetrate the home side’s confidence in their own territory. Pot-shots and more sophisticated long-range efforts began to irritate the defence and Toney and his cohorts began to struggle when attempting to surge goalwards.

Keane Lewis-Potter saw his effort smack the crossbar, otherwise chances to score diminished as Forest gained the upper hand and gained parity through a masterly flick by Chris Wood that fizzed into the far side of Mark Flekken’s goal. Forest’s mobile choir engaged once again with a selection of chants, some of which might have demoralised Toney if he was the type to take the slightest notice of such ribald frippery.

As it was, he was to be found covering every yard of the Gtech pitch, winning every ball in the air – how does he do that? – to helping Lewis-Potter and Mikkel Damsgaard grow in stature by the minute and trying to assist Neal Maupay as he found himself teeny compared to some of the muscular visiting centre backs.

Final goalscorer Maupay reluctantly leaves the field

Thwarted he may have been on many occasions, Maupay had a triumph on 68 minutes when Mads Roerslev produced a highly serviceable cross in his direction. Attended by two big fellows – big compared to Neal, that is – he made a turn so definitive his attendants ended up almost dancing a foxtrot together as the striker struck, his left-foot driving the ball wide of the hapless Turner.

Forest immediately called upon referee Darren England to disallow the goal on the grounds of handball by Maupay but VAR swiftly delivered a not-guilty verdict, which did nothing to deter the visitors from giving notice later that they would complain about Toney’s goal and Maupay’s, one of his finest.

The visitors were still smarting from what they saw as chicanery when Mr England added ten minutes to the action and the home crowd suffered frayed nerves as three points ticked away in line with the extra time. My mate Charlie, a knowledgeable student of the game, was resolute in insisting that referees can exercise discretion on free kick ball placement, give or take a yard.

He didn’t move it a yard, I told Charlie. ‘No, now how about another puzzle’, said Charlie – when Toney scored and ran to the dug outs to hold up a shirt with the legend “For you Uncle Brian”. Who is Uncle Brian?’

THAT GOAL. Photograph by Will Hagerty

Brentford: Flekken; Collins, Pinnock, Mee; Roerslev (substitute Ajer 90), Damsgaard, (Baptiste 74), Janelt, Jensen (Yarmoliuk 90+7), Lewis-Potter (Dasilva 90), Maupay (Reguilón 74), Toney.

Nottingham Forest: Turner; Montiel (substitute Aquilera 86), Omobamidele, Santiago Costa dos Santos, Tavares; Mangala, Danilo; Dominquez, Yates (N Williams 62), Hudson-Odoi; Wood.

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

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

READ ALSO: Former Fleet Street editor, Chiswick resident Bill Hagerty, is named Journalist Laureate 2023

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

London Wetlands Centre – THE place to visit… or volunteer

Image above: London Wetlands Centre; photograph Jim Frame

‘Right now bitterns are a star attraction’

Phrases you never thought you’d hear someone say in London. But, right now, bitterns are the star attraction at the London Wetlands Centre in Barnes.

People often ask us about places to do volunteer work in West London. Jim Frame has spent the last year offering his services to the London Wetlands Centre, run by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. He recommends it highly as a place to volunteer, or just to visit.

Image above: Welcome to the London Wetlands Centre; photograph Jim Frame

Guest blog by Jim Frame

It was around this time last year that I thought about doing some ‘volunteering’ at WWT London. Not heard of it/them? Well, they’re very close. WWT London is in Barnes, by the side of the Thames. It’s often referred to as the London, or Barnes, Wetlands Centre.

I discovered next that, not only did the London Wetlands Centre welcome new volunteers, but that they had lots of different volunteering roles to choose from… Grounds Maintenance, Visitor Welcome, Membership Support, (Bird) Guide in the Hide, to mention just a few possibilities… something, it seemed, for every skill (or lack of it in my case!) and ability.

I decided the best match to my current limited skills was ‘Visitor Welcome’, and I was welcomed into my new role by Heather, the Engagement Manager in Barnes. She went to give me a few tips and guidance on what to do and expect.

Today, not only have I welcomed many visitors – not least those visiting for the first time and who especially appreciate tips on what to see and when – I have also helped lead some groups on our autumn Bat Walks. Who knew how many different species of bats we have living close by, and with the aid of bat detectors we are able to locate?

Finally, and to my own amazement, I have given some short (10-15 min) talks on the fascinating history of the WWT’s founder, Peter Scott (pioneering son of ‘Scott of the Antarctic’) and the background to how the Wetland Centre came to be in Barnes from its opening in 2000. Enough though… if you want to hear any more on that, you’ll really need to come along yourselves!!

Image above: Statue of Sir Peter Scott; photograph Jim Frame

Each volunteer at Barnes Wetlands can find their own niche area. I must admit to being in awe of those volunteers who are fit and take part in the Ground Maintenance/Gardening activities, or indeed those whose knowledge of bird life makes them wonderful Guides in the Headley Hide.

You can imagine, with this great variety of roles, that more volunteers at WWT London are always very welcome.

I need now though to give you a little taste of our Wetlands Centre for, if you haven’t visited yet, you really must! It’s a wonderful place, in the heart of the London metropolis, not just to ‘watch nature’ but to see the huge impact on it of the changing seasons.

This is something we often lose sight of when we’re living in a big city. Equally, it’s a place just to have fun, whether on your own or with the family. You can always be guaranteed to see our two resident otters – they’re fed twice daily and they really do entertain.

Image above: Otters at London Wetland Centre; photograph Jim Frame

Or to try to spot unusual or rare birds, whether resident or just passing through – right now bitterns are a star attraction, as they ‘play hide and seek’ in the reeds with visiting bird-watchers. This link to WWT London website shows Wildlife Sightings daily.

Not least though, it’s a place to bring along the kids to enjoy some of the many interactive experiences. Outside, this includes the Wild Walk, Pond Dipping and the Explore Playground, while inside, there’s the Discovery Centre, Kingfisher Kitchen and a well-stocked shop.

There’s far more to see and do than I can possibly do justice to here. So, to see more, visit, or even volunteer, follow this link to London Wetland Centre  – you won’t regret it!

Image above: London Wetlands Centre; photographs Jim Frame

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Full set of Doves type goes on show at Emery Walker’s House, Hammersmith, in mudlarking exhibition

Images above: Emery Walker; Doves Bible; T.J Cobden-Sanderson

Iconic typeface recovered from the river, where it was dumped

A full set of Doves Type, the historic typeface created by Emery Walker and T.J. Cobden-Sanderson, is to go on show at Emery Walker’s House in Hammersmith as part of a display of mudlarked treasures. It is the first time the full alphabet will have been shown since the pieces were retrieved from the mud by Hammersmith Bridge.

The two men created the Doves Press at the turn of the 20th century, and over its 17 years of operation their landmark typeface was considered to have made a considerable contribution to the Arts and Craft movement in books such as their iconic edition of the King James bible.

Famed for the beauty of its typeface and its impact on the development of typography, the Doves Press became infamous because of the bitter feud which developed between the two men, resulting in the entire press being dumped in the river.

When their partnership was dissolved in 1909, Cobden-Sanderson and Walker became involved in a protracted and bitter dispute over ownership of the rights to the Doves Type. As part of the partnership dissolution agreement, all rights to the Doves Type were to pass to Walker on Cobden-Sanderson’s death.

Cobden-Sanderson decided he could not let this happen, and destroyed the matrices and punches on Good Friday, 21 March 1913, when he threw them into the Thames river off Hammersmith Bridge. He recorded in his journal how he then systematically got rid of the 12lb of metal type itself in clandestine trips to the river at dead of night.

Beginning on 31 August 1916 at midnight, when “it seemed a suitable night, and time”, he is said to have completed the task in January 1917, after 170 trips to the river.

Image above: Emery Walker’s House; photograph Anna Kunst

Mudlarking exhibition to include all sorts of other treasures – Prehistoric, Roman, Mediaeval, Tudar, Georgian and Victorian

A century later the designer Robert Green managed to recover 150 pieces of the original type, with the help of the Port of London Authority. He and Lukasz Orlinski have loaned hundreds of pieces of the alphabet for the first exhbition of the entire Doves Type alphabet at Emery House, which opens on Saturday 2 March.

Mudlarker Jason Sandy has put together the exhibition, which will also include fossils, prehistoric flint tools, Roman coins and pottery, Mediaeval pilgrim badges, Tudor fashion accessories, 17th century children’s toys, Georgian personal adornments and Victorian curiosities, each revealing their own intriguing story of London’s past.

Image above: Jason Sandy donating Doves Type to Emery Walker’s House in 2020; photograph Lucinda MacPherson

Talks, walks and candle-lit tours

A programme of events to support the exhibition kicks off with a talk in February, followed by walking tours, guided mudlarking experiences, a scavenger hunt and sopen days and candle-lit tours at Emery Walker’s House throughout March and April.

Jason, who is also an architect, author and  member of the exclusive Society of Thames Mudlarks, is the author of Mudlarks: Treasures from the Thames and co-author of Thames Mudlarking: Searching for London’s Lost Treasures.

While mudlarking under Hammersmith Bridge, he discovered 12 pieces of Doves Type which he generously donated to Emery Walker’s House in 2020.

READ ALSO: Chiswick architect returns missing Doves type to Emery Walker’s House

Jason, who lives in Chiswick, will give an introductory online talk called  Mudlarking: A Journey Through Time on Wednesday 21 February, telling the extraordinary story of the Doves Press and sharing some of his extraordinary mudlarking finds.

The exhibition takes place from Saturday 2 March to Saturday 27 April 2024 at Emery Walker’s house at 7 Hammersmith Terrace, W6. The house, which has been preserved as an Arts & Crafts museum, is closed over the winter and reopens on Saturday 2 March.

Book tickets for events and tours of the house at emerywalker.org.uk.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar