Chiswick residents object to TfL plans for Hogarth Roundabout

Image: Church Street

Plans to close Church Street access “impractical and unnecessary”

Residents who live in Old Chiswick – Chiswick Mall and the area between the river and the A4 east of Hogarth roundabout – say Transport for London’s plans to make changes to the road layout at Hogarth Roundabout, blocking off Church Street as a route for entrance and exit, are ‘impractical and unnecessary’.

TfL wants to improve safety at the roundabout, particularly for motorcyclists where they turn off the roundabout onto the A316 outside the George and Devonshire pub. At the moment, the entrance to the A316 is wide enough for two vehicles, but the road very quickly narrows and vehicles often jockey for position there.

According to TfL data motorcyclists have been involved in six collisions at this junction over the two year period between July 2020 and June 2023 and there have also been two serious vehicle collisions during this period, putting Hogarth Roundabout in the top 10% most dangerous junctions in London.

READ ALSO: New lane at Hogarth Roundabout among planned measures to improve safety

But the Old Chiswick Protection Society says it will ‘inflict direct harm on the wellbeing and the safety of some 55 households and businesses’ in Church Street and a large section of Chiswick Mall.

Image: Church Street junction with Hogarth Roundabout, which TfL proposes to block off

Planners expect drivers to make 180 degree turn to double back on themselves to get into Church Street

The proposed changes include creating a dedicated left-turn lane for A4 westbound traffic onto the A316. The problem for residents of Old Chiswick is that they also want to block off the end of Church Street, so anyone wanting to enter Church St would have to take the exit from the roundabout onto the A316, then turn immediately left and double back on themselves, making almost a 180 degree turn.

Image: The point just off the roundabout where drivers will be expected to make nearly a 180 degree turn to get into Church Street

“Impossible” for delivery lorries and other long vehicles such as fire engines

“There is no point in closing that off. That’s not where the accidents are”, General Manager of the George & Devonshire Maxine Howson told The Chiswick Calendar.

Members of the Old Chiswick Protection Society, which represents residents in the area, say drivers making that left turn will slow traffic down and back it up onto the roundabout, and bigger vehicles such as delivery lorries and fire engines will not be able to make the turn.

Image: Close-up of the turning point; lorry which delivers frozen goods to the pub

There is a small road there currently, running alongside the pub, which is owned by LB Hounslow and would have to be widened, but there is a pedestrian underpass there also, restricting the amount by which they could widen the road on the side nearest the A316, and the listed buildings of Chiswick Square, limiting the amount by which they could reduce the pavement on the other side.

Image: George & Devonshire pub

Maxine Howson told us it would create huge problems for her.

“I have a lorry which delivers frozen produce which definitely wouldn’t be able to make that turn. They won’t get in, and if they did, they wouldn’t get round the bend in Church Street to get out. It’s  ludicrous.”

Image: Chiswick Square. The houses on each side were built about 1680; Boston House built in 1740. Into this garden the Victorian novelist W.M. Thackeray described his character Becky Sharp throwing a dictionary at the start of his novel Vanity Fair

There are 55 homes in the area which would be affected and a number of businesses in the modern office blocks off Church Street, which include a building contractor, R Ball & Co, established in 1948, a fashion company, a whisky business and a candle maker amongst others.

“The fashion business has deliveries from high sided vehicles almost every day”, one member of the Old Chiswick Protection Society told The Chiswick Calendar.

Image: Properties where there are a number of businesses based, in buildings off Church Street

“They haven’t taken into account that Chiswick Mall is regularly flooded”

Church Street is the only road which gives direct access to the river there and the residents say TfL have not taken into account the regular flooding from the River Thames, which periodically cuts them off, making Church Street their only entrance and exit route.

They say Chiswick Mall is flooded 12 days a month, twice a day for 2-3 hours each time. Depending on the time of year the depth of the water at the lowest point at the end of Chiswick Lane South can be anything from ankle deep to waist height.

Image: Flooding at Chiswick Mall

One resident told me there had recently been a middle of the night medical emergency at one of the houses along the Mall and the ambulance when it arrived then had to turn around and go back out of Church Street because the road along the river was flooded.

An LB Hounslow refuse truck recently got stuck there when the driver decided to chance going through the flood water and had to be towed out, “causing a tidal wave which flooded at least one basement.”

Image: Flooding at Chiswick Mall

Currently there is two-way traffic in and out of Church Street from the roundabout, but if TfL’s plans are implemented as they are, drivers leaving the area will have to turn left alongside the pub. If they then want to go east along the dual carriageway they will have to cut across the end of the flyover to do a U turn.

Planners have already said they cannot put a yellow box in there, so if eastbound traffic blocks the lane, vehicles will just have to wait for a gap in the traffic, which would also hold up traffic coming westwards on the A316 from the roundabout.

“It could add 25 minutes to a hospital journey”.

Image: Google map showing where the A4 intersects with Netheravon Road

The alternative route into the area, which Fuller’s lorries take, is via Netheravon Road, which for drivers coming from the west means crossing the busy dual carriageway.

“You take your life into your hands crossing there,” and for anyone heading for the Mall or trying to get round to Church Street, it does not avoid the problem of flooding.

The Old Chiswick Society group representing residents on this is led by Sir Alan Munro, Graham Clifton, Russell Harris KC, Dominic Masters and Rachel Wood. Members met TfL representatives on 12 July to express their concern about the proposals.

Image: Guests leaving a wedding at St Nicholas Church on Friday 19 July

Weddings and funerals at St Nicholas Church will be affected

Chiswick’s oldest church, St Nicholas Church, will also be affected. Apart from the services on Sundays they have many weddings and funerals during the week, attended by people coming from outside the area, unfamiliar with the road layout, who are likely to find the new arrangements confusing.

They can also foresee the undignified prospect of hearses having to do a three point turn to get round the sharp bend from the A316 to get to them.

Image: Diagramme of the new proposals (click for larger versions); Image TfL

Give your views in the consultation

Transport for London has launched a public consultation, which opened on 11 July and is due to finish on Thursday 5 September, which has also irritated the residents.

“The summer holiday period is not a good time for a consultation. It’s not good practice to hold them when most people are away.”

They have asked for an extension of the consultation period. There are two drop-in sessions planned for TfL to explain the changes at Hogarth’s House on 10 and 20 August.

“Drop-in sessions are no good to me” Maxine told us. “I need to sit down with them properly and explain to them how it will affect my business.”

If you would like to comment in the consultation, you can do so here: Have your say

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

London SW Assembly Member Gareth Roberts asks for Sadiq Khan’s help over District Line closures

Image: Train line at Gunnersbury station 

What is going on with the District Line?

Yet again this weekend part of Chiswick was cut off from the Tube network by ‘engineering work’ on the District Line. Despite my warning that they should check to see the trains were running, my out of town visitors were stranded at Gunnersbury station wondering how best to get into town.

Fortunately at least the overground trains were running this weekend, so they had the option of going all round north London to find somewhere to change onto a train heading south into central London.

It does seem like it happens every weekend, which has prompted Liberal Democrat MP for Richmond Park Sarah Olney and Liberal Democrat Member for the London Assembly for the South West Gareth Roberts (in whose area Chiswick falls) to write to London Mayor Sadiq Khan to enlist his help.

‘Re District Line closures: Richmond branch

‘Over the past four weeks, thousands of our constituents have been impacted by the repeated closure of the District Line’s Richmond branch,’ they wrote to him on Thursday 18 July.

‘These line closures have resulted in workers failing to get to their jobs on time, extended journeys to and from school for children, missed appointments, and wasted money on tickets to events in other areas of London.’

They asked the Mayor’s team to explain the cause of the repeated line failures, to clarify the work that is taking place to rectify them and reassure them that ‘every reasonable action is being taken to prevent further issues over the summer’.

Image: Turnham Green tube station; photograph Joanna Raikes

FOI request reveals just how often the line is closed

As anyone who lives in Chiswick will be aware, District Line closures have been a fact of life for far longer than the past four weeks. A recent FOI request has revealed just how often the District Line through Chiswick is closed.

Over the past 12 months services on the District Line through Chiswick have been disrupted on 80 days between 1 July 2023 and 7 July 2024. That is to say at least one of the four stations Chiswick Park, Turnham Green, Gunnersbury or Stamford Brook has been affected by closure or delays.

Total hours of disruptions: 187 Hours (80 affected days)

Minor Delays: 19 Hours (10 affected days)

Severe Delays: 30 Hours (21 affected days)

No Service: 163 Hours (70 affected days)

On any given day there is a 22% chance of disruption affecting the District Line service to Chiswick stations. The most common reasons given are, in order:

  1. Signalling Issues
  2. Late finish of engineering works
  3. Planned Engineering works
  4. Faulty Train
  5. Trespasser on the tracks
  6. Obstruction on the track
  7. Track Fault
  8. Casualty on the track

Image: Chiswick Park station; photograph Ljubima Woods

Impact on tourists going to Kew Gardens

In their letter to Sadiq Khan Sarah Olney MP and Gareth Roberts AM say the repeated faults have also caused a substantial issue for visitors coming across London to visit Kew Gardens.

‘Local buses do not have capacity for this additional demand, resulting in many tourists being forced to choose between extended waits for less overcrowded buses or an expensive cab fare to a functioning station.’

And of course they are a serious inconvenience to local people:

‘We understand that engineering works take place, and that ageing infrastructure means repairs will not be uncommon, but the regular total line failures that we’ve seen in recent weeks have become a serious problem for residents.’

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Chiswick Councillor ‘smears’ local businessman over licensing application

Image: 299 – 303 Chiswick High Road ; Google Street View

Shahid Hirji applies for alcohol licence for new restaurant / bar

Councillor Joanna Biddolph deliberately “smeared” local businessman Shahid Hirji over his application for an alcohol licence, LB Hounslow’s Licensing Panel heard on Wednesday night (17 July).

Representing the businessman who is amalgamating two business premises on Chiswick High Road into one at 299 – 303 Chiswick High Road to create a large restaurant, licence agent Stewart Gibson told the panel that in her objections she was “trying to smear the gentleman” by making insinuations that were not true, making him out to be “an unfit person” with claims that were “nonsense”.

Cllr Biddolph was not at the Licensing Panel to put her case, which she had set out in documents submitted previously; neither was the only other person to object to the licence application, a member of the public.

READ ALSO: Objections raised over “very large” food and drink venue planned for Chiswick High Road

Chairing the meeting Cllr Gabriella Giles, Cllr Biddolph’s colleague, who also represents Chiswick on Hounslow Council, admonished Mr Gibson, requesting him to be “civil”, at which point he retracted his comment.

The owners of 299-303 Chiswick High Road, KSMV Properties Limited, run by Shahid and Shamin Hirji, have merged the former takeaway pizza shop and the former modern Indian fusion restaurant Republic into one larger venue, relocating the entrance, opening up the ground floor to create a single large space and expanding the basement area to include a bar and toilets.

Mr Shahid’s father bought the first property, number 303, in 1986 and added the second, number 301, “25-30 years ago” he told The Chiswick Calendar, adding the third one, 299, five years ago. So far, they have been landlords, initially to a car spares business and a flower shop and latterly to the Indian restaurant and takeaway pizza place. His main business is exporting cars.

Both businesses have previously had alcohol licences. He has not asked for anything more than had already been granted, the only difference being that he has knocked the two businesses (three buildings) into one and so needed to reapply.

Image: Modern Indian fusion restaurant which used to occupy the premises

“Definitely not a nightclub”

The meeting started with officials confirming that the application had been properly made and all relevant procedures followed. The Council officers also confirmed there had been no submission made by the Police or licensing enforcement against the application.

In her list of objections Cllr Biddolph questioned whether the owners had planning permission, suggested Mr Hirji had not been clear about how he intended to use the venue, querying whether he was intending to open a nightclub, and said it sounded like he was expecting trouble, writing:

‘The applicant appears to anticipate anti-social behaviour, at best, and crime involving weapons, at worst’.

She also included a link to a panel hearing from 14 years earlier when the applicant had been turned down for a licence on a different premises.

Mr Gibson told the panel it would be “nothing like a night club” and that it was quite clear on page 16 of their application that it was for a ‘restaurant / bar’.

The ground floor will be a restaurant and they have applied for a ‘regulated entertainment’ licence for the basement, which they plan to use for live entertainment, private functions and overflow from the restaurant, should they be busy enough to need it.

They have applied for a licence for alcohol from 9am to half past midnight, Monday to Thursday and Sundays, and from 9am to 1am on Fridays and Saturdays which, he said, is not late enough for anyone to consider it a nightclub.

Mr Hirji said he had applied for planning permission some weeks ago and had been told he had supplied everything the planning officers needed.

“There are several ways you can go about this – either you apply for the licence first and then planning permission, or you apply for planning permission first and then apply for a licence, or you apply for both at the same time.”

He has complied with building regulations, put in sound proofing in the basement three times the strength required and put in two fire exits – one more than was required. Hounslow’s planning department is now considering his application.

Cllr Richard Foote reiterated: “Planning is no part of this meeting”.

Image: 299 – 303 Chiswick High Road ; Google Street View

As for the suggestion they would be running the kind of establishment which would attract anti-social behaviour, Mr Gibson said as a councillor Joanna Biddolph would know that the Police set certain conditions for a licence application, among them keeping an incident book in which any anti-social or illegal behaviour would be recorded.

In saying he would provide one, Mr Hirji was merely complying with Police requirements. It was unfair to make the inference that he was expecting trouble.

The three councillors present at the Licensing Panel: Cllr Giles, who represents Chiswick Riverside for the Conservative Party, Cllr Foote, who represents Hanworth Village for Labour, and Cllr Unsa Chaudri, who represents Osterley & Spring Grove for Labour, questioned Mr Hirji on how many people he expected to use the new venue, what kind of entertainment he was planning to have, how many private events he might expect to have over the course of a year and how he planned to regulate noise as people left the building late at night.

The maximum capacity in the basement is 100, he told the panel, and the same on the ground floor, which they would be extremely lucky to achieve, he said. The nature of a restaurant is that people come and go at different times, rather than leaving all at once at 1am, and they would have door staff who would remind people to be quiet when leaving the premises late.

“If we have 200 people all at once, it will be a surprise to me” he said.

Asked about the nature of the private events planned he said they would hope to get wedding and christening parties and office parties at Christmas. The venue would control the music volume from behind the bar. He confirmed the live music would be confined to the basement and there would only be soft background music played in the restaurant.

He said they would apply for a cordoned off area outside the restaurant for smokers, but no drinks would be allowed outside and smokers would not be allowed to go outside in groups larger than five at a time.

Mr Gibson pointed out the takeaway pizza place which previously occupied one of the buildings had a 3am licence, with customers and delivery drivers waiting outside.

Mr Hadji told the panel that if he gets his licence he is hopeful he will be able to open in September / October “with any luck”.

“Chiswick High Road needs more businesses to attract people up that end,” he said.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Chiswick Calendar Freebie – Win four burgers from Sam’s Kitchen, Hammersmith

Four candles / Fork handles? No, four massive burgers

Fancy a nice juicy burger? How about four of them for free, with chips, and your choice of four drinks to go with them from Sam’s Kitchen, Hammersmith?

All you have to do is answer this question:

What are the names of Sam Harrison’s two restaurants at Hammersmith and Brentford?

(Massive clue – If you don’t know the answer, you can find it here:
Sam Harrison to open a restaurant in Brentford, August 2023)

Send your answer to by midnight tomorrow (Wednesday 24 July). The winner will be chosen at random and we will let you know if you’ve won.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

West London Queer Project turned down for a street party

Images: The fire eater and stilt walker who performed at the Chiswick Flower Market’s first birthday celebration in Old Market Place

Chiswick Councillor objects

The West London Queer Project have had their application for a street party turned down by LB Hounslow.

The organisation, set up during Covid to create a positive social life for the LGBTQ+ community, has won awards and been given grants by both Hounslow and Hammersmith Councils for their work organising social events including everything from drag nights to charity walks and rugby, and networking events for gay parents.

They will be celebrating their fourth birthday on 25 August and wanted to hold a street party on the Sunday evening of the bank holiday weekend after that day’s market in Old Market Place, where the Sunday markets are held, between 5 and 9pm, with the party moving inside to the Boston Room of the George IV pub afterwards.

Both the George IV and the Old Fire Station bar / restaurant were on board. They had planned for the party to take place in Old Market Place between the two venues, with a stage and a line-up of drag queens performing.

Image: Aubrey Crawley with the celebrated drag queen / comedian Myra Dubois, who has performed at one of his shows at George IV before

Turned down because of the ‘fire station’

As the road will already be closed for the market, they were only asking for an extension of a few hours. They have been told by Hounslow Council the application has been refused because there has been an objection from one of Chiswick’s councillors.

Bizarrely, the Council told them:

‘Unfortunately, the Cllr’s has objected that this location is not feasible for the Street Party to take place.

‘They have indicated that the road is a service road that it has a fire station in site a busy road with busy car park.’

Aubrey Crawley, founder of the West London Queer Project, told The Chiswick Calendar he has tried in vain to explain the road will already be closed for the Sunday market, all they were asking for was an extension for a few hours, and the Fire Station is not an active fire station, but the name of a restaurant where an old fire station used to be.

Image: Aubrey Crawley, founder of WLQP (L) and Joe Leonard, COO (R)

Aubrey has been told the objector was Cllr Joanna Biddolph and written to her for clarification. He told us:

“I’m very disappointed and disheartened with the objection to our street party. The West London Queer Project was founded in Chiswick and over the last four years we have brought a lot of business into the area through our Touch Rugby, Football, Drag & Comedy Shows, community walks and film screenings/sing-alongs, so surely a street party that ends at 9pm, and that everyone is welcome to come along to, should not be too much to ask for.

“With the addition of the four Sunday Markets, Chiswick has become a very vibrant neighbourhood to live in and to visit, and it’s my hope and intention that WLQP contributes towards that by bringing some fun and community for LGBTQ+ people and our allies. I have of course appealed the objection.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

An Evening with Sam

The food was delicious – the presentation was perfect

We have had nothing but fantastic feedback for The Chiswick Calendar’s exclusive evening with Sam Harrison and Sam’s Kitchen Head Chef Abbie Hendren. Those who came for their special three course meal with cocktail and and canape on arrival were full of praise and Abbie received a spontaneous round of applause from diners when she made an appearance at the end of the meal.

We were treated to: Starter – Tempura fried courgettes, Ricotta, Truffle honey, Pecorino; Main – Seared Bavette steak, Salsa verde, Roasted onions, Beef fat Hasselback potato; Dessert – Warm cherry & almond Frangipane tart, Vanilla Anglaise.

Images: Starter – Tempura fried courgettes; Main – Seared Bavette steak; Dessert – Warm cherry & almond Frangipane tart

Well-known Chiswick foodie Lucy Cufflin, a director of the Chiswick Cheese Market and author of cookbooks herself told us:

‘Not finding time for either breakfast or brunch out it was a complete joy to be able to try Abbie’s culinary skills in the evening and WOW! She has a tremendously talented touch with flavour – sauces, dressings, textures and ‘look’ were a complete delight.

‘The ambience of the evening was fun and informal.

‘I will most definitely be back for another if we are lucky enough to be be offered another evening at Sam’s Kitchen’.

Julie Downing wrote:

‘The food, environment and service were great. Would love him to do another.’

Deborah Hall added:

‘We thoroughly enjoyed the evening at Sam’s. Relaxed atmosphere, with a sense of something special happening; good value for the quality of food we had and we’d definitely go again.’

So we’re chalking that up as a success and hoping to do another one in the autumn.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Series of planned part closures on Piccadilly Line announced

Image: Underground sign; Library image

Part of ‘vital upgrade work’ so new trains can be introduced to services from 2025

Transport for London (TfL) is advising Piccadilly line customers to plan ahead and allow more time for their journeys as a series of vital track and platform upgrades mean sections of the line will close temporarily for periods this year.

They say these upgrades are essential to ensure the line is ready for the first new Piccadilly line trains which will arrive in London later this year for testing, ready to be introduced as a fleet of 94 new trains from 2025.

The new trains are part of a £2.9bn investment to modernise the line, ‘to help it run more reliably, safely, inclusively and sustainably’.

The scale of the upgrade, which will take place on one of London’s deepest Tube lines with some of the oldest track and signaling infrastructure, means that a series of closures is required.

Image: New Piccadilly Line train leaving the Siemens factory

Line closures over period of more than a fortnight in August

The longest of these is a 16-day planned part closure of the Piccadilly line (Wood Green to Cockfosters and Rayners Lane to Uxbridge) between Saturday 17 August and Sunday 1 September, with a reduced service expected on other parts of the Piccadilly line due to the unavailability of trains.

TfL say rail replacement buses will serve all stations between Wood Green and Cockfosters, although customers travelling to central London may find it quicker to use local bus services to connect to nearby alternative Tube and rail stations. Customers who use Piccadilly line services to Uxbridge are advised to change at Rayners Lane for the Metropolitan line.

For all of these part closures, Piccadilly line customers are advised to plan ahead by using TfL’s real-time travel information tools including TfL Journey Planner and TfL Go, to check before travelling and to allow more time for their journeys.

A dedicated travel advice webpage, which also lists the upcoming, confirmed weekend closures on the Piccadilly line so customers can plan ahead, is available on TfL’s website, here:

READ ALSO: New Piccadilly Line trains begin testing in Germany

Image: New Piccadilly Line train leaving the Siemens factory

“A huge engineering and logistical feat”

Stuart Harvey, Chief Capital Officer at TfL, said

“I’d like to thank our customers for their patience while we carry out these essential upgrades to the Piccadilly line.

“Introducing a new fleet of trains is a huge engineering and logistical feat. Although much of the hard work goes on behind the scenes, there are times when we need to close sections of the railway to ensure that all existing infrastructure is compatible with the new trains.

“Closures of this type are scheduled to take place, where possible, in school holidays when demand on our network is significantly reduced.”

Up to 80 per cent of the new Piccadilly line trains will be built in the UK at Siemens Mobility’s new manufacturing facility in Goole, Yorkshire. The new trains will feature walk-through carriages, wider all-double doorways to help customers get on and off more easily, enhanced digital display screens for customer information, on-train CCTV cameras for additional customer security and will, for the first time on a Deep Tube train, provide air-conditioning.

They will increase capacity by ten per cent and will also improve energy efficiency and accessibility.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Ealing among naughtiest London boroughs for unauthorised school holidays

Image: Children on holiday; library image

Ealing had 1,304 fines for family holidays over period of 2022/23

As the summer holidays approach, many parents consider taking their children out of school early or delaying their return to secure cheaper flights for a summer getaway. Rather than paying the often prohibitively expensive travel costs at the beginning of summer, some parents opt to absorb the fines imposed by local councils for unauthorised absences.

Recent data from the Department for Education on unauthorised school holidays in London reveal the boroughs with the highest rates of school absences leading up to the summer holidays. Certain areas show significantly higher numbers of penalty notices issued for unauthorised absences and family holidays.

Ealing ranks as the seventh highest borough for total penalty notices, with 2,639 issued in 2022/23. This includes 1,335 notices for unauthorised absences and 1,304 for family holidays.

In contrast, Hounslow ranks eleventh with 857 penalty notices, comprising 632 for unauthorised absences and 225 for family holidays.

Notably, Redbridge tops the list with a staggering 8,811 penalty notices, outpacing all other boroughs. This includes 4,451 notices for general unauthorised absences and 4,360 specifically for unauthorised family holidays. Havering follows with 7,514 notices, including 3,861 for unauthorised absences and 3,653 for family holidays.

The boroughs with the fewest penalty notices are Greenwich, with 101 notices for unauthorised absences and none for family holidays, and Richmond, with 280 notices, including 187 for unauthorised absences and 93 for family holidays.

Image: A plane flying over Heathrow Airport

What are the cheapest dates during the summer holidays?

Parents of children in English state schools (private schools are exempt) face difficulty in obtaining permission for term-time holidays. Unauthorised absences can result in an £80 fine per parent, per child.

Schools used to have the discretion to allow up to 10 days’ term-time holiday each year in ‘special circumstances’. The rules were tightened in Sept 2013 though – now head teachers at state schools in England can only give permission for term-time absences in “exceptional circumstances”.

Under rules which came into effect earlier this year, the initial penalty notices were raised from £60 to £80, if paid within 21 days. Those who delay payment will have fines raised from £120 to £160.

The consumer watchdog Which? found the most expensive weeks for booking a package holiday are from 27 July to 3 August and from 3 August to 10 August, right after most English schools break up. It is, on average, £123 cheaper per person to book a package break during the last week of the summer holiday than the first week.

The cheapest week for a summer package holiday is the final one, from 24 to 31 August, when most children are still off school.

Image: Cllr Samia Chaudhary

Hounslow “delighted” at fewer unauthorised absences

Cllr Samia Chaudhary, Cabinet Member for Education, Children, Skills, and Employment on Hounslow Council, commented:

“We are delighted that schools and parents in Hounslow understand the importance of school attendance, resulting in fewer unauthorised absences in 2022/23 compared to 12 of the other 19 London councils that shared their data with the Department for Education.”

Ealing Council has been approached for comment but has not yet responded.

Breakdown of the naughty list

Below is the detailed ranking of London boroughs based on total penalty notices issued for unauthorised absences:

  1. Redbridge: 8,811 (UA: 4,451, Family Holidays: 4,360)
  2. Havering: 7,514 (UA: 3,861, Family Holidays: 3,653)
  3. Barking and Dagenham: 5,116 (UA: 2,705, Family Holidays: 2,411)
  4. Barnet: 3,530 (UA: 1,832, Family Holidays: 1,698)
  5. Harrow: 3,313 (UA: 1,718, Family Holidays: 1,595)
  6. Waltham Forest: 3,057 (UA: 1,880, Family Holidays: 1,177)
  7. Ealing: 2,639 (UA: 1,335, Family Holidays: 1,304)
  8. Croydon: 2,458 (UA: 1,264, Family Holidays: 1,194)
  9. Bromley: 1,439 (UA: 773, Family Holidays: 666)
  10. Hillingdon: 1,294 (UA: 700, Family Holidays: 594)
  11. Hounslow: 857 (UA: 632, Family Holidays: 225)
  12. Enfield: 735 (UA: 381, Family Holidays: 354)
  13. Bexley: 704 (UA: 361, Family Holidays: 343)
  14. Sutton: 591 (UA: 378, Family Holidays: 213)
  15. Brent: 424 (UA: 218, Family Holidays: 206)
  16. Merton: 376 (UA: 217, Family Holidays: 159)
  17. Kingston upon Thames: 228 (UA: 118, Family Holidays: 110)
  18. Richmond upon Thames: 187 (UA: 94, Family Holidays: 93)
  19. Greenwich: 101 (UA: 101, Family Holidays: 0)

Food St market Sunday 28 July

Guest blog by Richard Johnson

Savour the flavours at Old Market Place

We have a great selection of new food traders in Old Market Place this month. There’s the Mauritian crab samosas of Kickin Creole, the all-vegan thali from Mumbai Street Eats, the fragrant flavourbombs of Disha’s Chai, the super fresh menu of Pretty Boy Tacos, or the life-changing chicken tenders from the Gluten Free People.

Street Food Royalty Visits

On Sunday we’re also being visited by street food royalty –  Papelon – who won first place at the southeast heats of the 2024 British Street Food Awards hosted by Blue Collar last month. That means killer cachapas. They won over Michelin-starred chef Adam Smith AND the general public. Come see what all the fuss is about.

But where next? If you’ve got any room. The Philly cheesesteaks from the Griddle Guys, the Brazilian barbecue of Com Amor or a selection of fresh olives from The Olive Bar? Maybe some Korean Fried Chicken from Nimtoh, some Turkish flatbreads from Sultan Gozleme or the world’s best lobster rolls from E8 Fish? You decide!

Images: William Morris ‘Artichoke’ and ‘Trellis’

Calling All Young Creatives!

Come join our first ever Make Your Own Wallpaper event, hosted by the William Morris Society at the Food St market on July 28. Inspired by two of Morris’ most beautiful designs – “Artichoke” and “Trellis” – we want to invite children to drop in and create some radical new looks.

It’s an exciting time for design in West London. Morris & Co is part of the Sanderson Design Group, which recently moved back to Chiswick. The company’s archive, design studio, and 164 years of history relocated to Voysey House earlier this year in readiness for the next chapter of design.

William Morris himself – activist and the father of the Arts and Crafts movement – lived at Kelmscott House in Hammersmith until his death. But before that he rented Horrington House on Chiswick High Road. Right beside the Roebuck pub. And a three minute walk to Food St market. Now you know why we’re so excited….

Richard Johnson is the organiser of the FoodSt market in Chiswick High Road on the fourth Sunday of every month.

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Over 50% Kew’s trees could be at risk says new report on the Botanic Gardens

Image: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, aerial photograph

Traditional English trees not fit for new climate conditions

The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew has published a report on the future of its 11,000 trees. The shocking findings are that over 50% of Kew’s tree species could be vulnerable by 2090 because of climate change. Much-loved species such as oak, beech and holly are all at risk in the UK.

The report calls on the horticulture industry and urban planners to increase the diversity of trees and shrubs and start planning for resilience to more extreme weather.

‘Spurred by the drought of 2022, which resulted in the loss of over 400 trees at Kew Gardens (compared to an average loss of 30 trees most years)’, the Royal Botanic Gardens commissioned the report: Planting for the Future:  Kew’s Landscape Succession Plan using novel climate models that have been empirically tested by Kew horticulturists and scientists that draw on specific projections for West London.

Images: Acorns on Quercus robor, English Oak; Ilex aquifolium ‘Elegantissima’ on Holly Walk;Fagus sylvatica, common beech; images Kew Gardens

English oak, common beech, holly and silver birch likely casualties of climate change

The report continues:

‘Weather station records from Kew Gardens have been combined with global tree data and details of Kew’s existing plant collections, alongside empirical testing. The results reveal that over 50% of Kew’s tree species could be vulnerable by 2090 (45% are predicted to be at the edge of their known range and 9% outside of their known range based on mean annual temperature).

‘Additional modelling that combines moisture and annual temperature more conservatively predicts one third of Kew’s trees may be vulnerable by 2090, yet both scenarios reveal much-loved British natives such as English oak (Quercus robur), common beech (Fagus sylvatica), silver birch (Betula pendula) and holly (Ilex aquifolium) could be at risk in areas of the UK with a similar climate to Kew Gardens.’

Image: Fagus sylvatica, common beech, in Kew’s Arboretum

Notably, the report says, all of Kew’s ‘Old Lions’ (five of the oldest trees in the Gardens) are expected to thrive even in the worst-case climate scenario. These trees, none of which are British natives, were planted in the mid-1700s when Princess Augusta created a nine-acre botanic garden at Kew, demonstrating the benefits of diversifying collections.

Kew hopes the report will act as a blueprint for urban spaces, botanic, public and private gardens, and calls on the horticulture industry as well as urban planners to recognise concerns around an exclusive focus on native species.

Image: Dying Nothofagus, beech, summer 2022 at Kew Gardens

‘Urgent need for succession planning’

‘There is an urgent need for succession planning nationally as the UK’s ten warmest years since 1884 have occurred in the 21st century, and London’s climate in 2050 is expected to be comparable to present-day Barcelona.

‘This poses multiple threats to living landscapes and is of particular concern at Kew Gardens where the selection of plants has, in the past, been based on the assumption that site characteristics are static. Historically, species have therefore not been selected with the future climate in mind.

Image: Pagoda vista; Kew Gardens

‘Trees and woody shrubs, the focus of this plan, act as nature’s air conditioning, effectively managing the effects of urban heat islands both on people and wider ecosystems. However, their long lifespan means their ability to adapt to rapidly changing climate conditions are limited, and many of the trees currently being planted in the UK are failing.’

Resilient species they suggest include: Farges’ fir (Abies fargesii), Iberian alder (Alnus lusitanica) – native to Portugal and Spain, cherry hackberry (Celtis cerasifera) – native to China, Myanmar and Tibet, Montezuma’s pine (Pinus montezumae) – native to Central America, and spoon oak (Quercus urbani) – native to Mexico, which are shown to be species that should withstand projected climate conditions.

Image: Cedar vista; Kew Gardens

Image: Mediterranean Garden; Kew Gardens

Image: Aerial view of the arboretum

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London faces more floods and heatwaves – so what’s the plan?

Image: Flooding at Chiswick Mall

The urgent climate risks facing London

Guest blog by James Thellusson, with contributions from William Butler

Last week, the Evening Standard warned that by 2030, over 40% of London properties could suffer from subsistence because of climate change.

The forecast was one of many in the London Climate Resilience Review, which was commissioned by the Mayor of London, and overseen by a former chair of the Environment Agency.

The Review says London faces more frequent and more intense weather events which may cause floods, droughts, wildfires, storms, sea level rise and subsidence. Heatwaves may claim thousands of lives, if no action is taken now.

Surface flooding will increase partly because too much land has been concreted or paved over which makes the ground is less able to soak up water in heavy rainfall. The current head of the Environment Agency says this is the issue which ‘keeps me up at night’.

To some, these threats may sound too Biblically catastrophic to ring true. As if a farm full of Chicken Littles had teamed up to write the latest implausible movie in the disaster franchise – The Sky Falls In Again. Others will discount these forecasts as a mid-distance prophesy about which they can do nothing.

But the fact is that the climate change shit show is already happening. In 2021, 30 tube stations closed due to flash flooding, London hospitals postponed important operations because the heat crossed the wires of their IT systems and over 280 people died due to the extreme heat.

READ ALSO: Flooding in Chiswick Mall higher than usual

Image: The Thames regularly floods in Chiswick 

Proposed solutions and their challenges

The report is not all doom and gloom. In fact, it has 50 recommendations to mitigate the worse aspects of what’s coming. These include building a new reservoir to serve the south-east (where water stress will be most acute); building a new Thames Barrier by 2070; improving flood defences, maintaining street trees and a ‘heat plan’ to protect the vulnerable, especially the old and those in care homes.

Which is all well and good. But, according to a recent House of Commons Public Accounts Committee report, the government has been too short term focused in addressing this issue. Do we expect a new Government will be any better?

Moreover, the responsibility for measuring, managing and mitigating the challenges to London rest in the hands of many private and public bodies. The buck, so to speak, doesn’t appear to stop with any one person. Or purse. Or public body.

Which is concerning.

My first boss told me never to present more than three solutions to any problem. He said if I offered him more than three, he’d sack me. God knows what he’d have done if I had suggested 50 recommendations.

God knows what would have happened if I had been asked to implement 50 recommendations.

Of course, managing climate change risk is a complex problem. And the report recognises the need for joined up planning and response.

It stresses the need for scaling up solutions and better coordination. The Guardian suggested councils might pay people to pull up the concrete paving stones in their front gardens to reduce the risk of surface flooding, as one solution.

READ ALSO: Flash floods in Chiswick 

Image: A car is partly submerged in recent flooding at Chsiwick Mall

The role of Chiswick residents and local government

Reading the report was like taking a cold shower, a wakeup call. The Thames is forecast to rise by more than one metre, Chiswick has many underground rivers and many hard road and garden surfaces. The Mall appears to flood more than before.

What’s next? High insurance costs? Selling up and moving to the Peak District? I don’t want to sound like Chicken Little, but I now have a feeling the climate change threat to Chiswick is larger and more urgent than I previously thought. Is that right?

Despite the prior efforts of the Chiswick Calendar and others to raise this issue, it feels like time to widen this debate. I think every resident in Chiswick should read the report. Or at least its summary. So should every councillor.

The London Climate Reslience Review

Chiswick residents need to know and understand more about the risks, the scale of those risks and their immediacy we face from climate change.

We need more proactive engagement from the council and others about the challenges ahead for us as individual residents and as a community. We need to know what is happening and what is planned. And what we can do to help. This ought to be a top accountability issue for the 2026 local elections.

‘London Calling’ by the Clash is one of my favourite songs. In it, Jo Strummer wrote:

‘Engines top running, but I have no fear

‘Cause London is drowning and I live by the river.’

I never understood why he was so complacent about living in a drowning city. Perhaps he owned a barge?

After reading this report, I don’t share his complacency.

I can see my son sunbathing in the garden. He’s the one that going to have to live with the consequences of further climate change inaction and the greenhouses gases I’ve been thoughtlessly pumping out for 60 years. (If he survives the melanoma he’s currently courting, that is.)

It’s time to do something for him, right?

So, I’m off to rip up the flagstones in the front garden and write a letter to the Council to see if I can find out how much it costs to rent a barge.

Property market update: Navigating economic trends and local dynamics with Horton and Garton

Phil Spencer sits down with John Horton of Horton and Garton to discuss the latest property trends

Chiswick Property Market | Update July 2024

Whilst Chiswick continues to be an incredibly popular place to call home, the property market here in W4 is influenced by broader economic and political factors. For those making property related plans over the coming months Horton and Garton have teamed up with Phil Spencer and MoveiQ once again to share a local market update.

While some homeowners may have delayed moving due to the General Election, most found the outcome inconsequential. The market has been more significantly influenced by the availability of specific property types and interest rate fluctuations.

The market has moved at different paces depending on the type of property, with certain properties experiencing greater demand than others; two-bedroom houses for example have experienced a 6% rise in values over the past 12 months.

As people adjust their plans, market momentum is gradually rebuilding through the summer months.

Staying Power

A notable trend is that many local downsizers prefer to stay in Chiswick; 23% of active buyers registered already own property in the area. This results in larger properties becoming available while increasing demand for smaller properties, leading to a shortage in the £1m to £2m price bracket.

Turnaround Time Expectations

Whilst transactions are largely reported to have slowed down across the country, Horton and Garton recorded an average turnaround time from marketing to offer in Q2 of just 61 days, quicker than Rightmove’s reported average over that period and significantly faster than the first quarter.

Moving in 2024

The recent General Election saw some sellers hedging their bets, awaiting potential interest rate cuts. With the election behind us, there’s anticipation that the Bank of England may lower rates in the coming months, providing a psychological boost to the housing market. Homeowners with long-term selling plans are encouraged to contact Horton and Garton.

Watch the full update:


Talk to Horton and Garton about your plans to move.

Horton and Garton sponsor The Chiswick Calendar website.

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Foreign Secretary tells Andy Slaughter his constituency has gone “more upmarket”

Images: (L) Foreign Secretary David Lammy; (R) Andy Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith & Chiswick; images – video grabs from

A moment of levity in an otherwise very serious debate on Gaza

Foreign Secretary David Lammy told the House of Commons on Friday (19 July) Andy Slaughter’s constituency had gone “more upmarket” with the addition of Chiswick.

Labour MP Andy Slaughter has represented the Hammersmith area for more than 30 years but recent boundary changes added three Chiswick wards to his constituency, giving it the new name of ‘Hammersmith and Chiswick’.

In the otherwise serious debate on Gaza on Friday (19 July), there was a moment of levity when, after the Foreign Secretary had taken a question from Andy Slaughter, he referred to “the Member for Hammersmith and Fulham” and then corrected himself, “although there may be boundary changes …

“Chiswick. Hammersmith has gone more upmarket, forgive me, it’s Chiswick,” to general laughter.

“You’ll understand, as the Member for Tottenham I think I can get away with that.”

READ ALSO: Andy Slaughter questions Foreign Secretary on legality of war in Gaza

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Andy Slaughter questions Foreign Secretary on legality of war in Gaza

Image: Foreign Secretary David Lammy speaking in Parliament on Friday; video grab from

Foreign Secretary announces UK will resume funding UN Agency for Palestinian refugees

The new Labour government has announced the UK will resume funding to the UN Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).

“We are overturning the suspension of UNWRA funding,” Foreign Secretary David Lammy told Parliament on Friday (19 July). He told the House of Commons it was: “absolutely central” to providing humanitarian aid to Gaza.

David Lammy committed £21 million in new funds for the aid agency, lifting the suspension imposed by the previous government. UNWRA supplies 60% of the aid to Gaza.

Liberal Democrat MP for Twickenham Munira Wilson said she welcomed the decision and thanked the Foreign Secretary for “the overall change of tone from his predecessors on this issue”.

Image: Hammersmith & Chiswick MP Andy Slaughter speaking in Parliament on Friday; video grab from

Hammersmith & Chiswick MP questions David Lammy on whether there have been breaches of international law over Gaza

MP for Hammersmith and Chiswick Andy Slaughter also thanked the Foreign Secretary for the work he had done “moving Government policy on this issue and for putting the situation in Gaza at the top of his agenda,” commending “the fact that he and the Prime Minister have consistently called for international law to be followed in the conflict”.

He asked the Foreign Secretary:

“When will he publish the Government’s assessment of whether any parties have breached international law since 7 October and what the consequences of any such breaches should be?”

Images: Foreign Secretary David Lammy (L); MP for Hammersmith & Chiswick Andy Slaughter (R)

David Lammy answered:

“I am very grateful to my honourable friend for that question, and I know he has been a champion of the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people in this House for many, many years indeed.

“He pushes me on an important subject. Can I say to him, he is an esteemed lawyer so he understands why I am choosing my words carefully. This is a quasi-legal process and it’s important that I follow the actions in the appropriate way with all probity and all integrity.

“So I will consider those assessments when they are made available to me. I instigated a process on the first day in office, I am supported of course in that by our Attorney General, and I hope to be able to make my views known with full accountability and transparency.”

There was a moment of levity in the debate when David Lammy referred to Andy Slaughter’s constituency having gone “upmarket”.

READ ALSO: Foreign Secretary tells Andy Slaughter his constituency has gone “more upmarket”

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Shoplifting crackdown announced in King’s Speech

Image: Thefts under £200 will no longer be treated as “low-value”

Labour set to reverse the so-called “shoplifter’s charter” of 2014

The new Labour government has announced a crackdown on shoplifting in the policies set out in the King’s Speech on Wednesday (17 July). This anticipated change marks a significant departure from the 2014 legislation which categorised thefts under £200 as “low-value”, resulting in more lenient punishments, which many have seen as a ‘shoplifters charter’.

The Government plans to introduce a new Crime Bill targeting individuals who steal goods valued at less than £200, which is expected to reclassify shoplifting offences, subjecting them to stricter penalties and more serious law enforcement attention.

Additionally, a new specific offence of assaulting a shop worker will be included in the legislative agenda, recognising the increasing threats faced by retail employees.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals that last year was the worst on record for shoplifting in England and Wales, with over 430,000 offences reported. Retailers, however, argue that the true extent of shoplifting is underreported, suggesting that actual figures are significantly higher.

Image: Shoplifter caught on camera filling his bag in Boots

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) estimates that shoplifting cost retailers £1.8 billion last year, costs which are ultimately passed on to consumers through higher prices.

Tom Holder, spokesperson for the BRC, highlights the impact of the 2014 legislation:

“The 2014 law deprioritised low-value theft in the eyes of police, resulting in a less robust response to these crimes. Shoplifting harms everyone, as these costs eventually impact prices.”

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

READ ALSO: Brazen thieves return to break into Chiswick shop after £25,000 heist

Locally, Chiswick has experienced a marked increase in thefts, with shops along Chiswick High Road, Turnham Green Terrace, and Devonshire Road particularly affected. In a series of interviews conducted by The Chiswick Calendar over the past year, dozens of retail workers have reported a surge in not only shoplifting, burglary, and pickpocketing – but increasingly violent raids.

Image: Balaclava clad thieves preparing to steal from clothes shop Riccardo

Some stores have resorted to implementing stringent security measures, such as locked door policies and hiring security guards, to cope with the rising tide of theft.

Despite the support from retailers and shop workers, civil liberties groups have expressed concerns. Jodie Beck, policy and campaigns officer at Liberty, argues that criminalising those struggling financially may exacerbate the problem.

“Instead of focusing on criminal justice solutions, the government should address the root causes of crime, which are often linked to poverty and inequality,” she said.

The legislative changes come at a time when the UK’s prison system is already under strain. Justice Secretary Shabana Mahmood recently announced plans to release thousands of prisoners early to alleviate overcrowding. Critics warn that tougher penalties for shoplifting could further burden the prison system and exacerbate the court backlog.

It remains to be seen how these new measures will balance the need for robust law enforcement with the underlying socio-economic issues driving petty crime. For Chiswick’s beleaguered retailers, the hope is that this crackdown will bring much-needed relief and restore a sense of security to their businesses.

Hounslow Council secures record fine for illegal felling of trees

Image: The site where the trees were felled; photograph LB Hounslow 

Company fined £17,000 for felling trees illegally

Hounslow Council has successfully prosecuted a company for the illegal felling of six mature trees within the St Paul’s Hounslow Conservation Area. The offender, Skylark Bed & Breakfast LLP, on Bath Road, has been fined £17,000 for the offence, with added costs the total payable is £23,186.50, making it the Council’s largest-ever fine for the illegal felling of trees.

The prosecution was started after Council officers discovered that six mature trees had been illegally removed from a property in the Conservation Area. They argued these trees were integral to the local landscape and played a vital role in maintaining the environmental and aesthetic quality of the area.

Cllr Tom Bruce, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Assets, Regeneration and Development, said:

“We are deeply committed to protecting the natural and historic environment of our borough. Trees play a major role in mitigating against the effects of climate change and making our borough a greener and healthier place to live, which is why punishments for cutting down trees illegally are so important.

“The illegal felling of these trees was a serious offence that not only violated conservation area regulations but also deprived the community of important natural assets. This record fine sends a clear message that such actions will not be tolerated, and we will take decisive action to protect our green spaces. I want to thank our enforcement team for their diligent work in bringing this case to court.”

The Council hopes the case will serve as a reminder to all residents and property owners within Conservation Areas that any work affecting trees must be approved by the Council to ensure compliance with conservation regulations.

Hounslow is home to a rich urban tree environment with more than 383 tree species and over 124,000 trees owned and managed by the Council alone. Trees are one of the most effective ways of reducing carbon in the atmosphere, while also encouraging biodiversity and creating greener, more pleasant communities for residents to live in.

The Council says it remains dedicated to preserving the natural beauty and historical significance of our Conservation Areas and will continue to take strong action against those who violate these protections.

Council approves plans including Hammersmith ‘flyunder’

Image: Removal of the Hammersmith Flyover could allow a ‘green boulevard’ through the town centre; via Hammersmith & Fulham Council

Vision for the area up to 2035 set out in Local Plan

Hammersmith and Fulham Council has approved a comprehensive new planning framework that includes potentially replacing the 1960s Hammersmith Flyover with a tunnel. The local authority also aims to add nearly 3,000 homes and implement various public realm improvements in Hammersmith over the next decade.

The borough’s Hammersmith Town Centre Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), which sets out the Council’s policies in the Local Plan to guide future decision-making, sets out a vision for the area up until 2035.

Among the SPD’s key desired outcomes are the construction of 2,800 homes, the creation of 10,000 new jobs, and the demolition of the flyover. In its place, a new ‘flyunder’ is proposed, estimated to cost £811 million.

This development aims to improve the townscape and free up land for additional development. The Council has stated it would need to partner with Transport for London (TfL) and the Greater London Authority (GLA) to deliver the scheme.

Image: New York City’s Highline

Creation of a ‘Hammersmith Highline’ proposed

Plans also include a comprehensive redevelopment of Hammersmith Broadway and the creation of a ‘Hammersmith High-line’. This high-line, inspired by New York’s famous elevated park, would repurpose the disused railway viaduct, turning it into a walkable park linking the arches to Beadon Road.

The SPD was unanimously approved for adoption at last night’s Cabinet meeting (15 July). Opposition Conservative Councillor Jose Afonso questioned whether the flyunder would be introduced before Hammersmith Bridge is repaired, or whether it would be delayed until 2050.

Council Leader Stephen Cowan responded, asserting that the bridge’s closure in 2019 had been politicised by former Chelsea and Fulham MP Greg Hands. He said LB Hammersmith & Fulham had submitted a plan to the Government to reopen the crossing.

Cllr Cowan added that the flyunder’s funding would come from monetising the land freed up by the flyover’s removal, though he acknowledged the project would need input from a ‘more interventionist’ Government.

“So our proposal to them is we will give you the plan, and if you can, we would like to do this,” Cowan said.

A member of the public sought clarification on potential works on the Hammersmith gyratory. An officer responded that the Council has no firm plans to reconfigure the system. Before the vote, Councillor Cowan praised the SPD, saying it “strengthens our planning powers and sets the tone for where we’re going to go in the future”.

Chiswick Cinema celebrates its third birthday

Chiswick Cinema celebrrated its third birthday on Thursday with a choice of films, and cocktails and cake.

Visitors were treated to a choice of the Gene Hackman film The Conversation, introduced by self-described film nerd Andrea Carnevali, Pirates of the Caribbean, introduced by one of the pirates, Kevin McNally, or Brighton Rock, with Richard Attenborough, introduced by his son Michael.

The cinema’s marketing manager Chris Parker took the opportunity to lay a few statistics on the audience: 325,000 + tickets sold since they first opened, 70,000 + popcorns sold, 35,000 + glasses of wine consumed, 15 + members events hosted and 70 Q&As with some of the country’s leading actors and directors.

We have had the Karel Reisz season, the Richard Attenborough reetrospective and we are currently in the throes of the Summer of Spielberg, and Pinter on Screen. He mentioned more cultural highlights to come, including a Rupert Everett Q&A on Sunday 8 September and the Chiswick In Film Festival, which this year will be in November (Friday 15 – Sunday 17), the details of which will be announced soon.

I was duly grateful to receive an award for supporting the cinema, along with Heather Petkov, Karen Liebreich of Abundance London, Torin Douglas of the Chiswick Book Festival and Andrea Carnevali and Rob Sprackling, co-conspirators on the Chiswick In Film Festival

Here are some of the pictures from the evening.


Images: Heather Petkov receiving her award; Kevin McNally introducing Pirates of the Caribbean; staff with the birthday cake

Images: Audience members; Chris Parker


Images: Rob Sprackling receiving his award; Audience

Images: Andrea introducing The Conversation

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‘Anhad’ festival returns to Hounslow on Saturday 20 July

Image: Dancers at Anhad festival in 2022; via Hounslow Council

Anhad takes place this Saturday with live music and DJ sets in Bell Square

‘Anhad’- the annual South Asian festival in Hounslow – is set to return to Bell Square this Saturday, 20 July, filling the space with live music performances and DJ’s from 3pm to 10pm, as part of South Asian Heritage Month.

Delivered by the arts trust that used to run Watermans, the festival has proved popular with residents and national audiences as a platform for South Asian arts across the UK, showcasing the talent of contemporary South Asian culture.

Now in its third year, Anhad will also feature an installation of large-scale flags by Kinetika People, creating a vibrant festival atmosphere on Hounslow High Street.

Councillor Salman Shaheen, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Public Spaces at Hounslow Council, said:

“With 188 languages spoken in our borough, Hounslow is one of the most multicultural areas in London. Our flagship Summer of Culture programme proudly celebrates arts, culture and diverse communities every summer, featuring the best of what Hounslow has to offer.

“Anhad is one of our most popular events and highlights our commitment to celebrating South Asian Heritage Month.”

Anhad is a free event and is one of the highlights of Hounslow’s Summer of Culture programme. It coincides with South Asian Heritage Month, running from 18 July to 17 August.

‘Dressing Gown’, Theatre at the Tabard – Review

Image: Rosie Edwards (Layla, back to us); Jamie Hutchins (Ash)

Escalating from a standing start to happy absurdity

Dressing Gown, the new show at the Tabard starts at night. Twittering birdsong, a tinkling piano and a subtle ripple of applause suggest sweet and pleasant dreams. The lights come up on the exposed brick wall and dark wood furniture of a comfortable, albeit untidy flat. The opening strains of the Velvet Underground’s “Sunday Morning”, (a clever choice given the rampant paranoia of the characters we are about to meet), lead into a harsh doorbell which awakens our be-gowned hero, theatre director Ash, who sleepily stumbles into the light.

Ash is the director of a new play, “The Bearded Vulture”, a project he is clearly taking very seriously, and his morning visitor is the producer, Dan who arrives in a state of agitation to accuse Ash of sleeping with his girlfriend and leading lady, or as he puts it, “getting off with my Layla.” Of course, he’s mistaken but it’s just the start of a series of frustrations and misunderstandings that will escalate into happy absurdity.

As Dan, Ryan Woodcock is all pent-up rage and confusion, a man for whom jealousy will easily drive him to drastic action (“The play is off!”) even when it is he who presumably will lose out as much as anyone else.

Image: Jamie Hutchins and Rosie Edwards

Into the mix arrives Freya Alderson as Jenna, the author of The Bearded Vulture, who with her dodgy hearing (the result of too much exposure to the Foo Fighters), is the inadvertent cause of much of the mayhem. She is a riot of colour, fizzing energy and frustration at the actors’ inability to remember exactly the lines she has written; many a real-life playwright will readily identify with that sentiment.

Completing the line up is Rosie Edwards as Layla, a poised performance, balancing insecurity and neediness with yet more buried anger and a tendency to leap to unhelpful conclusions.

At the centre of it all is long suffering Ash, played by Jamie Hutchins who does a fine job with a rather underwritten character, holding everything together and conveying the pain of seeing his cherished project threatened from all directions.

Image: Freya Alderson (Jenna) and Jamie Hutchins

Real life director Jenny Eastop marshals her fine cast with confidence and keeps it pacy. Farce is a tricky form to pull off, but this one hurtles along to pleasing effect.

Andrew Cartmel has crafted a witty comedy which just about holds together and delivers a good helping of laughs. For me, it misses a trick at the end where the play doesn’t quite have the courage to go one final step into a potentially very dark place, but that doesn’t detract from the preceding 70 minutes of fun.

This is a thoroughly entertaining comedy; a deceptively simple story of one man who just wants to get dressed. It is certainly worth the trip to find whether he succeeds or not.

Image: Jamie Hutchins and Ryan Woodcock (Dan)

Dressing Gown runs until 27 July.

Book tickets: Dressing Gown

Simon Thomsett

Simon Thomsett

Simon Thomsett has worked in the professional theatre for a number of years. He started out as a stage manager and technician then became a venue director and producer, notably at the Hackney Empire, Fairfield Halls and most recently the New Victoria Theatre in Woking.

Since leaving full time work last year, he is now working as a consultant and on some small scale producing projects. He is a Chiswick resident and a passionate advocate for great theatre.

Dealing with trauma – How EMDR therapy can help you

EMDR Therapy – Taking the journey from hurt to healing

Guest blog by Tanya Kuznetsova

Buddha famously said that life is suffering. I do not take this to mean that life is always suffering, but rather that all people will experience pain and suffering at some points in their lives.

Loss, sadness, disappointment, pain, illness – these things are all part and parcel of the human condition. So the question is not ‘Will I experience emotional pain and suffering in my life?’ but rather ‘How often and for how long will I experience this?’

Like our bodies, our minds are designed to heal from shocks and losses. However, when a negative event or events are too traumatic, when people find themselves in situations when they feel extremely scared, powerless and vulnerable, the system breaks down.

This can happen in childhood when children do not receive adequate care from their caregivers, or in adult life, due to a one-off traumatic event or a series of traumatic experiences. In these cases, instead of taking learnings and storing these experiences as historical memories, our brain stores them in the ‘raw’ or unprocessed form, with all original feelings, sensations, images and thoughts.

Such unresolved trauma can cause problems – unprocessed memories can colour how we see and respond in the moment. For example, we may feel irrationally nervous when  meeting new people, afraid to stand up to an unreasonably demanding boss or insecure to leave an unhealthy relationship.

Some people may feel anxious, overwhelmed or distressed for no apparent reason, or respond to a situation in ways disproportionate to what it calls for. These are just a few examples when, instead of responding to situations from the position of an adult who has choices, people respond from the position of reliving their past and lose their ability to consciously choose their responses.

It is important to understand that trauma is not exclusively an event. Of course, there are some events like serious accidents, natural disasters, combat or violence which will leave anyone deeply affected. However, in a broader sense, trauma can refer to any experience or a series of experiences, when an individual feels overwhelmed, extremely frightened and powerless.

This can include being raised by abusive or neglectful parents, being bullied at school, put down by a partner, divorce, illness, a job loss, or any other experiences involving humiliation, abandonment, rejection or failures.

Whilst some people can navigate adversity by calling on their natural resilience and utilising their support networks, many others live with symptoms of trauma without recognising this to be linked to their past difficulties. These symptoms can be wide ranging from mood swings, irritability and low stress tolerance to relationship and social difficulties, feelings of isolation and low self-esteem and even physical pain or illness.

To get relief from their difficult feelings, some people resort to substance abuse. In the most severe cases people develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD) with its hallmark symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, and hypervigilance (or always assessing for potential threat).

One psychotherapy approach that treats unresolved trauma and related conditions is called EMDR which stands for Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing. Developed in the late 1980’s, EMDR was a chance discovery by a US psychologist Francine Shapiro, who while walking noticed that moving her eyes rapidly from side to side appeared to reduce her own distressing thoughts and feelings.

Since then, EMDR has become established as a leading method of helping people with trauma and other mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, stress and burnout, panic attacks, addictions, grief and loss, low self-esteem, negative self-beliefs, performance anxiety, and more.

It is believed that the underlying mechanism of EMDR is based on the brain’s natural capacity for ‘Adaptive Information Processing’ – the ability to extract and store useful information and discard the rest – which breaks down when people experience traumatic events.

The treatment by a trained therapist is designed to imitate what naturally happens during REM (or Rapid Eye Movement) phase of sleep when the brain is believed to be integrating new learning into the broader memory network. Over time, the memories of traumatic events lose their emotional charge, get stored in a more adaptive way, and the troubling symptoms subside or disappear.

Since its inception over 40 years ago, EMDR has been extensively studied and is now endorsed as an evidence-based treatment by numerous professional organisations, including NHS, Health and Care Excellence (NICE), and the World Health Organisation.

Today EMDR is widely used by therapists around the world to treat trauma and many other mental health conditions, helping people heal, build resilience, and start living balanced and fulfilling lives.

To explore how EMDR therapy can be of benefit to you, please book a complimentary 30-minute introductory consultation.

Tanya Kuznetsova is a UKCP accredited psychotherapist and EMDR therapist who works with clients in person at Greenhouse Rooms in Chiswick and online.

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Episode 45: “The ‘We’re here to serve’ mantra sounds a bit trite, but I think he really means it”

The Three Old Hacks, aka prolific author and former BBC Sports editor Mihir Bose, Economics editor of the Sunday Times David Smith and political analyst Nigel Dudley give their analysis of Keir Starmer’s first few days in Government.

“The whole focus is on quiet competence, no flashiness.”

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Get in contact with the podcast by emailing, we’d love to hear from you!

Chiswick pilot honours WWII VC heroes

Image: ‘Ooeration Shetland’

Flypast to honour Flt Lt John Cruikshank and Flt Lt David Hornell on the 80th anniversary of their VC awards

A pilot from Chiswick is paying tribute to two World War II pilots who were awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery. Flight Lieutenant John Cruikshank of the RAF and Flight Lieutenant David Hornell of the Royal Canadian Air Force were both awarded VCs for their actions flying Catalina aircraft, which Jeff Boyling of Grove Park now also flies.

This year is the 80th anniversary of the awards – the only VC awards made to Catalina pilots. David Hornell died of his wounds and was awarded posthumously in 1944, but John Cruikshank is still alive, aged 104, and living in a care home in Aberdeen. Jeff plans to fly his plane past the care home in tribute.

He told The Chiswick Calendar how he came to be flying a WWII Catalina amphibious flying boat:

“I trained in the 1990s. I worked for 40 years as a specialist musculo-skeletal physio, but I always wanted to fly, so I retrained as a pilot and got my commercial licence and my multi-crew cooperation certificate, which you need for flying Catalinas as they have two pilots.

“I became an instructor and still teach people to fly Cessnas and Piper PS28s at Stapleford Flight Centre in Essex; I’ve been doing that for 15 years now. I came across the Catalina quite by chance, in Enniskillen in Northern Ireland. There was a share for sale, and I realised I had all the qualifications.”

The 81-year-old plane is kept at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford and is the only Catalina still flying outside the Americas. Jeff owns a 25th share.

“We have flown her to Russia, Turkey, Greenland, France, Germany, Denmark and all up the Norwegian coast and raise money to keep her going by doing air shows all over the UK.

“Provided we maintain her in an airworthy state and have pilots qualified to fly her, we can continue.”

Images: Flt Lt John Cruikshank (L); Flt Lt David Hornell (R)

Both pilots severely shot up in engagements with German submarines

Flight Lieutenant David Hornell was awarded his VC after he and his crew attacked and sank a German submarine U-1225. His plane was badly damaged in the engagement but despite the aircraft being on fire he managed to land it on the sea in heavy swell.

“He did an amazing job controlling it” Jeff told me. Of the eight crew on board only three were alive when they ditched. They only had only one serviceable dinghy between them and had to take turns in it. By the time they were rescued 21 hours later flight engineers Scott and Laurent had died. Captain Hornell was still alive at that point but died soon after of hypothermia. He is buried in Lerwick New Cemetery.

Flight Lieutenant John Cruikshank and his crew also attacked a German submarine. The first pass was unsuccessful as the depth charges did

not release. He made the courageous decision to go back and give it another go. This time it was successful, but the aircraft had sustained damage and the Navigator, Dickson, had been killed.

Cruickshank was hit in 72 places with two serious wounds to his lungs and ten penetrating wounds to his legs. Knowing that his co-pilot was too inexperienced to land the plane on the sea, he refused to take morphine so his judgement would not be affected.

The second pilot brought the place back to Sullem Voe, a journey of five and a half hours during which time Cruickshank lapsed in and out of consciousness in a rest bunk. When it came to landing the plane he returned to the cockpit, had to wait an hour until conditions were right, then landed it on the sea and ran it ashore to stop it from sinking.

He needed a blood transfusion before being taken to hospital, and perhaps unsurprisingly, he never flew again.

Images: Flt Lt John Cruikshank posing with a Catalina flying boat more than 70 years after his actions in saving his crew led him to receiving the Victoria Cross

‘Miss Pickup’ represents another Catalina, lost in 1945

Jeff’s Catalina crew will fly their plane from Duxford to Aberdeen on Tuesday 16 July. On Wednesday 17 they will orbit John Cruikshank’s home and on Thursday 18 July they will fly over the cemetery where David Hornell is buried.

They have set up a gofundme page to finance the trip.

Their own plane ‘Miss Pickup’ represents a Catalina lost in 1945 whose crew was rescued after three days and is featured on the large glass panel outside the Imperial War Museum at Duxford.

Image: Jeff Boyling with his Catalina ‘Miss Pickup’

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Train services delayed after vehicle collides with Grove Park level crossing

Images: A temporary barrier blocked access 

Trains guided through the area by signallers after collision 

Train services between Hounslow and Barnes faced delays on Monday (15 July) after a vehicle collided with a level crossing barrier in Grove Park. A resident contacted The Chiswick Calendar to say trains were stopping on the approach to the crossing on Grove Park Terrace and then passing it very slowly.

The crossing barrier could be seen lying on the ground and plastic barriers used for roadworks had been pulled across to stop traffic going onto the line.

A spokesperson for Network Rail told The Chiswick Calendar:

“Services between Hounslow and Barnes are impacted after a vehicle collided with level crossing barriers in Grove Park, Chiswick, causing significant damage shortly before 1pm this afternoon. Our team are at the scene assessing the damage and arranging repairs to the crossing.

Images: Damaged level crossing barrier at the Grove Park crossing

“In order for trains to safely run at line speed over this level crossing, the barriers must be fully down. Due to the damage done, trains are having to be guided through the affected area by signallers, which is causing delays to journeys and we apologise to passengers for any inconvenience this incident has caused.”

Engineers from Cadent gas company had been doing work in the road nearby. They did not want to comment, but their van was showing some new scratches.

Network Rail had fixed the barrier by 9pm on Monday evening.

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Chiswick Cheese Market 21 July 2024

Flower Power comes to Cheesewick

It’s summer! Really it is – the grass is lush; the flowers are in full bloom and in the artisan cheese making world this makes the animal’s milk richer and often higher in fat. This, in turn, makes the cheese a different flavour and texture and in some instances means you need to change the cheese recipe or even make a different cheese.

Artisan cheese is seasonal. Take Vacherin Mont d’Or – the same milk as used for Comté but in the late summer months they switch to making the Vacherin instead of Comté as the recipe needs a richer fattier milk.

The flowers make a real difference too. When animals are feeding in flowery pastures the milk flavour takes on a floral hint. You pay a premium for summer Beaufort as its flavour is fruitier and more floral than the cheese in the autumn.

To celebrate summer we’re bringing the flowery vibe to the market this month and have three very special cheeses for you to try on HQ.

Alp Blossom – made in southern Germany with cow’s milk – this smooth textured cheese has a lovely gentle sweet flavour with floral hints from the dried flowers that make up its rind.

Flower Marie – This cheese is made in the spring and summer only, benefitting from the flavour of the flowers in the field. A soft ewe’s milk with a chalky interior when fresh which gives way to an unctuous stronger flavour as it ages.

Ribblesdale Goat with summer flowers – made with Yorkshire goat’s milk, this creamy goat’s cheese is mixed with honey and rolled in flower petals.

Thank you, Fay @bigwheelcheese for supplying our tasters this month. Join us on HQ to taste the real Power of Flowers.

New Traders this Month

Victoria’s cheese (@vistoriascheese) is bringing some exciting small batch cheeses from Suffolk and Norfolk where she runs her subscription cheese business. You will be able to try and buy Wissington, Norfolk White Lady, Binham Blue, Wells Alpine, Gurney’s Gold, Norfolk Mardler and Norfolk Pink Foot – my goodness what a fascinating array of new cheeses at Cheesewick!

We are also thrilled that The Italians (@theitalians_chiswick) are joining us this month – direct from the High Road, they will be bringing some of their exclusively imported Italian cheeses and pairing them with some of their extraordinary wines. They have recently started baking breads in store and will be bringing some of those along for us to enjoy with our cheese – buon appetito!

A list of all the stall holders can be found at

My cheese of the month from last month’s market is Pendragon from Somerset Cheese (@somersetcheesecompany). I have long had a love for buffalo milk cheeses and this cheese marries the big flavour that often comes with that milk with a beautiful smooth texture. It is a good melter too and I decadently had a cheese toastie made with this and a sweet apple chutney. It was divine!

It will grace any cheese board and is an excellent picnic addition so if you’re planning some outdoor eating this summer try this one.

Calling all turophiles, general cheese lovers and market visitors – you do not want to miss this event… Remember that great first round ‘People’s Choice’ event in May? The Real Cheese Project is back at the market this month with round two. Slightly different this time as you are invited to join them in an exclusive tutored tasting/eating/voting event at lunchtime in The Boston Room at The George IV pub on Old Market Place.
Britain’s top cheese writer, Patrick McGuigan and Jane Quicke from Quicke’s Cheddar will guide you through tasting the nine winning cheeses from round one (accompanied with a glass of wine and sides). They will explain the nuances of the cheeses, their flavour profiles and the different ways these territorial cheeses are made.

You will pit the winning Cheddar from the last round against the winning Lancashire, the Red Leicester against the Cheshire and then try them alongside the winning Stilton, the Gloucester, Wensleydale, Caerphilly and Dunlop cheeses.

If that was not exciting enough, you, the audience will vote for the four cheeses to be part of the on-line final in the autumn. Toast the winner with a glass of bubbly. For any cheese lover this is a must-not-miss event and there are a few tickets left so sign up and make it part of your trip to Cheesewick this Sunday!

This is going to be exciting, fabulous and a perfect reason to eat lots of cheese. Click here for tickets:

My cheese box is nearly empty and with flowers in mind I’m sorting out my floweriest shopping bag to bring along. I can’t wait to buy some regular favourites and try some of the very exciting new cheeses. See you there!

Lucy Cufflin
Chiswick Cheese Market Team

A new bathroom without the headache, from the London Bath Co Chiswick

Design, supply and installation by the London Bath Co – everything from start to finish

“When we set up the company 15 years ago there wasn’t anyone offering to supply a bathroom from start to finish” says Director of the London Bath Co, Steve Baker. The company, now a market leader, has three showrooms in London – one in Blackheath, one in St John’s Wood and one in Chiswick.

They offer high end bathrooms, wet rooms, cloakrooms, but also kitchens and any kind of fitted space, with everything included for a fixed price. Steve, the entrepreneur behind the business, has always worked in the building trade; his father Raymond was an electrical contractor, and Steve initially ran a building maintenance company.

“Whenever we had a problem it was always with the bathroom. Our whole industry is really about retail; it’s geared to selling the components, and people were expected to work out their own design, project manage it and clear up afterwards.”

His idea was to provide bathrooms, overseeing the whole job from start to finish, from design through installation, to clearing up after, with proper project management, so people with busy lives, jobs to go to, and children and elderly parents to look after, didn’t also find themselves trying to project manage the installation of a new bathroom, taking time off work to wait in for tradesmen who didn’t turn up.

“You expect to go to a garage and buy a new car, not a kit of components that you have to put together yourself. It should be the same with a bathroom.”

A family company which has grown to be a market leader

The industry has changed over the period they have been operating. The London Bath Co are now not the only ones offering a start to finish service for a fixed price, but he reckons they were the first, certainly at the level of quality they provide.

While he is the ideas man and sales director, Steven’s wife Emma is the CEO. Her father is the company’s measurer. “Our best ambassador,” says Steve.

With a background as a lawyer, Emma has an eye on the detail.

“I have the ideas, she makes sure they happen. We have complementary skills, but the reviews are down to her.”

The reviews on their Which Trusted Trader profile are uniformly, and almost embarrassingly glowing:

‘Tomasz, our installer was excellent from day one, despite encountering major challenges almost immediately.’

‘The service received by the London Bath Co was second to none. Right from the design with Andre, though the project management with Jamie and the fit with Michal. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.’

More than just bathrooms

Nasser Fahad, who is the company’s design director, and runs the Chiswick showroom, says a lot of their clients are repeat customers, because either they have moved house or they have decided another bit of their existing house needed refurbishment.

“We do all sorts of projects, not just bathrooms; we do media walls – bookshelves with space for a TV and storage – and bedrooms; we can take on a full restoration.”

He has been in the industry for almost a decade, having studied product design at Nottingham Trent University, and oversees a lot of their larger projects. Bathrooms range in price from around £20,000 to “whatever your imagination comes up with, it just depends”.

Currently he is overseeing a project at a house in Chiswick which will cost £75,000. It involves a two-seater sauna and wet room and a bespoke double vanity unit, porcelain-clad to match the floor to ceiling marble-effect porcelain slabs on the walls.

As someone who last installed a bathroom 30 years ago (and did my own project management without even knowing it was a thing, and the tiling and grouting) I confess I am a little behind the curve on bathroom design. Wet rooms are a concept which have pretty much passed me by.

“They are popular all over the world, especially i

n Europe. Everything is sealed, so there’s no shower tray. They have been in circulation in the UK for the last ten years but they have had a bad reputation because of problems with tanking and sealing, which is for us to disprove. We offer a three year guarantee on the workmanship.”

Video: From start to finish

Neutral tones highlighted with bright colours

They can offer that because they do everything in house, and Steve is proud that some of the people who worked with them from the beginning have stayed with them as the company has grown. Nasser says with three shops the different teams are able to work together to help each other out, making it easier to provide a seamless installation.

“I’ve been in the business over a decade and most of our installation teams have been with us all that time.”

As far as trends go, he tells me neutral colours are in vogue as base tones in bathrooms, highlighted with bright colours, maybe partial paint or a feature wall; and German design is still the best bet for a kitchen:

“The engineering and the quality is fantastic. We work with a fabrication company in Buxton that fabricate them for us.”

With the London Bath Co, Nasser says:

“You can go away on holiday and come back and everything will be done find yourself with a new bathroom- the rubble and rubbish taken away, the place clean and tidy and a three year labour guarantee against any potential problems.”

Just don’t expect to see him in the Chiswick showroom in August, as he is getting married and going away himself for a few weeks. (I wonder what his colleagues have in mind for his house while he’s away!) The shop will be covered by Andre (he of the glowing reference), the designer who manages the St Wohn’s Wood branch, in tandem with the company’s other designers.

We are very pleased to say the London Bath Co’s Chiswick showroom is now a member of our Club Card scheme. You may be spending thousands of pounds on a bathroom, but it’s still nice to get the accessories free!

Image: Nasser Fahad, London Bath Co design director and manager of the Chiswick store

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Grayson Perry at Pitzhanger Manor – West London Tribes and Tapestries

Image: Grayson Perry tapestry, Expulsion from Number 8 Eden Close

The West London Tribes and Tapestries of Grayson Perry

By Lucinda MacPherson

Sir Grayson Perry, the engaging chronicler of our age, provokes debate on taste and class with his witty, vibrant tapestries The Vanity of Small Differences at Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery from Thursday 11 July to Sunday 8 December.

The title comes from Freud’s concept of the narcissism of small differences, a term meaning we don’t hate anyone quite so much as our near neighbour.  As Perry explains:

“There are those micro niches in society and we tend to hate the type of people who might be mistaken for us.”

So perhaps a mental health warning should be flagged to readers in Chiswick who might find plenty to recognise and amuse in the artistic connections, familiar faces and interior design choices of their own social tribes, if not themselves, in this epic exhibition.

For although based on his self-styled “safari” of the social tribes of Sunderland,  Tunbridge Wells and The Cotswolds for the BAFTA award-winning television series All in the Best Possible Taste with Grayson Perry, the characters and narratives might just as well have been based in West London.

Jamie Oliver, who originally found fame in Hammersmith’s River Café, is depicted in tapestry three, beaming beatifically down as the god of social mobility.

Image: Jamie Oliver stars as the god of social mobility in tapestry three; in his kitchen complete with Le Creuset dish, as seen in tapestry four; and a visitor views Expulsion from 8 Eden Close at Pitzhanger Manor

Willow Bough flourishes up the wall of the middle class family home in the Expulsion from 8 Eden Close tapestry, an address in South Kensington. This leafy wallpaper was designed by the Victorian artist, William Morris of Kelmscott House, Hammersmith and is still selling strong from Morris & Co  who recently reinstated their HQ in Chiswick.

Image: Willow Bough handblocked wallpaper designed by William Morris, at Emery Walker’s House, Hammersmith

Details in the fourth tableau depict more unmistakable hallmarks of West London’s middle class tribes. On the table is a Cath Kidston (former resident of Chiswick Mall) floral bag, The FT and Guardian and organic vegetables from the farmer’s market.

Image: Visitor to Pitzhanger wears a Cath Kidston bag – by one (to her right) in the tapestry. 

The women in their easy to wear geometric patterns could have walked straight out of a Boden catalogue. Ealing resident Johnnie Boden’s recent photo shoot for his collection even included a jug of lilies echoing Perry’s Annunciation, itself a nod to Robert Campin’s 15th century Annunciation triptych.

Images: Boden fashion shoot complete with woman in geometric print dress styled with a  jug and lilies and The Annunciation, attributed to 15th Century Flemish painter Robert Campin. The vase on the table with three white lilies symbolizes the Virgin Mary’s purity as well as alluding to the Trinity

Another of Chiswick’s own, the contemporary artist Peter Blake, famously included Grayson Perry in his LP cover celebrating the cultural figures he most admires for his 80th birthday, cementing Perry’s status as a cultural icon.

Image: Peter Blake, Vintage Blake, 2012, Screenprint in colours, at Hidden Gallery

But the strongest art historic link with Chiswick is to the Georgian satirist William Hogarth, who inspired the whole rags to riches narrative and series format.  The tapestries pay tribute to and offer a contemporary reinterpretation of Hogarth’s seminal work, A Rake’s Progress, where Tom Rakewell falls from riches to rags in eight paintings.

18th century engravings of these can be seen in a drawing room at Pitzhanger, where the Soanes family once displayed the originals. This offers a rich historical context for Perry’s modern masterpieces where tech entrepreneur Tim Rockwell experiences more of an ebb and flow of social mobility, charted in six tapestries.

Tapestry six strongly echoes the eighth and final scene in A Rake’s Progress as both protagonists are naked – Tom, having lost all his money and mind is confined to ‘The Mad House’,  Tim after a car crash.

Tom’s ever-faithful and distraught girl friend, Sarah Young crouches by his side, while well dressed visitors come to gawp at the inmates in Bedlam, whereas Tim lies dead in the arms of a stranger while modern day onlookers take pictures on their camera phones.

Images: Last of the series of eight framed 18th century engravings of A Rake’s Progress which can be seen in their original setting of the Soane’s drawing room in Pitzhanger

Both illustrious London artists create intricate artworks intertwining personal history, and broader social observations with wit – often depicting dogs for humour, and pathos. Their work has much to say on vanity, religion, identity, sex, consumerism, social status and mobility, décor and decorum, so seeing the details in these artworks close up and in person is the most rewarding way to experience them.

In Perry’s world the minutiae of wallpaper choices and shopping bags become symbols of deeper social currents and concerns. But although his ethnographical details and the narratives they support are sometimes tragic and dark,  his non-judgmental, often humorous approach softens the harsh realities of his insightful gaze.

So, if you are stuck in London this summer, take a safari to Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery – and revel in his glorious tapestry of West London life.

Grayson Perry: The Vanity of Small Differences is at Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery Ealing Green, London W5 5EQ from Thursday 11 July – Sunday 8 December 2024, Wednesday to Sunday 10am–5pm, including Bank Holidays. (First Thursday of the month: 10am–8pm).

Last of the six tapestries. Grayson Perry, #Lamentation, 2012.

Lucinda MacPherson is a photojournalist and Heritage and Arts Communications Consultant for Pitzhanger,  who has had work  published in FT, Sunday Times and World of Interiors. 

Book tickets –

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New leadership; how will a Labour government impact your finances?

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

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

Following 14 years of a Conservative government, the Labour Party has now formed the largest majority government in 25 years. Consequently, changes in UK tax policy are expected over the coming months and years. So, what does the 2024 general election result mean for savers and investors and what can you expect from the Labour government in the months ahead?

In this article, Phil Sole, Relationship Manager at House of Killik Chiswick, briefly summarises the tax changes we expect to see and when these are likely to be implemented. For a full summary of how the 2024 general election results will impact your finances, watch this video to hear from our Head of Financial Planning and Head of Wealth Planning.

Forming the new government

The Labour party’s manifesto provides some indications of where they plan to implement reforms to personal tax, however, they will first need to take some time to form their government. After this, they will work with the Office for Budget Responsibility to review economic forecasts and form their opinion on what changes to implement to policies.

The manifesto pledges include the following:

  • No increases to National Insurance, Income Tax, VAT or Corporation Tax rates.
  • Income Tax thresholds frozen until 2028.
  • No reversal of the abolition of the pension lifetime allowance.
  • Implementing VAT at 20% on private school fees.
  • No reversal to the changes to the non-UK domiciled regime that were announced by the previous government during the Spring Budget earlier this year.
  • Aiming to raise more revenue from tax compliance and digitisation to help close the tax gap (with UK and offshore tax compliance likely to be an area of particular focus).
  • The recruitment of 5,000 new HMRC officers, each with targets to recover an additional £1.1m in tax revenue.
  • Amendment of the tax treatment of carried interest in private equity funds so that it is taxed at Income Tax rates rather than Capital Gains Tax (CGT) rates. There have been further announcements in the last few weeks that suggest that such a change would be subject to consultation and that some exemptions from the proposal may apply.
  • Increase of 1% in Stamp Duty Land Tax for purchases of UK residential property by non-UK residents.

Some forms of personal taxation will go unchanged

While we do not know all the changes to tax legislation that Labour plans to make yet, their manifesto makes it clear that there are three key areas they will not change from a taxation point of view. These are Income Tax, National Insurance and VAT.

Other forms of personal taxation will be reviewed

Labour has highlighted other areas of taxation they plan to focus on, however, including making VAT due on private school fees, with almost immediate effect. They have also announced that they plan to review the pension legislation landscape and carried interest (a form of compensation for those who work in private equity).

Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax

Labour has said little about Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax in the lead-up to the election, and they have also left these out of their manifesto, which suggests they may look to review these areas in their first term.

Looking ahead to the first fiscal event

We expect the new government’s first fiscal event to take place in late September or early October, which should provide a good idea of the direction of travel for tax reform under Labour. As the UK government has historically held two fiscal events per year, we expect the second to occur before the end of the tax year (potentially around March).

The importance of sound financial planning

Regardless of any political uncertainty that lies ahead, we would always encourage our clients to act based on what we know about tax legislation now. Focussing on your business and personal objectives now and considering the impact of Labour’s proposals as they are announced should provide a good base for deciding on what actions (if any) need to be taken and when any such actions should take place. If you are unsure how to make the most of your current annual allowances, our team of experienced Planners and Investment Managers can help you gain financial peace of mind.

To learn more about how we can help you to save, plan and invest to meet the financial goals you have for your family, please drop into House of Killik Chiswick for a complimentary chat or email

Please be aware that as with all investments, your capital is at risk and you may not receive back the same amount that you invest. Please note that tax treatments depend on personal circumstances and the rules may be subject to future change.

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

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

13 Devonshire Road
London W4 2EU
Nearest Tube:
Turnham Green
+44 (0) 207 337 0640
Send us a message to:
8.30am– 5.30pm
Monday– Friday
Weekend and out of hours appointments available on request

Man charged with two counts of murder over body parts found in Bristol and Shepherd’s Bush

Images: Yostin Andres Mosquera has been charged with two counts of murder: Photograph Metropolitan Police

Victims named as Albert Alfonso and Paul Longworth

A man has been charged with murder following the discovery of human remains in Bristol and at a flat in Shepherd’s Bush. Yostin Andres Mosquera, 34 of Scotts Road, W12 was arrested in Bristol in the early hours of Saturday morning (13 July) and has appeared in court.

He was charged in the early hours of this morning with two counts of murder, was remanded into custody, and is set to next appear at a hearing at the Old Bailey on Wednesday.

The two victims in this case can now be named as 62-year-old Albert Alfonso and 71-year-old Paul Longworth. Paul was British, Albert was originally from France but had obtained British citizenship. Albert and Paul had previously been in a relationship and still lived together at the flat in Scotts Road, W12.

Image: Victims Albert Alfonso (left) and Paul Longworth, who lived together at a flat in Shepherd’s Bush

Both victims were known to the man arrested and he had been staying with them at the Scotts Road flat for a short period of time.

“We are making thorough enquiries to establish whether there may be any linked offences in the UK or overseas but so far none have been identified” the Metropolitan police have said.

“Detectives will continue to build a full picture of the circumstances, including any previous incident that may be linked in any way to this case”.

Body parts were found in two suitcases left on Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol on Wednesday. Inquiries carried out by officers from Avon and Somerset and the Met suggest the suspect had travelled to Bristol from London earlier the same day and their investigation soon led them to the flat in Shepherd’s Bush.

Images on Mosquera’s social media show him eating in the Crown & Anchor, a pub on Chiswick High Road.

Image: Mosquera pictured eating in The Crown & Anchor in Chiswick: Photograph Mosquera’s social media

Officers categorise incident as a hate crime

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Andy Valentine said:

My thoughts are first and foremost with Albert and Paul’s loved ones who are coming to terms with this terrible news.

“While we do not believe either of them had any close family, we have identified other next of kin who have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers. We are continuing to try and identify any extended family members.

“I know that this awful incident will cause concern not just among residents in Shepherds Bush but in the wider LGBTQ+ community across London. I hope it will be of some reassurance that whilst enquiries are still ongoing and the investigation is at a relatively early stage, we are not currently looking for anyone else in connection with the two murders.

Image: Map showing Scotts Road – Shepherd’s Bush

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Andy Valentine continued:

“Officers have worked with the pan-London LGBTQ+ Independent Advisory Group (IAG) since the identity of the two victims and their sexuality was established. Their advice, expertise and support for the investigation has been extremely valuable.

“We will continue to work with them, and with other partners including local IAGs, as the investigation and the policing response continues.”

Police say the evidence gathered so far does not suggest there was a homophobic motive in this case, but officers have followed national guidelines and have initially categorised the incident as a hate crime. This classification will assist in shaping elements of the investigation. It will be reviewed as any clearer evidence of a specific motive becomes available.

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Objections raised over “very large” food and drink venue planned for Chiswick High Road

Image: 299-303 Chiswick High Road

Councillor calls for ‘more consideration’ to be given to local residents

An application for an alcohol licence for the new restaurant planned for 299-303 Chiswick High Road will be heard by Hounslow Council’s Licensing Panel on Wednesday 17 July. A licence has already been granted for number 299, in January.

The owners, KSMV Properties Limited, run by Shahid and Shamin Hirji from Ruislip, have merged the former takeaway pizza shop and the former high-end Indian restaurant Republic into one larger venue, relocating the entrance, opening up the ground floor to create a single large space and expanding the basement area to include toilets.

The larger basement space has raised the suspicion that the venue might become a nightclub, attracting a different clientele from a restaurant and increasing noise and disruption.

Cllr Joanna Biddolph has raised substantial objections over the premises. She says local residents have raised concerns with her over potential problems with noise, and disruption to the predominantly residential area, before the place has even opened.

Cllr Ranjit Gill told The Chiswick Calendar he expected the panel to approve the alcohol licence:

“Logic says that as the Council approved it in January, it will be the same for the bigger venue. It will be good for Chiswick, if the restaurant is good, it will bring people into Chiswick and be good for the night time economy.”

Cllr Biddolph is questioning whether the owners have planning permission and whether they will meet the licensing conditions of preventing crime and disorder; public safety and preventing public nuisance.

She says in her statement:

‘The previous panel was told that the applicant had been in the hospitality business for many years. He must therefore know when and for what he needs to apply. Yet …

“Work has been done to join two large premises together including by knocking down walls to create open spaces that span the three buildings; this has been done on the ground floor and in the basement.

‘The applicant has not applied for planning permission to do this. This was confirmed by the planning officer.’

Is it a nighclub? Will it cause trouble?

Cllr Biddolph asks: “Is it a bar? Is it a nightclub? Is it a restaurant? Is it a dance venue? Residents don’t know,” although a representative of KSMV Properties Limited told the Licensing Panel in January it was not going to be a nightclub.

The application form asks the applicant to set out what precautions they would take to meet licensing objectives. The owners list a number of precautions which are standard in this kind of application – the provision of CCTV, appropriate training of staff.

They also include keeping an incident book to record any crimes reported to the venue, anyone who has been ejected, any seizures of drugs or offensive weapons, and any complaints concerning crime and disorder, which Cllr Biddolph cites as evidence this will be the sort of venue which will attract trouble:

‘It is clear that the venue will be larger at ground floor and basement levels, with many more customers/patrons than anticipated at the previous application, and that the applicant appears to anticipate anti-social behaviour, at best, and crime involving weapons, at worst.

‘Anticipating them seems to show that they aren’t the worst case, they are likely and perhaps commonplace.’

She points out there are residents living above adjacent commercial premises along this stretch of Chiswick High Road and there is a large block of flats, Arlington Park Mansions, immediately behind it, who may be inconvenienced.

She also reminds the panel that 14 years ago Mr Shahid Hirji was turned down for a licence on another premises because:

‘the playing of music (other than background) between 11pm and midnight, outside the hours permitting licensable activity, and permitting dancing, in breach of existing licensing conditions, and the disregard of planning conditions, meant that they had no faith in the applicant abiding by any further conditions.’

Other than the objections listed by the councillor, the Council has only received one other objection, from someone who says they are concerned what the premises might become.

Proposed opening and licensing hours

The proposed licensing hours mirror those previously approved for the smaller premises at 299 Chiswick High Road, allowing for late-night operations every day of the week. They have applied for a licence for alcohol from 9am to half past midnight, Monday to Thursday and Sundays, and from 9am to 1am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Opening hours would be from 9am to 1am the following day, Monday to Thursday and Sundays, and from 9am to 1.30am on Fridays and Saturdays. The owners have applied for there to be live and recorded music indoors from 11pm until midnight Monday to Thursday, and from 11pm until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Concluding her objection, Cllr Biddolph writes:

‘The application should be refused until the outcome of the planning enforcement investigation is known, any building safety or planning rectification has been done, and full details about the business have been made clear.’