Rev. Michael Riley obituary

The Reverend Michael Riley has died. He was vicar of St Paul’s Church, Grove Park until he retired two years ago. Julia Langdon, who knew him well, has written this obituary of him.

Rev Michael Riley

By Julia Langdon

The Rev Michael Riley, who has died aged 67, was the vicar of St Paul’s, Grove Park, for 32 years until his retirement in the summer of 2022. He was the longest serving incumbent since the founding vicar of the church, the Rev Nevison Loraine, who presided over its consecration in 1872 and was himself in post until 1917.

Father Michael became a very well known familiar figure in Chiswick, not least because he had officiated at the Christian rites of passage – the hatches, matches and dispatches – of so many members of the local population. He loved his ministry in Chiswick and St Paul’s and the vicarage served frequently as the setting for countless cultural and community events, thus bringing the church into the heart of local life.

Michael was born in Surrey, the second of four children of Ken and Shirley Riley. The family moved often during his childhood as his father served in the Royal Navy as a member of the Fleet Air Arm and subsequently became a commercial pilot.

It was during the Rileys’ second posting in Beirut, in the Lebanon in the early 1960s, that circumstances evolved which would lead seven-year-old Michael to his Christian calling. He and his older sister, Jane, were sent home to boarding school in England for two years because of unrest in the Middle East and the little boy was befriended there by the school’s vicar and his wife. He became interested in the church and it was an interest that never left him.

The family subsequently lived in Berkshire and Michael went to local schools before attending Bloxham School, Banbury, where he won a place to read Theology and Philosophy at Balliol College, Oxford.

On graduation, he taught English and Religious Education at secondary schools in the Isle of Wight before studying further at theological college in Edinburgh. His first job was as a curate at Jesmond, Newcastle, where he was ordained in 1987.

In 1989 he was appointed – initially in a temporary capacity – to St Paul’s, Grove Park, where the congregation at the time had dwindled. His enthusiasm for the area and for building his ministry led to his confirmation in what would prove his long-term post.

Father Michael won friends from far and near, not least as an inveterate and curious traveller.  Many of them have paid tribute since his death at his retirement home, Bromley College, a 17th century Church of England establishment where he had happily settled on leaving Grove Park.

He leaves his sisters, Jane and Kate, his brother Chris and his much adored nieces, nephews and great nieces.

One long-term friend from St Paul’s, Audrey Jennings, paid tribute to the quality of his friendship, the pleasure they had shared in travelling together and his gift of good company. Another close church friend, Sheila White, spoke of his generosity:

“He felt it was his Christian duty to give without judgement,” she said, adding that this was true of Father Michael, whatever the circumstances.

An appreciation from afar came from Mary Therese Martinez, from Rhode Island, USA, who played two concerts at St Paul’s with her sister Madeleine Royal, raising money for the church.

“I met Fr. Michael when I was far from home visiting Chiswick for a couple of months. He embodied his Christian ideals of welcoming the stranger when he warmly introduced me to the congregation at St. Paul’s in Grove Park, even opening the doors during the week so that I could play the wonderful Petrov concert grand piano in the church.

“When I suggested that my sister, Madeleine Walker, and I would like to play a concert at St. Paul’s, he was enthusiastic and helpful, inviting the parish and neighborhood friends to attend the concert. His reserved demeanor sparkled with wit and intelligence, and his kindness will not be forgotten. “

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

National Rail fares increase by 4.9% as London fares frozen

Image above: London Underground

London Mayor announces freeze on most bus and Tube fares

National rail fares have gone up by 4.9% as of Sunday (3 February). The hike, affecting England and Wales, comes at the same time as London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has frozen most Tube and bus fares in London for another year.

Campaigners have expressed frustration at the rise in train fares, citing the strain it places on commuters already grappling with the cost of living crisis. Rail passenger groups warn that continued increases in fares will drive commuters away from the railway and towards the roads, exacerbating congestion and environmental concerns.

Transport for London (TfL) has implemented a freeze on pay-as-you-go fares, which account for 80% Tube journeys and 74% bus journeys. Those fares will remain unchanged until March next year, after the mayoral elections.

London bus fares will stay at £1.75, while an adult single Tube fare for zones 1-3 will stay at £3.70 in peak times and £3 at off-peak times and weekends. Most pay as you go fares on the Elizabeth line and on the London Overground will also be unchanged.

The cost of Travelcards will increase though. Travelcards allow unlimited train, Tube and bus travel within specified areas and will rise between 4.6% and 5.1%, depending on the zones.

That means the overall impact is a 1.7% average rise in fares for Londoners.

Image above: Rupa Huq MP out campaigning for Sadiq Khan at Easling Broadway Tube station 

Encouraging people back to using the public transport network

Labour activitsts were out in force on Monday morning at Tube stations across London, trumpeting the news of the fares freeze ahead of the elections in May.

Mayor Khan proclaimed the freeze as a measure to alleviate the cost of living crisis affecting Londoners, saying:

“Not only will this keep money in people’s pockets and make transport more affordable for millions of Londoners, it will encourage people back onto our public transport network. This will help to boost London’s culture, retail and hospitality sectors.

“From yesterday, people around the country faced another hike in their rail fares, but I simply wasn’t prepared to stand by and see TfL customers face a similar hike.

“This is the fifth fares freeze I’ve done since becoming mayor, making transport in our city 21 per cent cheaper than it would have been had fares risen by inflation.

“This shows that whenever I can freeze fares, I do so. Making public transport more affordable and appealing will continue to be a key part of my plan.”

In contrast to the national trend, London’s freeze aims to keep transport affordable and incentivise public transport use as the UK transport system recovers from the pandemic.

Additionally, Mr Khan announced a trial scrapping peak fares on Fridays, aiming to stimulate activity in the city’s culture, retail, and hospitality sectors.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Paying for education

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.”

What to do about school fees

The Killik & Co team highlight the growing problem of funding private school fees and discuss some of the ways families can mitigate the cost. Please note that tax treatments will vary with personal circumstances and the rules may be subject to future change.

How big is the school fees challenge?

It depends on a range of factors that include the location of a school and whether, or not, a child boards. As an illustration, published annual day school fees for Manchester Grammar School are just over £15,000, whereas at St Paul’s School in London, the number is more like £30,000. That rises to almost £45,000 for boarding. What’s more, fees at all schools tend to rise faster than the general rate of inflation. And remember that these costs come out of post-tax income. Then there is the issue of what may happen under a future government should a 20% VAT uplift come into force after the next election (see box).

Can families reduce the number of years they pay for?

Yes, in short. However, some of the options that follow are quite emotive and depend very much both on individual circumstances and the aspirations of the children, parents (and potentially grandparents) involved. In some families I meet there is an ongoing debate about whether every child should attend private school. Parents may, for example, prioritise a child whom they feel will benefit from smaller class sizes and more one-on-one attention. Others may take the view that the eldest should go regardless, with a view to reviewing affordability for younger siblings further out.

Then there is the decision about the best entry point, which might be 5+, 8+, 11+, 13+, or sixth form only. In areas where there is a decent non-private primary or secondary school, some parents will try to get their children into them with a view to switching later to save on fees in the early years.

Separately, there is a choice to be made about boarding versus day schools. Sometimes I meet couples grappling with whether to send their children to a remote boarding school, as opposed to a day school closer to home.

What about funding?

Once we understand a family’s intended educational pathway, there are a number of financial options to explore. Certain children may qualify for a school bursary. These are given for different reasons and the reduction in fees might be anywhere between 10-100% depending on the school and the child.

For other parents, fortunate enough to have a lump sum big enough to cover school fees all the way through, there are benefits in paying up front to bring down the total amount.

Many parents are not in either camp, however, and end up paying as they go along out of either one, or two, household incomes. Where there is still a shortfall, they may need to weigh up some tough trade-offs such as;

  • Deferring the age at which they plan to stop work
  • Changing the family’s saving priorities away from, say, funding a first home for each child
  • Advancing money that would have been inherited later from grandparents
  • Cashing in investments early
  • Deferring paying down a mortgage, or even extending it
  • Using the tax-free cash available from a private pension.

How do we add value?

Our role is to help families to identify and weigh up the variables that will influence school costs and model the impact of any funding choices in the context of their other commitments. Private school fees are such a huge part of many parents’ future financial plans that we are regularly contacted by people who already have children going through the system, or who will do so in the near future. One good thing from a planning perspective is that the timing of fees can be predicted from the moment a child is born, and we can then make some assumptions about the potential cost.

We can also help with areas such as risk management should one, or both, earners fall ill or lose a job and get involved in what may be contentious family conversations about inheritances and the scope for releasing capital early. Finally, there are various tax-efficient routes open to clients who plan ahead – the earlier these are considered, the better.

Asking parents

We recently ran a survey on how families are coping with the rising cost of school fees. Here is a snapshot of the results. To discuss these further, please contact your Adviser.

Amongst existing fee-paying parents;

  • 24% are struggling to afford private schooling
  • 18% are being supported by the “Bank of Grandma and Granddad”
  • 17% are sacrificing future financial support for their children to cover fees.

If VAT is introduced;

  • 27% will look to make savings elsewhere
  • 16% will investigate up-front lump sum payments
  • 13% will consider selling investments
  • 13% will seek further help from other family members
  • 15% may pull their children out of private school altogether.

Please be aware that as with all investments, your capital is at risk, you may not receive back the same amount that you invest, and past performance is not an indication of future performance. Tax treatment depends on individual circumstances and may be subject to 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

Three jailed for life for “horrific” torture and murder of Shakira Spencer

Image above: Shakira Spencer before and after a period of prolonged torture

Three people from west London handed life sentences

Three people have been handed life sentences for the prolonged torture and murder of a vulnerable woman from Ealing.

Shakira Spencer, 35, was tortured, starved and beaten by her former neighbour Ashana Studholme, 39, her partner, Shaun Pendlebury, 26, and their friend Lisa Richardson.

Her killers, also from west London, treated her “like a slave”, the court was told. Spencer had her feet scalded; she was fed only from ketchup sachets, and had become emaciated. The court heard she had been forced into sex work before her death.

In December a jury found Studholme, Pendlebury and Richardson guilty of murder and preventing a lawful burial. In a statement released after the hearing, Devi Kharran, a senior CPS prosecutor, said Pendlebury, Studholme and Richardson had exerted sadistic control over Spencer and lied about their actions:

“The level of suffering that Shakira endured is simply unimaginable,” Kharran said.

After sentencing, the judge, Angela Rafferty KC, said the murder of Spencer was “marked by extreme, calculated and brutal violence and torture. I am of no doubt that you all intended to kill Shakira.”

Images above: Ashana Studholme,  Shaun Pendlebury, Lisa Richardson

Shakira was subjected to “a prolonged campaign of beatings, enslavement, coercion and control, humiliation and degradation”

Officers were called to Holbeck Road, Ealing at 4.38am on 25 September 2022 after concerns were raised for the welfare of the woman inside the property. Police forced entry into the property, and found the body of a woman who was later identified as 35-year-old Shakira Spencer.

Later, at 12.10am, one of Pendlebury’s relatives called police to say that he had confessed to being involved in the killing of a woman and that Studholme and Richardson were also involved. The trio were arrested just hours later and taken into custody.

Shakira, although she had vulnerabilities, had been a “happy and healthy” woman. She had known the three for some time, in what was a complex web of relationships, but in just under a year she had fallen under their complete control. They stole her self-respect, her children, and her home, took over her finances and controlled her life.

They had subjected her to a prolonged campaign of beatings, enslavement, coercion and control, humiliation and degradation over a period of months. This culminated in a frenzied, violent assault reaching a climax between 9 and 12 September 2022, from which Shakira most likely died on 14 September 2022.

Instead of taking her to hospital, Pendlebury and Studholme drove Shakira back to her home in the boot of a car and in a “completely unfathomable evil act”, bundled her in a cupboard and left her to die.

Officers recovered CCTV footage and bank transactions where the defendants used Shakira’s bank card to purchase a cleaning product, and Studholme and Richardson used their own bank cards to purchase items including refuse sacks and gloves, all in an attempt to clean-up the crime scenes and conceal their involvement in the murder.

Their mobile phones were seized, which laid bare to detectives just what they had done to Shakira. Hundreds of messages were found on their phones referencing the abuse they had subjected Shakira to. Richardson and Studholme exchanged images of a bedraggled Shakira, mocking her. Videos of Shakira being beaten up while the others laughed and jeered were also discovered.

The three defendants were charged with murder three days after their arrest

Evidence of Shakira’s mistreatment and murder was “deeply traumatising”

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Brian Howie said:

“No sentence can ever bring Shakira back, or compensate for the loss of such a beloved family member, but my team and I are glad to see that the terms handed down today mean these three evil people will spend many, many years behind bars.

“During the trial Shakira’s family and friends listened to deeply traumatising evidence of the depraved acts of cruel torment committed by the three defendants. They murdered Shakira in the most savage and inhumane way imaginable.

“Shakira was a beautiful, happy mother who was kind and had a trusting nature. Shakira could be vulnerable and these defendants took advantage of that by controlling and isolating her from everyone she knew in order to control and enslave her in the most dehumanising and degrading way.

“The family’s ordeal has been compounded by the behaviour of the defendants, who have each lied, providing implausible accounts and explanations to try and absolve themselves of any responsibility. Whatever their cruel and sadistic motives were, there is no acceptable explanation for what Shakira was put through.

“This was a complex and challenging investigation. A meticulous timeline was created to pull together the different strands of evidence, paralleled against each other, in order to prove the defendants’ campaign of coercive behaviour and violence.

“This included the retrieval and viewing of thousands of hours of CCTV, extensive forensic examinations, pathology, witness accounts, searching of houses and vehicles and reviewing of the defendants’ phones. That examination revealed what Shakira had been subjected to, with footage, messages and voice notes recorded by the defendants themselves that would prove key.”

Hounslow Council goes live with new contactless card parking machines

Image above: Cllr Salman Shaheen, Cabinet Member for Recreation, Public Spaces and Parking with Tom Sargeant and Jacqueline Joseph

New machines are first of their kind in the UK and have been launched across 13 car parks and seven park and shop locations

Hounslow Council has installed new parking machines, the first of their kind in the UK. The new machines were designed specifically for Hounslow by METRIC. They are sightly closer to the ground than standard machines, they are accessible for wheelchair users and allow users to select their language of choice, with all the most commonly spoken languages in Hounslow available.

The new machines allow payment by bank cards, or phone banking app to be used to pay for parking at these locations. The existing machines which only allow payment for parking by phone app exclude drivers who don’t have smart phones.

READ ALSO: Hounslow Council introduces card payments for parking for those who don’t use mobile apps

The machines allow users to enter their vehicle registration to automatically give them the correct tariff for their vehicle – accommodating free on-street parking for Blue Badge holders, as well as 30 minutes’ free parking sessions at park and shop locations, and lower charges for less-polluting vehicles.

The six-month trial will add card payments to the existing PayByPhone parking app, and in-person payments using cash or a card, at more than 200 PayPoint retailers across the borough.

The list of car parks and streets with the contactless terminal options in Chiswick are:

Car parks

Bath Road and Chiswick Common Road.


Strand on the Green – outside 106-108. Turnham Green Terrace – between Chiswick Common Road and Chiswick High Road.

The full borough list can be found here.

Councillor Salman Shaheen

Councillor Shaheen “encourage users to share their feedback throughout the course of the trial”

Launching the new meters, Cllr Salman Shaheen, Cabinet Member for Recreation, Public Spaces and Parking, said:

“I am pleased to say that today we have launched our new first-of-their-kind contactless parking payment terminals. The Council took the decision to go cashless back in 2016 to prevent vandalism of machines holding cash.

“Whilst the vast majority of residents successfully adopted the move to PayByPhone, with approximately 35,000 parking sessions booked per week, it is absolutely vital that all our residents feel digitally included. That is why we have introduced the ability to pay by card on the street as well as by phone to support residents who were not able to use the app or phone.

“I am pleased that these new machines are both accessible to wheelchair users and available in all the languages most commonly spoken by our residents.

“Hounslow is a listening council and if we need to adapt policy to better serve our residents, we do it.

“I want to encourage users to share their feedback throughout the course of the trial, so we can look at this and the data we collect, to make an informed and resident-led decision about taking it forward.”

Chiswick residents win community awards

Image above:  Cllr Joanna Biddolph; PCSO Cheryl Spilsbury; Fred Charnaud; Mayor of Hounslow Afzaal Kiani; Ollie Saunders; Cllr Ranjit Gill among others at the Hounslow House reception

Hard work recognised

Chiswick residents have been recognised by Hounslow Council for their contribution to the community over the past year. PCSO Cheryl Spilsbury (Police Community Support Officer), Chiswick Flower Market director Ollie Saunders and 15 year old rugby coach Fred Charnaud were nominated by local councillors alongside the women who run the Chiswick Repair Cafe.

Fred had a serious injury last year which has stopped him from playing rugby, as he is no longer allowed to do contact sport, so instead he coaches for Chiswick Rugby Club.

“How many fifteen year olds do you know who are prepared to coach younger teams?” said Cllr Ron Mushiso, who nominated him. Fred is a student of Ron’s at St Benedict’s School, where he is a high achieving student academically. He has also just passed his level 1 referee course. He was given the award for his coaching, but also for helping out at the Chiswick Cheese Market.

Image above: Live music at the flower market on Sunday 3 March 2024

Ollie Saunders is the person whose idea it was to have a flower market in Chiswick. He and the others involved give their time freely to organise the market in the High Rd on the first Sunday of each month, attracting a wide range of traders, including established market traders, specialist UK growers, RHS Chelsea Gold medal winning nurseries, florists, garden designers plus many local independent businesses. Thousands of people now go to the market every month.

Ollie was nominated by Cllr Ranjit Gill, who told The Chiswick Calendar:

“Ollie A charming helpful individual who has amazing ideas. Starting the flower market and putting Chiswick on the map. Instead of going to another market in another Borough he bought us the flower market to our doorstep. His efforts have lead to more local markets in Chiswick. This has in turn brought more and more people to Chiswick.

“A great talent that needs to be appreciated and honoured. I was delighted to nominate Ollie for the ward and recognise his talent and initiative.  He and his partner David are also great supporter of the LBGT Chiswick group and helped with the rainbow  crossing in Chiswick.”

PCSO Cheryl Spilsbury is a familiar face around Chiswick, supporting the police officers in the Neighbourhood Police team. Although they are much criticised for not acting when people call the police, they are overstretched, and based in Acton. Cllr Joanna Biddolpph nominated Cheryl for her service.

Image above: Chiswick Repair Cafe founders Charlotte Bullock, Jill Spencer and Marie-Claire Meisels with Mayor of Hounslow, Afzaal Kiani

Repairs Cafe allows people of Chiswick “to be part of a more sustainable and less wasteful economy.”

The Chiswick Repair Cafe team were also pleased to be invited by the Mayor of Hounslow to tea at Hounslow House and were delighted with their award ‘in recognition of their outstanding contribution within the community’.

They were also recipients of one of  The Chiswick Calendar’s ‘CRAP’ awards in January (Chiswick Residents’ Active participation) and said:

“We are very aware that these awards represent all the hard work of our amazing volunteers so we are incredibly grateful for all that they do. It has certainly put a spring in our step and a bit more energy to see what more we can do.”

READ ALSO: Chiswick Calendar party 2024 – CRAP awards and comedy

READ ALSO: Chiswick Repair Café celebrates its first birthday

The repair cafe was set up by a group of volunteers in October 2022 and since then has helped hundreds of people in and out of Chiswick to save their items from landfill. The sessions are held at Christ Church on Turnham Green once a month on Saturdays from 10.30am – 1pm. The next Repair Cafe dates are: March 16, April 20, May 18 and June 15.

Image above: Volunteers working at repairs 

One of their organisers, Charlotte Bullock previously told the Chiswick Calendar:

“It is inspiring that our event is making the repair of household goods more accessible to so many people, making it easier for people to be part of a more sustainable and less wasteful economy. We have been supported by our generous and talented volunteers.

“We look forward to continuing to provide an engaging community experience as well as a useful service to Chiswick locals.”

Others to have tea with the Mayor and collect awards were Harvinder Bahra and Jenny Figaro, nominated by Homefield ward councillors John Todd and Gerald McGregor respectively.

John Todd said he nominated Harvinder for ‘her outstanding commitment to the Chiswick House and Gardens Trust Community and Learning programme. Since the pandemic she has starting from scratch into an annual programme that engages with 3000 participants, 54 community groups and others’.

Cllr McGregor nominated Jennifer for all the hard work she puts in on Abundance London projects, planting and weeding previously unloved bits of ground around Chiswick, and for the work she does as a volunteer with Dukes Meadows Trust.

Image above: Harvinder Bahra and Jenny Shapiro with their awards

Councillors to become Aldermen

Next week it will be the turn of some of Hounslow’s councillors to receive awards for their service. Former Leader Steve Curran, former Chiswick Councillor Paul Lynch and Hounslow Councillors Mel Collins, Corinna Smart and Barbara Reid will be made aldermen.

Mayor unveils plan to cut Friday tube and rail fares

Image above: Library image of London Underground Tube train

Tube and rail fares on pay as you go with contactless and Oyster will be off-peak all day on Fridays

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is introducing off-peak fares all day on Fridays. Tube and rail fares on pay as you go with contactless and Oyster will be charged at the off-peak rate all day on Fridays for a trial period beginning on Friday 8 March.

The Mayor has introduced this trial to “help TfL and rail operators to better understand if off-peak fares on a Friday could help drive ridership and boost London’s wider economic recovery.”

Mayor Khan said:

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

“Encouraging more people back into the city on Fridays could give a much-needed boost to the hospitality, business and leisure sectors, supporting London’s wider economic growth as we continue to build a fairer, greener and more prosperous London for everyone. So, I’m making a call to all Londoners: to help London keep roaring back – Let’s Do Fridays!”

At the moment, peak pay as you go fares apply between 06.30 and 09.30 and between 16.00 and 19.00 on both TfL and National Rail services.

The three-month trial will run until 31 May. The trial follows the previous announcement that the Mayor has frozen TfL fares until March 2025.

Bus and Tram fares across London will not change during the trial as they are set at a flat rate of £1.75 regardless of the time of travel.

Trial will allow people 60+ and Freedom Pass holders to use their passes all day on Fridays

The trial will also see 60+ London Oyster photocard and Older Persons’ Freedom Passes allowed to be used on TfL and National Rail services before 9am, so Londoners with these passes will be able to travel free all day on Fridays.

To fund the trial, £24m has been allocated from the Mayor of London’s recently approved budget, which will be used to compensate TfL and rail operators for lower fares revenue during the trial and cover the costs for running it.

Shashi Verma, Chief Technology Officer at TfL said:

“While millions of people travel using bus, Tube and rail services across London every day, we are still seeing ridership on Fridays, particularly during peak hours, being lower than other days of the week.

“This trial of making Fridays off-peak will help us better understand how targeted initiatives like this could help potentially support economic growth by encouraging more people back onto public transport and into the office on a day that is currently quieter than other weekdays.”

Jacqueline Starr, Chief Executive Officer at Rail Delivery Group, said:

“We want more people to use rail. We’re pleased that train companies are able to work with Transport for London to offer this trial to customers and we hope it will encourage more people onto trains in the capital.”

“We know that people value rail and as seen from our latest research they plan to use it more in the upcoming months.

“It is a greener, more convenient way to travel into and around London. This trial means customers in London can travel at off-peak prices on Fridays by using pay as you go on Oyster or Contactless.”

Making money matters simple: introducing House of Killik Chiswick

Killik & Co, an award-winning wealth manager, is delighted to have opened a new space on Devonshire Road – House of Killik Chiswick. Here, local residents can seek expert advice on simplifying money matters in a relaxed environment; from pocket money to pensions, we can help.

Save, plan and invest more effectively

For over three decades, Killik & Co has been on a mission to make the benefits of investing accessible to all, and we are proud to offer a suite of services that meets the needs of every generation of saver and investor, be it starting your financial journey, identifying your longer-term goals or planning for retirement.

We work closely with our clients through services including Investment Management, Wealth Planning, advice on tax and trusts, will writing, lasting power of attorney and more – our team of specialists seek to make money matters simple, and our approach has been recognised by industry institutions including the Financial Times, Investors Chronicle, City of London Wealth Management Awards and more.

As one of the first investment firms to prioritise developing free educational resources, we have a rich history of investing in financial education. This includes Killik Explains and Market Update videos that we share via our YouTube channel, and our “How To” guides for topics like saving and planning for your family, saving and investing tax efficiently and generating a post-work income.  Our financial content is suitable for every level of experience and expertise.

Over the coming months, we will be sharing our expert insights via a dedicated page on the Chiswick Calendar, to help you navigate saving, planning and investing more effectively, including highlights from the Spring Budget and guidance on funding private school fees.

Why we have opened our doors in Chiswick

We are delighted to have opened our doors in Chiswick once again, having originally been located on Chiswick High Road.  Our space on Devonshire Road is the third roll-out as part of our House of Killik initiative.  Our flagship House of Killik is on Battersea’s Northcote Road – the litmus test for a new concept that we felt passionate about; creating an inviting and comfortable space where savers and investors at any stage could come in and discuss their finances.  Since the success of Northcote Road, we have opened House of Killik Esher and now House of Killik Chiswick, in recognition of the area’s burgeoning locale.

Meet the House of Killik Chiswick team

The House of Killik Chiswick team includes Phil Sole and Emma Walker, who manage the location with the backing of our larger centrally based operation.

Phil first joined Killik & Co in April 2016.  As Relationship Manager, Phil works with new, local clients in Chiswick and the surrounding areas, to understand how Killik & Co can assist them in achieving their objectives. He draws upon his industry experience as a Chartered Wealth Planner (Chartered Insurance Institute), Fellow of the Personal Finance Society and a Pension Transfer Specialist (PTS) to remove the jargon and complexities that often act as barriers to entry for those new to financial advice and investments.

In his free time, Phil likes to keep active and is a keen football fan. He also enjoys travelling and has previously lived in both Spain and Australia.

Emma joined Killik & Co in 2020 before moving to our Chiswick location in 2023 to take up the role of House & Community Coordinator. Emma works alongside Phil to organise, plan and host engaging activities and events, promoting Killik & Co and integrating the business within the local community. Emma supports residents, clients, and businesses in a number of ways, including developing partnerships, organising community events, and hosting in-house experiences.

Please be aware that as with all investments, your capital is at risk, you may not receive back the same amount that you invest, and past performance is not an indication of future performance. Tax treatment depends on individual circumstances and may be subject to 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

Accident closes Bath Road in Chiswick

Image above: Police blocking Bath Rd

Accident closes Bath Rd close to Turnham Green Station

One of Chiswick’s main roads was closed this morning due to a collision. Bath Rd, which runs from Turnham Green Terrace to Goldhawk Road was closed between Flanders Rd and Abinger Rd.

The closure meant the 94 bus was terminating at the Abinger Rd bus stop before doing a U-turn to begin the route back towards Piccadilly Circus.

Police officers told the Chiswick Calendar:

“There’s been a road traffic collision. As you can see the road is clear but investigations are taking place therefore it will remain closed until these are completed. There were no casualties.”

The closure meant that people using Flanders Rd, Priory Gardens and Roman Rd had to use alternative routes.

London Overground strikes called off as workers accept pay rise

Image above: London Overground train

Strike action was due to take place on Monday 4 and Tuesday 5 March

Planned strike action affecting London Overground services next week has been called off. A dispute over pay has been going on between Arriva Rail London, which has the London Overground contract, and workers who are members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT).

The RMT said in a statement:

“RMT have won a pay rise for London Overground staff working for Arriva Rail London. Workers overwhelmingly voted in favour of accepting the latest offer in an e-referendum.  It means the dispute is now settled and all planned strike action has been cancelled.”

A TfL spokesperson said: “We are pleased industrial action planned for Monday 4 and Tuesday 5 March has been suspended by the RMT.”

The new pay rise details released by the RMT are:

2023 – 6.5% uplift on all pay and allowances or a minimum payment of £2,000 for anyone with a salary of under £30,000.

2024 – An uplift on all pay and allowances of February RPI 2024 or a minimum payment of £1,750 for anyone with a salary of under £32,000.

2025 – An uplift on all pay and allowances of February RPI 2025 or a minimum payment for anyone earning less than £33,750, which will be negotiated in February 2025 as inflation forecasts become more accurate. All payments are backdated to the relevant pay anniversary.

Image ab0ve: Mick Lynch

Mick Lynch congratulates members for “showing such tremendous resolve.”

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “I congratulate our London Overground members for showing such tremendous resolve in this dispute. Strong organisation and the threat of strike action has once again yielded results.”

Steve Best, managing director at Arriva Rail London, said:

“We’re delighted that we have been able to reach an agreement with the RMT union and industrial action planned for next week has been suspended as a result.

“This is a fair pay award which ensures long-term job security for our employees and a sustainable future for the railway. We are also pleased that London Overground customers will no longer face disrupted services next week.”

Hounslow Council approves “ambitious” budget for 2024/25

Image above: Deputy Leader of Hounslow Council Katherine Dunne and Council Leader Shantanu Rajaway at the Borough Council meeting on Tuesday 27 February

LB Hounslow Council meeting passes 2024/25 budget with maximum Council Tax increase

Hounslow Council has agreed an “ambitious” budget for the year ahead, which it says will help it to continue delivering what matters to residents and build a “thriving, safer, cleaner, greener, liveable and healthier borough for all.”

The detailed proposals on how the Council will fund its services for 2024/25, and deliver on the priorities set out in its Corporate Plan, were approved at a meeting of Borough Council last night (Tuesday 27 February).

The Council said that it, along with all local government, is facing significant financial challenges from rising costs through high inflation and interest rates, the impact of government policies and limited central funding, combined with increasing demand for services.

To fund the 2024/25 budget, the Council is raising Council Tax by 4.99%, the maximum permitted, and taking £10.5m from reserves for core expenditure, with proposals for a further net £14.2m of other planned use of reserves for one-off items.

The Council Tax rise includes 2% ringfenced for adult social care, a critical investment to help meet the rising costs and demand for these services whilst supporting some of the most vulnerable in our society. This works out at about £1.39p extra per week on average for a Band D property.

READ ALSO: Hounslow goes for maximum Council Tax increase – so where is the money going?

READ ALSO: Hounslow Council announces ‘no cuts’ budget for 2024-2025

Image above: Chiswick’s Conservative councillors Ron Mushiso, Peter Thompson and Jack Emsley at the Borough Council meeting on Tuesday 27 February

Council Leader condemns “disgraceful” comments by Cllr Ron Mushiso about Mayor and Chief Exec

During Tuesday’s budget meeting, Chiswick Cllr Ron Mushiso twice had to withdraw remarks he made about LB Hounslow’s CEO Niall Bolger and Hounslow’s Mayor Cllr Afzaal Kiani.

“Who’s side is the Chief Executive on?” asked Cllr Mushiso.

Cllr Mushiso’s comments were met with gasps from the meeting, as Niall Bolger shook his head. The Chief Exec is a role which is not politically aligned and meant to be respected as such. Many in attendance demanded he immediately withdraw his comments. Seconds later, Cllr Musisho said:

“Mr Mayor, I withdraw – I meant, which side are YOU on?”

Cllr Kiani responded: “I’m impartial. I’m not on any side… These comments are not very helpful.”

Cllr Mushisho immediately withdrew his comments again, prompting the Leader of the council, Cllr Shantanu Rajawat to condemn the comments as “Absolutely disgusting” and in a forceful speech called for Hounslow’s Conservative Group to send a letter to the Prime Minister asking him to call for a general Election.

After the meeting Cllr Mushiso told The Chiswick Calendar he had not been allowed to speak about the Mayor of London increasing taxes, as it was not considered relevant to the debate about Hounslow’s budget, yet the Leader of the Council was allowed “to go on his usual anti-conservative rant.”

“It seemed he was changing the rules because he didn’t challenge the Leader as he had earlier challenged me,” he said.

Image above: Borough Council debate on setting the budget, Tuesday 27 February

Council under financial pressure due to “soaring inflation, interest rates and rising demand” says Council Leader

Councillor Shantanu Rajawat, Leader of Hounslow Council, set out theis year’s budget as an ambitious budget managed in the teeth of adversity. He said:

“We remain ambitious for Hounslow and have prepared a budget for the year ahead which supports us to continue to deliver and invest in our borough and its communities.

“Like many councils we find ourselves under major financial pressure as we face the combined impact of soaring inflation, interest rates and rising demand for vital services for our most vulnerable residents.

“Whilst sound financial management over the years means Hounslow is in a relatively strong position and doesn’t need to cut services, the extraordinary economic climate means we have little choice but to raise Council Tax to ensure we can continue to deliver services that make a real difference to residents’ lives.

“I know this will be frustrating for many people, however, I hope you will be reassured that most of your council tax goes on helping those who need it most, including children with special educational needs and disabilities, adults with learning disabilities, families with housing needs, people suffering from domestic abuse, and vulnerable young people at risk of violence.

“I know this is an added cost for people at a time when there are  financial pressures for everyone. Through close collaboration with our partners, we have an extensive package of support to help residents including our community and family hubs, and I would encourage anyone with concerns to visit the Council’s website for more information.”

Programme for Ealing Book Festival announced

Image above: Former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman to talk at the inaugural Ealing Book Festival

Two former children’s laureates, a Booker prize-winning novelist and a former Rolling Stone among those headlining “stellar line-up”

Ealing Book Festival 2024 have announced details of its first ever programme, which will feature talks by internationally renowned authors including Lauren Child, Jacqueline Wilson, Eleanor Catton, Bill Wyman, Sathnam Sanghera, John Boyne and Kathryn Hughes alongside a wide range of other events including walking tours and a children’s poetry competition.

Images above: Lauren Child, Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Eleanor Catton, Bill Wyman, Sathnam Sanghera, John Boyne

The inaugural festival, celebrating and promoting the joy of reading and the art of writing, will take place between Thursday 11 and Sunday 14 April 2024 at Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery, partner of the Ealing Book Festival. The programme includes:

  • Former children’s laureate Lauren Child introduces her latest heart-warming and beautifully illustrated story in the Clarice Bean series.
  • Former children’s laureate Dame Jacqueline Wilson discusses her new book The Girl Who Wasn’t There.
  • Eleanor Catton, the Booker Prize winner talks about her new book Birnam Wood.
  • Former Rolling Stones bass player Bill Wyman talks about his extraordinary career which began with gigs at the legendary Ealing Jazz Club, and recounts his experience growing up in London during World War II.
  • Sathnam Sanghera, author and journalist whose award-winning works include Empireland and The Boy with the Topknot discusses his new book.
  • John Boyne, critically acclaimed novelist, author of several books including the international bestsellers The Boy in Striped Pyjamas and The Heart’s Invisible Furies, talks about his new book Earth.
  • Award-winning historian Kathryn Hughes who, in Catland, unravels the history of how Victorian and Edwardian Britain fell in love with cats.
  • Broadcaster and Director of the Soane Museum, Will Gompertz, journeys into the minds of great artists for his new book See What You’re Missing.
  • Celebrated political commentator Daniel Finkelstein shares the experiences of his parents during the Second World War with leading historian Roger Moorhouse who tells the story of The Forgers.
  • ‘Why Spies?’ brings together leading writers Charlotte Philby (granddaughter of Kim Philby), Charles Cumming and Alex Gerlis on a panel to discuss why espionage fiction remains so popular and compelling.
  • In ‘Out of Sri Lanka’, poet Seni Seneviratne brings to life the long neglected national literature of the island’s turbulent history.

Image above: Pitzhanger Park – the venue for the festival

Response to “exciting” programme has been “remarkable” say organisers

The programme will also include:

A new Ealing walking tour will offer insights into the history of Ealing as a source of literary and cultural inspiration, taking in literary icons such as Agatha Christie and the author of the Billy Bunter series, as well as highlights from the world of film, rock music and opera.

A children’s poetry competition on the theme of ‘Where do I Live?’ which invites young writers to get creative and offers an opportunity to win prizes and have work shown at Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery. Details to enter are here: competition

The 2024 festival programme will take place at Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery, the beautiful, restored house of architect Sir John Soane which sits in the Regency grounds of Walpole Park in central Ealing.

“With its stunning architectural features and gorgeous views over the park it is the perfect home for creativity, inspiration and imagination” say the organisers.

Catherine Jaquiss, Chair, Ealing Book Festival, said:

“We are delighted to be able to offer such an exciting programme for the inaugural Ealing Book Festival. The response from everyone has been remarkable and we are working hard to ensure an inspiring and diverse experience for book enthusiasts and cultural lovers alike which reflects our vibrant and diverse borough.

“On behalf of all those involved we would like to thank Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery, our founder sponsor Savills, Ealing Council Small Grants, the Freshwater Foundation, St Benedict’s School, the University of West London, and our other event partners, advisers and volunteers.”

Tickets are on sale now at

For more information on the full programme, to volunteer or to get in touch about sponsorship opportunities visit

Charity for terminally ill children looking for volunteers

Image above: React volunteers on a fundraising drive

Recruitment open for 12 roles for Chiswick Park based charity

React, a charity based in Chiswick Park that assists terminally ill children cared for by financially disadvantaged families, are looking for volunteers.

The charity need volunteers for their Events Committee to help organise fundraising events for families in their care.’

Recruitment is now open for the 12 unique roles, for anyone who would like to help React raise funds. The charity urges anyone interested to apply ‘whatever your background, skills or availability’.

React has a long and successful history in events fundraising and their new Committee will be responsible for organising all manner of events, from collections to challenge events, to prestigious charity galas.

Conor O’Donnabhain, Head of Fundraising for React, said:

“If you would like to make a real difference to the quality of life for children with life-limiting illness, contact us today to express your interest in joining React’s Events Committee – we would love to hear from you!”

You can find out more about volunteering with React on their website:

Two boys arrested after several animals killed at Gunnersbury college

Image above: Capel Manor College

The College has not revealed how many animals were killed

Two boys, aged 11 and 12, have been arrested after several animals were killed at Capel Manor College in Gunnersbury.

On Sunday (25 February), police received a report that ‘several animals had been killed and animal closures had been damaged’.

The environmental college has several sites including this one in the grounds of Gunnersbury Park. They teach a range of courses including agriculture, animal management, arboriculture and forestry and horticulture to different age groups, offering foundation courses, higher education and apprenticeships.

The college confirmed some animals had died and also appealed for help in finding its “much-loved” barn owl Shiraz who is now missing.

A spokesperson for the college put out a brief statement saying the Gunnersbury Park campus “experienced a break-in that resulted in damage to some of the animal areas, and sadly some animals died”.

Images of animals from the college’s website

In a statement, the Met Police said:

“Officers visited the scene and viewed CCTV footage. A forensic examination was also carried out.”

Police say their investigation continues and any witnesses are asked to call 101 quoting CAD 1639/25Feb.

Both boys have been bailed.

Image above: Shiraz the missing barn owl

Hopes to identify Shiraz the owl

The college added Shiraz the owl can be identified by a blue ring on her left ankle.

The college asks if you see her please do not approach her, but call the College’s emergency 24-hour line on 07713 568 110 and call the RSPCA between 7.00am to 10.00pm on 0300 1234 999 to report the sighting.

Teaching was held online on Monday before in-person learning resumed on site on Tuesday.

The college’s website says it specialises environmental teaching, offering young people and adults the opportunity to take care of its estates, gardens, farm and zoos.

Principal Peter Brammall thanked staff “who worked tirelessly over Sunday and Monday to deal with and restore the devastation left by the intruders”.

“Our campus is now back open, student lessons are back on track and the team is working with our partners to bring in new animals over the next few weeks to replace those that were sadly lost,” he said.

Ealing Council scraps green belt developments after local pressure

Image above: Save The Skylarks protestors campaign on Warren Farm in LB Ealing

Local and Opposition pressure push Ealing to scrap 41 proposed sites

Ealing residents, supported by the Opposition Liberal Democrat group on Ealing Council, have succeeded in persuading the Council to give up their policy of developing Metropolitan Open Land and Green Belt Land in the borough.

Ealing Council’s Local Plan, which outlines the planning framework for the next 15 years, was discussed by the Council on Wednesday 21 February.

During the meeting, it was revealed that all Green belt proposed changes and most of the Metropolitan Open Land changes have been cancelled, or substantially altered. This included a reversal of plans for a development site at Ealing Riding School.

Key changes between the last Council consultation and this one are that the original 118 sites put forward have now been reduced to 81 sites.  This means that 41 sites have been removed across the borough and four new sites have been added (two in Acton, one in Northolt and one in Southall).

Image above: Warren Farm 

Warren Farm to be designated as a nature reserve in significant U-turn

In a significant U-turn, Ealing Council told residents they will no longer build on rewilded Warren Farm, following a long standing battle with residents and campaigners, and will designate the land as a local nature reserve.

Campaigners warned that development on the rewilded 61-acre wildflower meadow would leave Ealing’s only Skylark population with nowhere to breed, which they say contradicts Ealing Council’s own Biodiversity Action Plan which confirms that Warren Farm is the only place in the borough suitable for Skylarks to nest.

In a statement, the Council said it is working with Imperial College on land next to Warren Farm to develop sports facility on it and revealed “approximately the 20-hectare site becoming a local nature reserve, while a new sports ground will be built on additional land next to it.”

Warren Farm Nature Reserve campaigner and Brent River & Canal Society (BRCS) trustee Katie Boyles said of the U-turn:

“We are delighted that Ealing Council has agreed to designate Warren Farm as a local nature reserve. Credit to the council for taking stock and reversing plans that would have been hugely environmentally damaging.”

Mark Eccleston, who describes himself as a ‘writer and film fan’ on X posted:

‘Hallelujah! The skylarks of Ealing are saved! Massive thanks to everyone who stood up for this wild green space… @ThatVetSean @Kaulofthewilduk @ZackPolanski @GreenJennyJones… and the nearly 26,000 people who signed the petition. Positive campaigning and hard facts won!’

Liberal Democrats say proposed new buildings risk “separating and alienating” residents

The Liberal Democrats say many residents continue to feel they are ignored in many planning discussions. They say Ealing Council have not set a proper height limit for buildings which could be built across the borough, and there is a lack of clarity on carbon offsetting especially in buildings which are tall buildings over six storeys high.

While the demand for housing in LB Ealing remains high, opponents to building highrise blocks say the Council’s emphasis is on building increasingly tall buildings in the wrong areas, such as Friary Park in Acton and Waitrose in West Ealing, which risks “separating and alienating residents”.

The Lib Dems cite “swathes” of stalled development sites along roadways, including the Uxbridge Road especially in West Ealing and a “lack of ambition” in Northolt, Greenford and Southall. They add that the level of truly affordable housing is set too low and whole generations of younger residents are actively blocked from engaging in Council housing provision.

They believe a minimum of 50% truly affordable housing is essential to engage residents.

Councillor Jon Ball, Liberal Democrat Opposition spokesperson for Planning said:

“The Liberal Democrats continue to work with residents and are pleased that Ealing Council have seen sense in Green belt changes although they still have a way to go regarding Warren Farm and considering the exclusion of younger generations from access to housing which is truly affordable.

“The Local Plan and supporting documents total 1,209 pages of impenetrable waffle, jargon and repetition. The Labour administration have failed to engage local people by failing to produce an accessible plan that residents can meaningfully engage with.”

Man from Acton charged with spying for Russia

Image above: Library picture of a Metropolitan Police officer

Acton man one of six charged with spying offences

A man from Acton is one of six people charged with spying offences connected with Russia.

The Metropolitan Police has charged Bulgarian national Tihomir Ivanov Ivanchev with ‘conspiring to collect information intended to be directly or indirectly useful to an enemy for a purpose prejudicial to the safety and interest of the state (contrary to section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977).’

Mr Ivanchev was arrested on 7 February 2024 as part of an ongoing investigation into Russian spying, bailed and then charged 27 February 2024.

Commander Dominic Murphy, from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command said:

“A sixth suspect was identified and arrested as a result of enquiries made following the previous five arrests in this investigation, and working with the Crown Prosecution Service, a charge has now been brought.

“Mr Ivanchev has the right to a fair trial, and we would therefore urge people not to publish anything – on social media or in news media – that creates a substantial risk of seriously prejudicing these active criminal proceedings.”

The other five people who are part of the same investigation and have been arrested, charged and awaiting trial with the same offence under section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977:

  • Orlin Roussev, 46 of Great Yarmouth
  • Bizer Maksimov Dzambarov, 42  of Harrow
  • Katrin Nikolayeva Ivanova, 33 of Harrow
  • Ivan Iliev Stoyanov, 32 of Greenford
  • Vanya Nikolaveva Gaberova, 29 of Euston

They are all currently in custody and due to stand trial in October 2024.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Appeal to trace missing man from Greenford seen in Hounslow

Pete Boon

Pete Boon has been missing since 5 February and was last seen in Hounslow

Police are appealing to the public for assistance in finding missing person Peter Frederick Boon, 43, known as Pete.

Pete was last seen by family members at around 8.45am on Monday 5 February when he left his home address in North Greenford to spend the day in Central London visiting galleries. He told them he would be gone for three or four hours but Pete has not yet returned home.

Pete is described as a white man, 43 year old, 5ft 11 and with short brown hair which is receding in the middle. He was wearing a dark coloured gilet with a long sleeve top underneath, navy corduroy trousers, brown leather shoes and a dark coloured scarf. He was also wearing brown framed glasses. Pete has hearing difficulties and is not believed to be wearing his hearing aids.

There are increasing concerns for Pete’s welfare. He has not been seen since the early hours of 6 February 2024 at the Blenheim Centre in Hounslow.

Pete’s family have appealed to him directly and say:

“Pete, we are all missing you and very worried about you. Please come home, there is no problem that can’t be solved. If you don’t want to come home or are unable to, please contact one of us, dial 999 or approach a police officer to let us know you are OK, or ask for help if needed.”

“If anyone sees Pete or knows where he is, please contact the Met Police.”

Police are appealing to anybody who knows of Pete’s whereabouts to please call 101, quoting ref 2504564/24. For an immediate sighting, please dial 999.

UPDATE Friday 1 March. Mr Boon has been found.

The Chiswick Calendar’s spring art exhibition 2024

Image above: Diving Deep, acrylic on paper – Jill Meager

Showcasing Chiswick’s richly talented artists and photographers

The Chiswick Calendar is holding a spring art exhibition at the Clayton Hotel on Chiswick High Rd. Opening on Monday 26 February and continuing until Saturday 20 April, the exhibition will show the work of artists and photographers who live locally.

The work is hung in the atrium of the hotel, which is open to the public all the time, so pop in and have a look whenever suits you and have a coffee in the Clayton Hotel’s bar.

Artists taking part

Here are the artists and photographers taking part, in alphabetical order:

Anna Kunst, Arabella Harcourt-Cooze, Celia Pickering, Frank Noon, Hamish Pringle, Isobel Johnstone, Jane Price, Jennifer Abbott, Jennifer Griffiths, Jill Meager, Ljubima Woods, Madeleine Marsh, Naila Hazell, Peter Thornborough, Rennie Pilgrem, Sally Grumbridge, Sarah Granville

Image above: Virginia Water in autumn, photograph by Anna Kunst

Anna Kunst

Anna Kunst is a professional photographer who lives and works in Chiswick, doing portrait, wedding and corporate photography professionally and art  photography for pleasure.

Image above: Threatening Storm, a view of Barnes from across the river at Chiswick; oil on canvas, by Arabella Harcourt-Cooze

Arabella Harcourt-Cooze

Arabella Harcourt-Cooze is a landscape artist “obsessed by water, seas, rivers and above all The Thames.” She catches the light on the water during all seasons along our stretch of river from Kew Bridge to Hammersmith, working largely in oil on canvas.

Image above: All along the Strand; Celia Pickering

Celia Martine Pickering

Celia is an artist, self-taught, and an independent art teacher.

“My love for art has been with me for as long as I can remember, but it was in 2020 when I began my professional artistic journey. My paintings are inspired by Mid Century style and the natural world, with each piece reflecting my deep appreciation for beauty and my unique perspective on life.”

Image above: Elephants in Namibia; Frank Noon

Frank Noon

Frank is a professional photographer who travels the world doing corporate work. The photographs he is showing in this exhibition are from a trip to Namibia.

Image above: Beach walkers, Quintet, mixed media; Hamish Pringle

Hamish Pringle

After 40 years in advertising Hamish embarked on a second career as an artist, graduating in July 2020 as a Master of Fine Arts from Wimbledon/UAL. For this exhibition he is showing a series of images in mixed media of people walking on the beach.

“I’m interested in attrition and how it affects nature, society, relationships, and language. I watch people walking and talking on sand exposed at low tide. Their interactions affect each other in myriad ways. Things have changed by the ends of their walks. A process of social attrition. Then the tide comes in and erases their traces. The beach is a giant piece of sandpaper.”

Image above: Hyacinths and fruit; Isobel Johnstone

Isobel Johnstone

Isobel Johnstone for many years ran the Arts Council Collection at the Hayward Gallery, South Bank Centre. Since leaving that job she has been able to focus on her own creativity, producing paintings, drawings, pastels and prints.

Image above: Big Skies 4; Jane Price

Jane Price

Jane Price uses mainly acrylics on canvas: “my process is quick & deliberate, in the hope of capturing a sense of energy & movement.” Her work is shown in several galleries and has been selected & shortlisted for the RA Summer Exhibition.

Image above: Jug with hydrangeas and agapanthus, acrylic on canvas; Jennifer Abbott

Jennifer Abbott

After art school Jennifer followed a career in advertising, as an art director and then as a designer. She has sold her flower and fruit images as cards and prints throughout Europe and North America, as well as showing them in galleries such as the Mall Galleries in London and Galerie d’Orsay in Paris.

Image above: Queens House in Greenwich; photograph Jennifer Griffiths

Jennifer Griffiths

Jennifer Griffiths is a natural photographer whose lovely pictures of Chiswick and its environs can be seen on The Chiswick Calendar website.

Image above: Diving Deep, acrylic on paper – Jill Meager

Jill Meager

Jill trained at Cambridge University and Putney School of Art and Design. Raised in rural Scotland, Jill works in response to wildlife and the wild locations she finds herself in, both on land and at sea. She is represented by the BobCat Gallery, Ashburn Gallery and Darryl Nantais Gallery.

Image above: Kew Railway Bridge; Ljubima Woods

Ljubima Woods

Ljubima Woods is an award-winning photographer for whom taking pictures is a relatively new skill, becoming her passion over the past five years. “I love documenting life in all its aspects” she says.

Image above: Madlark Crab; Madeleine Marsh

Madeleine Marsh

Madeleine Marsh is a sculptor, jeweller and mudlarker. She uses finds beachcombed from Thames and canals of London, transforming them into unique creations. Other sculptures celebrate the history of art and often have a sense of humour. Her work can be found in collections across the world.

Image above: Window to Window, oil on canvas; Naila Hazell

Naila Hazell

Naila Hazell is the RSA Winner of Lyon & Turnbull Award 2021. Her speciality is portraits, often painting people in busy London bars and markets. Growing up in Baku, Azerbaijan, she was taught by renowned Soviet social realism painter Boyuk agha Mirzezade for her MA at the Azerbaijani Fine Arts Academy.

Image above: Under the Climbing Tree, Acrylic on canvas; Peter Thornborough

Peter Thornborough

Brought up in Australia, Peter studied fine art painting at East Sydney College of Art. He exhibited in Sydney, before becoming an animator, and then an Art Director in the advertising industry, settling in London in the mid-70s. He has exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

Image above: Tierra Del Fondo, Limited edition original Giclee print on archival paper; Rennie Pilgrem

Rennie Pilgrem

Rennie has an award-winning career as an international DJ and dance music producer. For the last decade he has been also making contemporary art. His work is shown in galleries in London and Europe and collected internationally.

Image above: Gemini the Twins, part of the Zodiac series by Sally Grumbridge

Sally Grumbridge

Sally Grumbridge is a painter and printmaker. Her work encompasses cultural, historical and personal themes. She teaches printmaking locally and exhibits regularly in London, the UK and abroad. She has a BA in Public Art and studied printmaking at UAL.

Image above: West; Sarah Granville

Sarah Granville

Sarah Granville is a London based artist whose work draws on her background in architecture. Her paintings and prints have been exhibited at the Royal Society of British Artists, Chelsea Arts Society, Royal Academy (Summer Exhibitions 2019, 2018, 2013), and Bankside Gallery. She is a member of Riverside Artists Group, and an Associate Member of The Royal Society of Painter Printmakers.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Chiswick has a new fishmonger

Image above: The Chiswick Fishmonger, 37 Turnham Green Terrace; photograph Hamish Pringle

Damian Sais opens new fishmongers in Turnham Green Terrace

We reported a couple of weeks ago that Garry Diamond, who owned the Covent Garden Fishmongers in Turnham Green Terrace, had retired through ill health. We can now report that a new business, The Chiswick Fishmonger, has taken over the premises, but retained Garry’s former staff Jackie, Fabio and Rob.

They opened their doors last week – a ‘soft opening’ says new owner Damian. He has great plans for the shop with a ‘proper’ launch planned for a month’s time.

The shop had been closed since Christmas, with a succession of notices in the window promising it would reopen soon under new management. Damian has sent Garry’s loyal customers an email apologising for the hiatus and introducing himself:

‘I just wanted to introduce myself. I’m Damian, and I’ve taken over from Gary, who has now retired.

‘We’re very sorry for the recent disruption to services, but we’re back in action now – and back for good! You’ll still see the same fantastic team running the shop – Jackie, Fabio and Rob.We’ve got a different look now as The Chiswick Fishmonger, but we’re still going to have all of your favourites matched with our top-quality service.’

Image above: Staff happy to continue working with the new fishmonger; photograph Hamish Pringle

Damian’s email to customers continued:

‘While I’m new to the area, I’ve been in the fish game for almost 25 years! I supply a variety of restaurants across Central and Greater London through my wholesale business and run a retail shop in Mill Hill East – Elias Fish.I am passionate about quality, sustainability and inspiring customers to create new dishes, using recipes across all cultures.’

Damian told The Chiswick Calendar he had known Garry for several years and had his eye on the shop for a while, so when the opportunity came up to buy it, he was delighted.

“I wanted a busy, fantastic shop in a local area”.

“We’re going to do a big opening in about a month’s time” he told us.

His business buys fish direct from the producers at auction, so he will be offering more Sashimi products – fresh, raw fish that can be sliced very thinly and served uncooked, Japanese style. He is also looking to serve more marinated fish, guided by Fabio, who as well as working in shop is also a chef.

“I am pleased to share that we also offer free next day local deliveries”, says Damian. Please contact us during opening hours (Tuesday – Saturday, 9am – 4pm) to guarantee next day delivery.

Damian will be popping in to the shop a couple of times a week initially and says he is looking forward to meeting his new customers in Chiswick.

To get in touch with Damian:

Email –

Landline – 0208 995 9273 (This will be up and running in approx. 1 week!)

Call/Whatsapp – 07398 198 812

Instagram – @thechiswickfishmonger

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Time to do something about the garden?

Image above: MRLandscapes garden design

Help is at hand

It is at this time of year when we look out on our gardens and begin to look forward to the days when we can sit outside and enjoy them again. Despite the cold and the torrential rain, the smattering of spring flowers are like a promise of better days to come.

It is also at this time of year that many of us begin to think that we might like our gardens to be different, which is where MRLandscapes might be able to help.

As the name suggests, they are a  landscape gardening firm who can redesign your garden for you, but they also offer regular follow up maintenance (which they prefer to call ‘aftercare’) and like to encourage their clients to take an active interest in maintaining their own gardens, with a little help from professionals. They don’t just take your money and run, but see the relationship as a partnership, developing the garden together.

Image above: Oscar Marsland-Roberts

“We carry on maintaining your garden so it looks like the finished product” says Oscar Marsland-Roberts, the owner.

“We are positioning ourselves in the market where people want to be more involved and out in their garden all the time, but we provide aftercare so it is not so daunting. We don’t want it to be ‘there’s your garden, now get on with it’!”

Oscar reckons two or three visits a year of a half to a full day should do it, to keep the garden looking like it is intended to.

Based in South Acton, he has two full time landscaping teams who have many clients in Chiswick. Oscar comes from Bedford Park and after a career in the City switched to making a living from his passion – plants.

Some of the gardens they look after have been showcased in the Bedford Park Festival open gardens, including that of Peter Sheard, one of the landscape designers they work with.

Image above: MRLandscapes design – seating areas the most common thing people ask for

What are the common themes that people ask for?

An area to sit in is the most common thing they are asked to design. Somewhere outdoors where it’s nice to sit and survey the garden.

“I spend a lot of time asking leading questions – what is the most important thing to you about having a garden? What will it mean for you and your family?”

The answer is usually that people want to spend more time together as a family outdoors. They may want to make it easier for an elderly parent who can’t do steps, or accommodate grandchildren playing without giving over the whole garden to a boring lawn.

“There is a contention between children wanting to play and maybe kick a ball about and maintaining plants, but there are journeys you can create through a garden which give them opportunities to play.”

People also like to be able to come home from work and look out on their garden in winter, so putting in uplighting is a regular part of their planning, so that on winter nights when it is dark early, people can still see and appreciate their garden.

Image above: MRLandscapes design – people like to be able to come home on a winter’s evening and look out on the garden

Oscar has his own list of favourite plants. He favours multistem trees and winter flowering plants for that all year round benefit.

“People spend a lot of money on Kitchen extensions. We try to bring plants as close to the building as possible so there is not a gulf between indoors and outdoors.”

People are less bothered about having lawns these days, he says, realising that lawns are not good for biodiversity, as well as being a pain to mow.

Image above: Bringing the outside in

Most common mistakes?

They often find their clients’ gardens are suffering from plants which have grown too big for their garden, or plants which are too small or in the wrong place. Over-watering and under-watering both cause problems.

Oscar is not a fan of irrigation systems.

“We advocate watering the garden yourselves. It helps you get out into the garden and understand the plants, but also irrigation systems are like candy for plants, they become more drought resistent if they have to work for it a bit.”

Getting planting right can be be bit of a trial and error process even for the experts. While gardens near the river in Chiswick benefit from the rich nutrients of the flood plain, the further you get towards Acton and Ealing, the heavier the clay.

In some spots water just seems to disappear, which is when you may find you have an old bomb shelter buried in the garden and there is a huge hole into which the water is disappearing.

“Just because something works in next door’s garden doesn’t mean it will necessarily work in yours” he says.

Image above: Silver Birch on Oscar’s list of favourite plants

Favourite plants?

Oscar is a big fan of multistemmed trees for visual interest. On his list of favourites are Betula Utilis Jaquemontii (Silver Birch) and Amelanchier trees (aka snowy mespilus, juneberry and serviceberry).

Gardeners World agree with him:

“They have it all: masses of spring blossom, autumn colour, and even edible fruits, which are also attractive to birds. Most are compact in habit and are therefore perfect trees for small gardens.”

Oscar also likes to use hydrangeas and to add interest to a garden at this time of year he recomments Hellebores (Christmas roses), Skimmias (Skimmia Japonica Rubella, bushy flowering shrub) and Sarcococcas (sweet flowering box), known for their sweetly scented winter flowers and glossy evergreen foliage.

“Sarcococcas may not steal the show, but they lift the spirits during the short days of winter” according to the Royal Horticultural Society’s directory of plants.

He also likes to use grasses because they way they move in the wind introduces a bit of movement to the landscape; it is not just static.

Image above: Grasses give a sense of movement

What should we be doing now?

Apparently we should have finished pruning by now. We should be potting up young plants, cutting back perennials and mulching  the flowerbeds.

“What you do in winter is as important as what you do in other seasons” he says. “It’s not too early in London to begin planting out now.”

We need to be thinking about more drought resistent plants that are better adapted to establish themselves naturally, and we need to get out there are get doing, he says.

“An hour’s gardening a day is as good as going to the gym.”

Images above: From drawing board to completion


Should you need his team’s help, the cost for a 2D design is £1,050 +VAT and for a full design package with CGI and technical drawings, £2,000.

Contact MRLandscapes at

Avenue Gardens, Acton, LondonW3


Phone: 0208 0872334

MRLandscapes are members of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme, offering Club Card holders 10% off your first garden maintenance visit (this offer does not apply to garden landscaping).

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Episode 40: But is it democracy?

The Three Old Hacks discuss the power of the people. Recorded the day after the chaotic Gaza vote in Parliament, they consider the safety of MPs, the leverage voters have to influence them, the impact of a powerful grassroots movement supported by social media and also the power of TV drama to galvanise public opinion, as evidenced by the TV drama Mr Bates and the Post Office.

They discuss the leadership of the Conservative party. “It always used to be said that the great success of the Tory party was that the membership didn’t really have a say on anything” says Nigel. “Now the membership has a voice through Conservative Home and they have a say in choosing the party leader. That’s something you can’t put back.”

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

More Platforms

Listen to more episodes here.

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

Thames Towpath run returns after pandemic hiatus

Image above: A previous Thames Towpath Run

Sign up for the race now

The Thames Towpath Run is back after a break, organised by the West 4 Harriers and sponsored by The Swan Pub. The event will take place on Sunday, 7 April, starting at 8.30am from the new location at Old Deer Park in Richmond.

The 10-mile race, which has been running for 30 years, will follow a scenic route along the Thames Towpath, passing landmarks such as Kew Gardens and Chiswick Bridge.

The course, known for its flat terrain, will challenge runners with varied landscapes. Mile markers and water stations will be available along the route, and participants are encouraged to bring their own soft cups to reduce waste.

In addition to the race, amenities such as chip-to-chip timing and physiotherapy services will be provided. Up & Running East Sheen will be supporting the race, with a shop stall for all your running needs. Physiotherapist services from SOS Steve O’Shea will be on site.

Prizes will be awarded to overall and age category winners, and everyone who participates will win a custom pint glass.

Organisers hope at least 500 people will join the race.

Registration is open, and participants can find more information and sign up by clicking here or scanning the QR code below.

Our reporter Matt Smith is running 10k for charity

Image above: Matt Smith with his cat Taboo

Matt hopes to raise £500 for Hounslow Animal Welfare Society

The Chiswick Calendar’s reporter Matt Smith is running 10k for charity this weekend.

Matt hopes to raise at least £500 for Hounslow Animal Welfare Society (HAWS), a small local charity which supports unwanted, abandoned, stray or unloved pets to the extent of its resources.

The charity recently spoke with The Chiswick Calendar about how it is struggling financially to look after pets in its care after being “absolutely inundated” with a wave of abandoned cats and increased demand for their services.

Keeping the cats fed, warm and up to date with their medical treatments is a constant battle and vet bills are becoming almost prohibitively expensive for the charity, which spends upwards of £5000 per month on the pets in its care.

You can easily donate to Matt’s fundraiser here:

Image above: Georgy – a cat who was left outside in the cold bleeding by her owners

“Please give what you can”

Matt, who has an adopted cat of his own which was abandoned by his first family, is running 10k in his hometown of St Helens, where he and 2500 other people are running in support of various different charities.

Matt said:

“HAWS is a small charity local to LB Hounslow. Every donation goes towards helping animals in their care, with a big chunk going towards vet bills.

“Recently the charity has come under significant pressure as more and more owners dump their pets because the cat has become sick, injured, too old or simply too much of a burden. Animals have been left in the cold, bleeding and in severe pain.

“Please give what you can, as the owner of an adopted and abandoned cat myself, this cause is very dear to me.”

Overwhelmed local cat charity struggles to keep up with demand

Image above: Georgy 

Hounslow Animal Welfare Society closes mailing address 

A local cat charity have said they are struggling keep up with the needs of animals left in their care, as more and more west London residents abandon their pets.

Hounslow Animal Welfare Society have said they are “absolutely inundated” with abandoned pets and are struggling to meet their needs as the weight of their financial burden grows heavier, casting a shadow over their ability to provide sick and injured cats with essential care and support.

The charity has been forced to temporarily close its mailing address after discovering that people were abandoning cats and other small animals there, despite there being no facility for the animals at the site.

Recently, a domesticated rabbit with a broken leg was left with the charity. The rabbit’s leg was so badly broken that it needed to be amputated.

Two female cats who had recently given birth were also found dumped, left near some rubbish bins. The cats had had nine kittens between them, but volunteers at the charity were unable to figure out which kittens belonged to which cat.

Another cat, Georgy, was turfed out of a cat carrier by two women, which was reported to the charity. She was terrified and didn’t move from that spot, so was able to be collected. The charity discovered a lot of blood in the cat carrier and took Georgy straight to emergency vet, where it turned out she had bladder stones which needed an operation and likely was “in a great deal of pain”.

“It’s a constant struggle” HAWS’ Founder Carol Willingham told The Chiswick Calendar:

“We get emails every day of people wanting to give up their cats. Either they’re moving, or they can’t afford them and it just goes on and on and on.”

“We’re certainly getting more abandoned ones and more people requesting help, but a lot of the time we just can’t because we’re full and just can’t help.”

Image above: Skylar – one of the cats who had recently had kittens and was abandoned

Vet bills for the charity run up into the thousands, with more for specialised care

HAWS does not have a centre to work out of, instead they primarily rely on the limited amount of foster carer volunteers to look after cats which are left in the charity’s care.

The charity is in partnership with Companion Care, which operates out of Pets at Home in Brentford, who take care of any animals which need medical attention. They also have limited spaces for cats that need to be look after until they can find a foster home.

“But of course, that costs us a lot of money” Carol added, “So not only are we paying for their neutering, their microchipping and vaccinations, we’re also paying for their boarding until we can move them onto a foster home. But often, literally as soon as a space becomes vacant it’s filled.”

HAWS ask for a relatively modest adoption fee of £100, despite cats having cost the charity much more than that while in their care. Vet bills are often almost prohibitively expensive, especially for specialised care such as was required for the abandoned rabbit with the broken leg.

“She cost us a lot of money and we hoped we could save her leg, but the vet said it was so badly broken so there was no chance. We went for amputation. Anaesthetising rabbits is always dodgy anyway, but we went for it and it was successful. She’s now living as an indoor rabbit and is quite happily hopping around. That cost thousands… but it was that or put her sleep and she was a young healthy rabbit, so we just couldn’t, or wouldn’t!”

HAWs has a strict non-destruction policy and only ever allow euthanasia if an animal is too seriously ill or injured for any hope of recovery, or where its quality of life is clearly unsatisfactory.

Image above: Matt Smith and his pet cat Taboo – Matt is raising money for Hounslow Animal Welfare Society by running 10k on Sunday 3 March

Charity in need of donations

The charity is always looking for funds to help pay to look after animals in their care. Although all of its staff are volunteers, veterinary fees are in the excess of £5,000 per month. Other expenses include food and equipment, web hosting and management, printing etc.

The Chiswick Calendar’s reporter Matt Smith is running 10k to raise money for the charity this Sunday (3 March). You can support his donation drive here:

Every year HAWS takes in domestic animals, except dogs, which have found themselves in desperate situations, often facing death by starvation after being abandoned, their owners having moved away, lost their jobs/homes, been taken ill, died, or divorced.

Other unwanted animals are turned out after being thoughtlessly given as presents. Some come to the charity after being rescued from deliberate human neglect and cruelty. Still others are found injured after being hit by vehicles, caught on wire fencing, or hurt in other ways.

HAWS deals with hundreds, sometimes thousands of animals, many of these taken into care for eventual rehoming. Others are helped in various ways, most often with veterinary care.

Cats, kittens, rabbits, guinea pigs and other mammals all need the charity’s help – sometimes even ‘wild’ animals too. All domestic pets that pass through the charity are neutered.

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‘I read an entire novel while waiting for a call that never came’

Image above: Southwark Crown Court; image Buildington

Jury service can be shocking and traumatising, it can be interesting, but it can also be very dull

There is a mystique about jury service. To those of us who have never had the call there is a slight sense of being overlooked, of missing out on an opportunity that might have been. I realise I am romanticising this. To most busy people it is just a nuisance to be got through when they have run out of excuses not to do it.

Jenny de Montfort did jury service recently and has written us a guest blog about it.

Guest blog by Jenny De Montfort on doing her civic duty

When the letter from HM Courts and Tribunal Service drops through your letter box it can elicit a sense of dread or enthusiasm or perhaps a bit of both.

I thought of the cases friends had told me about. The jewel thief dressed like Zorro with a wide brimmed hat and flowing cape. Apparently, he would lean against the counter with his cape draped over the display cases and clear the jewels out with his other hand.  He was caught red handed on the cctv but even then, the jury were loath to convict him as he was such a charmer. I can’t but think he must model himself on David Niven.  Another friend had sat through a teenage murder case and needed therapy afterwards.

I wasn’t at all sure what I felt about it. However, I showed up on the due date on the last Monday in January at what sounded like a fantastic address: Southwark Crown Court at 1 English Grounds off Battle Bridge Lane SE1. Sadly, the building does not live up to its address and is definitely ready for some redecoration.

Security is very tight, rather like an airport, although unlike an airport you can bring in liquids as long as you take a sip from the receptacle in front of the security guard. It is rather comical especially when it’s hot coffee!  The induction takes time too. A staff member gave a spiel in a humorous tone that basically said we had no choice and we would just have to do as we were told.

Monday was so dull. I read an entire novel while waiting for a call that never came. It was rather like sitting in a dismal airport lounge with a delayed flight and no idea when it might take off. We couldn’t even wander downstairs to the coffee station. It was off limits as the witnesses and court staff use it. Coffee had a service charge as the staff have to carry orders up the stairs. The view is pretty amazing with HMS Belfast blocking the Gherkin and other office blocks behind and then if you crane your neck you can see the Tower of London.

I was put on call for the next day but was to report back on the Wednesday. Arriving at the court I was thrilled to see a photographer with a long lens. Maybe I’d be on a celebrity case. I was more prepared for the waiting game and chatted to a cheerful group that had been on a case together since August. They announced cheerfully they had given each other secret Santas.

My name was eventually called and about fifteen of us trooped up to the courtroom. Twelve of us were sworn in and then it was lunchtime so we trooped out again. This was to be a regular pattern and a running joke that as soon as were called it would be time for a break. I had a super group. Probably half under thirty. As we couldn’t talk about the case, we had to find other topics. One man was justifiably cynical as his brother had been a postmaster who had been prosecuted by the Post Office. He had even brought a wheelie bag in with him to court, so sure he was to be incarcerated.

Our case was about a young man saying he was robbed by knifepoint. It was at a busy pub in Soho. The prosecutor was rather chaotic and even managed a nap on the Friday. The defence was impressive and made us realise that the man was lying about something. This was when we had a stroke of luck as a smart juror sent a message to the judge just before we were about to be sent to deliberate.

It was if a stick of dynamite had been given to the judge and he sent us out immediately saying we would need to come back on Monday as he needed to talk to the defence.

It turned out that the clever chap had picked up on some of the defence’s cross examination that suggested the victim had bought drugs that had turned out to be just grass. This changed everything.

It had been weird how the victim had said the defendant was threatening but yet had walked with him to the cashpoint for money although he couldn’t say what he needed the cash for. He had sworn on the Bible he didn’t take drugs.  Added to which, he had not said anything about a knife until he had realised his mobile phone had gone. I would surmise that he was rather charmless and so angry that he had bought fake drugs that he fabricated the knife story. It seemed so awful as we have such a problem with knife crime that to fabricate it seemed doubly dreadful.

It was surreal as we all felt that although the defendant was clearly a thief there was absolutely no evidence it was robbery. The fact that the victim had lied so blatantly to us did not help as the sympathy was definitely for the defendant.  Friends tell me this is not unusual as some men can fabricate worse crimes just to “big” themselves up.

We chose the savvy chap to be the foreman and he clearly stated that we found the defendant guilty of theft on both charges, the money and the phone, but we did not believe there was a case for robbery.

The Judge thanked us but hurried us out of the court so we never heard the sentencing.

On the morning of our deliberation we arrived to a packed waiting room.  Ninety names were called as they were looking for twelve jurors for a seventeen-week case and another twelve for a seven-week case. I was so impressed that most people took it with a gentle humour. The only problem is that whereas the short cases have a diverse age range, the longer cases tend to be universally middle aged as they can make themselves available more easily.

I never found out who the photographer was waiting for.

Jenny de Montfort lives in Bedford Park

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Exhibition ‘Mudlarking: Unearthing London’s Past’ opens at Emery Walker’s House, Hammersmith

Image above: Mudlarker on the foreshore of the River Thames at Hammersmith

Thames Treasures revealed in new exhibition

The spring exhibition at Emery Walker’s house in Hammersmith will be of treasures retrieved from the River Thames by mudlarkers. Principal amongst the treasures, there is a full set of the famous Doves Type, the typeset developed by Thomas James Cobden-Sanderson and Emery Walker at the end of the 19th century, with which the two partners created many beautiful books.

The printing press was not only known for the beauty and quality of what they published, but for the spectacular way in which the two Victorian gentlemen fell out. The type was dumped in the river and it was thought the type would neversee the light of day again, but it thanks to the activity of mudlarkers, a full set has been recovered from the mud.

Lukasz Orlinski, who takes time out from his demanding career as a nurse at the Royal Marsden Hospital to explore the Thames as a licensed mudlark, has recovered over 500 pieces of the long lost Doves Type, the largest haul of the “Holy Grail” of the Arts and Crafts movement.

Lucinda MacPherson interviewed Lukasz and discovered how an oncology nurse from the foothills of the Beskid mountains in Poland found himself knee-deep in the mud along the Thames, discovering ancient artifacts and the largest haul of the legendary, long lost Doves Type.

Image above: Lukasz Orlinski

Lucinda MacPherson interviews  mudlarker Lukasz Orlinski

“It all started back in 2015 when my wife and I bought a flat near Wandsworth Park” Lukasz told me. “Being close to the river, I often saw people metal detecting and mudlarking. Intrigued, I took the plunge and found an animal tooth, sparking my curiosity. But it’s not what you find, but what you find out about the items.”

These questions led to a humble metal detector purchase on eBay, and the rest, as they say, is history. His new hobby became a passion, with Lukasz upgrading to a high-tech Deus XP for £1,000.

“I used to spend every free moment. It’s really addictive. There are occasions you don’t find anything interesting but there are days that you find a Bronze Age spearhead, 3,000 years old like the one I found in Fulham.”

Lukasz’s favourite hunting ground is West London.

“Hammersmith, especially near the bridge, exudes history. The pictures from the boat race, (makes the bridge) looks like a Christmas tree decorated with people, so imagine every one of these people maybe throwing a little coin into the river for good luck or for a broken heart, all these people using it as a wishing well – it’s a treasure trove of stories.

“My first coin was an Elizabethan silver coin, a chance find with my first, cheap metal detector. It is called a ‘hammered’ coin because they were made from a metal sheet which would be struck with a hammer. Then, there’s the Iron Age sword found in Putney, now in the Museum of London. It’s not about getting rich; it’s about understanding the history behind each artifact. The stories they tell are priceless.”

Images above: Lukasz holding some pieces of Doves Type

Lukasz was completely unaware of the dramatic story of the Doves type when he first stumbled across it. Individually these dark, small pieces of metal don’t look impressive and in themselves aren’t of great value unless you know the background story. So Lukasz just chucked them back into the river. But then he came across a huge collection, which struck him as unusual.

“Then I read about Dove’s Bindery and Dove’s Press in a Mudlarking book. The significance hit me when I found a considerable number.”

Thomas James Cobden-Sanderson fell out with Emery Walker, his business partner in the Doves Press, in the early 1900s. Despite a gentleman’s agreement that he should leave the Doves Press to Emery Walker on his death, TJ Cobden-Sanderson decided instead to bequeath it to the Thames.

The now elderly man lugged the punches, matrixes and type under cover of darkness, on 170 separate trips to Hammersmith Bridge. He believed no one would ever find it, but now, over 100 years later, the entire alphabet will be on display at the house he once called home, and then became Emery Walker’s House at  7 Hammersmith Terrace.

Image above: View of the River Thames from Emery Walker’s garden

Not just an exhibition, but walking tours, guided mudlarking experiences and a scavenger hunt, starting Saturday 2 March

This extraordinary exhibition which includes other treasures found in the Thames is thanks to the persistence and passion of two mudlarkers and a typographer who have recovered over 600 pieces of the type, and generously loaned them to Emery Walker’s House for their exhibition.

Although the Doves Type is the most important exhibit for Emery Walker’s House because of its very personal connection to the former residents, the exhibition will also include fossils, prehistoric flint tools, Roman coins and pottery, Medieval pilgrim badges, Tudor fashion accessories, 17th century children’s toys, Georgian personal adornments and Victorian curiosities each exhibit revealing their own intriguing story of London’s past.

A programme of events to support the exhibition includes walking tours, guided mudlarking experiences, a scavenger hunt and additional open days and candle-lit tours at Emery Walker’s House throughout March and April.

The spring exhibition and events programme have been guest curated by Jason Sandy, an architect, author and member of the exclusive Society of Thames Mudlarks who lives in Chiswick. He persuaded Lukasz to lend his find and he and his family have now had a tour of the fine Arts and Crafts interiors of Emery Walker’s House.

“I like the smell and how well it is preserved…It’s not staged. It’s like you are stepping back a hundred years.”

“Nothing has changed. Yeah, nice property just by the river. I wouldn’t mind living there!”

The exhibition, Mudlarking: Unearthing London’s Past  is on from March 2nd – April 27 2024 at Emery Walker’s House, 7 Hammersmith Terrace, W6.  Tours must be prebooked via

Pictures and text, Lucinda MacPherson.

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Chiswick Cinema shows award winning documentary to mark second anniversary of the Ukraine war

Image above: Still from 20 Days in Mariupol; image IMDb

Chiswick Cinema shows BAFTA-winning 20 Days in Mariupol in support of Ukraine, as war reaches the two-year mark

Guest blog by Diane Chandler

As Saturday marked the grim second anniversary of the war in Ukraine, Diane Chandler, a Chiswick based author who has written about the country, has written a guest blog for The Chiswick Calendar on how supporters of Ukraine’s struggle against Russia can best offer their help to its beleaguered citizens. Diane got to know Ukraine in the 1990s while working there for the EU.

Chiswick Cinema is showing several screenings of the documentary 20 Days in Mariupol, which won the Bafta Award for Best Documentary, and is widely tipped to win the Best Documentary category in this year’s Oscars too. There will be a collection for a Ukrainian charity.

Image above: Still from 20 Days in Mariupol; image IMDb

Guest blog by Diane Chandler

24 February 2024 marked the second anniversary of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Who can forget those tanks gathered at the border – and then terrifyingly snaking their way towards Kyiv?

The whole world believed that Ukraine would fall within just three days. Well here we are, two years later, and this remarkable nation is still holding out. Albeit at enormous human cost, with thousands of soldiers and civilians dead in this barbaric and futile war.

I used to work in Ukraine back in the 1990s just after communism fell; travelled across this incredible country, met thousands of amazing resilient and proud Ukrainians. Those fighting now would have been babes in arms when I last worked there.

As we know, the front line is long. 620 miles long, in fact. Which is greater than the distance from Land’s End to John O’Groats. No surprise really that little progress has been made to push the Russians back, given the feat at stake.

Image above: Still from 20 Days in Mariupol; image IMDb

As it emerges from another freezing winter, Ukraine is currently desperate for weapons, ammunition – and those F-16s promised by several Western countries. Astoundingly, they are able to shoot down so many of the incoming missiles aimed at civilian structures on a daily basis, but without this air power many still get through. Destroying homes and killing families.

President Zelensky must surely be a key reason behind the robust resistance demonstrated by Ukraine? Cometh the hour, cometh the man, they said back then, many Ukrainians having not rated him until he showed his mettle.

Remember that iconic photo of him with his staff during the first days of war? He has repeatedly called for more weapons, more aid, and the use of frozen Russian assets to begin the reconstruction of villages, towns  and cities.

We currently await with bated breath the outcome of a Congress vote on the $60 billion of military aid on the table. And, while his call for NATO membership might be fanciful in the eyes of many, surely EU membership (also tricky given Hungary’s resistance) should be a priority to form that buffer? After all, Ukraine is a bigger European country than any other in the European Union.

Impossible, really, for us here in Chiswick to know how to help. But there are tried and tested charities out there, which are supporting both Ukrainian civilians and the Ukrainian Armed Forces with medical aid, food, heating, ambulances and military equipment.

Image above: Still from 20 Days in Mariupol; image IMDb

The AUGB (Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain) whom I know well, have had a Go Fund Me page since day one and are getting civilian aid in through three local agents on the ground. The Ukrainian Institute in London, whom I also know well, have vouched for the credibility of three other charities. I have donated to all without incident. See below for website links.

You may also wish to help #keepukraineonthefrontpage via social media? I follow two young female journalists Margo Gontar (@margogontar) and Yaroslava Antipina (@strategywoman) who give daily updates of their everyday lives in Kyiv. Also British volunteer, Richard Woodruff (@frontlinekit) who has been driving food and military aid to the front line since soon after war began.

I have donated to all, via buy me a coffee, but would not recommend generally donating on social media. For the very latest strategic news I also follow Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashcehnko_en) a former adviser to the Ukrainian government.

And I would urge you all to see the powerful and moving documentary, 20 Days in Mariupol, which Chiswick Cinema is showing this week in support of Ukraine, while also collecting for the AUGB-led charity.

Image above: Still from 20 Days in Mariupol; image IMDb; Evgeniy Konstantinovich Maloletka, the Ukrainian journalist and photographer who covered the siege of Mariupol during the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Two Ukrainian journalists found themselves on the ground in Mariupol before Russia invaded and stayed put to record the first 20 days of invasion. Obviously at huge personal risk to themselves. Since I first saw this documentary, I’ve not stopped thinking about those Ukrainians filmed and what may have become of them, and I guarantee the film will stay with you.

Screenings are on Thursday 29 February at 9pm. The following Monday 4 March at 2pm and again on Wednesday 6 March at 6pm. Follow this link to book:

Image above: Still from 20 Days in Mariupol; image IMDb

Charities supporting Ukraine

 AUGB-led Help Ukraine Emergency Appeal – food, water, medical aid & heating to civilians:

Come Back Alive – assistance to the military & veteran rehabilitation:

Leleka Care – support for frontline medical professionals:

Hospitallers – medical supplies & ambulances for civilian paramedics:

Diane Chandler is the author of the romantic novel  The Road To Donetsk, ‘The heartbreaking journey of an overseas aid worker from idealism to realism’.

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

Image above: The shop front of Riccado 

Thieves smash in front door of Riccado after finding staff locked the door

A group of thieves responsible for a heist worth tens of thousands of pounds from Riccado, the menswear shop in Chiswick, in broad daylight, are thought to be the same gang who attempted another break-in several days later. A group of eight thieves attempted to break in last Thursday (22 February) when one individual tried to kick in the locked front door, damaging the door’s frame and smashing the glass. Repairs are still underway at the shop’s entrance.

Riccado, which stocks expensive men’s clothing from well-known brands such as Boss, eleventy, Paige and MooRER, as well as a range of Italian brands, originally had around £25,000 worth of clothing stolen during opening hours on Tuesday 6 February, when a gang of male thieves arrived at the shop at 204 Chiswick High Road. The men, wearing all black and face coverings, spread out across the shop, before grabbing items they liked and running out the front door.

CCTV footage of the incident, obtained by The Chiswick Calendar, shows the group taking their time looking at coats and jackets – some of which cost up to £1,500 – before stealing the ones they liked. Members of staff commenting on the video said:

“Look at that, they’re just casual.”

Another said: “They’re choosing. They’re choosing what they want.”

“They’re just acting like shoppers aren’t they?” said the first.

Caught on camera, but no action from police

Shivani Bector, the manager of Riccado, wasted no time in calling the police for them only to turn up over a week later on Wednesday 14 February. Officers told Shivani that it would be too late for forensic evidence to be taken, but took a USB of CCTV footage from her and said they would return the next day to take witness statements. They never did.

A few days later, to her dismay, Shivani received an email from the Met, saying:

‘We are sorry to hear you have been a victim of crime. An investigator from the Metropolitan Police has looked carefully at your case and we are sorry to say that with the evidence and leads available it is unlikely that we will be able to identify those responsible. We have therefore closed this case.’

Since then, the group has returned to the shop regularly to linger outside the front door, forcing staff to shutter the business for the shop’s and their own safety. When they came back last Thuursday at around 11.30am, staff had time to shutter the shop. One man then proceeded to kick the shutter, damaging the front door’s frame and smashing the glass.

“We put the shutter down, literally in the middle of the day” Shivani told The Chiswick Calendar. “We ring the police, and say they’re trying to get in right now and do you know what they said?They said we will contact you in 48 hours… and did they call? No!”

Above: YouTube video of the £25,000 heist from Riccado on Chiswick High Road

Management consider hiring private security as staff are “petrified”

Riccado’s staff said they feel unsafe going into work now, saying they feel terrorised by this gang and fear their increasingly organised attempts to steal from the shop.

“The guy who was here [during the heist] doesn’t want to come back to work because he’s scared. It’s not really fair on him and everyone is quite petrified” Shivani said.

The shop, like many now along the High Road such as womenswear shops Whistles, Jigsaw and Mint Velvet, operate on a locked door policy.

Riccado’s management recently paid to have a panic button installed too and have stopped stocking specific brands which they deem too expensive, hoping it will make the shop less of a target.

“We are actually looking into getting our own private security now, because the police won’t even turn up. Now we’ve got a panic button so it should call straight to the police, but we’re paying for it.

“It’s disgusting because we’re on a High Street. We’ve been here for 30 years and we shouldn’t have to put up with this”.

Above: YouTube video of the £25,000 heist from Riccado on Chiswick High Road

Cllr Joanna Biddolph “advised managers not to show footage to journalists”

The management are unhappy with the police response and feel that they are doing more work to identify the culprits than police are. Shivani said she was unhappy with her local councillor’s response too, Gunnersbury Ward representative Cllr Joanna Biddolph.

Feeling hopeless with the police response, Shivani pitched the idea of submitting the CCTV footage to the national press in the hopes of boosting the chances of identifying the gang and reigniting the police’s interest in the case. Shivani added:

“We said we were going to publish the pictures and content and [Cllr Biddolph] said ‘No, don’t do that it will bring negative attention to the area”.

“We have footage of these kids and we actually have faces. I was going to go to the Daily Mail and I was going to go to the BBC and post these videos because it’s disgusting.”

While most of the culprits have face coverings in the shop’s CCTV footage, there are a couple of identifiable faces.

Acting Inspector Michael Binns, who is in charge of neighbourhood policing across the borough, told The Chiswick Calendar said he was not personally aware of the recent offences, but following our reporting had made contact with the shop’s owners “to get more details and review the investigation whilst the ward seargent is unavailable”.

Above: YouTube video showing gang returning to Riccado and attempting to break in during the middle of the day

Cllr Biddolph renews call for Law Enforcement Team in Chiswick

Cllr Biddolph denied telling Riccado staff to hold off sending footage to journalists. She told The Chiswick Calendar:

“I don’t give my opinion, I only reflect what others have said to me. My response was that it was important to find a balance as fewer people are coming to Chiswick because of things like shoplifting…  but then this isn’t this only place where it’s happening.

“Everyone would like to see [police] more often, we are clear as a group that we want more police. We have worked very had to fight for a base for them in Chiswick since the police station closed…”

“I am absolutely clear we want more police, and we have been absolutely clear that we need to have a Law Enforcement Team similar to the one in Hammersmith & Fulham.”

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

Asked whether the recent increase of violent thefts along the High Road might convince Hounslow Council to reassess whether Chiswick needs such a Law Enforcement Team, Cllr Biddolph said:

“We haven’t given up asking and we won’t give up asking.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Packed, angry meeting hears details of Chiswick GP surgeries merger

Image above: Grove Park Surgery

Worried patients vent their concerns over the changes

Anger and frustration were expressed by patients at a public meeting on Wednesday (21 February) at which more than 200 people crowded into the Methodist Church on Sutton Court Road to hear details of the merger between three Chiswick GP surgeries.

Grove Park Surgery, Wellesley Rd practice and the Chiswick Family Doctors Practice are going through the process of merging. They held a public meeting in October to explain what would happen. The process started in December and will be completed in April.

They are creating a new medical practice called Chiswick Medical Practice, while each continuing to operate from their existing locations with the same doctors on site. Collectively the three practices look after nearly half the population of Chiswick.

READ ALSO: Doctors promoting merger of three Chiswick GP surgeries say it will benefit patients

What was remarkable about the meeting was the preponderance of older people, some of whom could barely walk, who were sufficiently concerned to go out on a wet, windy night, demonstrating the level of anxiety amongst older people about the state of the NHS.

The meeting in October was well attended, but not packed, as this one was. Word had filtered through to a lot more people that there were substantial changes happening which would affect how they access their GP. Some wanted to know the basics of how to book an appointment with their GP under the new system. Others had specific complaints about the service they were getting.

Image above: Wellesley Rd surgery

What the changes mean to patients

The most evident change in the way patients are affected is that if someone wants to see a doctor for a new condition or an existing condition which has got worse, they now have to fill in an online form. By sending the surgery details of their symptoms, and maybe a photograph of a rash, using a software system called Klinik doctors can quickly assess whether they need to talk to a patient or whether their case would be better handled by someone else, such as a nurse or a pharmacist or a physiotherapist.

For people of working age it makes life easier. They can do it on their phone on their way to work, without being late to the office, or they can do it at any point in the day, then speak to a doctor if it is needed. No longer do patients have to put up with the inconvenience of ringing at a set time in the morning, hanging on the phone for maybe half an hour until their call is answered and waiting for a doctor to call them back. There is less time wasted for both patients and doctors.

For older people who are less conversant with the internet it can represent a barrier. ‘Digital exclusion’ is a real problem. The number of households who do not have access to the internet at home currently stands at 6%, according to a 2022 Ofcom report. According to Age UK, 34% people aged 75 and over and 10% people aged 65 to 74 do not use the internet.

The Ofcom report also found:

‘Among those with access to the internet, 8% say outright that they are not confident in using it. This proportion rises to 18% when respondents were asked specifically about their confidence in managing who has access to their personal data online.’

The same age group are less likely to have smart phones. While most of the population now has a smart phone, over the age of 65 only 80% do.

This age group represent a minority of the three surgeries’ patients, but this was the demographic represented in the room, for whom the changes are likely to cause the most problems.

Amanda Meehan

“We don’t deserve to be shouted at”

The meeting, chaired by the new practice manager of Chiswick Medical Practice, Amanda Meehan, started badly when she immediately said with so many people there she would not be able to take questions. The newly appointed chair of the Patients Participation Group, Henry Gewanter, then started taking questions but sidestepped the first question put to him.

They had been talking about merging the practices and merging the three Patient Participation Groups into one.

The first question was: “You’re going on about committees and sub-committees, but what happens when you pick up the phone to make an appointment? Take it from there.”

What happens is that if you have a new condition or an existing condition which is getting worse, you are asked to fill out the online form, so the Klinik system (checked by doctors) can triage your problem, making a preliminary assessment from the information you have given them. If you can’t or don’t want to do that yourself online, the receptionist should then offer to take you through the form, either over the phone or in person, if you would prefer to come into the surgery to fill it out.

The meeting then erupted into angry questions and comments. One man said he had on two occasions called in the morning:

“The receptionist was rude and forced me to do it on the phone. You should be giving people training.”

Henry Gewanter

Henry Gewanter said:

“I know for many years there have been problems with receptionists being rude. There is NHS training available.”

Another man said he had been in info tech since the 1970s and the system was “a nightmare”, a comment which received a round of applause.

One receptionist had apparently said if the patient didn’t want to fill out the form they were welcome to go elsewhere, a suggestion Amanda also made to the meeting, for which she immediately apologised.

“We don’t deserve to be shouted at” she said.

“Then get your information right” came the response.

Things got a little better when some way into the meeting they discovered there were microphones available.

Dr Sethurajan told The Chiswick Calendar the new Klinik ‘hub’ was working well for them:

“We saw 340 patients today through the hub. It gives us a way of triaging.”

He told us so far around 70% patients had accessed the online system by themselves, whereas 20 – 30% had filled out their form with the help of a receptionist. There were some teething problems, he admitted:

“I recognise the complaint of rudeness. People are calling up and finding the system’s changed. Some people don’t like filling in forms and are worried about confidentiality.

Amanda Meehan told the meeting all GP practices are moving towards Modern General Practice, using similar methods. The Chiswick Medical Practice was ahead of the game and sooner or later they would all be using this system or something similar.

Image above: Computer Generated Image of the new health centre being built at Fisher’s Lane, where Chiswick Family Doctors Practice will be based

Volunteers needed for the new Patients Participation Group

The newly merged doctors surgeries have set up a new Patients Patricipation Group, with Henry Gewanter as its chair (a decision which in itself has not gone down well with some at the meeting, who remembered his controversial chairmanship of the Chiswick Horticultural and Allotment Society).

Every GP surgery should have a Patients Participation Group. “Every practice in the country has it written into their contract that they should have a patients’ group”, said Amanda. Grove Park Surgery, Wellesley Rd practice and the Chiswick Family Doctors Practice have all had active groups in the past which became less active during the pandemic.

Dr Shantha Sethurajan, who was at the meeting representing Grove Park Surgery, spoke about the registered charity which had operated at their surgery, organising lifts to hospital for people who needed them and creating a therapeutic garden for people to enjoy the opportunity of doing a bit of gardening. They have also organised online video talks about a range of medical conditions.

They hope to form a positive alliance of patients willing to work with them to provide a better service to patients.

If you are interested in joining the Patients Patricipation Group, contact the Chiswick Medical Practice by email at:

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New free Digital skills bootcamps offered to Gen Z

Image above: Science and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan. Image: GovUK

New government scheme offers ‘no-skills-required’ tech bootcamps

The government has launched ‘bootcamps’ offering a range of tech skills for young people that could lead to them earning average salaries exceeding £70,000, two and half times the UK average.

The free courses, launched by the Department for Science and Technology, will last up to 16 weeks and cover a whole host of digital skills, from web and software development to cyber security and cloud computing. You can apply if you are aged 19 or over and living in England (with the right to work in the UK).

The Department is on a drive to get more people to sign up to learn digital skills in cloud computing, cybersecurity, software development and other tech specialities. They promise participants a guaranteed job interview at the end of completing the course.

You can find out more about the campaign and how to apply here.

Launching the new bootcamps, Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan said:

“The appetite and potential British scale-ups have for growth is immense, we can no longer allow digital skills shortages to limit their ambition.

“Whether your personal ambition is to secure a comfy pay packet, land a creative role, solve the world’s most pressing challenges, or all three – the Skills Bootcamps we are promoting today can help achieve your own career goals while being part of our superpower sector.”

Phil Smith, Co-Chair of the Digital Skills Council and Chairman of IQE, said:

“The Digital Skills Council welcomes this research which reinforces just how important the work and goals of the Council are in bringing together government and industry to improve the confidence, capability and leadership of the UK in Digital Skills.

“Digital Skills are vital throughout the economy and existing successful programs such as bootcamps play an important role in providing relevant and focused up-skilling and a proven path into high value enjoyable jobs.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar