All buffed up and nowhere to go

Row over last minute cancellation of Chiswick Antiques market

Elisabeth Whittacker has lived in Chiswick since 1972 and has been antiques dealer for decades. She used to run a large antiques shop in Henley on Thames. Now 80, she still keeps her hand in by taking a stall at the odd antiques market.

She was delighted when she found out Jennifer Titmuss, who runs the Antiques & Vintage market at St Albans, had applied successfully to run a monthly antiques market in Chiswick High Rd. She signed up for a stall, bought a new gazebo, shelving and a card reader and has spent weeks getting antiques out of storage and cleaning and polishing them up ready for sale. She’d also taken out public liability insurance, as all traders have to do when they set up a street stall.

It was with some dismay that she heard on Friday night that the market had been cancelled. When she spoke to The Chiswick Calendar over the weekend she was “spitting feathers”. The collection pictured above represents just a fraction of the items which were laid out in her living room, ready to pack for the market.

Images above: Antiques at the St Albans Antiques & Vintage market

LB Hounslow officers ‘not satisfied’ the market would be Covid secure

Chiswick councillors were informed by LB Hounslow on Friday 11 December that the antiques market that was to have been held on 13 December had been cancelled because the Council was not satisfied that the market organisers would provide a Covid secure environment. According to the email the councillors received, the organisers had not provided sufficient evidence that the running of the market would ensure general public safety.

Elisabeth and other traders found out on Friday night from the market organiser at the same time the councillors heard the news from the council officers.

Council’s version of events “pure drivel”

The organiser of the market, Jennifer Titmuss has hit back that “the story that Hounslow Borough Council have given is “pure drivel”.

“The truth is that the events department (it is they who have cancelled) only got word early this week that the market was taking place.

“Despite me giving them every document relating to risks, safety etc that was deemed appropriate by the safety advisory group and the subsequent granting of my licence to run the market, they had not left themselves enough time to tick their boxes and informed me at 7.00pm on Friday night.

“I am very disappointed along with many others of course – and I shall be launching a formal complaint against that one particular person on Monday morning. I am really sorry to disappoint having worked so hard to put the licence application together.

The Council said it would continue to work with the organisers to ensure it could operate appropriately at the proposed market for January. Jennifer said: “It will take place on 10 January”.

Not so, says the council

Cllr Katherine Dunne, Cabinet Member for Communities and Climate Emergency, told The Chiswick Calendar:

 “We understand the organisers of the Chiswick Antiques Market are disappointed and frustrated. However, having reviewed the requirement of Council events policy, it is clear the reason provided – that the organisers had not provided adequate evidence of COVID-19 safety measures – was accurate. It is incorrect to suggest otherwise.

 “Our principal responsibility in his matter must be the safety of the public, and it was for that reason the event was cancelled. We look forward to working with the organisers to provide a Covid secure event for future markets.”

January market?

At time of writing, Jennifer is planning to go ahead with the January market. Elisabeth is not sure about having a stall in January.

“I’ve worked so hard getting it all ready. I was really looking forward to it, but a lot of the things I was going to sell are Christmassy, like candle sticks, so I shall have to think about it”.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

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