Does Chiswick need a ‘banking hub’?

Image above: Rupa Huq opening London's first 'banking hub' earlier this year' As Chiswick faces a dearth of banking services, is a 'banking hub' like the one in Acton the answer? Two big banks have announced over the past couple of weeks that they are closing their branches in Chiswick High Road. Brentford and Isleworth MP Ruth Cadbury says she fears Chiswick could become a "bank-free town". “Physical banking services are vital," said the MP, "and these closures also continue to add to the strain on high streets. I have raised this wider issue with the Government and will make sure that the concerns of local residents are heard." First Lloyds and then NatWest announced the closure of their branches within da

Hounslow Council rejects calls for a dedicated team to tackle crime in Chiswick

Image above: Officers working for Hammersmith & Fulham's Law Enforcement Team Chiswick Conservatives attack "limited scope" of Labour's motion to tackle shoplifting and anti-social behaviour LB Hounslow have 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. At a meeting of the Borough Council last Tuesday (28 November), Chiswick councillors Jack Emsley and Gabriella Giles put forward the amendment to Labour's motion on crime in the borough, calling for the creation of a Law Enforcement Team similar to the one that operates in Hammersmith & Fulham. While welcoming Lab

Thieves who targeted high-value cars in Chiswick and west London jailed

Image above: Montage of the gang members; Met Police Thieves attempted to steal Declan Donnelly's car in Chiswick A gang responsible for a series of high-value car thefts in Chiswick and west London, as well as an attempted cash machine heist in Brentford, has been sentenced after a failed robbery led to their identification. The crew, believed to have stolen vehicles totalling £750,000, attempted to take TV star Declan Donnelly’s Range Rover in April 2021 from his Chiswick home. Four gang members, including 20-year-olds Alfie Chandler and Tommy Hutchinson, were convicted for this attempted theft. Chandler admitted guilt while Hutchinson pleaded not guilty. During the attempt at Mr. Donnelly's home, the gan

Packed church service remembers the dead, including 12-year-old Jack Hollis

Image above: Candles lit on the altar at Christ Church during the service led by Rev Nicola Moy Chiswick residents join annual service of reflection to remember Jack, who died last week There was a packed and 'very moving' service at Christ Church, Turnham Green, on Sunday (3 December) at which local people were given space to share their grief for local boy Jack Hollis. Jack, who was 12 years old, passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday 29 November after being diagnosed with cancer, which was only discovered in July. The service of reflection is one which happens every year and is open for all who have grief or sadness at this time of the year. The congregation listened to hymns and bible readings throug

South Parade resurfacing to take place this week

Image above: Works have been taking place on the road since the end of October. Picture: Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon Ealing Council says delay to work is unlikely as concerns for delays raised A scheduled road closure is set to have an impact on South Parade for at least two days this week, marking the culmination of a five-week long project to repair the kerbs. So far, the closure has only affected a single lane on the carriageway at any given time and contractors have removed temporary traffic lights during non-operational hours. Considerable delays are likely in the area when the road undergoes resurfacing. The closure is slated for Monday, December 4, and Tuesday, December 5, with the potential for exten

Chiswick Area Forum to focus on youth employability

Image above: Chiswick Town Hall - the venue for Chiswick Area Forum; Chairman of this year's forum Cllr Gabriella Giles  Tuesday, 5 December from 6.30pm at Chiswick Town Hall The next Chiswick Area Forum, on Tuesday 5 December, will focus on youth employability, with presentations from a local employer; charities that teach skills for life; from students of Chiswick School who will give their perspectives on the world of work; and Hounslow council on its Youth Skills Guarantee Scheme. The event starts at 6.30pm with a marketplace of stalls about organisations offering employment, training and skills development as well as festive refreshments. The formal meeting starts at 7.30pm. Councillors hope the forum wi

Church service to remember 12 year old Jack Hollis

Sunday 3 December at 6pm There will be a service Christ Church, Turnham Green, at which people will be given space to share their grief for Jack Hollis, at 6pm on Sunday 3 December. Jack, who was 12 years old, passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday 29 November. He had cancer, which the family only discovered in July. Christ Church says 'there will be space in this service for all ages to express sadness and to remember Jack and the whole family at this time.' The Hollis family are well known in Chiswick because of the tragedy they suffered in February 2010 when baby Tommy Hollis was killed by a falling lamppost. He was being pushed in his buggy by his nanny when the lamppost outside Chiswick Town Hall toppled over and baby Tommy suffered devastating head injuries.

Hounslow Council unanimously supports Cargo Bike scheme

Image above: Councillor Ron Mushiso on his cargo bike and Councillor Jack Emsley Bikes with space for cargo increasingly popular in the borough Hounslow councillors voted unanimously on Tuesday to back a Conservative motion to support the rollout of cargo bikes across the borough. The motion to improve sustainable cargo transport in Hounslow was proposed by Councillor Ron Mushiso (Chiswick, Gunnersbury) and seconded by Councillor Kuldeep Tak (Feltham North). It called for a range of measures to be adopted by Hounslow Council, including grants for businesses looking to adopt cargo bikes, implementing specialist training for business employees and assessing the use of developer and TfL funds to create courier hubs. Councillor Ron Mushiso is a regular cargo bi

Man shot in the face in Shepherds Bush

Image above: Devonport Road; image Google Streetview Man in his 20s injuries not deemed to be life threatening A man was rushed to hospital after being shot in the face on Devonport Road, Shepherds Bush. His condition is not deemed life threatening. The incident occurred in the early hours of Wednesday (29 November). Police officers and the London Ambulance service attended the scene after reports of the shooting at 2.32am and a man in his late 20s was found with a wound to his face. Forensics officers remained on the scene through the day and the road was closed. The residential street runs between Uxbridge Road and Goldhawk Road. Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar See also:

RMT end strikes but Aslef continue

Image above: Tube station closed during strike RMT workers accept pay deal to end 18 month row Rail workers have voted to accept a pay deal, ending their long-running series of strikes over pay, job security and conditions. Members of the RMT (National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers) union have agreed to an offer from 14 train companies, which includes a backdated pay rise of 5% for 2022-23 as well as job security guarantees. Members will no longer be involved in the planned industrial action in the run up to Christmas and New Year, ending the 18-month dispute. General Secretary of the RMT Mick Lynch said: “Our members have spoken in huge numbers to accept this unconditional pay offer and no compulsory redundancies until the end of 2024.

Plans to improve pedestrian crossing and cycle parking at Strand-on-the-Green

Image above: Strand-on-the-Green Consultation period open until Monday 11 December Hounslow Council have opened a consultation on plans to improve the pedestrian crossing facilities and the availability of cycle parking at Strand-on-the-Green. The plans and the main changes proposed are: Widening of the footways at the northern end of Strand-on-the-Green and the provision of a rain garden. Implementation of pedestrian crossing points and tactile paving on Strand-on-the-Green and Spring Grove. Vehicle access and drainage improvements to 2 Kew Road. Reposi

TfL announces tube journeys almost back to pre-pandemic levels

Image above: Tube train library image New figures show figures reaching four million a day TFL has announced that the tube reached four million journeys last Thursday, which is close to returning to pre-pandemic levels. During last week (19 - 25 November), 24.78 million Tube journeys were completed, with Thursday seeing the highest number of Tube journeys with around 4.05 million. This is up 7.6% on the equivalent day last year (24 November 2022), when ridership was around 3.76m. Midweek journeys on the Tube is now regularly above 3.7m and up around 6.5% compared to last year, with journeys on Monday and Friday now regularly above 3m a day, and higher than 3.6m on Fridays. Weekend journeys also continue to grow as well,

Blood cancer charity in Chiswick hits one million registered donors across UK

Image above: DKMS workers at a donation drive; Credit DKMS Chiswick-based charity celebrates 'significant milestone' DKMS, a blood cancer charity based in Chiswick, is celebrating a 'significant milestone' as one million donors have registered in the UK, including Chiswick residents, stepping up to save lives. The charity, which facilitates stem cell transplants globally, reports that since its launch in the UK a decade ago, stem cell donations have reached 42 countries, offering hope to those battling blood disorders. Among the one million registered donors is Ashley Walker, a 35-year-old from Connah’s Quay near Chester: "When I got an email about being a potential match, donating was a no-brainer. If it we

Ealing man arrested after vandalism of Palestinian Mission and local mosques

Image above: A CCTV recording of a man throwing red paint at the Palestinian Mission in Hammersmith "Hate crimes have no place in London" A man from Ealing has been arrested after a series of attacks on the Palestinian Mission in Hammersmith, as well as a series of other attacks on mosques and businesses across west London. On Monday, 27 November, a 61-year-old man was arrested in Ealing on suspicion of racially aggravated criminal damage after red paint was thrown or sprayed at the locations. The offences took place in the boroughs of Hammersmith and Fulham, and Ealing on 12 separate occasions between Monday, 16 October and Saturday, 18 November. The man was taken into custody where he remains. Detectiv

Christmas lights switched on in Chiswick – the first of a series of Christmas celebrations

Image above: Chiswick School students at the Christmas lights switch-on on Monday (27 November) Chiswick lights switch-on goes off without a hitch Chiswick welcomed in the festive season on Monday (27 November) with the annual Christmas lights switch-on. It used to take place outside the George IV pub and in the past there has sometimes been a Christmas market and the Fuller's dray horses to admire. Last year the switch-on moved to the area around Hogarth's statue, which is where it took place again this year, with a group of students from Chiswick School leading the Christmas carol singing, under the guidance of Tommy Robinson, the school's creative arts coordinator. The festive ambiance was enhanced by mince

Hounslow Council appoints new parking provider

Image above: Parking notices; library image New parking provided to take over from SERCO Hounslow Council has announced a new contract with NSL, a parking enforcement company, who will to take over parking services in the borough from 1 December. The move comes after SERCO, Hounslow's previous provided, gave notice of its intention to terminate a five-year contract prematurely. SERCO has been pulling out of parking related activities across the country. Failure to appoint a new provider would have meant parking restrictions across the borough would have gone unenforced, but NSL has committed to no disruption to services. The company will be taking over all parking activities including enforcement, payment f

EM Forster letters for sale at Chiswick Auctions

Image above: EM Forster's personal correspondence with Bob Buckingham; Chiswick Auctions Personal correspondence with Bob Buckingham, with whom the author had a long relationship Personal correspondence that marks the deep relationship between author EM Forster and policeman Bob Buckingham and his family are being auctioned at Chiswick Auctions tomorrow (Wednesday 29 November). The author of A Passage to India and Journey's End lived in Chiswick and had a long relationship with Bob Buckingham. As well as the cache of more than a dozen letters, the Buckingham family is now selling more than 160 books and a couple of pieces of furniture that were Forster's. Edward Morgan Forster (1879-1970) had a relationship with Bob Buckingham (1902-1975) for

Chiswick School teacher wins gold at prestigious National Teaching Awards

Image above: Zac Moxon (second from the right) at the award ceremony with Georgia Knight, Head of Dance (L) Tommy Robinson, Head of Performing Arts at Chiswick School, and Head teacher Laura Ellener (R) Music teacher honoured at 'Oscars of teaching' Zac Moxon, the Head of Music at Chiswick School, has won the Outstanding New Teacher of the Year award at the 2023 Pearson National Teaching Awards. These awards, regarded as the ‘Oscars of teaching’, recognise the unwavering commitment of educators to their students' development and learning. The accolade was bestowed on Zac during a ceremony on Saturday evening (25 November). Judges praised his inspirational teaching style, remarkable contributions to both the s

‘Pub In the Park’ will go ahead in 2024 run by a new company

Image above: Pub In the Park in 2022 Tom Kerridge salvages his festivals from collapse of Brand Events Chiswick House Gardens will host the Pub in the Park event next year, despite the collapse of the organising company, Brand Events Limited. Brand Events Limited faced administration earlier this year due to significant losses during the pandemic. Formed in 2017 through a partnership between Brand Events Holdings Ltd and Reach plc, the company organised big open-air events, including the Pub in the Park festivals featuring food stalls from top chefs and live music which have been a feature of the Chiswick House programme of events for the past three years. McFly were the headline act at this year's weekend event in Septe

NatWest Chiswick branch closing in February

Nearest branch will be Hammersmith NatWest is notifying customers that its branch at 314 Chiswick High Road will shut in February. The bank said it was used by just two personal customers on a regular basis in 2022. There were 102 business customers who used the branch on a regular basis. The report on the decision to close the branch says the number of counter transactions for personal customers was down by 49% between January 2019 and January 2023. Last year 80% of personal customers using the branch were also using online banking or the NatWest mobile app. There has been a 60% fall in counter transactions seen across the bank as a whole during the same period. The bank has written to its customers registered at the branch with a leaflet explaining the changes. T

Food Street market organiser eyes expansion

Image above: Food Street Market - photograph by Andrea Carnevali Feedback encouraged for new application The Food Street market, which made its debut last month on Chiswick High Road, is eyeing expansion plans for the coming year. Richard Johnson, the creator of the British Street Food Awards and a local resident of Bedford Park, was only granted a three month trial initially for the street food market on the fourth Sunday of the month. His third market will be on Christmas Eve. Richard has now resubmitted the original plan, proposing markets which are more than twice the size those he has been allowed so far. The extended setup would extend beyond the car park at Old Market Place, continuing on the pavement alon

Arts Ed parents demand answers as principal faces allegations of bullying

Image above: Arts Ed, Chiswick; School music production from February School facing period of uncertainty after allegations made against principal ArtsEd is facing a period of uncertainty after allegations of bullying and misconduct at the Chiswick drama and musical theatre schools. ArtsEd has a day school, which charges up to £6,000 per term, and a degree school. Julie Spencer is the overall principal of both schools. The publication Deadline published an investigation into allegations of bullying at ArtsEd, on 6 November, in which it said: 'As part of a five-month investigation, Deadline has spoken to more than two dozen people linked to ArtsEd and reviewed internal emails and written testimonies from students and ex-staffers. Some of these sources

Chiswick School pupil speaks in House of Commons

Image above: Mohammad speaking in the House of Commons Students speak in Parliament as part of the UK Youth Parliament A pupil from Chiswick School has spoken in the House of Commons, as part of the UK Youth Parliament. On Friday 17 November, the UK Youth Parliament debated universal free school meals and food security for young people as part of their campaign, ‘Food for Learning’. More than 200 Members of Youth Parliament from across the UK participated in the House of Commons debate. The UK Youth Parliament is a youth organisation consisting of democratically elected members aged between 11 and 18. Formed in 2000, the parliament has 369 members, who are elected to represent the views of young people in

Historic document could settle dispute over Kew Herbarium

Image above: Kew Herbarium - Photograph Michael Dibb Document claims collection must endure at Kew "in perpetuity" A recent report from the Daily Telegraph about the plant library at Kew has unveiled a significant dispute concerning the original bequest to the Royal Botanic Gardens by Sir William Hooker, that the collection must remain housed within Kew Gardens. The current management of the Royal Botanic Gardens had announced plans to relocate the plant library to Thames Valley Science Park, which it says has facilities more suitable for studying the collection. The revelation surfaced thanks to Isobel Moses, a

Report details plight of refugees and asylum seekers across Hounslow

Image above: Heathrow Hotel Funding shortcomings laid bare in new report Hounslow Council's public health team have presented a comprehensive report highlighting the challenges posed by the increasing number of asylum seekers housed within the borough. Over the past years, the Home Office has opted to accommodate those awaiting asylum decisions in local hotels, primarily many in proximity to Heathrow Airport. As of March 2023, there were 2,302 asylum seekers within the borough, a notable surge from 454 in 2020, albeit a slight decrease f

Chiswick School boy debuts for AFC Wimbledon

Image above: Justin Clarke (right) Justin Clarke makes history as youngest player to join AFC Wimbledon Justin Clarke, a Year 11 student at Chiswick School, has made history by becoming the youngest player to join AFC Wimbledon's ranks. He got his chance in an EFL Trophy match against League One Wycombe Wanderers at Adams Park on Saturday (18 November). Justin, a striker, had been training impressively after moving from Chelsea's development programme to the Dons. Despite his debut, the team faced a tough one-nil defeat. Sharing his experience, Justin said: “I missed school on Friday to train with the first team for the day. I’ve just had my mocks as well. School and exams are important too. The players

Bedford Corner café applies for alcohol licence

Image above: The Park House on Bedford Corner Public comments on application close on 12 December The café at 6 Bedford Corner, The Park House, (previously the Trinity Café), is applying for permission to sell alcohol. Brackenbury Brews Limited, a Hammersmith-based hospitality management company, is behind the application. The company already manages two venues in Euston Station: The Square Tavern and Faim. Petar Ivanisevic, the director and owner of Brackenbury Brews Limited, has 18 years of management experience, including time with the Metropolitan Pub Company. He previously ran a coffee brand called with his wife, which closed during lockdown. Ivanisevic's plan for The Park House includes tu

Train drivers announce fresh set of strike dates in December

Image above: SWR train at Chiswick Station; Photograph by Nick Raikes Walkouts will affect trains between 2-8 December Train drivers have announced a fresh set of strike dates in December, in a continuation of their long-running dispute over pay and conditions. The Aslef union has announced a "rolling programme" of walkouts between 2 and 8 December, with different train companies affected on each day. Drivers will also refuse to work any overtime from 1 to 9 December. Aslef said it was time for a "proper pay rise", but the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents operators, called the action "wholly unnecessary". The union has held 14 one-day strikes so far, causing huge disruption to train companies in En

David Tennant says daughter was ‘bewildered’ seeing him reprise Doctor Who role

Image above: David Tennant at the annual Evening Standard Theatre Awards (2023); via Twitter TV star and Chiswick resident chats about his Doctor Who return, his successor, and playing Macbeth at Donmar Warehouse  TV and theatre star, and Chiswick resident, David Tennant has said his daughter was "bewildered" seeing him reprise his role as The Doctor in Doctor Who. Thanks to a Children In Need special, David returned to his Time Lord role on Friday (13 November). Speaking at the Evening Standard theatre awards on Sunday night (19 November), he said: “I watched it with my eight-year-old, who didn’t really know what was coming and didn’t really understand what she was watching!” He

Acton Photographer wins People’s Choice in British Photography Awards

Chohee Courtois holding her award at the 2023 British Photography Awards gala press wall; photograph Stu Williamson A self portrait which tells a very personal story Chohee Courtois, a portrait photographer from Acton, has been honoured with a national photography award at this year’s prestigious British Photography Awards gala at the Dorchester. Open to every photographer based in the UK, the competition attracts thousands of entries; 475 images were shortlisted in 19 categories, showcasing the best of British photographic talent. Chohee's picture won the People’s Choice award in the Self Portrait category. It tells a very personal story. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer and wanted to take a picture of her body, documenting it before surgery.