Chiswick School rated ‘Good’ with ‘Outstanding’ for students’ personal development

Chiswick School has been rated ‘Good’ in a recent Ofsted inspection, with a rating of ‘Outstanding’ for students’ personal development.

This comes as very welcome news for head teacher Laura Ellener, who’s been in post just over a year and was appointed after the school had been through a turbulent period, having had five head teachers in as many years.

The last two Ofsted inspections, in November 2015 and October 2017 pronounced the school ‘Requires Improvement’, prompting a follow-up Monitoring report in November 2018 which found that although the temporary head Jane Mills was doing a good job, putting in measures to improve behaviour and teaching and learning, the school needed to take further action.

New head teacher Laura Ellener has taken that action and her efforts have been recognised by the inspectors.

“I am delighted that Ofsted has recognised how far Chiswick School has come” she said. “At Chiswick School, we take each child’s education personally. We expect excellence from our students and the staff supporting and teaching them. Our vision is that we do whatever it takes to ensure every student achieves their full potential, and over the last year we have made rapid progress towards this goal. Over the next four years we are aiming to become one of the finest schools in London and the school of choice for Chiswick parents.”

The report highlights “ambitious” leaders who have contributed to the school’s success over the last year. It says pupils are respectful towards each other, and sixth form students provide excellent role models for younger students.

Photographs above: Pupils at Chsiwick School; headteacher Laura Ellener

Ofsted inspected Chiswick School on 22 and 23 January 2020, with both Chiswick School and Chiswick School Sixth Form receiving a ‘Good’ rating. Inspectors evaluated the school against a number of factors, giving students’ personal development an ‘Outstanding’ rating which has been recognised as a real strength at the school. This measures the school’s curriculum beyond the academic and the wider work that is done to support learners to develop their character – how the school prepares learners for future success in their next steps and for life in modern Britain.

Ofsted judged that the way the school goes about developing a pupil’s character is exemplary and is worthy of being shared with others. The inspection report reflects the school’s noticeable development over the last year, and praises leaders’ unwavering focus and teachers’ consistent approach.

Among Chiswick School’s key strengths recognised in the report were:

  • Leaders are ambitious for pupils to do well
  • Opportunities for pupils’ personal development are exceptional
  • Sixth form students are great role models for younger pupils
  • Pupils behaviour is good, pupils are respectful towards others in lessons and as they move around the school site. This supports a calm and positive atmosphere in which pupils feel safe.
  • Staff praise leaders for the improvements that have been made, and staff morale is high.

This success was summarised by a parent quote in the report:

“Empowering students to be ambitious and proud isn’t just a mantra here; it’s lived and breathed every day.”

Chiswick School offers a broad curriculum that is far-reaching and offers something for every student. As well as traditional subjects, students can study Latin, learn to row, and enter debating competitions. A new Elite sports programme was also launched in September 2019 to support students’ development outside of the classroom.

Rachel Jerrome, Chair of Governors said:

“We are delighted with the outcome of our recent inspection and particularly proud of the recognition we’ve received for providing our students with ‘exceptional’ opportunities for personal development. Ms Ellener and her team have worked hard to make such rapid progress and work is already underway to build what will be a very bright future for Chiswick School and its pupils.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Profile interview with Chsiwick School’s headteacher Laura Ellener

See also: Chiswick School students seek elderly recollections 

Camellia show at Chiswick House

The camellias are in bloom at Chsiwick House. The annual show (free in the Conservatory) has been brought forward because the weather is so mild and the plants are already blooming their little socks off.

This year is the tenth anniversary show and will run daily between 10.00am – 3.00pm, from this Thursday, 27 February – Sunday 22 March.

Blossom Day W4

The organisers of the cherry tree festival in Staveley Rd have announced the date for their street party – Sunday 19 April.

Blossom Day ‘will be a unique opportunity for both local residents and lovers of cherry blossom trees from further afield to come and enjoy Chiswick’s very own sakura festival’ they say. (That’s cherry blossom in Japanese, to the uninitiated).

The festival, to celebrate the beautiful trees and the uplifting of the spirits as they presage the coming of spring, will involve a haiku competition, origami demonstrations and children’s art activities, amongst other things.

Not at all ironic that while one part of Chiswick is refusing to plant cherry trees because of the mess they make, another is celebrating them.

WARNING. Cherries underfoot can ruin your shoes.

Water, water everywhere. Nor any drop to drink

In the words of the rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, recently it’s been a case of ‘Water, water everywhere. Nor any a drop to drink’ as it’s rained heavily but the drinking fountain on Turnham Green Terrace has remained steadfastly dry.

All that is about to change. The water has been switched on. It still has to be tested and signed off by a plumber, but all being well we will soon have a working water fountain again on the Piazza.

The restoration of the disused fountain began nearly a year ago after Cllr John Todd secured funding to do the necessary work. It has been cordoned off while the work was being done, leading to complaints that the barricades around it were unslghtly and the work was taking too long.

Now it’s nearly ready to use. No more need for plastic bottles, as we can fill out reusable bottles from the drinking fountain and dogs can drink from the trough at the bottom.

The alternative modern fountains provided by Thames water are hideous and have been described as like ‘the love child of a exocet missile and a smurf’.

Thank you John Todd for persevering with the Victorian pink granite.

Chiswick Food & Drink awards

Wouldn’t you like the excuse to go out and eat more – to try out different restaurants you hadn’t even noticed were in Chiswick?

The Chiswick Calendar is launching the Chiswick Food & Drink awards, in partnership with Zoe Nixon, owner of The Kettle Shed tea blending company and Instagramer and Chiswick enthusiast aubrey.w4.

We’ve pinched the idea from Ealing, whose Restaurant Awards are sponsored by The Kettle Shed, amongst others. Restaurants sign up (for free) to take part and encourage their clientele to vote for them online.

In Chiswick the awards will be in three categories: restaurants, pubs and cafes. We’re under no illusions that our awards will rival Michelin stars for prestige. It’s more a bit of fun to encourage people to try out somewhere they haven’t been before and vote for their favourite place to eat.

Aubrey says: “Besides all the great things to do and see in Chiswick, we are also spoiled with all the wonderful restaurants, cafes and coffee shops that we have. The Food & Drink awards are a great way of shining a spotlight on these places and creating awareness of their existence”.

Zoe says: “Having been part of the success of the awards in Ealing, I’d like to bring some of that Community spirit to Chiswick restaurants”.

Tor Thai Restaurant

I personally am taking the research stage very seriously, having had great meals in Napoli On The Road, TOR Thai restaurant (both new to me) and Annapurna – celebrating 50 years in Chiswick this year – in the space of four days.

To aid your own research, The Chiswick Calendar has put together a Chiswick restaurant guide, so you can see all that Chiswick has to offer. (Though the awards will only be open to independent restaurants and cafes).

Later on in the year we’ll be asking you to vote, and the winners will be presented with their awards in November. Please follow us on Twitter: @chiswickawards and on Instagram:  chiswickawards.

Meanwhile, let the research phase begin! Have a browse through our Where to Eat directory here, and please leave your reviews and comments.

(Pubs and cafes to be added soon …)

 

An Evening with Michael White

BBC journalist Julian Worricker interviews Michael White, formerly the Guardian’s political editor, assistant editor, columnist and foreign correspondent, for The Chiswick Calendar’s Media Club.

Michael wrote for the Guardian for almost 45 years and retired from the paper in October 2016. In nearly 50 years as a journalist he has done all kinds of writing but it was politics which fascinated him most.

‘I was always interested in politics and applied for a Westminster vacancy that was earmarked for someone else, who turned it down. Within a year, I was the Guardian’s sketch writer. A lucky fluke, but Machiavelli – a better observer than a doer – was right to say luck is half of everything’.

He was the Guardian’s Washington correspondent during the presidency of Ronald Reagan and the paper’s political editor through the prime ministerships of John Major and Tony Blair.

What words of wisdom does he have to pass on, having had a front row seat at so many significant events? What were his greatest achievements and most embarrassing moments? What does he think of Boris Johnson and the current state of British politics? Or of the existential crisis facing the newspaper industry?

Come and find out and ask him a question or two of your own.

Date: Tuesday 10 March at 7.30pm
Venue: Boston Room at George IV
Tickets £10 / £8.00 students and Club Card holders

Hounslow Council supports Flower Market

Photograph above: Columbia Rd Flower Market

The proposal to have a flower market in Chiswick High Rd has received a huge boost, with the backing of Steve Curran, the Leader of Hounslow Council. He is now setting up a team of council officers to work with the organisers of the market to make it happen. Steve was at the public meeting held last Thursday and told me:

“I was delighted to be invited to the public meeting to discuss the proposals for a Sunday flower market in Chiswick. I thought the meeting was very successful, there were some good points made and good questions asked, there was a clear consensus that the proposals should be taken forward.

“I’ve already discussed this with the Chief Executive, Niall Bolger, he will be setting up a small project team to take this forward. I wish all those involved the best of luck and the Council will do everything we can to make it a success”.

The idea, put forward by a consortium of residents and businesses, including The Chiswick Calendar, is to have a market on the first Sunday of every month in Chiswick’s historic market place – the car park outside the police station – to attract people into the area and revitalise the local economy.

Photograph above: Public meeting at George IV

About 120 people came to the meeting, among them many local traders. On the platform were Ollie Saunders, a commercial surveyor, whose idea this is, Karen Liebreich MBE, Director of Abundance London, myself and Ben Bullman, General Manager of George IV.

“I love the positive energy. It’s what we need. It’s a no-brainer, a very positive thing”, said John Fitzgerald, who has run Snappy Snaps on the High Rd for more than 30 years.

Read more about the ideas outlined at the meeting here.

Cookbook events split from Chiswick Book Festival

The Cookbook Festival, after two years working alongside the Chiswick Book Festival, will not be a part of the Book Festival this year over the 11 – 14 September weekend. Instead they will develop their supper clubs and workshops throughout the year.

Publicist for the Cookbook Festival Donna Freed said: “After two years under their wing, we’re now ready to fly on our own. We will continue with our schedule of supper clubs celebrating cookbook authors and fantastic food, as well as workshops, book launches and other unique and entertaining events”.

Torin Douglas, director of the Chiswick Book Festival, said: “We are delighted to have helped the Cookbook Festival establish itself in Chiswick and grow to a position where it can now go it alone. Lucy Cufflin and her team run fantastic events in an area that loves its food, and we will continue to work with them, promoting their supper clubs and other exciting activities. We are very grateful for their energy and enthusiasm, which has extended awareness of the Chiswick Book Festival to a new audience, and for helping us raise even more money for our charities.”

Cookbook Festival founder, Lucy Cufflin said: “We are looking forward to unveiling what comes next for the Cookbook Festival; we have big plans so please stay tuned.”

Their next event will be a supper club with award-winning cookbook and travel author Eleanor Ford, with a menu from her book Fire Islands offering recipes from Indonesia. News of their rolling programme of events will appear on their website: www.cookbookfestival.org

Cherrygate saga continues

The Chair of The Friends of Turnham Green, Rebecca Frayn and member of the committee Karen Liebreich have both resigned from the residents’ group, putting the future of the organisation which has made many improvements to the Green over the past 14 years in doubt.

The anonymous donor, who promised £5,000 for tree planting on the Green has rescinded their offer. They have honoured their commitment to pay £2,000 for the cherry trees, which have already been bought, but will not spend the further £3,000 they had promised for other types of tree which were to have been planted on the south side of the Green.

Cllr Joanna Biddolph has now issued a press statement on why she stopped the planting of 10 non-fruiting cherry trees to fill in the gaps in the existing avenue of cherry trees. One of those who objected to the planting has also issued a statement.

But the fate of 16 trees (ten intended for the avenue plus another six fruiting trees intended for elsewhere on the Green) remains uncertain, as they languish in a depot in Hounslow. Karen Liebreich says Abundance London is still trying to ensure that some of the trees are at least planted in Chiswick. The trees are several metres high, with large root balls and need to be planted somewhere soon.

Photograph above: Rebecca Frayn. Photograph by James Willcocks.

Resignations

Resigning as chair of The Friends of Turnham Green Terrace, Rebecca Frayn slammed the decision by Cllr Joanna Biddolph to block last week’s planting, calling it ‘a precedent which completely undoes the democratic principles that underpin our purpose as a Friends group’.

‘Who would have thought that the offer of 10 free cherry trees could create such a storm of outrage and upset amongst such a vocal minority?’ she wrote. ‘I’ve scratched my head over how to be King Solomon, held a number of meetings, and it is apparent that the dissenters have no interest in working constructively to resolve things. Most disappointingly of all, amidst all the storm of petty in-fighting in which this tiny minority have become so embroiled, the far more pressing issues of how we as citizens can contribute to mitigating the climate crisis and supporting our declining wild life by urgently planting more trees has been tragically cast aside’.

‘But once a tiny minority, supported by Councillor Joanna Biddolph, successfully blocked our planting day last Saturday, despite the overwhelming vote in favour of the tree-planting at our well attended AGM, it became apparent that they had now set a precedent whereby a motion passed by a majority of our members will only actually be implemented if that vocal minority, together with Councillor Biddolph happen to agree with it. A precedent which completely undoes the democratic principles that underpin our purpose as a Friends group. I very much hope a King/Queen Solomon can be found to take the Friends forward now’.

Photograph above: Cllr Joanna Biddolph

Justifications

The row erupted after a decision was taken at the Friends’ AGM in January to plant cherry trees to fill in gaps in the existing avenue of cherry trees on the north side of the Green. There was some discussion about whether or not a donation for the planting of trees should be spent on cherry trees. Jill Spencer raised the objection that fallen cherries were messy and commented that she had ruined a pair of shoes walking through them.

Karen Liebreich, a member of the group’s Landscape Committee, was called a ‘dictator’ for saying she was only interested in planting cherry trees in that avenue, as opposed to any other kind of tree. In the end the meeting voted 21-7 in favour of cherry trees and ten non-fruiting trees were bought to go alongside the pathway, with an additional six fruiting trees to be planted elsewhere on the Green.

Cllr Biddolph was at the AGM on 14 January. She wrote to Hounslow’s Head of Parks, Stefania Horne, last week, and then to the leader of the council Steve Curran, to demand that the planned planting on 15 February was stopped. It was cancelled on Friday afternoon and some volunteers turned up expecting to help with planting on the Saturday.

‘We are sorry that the planting event was cancelled at such notice’ she says in her statement.

‘The issue was never as simple as voting percentages. It was about the decision-making process before and at the AGM which had not been made democratically’.

She does not explain in her statement what she means by this.

‘Later, members of FOTG’s landscape committee contacted us raising concerns about the decision-making process leading up to and at the AGM and providing background information that gave the issue more weight. As councillors, it is our duty to take up concerns raised by residents and to ask officers to investigate.

‘The request was to postpone the planting so discussions could take place’.

‘We look forward to hearing about the suggestions the FOTG landscape committee makes later this year for the long-term ecology, biodiversity and enjoyment of Turnham Green’ she adds.

You can read her full statement here.

Photograph above: Turnham Green cherry tree avenue in winter. Photograph by Andy Murray.

Crossed wires in the Landscape committee?

The ‘background information that gave the issue more weight’ appears to be that the Landscape committee were not separately consulted before the AGM.

Rebecca and Karen were both members of the Friends’ Landscape committee and both in favour of filling out the cherry tree avenue with new saplings. Another member of the landscape committee, Jan Hewlett, also wrote an email saying:

‘I like the cherry avenue especially in spring. I suggest at our next AGM … we might ask people what they would like and where. Let’s try to keep up the democratic approach’.

But a fourth member of the committee, Jill Spencer, complained that she was not consulted before the AGM. She raised the issue with Cllr Biddolph. In her statement she says:

‘I raised my concern about the lack of openness and democracy over the tree planting project with our local councillors. Although being a member of the landscape committee, the first time I heard of the plan to plant more cherry trees was when it was presented by Karen Liebreich at the Friends’ AGM in January’.

‘In my request to ask Hounslow Council to delay any planting until this autumn, I made suggestions to look at the wider picture when the trees are in full leaf, and develop a clear planting plan considering all the options for suitable trees, and the possible sites available to work around the many conflicting uses of the Green.

‘I stand by my request to ask Hounslow Council to delay the planting of more cherry trees, pending a wider community consultation based on a clear holistic planting plan. It’s really about the long-term future of the Green and making considered decisions about how best to enhance and improve it for future generations to come’.

Photographs above: Flowering cherries in the streets of Chiswick. Photograph by Jon Perry.

‘Mind-blowing’ usefulness of trees

The future of the 16 cherry trees is at present uncertain. They need to be planted somewhere because they’re too big to be ‘heeled in’ temporarily.

Rebecca is a film maker, with her new film Misbehaviour, starring Keira Knightley, about to open in cinemas next month. She is also an environmental campaigner and pointed out in her statement:

‘New research estimates that a worldwide planting programme could remove two-thirds of all emissions from human activities, a figure the scientists have described as “mind-blowing.” As a result the WWF, the Woodland Trust, The National Trust, The Wildlife Conservation Society, and BirdLife International – amongst many other august bodies – are calling for schemes like these to be urgently implemented.  Hounslow are about to roll out a wonderful borough wide tree planting scheme. Please let’s all bear the larger environmental picture in mind and get behind it!’

Commenting on the cherrygate debacle on social media, Dr Edward Seaton says 16 cherry trees would have absorbed half the CO2 produced by a car in a year. According to an article published in the journal Forestry in 1999 from the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology in Midlothian, Scotland, he says:

‘The number of widely spaced wild cherry trees needed to absorb the carbon produced by the average car in a year is 32 … Surprisingly real world emissions from cars has not much changed since then, perhaps because larger cars are more fashionable.

‘If, as the article states 16 cherry trees had been planted, they would have absorbed about half the CO2 produced by a family car per year and would have done the equivalent of this every year for about 45 years (and also looked quite nice)’.

Flower Market idea gets enthusiastic reception

The proposal to set up a flower market on Chiswick High Rd met with an enthusiastic response at a public meeting in George IV last Thursday. The idea, put forward by a consortium of residents and businesses, including The Chiswick Calendar, is to have a market on the first Sunday of every month in Chiswick’s historic market place – the car park outside the police station– to attract people into the area and revitalise the local economy.

The problem of empty shops in the High Road is as bad as it has ever been. Ollie Saunders, whose idea the flower market is, told the packed meeting he would like to see the market become “the Columbia Road of the West – but better”.

“If you have not been to Columbia Road recently – go! I have been going for the last 15 years and it has seen a massive gentrification of the retail economy. There are 60 independent shops and over 5,000 shoppers on a Sunday morning. There is much doom about our High Streets but for them to thrive they have to offer things the internet cannot – it’s about personal interactions and having a great place to go to. Chiswick has this”.

Ollie noted that if you look at the entry and exit figures for London Underground stations at Turnham Green and at Kew Gardens on Sundays, it indicates an exodus, as people leave Chiswick to spend their Sunday elsewhere, while people in Kew tend to stay put and are joined by an influx of people from outside the area.

Karen Liebreich, Director of Abundance London, said the group had been working on the project for three weeks, talking to traders in Chiswick and potential stall holders, developing a business plan and setting up a Community Interest Company to run it.

“We are looking to work in partnership with LB Hounslow, who would deal with matters such as traffic management orders and cleaning up after the market”.

She said the group had been “inundated with ideas” from people who shared the concern about the High Rd and the desire to reverse its decline. One of those ideas is to have free Cargo bike deliveries taking plants to people’s homes for them, with a small charge for other purchases they’d made on the High Rd.

Our ambition is to have the market up and running by the beginning of May and to run a six-month pilot and for the market to generate enough income to pay a market manager to run it.

Support from local businesses

Ben Bullman, General Manager of George IV, was on the platform representing local businesses. He said he believed the pub should be the heart of the community; he wanted George IV to be part of this and said Fuller’s would support anything which would help re-invigorate High Rd. He’d be happy to open the pub early to provide traders and customers with breakfast and to extend the creche facility which the pub already offers on Sundays for children to engage in art and craft activities.

John Fitzgerald, who runs Snappy Snaps and has been a retailer in Chiswick High Rd for more than thirty years, said “I love the positive energy. It’s what we need. It’s a no-brainer, a very positive thing”, a comment which was echoed by the meeting, attended by 120 – 130 people, with many traders among them.

Anette Megyaszai, who runs Chateau, on the corner of Linden Gardens and the High Rd, was not able to be at the meeting but gave her enthusiastic support: “people don’t just come to a hight street to shop any more. What attracts them is an experience, especially one they can put on Instagram, so a flower market is perfect”.

Dominic Hughes, who runs Pot Pourri florist, was at the meeting and has given the Flower Market his enthusiastic support. Spencer and Jason Wheeler were also there. They too have said they’d be willing to take part, although they already run a stall on the High Rd.

Effect on parking

Debbie, who lives in Elliott Rd, said she thought the flower market was a great idea but would be worried about people parking in her street. “A super idea, but it will need traffic management”.

Ollie agreed that the market would need the council to design a traffic management plan to prevent that. Having the market would probably mean losing 37 parking spaces, but the inconvenience to drivers would be offset by more people coming into the area, bringing trade to the shops and restaurants. The disabled parking spaces would need to be relocated nearby. We think we have sourced private land for the traders to park their vans so they would not be taking up public parking spaces.

Other ideas to revitalise the High Rd

Speaking for The Chiswick Calendar, I introduced some of the other ideas we’d received: a proposal for a Vintage Clothing market, Art and Crafts shows and a Vegan food market. I also talked about our Club Card scheme, which enables local businesses to offer deals and discounts to subscribers to our newsletter, as a way to encourage people to spend their money locally.

Ruth Mayorcas suggested we follow Twickenham’s example and have guided tours of Chiswick, available on market days. Charmian Griffiths, a Blue Badge guide in the audience, said she would be very happy to do guided walks.

The organisers of the meeting have recorded these and other ideas, to see how we might progress them.

Chiswick Food & Drink awards

The Chiswick Calendar is also launching a Chiswick Food and Drink Award, similar to the Ealing Restaurants Award. Over the next few months we will be encouraging people to try out places in Chiswick where they haven’t eaten before and to vote for your favourite independent restaurant, pub or café. See our restaurant directory here. We’re hoping this will also help local businesses by generating publicity for all the lovely places there are to eat in Chiswick.

Photographs above: Left to right Bridget Osborne, Ben Bullman, Karen Liebreich, Ollie Saunders, Andy Murray

Landlords and Tenants association

Ollie Saunders also spoke about an idea which is separate, but related, of setting up a Landlords and Tenants association, to share information about rents and rates in the area, so that new traders starting up here aren’t persuaded to pay higher than the market rate.

That idea too was enthusiastically supported. Kambiz, who runs Lizard women’s fashion in Turnham Green Terrace, said he’d been running his shop for 36 years. “The only way Chiswick can flourish is to have independent shops. Rents are the biggest problem”.

Diane Barton, who owns the dress shop De Joli, spoke also about the problems she’s had with rent and rate hikes and the unfairness of it.

Jeremy Day, who took over as Commercial Director at Whitman & Co at the end of last year, told the meeting: “The future is rosy. Rents are coming down”. He said that in some shopping centres rents were down 30% and pointed out that when Brentford Stadium opens, it will bring thousands of people to western end of the High Rd. Jeremy will be working with Ollie to set up the Landlords and Tenants association.

Ideas needed for the Turnham Green part of the High Rd

Elizabeth Whittaker, who used to be a member of the old Chiswick Traders Society, said she thought the market was a wonderful idea, but that we should think more widely about the whole of Chiswick.

Mandana Kalati, who owns The Wild Bunch café opposite Turnham Green and is surrounded by empty shops, put in a plea for something to regenerate the other end of the High Rd which is dead because of planning blight. Lendlease bought the Empire House site, winning a court action against redevelopment, terminated the leases of the shops, cut down the mature trees on the site and then failed to develop it, leaving a parade of empty shops for several years.

Lou Reddan, who works and lives in the Old Packhorse pub, also spoke about how depressing it was at that end of the High Rd. “I would like to see something happening on Turnham Green – festival events such as Ealing Comedy Festival and maybe artists using the shop fronts”.

Leader of LB Hounslow Steve Curran was at the meeting, as were several of our local councillors, Sam Hearn, Ron Mushiso, Ranjit Gill and Joanna Biddolph. The meeting was chaired by Andy Murray of the Grove Park Group.

Photographs above: Karen Liebreich MBE, Ollie Saunders, Bridget Osborne

Who’s Who In the Flower Market group

Ollie Saunders

Ollie Saunders has lived in Chiswick for 15 years and is a commercial surveyor with 25 years of experience in London advising commercial property owners and occupiers. He leads the UK commercial valuation business at JLL (which used to be called Jones Lang LaSalle). He has recently worked on the acquisition of Olympia and the IKEA deal in Hammersmith, as well as valuing theatres in the West End and data centres in Slough, and portfolios of garden centres. He lives in Devonshire Road and has shared an allotment on the Promenade since 2007.
He helped form a group called Freehold in 2011 which kept him busy on improving diversity and inclusion in the real estate business for the LGBT community and now has more than 1,200 members with a mentoring and employer engagement programme.

Karen Liebreich MBE

Karen Liebreich MBE is best known in Chiswick as the project manager of a number of community projects which have been highly beneficial to Chiswick. She set up Abundance London to collect unwanted fruit from people’s gardens, involving local schools to do the picking, to use the fruit in preserves and juices rather than letting it go to waste.

She has organised a programme of ‘guerrilla gardening’ projects and planted trees, shrubs and flowers in public spaces around Chiswick. Along with her former co-director at Abundance London, Sara Cruz, she designed and organised the installation of the Chiswick Timeline mural on the railway bridge at Turnham Green Terrace. Last year she refurbished the area of common ground beside it, replanting it, buying new benches and installing a community artwork on the wall, rechristening it the Turnham Green Terrace Piazza. When she’s not doing all of that, she is also quite a prolific author.

Bridget Osborne

Bridget Osborne edits The Chiswick Calendar. The website is a ‘celebration of life in Chiswick’ with daily listings of all the events going on in the area, from the biggest and most commercial to the tiniest event put on by local community groups and charities. The Chiswick Calendar also puts on its own events: a monthly Jazz club in the Boston Room of George IV, annual art and photography exhibitions at the Clayton Hotel Chiswick, a Media Club discussing journalism and ad hoc current affairs discussions.

The Chiswick Calendar Club Card scheme is a Shop Local initiative, to encourage people to spend their money locally. See all the current deals and discounts on offer here.

Also involved in the group are surveyor Steve Nutt, landscape gardener Stefano Marinaz and events organiser Amanda Parker. Other local professionals are supporting the venture in a wider group acting as consultants.

We are in the process of setting up a website for the Flower Market. If you have any ideas or comments about the market or about revitalising the High Rd, or if you would like to volunteer at the market

email us at: info@chiswickflowermarket.com
follow us on Twitter @ChiswickFlowers

Jazz at George IV – The Blues Engineers

John O’Reilly and Nick Payne return to George IV for Jazz at George IV in March.

The hugely talented Blues Engineers have played with and supported some of the very best blue artists in the business including BB King, Van Morrison and Bill Wyman.

Singer and guitarist John O’Reilly is internationally acclaimed for his amazing slide and steel (resonator) guitar playing. Together with the multi-talented saxophonist, flautist and harmonica player Nick Payne, who regularly plays with top stars such as Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings.

Their atmospheric repertoire covers an impressive range of Country and Urban blues classics as well as their own highly distinctive material.

Thursday 5 March

7.30pm (doors open 7.00pm)

The Boston Room, George IV

185 Chiswick High Rd

W4 2DR

Book tickets here.

Discovered!

Open Studio day for Move Into Wellbeing

Chiswick charity Move Into Wellbeing provides four weekly dance, movement, exercise classes for people with Parkinson’s as well as other various mobility restrictions.

The charity is offering residents an open studio day, funded by a National Lottery Community grant, for people to come and meet the team, watch or try a class, and over refreshments, to ask questions and to learn more about the charity’s work.

Saturday 29 February, 3.00-5.00pm, at St Peter’s Hall, Southfield Road, W4 1BB.

As well as working with people with Parkinsons Disease, they also work with people with ME, MS, Dyspraxia, Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Early Stage Dementia, and general stiffness, amongst other conditions.

These classes, established by long-term resident Donna Schoenherr, provide life-enhancing exercise through dance and music, and also importantly, serve as a community hub for the attendees and their partners, carers, and friends.

If you’d like to attend, or know of someone who might benefit from this, email

info@moveintowellbeing.org.uk
to reserve a place or to find out more information.

Wave Brazilian Jiu Jitsu joins the Club Card

We are delighted that Wave Brazilian Jiu Jitsu club has joined The Chiswick Calendar Club Card scheme.

Wave Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a friendly and focused BJJ and martial arts club based in Chiswick right by Stamford Brook station.

As well as BJJ they offer classes for women’s self-defence, Muay Thai, wrestling, MMA, movement flow and kids capoiera. Classes are size limited for all levels for both children and adults.

The Club Card offer is £50 of credit towards your first payment when using discount code “CHISWICK” This can also be used towards any of the club’s great beginner offers.

The first lesson is in any case free.

wavebjj.co

The Chiswick Calendar half term guide

There’s lots of great stuff to do with children in and around Chiswick this week.

There’s a fabulous programme of children’s theatre, with The Man Who Wanted to be a Penguin on today, Tuesday 18 – Thursday 20 February for 3 – 10 year olds at Watermans in Brentford and Star in the Jar at the Lyric, Hammersmith from today until Saturday 22 February.

There are all sorts of making and doing classes, from making a flying wooden bird puppet or string art at the Maker station in Brentford, to a kids cooking class, teaching them how to make cornbread muffins and chocolate chip cookies at the Italian Job in Devonshire Rd.

Lots of physical activities on offer too, with half term camps at The Little Gym offering gymnastics, dance and martial arts for 3 – 12 year olds and ArtsEd offering drama sessions (both at a Club Card members discount).

William Hogarth School has a Mad Science camp daily from 10.00am – 3.00pm for 4-11 year olds.

For these ideas and many more, have a look at our half term guide here.

Plans for a Flower Market in Chiswick

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a flower market in Chiswick, once a month on a Sunday morning, to attract people here to spend money in the area?

That is one of the ideas which will be discussed at a meeting this Thursday evening at 7.30pm in the Boston Room of George IV.

The Chiswick Calendar is pleased to be part of a consortium of businesses and residents who have ideas for improving the economy of the High Road,

The problem of empty shops in the High Road is as bad as it has ever been, so we’ve been looking at ways of making Chiswick more of a ‘destination’ where people come for an experience – especially one you can Instagram – rather than purely to shop, which you can do online.

Other ideas include a vintage clothing market and an association of landlords and tenants so businesses can share information and new businesses coming in don’t get ripped off by being charge an extortionate rent higher than the market price.

The group includes Abundance London, which brought Chiswick the mural at Turnham Green Terrace, the refurbished piazza there including the ‘W4th plinth’ community art work and a variety of planting schemes in urban spaces.

It also includes commercial surveyor Ollie Saunders, surveyor Steve Nutt and landscape gardener Stefano Marinaz, all local residents and businessmen who would like to see some community action to improve the vibrancy of the High Rd.

Please come and contribute your thoughts on the subject. Click on the Book tickets button to register for a (free) ticket, just so we have an idea of numbers.

Book tickets here.

Life is just a bowl of cherries – not

Photographs above: Cllr Joanna Biddolph; Karen Liebreich MBE

Whatever Doris Day or Johnny Matthis might have thought, life is not always just a bowl of cherries. Certainly not for Karen Liebreich of Abundance London, who had to stand on Turnham Green on a wet and windy morning last Saturday explaining to volunteers who turned up, spade in hand,  why her widely advertised cherry tree planting was not happening.

That is to say, she told them it was cancelled, but not really why, as she herself doesn’t know. All she knows is that the leader of Chiswick’s Conservative councillors, Cllr Joanna Biddolph,  complained to Hounslow Council and demanded that it be stopped. The council’s officers were legally bound to take notice.

Photograph: Friends of Turnham Green Chair Rebecca Frayn (left) putting up a notice about the cancellation

“High-handed and anti-democratic”

In the ensuing row which erupted in social media over the weekend, the councillor has been called ‘high-handed and anti-democratic’ and residents have demanded she break her silence and explain her action.

The residents group Friends of Turnham Green decided at their AGM on 14 January that the 10 cherry trees should be planted. The vote was carried by an overwhelming majority. Hounslow parks department had signed off on it, the trees bought and paid for, but in a last minute intervention the councillor called a halt to the planting and has so far refused to explain why. So what’s gone on?

It all started back in November, when Karen met with other residents to discuss how they could work with businesses to get more trees planted in Hounslow. Everyone agrees we need more trees. Hounslow has committed just over £2.2million to be spent on ‘community led sustainability projects’ which include ‘improvements to green spaces’ and ‘tree planting’. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to plant 30million trees a year, with the Environment Secretary adding on 8 February: “Trees are vital in the fight against climate change, to tackle air pollution and help us achieve our net-zero target by 2050. But for local communities they are so much more.”

So far so good.

She discussed it with Rebecca Frayn, Chair of the Friends of Turnham Green, who have 160 members and over the past 14 years have improved the Green in a number of ways, including renewing the pathways, sowing a patch of wildflower meadow and replacing the grotty old public loos with a rockery. A few days later an anonymous donor offered £5000 for trees on Turnham Green, especially cherry trees, to fill the gaps in the existing cherry tree avenues along the paths and the edges of the Green.

Enter the members of the Landscape committee. Friends of Turnham Green have a Landscape committee, of which both Rebecca and Karen are members. Jan Hewlett, another member, expressed the view that the new trees should not overshadow the rockery or the wildflower meadow.

‘I like the cherry avenue especially in spring’ she wrote. ‘I suggest at our next AGM … we might ask people what they would like and where. Let’s try to keep up the democratic approach’.

Photograph above: avenue of cherry trees on Turnham Green – Andy Murray

Consultation with the membership

And so to the AGM on 14 January. The proposal put forward was to plant seven cherry trees along the path at the north west end of the Green and three more along the path east of the Church and parallel to the High Street. ‘However’, the minutes of the meeting record, ‘the choice of cherry trees proved controversial. Various people noted that the falling fruit causes a mess on the paths; the floor of the church hall had been stained by people who had trodden on fallen cherries’. One woman was concerned about security, with the suggestion that muggers might hide behind the trunks.

It was then put to the vote, with everyone present (28) unanimous that the donation should be used to pay for trees, and 21 people voting for the planting of cherry trees.

Consultation with the council

Karen talked to Stefania Horne, Hounslow’s Head of Parks, who was delighted that the Friends group was not only in favour, but would be providing the trees. The council runs the parks but doesn’t have the budget to do all they planting they’d like. Karen walked round the site with Dave Horgan, Parks officer, to work out exactly where they should go. Ten Prunus avium Plena were ordered, which do not fruit. Tough on the birds, but good for the church floor. She then walked round the Green again, with the council’s Events officer Sonia Ferdousi, to make sure the new trees wouldn’t impede the positioning of the funfair’s generator.

The event was organised for Saturday 15 February and widely publicised, on The Chiswick Calendar amongst other places. The council was providing a digger. Chiswick Rugby Club were putting together a team to come and help dig. A group of runners were coming. At the previous community planting event organised by Abundance London with a Friends group, 200 people turned up to help out, in a jolly community day out.

Cherrygate

On Thursday there began to be indications of trouble. Rumblings that a couple of the members of Friends of Turnham Green who had opposed the cherry tree planting but been outvoted, had collared their ward councillors to complain. Cllr Biddolph wrote to Stefania Horne, Head of Parks. She replied, explaining that every hoop had been jumped through.

Not satisfied, Cllr Biddolph escalated her complaint to the council leader Steve Curran, who passed it to the Head of Environmental Services, Wayne Stephenson. When a councillor ‘calls in’ a decision made by a council officer, they have no choice but to pause and reconsider. So they stopped the planting on Friday afternoon, too late to stop all the volunteers turning up on Saturday morning.

Photographs above: Disappointed volunteers; notice of cancellation

Why?

I wrote to Wayne to ask for an explanation. I asked how much time and expense was being wasted on reconsidering? What would happen to the trees? (which need to be planted by the end of February) and how did this fit in with the council’s environmental plan and promise to plant trees? This was the answer I received.

Cllr Samia Chaudhary, Cabinet Member for Leisure Services, said:

“Hounslow Council has ambitious plans to see thousands of trees planted across the borough. We were aware of the tree-planting event organised by the Friends of Turnham Green, and like to support community initiatives such as these which really enrich our local areas.

“However, Ward Councillor Joanna Biddolph has raised some concerns from the community and requested the planting be put on hold. Hopefully a meeting can be held to resolve these concerns as soon as possible and we will then happily support the Friends group in their efforts to plant more trees.”

I wrote to Cllr Biddolph for an explanation. She replied:

“When I have something to say please be sure that I will let you know”.

‘High-handed and anti-democratic’

On Saturday it all kicked off on social media.

Paul Campbell: ‘Why is this happening? Why is a Councillor opposing Friends Of Turnham Green and objecting to trees being planted? I think the electorate needs to know that their representative is attempting to wield their power to veto the decision of a local organisation’.

Edward Seaton: ‘If this is true it is atrocious’

Ken Munn: ‘I wonder what the rest of Chiswick’s Tories think of Biddolph’s high-handed and anti-democratic behaviour’.

The flak is not reserved only for the leader of the Conservatives.

Edward Seaton: ‘Is this Chiswick’s equivalent of Cummings and Johnson stopping ministers going on the Today Programme? It is a strategy? … Her colleagues are also pretty quiet’.

It does call into question the power a local councillor wields if they are able to overrule a majority decision made by a well-run, well-regarded and long-established community group. Councillors surely also have to be accountable. It is not good enough to trash a community event without giving any explanation. Whatever the explanation is, it had better be good when it comes.

Cherry tree planting on Turnham Green

There are gaps in the avenue of cherry trees crossing Turnham Green, which provide such a magnificent display every spring.

Abundance London, in partnership with Friends of Turnham Green, will be filling in those gaps, planting 16 additional cherry trees on Saturday 15 February. They need help to do the planting. Come with a spade, wearing sensible shoes and gloves.

Saturday 15 February, from 9.00am. Just look for people standing around with spades!

Feeling sluggish?

The RHS at Wisley are looking for someone to count slugs. I kid you not.

The RHS and Newcastle University are carrying out a one-year study of slugs in gardens, which involves citizen scientists surveying their gardens and sending slugs for identification to RHS Garden Wisley. This important research project will help develop the understanding of slug species and their abundance, the impact they are having and shape advice for gardeners in the future.

They need someone, a volunteer who will be based at Wisley one day a week, ‘to assist with the day-to-day running of the experiment, particularly the receiving of slugs through the post and processing them for further scientific work’.

I assume by this point the slugs are mostly dead. Details here if, as I say, you’re feeling sluggish.

Chiswick School students seek elderly recollections 

Students from Chiswick School are looking for elderly residents to share their recollectons of the past for a creative project based on the Chiswick area. They’ll be lucky to get residents old enough to remember the days of the horse and cart shown above, but they are hoping for pre-war recollections, says Tommy Robinson, the school’s Community Arts Coordinator.

“My Nan remembered the war, but she also remembered stories she was told by her parents” he says.

He’s organised for a group of students to visit Age Concern at The Friendship Club, Oxford Road North, London W4 4DN on 27 February and 12 March, between 1.00 and 2.00pm. Spread the word to anyone in their 80’s and above who may have recollections of Chiswick, that their presence is required.

Their stories will be used as the basis for a theatrical production performed by the students in the early summer. Its working title is The Cherry Tree, after the cherry orchard that was once on the site of the modern-day secondary school.

Urban Pantry’s Kate Frobisher wins award

Owner of Urban Pantry, Kate Frobisher, was invited to the Rosewood hotel last week to be celebrated as one of the ’30 under 30′ movers and shakers in the hospitality industry. The award, from the industry’s journal CODE, marks her as a rising star. The editors wanted to showcase hospitality as a viable career path in this country.

Kate, who is 29, won first prize in the National Breakfast Of The Year Awards last year, for her Australian inspired cafe on Devonshire Rd, which she opened in 2015. The cafe has also won three Time Out London Awards.

The good news for The Chiswick Calendar’s readers is that Urban Pantry is a member of our Club Card scheme, offering subscribers 10% off food and drink.

Kate trained at Leith’s School of Food and Wine before spending a year in Sydney, where she fell in love with their breakfast culture. She is now planning to open a second cafe in east Twickenham, just by Richmond Bridge.

Extension to deadline for comments on closure of Bedford Park Surgery

I reported on Tuesday that the owner of the building which houses Bedford Park Surgery is seeking planning permission to convert the building into flats. Dr John Keen, the doctor who runs surgery in South Parade and also owns the building, is retiring from the practice. He has been a GP in Chiswick since 1988. He has applied to Ealing Council to convert the GP Surgery house into three self-contained flats with a single storey rear extension.

The Design and Access statement from architects 2PM says: ‘ It is intended that The Bedford Park Surgery will close and all patients will be allocated to nearby GP surgeries in accordance with NHS procedures’.

Images above: Bedford Park Surgery, 55 South Parade; architect’s drawing of the proposed front elevation, by architects 2PM

Local residents are concerned that if the change of use is approved, it will leave them without a nearby GP, as Chiswick Health Centre, on Fishers Lane, is also due to be demolished, with the three practices which currently occupy the space being moved to a building on Stamford Brook Avenue while it is redeveloped.

Deadline for comments extended

The notification of consultation was published on 22 January, and initially residents only had until 12 February to oppose the development.

‘Unfortunately, the Council (conveniently?) only posted the notice on lampposts, at the end of last week’ says Owen Grainger…  ‘If you object to the loss of the Doctors’ Surgery, you need to go onto Ealing Council’s Planning Department’s website and make your objection very quickly’.

Cllr Andrew Steed, a Lib Dem councillor for Southfield ward, contacted the planning office at Ealing Council to ask for an extension and Planning Officer Smruti Patel has now confirmed an extension. Residents have until 11 March to get their comments in to the planning office.

Grounds for objection

‘Objections should be on “planning grounds”. The loss of such an essential facility and purely for the financial benefit of the building’s owner, can be mentioned, as permission for the conversion of the original surgery, around the corner, in Rusthall Avenue, was the provision of 55 South Parade as a replacement surgery’ says Owen Grainger.

But Cllr Andrew Steed, a Lib Dem councillor for Southfield ward, told me as far as he was aware, the overall number of GP places available in the area was not in itself a reason for the planning officers to turn the application down. That is not what ‘planning grounds’ means.

Go here to submit your comments to Ealing Council’s planning team.

Planning permission sought to convert Bedford Park Surgery to flats

Dr John Keen, the doctor who runs Bedford Park Surgery in South Parade, has applied for planning permission to develop the building into flats. Dr Keen, who owns the building, is retiring from the practice. He has been a GP in Chiswick since 1988. He has applied to Ealing Council to convert the GP Surgery house into three self-contained flats with a single storey rear extension.

The Design and Access statement from architects 2PM says: ‘ It is intended that The Bedford Park Surgery will close and all patients will be allocated to nearby GP surgeries in accordance with NHS procedures’.

Images above: Bedford Park Surgery, 55 South Parade; architect’s drawing of the proposed front elevation, by architects 2PM

Local residents are concerned that if the change of use is approved, it will leave them without a nearby GP, as Chiswick Health Centre, on Fishers Lane, is also due to be demolished, with the three practices which currently occupy the space being moved to a building on Stamford Brook Avenue while it is redeveloped.

One day left in which to object

The notification of consultation was published on 22 January, and residents only have until Wednesday (12 February) to oppose the development.

‘Unfortunately, the Council (conveniently?) only posted the notice on lampposts, at the end of last week’ says Owen Grainger…  ‘If you object to the loss of the Doctors’ Surgery, you need to go onto Ealing Council’s Planning Department’s website and make your objection very quickly’.

‘Objections should be on “planning grounds”. The loss of such an essential facility and purely for the financial benefit of the building’s owner, can be mentioned, as permission for the conversion of the original surgery, around the corner, in Rusthall Avenue, was the provision of 55 South Parade as a replacement surgery’ says Owen.

But Cllr Andrew Steed, a Lib Dem councillor for Southfield ward, told me as far as he was aware, the overall number of GP places available in the area was not in itself a reason for the planning officers to turn the application down. That is not what ‘planning grounds’ means.

Cllr Steed has asked for a ten day extension on the deadline for comments. Check The Chiswick Calendar website news page tomorrow to see if he’s heard whether he’s been successful, but if this is something you feel strongly about, get your comments in quick.

Go here to submit your comments to Ealing Council’s planning team.

Ruth Cadbury signs anti deportation letter

Ruth Cadbury is one of more than 170 cross-party MPs who have signed a letter urging the Prime Minister to halt a flight deporting 50 people to Jamaica today. The flight may have been delayed in any case because an Appeal court judge ruled last night that not all those being deported had had proper access to legal representation.

The Home Office says they are ‘foreign criminals’ and Home Secretary Priti Patel told the House of Commons those on the flight had been convicted of “serious offences” carrying sentences of more than a year.

Among those due to be deported are several people who came here as children, among them Reshawn Davis, 30, who was convicted for robbery ten years ago and spent two months in prison. He was convicted under the “joint enterprise” rule, which has subsequently been scrapped as unjust. ‘Joint enterprise’ meant you could go to jail for just being there when someone else committed a crime. Reshawn Davis, who has had no further convictions over the past ten years, has a six month old baby with his British wife and has no family or contacts in Jamaica.

Priti Patel walked out of the chamber to cries of ‘Shame’ from MPs yesterday, as David Lammy MP asked her when the Government would publish the report on lessons learned from the Windrush scandal.

‘The Government have still not learnt the lessons of the Windrush scandal & it’s unacceptable that the Government are pushing ahead with this’ said Ruth Cadbury.

Night Czar visits Chiswick

Amy Lamé, the Mayor of London’s fabulously titled ‘Night Czar’ visited Chiswick last week to hear from a few of the residents and business people involved in the night time economy, about what support we need in Chiswick.

Chiswick has been singled out as an area which has a night time economy because we have so many restaurants. We also have a theatre and quite a healthy live entertainment culture in our pubs.
Simon Randall, who runs the Headliners Comedy Club, was invited to speak to her and her team, alongside leader of Hounslow Council Steve Curran and his team. Larry Pryce, the Jazz promoter who works with The Chiswick Calendar to run Jazz at George IV, spoke about the importance of keeping music live and local.

Fuller’s, who run many of the  pubs in the area, were represented at the meeting, which took place in George IV, a Fuller’s pub. Georgina Wald, Corporate Communications Manager at Fuller, Smith & Turner said:

“Pubs play a huge role in the night time economy and it was great to see the Night Czar showing an interest in suburban areas like Chiswick. There are some interesting thoughts about extending the night time economy – and encouraging shops to trade later too, which would help create a more balanced mix of people later in the evening. However, I think the first step to improving the night time economy – and our high streets in general – would be for the Government to complete it’s promised root and branch review of business rates. You can’t replace a great evening out with an online experience – and to start to lose the high levels of empty retail units, we need to address this digital tax imbalance to stimulate further growth.”

Karen Liebreich and I were invited to chip in our tuppence worth as residents who organise events in Chiswick. The Night Czar also visited the site of the new Chiswick Cinema, and the Italian Job pub in Devonshire Rd. She listened; her team took notes and she promised to report back. If Sadiq Khan is re-elected and the role of Night Czar continues, don’t hold your breath, but it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that there may even be a bit of economic support coming our way …

‘Suburban task force’

Ealing Central and Acton MP Rupa Huq raised concerns about the decline of London’s suburbs in a Westminster debate last week.

In her speech she touched on transport, schools, cultural heritage and planning issues that are changing the physical nature of suburbia, and asked  the Minister for Local Growth, Jake Berry for a cross-departmental nation-wide suburbs task force to be set up, which would formulate policies to improve the lot of areas on the periphery of big cities which are often forgotten, as policy initiatives focus on city centre regeneration.

She was met with positive commitments from the minister, who gave her the green light for the creation of a cross-departmental suburban taskforce to address issues faces areas at the edge of our cities.

Worried about the High Rd?

The problem of empty shops in the High Road is as bad as it has ever been. The issue of why businesses are closing down is complex: the shift in shopping habits to buying online, competition from Westfield, high rents and rates are all important factors.

The Chiswick Calendar is pleased to be part of a consortium of businesses and residents who have ideas for improving the economy of the High Road, which include a flower market, a vintage clothing market and an association of landlords and tenants. The group includes Abundance London, which brought Chiswick the mural at Turnham Green Terrace, the refurbished piazza there including the ‘W4th plinth’ community art work and a variety of planting schemes in urban spaces.

It also includes commercial surveyor Ollie Saunders, surveyor Steve Nutt and landscape gardener Stefano Marinaz, all local residents and businessmen who would like to see some community action to improve the vibrancy of the High Rd. We’re holding a public meeting to outline these proposals and invite other ideas.

Public meeting

7.30pm on Thursday 20 February in the Boston Room of George IV, 185 Chiswick High Rd.

Please come and contribute your thoughts on the subject. Click here to register for a (free) ticket, just so we have an idea of numbers.

Photograph of Chiswick High Rd by Anna Kunst – annakunstphotography.com

Pub in the Park 2020 tickets go on sale

Tickets have gone on sale for Pub in the Park 2020, in the grounds of Chiswick House 4-6 September.

The popular food and music festival is returning to Chiswick for a second year, hosted by Master Chef judge Marcus Wareing, with Basement Jaxx playing on the Friday night, The Feeling and Kaiser Chiefs on Saturday; Marc Almond and Reef on Sunday afternoon.

Music

Basement Jaxx duo Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe are regular transatlantic club chart-toppers and won the BRIT Award for Best Dance Act in 2002 and 2004. Their Friday night DJ set won’t be their first performance in Chiswick. They played here before at Chiswick House in the summer of 2012.

The Feeling, playing on Saturday afternoon, have toured the world and made five studio albums together. Currently working on their sixth album for release this year. Over the last decade ‘so many incredible experiences’ included playing at Wembley stadium for the Diana tribute concert and playing the pyramid stage at Glastonbury festival.

Kaiser Chiefs, playing on Saturday night, had a new album out in 2019: Duck, their seventh album. They have become one of Britain’s most successful bands, with hits such as ‘Oh My God’, ‘I Predict A Riot’, ‘Everyday I Love You Less And Less’, ‘Ruby’ and ‘Never Miss A Beat’ having achieved the status of ‘anthems’.

Marc Almond, playing on Sunday afternoon, also has a new album out: Chaos And A Dancing Star, released on 31 January 2020. His career, spanning over four decades, started with Soft Cell in the early eighties, best known for the 1981 hit Tainted Love. He embarked on his solo career in 1984 when they disbanded and has sold over 30 million records worldwide.

Reef, also playing on Sunday afternoon, have a huge following from their long career, with five studio albums so far and many years of touring the world. They achieved commercial success in the mid-nineties when they toured with Paul Weller and The Rolling Stones. In the last couple of years they have been touring the UK promoting their fifth album, Revelation.

Images above: Kaiser Chiefs: Basement Jaxx

Food

Tom Kerridge is the driving force behind Pub in the Park. The Michelin-starred chef is best known for his pub in Marlow, The Hand & Flowers – the only pub in the UK with two Michelin stars. He is currently presenting a BBC 2 series Lose Weight and Get Fit with Tom Kerridge.

He has established Pub in the Park as a touring festival of good food and live music. The 2020 tour starts in Marlow in May, continues through Chichester, Warwick, Bath, Dulwich and Tunbridge Wells, before reaching Chiswick in early September and ending in St Albans.

Images above: Marcus Wareing; Charlotte Nicholson

Tom and his chef mates have put together a programme featuring some of the biggest names in food and music. At each venue, there will be ‘Michelin-starred and award-winning pubs and restaurants serving tasting dishes showing their signature style … chef demonstrations, top quality shopping and other festival fun’.

In Chiswick the ‘Pop-up pubs’ include: The Hand & Flowers, Atul Kochhar’s VaasuThe Star InnJosé PizzaroThe WigmoreTredwellsSaborCornerstoneClaude Bosi and Rick Stein.

The chefs taking part include Marcus WareingAtul KochharAndrew PernJose PizzaroChris KingChantelle NicholsonNieves BarraganTom Brown and Claude Bosi.

 

 

Jazz at George IV Spring Line-up

We have a great line-up for you at George IV this spring.

Thursday 6 February – Dom Pipkin’s “Smokin’ Boogie, Bad Boys, Bourbon & The Big Easy

An homage to the music of New Orleans.

Buy Tickets

Thursday 5 March – Blues Engineers

Singer and guitarist John 0’Reilly and the multi-talented saxophonist, flautist and harmonica player Nick Payne play Country and Urban blues.

Buy Tickets

Thursday 19 March – With Love From Ella

In addition to our monthly Jazz at George IV sessions, for this special cabaret night Helen Theophanous sings the songs of Ella Fitzgerald, backed by top quartet of piano, saxophone, double bass and drums.

Buy Tickets

Thursday 2 April – Jazz Mondays

Chiswick based 13 strong band famous for their eight strong ‘wall of saxes’. Their eclectic repertoire ranges across Jazz to Soul, Ska and Funk, from Dizzy Gillespie to Amy Winehouse.

Buy Tickets

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: The Chiswick Calendar Jazz Club – Jazz at George IV

See also: What’s On in Chiswick – Music events

See all our News about Chiswick in our News and Features section.

Danny Mac opens in Pretty Woman

The London premiere of Pretty Woman: The Musical opens on 14 February at the Picadilly theatre, with Danny Mac in the lead role, opposite Aimee Atkinson.

Danny graduated at the ArtsEd, graduating in 2009, and has gone on to perform in musicals such as Wicked and Sunset Boulevard and most recently in White Christmas.

Come From Away

But if you only see one thing at the theatre this year, make it Come from Away. On the face of it an odd choice for a musical – the people of a small town in Newfoundland find themselves swamped with travellers from all over the world when their planes are diverted on 9/11 – it is hugely entertaining and uplifting, and has won a stack of awards. I loved it.