We have progress on the Chiswick Timeline, the big mural at Turnham Green!

Guest blog by Karen Liebreich We have sign-off on the structural stuff… When we started this project we naively assumed that the mural would somehow be simply pegged onto the walls by some unspecified but of course very cheap and simple method. It turns out – unsurprisingly in retrospect – that as each metal panel (2.5m x 2.85m) is made of mild steel and weighs 65kg, and there are 41 of them in total, they need some serious framework to hold them on. We are talking serious to the tune of about £18,000-worth - thank you all you donors! There has been much clever discussion (in which we did not participate but merely nodded wisely, if vaguely) about resin anchored studs, elasticity, momentums of resistance, steel welded gusset plates, composite sleeves, and so fort

Do you fancy being a patron?

Chiswick House is looking for “Summer Parlour Patrons” Chiswick House & Gardens Trust has recently taken over the running of the Grade 1 listed house and needs the wherewithal to run it as well as the magnificently restored 18th Century Gardens, created by Lord Burlington and William Kent and managed now by Geraldine King and her staff with a posse of volunteers. We rather take for granted the freedom to roam the award winning 65 acre estate from 7.00 am until dusk every day for free and appreciate the lake, the classic bridge, the cascade, the Italian Garden, the Orange Tree Garden and so forth, but keeping it looking so good costs money. The Trust is pleased to announce that they will be opening the house and holding more events there. I went to ‘Light Divine, Night

Cultivate London would like you to be their Friend

Cocktails and canapes in the Salopian Garden What nicer way to spend a summer's evening than consuming cocktails and canapes at the Salopian Garden in Isleworth. Owned by the National Trust and run by Cultivate London, the garden is a recently restored community and training space. Cultivate London is an innovative social enterprise which trains unemployed young people in landscaping and horticulture, and works to engage west London in growing our own food. The history of the Salopian Garden itself is interesting as it is named after the popular 18th century drink made from orchid roots which used to be served when the site was a carriage staging post along the London Road. The last private owner of the house, Miss June Temple, died in 2004 and left her property – a sm

The culmination of four years’ work

Saturday 1 July 2017 was a red letter day in the Osborne household. When not editing The Chiswick Calendar website or Out & About magazine, I’ve been working on a TV series - The History of Africa with Zeinab Badawi – the first of which was transmitted this weekend on BBC World. It’s a history of Africa with a difference, as it is told from an African perspective. That should not be so remarkable, but until the 1960s Africa’s history had been told largely by European historians, if indeed it had been told at all. Hugh Trevor Roper, Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford throughout the 1960s and ‘70s, famously announced that Africa had no history prior to European exploration and colonisation. He said "there is only the history of Europeans in Africa. The rest is dark

The Labour party’s shortest lived housing spokesperson?

Did she jump or was she pushed? Pushed by all accounts, but it came as no surprise to Ruth Cadbury, MP for Brentford & Isleworth that she should be sacked by Jeremy Corbyn for supporting Chuka Umunna's amendment to the Queen's Speech, which called for the UK to stay in the single market after Brexit. "I had no doubt that I had to support the amendment moved by Labour colleagues with cross-party support today. The amendment ruled out withdrawing from the EU without a deal, sought a Parliamentary vote on the final negotiations and proposed to remaining in the Customs Union and Single Market. Only then can we protect jobs, trade and certainty for business, as well as protecting the rights of EU citizens, with reciprocal rights for UK citizens. This is a point of principle for me and I

Sainsbury’s ‘Fairly Traded’ brand slammed by Fairtrade Foundation

Sainsbury’s is launching its own ‘Fairly Traded’ brand this month and the Fairtrade Foundation is not happy. The leading supermarket chain is describing its own-brand tea as “Fairly Traded”, but that is not the same thing as Fairtrade tea at all. Fairtrade was launched in 1992 by a group of organisations including CAFOD, Christian Aid and Oxfam to work with businesses, consumers and campaigners to connect disadvantaged food producers in the developing world with consumers, to promote fairer trading conditions and empower the producers to combat poverty. It is well supported in Chiswick by the Chiswick Churches for Justice and Peace group, amongst others. Key to their vision is the idea of empowerment – that they are enabling farmers to take more control over their lives b

Chiswick’s Polish Ant & Dec

Anyone who gets a morning train to Waterloo from Chiswick station cannot fail to have noticed Damian and Kris, who run a coffee cart at the station entrance, selling what might just be the best coffee in Chiswick (Italian blend Bristot, with beans from Brazil and Guatemala), and pastries from 6.30am – 12.00pm Monday to Friday. It’s their unfailing cheerfulness and courtesy which make them stand out, as well as the quality of their coffee. Like a Polish Ant & Dec, they keep up a constant happy banter – “How was your weekend? What great weather. Have a good day …” Like the Geordie duo, their patter is professional but you also get the sense that they’re genuinely nice guys who like people and want to spread a little sunshine. Damian says: “We're some of the first peopl

Hounslow flats fail fire safety test

Hounslow is among the local authorities which have high rise flats which have failed fire safety tests in the wake of the Grenfell fire. Council leader Steve Curran published this statement on Friday concerning Clements Court tower in Hounslow West: “Following the tragic events of Grenfell Tower, Hounslow Council immediately took steps to assure our tenants and leaseholders of the safety of our housing stock. “Following DCLG advice, we submitted a sample from Clements Court tower, which is the only cladded high-rise in the Borough that has used “Aluminium Composite Materials” [ACM]. “We were informed late last night by the DCLG that the sample of the outer ‘Aluminium Composite Material’ [ACM] cladding used on Clements Court tower has failed the Building Research Establishm

Ruth Cadbury lays in to Queen’s Speech

As one might expect, Labour's MP for Brentford & Isleworth was less than impressed with the Queen’s Speech. Speaking in Parliament in response to the Queen's speech Ruth Cadbury laid in to Government policy or lack of policy on a range of issues: Brexit, Heathrow expansion, the impact of austerity on education, the NHS, social care, public sector workers, housing, welfare and policing. Along with many of her Labour colleagues, she pointed out that the programme outlined in the speech was more notable for what wasn’t mentioned in it, rather than for what it did contain. Brentford & Isleworth voted against a hard Brexit “During the election campaign, the voters of Chiswick, Brentford, Isleworth, Osterley and Hounslow made it clear to me that they were voting for hope and

Chiswick fire station crew rescued 14 people from Grenfell tower block

A crew from Chiswick was one of the first on the scene when the Grenfell tower block caught fire in the early hours of last Wednesday morning. Crews from all over London attended, but as Chiswick is near, when the call came in at 1.00am it only took the team on duty at the time 15 minutes to get there. Alan Moore, the watch manager, told me that initially the order was ‘make 10 pumps’ – ie. 10 fire engines needed. That had changed to 20 before they left the station and 25 before they got to the end of the road, indicating the severity of the fire and how quickly it escalated. In the end there were 40 crews in attendance from all over London. When they got there their first job was to bring up the hoses and breathing equipment to a combined equipment dump and to secure water for

Rupa Huq says ‘Theresa May’s power grab has spectacularly backfired’

Ruqa Huq, MP for Ealing Central and Acton, says 'not in her wildest dreams' did she expect to win with such a large majority (13,807 - up from 274 in the last election). Talking to Bridget Osborne at the opening of this year's Bedford Park Festival, she says 'Theresa May's power grab spectacularly backfired' and she says the Prime Minister is now so desperate that she's reliant on the DUP. Also at Green Days was Ruth Cadbury, MP for Brentford & Isleworth, who attributes her majority of 12,182 to a variety of causes , including Labour's manifesto for social justice and their ability to get out the youth vote as well as the Conservatives' focus on Theresa May to the exclusion of local issues and the introduction of the 'dementia tax' in their manifesto.

The ‘arrogance’ of Conservative Campaign Headquarters lost the Tories one of the most marginal and most winnable seats, says local activist.

A Conservative Party activist in Brentford & Isleworth has spoken of their anger in the way Mary Macleod, a strong candidate with deep local knowledge and experience was ‘diminished’ by Conservative Campaign Headquarters. At the beginning of the campaign Mary Macleod, MP for Brentford & Isleworth in 2010 – 2015, was expected to win back the seat, having lost it by 465 votes in the last election. In one of the most marginal seats in the country, when the Conservatives were 20 points ahead in the polls, the only discussion in the local party was whether her majority would be in hundreds or thousands. She lost it because she was ‘completely constrained’ and ‘not allowed to talk about local issues’ by Conservative Party Central Office, according to the activist who

Joe Bourke says a vote for the Lib Dems is not a wasted vote

Joe Bourke, Liberal Democrat candidate for Brentford & Isleworth maintains that the only solution is to vote Lib Dem on Thursday: “Perhaps your choice might be add one more MP to the government’s majority. An MP that has never voted against a Conservative party intent on forcing through the most economically damaging exit from the European Union conceivable; and a third runway at Heathrow that may well face legal challenges for years to come.” “You may choose instead a labour MP at odds with the leadership of a Labour party that has proved to be an ineffective opposition for two years now? An MP that has failed to challenge a

What are the odds?

Ladbrokes have reported that Brentford & Isleworth is the most bet on constituency in the UK general election. They have Conservative candidate Mary MacLeod as 4/7 to regain the seat with Ruth Cadbury priced at 5/4 and Lib Dem Joe Bourke 100/1 to win. Betting organisations may be more likely to be right than pollsters. There is after all serious money riding on their predictions, but even so there are some differences between their predictions. To see the full spread check out Oddschecker. As we go into election week, Paddy Power is fairly typical, rating Brentford & Isleworth as: Conservatives 4/6, Labour evens, Lib Dems 100 - 1. In Ealing Central & Acton their odds are: Labour 8/13, Conservatives 6/5 and the Lib Dems 66/1. According to Paul Krishnamurty, who runs the Political G

Montagu – a donkey’s view of the nature of political leadership

Was ever a play more timely? Montagu, which runs until 17 June at the Tabard, is a play about political leadership performed during an election campaign almost entirely focused on the nature of political leadership. If you have any interest in politics and like satire, go and see it. It's a treatise on the subject, as seen through the eyes of a herd of donkeys and is extremely apposite and very witty. Playwright Greg Freeman had no idea there would be an election so soon when he wrote it. He told me it was his response to the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump. He's fascinated with the way leadership appears to bestow such importance while at the same time entailing so little power. Montague, the chief character, is played by Christien Anholt, seen most recently at the Taba

Mary Macleod says Conservative manifesto will provide “safe and thriving communities”

Mary Macleod, the Conservative candidate for Brentford & Isleworth says the Conservative manifesto provides "a national plan for a stronger economy, better services and safe and thriving communities.” Commenting on the differences between Labour's manifesto and that of the Conservatives, she said: “The Conservative Party manifesto identifies the major challenges facing our nation and skillfully blends policies that will benefit all of us though a prosperous economy, better services and a stronger community. The biggest challenge facing us all is the negotiations with the EU, and the manifesto identifies the approach the country

Sadiq Khan on the leaked Labour manifesto

London Mayor Sadiq Khan visited Hounslow on Saturday, supporting Ruth Cadbury. A little band of Labour loyalists gathered to go campaigning door to door. Before they set off he gave a rallying speech and they took selfies. Then it was the turn of the media - a rag tail assortment of local film crews and an eight year old boy, who read three questions which Sadiq answered patiently before saying "thank you and thank you for being a journalist". Then it was my turn. I asked him what he thought of the Labour manifesto. He gave me a very safe answer mentioning all the uncontroversial bits, like the desire to remain in the single market and pointing out that neither of us had yet seen the manifesto as it had only been leaked. He didn't touch on plans to re-nationalise rail services, energy a

Grove Park piazza appeal

Grove Park is the area south of the railway line by Chiswick Rail Station. For some it is a place they abandon their car in the early hours, to run for a train in to Waterloo but for the people who live in the area it’s where they come to pick up a prescription and get health advice from Sue in Busby’s pharmacy, to enjoy lunch at Mohammed's café, buy a paper from the news agents and drop off their dry cleaning, or to have a quiet pint in the Station House. Grove Park is characterised by a large expanse of tarmac between the row of shops and the pub. The Grove Park Group Residents Association is campaigning to have it transformed into a continental style piazza. They’re launching an appeal to raise funds and are holding an event on Saturday 20 May from 10.00 am – 4.00 pm to publ

Straight fight between Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems

The election nominations have been confirmed. In both Chiswick's constituencies there are only three candidates standing: Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem. No independents, no UKIP candidates, no Greens. There's a move amongst those who voted Remain to vote Labour in marginal seats (ie both Chiswick constituencies) so that even if Labour doesn't win, there is a creditable opposition in parliament who can vote against a hard Brexit. In both Ealing Central & Acton and Brentford & Isleworth the Green Party has opted to join the 'progressive alliance' and have swung their support behind Labour. Although the Lib Dems officially are not encouraging tactical voting to keep the Conservatives out in marginal seats, Sir Vince Cable was overheard saying he would 'find it hard' to vote against L

Lib Dems announce £4.5m of funding for mental health in Hounslow

The Liberal Democrats have announced that they will add another £1 billion for mental ill health care through putting a penny on income tax. This could equate to approximately £4.5 m of the party's additional health funding being spent in Hounslow tackling the "historic injustice" faced by people with mental ill health. "Last weekend, Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron and Shadow Health Secretary Norman Lamb unveiled a Five Point NHS and Care Recovery Plan to increase funding for health and social care services, including a penny on income tax to provide a £6 billion funding boost. "Today the Liberal Democrats announced that they will spend approximately £4.5 m of this extra money would be ring-fenced as dedicated funding for mental health services in Hounslow. "This would help to d

Chiswick Park bridge agreement signed

Chiswick Park, the business park which houses a workforce of some 8,000 people on the site opposite Gunnersbury tube station, has signed an agreement with the London Borough of Hounslow, the London Borough of Ealing, Network Rail and Transport for London to proceed with the development of a pedestrian bridge linking the Park to Chiswick Park station. The 135m long footbridge will be constructed over the railway line, extending from the northern end of the business park, and will provide employees with direct access to Chiswick Park station. Residents have long campaigned for the bridge to ease congestion at Gunnersbury tube station, where locals often have to wait to get down to the platform, missing trains while the flood of incoming office workers comes out of the station. Chiswic

Macleod vs Cadbury – The Chiswick Calendar Election Debate

The Chiswick Calendar Election Debate was standing room only in the Boston Room of George IV in Chiswick on Wednesday 10 May. Brentford & Isleworth candidates Mary Macleod (Conservative) and Ruth Cadbury (Labour) were asked by BBC news presenter Rachel Schofield about their views on Brexit, the NHS, housing, education, the economy and a third runway at Heathrow. Mary Macleod dismissed Ruth's claims that Labour could fund their promises on the NHS while Ruth mocked the Conservative candidate's repetition of 'strong and secure' as a description of Theresa May's leadership style. "They said that about the Titanic" she said. Watch the full hour's debate here.

Greens withdraw Brentford & Isleworth candidate

Hounslow Green Party has announced that Diane Scott will not be standing for the Brentford and Isleworth constituency in the 2017 General Election. This is their press release: Diane Scott said “The Green Party can’t win in Brentford and Isleworth this time. If I stood we would split the progressive vote. This is a very close seat where the Labour majority in 2015 was only 465, much less than the Green Party vote of 2,120. This election is very important because the Brexit deal will determine the quality of life for all of us. We don’t want to see a brutally hard Brexit agreement accompanied by a watering down of environmental and other protections. We don’t want to see EU citizens forcibly repatriated from this country. We have made a one-off decision to stand down and

Liberal Democrats committed to a second referendum

If you voted Remain in the EU Referendum, for Liberal Democrat candidate Joe Bourke there is only one way you can vote in this election: Liberal Democrat. The candidate for Brentford & Isleworth told Bridget Osborne that his party is committed to a second referendum, whereas the Labour party was 'trying to face both ways' and if we get a Conservative government then we will be committed to a hard Brexit.

Theresa May woz ‘ere – but it was a secret

Theresa May popped in to Brentford this afternoon to visit the graphics and signage maker Octink with Conservative party candidate for Brentford & Isleworth Mary Macleod. So secret was the arrangement that not only were local media not invited, but the local party only heard about it an hour before and only Mary was invited. So much for meeting the people.

Ruth Cadbury hopes to “buck the trend” and be re-elected

Labour have suffered big losses in the local elections, including the loss of overall control of Glasgow council for the first time in nearly 40 years. UKIP has been almost obliterated, failing to win a single seat in its supposed heartland. The Conservatives have taken control of five councils in England and Wales and also made headway in Scotland. None of this bodes well for Ruth Cadbury and Rupa Huq, Labour general election candidates in two of the most marginal seats in the country. Ruth Cadbury, candidate for Brentford & Isleworth, acknowledges "it's a challenge" but says it's a challenge that she's ready to meet. She talked to Bridget Osborne at the Clayton Hotel Chiswick about her chances of re-election.

Priti Patel visits Brentford with Mary Macleod

For the second day running the Conservative party has fielded one of its big names to come and support their candidate in what they clearly see as a target seat. The Secretary of State for International Development Priti Patel visited the African entrepreneurship charity the MicroLoan Foundation and artisan chocolate producer Bianca Marton in Brentford on Tuesday with Conservative candidate for Brentford & Isleworth Mary Macleod. At MicroLoan Foundation, Priti and Mary met with founder and CEO Peter Ryan and other staff to hear about the work they are doing to provide women in sub-Saharan Africa with small

Amber Rudd visits Chiswick

Home Secretary Amber Rudd visited Chiswick on Monday 1 May supporting Conservative candidate for Brentford & Isleworth Mary Macleod. She heard the concerns of local residents about drug dealing and aggressive behaviour by young people in and around the High Rd. Since 'strong' and 'secure' have become watchwords of the campaign, Bridget Osborne asked her about her comments on Sky TV that Britain could leave the European police organisation Europol if the government fails to get the deal they want on Brexit. 

What does Mary Macleod think about Brexit?

The Conservative candidate for Brentford & Isleworth was MP for the constituency from 2010 - 2015 so people tend to know who she is and what she stands for, except for the issue of Brexit. When she was voted out she worked for government for a bit but then went back to the private sector, where she had worked previously, as a head hunter for the biggest global executive search firm. What does Mary Macleod think about Brexit? Bridget Osborne met her at the Urban Pantry in Devonshire Rd to find out about her views. She asked her first whether she had missed politics.

Joy Morrissey selected as Conservative candidate for Ealing Central & Acton

Joy Morrissey has been selected by Conservatives in Ealing as their candidate for Ealing Central and Acton. An Ealing councillor since 2014, she used to work for the former MP Angie Bray. She voted Leave in the referendum. Since November 2016 she has worked at the Centre for Social Justice, set up by Iain Duncan-Smith, running their events programme. According to their website: 'Joy was born in the United States and came to the UK to do a masters degree at LSE. Her passion for social justice comes from a long period supporting humanitarian charities in Albania, Kosovo, China & India. She is an elected Ealing Councillor an