Riverside pubs to the rescue!

Most of us were probably given chocolate this weekend, but the staff at the Bull's Head earned theirs. Two weeks ago ago when Grove Park Primary School was evacuated because of a bomb hoax, more than a hundred children and staff decamped to the riverside at 9.30 in the morning. A teenager was arrested in Watford on suspicion of blackmail and making malicious communications via email, when a blackmail threat was sent to thousands of schools around the country claiming a bomb had been planted in the school grounds and demanding £5,000. For General Manager Barbara Smith and her staff it was all in a day's work. The Bull's Head and next door pub the City Barge took them in and provided coffee for the staff and water for the children and became their base camp until the last child was picke

Children’s portraits by world renowned photographer

‘Children of London’ is a unique project by photographer Richard Bradbury. Each year he takes pictures of hundreds of London children and publishes two hundred or so in a book, creating a unique record for future generations. A limited edition of 500 stylishly bound hardback copies are sold and auctioned to raise money for Great Ormond St Hospital. So far he has raised £64,551. Richard is currently looking for children to photograph for the 2018 edition, which will be published in December. To see his some of his amazing pictures and and to find out how your child can take part, have a look at the Children of London feature in This is Chiswick section of The Chiswick Calendar website here.

World Naked Bike Day coming to Chiswick

World Naked Bike Day is coming to Chiswick with a ride along the CS9 Superhighway route on 9 June. Local organisation CHANCY (Chiswick and Acton Naturist Cyclists) is planning to show their support of CS9 with a "Go as bare as you dare" cycle ride along the CS9 route before joining up with "World Naked Bike Day" in central London. "One of the biggest complaints against CS9 was it would only be used by people in lycra" said spokesperson Diana Mow. "The great thing about cycling is that people can wear anything, or in our case, nothing... Some of our members will have helmets but it isn't compulsory" She added, "Our group is apolitical and with the local elections coming up, we have invited all the candidates to join us on our ride along Chiswick High Road. We are delighted that al

Greens announce local elections candidates

The Green Party has announced that it will be fielding six candidates in the two Hounslow wards of Chiswick Riverside and Chiswick Homefields. There will also be one Green candidate standing in Ealing borough's Southfields ward. Maggie Winkworth, Martin Bleach and Nicole Ruduss are the candidates for Chiswick Homefields. Daniel Goldsmith, Fay Miller and Jane Forrester will be standing in Chiswick Riverside. Daniel stood for Brentford and Isleworth in the 2015 general election, in which he received 9.4% of the vote, and had previously stood for election as a local councillor in Chiswick Riverside in 2014. He is a keen cyclist and supports Cycling Superhighway 9 (CS9) from Brentford to Olympia, believing that "a top quality local network of cycling lanes in Hounslow, including CS9, wi

‘Whale’ bags come to Chiswick

It's a sobering thought that over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than in the whole of the last century. Modbury in Devon was the first town in Europe to ban plastic bags ten years ago. Can Chiswick match its environmental example and become plastic bag free? Collins fruit and veg stall has teamed up with environmental campaigners to offer 'bags for life'. Not just stronger plastic bags which take a few more outings to fall apart than the cheapo ones which disintegrate as soon as you look at them, but cotton bags designed by Carolyn Newton at The Whale Company, which campaigns to reduce plastic waste. By 2050 they reckon there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish and although plastic can be recycled, only 24% of the five million tonnes of plastic used in the U

Good-bye Kew Bridge pontoon

Another developer's folly is being removed next week. The pontoon just west of Kew Bridge, on the Brentford side, was installed as part of the St George's development of apartments beside the bridge. It was built with 'Section 106' money - cash from developers which is meant to improve local infrastructure and benefit local people, but wasn't actually wanted by residents of the new flats, for whom it spoiled the view, or river users. Paul Hyman, who runs Active 360, the Stand Up Paddleboarding company based at Kew Bridge, says "All local river users will please to see the back of this white elephant. It’s an example of what can happen when people who know and use the river most are not consulted and decisions are made solely by uninformed people with their own interests and agendas i

Empire House site up for sale? I do not be-leeive it!

I find myself becoming more Victor Meldrew like with each passing year. But really! The north side of the High Rd opposite Turnham Green has been blighted for several years. Shops closed, mature trees cut down, days and weeks of residential groups spending their time opposing plans to add to Empire House, and now, despite winning the battle, achieving the planning permission and withstanding an attempt at a Judicial Review, the developers aren't going to build after all. Estate agents Frank Knight is advertising 'An outstanding residential led development opportunity in Chiswick with the benefit of a detailed residential planning permission and excellent views across Turnham Green towards the City and the river Thames.' Yes and very pissed off neighbours. Karen Liebreich of the Ch

Candidates asked to pledge support for Dukes Meadows

Dukes Meadows Trust is asking candidates standing for election in Chiswick on 3rd May to pledge support for the park and the Trust. Over 200 people have already signed a petition started just a couple of days ago, urging council candidates to do just that. Chair, Paul Davis explained; "Local elections are in May so this is our once in 4 years chance to get support from our local councillors for the park. We, Dukes Meadows Trust, want candidates standing to know how much people value the park and want them to support it. The next few years are going to be difficult for parks everywhere, due to the budget cuts. We fear a reduction in maintenance standards and commercialisation of the park. The Trust has done and does a lot to improve and maintain the park, we and the other clubs and or

The building of Brentford FC’s new stadium has begun

The Muttitt family, Robert with his son and daughter Peter and Nicki and granddaughter Sophie were selected to put shovel to soil in the inaugural ground-breaking ceremony to mark the start of building work on the Brentford Community Stadium on Monday. Unlike some residents of Strand on the Green, who can be heard muttering darkly into their beer from time to time about the impact of the Great Unwashed on parking in the area, the Muttitts are happy about the new stadium and looking forward to many happy hours of cheering their team on, in the Premier league, they say rather optimistically. Their family has history with the club, as Robert's father Ernie played for Brentford FC in the 1930s, joining from Middlesbrough and scoring 27 goals in 94 games, thus helping them win promotion f

The ‘DNA Detective’ researching the secrets of Chiswick’s past

Julia Bell, who describes herself as a 'DNA detective' has turned her attention to Chiswick after helping an old lady uncover the story of why she had been abandoned as a baby. Julia's research led her to Devon Nook Home for Unmarried Mothers in Chiswick, which opened in Dukes Avenue in 1933 for Roman Catholic girls who found themselves in a socially unacceptable predicament. It transpires that 80 year old Anthea Ring's mother was one of these girls and now Julia would like to hear from others who passed through this institution in the 1930s and 1940s, to see if she can find out what happened to them and their children. Found under a blackberry bush Anthea's own story is tragic. She was found hidden in blackberry bushes on the South Downs in August 1937 with her hands tied, aban

Jeremy Vine wades in to the CS9 debate

Transport for London published its report on the public consultation on CS9 last week. They say they received 5,388 direct responses, of which 59 per cent 'supported or strongly supported' their proposals. 93 responses were from 'stakeholder' groups such as politicians and residents associations. Three quarters of those responding said they were local residents. 'An additional 941 template emails were received via the London Cycling Campaign website which strongly supported the overall proposals and made suggestions for further improvements. An additional 34 template emails were received from Sustrans which supported the proposals'. The response has predictably been split and emotional, with Jeremy Vine wading in to the debate, telling the Evening Standard “It’s so sad that tak

High Court rules Government air pollution plans ‘unlawful’

Last week the High Court ruled that the UK’s plans to improve air pollution are “unlawful”. Mr Justice Garnham said the government’s approach to pollution in 45 local authority areas in England where air quality is below legal limits was “not sufficient” and “seriously flawed”. Hounslow, Ealing and Hammersmith & Fulham are all way over the European limit for acceptable air pollution. Ruth Cadbury MP, Brentford & Isleworth challenged the Prime Minister Ruth Cadbury put a question to the Prime Minister in parliament about it, having just visited a Chiswick primary school to discuss the problem. "On Monday, children and parents at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Chiswick told me of their concerns about air pollution affecting children’s health. T

Martine and Peter Oborne, painted for posterity

I was invited to the unveiling of a portrait on Saturday, of this lovely painting of Martine and Peter Oborne by artist Anthony Oakshett. Having your portrait done is not an every day occurence, so I wondered if there was a special reason, but no, it was just for the hell of it, because it's nice thing to do and to hand on to the children, they said. Martine and Peter are well known in Chiswick as the vicar of St Michael's Church Elmwood Rd and political journalist on the Daily Mail respectively. Peter, who is an associate editor of The Spectator and former chief political commentator of The Daily Telegraph, until he resigned in 2015 on a matter of principle, has history with the artist, as they went to university together, at Christ's Church College Cambridge. They've known each other for

The Truth about Charing Cross Hospital

There's a public meeting on Wednesday evening about the changes planned for Charing Cross Hospital. In the past week I have received two press releases on what this will mean for us all. Such is the polarisation of politics in this country that the two versions from the (Labour controlled) Hammersmith & Fulham council and the Conservative candidate for the local elections in Chiswick Homefields ward Patrick Barr, who is an Accident and Emergency Nurse who has worked at Charing Cross Hospital, are completely at odds. It's hard to screen out the party political tub thumping and ascertain an objective truth, but make of them what you will. Press release 1: Public meeting called for 28 February to defend Charing Cross Hospital against continuing threat. 7.30pm on Wednesday 28 February

Zee London Mela

Fuller’s Head of the River

Fuller's Head of the River Fours Photographs courtesy of Fuller’s head of the River Fours and British Rowing[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]One of the largest rowing events in the world, every November hundreds of crews take part in the Fuller’s Head of the River Fours, which starts at the University Stone at Mortlake, near Tideway Scullers boat club at Chiswick Bridge, and ends at the University Stone at Putney. The event takes place on the River Thames along the four and a quarter mile Championship course from Mortlake to Putney (ie. the Oxford/Cambridge boat race course in reverse). In 2018 the race is on Saturday 3 November – Provisional start time 12.00. Established in 1955, the event came about when the Tradesmen’s Rowing Club’s Association

If Chiswick were demolished, what would you save?

Apart from people, naturally. (Ok and dogs and cats). Hounslow Council has a list, and in this instance it's a good thing, if you care about your heritage. Every council keeps a 'Local List' of buildings and sites which don't make the grade as 'listed buildings' (considered to be of national significance by Historic England) but sites which are 'recognised for their contribution to the local character and distinctiveness'. The Local List was created in Hounslow in 1997 and hasn't been updated since, so while many of the obvious sites are on it, there are some surprising omissions and Hounslow's new conservation officer Sophia Laird is on a mission to put that right. Sophia is an American who studied Architectural History at Edinburgh University and came to Hounslow from the Victorian So

Pedestrian footway under Barnes Railway Bridge gets planning permission

Artist's impression of what the bridge will look like, Moxon Architects Ltd A new footbridge underneath Barnes Railway Bridge has been given the go ahead by Hounslow Council. Having a pedestrian bridge there will mean that walkers can follow the Thames Path from Hammersmith Bridge to Chiswick Bridge without having to cut inland away from the river. Hounslow Planning Committee approved the plans for the bridge at the same time as a number of other projects around Dukes Meadows, part of an overall regeneration of the area.

Chiswick Timeline installation in a minute and a half

 You may of course be heartily sick of hearing about the Chiswick Timeline by now, but I invite you to spend just one and a half minutes more to watch this Timeline Timelapse put together by The Chiswick Calendar's cameraman Mike McMenzie. One hundred hours of footage of the overnight installation over ten days, condensed to one and a half minutes and set to the glori

Can Chiswickians share?

Our morality is being put to the test in a major way. You may have noticed the rash of orange bikes which have suddenly sprung up everywhere. They are 'Mobikes' - bikes for sharing which cost just 50p for half an hour to use (once you've paid your £1 deposit) and are unlockable via an app. But can we be trusted with them? My American neighbour expressed the view that the project, the brainchild of a Chinese firm, was doomed to failure in England because we were all tea-leafs and unlike other cities like Berlin or Milan we would hide them away in our houses instead of using them and leaving them in the street for someone else to use like you're supposed to. I took issue with her naturally, in defence of our nation, but then I Googled Mobikes and came across Helen Pidd's brilliant pie

‘On the Ball’ help for autistic children now available to children in the borough of Hounslow

I reported this time last year on the achievement of Samantha Silver, the parent of an autistic boy in Richmond who through sheer desperation had got together with other parents to set up a support group and with the help of the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust introduced their autistic children to the joys of team sport. The scheme they set up, On the Ball, a programme of sport and parent support for families whose children have social communication needs, is available to other boroughs outside Richmond and starts again in April, offering free places. Families who have been involved say that the training has made a massive difference to their child, family life at home and the way the child copes at school. The programme is rated as 'Outstanding' by Richmond Adult Community College.

Brentford FC set to start building new stadium in March

Hounslow Council has given planning permission for the revised plans for Brentford FC's new stadium. The long drawn out planning process originally saw detailed planning permission granted in June 2014 for the construction of the 20,000 seater Brentford Community Stadium along with outline permission for 910 new homes, a 160 bedroom hotel and other commercial space. The process has gone on so long that market demands and conditions have changed since the initial proposal was submitted. Building costs have gone up, so the revised plans show a smaller stadium of 17,250 capacity with the east and west stands just a single tier and an increase in the number of premium seats from 1,800 to 2,930 so the club can make more money from fewer ticket sales.

Hogarth Primary School considering class sizes of 40

I reported last week that a primary school in Isleworth is looking at reducing its working week to four and a half days from September because of the budget crisis in education. This week I discover that a primary school in Chiswick is considering class sizes of 40 to solve their budget problems. Avril Stockley, headteacher of William Hogarth School in Duke Rd told me that so far they'd been able to survive on money carried forward and 'natural wastage', ie staff leaving and not being replaced, rather than having to make forced redundancies, but from here on in they will have to look at ways of cutting their spending. Currently they have smaller class sizes than the average while maintaining "a full cohort of teaching staff". Given staff turnover she told me "it's important to have a cl

Re-writing history “brainwashing” our children

Rupa Huq MP The Chair of the Parliamentary Education Committee Robert Halfon, Conservative MP for Harlow has said he would look in to Rupa Huq's claims that the Conservatives were rewriting history by excluding Labour achievements from the A Level history syllabus. Rupa Huq, Labour's MP for Ealing Central and Acton asked a question in parliament last week and followed it up with a 'Soap Box' film on BBC 2's Daily Politics show, arguing that there was a pro-Conservative bias to the curriculum introduced by Michael Gove, which risked "brainwashing our kids". While Churchill and Thatcher's achievements were highlighted in the OCR exam board's syllabus she said T

The Chiswick Calendar’s Politics coverage

Plastic waste in the River Thames at Strand on the Green attracts national media attention

Sky Sports News broadcast a series of live interviews with Paul Hyman of Active 360 and paddleboarders at Kew Bridge on Sunday to talk about the problem of plastic waste in the river. Paul is behind the Responsible Pubs campaign to persuade pubs, especially riverside pubs, not to use plastic straws or glasses, which end up in the Thames, making the riverside look awful, polluting the environment and getting in to the food chain. Active 360, who are based at Kew Bridge, organise regular litter picking sessions on the river by paddleboard and pick up bucketfuls of plastic waste. Paul says there's been an increase of awareness of the problem over

On the Map

There's a very simple pleasure to be taken in finding your home on a map. I'm not sure what it is, but maps are inherently fascinating and turning out of Turnham Green tube station to see huge maps of Chiswick with an orchard in the first one (1893) where my home is now and my road appearing in the second (1914), is immensely satisfying. We're On the Map! "We were terribly pleased at the turn out and how happy people were" said Karen Liebreich after Sunday's official opening of the mural which she and Sarah Cruz had created. And people were happy. Lots of people were, like me, were finding th

Isleworth school looks set to be the first in the country to go to close at lunch time on Fridays in “budget crisis”

A local school looks set to become the first in England to go to a four and a half day week because of budget difficulties. Governors of St Mary's RC Primary School have made the proposal because they've tried everything else - not filling posts which have become vacant, shorter lunch times, discontinuing whole class music lessons for violin and clarinet, asking parents to pay for 'sundries' such as pencils, glue sticks and so on, and this is the only way they can see to stay within budget and maintain educational standards. Central government says more money is being paid in to education than ever before but head teacher Farley Marsh explained to me that the money they've been allocated by central government is not keeping pace with increases in pupil numbers, inflation, wages and the

Local election candidates for Chiswick

Labour have selected their candidates for the local elections in all three Chiswick wards. The Conservatives selected theirs weeks ago and have already been out on the streets campaigning. Chiswick has nine councillors - three in each of Chiswick Homefields, Chiswick Riverside and Turnham Green wards. Prospective candidates don't have to declare until April but the Lib Dems have said that they will be fielding 'a full slate' of three candidates in each ward and the Green Party are planning on putting forward more candidates in Chiswick than ever before. The reason is not hard to divine. These elections are wide open in a way that they have not been for many years. In all the time I've lived in Chiswick we've had Conservative councillors, but not only that, we've had the same Chi

Chiswick’s Suffragettes

Guest Blog by John H Grigg February is the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, which enabled all men and some women over the age of 30 to vote for the first time. John H Grigg looks at the part suffragettes in West London played in the struggle. In the early years of the twentieth century the thought of women voting in national elections was considered ludicrous. Herbert Nield, the Conservative MP for Ealing, a constituency that covered the Chiswick area, provoked roars of laughter at a public meeting when he said giving the vote to women could lead to a woman being the House of Commons speaker - and women might even be High Court judges! In 1907 a Chiswick branch of the Women’s’ Social and Political Union (WSPU) was formed at 21 Brandenbur