The Chiswick Calendar Party – January 2020

The Chiswick Calendar Party

Photograph above: Some of the guests at the 2019 party. Photograph by Anna Kunst

The Chiswick Calendar has a party every January to which all our subscribers, friends and associates are invited. We talk to a lot of people throughout the year, promoting your events and your businesses and finding out who’s planning what for Chiswick. This is a way of getting everyone together to thank our partners and update you with what we’re planning next. It’s also a good opportunity for people who organise events in Chiswick to meet each other and mingle.

The party is held in the Boston Room of George IV and we make a small charge to cover the cost of the band. The Chiswick Calendar is a Community Interest Company, recognised by Companies House as a community resource. Any profit we make has to be ploughed back into the website for the good of the community.

Join us in 2020 for our fifth birthday bash. The most informal AGM you could possibly find! Music from the Greg Davis trio.


Photographs below: 2019 party. Ruth Cadbury MP with The Chiswick Calendar’s editor Bridget Osborne; BBC journalists Julian Worricker and Jo Coburn; The Chiswick Calendar guest editor Lucinda MacPherson with Chiswick Book Festival Director Torin Douglas.

Five years of The Chiswick Calendar

Since we set up in November 2014 we have established the website, which now has some 8,000 users per month, and the weekly newsletter, which goes out to more than 4,500 people locally. We’ve set up the Club Card scheme as a way for local businesses to offer deals and discounts to our subscribers and persuade people to spend their money locally. Jazz at George IV is getting good audiences on the first Thursday of the month, thanks to Larry Pryce’s great contacts in the music business and our Media Club and political debates have been well attended and appreciated, thanks to journalists and broadcasters Julian Worricker, Jo Coburn, Jamie Coomarasamy, James Rodgers and Peter Oborne amongst others, for provoking lively debate.

We’ve also established a tradition of holding art and photography exhibitions at the Clayton Hotel Chiswick – photography in the spring: Chiswick Through the Camera Lens, and art in the autumn: Chiswick In Pictures. Thanks to all the fabulous artists who take part. In 2019 we gave out awards to some of the people who had done good things in Chiswick – from Torin Douglas, celebrating ten years of the Chiswick Book Festival, to Glen Monroe, senior helmsman with the RNLI, who has spent many years saving lives on the river.

Photographs below from the 2019 party by Anna Kunst:
Jazz promoter Larry Pryce; BBC journalist and presenter of many of The Chiswick Calendar’s public debates Julian Worricker with estate agent Paul Cooney;  journalist Peter Oborne; RNLI helmsman Glen Monroe with Ruth Cadbury MP.

We couldn’t have done any of this without the support of our sponsors John D Wood, who have been with us from the start, Fuller’s, now Asahi UK, the Hogarth Club, Arts Ed and the Clayton Hotel Chiswick.

Photographs below from the 2019 party by Anna Kunst:
Literary agent and book blogger for The Chiswick Calendar Anna Klerfalk; Anna with guest editor of our newsletter Lucinda MacPherson; The Chiswick Calendar’s editor Bridget Osborne; Lucinda with supporter Roberto Mircoli; chef and co-organiser of the Cookbook Festival Jo Pratt; Directors of Abundance London Sarah Cruz and Karen Liebreich; organiser of Better Mental Health Chiswick, Sally Malin and crowd scenes! You know who you are!

Chiswick House Camellia Show

Chiswick House Camellia Show

A lovely – and free – thing to do in Chiswick in early spring

Around the end of February / beginning of March each year the Camellia Show in the Conservatory at Chiswick House brings a burst of colour to the 65 acre park. There are 33 varieties housed in the 300 ft Grade I listed glass house, including the Middlemist’s Red, one of the rarest Camellias in the world,  and many of the plants have been growing in the Conservatory for over 200 years. Entry to this magnificent display of red, white and pink Camellia blooms is free.

Head gardener at Chiswick House, Geraldine King, has been responsible for the park winning a clutch of awards each year in the London In Bloom competition, including Best Heritage Park and being voted the ‘People’s Choice’ by members of the public. Watch the video of Geraldine telling the fascinating history of the collection and explaining why looking after it is such an awesome responsibility. She spoke to Bridget Osborne at the start of the 2015 Camellia show.

Photograph by Margaret Easter

Oldest collection under glass in the Western world

The collection is thought to be the oldest under glass in the Western world and includes several rare and historically important examples, many believed to be descended from the original planting in 1828. Imported from Japan, they were introduced by the Duke of Devonshire so he could offer the rare and expensive flowers to the ladies who came to his extravagant parties.

The future of these ‘heritage’ camellias has been secured by an on-site propagation programme run by the gardeners in the recently restored Melon House and visitors to the show have the opportunity to buy a choice of heritage varieties from Chiswick’s original collection.

Photographs above by Anna Kunst and Marianne Mahaffey

The Conservatory itself has an interesting history. Designed by the architect Samuel Ware (who later designed the Burlington Arcade, Piccadilly) and completed in 1813, it was one of the earliest large glass houses to be built; a forerunner of Decimus Burton’s glass house at Kew and Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace. It gained a new notoriety when 50 years ago the Beatles recorded the first music video there, for their single Paperback Writer.

The Conservatory is in the middle of the gardens, near both Chiswick House and the cafe. Visitors are invited to make a day of it, enjoy the whole Grade 1 listed estate, stop off for refreshments at Chiswick House Café and visit the 18th century Villa at weekends.

Photographs above by Jon Perry, Margaret Easter and Fiona Hanson

The Gardens of Chiswick House were famed for their beauty and their variety of exotic plants when Chiswick House belonged to the Dukes of Devonshire, but they were not the only gardens of note in Chiswick.

In the 19th century the Horticultural Society (before it became the Royal Horticultural Society) chose Chiswick to be their nursery, to which they brought exotic plants from all over the Empire and worked out how they could thrive in our climate.

In Fiona Davison’s book The Hidden Horticulturalists she explains how working class men trained as gardeners in the Horticultural Society’s garden and took their expertise with exotic plants to the great gardens of the landed gentry and the suburban villas of the middle class all over the country. Among them was Joseph Paxton, who worked for the Duke of Devonshire and went on to design Crystal Palace.

Read more about the Hidden Horticulturalists here.

Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race

Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race

Photograph above: 02 April, 2017. The Oxford men’s crew lead the Cambridge men’s crew during the Cancer Research UK Boat Race. Photograph by Warren Little / Getty Images

Since 1829 the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge men’s crews have battled each other along the 4.2 mile (6.4km) Championship Course from Putney Bridge to Chiswick Bridge.

In 2015 the women’s crews made history. That was the first year in the whole 186 year history of the race that the women’s crews were permitted to race the same stretch of river as the men. Previously, since the start of the women’s race in 1927, they raced at Henley.

Christine Wilson, the Oxford Women’s coach, spoke to The Chiswick Calendar before that first race about the preparations and the expectations of the first women’s crews to race on the Tideway.

The races take place at the end of March / beginning of April and are televised live. The race course – the ‘Tideway’, the tidal stretch of the Thames – has notoriously difficult bends. At spring tides the river rises and falls as much as 24 ft (seven metres), so if you’re coming to see the race be careful about picking a spot on the shoreline. Every year the Chiswick RNLI lifeboat picks people up who find themselves stranded.

Where to watch

Nick Raikes visited various spots along the race course to see where was the bestplace to watch the race. The video was shot in 2015, during preparations for the BNC Mellon Boat Race, but the arguments about where to watch remain the same.

The race starts at Putney Bridge, and some would argue it’s the only place to be, because you witness all the build up, and the coin toss, but it does get very crowded. Waterside pubs such as the Blue Anchor, the Dove and the Black Lion in Hammersmith are always heaving.

The Bull’s Head in Barnes is a good spot, as is the Ship at Mortlake. In Chiswick you can pick a spot anywhere in Dukes Meadows and people bring picnics. Please don’t bring disposable plastics and please do take your rubbish home with you. There’s always a huge mess at the end of the Boat Race event and a lot of it ends up in the river.

The only places on the north shore open to the public for a pint are the Thames Tradesmen rowing club by Barnes Railway Bridge and The Pier House, Corney Reach Way, where Chiswick Pier Trust always puts on a party with a band and a bar, big TV screens to watch the start and finish of the race and a spectacular view of the river from the Surrey Bend to the Middlesex Bend.

If you want to watch the finish, Chiswick Bridge is the place.

Photographs below: Getty images, courtesy of the Cancer Research UK Boat Race 2017

Chiswick Through the Camera Lens Exhibition

Chiswick Through the Camera Lens

Photography Exhibition

The Conservatory at Chiswick House, through the Wisteria, by Frank Noon

There are some fantastic photographers living in Chiswick: a surprising number of award-winning, internationally known professional photographers as well as keen amateurs who make Chiswick the focus of their pictures.

Chiswick Through the Camera Lens is a collection of work by photographers who live locally – portraits, landscapes and surreal creations – all shot in Chiswick, put together by The Chiswick Calendar. Since 2018 we’ve held a photography exhibition in April and May every year at the Clayton Hotel Chiswick. The exhibition is mounted in the atrium of the hotel, so you can pop in and see it at any time of day over a period of about six weeks.

See also Chiswick In Pictures, the annual art exhibition which The Chiswick Calendar organises for September and October at the hotel.

Chiswick Through the Camera Lens and Chiswick In Pictures are both sponsored by Snappy Snaps Chiswick, who offer a huge discount on printing, mounting and framing to artists taking part. Snappy Snaps and the Clayton Hotel Chiswick are both members of our Club Card scheme, offering discounts to our subscribers.

These are the photographers who took part in Chiswick Through the Camera Lens in 2019, each with one of their pictures.

Anna Kunst

Anna travels all over Europe as a professional photographer. Her images have been featured in publications such as Country Life, Absolutely Magazine and weddings magazines. Rarely seen without a camera, she also has a passion for landscape and street photography, and many of her pictures can be seen throughout The Chiswick Calendar website. Inspired by the riverbanks and parks of Chiswick, she chose the pier at Strand on the Green as her subject for the 2019 exhibition. See more of Anna’s work here.

Barbara Chandler

Barbara has been exhibiting her work for 20 years in London and abroad and has sold card and prints in outlets as diverse as Portobello Rd market and the Conran Shop. The photographs from her Love London show in 2008 were reproduced in a book of the same name and textiles bearing her prints are available at She also provides The Chiswick Calendar website with lots of lovely pictures and she also chose the river at Strand on the Green as her subject for this exhibition. See more of Barbara’s work here.

Frank Noon

Frank is a professional photographer best known for his portraits of celebrities and high profile events. He wasn’t able to come to the opening of the exhibition because he was off doing shoots in Jamaica and Dubai. When he’s here he takes pictures of Chiswick for fun. He has taken photographs for Chiswick House, Chiswick Business Park, The Clayton Hotel, The Chiswick Magazine, Chiswick Dog Show and the Bedford Park Festival.

Jacob Porritt

Jacob works in the music industry and has been a keen amateur photographer since he was a teenager. He took this photograph of Chiswick House with an infrared filter; the filter picks up on chlorophyll in organic matter giving the photo such dramatic colours.

Jon Perry

Jon has literally thousands of images of Chiswick taken over the years as an amateur photographer. He has recently turned professional. His work has been chosen for the British Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition and he has exhibited his photographs locally as part of Artists At Home open studios. His landscapes of Chiswick are well known to local people and many of them can be seen on The Chiswick Calendar website. See more of Jon’s work here.

Julia Fullerton-Batten

Julia is one of the leading fine-art photographers in the UK. She has won many prestigious awards and held exhibitions in Europe as well as Tokyo, Korea, China, USA and Peru and has a permanent collection at the National Portrait Gallery in London. The compositions she showed in our 2019 Chiswick Through the Camera Lens exhibition were from her Old Father Thames collection, which has also been shown in New York and Poland. See more of julia Fullerton-Batten’s work here.

Keith Porritt

Keith works in the media and is a keen amateur photographer. He loves capturing mood and shape, as in this image of Dukes Meadows at dawn.

Kelvin Murray

Kelvin is an internationally awarded photographer whose commercial clients include a long list of household names, including British Airways, Sony and Sky. In 2019 he completed For the Love of Music – a series of photographs of young musicians photographed in their schools and homes, in the places where they usually practise. Locations include Chsiwick School and St Michael & All Angels Church. Pianist Omar is pictured. See more about For the Love of Music here.

Marianne Mahaffey

Marianne is is the photographer whose work established The Chiswick Calendar website as somewhere to see lovely pictures of Chiswick. She supplied the pictures for the first six months of the website’s existence, before moving out of London. An American originally from Texas, she fell in love with the intricacies of our Victorian brickwork.

Natalia Bobrova

Natalia is a photographer and painter. She studied history of art at the Moscow State Pedagogical University and oil painting at Ann Arbor Art School in the USA. She has been a member of Artists at Home since 2010 and shows her photographs and paintings in the open studios every year. It has been mentioned that Hammersmith Bridge is not actually in Chiswick, which is a fair point, but our borders are porous and our argument is that you can see it from Chiswick!

Richard Bradbury

Richard is a successful advertising photographer and past President of the Master Photographers Association. Shortly before our 2019 exhibition he had just won the Best Of Nations Award in the WPC World Photographic Cup with this picture of Georgia Bell, an athlete from Chiswick (pictured above).

Richard’s Children of London project raises money for Great Ormond St hospital with a glossy coffee table book of images produced each year. If you’re interested in your child being photographed for next year’s book, contact him at

See more about Richard’s Children of London project here.