The Victorian Society

Image above: Victorian Society magazine, February 2023, with articles written by younger members  "We don't do dressing up" The Victorian Society is based in Chiswick, at 1 Priory Gardens in Bedford Park, opposite the vicarage of St Michael & All Angels Church. The organisation, which champions Victorian and Edwardian architecture, is a national body which campaigns across the UK, and is a registered charity. "We don't do dressing up" director Joe O'Donnell told The Chiswick Calendar. We were talking about fundraising and I had asked the question which apparently many people ask them. They have dinners and talks but decided it did not really give the right image for a serious campaigning organisation to be swanning about in top hats, crinolines and capes,

The Glebe Estate considered for Conservation status

Image above: Coronation Celebrations, Glebe St, 1953 / Chiswick Local Studies Residents of Chiswick’s Glebe Estate have never been so thankful for their wide streets, front and back gardens, and the community spirit that has helped us all survive nearly a year of Covid lockdowns. On Tuesday 12 January 2021, at the Chiswick Area Forum, LB Hounslow launches a consultation on awarding Conservation Area status to the Estate, not because it’s one of Chiswick’s prettiest and most popular places to live in, but due to its heritage value. For its streets and houses were built 150 years ago to provide healthy lives for working families formerly consigned to overcrowded and unhealthy dwellings. The urban historian and Glebe Estate resident Tracey Logan says this cou

Theatres mark the centenary of the death of the greatest theatre architect

When someone says 'theatre', the image which pops into your head is probably something like this, the Lyric, Hammersmith, pictured above, all red velvet and gilt curlicues. That's because the Victorian / Edwardian theatre architect Frank Matcham designed so many of Britain's theatres. Those that still exist - 26 out of the 100 - 150 which he either built himself or in which he played some part in the design - will be marking the centenary of his death next Sunday, (17 May) not in the way they would have liked, but at least by sharing pictures on social media. I talked to Mark Fox, Chairman of the Frank Matcham Society, about this fascinating character, who designed both Richmond theatre and the Lyric, as well as the Chiswick Empire, sadly pulled down in the 1950s. "He was an amaz

Bedford Park

Queen Victoria at Chiswick House

Chiswick Garden ‘most important in UK’

Betjeman and the Battle of Bedford Park

Image above: The Battle of Bedford Park cartoon, courtesy of the Victorian Society By Kate Bowes of the Bedford Park Society "We sat around John Betjeman, on the lawn, in an adoring circle,” recalled Eleanor Greeves, wife of Tom Affleck Greeves, (architect and future co-founder of the Bedford Park Society), after having tea in May 1952 at Betjeman’s house, The Mead in Wantage, brought together by a mutual friend Peter Clarke. Betjeman (poet, writer, broadcaster and later Sir John Betjeman, Poet Laureate) was becoming a prominent advocate of Victorian architecture, then widely despised, and would be instrumental in the foundation of the

Miss Marple to Hamilton: The Centenary of ArtsEd

Bedford Park’s famous historical figures

W B Yeats Nobel prize winning poet lived in Chiswick

Chiswick’s Asylum

Chiswick's Asylum Photographs above: Actors Hannah Yahya and Will Lewis dressed as 1920s residents of Chiswick Asylum / Chiswick House as it looked when it was an asylum There are large swathes of history which are missed out by historians – the lives of the poor are usually approached with a pretty broad brush. Disabled and deaf people hardly get a look in, which is why a heritage lottery funded project was set up called ‘History of Place’ which looks at the history of deaf and disabled people over 800 years in eight places, among them Chiswick House. Chiswick House was used as a private asylum at the turn of the last century (1892 – 1928). The residents were there for all sorts of reasons, including Edwardian Britain's attitude to epilepsy and depre

WW1 – How Chiswick fared in the Great War

WW1 - How Chiswick fared in the Great War Local historian John H Grigg has researched the history of the First World War and how it affected Chiswick and the neighbouring areas and collated his material into a book: 'All Quiet in the Western Suburbs' published in August 2018 to commemorate the centenary of the end of the war. John spent years painstakingly going through the archives in the local libraries for articles in the local press. Most of the accounts published were letters from soldiers at the front. The following is taken from the first chapter of the book, which you can buy for £14.99 direct from John if you contact him by email at: John.Grigg535@bti