Bedford Park

Bedford Park

Image above:  Lithograph of Bath Road 1882 by Berry F Berry

Bedford Park – First Garden Suburb

Acknowledged as the earliest garden suburb, Bedford Park was described by Sir John Betjeman, the first patron of the Bedford Park Society, as “the most significant suburb built in the last century, probably the most significant in the Western World.”

Bedford Park’s buildings and community spirit were an inspiration and model for the creators of later garden suburbs and cities. Creator Jonathan Thomas Carr (1845-1915) provided the Club, with a stage for theatricals and a billiards room; a church with adjoining parish hall; stores and The Tabard Inn. The suburb attracted painters and illustrators – quite a few houses had studios – writers, actors, poets (the Yeats family rented various houses over the years), general free-thinkers and even the odd Russian anarchist. At the same time, the small cottage-style houses and terraces were also home to more modest wage earners, such as clerks and tailors.

Photographs above: Jonathan Carr; Edward Godwin

Architecture inspired by the Aesthetic Movement

Jonathan Carr was a cloth merchant who was inspired by the Aesthetic Movement of the 1870s and influenced by men such as John Ruskin and William Morris. He wanted to develop an ideal suburb for the artistically inclined middle classes who could no longer afford Chelsea. His opportunity came in 1873 when he married Agnes, daughter of Hamilton Fulton, a civil engineer who lived in Bedford House and owned 24 acres of surrounding land. Thanks to nearby Turnham Green Station, the City was only 30 minutes away providing the area with good potential for development.

In 1875 Carr bought Fulton’s 24 acres and started planning a new kind of estate in which aesthetically acceptable houses at cheap rents would be set in an informal layout that preserved as many mature trees as possible. His first architect was Edward William Godwin (1833-86) who had designed houses for Oscar Wilde and James McNeil Whistler in Chelsea. As well as being prominent in the Aesthetic Movement, Godwin had also designed cheaper houses elsewhere.

Carr commissioned designs from Godwin and the firm of Coe and Robinson. As with all his architects, Carr bought the designs outright and retained control over where and how they were built with limited input from the originator. However, when the first house designs were published in the architectural press they attracted severe criticism for perceived defects in their internal planning. Not wishing to jeopardise his project at such an early stage, Carr parted company with Godwin and Coe and Robinson and had his surveyor/architect William Wilson adapt Godwin’s design for a detached house. He then turned to another leading architect of the time, Richard Norman Shaw (1831-1912).

Images above: Norman Shaw; large house in Bedford Park 

Designed by Norman Shaw

Shaw’s first designs for Bedford Park, produced in 1877, were built next to Godwin’s houses at the bottom of The Avenue. Carr was delighted with them and with their reception in the press and commissioned further designs. It was these, which established the architectural character of Bedford Park that we recognise today. Shaw had no role in the actual planning of the estate, in deciding which houses should be built where in supervising its construction. The essential ingredients were the ad hoc nature of the planning, which replicated the organic growth of a village, the retention of mature trees, and the architecture itself, using materials that gave created an established look in a short period of time. Shaw also designed the Church of St Michael and All Angels, and Tower House, the impressive home of Jonathan T Carr, now replaced by St Catherine’s Court, a 1930s block of flats.

Images above: Maurice Adams; design for terraced houses

‘The healthiest place in the world’

Maurice B Adams (1849-1933, an architect and editor of the influential Building News, lived in Bedford Park for many years. He was a passionate promoter of the estate and thought to be the person who first suggested that Bedford Park was the earliest garden suburb. He designed several houses on the estate and the School of Art (destroyed by a World War II bomb and now the Arts Educational Schools), although Shaw amended his drawings.

Carr was a skilled promoter, marketing the new estate as “the healthiest place in the world” and by the early 1880s the heart of Bedford Park was complete. At that time he was steadily acquiring more land, and was still building. The development entered a final and different phase, prompted by the resignation of Shaw as the estate architect, and the refinancing of the enterprise as a Limited Liability Company. Shaw had wearied of Carr’s demands and, it is thought, of his reluctance to settle his bills. He set up his pupil and protégé Edward John May (1853-1941) as his successor and the essential style of the houses remained unchanged. The houses in Priory Gardens date from this handover period, and stylistically could be from either architect.

Advertisement for housing in Bedford Park when it was first built, courtesy of St Michael & All Angels Church

Bigger and grander

In the 1880s, the emphasis of the development changed, leading to bigger plots with larger houses and a higher proportion of individual houses for individual purchasers in response to changing demand. The most striking example is The Orchard, where most houses are one-offs, designed largely by May, on plots as much as four times the size of those in Woodstock Road built a few years earlier.

Jonathan Carr’s larger scale scheme for Bedford Park, including a proposed westward extension to be designed by May, came to an abrupt end in 1886, when the company, formed in 1881 to finance the project, failed. From 1887 until the start of World War I construction proceeded on the remainder of the land, which had been sold to various other developers. Although they built similar houses, they did not use previous designs, so this turned out to be the end of Bedford Park’s distinctive design in both houses and layout.

By the end of World War II Bedford Park’s glory days were over. Many of the houses were in multi-occupation; the old Club building was a club for CAV workers (now the Buddhist Vihara), and when Tom and his wife Eleanor Greeves moved there in the 1950s it had become known as “Poverty Park.” Both the Greeves were architects who appreciated the spacious houses, and when demolition threatened some of these Tom co-founded the Bedford Park Society in 1963 to protect the amenities of the suburb.

This brief history of Bedford Park, edited by Kate Bowes, has been provided by the Bedford Park Society.

Photograph below: Houses in Bedford Park by Ellen Rooney – Ellen Rooney Photography

Read more about the Bedford Park Society.

Read about poet laureate John Betjeman’s involvement in the Battle for Bedford Park.

Read more about some of Bedford Park’s most historical figures.

A more detailed version of the history and its architects can be found here on the Bedford Park Society website.

More about the exhibition that saved Bedford Park can be found here on the Bedford Park Society’s website.

Chiswick Auctions

Chiswick Auctions

Local auctions house

Chiswick Auctions is your local auction house, dedicated to offering a straightforward and friendly approach to buying and selling antiques, paintings, sculpture, books, luxury accessories and more.

The popular monthly Interiors & Antiques sale offers a range of modern, mid-century and antique furniture and furnishings for the home and garden. It provides the perfect alternative to high street shopping, especially for those looking for interior design inspiration or simply that special and unique piece for their home.

The sale features a wide range of lifestyle categories including jewellery and watches, ceramics, glass, British and European works of art, sculpture, rugs and other collectables, all with accessible estimates. This popular auction provides both buyer and seller the chance to enjoy the auction world first hand, competing against local, national and international bidders.

Chiswick Auctions also holds regular specialist and themed auctions which include Fine, Urban and World Art, Rare Books, Wine, Designer Handbags and more. Each sale is led by a world class team of experts with a reputation for delivering exceptional results.

Chiswick Auctions is the only auction house in London to host dedicated Autographs & Memorabilia, Photographica and Silver & Objects of Vertu sales. Recent sale highlights include a 10.5 carat Burmese ruby which soared past its pre-sale estimate at £462,500 in September, the auction house set a new UK record for selling the most expensive rare camera lenses at auction with the Ross London 2″ f/1.9. Lens selling for £32,500 in May and a sketch by John Constable titled, A river landscape selling for £87,500 in June.

Chiswick Auctions dedicated Valuation Team and Specialists are always on hand to provide their expert knowledge and advice. Our Valuation Team are available every weekday for free and no obligation valuations on any item you may wish to sell at auction and are happy to guide you through the auction process. Chiswick Auctions also holds regular Saturday Valuation Days in West London and around the UK.

Complimentary Valuations:
Monday – Friday: 10.00 – 18.00
Chiswick Saleroom, 1 Colville Road, W3 8BL
Alternatively send images and a description of your items to

All selling prices listed included buyers premium.

This page is content paid for by Chiswick Auctions

Is Chiswick Britain’s most literary location?

Is Chiswick Britain’s most literary location?

Famous authors associated with Chiswick

Chiswick’s writers have created some of the country’s greatest works, from William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair to John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger and Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker.  Director of the Chiswick Book Festival Torin Douglas decided to see how many writers there were who had some association with Chiswick, for the tenth Chiswick Book festival in 2018.

The best-known include Alexander Pope (who lived next to the Brewery), WM Thackeray, WB Yeats, EM Forster, GK Chesterton, Harold Pinter, Dame Iris Murdoch, Anthony Burgess, Patrick Hamilton, John Osborne, Sir John Betjeman, Sir Arthur Pinero and Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire.

Chiswick Writers Trail

Torin has created a Writers Trail featuring 21 acclaimed novelists, poets and playwrights who have lived in Chiswick or written about the area. He produced a leaflet for the 2018 Chiswick Book Festival with brief description of each writer and their connection with Chiswick, including a map so you can walk round and find the places where they lived. You can download the leaflet here.

He borrowed the idea from the Artists Trail, created by Karen Liebreich and Sarah Cruz for the launch of the Chiswick Timeline mural under the railway bridge on Turnham Green Terrace. You can download the Artists Trail leaflet here.

Chiswick Timeline of Writers and Books

‘Everyone has a book in them and that, in most cases, is where it should stay.’

The line is attributed to the late journalist Christopher Hitchens, well known for his sardonic wit and devastating put downs, (though it may have been recycled from an earlier acerbic cynic). It’s an argument which cuts absolutely no ice in Chiswick, whose population, undeterred by such negativity, seems to think they all have a story to tell and the ability to tell it. That may be a slight exaggeration but there does seem to be a remarkable glut of authors in a relatively small area.

Torin embarked on the massive undertaking of finding all the authors who live or have lived in Chiswick who have ever published a book. At time of writing the list was upwards of 250, which prompted the Observer and Guardian to pose the question: Could Chiswick be the most literary location in Britain?

Image above: snapshot of the Timeline of Writers and Books ‘how it all began’ page from The Chiswick Book Festival website

The project which started in the Book Festival’s 10th year has grown beyond all expectation and become something of a labour of love. 

“When we started the Chiswick Book Festival, I wanted to celebrate the writers who have lived here, because I thought Chiswick’s record had been under-recognised” says Torin. “I knew there were distinguished writers with W4 connections, and famous residents who’d written their memoirs, as well as less well-known authors, poets and dramatists. But I never suspected we’d find 250 – or that so many of them would be quite so distinguished!”

See the Chiswick Book Festival Timeline of Writers and Books here.

Chiswick Rugby Club

Chiswick Rugby Club

Home to rugby in Chiswick for more than 60 years

Chiswick Rugby Club celebrated 60 years in 2018. Set up by former Chiswick School players as the Old Meadownians (based in Dukes Meadows) the amateur club has grown from humble beginnings with a wooden shack, which was burnt down, into a big club with a proper club house, four senior teams and a flourishing Minis section. To top the celebrations, in their 60th anniversary year the RFU provided them with an artificial pitch, to enable the club to reach the next level. Club Chairman Kelvin Campbell talked to The Chiswick Calendar before the building work started.

The all-weather pitch was installed over the summer and officially launched in October 2018 with a game against Harpenden (which Chiswick won 17:8). Leader of Hounslow Council Steve Curran and England women’s squad member Abbie Scott were among those invited to celebrate the opening, as was The Chiswick Calendar. The all-weather pitch at Chiswick Rugby Club is part of a much wider scheme by the council to develop the sports facilities at Dukes Meadows. Read more about the plans here.

Photographs above: the new all-weather pitch; players trying it out; Rachel Watson, former manager of George IV, toasting its opening. 

The development of Dukes Meadows has caused ructions, with the football club Old Meadownians voting against a similar scheme for a new football pavilion and two 3G artificial grass pitches, as well as improvements to their grass pitches. The football club is also a local success story, both on and off the field, being one of the largest and most successful amateur clubs in the London area, at a time when there is a significant decline in adult male 11-a-side football, but they felt that as the proposed contract would be between the London Borough of Hounslow and the FA, they could lose out. Matters came to a head in the summer of 2018 when the Rugby Club pitch was being built. Read the full story here.

Photographs above: Kelvin Campbell behind the club car; Chiswick Minis

Plans for the future

The introduction of an artificial grass pitch is the first step on the way to achieving Chiswick Rugby Club’s goal of becoming the leading community amateur rugby club. In addition to the £800k for the artificial pitch and floodlights, over the next 30 years the RFU has promised a further £700k towards maintenance of the pitch. It is available for daily use by all club teams, senior, junior and mini, as well as local schools and community groups, which the club believes will help make assure their future, embedded in the local community.

Chiswick RFC now plans to extend and improve the clubhouse to provide four additional changing rooms, and provide better rugby and community facilities. This will be completed in two phases and will require an investment of at least £1m in total.

Phase One is to provide the new modern changing rooms and associated facilities, including dedicated physiotherapy suite and referee changing rooms. The club says: ‘new changing rooms will open the club up to the local community, providing safe and clean facilities for all to use including the four senior sides and 150 minis and juniors playing week in week out. The new facilities will also provide an opportunity for the club to grow, and upon completion Chiswick RFC will be taking steps to set up a ladies team and host Friday night matches!’

Club Chairman Kelvin Campbell said:

“This is a significant moment in Chiswick’s RFC history. Our ambition is to provide fantastic rugby and other sports opportunities for our wonderful community. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the generous support of our partners, members and other supporters”.

Chiswick Rugby Club is situated at Dukes Meadow, Dan Mason Dr, Chiswick, London W4 2SH

Miss Marple to Hamilton: the centenary of ArtsEd

Based in the heart of Chiswick, ArtsEd has been setting the world alight with extraordinary talent for almost 100 years.

The school kick started 2019 with two lively musicals: Cry-Baby and Disney’s Newsies, performed by their third year BA Musical Theatre students. Then later this year, their third year BA Acting students will be performing World Premieres of new plays by playwrights, Torben Betts and Atiha Sen Gupta.

In September 2019, ArtsEd will launch their centenary celebrations, marking 100 years contribution to the creative industries; nurturing national treasures, including Dames Julie Andrews and Angela Lansbury and bold new talent like Tuppence Middleton, Finn Jones and Laura Haddock.

Former ArtsEd Alumni, Martin Clunes, Julie Andrews, Tuppence Middleton and Arlene Philips

How did it all begin?

Established 100 years ago, ArtsEd originated from two schools, founded by Grace Cone and Olive Ripman, educational pioneers who believed in the value of combining a general academic education with a specialised training in dance, drama, music and art.

Dame Alicia Markova and Sir Anton Dolin drew almost exclusively on ArtsEd students to help them create their revolutionary company the London Festival Ballet in the 1950’s – which went on to become the English National Ballet.

Prima ballerina Dame Beryl Grey became Director of the Schools in the 1960s and ArtsEd continued to innovate, introducing both professional acting and musical theatre courses before many of their competitors.

In 2007, Andrew Lloyd Webber (featured pictured above with ArtsEd student Mollie Melia-Redgrave) became President and remains so to this day.

The Stars who paved the way….

Over the last 100 years, ArtsEd has produced some of the most exciting talent of our time. Miss Marple star, Angela Lansbury attended ArtsEd, during its tenure in Baker Street in 1939. She sent a handwritten note (pictured) saying: “Everything I learned in those early years of my life paid off and prepared me for life in the dramatic arts.”

A card from Angela Lansbury to staff and students at ArtsEd

Since then, performers of great promise have continued to hone their talents. Most recently, BA Acting alumna Lashana Lynch won the Capri Hollywood award for Breakout Actress of 2018, and will be in the upcoming film, Captain Marvel. Last year, 2018 BA Acting graduates, Islam Bouakkaz and Thaddea Graham broke into the industry in an exciting new Netflix series, The Letter for the King, which will be released later this year.

Meanwhile, BA Musical Theatre alumna, Miriam-Teak Lee, won The Stage Debut Award for her first professional performance in 2017, followed by a year in the West End musical, Hamilton, prior to her next big adventure, the titular role in the brand new musical, Juliet, where she will be joined by another ArtsEd alumnus, Oliver Tompsett.

In July 2018, 12 ArtsEd alumni, six of whom were 2018 graduates, were cast in Les Misérables on the West End.

In addition, ArtsEd Day School and Sixth Form produces bright young talent across all the disciplines. Thomas Dennis is currently playing the lead in National Theatre’s War Horse, and stars in Les Misérables both on and off screen, and Samantha Barks, is now starring in Pretty Woman on Broadway.

ArtsEd today

ArtsEd provides world-class, contemporary training that is focused on the constantly evolving needs of the performing arts in the 21st century. It is unique in combining a performing arts secondary school, degree provision in Musical Theatre and Acting and a broad range of evening, weekend and holiday courses. Read more about what the schools have to offer.

Arts Ed is a member of The Chiswick Calendar Club Card scheme

It is expanding and refurbishing their Chiswick home so both ArtsEd students and the wider community can benefit from world class facilities. Look out for their expanded programme of evening and weekend courses. Arts Ed offers a discount to Club Card members signing up for part time and holiday courses.

Supporting ArtsEd

You can support ArtsEd by attending courses, going to see a show or becoming a Friend.
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The Mystery of Edwin Drood – Photographer: Robin Savage

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Stars of the Arts Ed – Arts Ed’s most successful artists in 2019

See also: Centenary of the Arts Ed video 

Jazz at George IV

Jazz at George IV

Photographs above: Gypsy Jazz band Trio Manouche; Jazz promoter Larry Pryce

The George IV pub in Chiswick High Rd is getting a good reputation for live Jazz. The Chiswick Calendar has been putting on live Jazz once a month in the Boston Room since October 2016 in collaboration with Jazz promoter and broadcaster Larry Pryce of Live Music To Go. Larry has promoted live music in London for more than 40 years and knows some of the best in the business. He writes for the music press, visiting some of the top Jazz festivals in the world, and is a frequent guest broadcaster on music radio stations. He also manages the music for the iconic Bull’s Head in Barnes, which has live Jazz every day of the week and twice on Sundays, as well as some of the clubs in central London.

Photographs above: George IV; Boston Room; Editor of The Chiswick Calendar Bridget Osborne – photograph by Jon Perry

Regular favourites include Trio Manouche and the Jazz Mondays. Trio Manouche offer Hot Swing and Gypsy Jazz. The UK’s leading Gypsy Swing Jazz ensemble plays classics from the legendary Gypsy Jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, trad swing greats such as Nat King Cole and their own highly acclaimed material. Jazz Manouche have performed at top venues and major festivals and events all over the world.

Since forming in 2005 Trio Manouche have become regulars at the best-known venues and festivals across the UK, popping up at Ronnie Scott’s, King’s Place, Barbican Hall and Glastonbury. They have also performed for some of the world’s most glamorous private parties and events, including the wedding of Alice Rothschild & Zac Goldsmith and the MGM Networks’ annual party.

“I love this band, amazing musicianship and a great vibe” …. KT Tunstall

“Your band swings beautifully… Trio Manouche are a class act. … We all were totally blown away by Simon & the band … Sting

Photograph: Jazz Mondays by Jon Perry

The Jazz Mondays are a local; a Chsiwick 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. The band came together when the original members met, learning how to play their instruments with the same tutor. They started playing together and have gone from strength to strength. Their tutor now plays with them.

“Putting on live jazz in London has always been something of a tenuous business” says Larry. “Despite its increasingly popularity the genre is still sometimes regarded as something of niche art form and some of the long-established venues in central London have been lost. Pizza On The Park has been transformed into London’s first 6 star hotel and the Dover Street Restaurant & Jazz Bar which I used to run, is now a late night fusion restaurant with DJ’s manning the decks into the early hours.

“The demise of some of the old venues in the centre of town is forcing both resident Jazz enthusiasts and visitors to look further afield to places like the Bull’s Head in Barnes and the relocated Vortex in Dalston. But West London should have its own centre of Jazz excellence, and we are working hard to bring that about, bringing some of London’s top musicians to Chiswick in partnership with The Chiswick Calendar in the superbly appointed Boston Room at George IV pub.”

Photograph: Dom Pipkin

In September 2019 Larry introduced the renowned pianist and raconteur Dom Pipkin to the Boston Room, bringing his highly successful West End show, ‘Pipkin’s Smokin’ Boogie, Bad Boys, Bourbon & The Big Easy’ paying homage to the music of New Orleans. A regular on the jazz scene, Dom has recorded and toured with Paul Weller, Ray Davies and Laura Mvula amongst others. The high-energy show featured some of the very best in New Orleans music, including numbers from such giants as Jelly Roll Morton, Professor Longhair, James Booker and Fats Domino.

“When Dom plays the piano, magic happens ……” Paloma Faith.

 Photographs: Oriana Curls by Jon Perry

Other bands who have become regulars at the Boston Room are Oriana Curls and her trio and Jon Reilly’s Blues Engineers. Oriana is a multi-talented French singer and violinist, whose vintage vocals evoke the back streets of Montmartre together with a touch of the American speakeasy. Her impressive four-octave range of a voice soars effortlessly through Jazz, Latin, Blues & Gallic chanson material. Having worked with some of the best musicians, writers and producers around, (Imelda May, Rufus Wainwright, Marcella Puppini and Alex Golding, Lulu, Keziah Jones), Oriana has developed her own distinctive style. In 2018 she brought her highly successful Piaf show to George IV, fresh from the Edinburgh Festival and the launch of her album “Because I’m French.”

Photographs: Blues Engineers by Jon Perry. John O’Reilly on guitar.

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 0’Reilly is internationally acclaimed for his amazing slide and steel (resonator) guitar playing having worked extensively in Europe on the festival circuit and just recently returned from a mini tour of Memphis and New Orleans. Together with the multi-talented saxophonist, flautist and harmonica player Nick Payn, 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.

Photographs: Richie Milton; Shireen Francis by Jon Perry

Jazz at George IV offers a discount on ticket prices for members of The Chiswick Calendar Club Card.

Jazz at George IV takes place on the first Thursday of the month in the Boston Room of George IV, 185 Chiswick High Rd W4 2DR (except in December, July and August) 7.30 – 10.00pm. Doors open 7.00pm. We advertise the Jazz evenings in the events listings pages of this website and in our weekly newsletter. If you’d like to sign up to the newsletter and get a (free) Club Card, sign up here. Tickets for Jazz at George IV are £10.00 in advance from Eventbrite, £8.00 for Club Card members and £12.00 on the door.

George IV offers 20% off food and drink

The George IV is also a member of the Club Card scheme, offering our subscribers a 20% discount off food and drink, so come and eat before or during the show and make a night of it  – an excellent night out, without spending a fortune, in staggering distance of home.

Photographs below: Kit Packham’s One Jump Ahead by Don Tanswell

Chiswick House – Heritage Park of the Year award hat-trick

Heritage Park of the Year award hat-trick

By Bridget Osborne

September 2018

Chiswick House & Gardens Trust has been awarded Heritage Park of the Year award in the London in Bloom competition for the third year running. It also won the award for the best Walled Garden and a clutch of other awards for its volunteers. Geraldine King has been the head gardener for four and a half years. That the park has suddenly seen such tremendous success at winning awards on her watch is no coincidence. Bridget Osborne asks what is it that she and her team do exactly that ticks all the right boxes?

The gardens of Chiswick House are lovely at any time of year. That’s a given. Whether the ground is dusted with snow and the crocuses and camellias are out or the lake is wreathed in autumn mist and the trees on fire with colour, it’s a lovely place to wander and that’s easy to take for granted. Although it appears to be completely natural there’s a lot going on to keep it at just the right balance of formal and wild, with seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth landscapes looking as they should, as befits the home of the great Dukes of Devonshire and at the same time habitats where stag beetles, herons and the local dog population feel right at home.

Geraldine King has a small team of paid staff who work with her, including horticulturalists from Gavin Jones Grounds Maintenance company, but also a much larger team of volunteers – some 150 in all – who give their time and work under her direction to do weeding, pruning, mulching, whatever is required.

Photographs above by Jon Perry, apart from the one with the rainbow, by Marianne Mahaffey

London in Bloom is a regional participant of Britain in Bloom, organised by the Royal Horticultural Society, so naturally horticulture plays a large part in the judging. The upkeep of the collection of heritage camellias and the fact that Geraldine’s team grow a lot of plants from cuttings and all the vegetables and herbs in the kitchen garden are grown from seed would have earned them a few marks. Conservation and the interpretation of a historic site, maintaining the park as somewhere its antecedents would recognise is also important, as are environmental factors such as making ‘dead hedges’ to provide a habitat for insects and to allow lower vegetation to grow, recording the number of birds on the lake and encouraging bats. But where Chiswick House and Gardens Trust scores major brownie points is in its relationship with the community.

The RHS gave a special award to the Kitchen Garden volunteers and another to the ‘Goosefoot’ volunteers. This takes a little explaining. At first I thought Geraldine was talking about some bizarre affliction along lines of athletes foot or foot and mouth disease, but no, a ‘Goosefoot’ volunteer is a quaint and historic name for those who spend their time working in the gardens of the estate, coined from the landscape itself. If you stand with your back to the house and walk towards the bridge you come to a choice of paths leading to the classic bridge, the false wall and Napoleon’s bust, which fan out much like the imprint of a goose’s foot. The ‘Goosefooters’ maintain the lake, keeping it clear of weed, coppice the hazel, weed the Italian gardens and the conservatory beds and help maintain the camellias. The Kitchen Garden volunteers nurture their plants from seed which they then sell to the public in twice weekly produce sales (Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1.30 – 3.30pm). Five star Chiswick restaurant La Trompette is among their customers.

Photographs above courtesy of Chiswick House & Gardens Trust, taken in the summer when London in Bloom is judged. Geraldine is the one on the tractor.

There are also the Little Forest Folk. Again, I thought she’d been at the poteen, maybe a little still round the back of the potato beds. But no, they’re an outdoor nursery offering childcare for two to five year olds in a tent, all year round, who cultivate their own little patch in the Kitchen Garden. They also have children from Queens Mill special school, eight to twelve years olds with a range of disabilities who are able to get out into the fresh air and take on a variety of tasks. And there are the ‘Future Gardeners’ sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Gardeners to do an eight week course, and the Glaxo Smith Kline workforce, allowed out for a bit of corporate social responsibility. Worthy of special mention are Rosemary Fraser, who clocked up an amazing 650 hours of voluntary work over the year, Marion Scrine, (483 hours), Yuko Susai (nearly 400) and Nancie Crick (320).

Geraldine includes all the staff at Chiswick House and Gardens Trust in the honours. The fact that you don’t see any litter or graffiti is important, that the bushes are cut back and there’s colour at all times of the year, but so is the fact that they host events like the Chinese Lantern Festival and have 100,000 people traipsing through the grounds, or the Dog Show with hundreds of dogs, and that it’s a popular venue for weddings. It is of course a huge team effort, but it is also a matter of leadership. Geraldine has managed West Ham Park for the City of London, has been Assistant Manger at Hyde Park and is herself a judge of Britain In Bloom. She has a pretty shrewd idea how to run a park.

Photographs below by Jon Perry, Barbara Chandler and Rosie Leyden

Hogarth Club

Hogarth Club

The Hogarth Club is tucked away off the High Rd in Airedale Avenue. When it opened nearly 40 years ago the concept of health clubs was new to Britain, so the Hogarth was one of the first, if not the first such club in the UK. Well-known in Chiswick and well-loved by its long term patrons, the Hogarth has a homely feel to it, but also competes with the huge chains which now dominate the fitness market, attracting people who want to go to the gym at hours to suit their work life. This being Chiswick, there’s also a sprinkling of TV, film and sports personalities who, even with a towel wrapped round their head and no makeup, you may recognize. But this being Chiswick, you wouldn’t of course let on!

As you walk in, the first place you come to is the Crucial Café, a spacious bar which offers healthy yet tasty sounding options such as avocado with chili, mint, lime and a poached egg on sourdough toast or salads with chicken, mackerel or halloumi. Often the work of local artists is exhibited on the walls and the space gives on to an outside garden area with its own separate bar and barbecue, which is available to hire for private parties.

Your own personal trainer

In keeping with the ethos of a family run firm, the Hogarth is big on customer care. When you first join you have access to a personal trainer for five one hour sessions in the first month. Like all gyms they will do a physical assessment. They will hook you up to a Tanita machine and see what you’re made of in terms of fat, muscle and water and work out a programme to suit your requirements. You may say ‘leave me alone!’ You may want to be left in peace while you get to know the club, go for the odd swim and acclimatize. You may want help building muscle tone or preparing for a triathlon. Wherever you come in the spectrum of fitness, whether your goals are modest or you’re driven to meet ever harder targets, they will design a programme for you which you can then follow. Attuned to your requirements after the first month’s full-on attention, your personal trainer will then check in with you for a session once a month to see how you’re getting on and adjust your schedule accordingly.

Fitness and relaxation

There are a range of fitness classes offering body conditioning and aerobics – from the yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates and stretch class end of things, through Core Conditioning and Danceworks, incorporating jazz and ballet, to Funky Step, Body Pump, Circuit training and SHA’BAM – ‘a fun-loving, insanely addictive dance workout’ at the other. The gym boasts Technogym ARTIS machines, whose slick Italian design and state of the art biomechanical engineering enable users to access their personalized fitness programme with a key, read a book, watch TV or Skype a mate while exercising.

Beauty and health treatments

The club has two clinics – one a beauty and one a health clinic. Medispa, which offers an extensive range of beauty treatments – facials, waxing, tanning, brows and lashes, feet and hands and non-surgical aesthetic treatments, won the International Institute of Anti-Ageing 2018 Salon of the Year award. The Hogarth Clinic boasts an osteopath, a chiropractor and three physiotherapists as well as the London Acupuncture Clinic. The therapists help restore physical function and promote mental wellbeing ‘by helping clients improve and re-balance the stresses of everyday living’. Both are clinics you can walk into off the street, but membership offers a range of perks available only to members.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Social side

The club is set in two acres of grounds. You can enjoy the gardens, relax or exercise in the pool, play tennis, squash or join the running club. There are his & hers saunas and a poolside jacuzzi. You can also sign up for entertainments such as sporting challenges, wine tasting, Gala Dinners, themed food nights and quizzes. The Crucial Café is open to all, so you can saunter in and pretend to be a member or you might be a member who wants to invite non-members for lunch or a meeting. If you’re tempted to try it out, see The Chiswick Calendar’s exclusive membership deal for Club Card holders here.


The London Buddhist Vihara, Chiswick

The London Buddhist Vihara, Chiswick

Chiswick is home to one of the oldest Buddhist temples outside Asia. Certainly the oldest Theravada Buddhist community in Britain, the London Buddhist Vihara in Bedford Park was established by a Sri Lankan monk Anagarika Dharmapala in 1926. ‘Vihara’ means a Buddhist monastery – a place for contemplation, worship and religious learning.

Why does Chiswick claim that distinction? In the interwar period Buddhism was losing ground to Christianity in the East, as a result of the influence of the British Empire amongst others. Anagarika Dharmapala decided he would do something about it and travelled widely not only in India, where Buddhism’s ancient sites were falling into dereliction, but throughout Europe and America, bringing the teachings of Buddha. Born into a wealthy family, he was for a long time a lay preacher, who later in life became a monk. Those were idealistic times and despite the colonial ego which we love to relive in films and novels, on his travels he met Europeans and Americans who found the ideas inspiring. His speech to the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893 is thought to have been the first time the teachings of Buddha were delivered to a Western audience.

Photographs: Anagarika Dharmapala, Helena Blavatsky, Col. Henry Steel Olcott, Sir Edwin Arnold and Mary Foster

Among the people he met, his fellow travellers, spiritually and philosophically, were scholars such as Helena Blavatsky, the Russian émigré who started the Theosophical Movement in New York, and with it an awakening of interest in the ancient religions. She and co-founder Col. Henry Steel Olcott, the American military officer, journalist and lawyer, were the first Westerners to convert to Buddhism.

It was his great friend Sir Edwin Arnold, Editor of the Daily Telegraph, who invited him to London for the first time in 1893 when he was in his twenties. Arnold was also a poet, known best to his contemporaries for his collection of volumes The Light of Asia, an interpretation of the life and philosophy of the Buddha in English verse. He was evidently very supportive of this young Sri Lankan. Dharmapala’s own journals show that he admired the British people and found them on the whole to be a tolerant bunch.

By 1926, by which time he was approaching 62, Anagarika Dharmapala decided to settle temporarily in England and with a generous donation from an American benefactor, Hawaiian Theosophist Mary Foster, he was able to bring a monk over from Sri Lanka and set up a temple initially in Ealing. According to newspaper accounts, Foster had travelled to what was then known as Ceylon to study with the Buddhist monks at Anuradhapura.

Above: Bhante Pannavamsa at the London Buddhist Vihara, Chiswick

Sri Lanka has a special place in Theravada Buddhist culture because although Buddha came from what is now Nepal and the most sacred Buddhist place in India is Budhgaya in Bihar, it is in Sri Lanka that his teachings were first written down. Theravada is the Buddhism practised by followers of Buddha in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, and is different in some respects to the Buddhism of China and Japan.

The London Buddhist Vihara moved premises in west London several times before settling in Chiswick, initially in Heathfield Gardens in the early 1960s and then moving to the Grade II listed Dharmapala Building, formerly the Bedford Park Club, at the southern end of the Avenue in 1994, and there it has remained.

Fast forward to 2018 and at time of writing the temple has five monks in residence. The head monk Bogoda Seelawimala Thera is the Chief Sangha Nayaka of Great Britain. As the head of the religion in this country he is called on to represent the Buddhist community, for example as Buddhist chaplain at the London Olympics, at state functions such as the Royal Wedding, and as a member of the Inter Faith Network, promoting the understanding of different religions.

The most recent monk to join the community is Bhante Pannavamsa, from Colombo. Fluent in Sinhalese and English, as are many Sri Lankans, he came here to study at Oxford University, at the graduate-only Kellogg College. He told me that having trained as a monk in Burma for eight years he wanted to pursue the science of the brain.

Above: Bhante Pannavamsa at the London Buddhist Vihara, Chiswick

All Buddhist monks renounce worldly goods. They own merely a razor, a bowl and their clothes and receive their meals from the community. Bhante teaches Mindfulness and goes in to schools and HM High Down Prison in Surrey, where Mindfulness teaching can help inmates cope with anxiety and depression. He says Buddhists don’t proselytise but they do raise awareness of the essential tenets of their religion. I asked him what he thought about Mindfulness having become so trendy. ‘I was born trendy’ he says, with a disarming giggle. Secular Mindfulness classes have popped up all over the place and sharp-shooters in the US army are apparently taught mindfulness to help their concentration. Mindfulness has its roots in Buddhism, and the Vihara’s monks continue to teach this tradition alongside Buddha’s moral foundations.

He told me he actually finds English people more receptive to the concept of self-discipline. People are interested in the idea of a religion which doesn’t have rules as such, as it relies on morality, concentration and wisdom to allow the individual to see things in a more enlightened way. When he goes in to schools, young children ask him things like ‘Why do you wear those clothes?’ and ‘have you got underwear on underneath?’ but young adults tend to ask more about how Buddhism relates to relationship difficulties, drugs and alcohol issues. His standard answer to the question of whether he misses alcohol is that he doesn’t need it. ‘We are high on life’ he says, brandishing his can of Tango.

The London Buddhist Vihara at the Dharmapala Building, The Avenue, W4 1UD is open daily from 8.30 to 11.00am and 2.00 to 8.00pm. The temple offers a range of classes in Mindfulness and Buddhism on most weekday evenings as well as a monthly meditation retreat on the last Saturday of every month. These are free of charge, but they welcome donations.

What happens to our recycled rubbish?

What happens to our recycled rubbish?

Feature by Karen Liebreich MBE

A visit to Hounslow’s state of the art rubbish recycling plant

I told the family I had tickets for a very exciting day out. They were intrigued. When we arrived at Southall Lane Materials Handling Facility they were puzzled but quite pleased. Not every mother organises a trip to a waste depot as a special treat. The site opened last year to handle nearly all the London Borough of Hounslow’s recycling – plastic, food, paper, card, metal, glass, textiles and WEEE (Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment) – in fact everything except the garden green waste. It had a controversial birth. Firstly large black wheely bins were distributed around the borough, to the dismay of many whose gardens were too small to house them easily. The contract with the borough’s existing waste contractors, Suez, was terminated. In October 2016 Hounslow officially transferred its recycling and waste services to its wholly-owned subsidiary company, Lampton Recycle 360 (other arms of which also deal with property development and parks maintenance).

After a multi-million pound budget overrun (from £11.5 to around £28 million) and delays in opening, the state of the art facility finally opened at the end of 2017. And while the overspend is eye-watering and regrettable (and only a small percentage can be put down to more stringent government legislation) it is undoubtedly a very impressive facility. And a Very Good Thing that our waste should be re-purposed and as little as possible end up as landfill.

Photographs – Jeremy Levy

A fire can be started by something as simple as a truck driving over a triple A battery

We were shown around by a proud and knowledgeable Dan Smyth, Operations Manager, with Cllr Guy Lambert (who has drawn the waste ticket in Hounslow’s new Cabinet) and David Ward, Managing Director of all the Lamptons, in attendance. Sadly we were not allowed to see the machinery in action, though Cllr Lambert has provided video clips for us of all the various processes. His cinematography is more Blair Witch Project handheld than Bunuel, but we are grateful nonetheless. The site was spotlessly clean when we visited, and though slightly less spotless on a workday as the clips show, still clean and organised and – as waste facilities go – relatively fragrant.

We entered through special fire doors. Dan Smyth told us that fire is an enormous problem – so much so that there is a fire every day in a waste facility somewhere in the UK. It can easily be set off by something as trivial as a truck driving over a triple A battery. Small fires are instantly extinguished; a larger fire can be contained by closing the special fire doors which seal completely, and filling the entire depot to a depth of a couple of metres. The fire once contained, the toxic water would then be containered away to be dealt with; in the past it would simply flow out into the Thames.  We were suitably impressed and as the special doors started bleeping urgently at our group we hastily moved along.

There were separate bays for each type of material. The purer the material, the higher the price that can be achieved. Sorting takes place at every level – in our houses, at the roadside, at the depot, at the final stage. My irritation at having to sort so much in my kitchen was somewhat assuaged at my pride in hearing that our council is now achieving some of the highest prices of any London council for its waste.

Karen Liebreich is a co-founder and director of Abundance London

Read more about Karen and about Abundance London

See our profile of Karen Liebreich here

Read a feature about the work of Abundance London here

Why it’s important to sort stuff out from the get-go

The recycling team has 23 seconds for each house. So the more you can sort at home, the quicker they can be, the better for them, and the better price we can get at the end. Rinsing out cans and containers helps, as much is sorted by hand. Dog food cans are particularly revolting for the sorters.


Paper fetches £45 per tonne. It is baled and sent to a factory in Germany. Any contaminant can reduce the price, though small amounts can be tolerated. Glitter is a particular bugbear. Plastic and foil also cause problems. Cardboard and paper have to be separated out, so if you can do that, so much the better. Shredded paper should be added in small quantities to your food waste, but not included in paper waste as the strands are too short and the recycled paper manufacturers don’t like them.


Do not include plate glass, light bulbs, ceramic, pyrex or perfume bottles, as these all have a different melting point.


If these get wet, then they can infect the whole load, and the entire lot has to be rejected, so they should be wrapped in something waterproof.


These are no longer collected. We were told to take them to Space Waye, but as that is a 16-mile round trip from Chiswick you better drop them off at your local supermarket or at Halfords.


Plastic bags are a big bugbear; they get wrapped around the machinery and cause stoppages. No hard plastics, such as coat hangers, toys, flower pots.  Milk containers etc should be recycled with their lids off so they can be compressed easily. The container in the recycling van has a cunning lift feature which compacts the plastics immediately and pushes them up into the roof of the truck. This is the largest element by volume of all the recycling materials.

Because we’re worth it – the economics of recycling

After sorting into separate bays the rubbish is re-sorted. The plastic and metal are loaded onto a conveyor belt which passes beneath magnets and is hand-picked to remove plastic film. Aluminium passes through a magnetiser which gives it a magnetic field enabling it to be picked out by the machinery. (See video of aluminium ‘leaping like salmon’ as Guy poetically described it. The plastics are sold to a company in Telford for £160 per tonne. From there it is shipped to Indonesia for further sorting into some 45 different colours and types – Dan Smyth assures us that only adults, paid properly, with appropriate PPE are employed. The plastic is then washed, melted and re-chipped to be sold back to China for re-use as a raw material.

Black plastic trays can’t be recycled as plastic. The infrared can’t pick up the black colour, so they slip through. However they have a high calorific value, so can be added into the main rubbish and sent for incineration. Producers insist on using black trays for meat products, as the black hides the colour of the blood. Meanwhile ready meal trays are not recycleable (yet – but coming soon!) as they have a card base glued to a plastic lining. Likewise for tetrapaks.

Food waste

Each day they collect 28 tonnes. It goes to an anaerobic digester in East London and is turned into gas and compost.


The aluminium cans were the most valuable items, fetching £1200 per tonne in the UK. These were recycled into new cans.

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

Anything electrical up to the size of a small microwave can be recycled. It should be put with the rest of the recycling.

Wheely bin waste

The remaining waste was sent to be incinerated into energy, but at a cost of £100 per tonne.

So while profit – or even break even – remains a distant hope, at least our waste is going somewhere suitable and not just to landfill.

Karen Liebreich is a co-founder and director of Abundance London

Read more about Karen and about Abundance London

See our profile of Karen Liebreich here

Read a feature about the work of Abundance London here

Chiswick’s Street Trees

Chiswick’s Street Trees

Photographs of Chiswick High Rd by Anna Kunst

Chiswick is often described as ‘leafy’ and we are lucky to have mature trees, as this was one of the first areas of London to be planted. The Victorians copied the Parisians, wanting to emulate their tree-lined boulevards, so Chiswick High Rd has trees which are over a hundred years old. But we are also fortunate in Chiswick to have a wide variety of street trees, which contribute interesting colours and shapes to the street scene. From their sculptured outlines in winter to their leafy glory in spring and summer and their magnificent display of colour in autumn, Chiswick’s trees contribute hugely to the character of the place. Roads like Barrowgate Rd and Dukes Avenue are a glorious blaze of colour in autumn and there’s an urban myth that the Queen Mother used to request her driver to bring her to Staveley Rd to see the Cherry trees in spring.

But why did the Plane tree become so ubiquitous in London and why do you get moss and lichen on some trees and not on others? Paul Wood, author of ‘London’s Street Trees; A Field Guide to the Urban Forest’, took Editor of The Chiswick Calendar Bridget Osborne on a tour of Chiswick’s street trees. Thanks to Paul also for his lovely photographs above and below.

Chiswick Pier

Chiswick Pier

Photographs by Anna Kunst 

Chiswick Pier was opened in 1997 and has a thriving community of boat dwellers living on converted working boats including a North Sea trawler, a Thames Lighter Barge, a Dutch sailing barge (a tjalk) and a prefab craned on to a pontoon. There are eight residential moorings in all. The Pier is also home to the Chiswick Canoe Club and the RNLI Chiswick lifeboat, which is the second busiest lifeboat station in the whole of the UK and Ireland.

The pier is run by Chiswick Pier Trust, based at Pier House, a charity which manages the commercial and residential moorings at the Pier and works to engage people’s interest in the River Thames. They organise boat trips, talks and social events, such as the Mother’s Day Cruise in March, the Party on the Pier in July, Summer Jazz Cruise and Fireworks Cruise in November. The pier is an excellent vantage point from which to view the Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race and the Great River Race. From Pier House you can see to Hammersmith Bridge to the east and almost to Barnes Railway Bridge to the west and if you’re on the pier itself, it’s as if you were beside the boats in the river, cheering them on.

Party on the Pier, photographs by Anna Kunst

The programme of talks organised by Chiswick Pier Trust ranges from the history of Frost Fairs on the River Thames to the work of French Impressionist painter Jean Claude Monet, who painted the river many times. They cover the history, archaeology, social life, wildlife and ecology of the Thames and take place usually on the last Tuesday of the month.

Scroll down to watch The Chiswick Calendar’s videos on the annual Mother’s Day cruise on the Thames from Chiswick Pier; the annual Party on the Pier; how women rowers made history racing on the Tideway in 2015; the 75th anniversary of the evacuation of Dunkirk, in which a number of small ships from round here took part; the RNLI’s alternative Boat Race – rubber duck racing; Samuel Leigh’s Panorama of the Thames and Caitlin Moran’s book on Wild Swimming.

Mother’s Day cruise on the Thames

Nick Raikes goes on a rather wet and windy cruise to Westminster and back aboard the Queen Elizabeth.

Party on the Pier

Every summer Chsiwick Pier Trust throws a party, with free boat trips, stalls, activities for children, a Fulller’s bar and a barbeque. Every year there’s live music from Shenanigans.

Women’s Boat Race

Women rowers made history in 2015, racing on the Tideway for the first time in the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race. Previously the Women’s race had been held at Henley.

75th anniversary of the evacuation of Dunkirk, 2015

Boats from Chiswick and Brentford were among the 800 or so ‘small ships’ which took part in the rescue of Allied Troops from Dunkirk.

The RNLI ‘Alternative Boat Race’

The Lifeboat charity held an Alternative Boat Race in April 2015, raising money by asking people to bet on rubber duck racing. It was fun!

The Panorama of the Thames

In Vicorian times the tourist boats which went up and down the Thames had hand painted watercolour guides of the river, which folded out to a great length. A couple have spent years recreating Samuel Leigh’s 1829 panorama of the Thames, with modern photography.

Author Caitlin Davies on ‘wild swimming’

Wild swimming in the Thames is not everybody’s cup of tea, what with the strong tides, the cold and possibility of a mouthful of sewage. But Caitlin Davies swears by it, and has written a history on the subject.

How to get to Chiswick Pier:

The Pier, Corney Reach Way, London, W4 2UG is at Corney Reach by the complex of modern houses and apartments between Duke’s Meadows and Chiswick Mall, accessible from the A316 Burlington Lane by Grantham Rd, at the end of the E3 bus route.

Other organisations based at Pier House are Chiswick Sea Cadets, the Canoe Club, RNLI and Thames Explorer Trust.

This page has been paid for by Chiswick Pier Trust

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Chiswick Timeline

Chiswick Timeline

Photograph: Chiswick Timeline, January 2017

The Chiswick Timeline is the mural on the railway bridge beside Turnham Green tube station. It is the brainchild of Chiswick residents Karen Liebreich and Sarah Cruz, who together are known as Abundance London, so-called because when not creating murals they organise fruit picking locally and make sure that the excess fruit in local gardens does not go to waste.

Unimpressed by the dingy and depressing state of the railway bridge in Turnham Green Terrace, they decided to do something about it and set about researching old maps of Chiswick and art works by historic local artists, designing the mural and raising the money to get it installed, to cheer the place up.

Four years, about a million emails and £95,000 later, the mural was put up in January 2018. There are 49 metal panels altogether, those on the western (cab rank) wall showing eight maps dating from 1593 to 1867, those on the eastern (bus stop) wall showing another eight maps from 1893 to the present day.

Photograph: Sarah Cruz and Karen Liebreich

The work of famous artists recreated

There are also a number of paintings by well-known local artists replicated in the mural. Two were commissioned to create new works of art especially for it. Sir Peter Blake, best known for the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper album, used a similar design to create a collage of the music hall artists who played at the Empire Theatre in Chiswick in its heyday in the 1920s and ‘30s. Jan Pienkowski, who illustrated children’s books Meg and Mog in the 1970s, created an image of the Russian Cathedral in Chiswick in his trademark bright colours.

Images: Specially commissioned art work from Sir Peter Blake and Jan Pienkowski.

Other contemporary artists whose work is recreated in the mural include political cartoonist Martin Rowson and Marthe Armitage, who is famous for her hand-drawn lino blocks. Well-known artists of the past who are associated with Chiswick are represented by William Hogarth, William Turner, Eric Ravilious, Johann Zoffany, Julian Trevelyan and Camille Pissarro, amongst others.

Filming the installation

The Timeline was installed overnight, during ten bitter cold nights in January 2017, in order not to disrupt traffic during the day. The Chiswick Calendar’s cameraman Mike McKenzie filmed the installation of the Chiswick Timeline, using a specially adapted go-pro camera. Mike then reduced 100 hours of footage to a minute and a half to the music of Boots Randolph, Chet Atkins and Floyd Cramer ‘Yakety Sax’.

Sir Peter Blake

At the Bedford Park Festival in June 2017 Sir Peter Blake talked to the Editor of The Chiswick Calendar Bridget Osborne about the collage of the Chiswick Empire music hall theatre which he designed specially for the Chiswick Timeline, and why the old theatre was so dear to his heart. Abundance London ran a competition to win a print of his montage of music hall characters.

Before the installation

It’s hard to remember now what the bridge looked like before the installation of the time line. This is what it looked like.

Manufacturing the panels

Manufacturing the panels of the mural took months, with a fair bit of trial and error.

Our thanks to cameraman Peter Evans for these two videos.

Community art works

To mark the launch of the mural Karen Liebreich and Sarah Cruz also organised two mass participation artworks in ceramic and textile: ‘Chiswick in Ceramic: Put your House on the Map’ and ‘Chiswick without Borders: Where do we come from?’ Local schools contributed by getting the children to paint a model of their house and put it on a plan of Chiswick and people were invited to pin a ribbon to a world map showing where their family originated, in an interactive art event to the launch party on Sunday 28 January 2018. You can see Chiswick Without Borders on show at Chiswick Library.

To find out more about the Chiswick Timeline and how it came about, go to the Chiswick Timeline website.

Read more about Karen Liebreich and about Abundance London

See our profile of Karen Liebreich here

Read a feature about the work of Abundance London here

Read about the bumps in the road along the way

in our News & Features pages:

TfL in a pickle over bridge mural – Jan 2017 Read blog post here

We have progress on the Chiswick Timeline – July 2017 Read guest blog by Karen Liebreich here

Timeline Troubles – January 2018 Read blog post here

Food Market Chiswick

Food Market Chiswick

Open every Sunday from 10.00 am to 2.00 pm, come rain or shine, except for very exceptional closures – for example Easter Sunday and the day of the London Prudential cycle race in July / August.

The Food Market Chiswick is a collection of stalls where the stallholders are also the producers of the food, so the food is fresh and seasonal. There are stallholders offering prepared food: a selection of street food, handmade bread, cakes and pastries, and those offering the ingredients: fine rare breed meats, fish, fresh seasonal vegetables, unpasteurised milk and artisan cheeses. The market puts you, the customer, in direct contact with the farmers, fishermen, growers and bakers, so you can talk to them directly about their produce. It’s also a great place to sit and read the paper over a cup of coffee while the kids run round Dukes Meadows and play in the adventure playground.

The market is run by the Dukes Meadows Trust, and was set up to fund the upkeep of the park. It is a community enterprise with an interesting history. Market Development Manager Kathleen Healy talks to Bridget Osborne about the award winning charity, Dukes Meadows Trust and how it led the regeneration of the meadows to create a beautiful riverside park.

Where to find The Food Market, Chiswick

Market Drive, Chiswick, W4 2RX. The market is behind the flats on the A316, opposite Chiswick School. You can reach it from either Edensor Road or Riverside Drive (and then left onto Alexandra Gardens). Just follow the signs.

Chiswick Car Boot Sale

Chiswick Car Boot Sale

One of the most successful car boot sales in the South East, the Chiswick Car Boot sale offers a glorious serendipitous mix of stuff: clothes, plants, DVDs & CDs, books, furniture, toys, you name it. Most of it is second hand, some new, but there are some real bargains to be had.

The sale is held on the first Sunday of the month, every month except January, at Chiswick School, Burlington Lane, London W4 3UN. Car entrance Staveley Road, pedestrian entrance Burlington Lane. The sales are run by parent volunteers from the school PTA, which is a registered charity, and all money raised from the entrance fees goes to Chiswick School. NB dogs are not allowed on site.

If you are selling from your vehicle, the queue is often very long and starts very early. To avoid cars jumping the queue, at 05.45 a steward walks down the queue issuing each vehicle with a numbered flyer. If you do not have a flyer, you are not in the queue and you will not be allowed in. The organisers start letting the sellers’ vehicles in at 06.30. Buying starts at 07.00am. The market closes at 12.30pm. For more details, including the rules of what can and cannot be sold, please go to the Chiswick School Car Boot Sale website.

Gunnersbury Triangle

Gunnersbury Triangle

Photographs by Barbara Chandler – @sunnygran

Bollo Lane, Gunnersbury, Chiswick W4 5LW, diagonally opposite Chiswick Park tube station, Gunnersbury Triangle nature reserve is open at all times.

A green oasis created by intersecting railway lines, saved from development in the 1980s and managed by the London Wildlife Trust for wildlife and people. This wet woodland nature reserve is a haven for birds and small mammals, which take advantage of the sheltered birch and willow. Walkways and footpaths help guide visitors around the ponds and acid grassland areas through this wild oasis in Chiswick. You can just wander round and enjoy the peace and beauty of it or become a volunteer, record the species you see and take part in events. Only guide dogs allowed.

Entrance: Free

Hogarth’s House

Hogarth’s House

Watercolour of Hogarth’s House by local artist Hugh Bredin –

Hogarth’s House, built around 1700, was the country home of the great painter, engraver and satirist William Hogarth (1697 – 1764) from 1749 until his death. He bought it as a weekend and summer home, away from the noise of his other home in what is now Leicester Square. Hogarth had a ‘painting room’ at the bottom of the garden where he was working until a few days before his death in 1764. The house is partially closed because of structural damage on the first floor. Access is limited to the ground floor until completion of restoration work, but the house is open 12.00 – 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday. Closed Mondays except Bank Holiday Mondays. Closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Entry to Hogarth’s House, Hogarth Lane W4 2QN, is on the A4, through a door in the high wall which is easy to miss. Parking available at Chiswick House, a few hundred yards further on. Stepping through the gate from the busy A4, behind the high walls visitors come in to a pretty, secluded garden dominated by an ancient mulberry tree. The Hogarths are said to have made mulberry pies from the tree’s fruit for the Foundling children who stayed with them. When the house is fully open there are often exhibitions and displays of Hogarth’s own work and art inspired by him. Wheelchair accessible.

Admission: Free

Heritage manager John Collins showed the exhibition to Nick Raikes.

The historic mulberry tree in the gardens of Hogarth’s House still produces yearly fruit and still makes an excellent mulberry soda.

Visit Gunnersbury Park – regular events & activities for adults and children of all ages

Gunnersbury Park

Gunnersbury Park, Popes Lane, London W3 8LQ. The park is open daily from 8.00am – dusk.

The original Gunnersbury House was built by Sir John Maynard, a lawyer and politician during the time of Oliver Cromwell. In the 18th century Princess Amelia, daughter of George II, used it as her summer home. After her death the original house was pulled down and replaced by two mansions. Both were bought by the Rothschild family in the 19th century and purchased for the nation in 1926. See Friends of Gunnersbury Park & Museum website for more about the history.

The house was extensively renovated and reopened in the summer of 2018 with new art and artefacts on show and exhibitions designed to explain Georgian life and the history of west London to children. The museum runs a continuous programme of tours and talks for adults and activities for children of all ages.

The stunning gardens include the original Georgian temple folly, a boating lake and an Orangery as well as the more modern additions of tennis courts and bowls club. Gunnersbury is jointly owned and run by Hounslow and Ealing council. In 2014 the councils were awarded two grants by the Heritage Lottery Fund to overhaul the museum and make major improvements to the park.

There’s always something happening in the park, from the Park Run every Saturday at 9.00am to poetry and theatre performances, nature walks, history talks and pumpkin carving in October. In previous years the park has been home to Europe’s biggest festival of South Asian culture, the London Mela which takes place in early September. In 2018 the park hosted the Lovebox and Citadel festivals and are due to do so again in the summer of 2019.

Entrance to the Park is free


The Arts Educational performing arts schools

14 Bath Rd, Chiswick, London W4 1LW

The Arts Educational performing arts schools are unique and people come from all over the UK and further afield to have the opportunity of learning drama and musical theatre from their staff, who are not only highly skilled at what they do, but very well connected in West End theatre. Their President is Andrew Lloyd Webber; patrons include Sir Matthew Bourne, Nigel Havers, Robert Lindsay and Sir Trevor Nunn. Amongst Arts Ed alumni are Nigel Havers and Bonnie Langford as well as Julie Andrews, Darcey Bussell and Martin Clunes.

Arts Ed is celebrates its centenary in 2019. See Lucinda MacPherson’s feature:
Miss Marple to Hamilton – the history of the Arts Ed.

Lashana Lynch, Jac Yarrow and Thomas Dennis

The Day school, Sixth form and Schools of Acting and Musical Theatre have become centres of excellence which are turning out a stream of extremely talented, high-achieving performers who are quickly becoming stars of screen and stage.

Lashana Lynch, who graduated in 2010, has had a stratospheric career since completing her degree, a BA (Hons) in Acting. She’s been named as the next 007 in No Time to Die. Jac Yarrow went straight from finishing his degree into the lead part in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Palladium. Thomas Dennis left Arts Ed Sixth form in 2016 to take up the role of Christopher in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. and went on to play the lead role in War Horse. Read more about Arts Ed success in film, TV and theatre

The ArtsEd Independent Day School for 11-18 year olds offers both an excellent academic education and an outstanding performing arts training. The Arts Educational schools get consistently high marks from Ofsted and in the exam tables.

Arts Ed production of Edwin Drood

The School of Musical Theatre offers a full time Foundation Course, a BA (Hons) Degree in Musical Theatre / three year Diploma course, giving students the opportunity to perform in a wide range of shows and experience West End theatre conditions in Arts Ed’s two theatre spaces: the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Theatre and the Studio Theatre.

The School of Acting offers acting courses for theatre, film, television and radio. Students can pursue a full time Foundation Course, a BA Acting degree / three year Diploma course or a one year MA in Acting, with the opportunity to learn improvisation, story-telling, character creation and analysis, and vocal and physical articulation. Not only will they perform in a wide range of shows but also produce film show reels and original screenplays.

Arts Ed production of Edwin Drood

Club Card discounts for part time and holiday courses

Around these core activities ArtsEd also offers a range of part time, evening, weekend and holiday courses for children, young people and adults at all levels, from middle aged beginners who fancy learning to tap dance purely as a hobby and young people wanting to do something fun during the summer holidays, to aspirational actors needing audition training and professionals wanting to share their experience. We are proud that ArtsEd are members of The Chiswick Calendar club card scheme and offer discount on their course fees to first time joiners of their holiday and part time courses.

The public is also invited to watch the results of their labours. In all three academic terms the Schools of Acting and Musical Theatre put on shows, which often sell out very quickly as people in Chiswick know they will see a West End standard of production and may be witnessing the launch of a future star.


When ArtsEd joined The Chiswick Calendar club card shame in 2016, Jane Harrison, who was then Principal, took us on a video tour.

Tabard Theatre

Tabard Theatre

The Tabard is an intimate, studio seat theatre close to Turnham Green tube station at 2 Bath Rd, Chiswick, London W4 1LW. It opened in 1985 above the Tabard Pub, a popular and historic local landmark. It quickly built a strong reputation for new writing. Over the years the Tabard Theatre has played a key role in the development of London Theatre, highly acclaimed for its professional work and extremely popular within the community of West London. The theatre offers a mix of plays and comedy, as many stand-up comedians find it the perfect venue to try out new material before a tour or a TV show. The Tabard theatre is a member of The Chiswick Calendar Club Card scheme, offering a £4.00 discount on tickets for their main productions.

Read a profile of the Tabard’s Managing Director here.

Watch our videos about past productions at the Tabard.

Lonely Planet – June 2017

In the 1980s AIDS was a killer for which there was no cure. To find out that you had HIV was to hear your death sentence. Lonely Planet is an endearing, absurdly comical and poignant tale of friendship between two gay men in an American city, whose friends are dying and who are themselves living with the fear that they themselves may test positive for the disease. Bridget Osborne met Aaron Vodovoz, the producer and one of the two actors in the play.

Montagu – May 2017

What more fitting during a general election campaign focused on political leadership, than a satire on the nature of political leadership? Montagu takes place in a field, with the protagonists as a herd of donkeys. Montagu has no interest in politics but is elected leader regardless. He resists the manipulation of ‘visionary’ rivals and becomes quite ruthless as he navigates the two key questions: “How do I stay in power” and “what will be my legacy”? The play was all horribly familiar and uncannily on the money.

The Chainsaw Manicure – May 2017

Two girls Abigail and Frances, share a flat with a distinctly odd flatmate, Gary, whose sole interests appear to be practising the trumpet and cutting things up with his chainsaw. The girls become increasingly alarmed as this madcap farce hurtles towards its calamitous ending. Bridget Osborne talks to the cast.

The Last Tycoon – October 2016

F Scott Fitzgerald’s last and unfinished novel The last Tycoon was made into a film starring Robert de Niro and has also been adapted as a play. Ruby in the Dust Theatre company presented the European premiere of the theatre version at the Tabard. Set in 1930s Hollywood the play deals with Fitzgerald’s favourite themes of love and obsession and is based on true characters. Nikki Ward met director Linnie Reedman.

Broken Strings – September 2016

Actor Steven Arnold, best known for playing Ashley Peacock in Coronation Street, found out that he had been nominated for an ‘Offie’, an Off West End award, for best male actor in Broken Strings, while he was being interviewed by The Chiswick Calendar. His character David finds himself living with his mother in law after his wife Susan dies. He promised her that he would look after her mother Rose, played by another recognisable face from TV drama, Linda Clark. He told Bridget Osborne that he was delighted to have been nominated, especially as he had never trained as a stage actor.

The Superhero – July 2016

Due to a climatic crisis Earth has been plunged into an ice age, nature is out of whack and London is chaos. As mammoths and penguins roam the streets, humans of the rare blood type AB minus have evolved into Superheroes with a vow to protect the vulnerable. Amongst this cold, harsh and irrevocably dangerous environment, fourteen year old Kate falls in love with one such Superhero only to find he is not quite what he seems…. The Playwright Sophie Swithinbank spoke to Dougie Critchley to give the lowdown on this dark comedy with a 21st Century twist.

Walter & Lenny – June 2016

In 1963 the Dean of Chichester Cathedral Dr Walter Hussey wrote to the internationally famous composer Leonard Bernstein to ask if he would write something for the Chichester Festival. The resulting friendship between the cleric and the composer of West Side Story produced the now famous Chichester Psalms and more than 50 years later, inspired the creation of a one man play by Peter McEnery, based on the correspondence between the two men. Peter, who was a founder member of the Royal Shakespeare Company under Sir Peter Hall, was directed by his wife Julia St John. They spoke to Bridget Osborne about the London premier of the play at the Bedford Park Festival and the letters which inspired it.

Sherlock Holmes and The Invisible Thing

Critically acclaimed team Greg Freeman and Ken McClymont returned to the the Tabard Theatre for a brand new tale of Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective saga. A perplexed Inspector Peacock summons Holmes and Watson to the home of Miss Lucy Grendle, the daughter of the late Alfred Grendle, a man who had a somewhat murky past. Miss Lucy Grendle has a problem with vodka… and Sherlock Holmes. Their paths have crossed before and it did not end well. Tension is in the air and it is not just because a murderous Invisible Thing is prowling the house. As the night unfolds, amidst a lethal concoction of a cadaver, origami and alcohol… Sherlock Holmes finally meets his match.

Wastwater – May 2016

The company which performed the highly successful ‘Bluebird’ at the Tabard in 2015 returned with another of Simon Stephens’ plays. Wastwater presents three separate vignettes of relationships linked by the characters. Set near Heathrow, the first scenario witnesses the awkward goodbyes of a foster mother and son who is leaving for Canada. The second is about an illicit affair and the third about an illegal adoption. All the characters are facing huge upheaval in their lives and are going through emotional turmoil. The emotions range from dark humour through desire and pain to terror. The cast included Mark Griffin, who was Trojan in the ’90s TV series Gladiators.

A Flea in her Ear – April 2016

A gloriously mad farce by the undisputed master of French farce, Georges Feydeau. Raymonde Chandebise sends a letter from a ‘secret’ admirer suggesting a romantic rendezvous at a local hotel in order to test her husband’s fidelity. What follows is a string of mix-ups involving suspicious spouses, hotel liaisons, crossed wires and slapstick comedy.

The Young Visiters – March 2016

Written by nine year old Daisy Ashford (hence the spelling mistake) and published by J. M. Barrie, The Young Visiters has been cult viewing since it was published in 1919. Though her spelling might be faulty, Ashford’s eye for adult absurdity and her comic timing were spot on. High japes and fake flowers, balls and boats, ice creams and princes – a child’s-eye view of what fools grown-ups make of themselves when social-climbing, falling in love and just generally getting by.

Sigurd the Dragon Slayer – December 2015

The 2015 Christmas production at the Tabard told the story of a young Viking prince Sigurd as he set off on an adventure fraught with peril. A compelling story for children of all ages with music, dance and puppets.

The Drunken City – December 2015

An encounter with a handsome stranger causes havoc on a hen night. Fuelled with drink and egged on by her bridesmaids, the bride starts to consider whether marriage is such a good idea. Director Vik Sivalingham told The Chiswick Calendar that Canadian writer Adam Bock’s play makes us all consider what happiness means to us.

Proof – September 2015

Proof is an award winning play by an award winning playwright. Author David Auburn won a Pulitzer Prize and the play won the Tony Award for Best Play in 2001. It’s about Catherine, a 25 year old woman who is looking after her brilliant mathematician father Robert, who’s losing his mind. As she grieves for him she has to contend with her controlling sister who jets in from New York and takes over, and her father’s former student, intent on searching her father’s notebooks in the hope of finding a new mathematical proof. Moving, funny and life-affirming.

Simpatico – September 2015

Simpatico is a play seething with resentment and revenge. Written by the hugely prolific American playwright Sam Shepard (award winning actor, film director and writer of some 50 plays) it’s classic Film Noir Americana. Director Will Birch tokd Nick Raikes about the play, which opens with a falling out amongst thieves.

Bruises – August 2015

Nadia Cavelle’s debut play ‘Bruises’ follows the lives of two best friends, and explored the topic of sex work. The Chiswick Calendar’s Nick Raikes spoke to writer, Nadia Cavelle and cast member, Eva-Jane Willis.

Shakespeare’s R&J – June 2015

After outstanding reviews in Stratford-upon-Avon, ‘Shakespeare’s R&J’, came to Chiswick. Director Christopher Harvey spoke to us about this adaptation of Romeo and Juliet.

The Tabard celebrates 30 years

Managing Director of the Tabard Theatre Simon Reilly talking to The Chiswick Calendar at the 2015 Bedford Park Festival Green Days weekend – June 2015. The Tabard Theatre notched up 30 years of entertaining Chiswickians in 2015. The theatre is part of the cultural landscape of Chiswick and always takes part in the Bedford Park Festival. We spoke to Simon Reilly at his stall during the Green Days weekend.

Fondly Remembered – June 2015

As part of the Bedford Park Festival, Fondly Remembered, a very funny new play by Gareth Armstrong, was be performed at the Tabard Theatre by a group of actors who live in Chiswick and between them have notched up nearly 250 years (and it’s a small cast!) of experience in TV and theatre – everything from Z Cars to Shakespeare. How fitting that the play is about the ageing members of a theatre company getting back together to plan the memorial service of one of their colleagues, unearthing as they do rivalries and jealousies that go back fifty years.

Bluebird – May 2015

Bluebird follows Jimmy, a mini cab driver, over the course of one night in London, exploring the city’s A-roads, back alleys and the lives that dwell around them. Jimmy listens as his ‘fares’ tell their individual stories in the back of his Nissan Bluebird. He hears from a father mourning the murder of his daughter, a bouncer’s memory of a violent night at his club, a disillusioned engineer of London’s underground, as well as, finally, Jimmy’s estranged wife Claire. Because as it turns out, Jimmy’s own is the darkest story of all. Bluebird’s writer Simon Stephens is most famous for his play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, for which he won the Olivier Award for Best New Play in 2013. Selina Giles, producer and the actor who plays Jimmy’s estranged wife in Bluebird, talked to Bridget Osborne about the production.

Wilde Without The Boy – April 2015

Gerard Logan is an RSC actor and Olivier nominee who in 2011 won the Edinburgh Festival’s award for Best Solo Show. He teamed up with the same director, Gareth Armstrong, to present another solo show: two one act plays surrounding the imprisonment of Oscar Wilde. “Wilde Without the Boy” is a dramatization of “De Profundis”, the bitterly passionate letter Oscar Wilde wrote to his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, from his cell in Reading gaol. “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” is Wilde’s is a poem narrating the execution of Charles Thomas Wooldridge. Gerard Logan told The Chiswick Calendar’s Nick Raikes why he found Oscar Wilde “inspiring” and his work “incredibly moving”.

Blush of Dogs – March 2015

A series of vicious civil wars has ended. A small city state half way across the world rebuilds itself in the ashes. The victorious King exiles his rival to the throne, his own brother, to a remote land far from the kingdom. The Queen, lover of her husband’s brother, raises in his absence the 3 young daughters he abandoned on his journey as she represses the love she harbours for the banished prince. The Fragen Theatre Company presented a new version of an ancient Greek story. Artistic director Roland Reynolds talked to The Chiswick Calendar and wondered if it might all be a bit much for leafy Chiswick.

Time of My Life – March 2015

Actor John Pickard talked to The Chiswick Calendar about Alan Ayckbourn’s play Time of My Life. Known best from TV roles in Hollyoaks and 2 point 4 Children, he played the elder son in this production, trying to keep the family business going and struggling to keep his marriage. Recorded in rehearsal, with the actors improvising the scenes.

The Lost Happy Endings – December 2014

The Tabard’s Christmas show was an adaptation of Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy’s book The Lost Happy Endings, which incorporates traditional fairy stories within the framework of a new fairy tale. Nick Raikes talked to the actors in the fabulous forest set, designed by Lily Faith Knight. Original music by Mark Webber.

Sheltered – November 2014

An act of charity or something more sinister? A family invite a homeless person to Christmas lunch. This new play by a new playwright was inspired by a character Chiswick residents walked past under the railway bridge every day. Writer Greg A Smith talks about Sheltered.