Chiswick reacts to autumn lockdown

The Prime Minister announced a nationwide lockdown on Saturday 31 October, which will come into force on Thursday 5 November, after a vote in parliament on Wednesday. It will stay in force until 2 December he said.

The Key provisions are:

  • Pubs and restaurants closed, but takeaways permitted
  • Non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues closed
  • Hair salons and beauty salons must close
  • No households mixing indoors or in private gardens, unless you are within a support bubble (for people who live alone or single parents with children)
  • Stay home; only leave for specific reasons including education and work
  • Schools, nurseries, universities and colleges to remain open
  • Exercise outdoors is encouraged; you can meet one person outside your household
  • Hotels will only open for Key workers, people who have to travel for work and for a number of other limited reasons
  • Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies will not be allowed, apart from exceptional circumstances
  • Places of worship will generally close but funerals, with a maximum of 30 people attending, individual prayer, and a few other activities will be allowed
  • Gyms will have to close
  • Clinically vulnerable people are advised not to go to work if they are unable to work from home

Image above: Fuller’s beers

Bid to drink the pubs dry

When the Prime Minister announced this autumn’s lockdown, local brewer Fuller’s immediately asked for the public’s help to “Help us empty our cellars!”

Pubs had to throw away barrels of rotting beer when we went into lockdown in March. Fuller’s is determined it won’t be the same this time and their pubs are selling all cask ales at £3 a pint until they close on Wednesday night, in the hope that people will come for one last drink before the pubs shut again.

Image above: West & Hunter, 125 Chiswick High Rd

Brand new salon forced to shut within two weeks of opening

Zamaine Ishmail has only just opened his new venture, luxury male grooming salon West & Hunter on Chiswick High Rd. He opened it on 16 October after the shop was totally refitted. Zamaine, 26, is an established barber and hair stylist with several celebrity clients on his books and this is his first shop. He was philosophical about the temporary closure:

“Although extremely unfortunate, it is the best thing for the population to continue to stay safe” he told us.

“Hopefully there will be a deeper appreciation for stylist and barbers off the back of this”.

Images above: Chiswick House, photograph by Marianne Mahaffey; Chiswick House cafe, photograph by Rosie Leyden

November Wedding cancelled

When we spoke to Xanthe Arvanitakis, Director of Chiswick House Trust, she was on the point of picking up the phone to either cancel or postpone the only wedding they had booked in for November. At that point she was unsure whether their volunteers would be able to carry on doing their work, but she said the grounds of Chiswick House would remain open, the cafe open for take-aways and the toilets open to the public also.

Image above: Hogarth Club

Confusion over gyms

Gyms are closing, but some in Chiswick with outside facilities seemed unsure on Monday whether they would have to close every part of their premises.

Roko were clear that they would be completely shut from Thursday, while the receptionist at the Hogarth Club was unclear as to whether they would be any part of the club open. “It’s still being discussed” he told us.

The Little Gym, which is a children’s activity centre in Hartington Rd, has a message on its answerphone saying:

“We are open for classes as normal until Wednesday and will then be in contact with more information going forward”.

Dukes Meadows golf and sports club were waiting to hear a decision by the Lawn Tennis Association as to whether any of their outside facilities could stay in use.

While nurseries are allowed to open, Maggie & Rose, which describes itself as a ‘family club’ is closing. Although it usually takes preschool children while their parents are at work, the notice on their website says:

‘In line with the government’s recent announcement of a UK-wide lockdown, our London club houses and Islington Square Cafe will be closed from 5 November until lockdown ends”.

Image above: Lizard fashion, Turnham Green Terrace

Retail “disaster”

Kambiz Hendessi, who runs Lizard women’s fashion shop on Turnham Green Terrace, told The Chiswick Calendar the lockdown was a “disaster” for him.

“To be frank, I am disappointed that they didn’t go into lockdown two weeks ago. Another two weeks and we would have been open and ready for Christmas”.

But, determined to find a silver lining, he says:

“At least this way people will be excited when the shops are open again and then Christmas will be just round the corner”.

“People are hanging on for Christmas” he said. “October has been dreadful. People (with shops on the Terrace) will wait and see how they do at Christmas. There might be a couple who will close after Christmas”.

Images above: Promotion for Christmas productions for children at Watermans art centre in Brentford and Chiswick Playhouse

Theatres hoping to be able to go ahead with Christmas shows

Fred Perry, who owns the Chiswick Playhouse theatre above the Tabard pub on Bath Rd, said it was “very disappointing” to have to close again, having just got a raft of freelance performers booked for their autumn and winter schedule.

“I heard Boris say today it was only going to be four weeks. I hope that’s true. The thing with theatre productions is that you can’t just switch them on and off. The lead-up time takes weeks”.

Chiswick Playhouse recently heard that it was not going to get any of the Department of Culture’s Covid budget and has relaunched its appeal for support from local people.

“Christmas at the Chiswick Playhouse is staying in the calendar for the time being” said Fred. “We have performances of Christmas concerts on 4 / 5 / 11 / 12 / 21 / 22 December and our family show for Christmas, the Hare and the Tortoise, which is a Tramshed production, starts on 15 December. Fingers crossed we are still able to run that”.

The papers on Monday 2 November were full of speculation that the lockdown may go on longer than one month. The Daily Mail’s headline: Nightmare without end expressing the fears of many. The paper speculated that Boris was facing a rebellion from his Tory backbenchers over tighter restrictions which could last until the spring.

Watermans arts centre is also closing on Wednesday, while continuing to sell tickets for its children’s Christmas show. It’s less than a week ago that they gave the green light to publicising Morgan & West’s great big Christmas Magic Show, which is scheduled to run 5 – 30 December.

Image above: English National Ballet Philharmonic

Adult education still allowed

Chiswick Art School is still going ahead with its schedule of autumn courses, as adult education classes are still permitted. Many of their classes have already gone online. When we spoke to painter Peter Burgess he was overseeing his third watercolour class of the day on Zoom. Classes in which the participants need to be hands-on will continue face to face, so Friday’s Photography class will go ahead as planned.

At this time of year Emma Vidgeon would normally be on tour, dashing around the country from Plymouth to Liverpool to Birmingham with the English National Ballet or the Birmingham Royal Ballet. She has been teaching this year, either in person or online and will continue to do both.

Images above: Harriet’s Kitchen food, ready for delivery

A good choice of take-away and delivery services available

Though the lockdown is very tough on the hospitality trade, many restaurants and cafes developed take-away and delivery services during the first lockdown that they are resuming or continuing. You can now get everything from sandwiches and a cup of coffee to fine dining delivered to your home.

Harriet Benton, a high end caterer who used to do weddings and parties with sit down dinners with many courses, set up Harriet’s Kitchen in July. She started delivering good home-cooked food to friends during the first lockdown and then launched it as a business, delivering anywhere in Chiswick.

Well known local caterer Jo Buckingham has similarly developed Trufflehound catering’s offer. She started a Dining Club at the beginning of October, delivering two or three courses of fine dining to eat at home.

Both Côte Brasserie and Le Vacherin have both launched online delicatessens, as have The Italians.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Thumbs up for a socially distanced November Chiswick Flower Market

See also: Turnham Green Terrace reopened northbound

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