Robin Knight wins Christmas Quiz 

Picture above: Dinner at Haddo House, 1884 by Alfred Edward Emslie

Local author Robin Knight has won the Christmas Quiz, run jointly by The Chiswick Calendar and The Chiswick Book Festival.

Robin is the author of Mike Cumberledge SOE, the biography of a wartime hero, and a former correspondent for Time magazine. He fought off stiff competition to win the prize, a beautiful Folio Society edition of Alain-Fournier’s Le Grand Meaulnes, donated by Foster Books. Robin had 37 correct answers out of a total of 40 questions.

Runners-up were Diana Oppe in second place, who scored 36 marks, and Sara Gronmark in third place with 35 correct answers. You can see the questions, which I know many of you have pondered, below, along with the correct answers.

Photographs above: Torin Douglas; Robin Knight

“Congratulations to them all – it wasn’t easy and we marked very strictly” said Torin Douglas, director of the Chiswick Book Festival, who judged the quiz with Bridget Osborne, editor of The Chiswick Calendar.

“We wanted exact answers – so question 8, about Alain-Fournier, needed to include the name Sanderson’s, not just ‘a west London fete’. Question 4 about John Osborne needed the fact that George Devine rowed out to his houseboat, not just ‘on his houseboat’. And for question 32, about the two artists who are featured on both Chiswick Timelines, both names were needed to gain a mark.”

All three finalists got question 26 wrong, leading the judges to look at it again. “We asked ‘Who gave the director Peter Brook, born in Chiswick, a special theatre award last month?’ “ said Douglas. “We were thinking of Evgeny Lebedev at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards in November 2019. But it turned out that Brook had also won Spain’s prestigious arts prize, the Princess of Asturias award, and this was presented to him in October by Princess Leonora. Since we had specifically said ‘a special theatre award last month’ we stuck to our guns!”

Photographs above: Ant & Dec, Ooh What A Lovely Pair; Stephen and Sarah Foster with a copy of Le Grand Meaulnes

Ant & Dec take Chiswick writers to 400

Torin is hell bent on proving we are the most literary post code in the country. So imagine his delight when Robin got one of the answers wrong, and with his answer, inadvertently tipped Torin off to a pair of authors of whom he was unaware. The knowledge that Ant and Dec have written a book take his list of authors who live, or have lived in Chiswick, or have written about it, to a nice neat 400. Don’t for God sake tell him of another one, or he will have to find another 99!

“One of the few questions which Robin Knight got wrong was No 18, about the autobiography of a Chiswick comedy duo” says Torin. “The correct answer was ‘Eric and Ernie’ but he put down ‘Ooh What A Lovely Pair’. I’m afraid I thought he was being facetious!”

Photographs above: Phil Brown, courtesy of Wookiepedia; John Osborne

Questions and answers

Here are the questions, with the answers, which can all be found by careful reading of the Chiswick Timeline of Writers and Books pages of the Chiswick Book Festival website.

1. Which Chiswick newspaper editor revealed the plot (dramatised in The Crown) to overthrow Harold Wilson’s government and replace him with Lord Mountbatten?


2. Which west London food charity was founded by the great grandson of the illustrator of the Chiswick Shakespeare? THE FELIX PROJECT

3. Who was the Star Wars actor who lived on a houseboat in Chiswick and whose wife wrote a book called ‘Swans at my Window’? PHIL BROWN

4. How did John Osborne receive the contract for his play Look Back in Anger to be produced at the Royal Court Theatre? GEORGE DEVINE ROWED TO HIS HOUSEBOAT WITH IT

5. Who was the Government minister whose parents arranged for EM Forster to be celebrated with a blue plaque at Arlington Park Mansions? ED VAIZEY

6. Where in Chiswick did the author of Empire of The Sun enjoy walking with his children? CHISWICK HOUSE GARDENS

7. 175 years ago in Chiswick, how many giraffes greeted the Tsar of Russia and Prince Albert at ‘one of the grandest fetes ever held in England’? FOUR

8. What event in Chiswick connects Alain-Fournier’s Le Grand Meaulnes and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby? A FETE AT THE SANDERSON SOCIAL CLUB IS SAID TO HAVE INSPIRED A KEY SCENE IN BOTH BOOKS

9. What was Ralph Miliband doing in Chiswick when he wasn’t studying at Chiswick Public Library? CLEARING BOMBED OUT HOUSES

10. Which Nobel Prize winner lived in Blenheim Road? WB YEATS

11. Which Nobel Prize winner lived in Chiswick High Road? HAROLD PINTER

12. Which Booker Prize winner lived in Barrowgate Road? IRIS MURDOCH

13. Which Oscar-winning writer lived in Hartington Road? ROBERT BOLT

14. Which Oscar-winning actress lived on Chiswick Mall? VANESSA REDGRAVE

15. Name one of the two Chiswick writers buried in Poets Corner at Westminster Abbey. SIR JOHN DENHAM and REVD HENRY FRANCIS CARY

16. In what year did a Poet Laureate and an exhibition help save the first garden suburb from the threat of redevelopment? 1967

17. Which writer moved to Chiswick to mark William Shakespeare’s four hundredth birthday and discovered you could buy a house here for less than £3,000? ANTHONY BURGESS

18. Name the autobiography of the comedy duo who started their career in digs with Mrs Duer in Clifton Gardens. ERIC & ERNIE

19. What is the name of the house at Strand on the Green where the author of The Pursuit of Love and a celebrated ballet dancer have both lived? ROSE COTTAGE

20. Name the wife of the vicar of St Nicholas Church in Chiswick who wrote 600 letters to an Austrian refugee during World War 2? MOLLY RICH

21. Which treasure in the Bodleian Library was created by William Morris when he lived in Chiswick High Road? THE ODES OF HORACE

22. Which Chiswick gardener later became an MP and designed the Crystal Palace? SIR JOSEPH PAXTON

23. Who was the headmaster immortalised in the autobiography of a member of The Who, brought up in Chiswick? MR KIBBLEWHITE

24. Which Chiswick screenwriter received an Oscar nomination for a Beatles film? ALUN OWEN

25. Which Chiswick novelist’s “riotously funny account of a new mum who goes back to work as a spy” is recommended as a Christmas gift by the Telegraph’s Allison Pearson? ASIA MACKAY

26. Who gave the director Peter Brook, born in Chiswick, a special theatre award last month? EVGENY LEBEDEV (EVENING STANDARD THEATRE AWARDS)

27. Which Chiswick humorist died 50 years ago this month and was commemorated in The Oldie? STEPHEN POTTER

28. Which novel with scenes set in Chiswick was dramatised by Tom Stoppard for an award-winning BBC TV series starring Benedict Cumberbatch? PARADE’S END

29. Who called Chiswick House “my earthly paradise”? GEORGIANA, DUCHESS OF DEVONSHIRE

30. Name two people on the Chiswick Timeline of Writers and Books who created the musical Cats. TWO FROM: ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER, GILLIAN LYNNE, WAYNE SLEEP

31. Which Chiswick-born collector has a gallery devoted to his finds in the Museum of London? THOMAS LAYTON

32. Name two artists on the Chiswick Timeline of art and maps, the mural at Turnham Green tube station, who also appear on the Chiswick Timeline of Writers and Books? WILLIAM HOGARTH and ANTHEA CRAIGMYLE

33. Which two addresses in Chiswick have rival claims to be where Becky Sharpe threw the dictionary in Vanity Fair? WALPOLE HOUSE and CHISWICK SQUARE

34. In which book does GK Chesterton parody Bedford Park as “Saffron Park”? THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY

35. Where in Chiswick House can you find a portrait of Alexander Pope? THE BEDCHAMBER

36. Name the trilogy of novels, featuring scenes in Chiswick, by the writer commemorated with a blue plaque in Burlington Gardens. TWENTY THOUSAND STREETS UNDER THE SKY

37. 60 years ago, who topped the bill at the final performance at the Chiswick Empire? LIBERACE

38. Which member of a famous chocolate family has written about Queen Victoria’s matchmaking? DEBORAH CADBURY

39. Which Prime Minister is identified as No 100 in the key to the painting ‘The Royal Garden Party at Chiswick’. RT. HON. WE GLADSTONE

40. Which Sunday newspaper carried the headline “Put the word out: Chiswick may be the UK’s most literary location”? THE OBSERVER