Annual events – The Chiswick Calendar Party
Image above: Editor Bridget Osborne giving an update at our ‘informal AGM’, The Chiswick Calendar Party 2017; Photograph by Jon Perry
Getting the movers and shakers of Chiswick life together in one room
The Chiswick Calendar has a party every January to which all our subscribers, friends and associates are invited. We talk to a lot of people throughout the year, promoting your events and your businesses and finding out who’s planning what for Chiswick. This is a way of getting everyone together to thank our partners and update you with what we’re planning next. It’s also a good opportunity for people who organise events in Chiswick to meet each other and mingle.
The party is held in the Boston Room of George IV and we make a small charge to cover the cost of the band. The Chiswick Calendar is a Community Interest Company, recognised by Companies House as a community resource. Any profit we make has to be ploughed back into the website for the good of the community.
Image above: An attentive audience at The Chiswick Calendar Party 2019; Photograph by Anna Kunst
Images below: 2019 party. Ruth Cadbury MP with The Chiswick Calendar’s editor Bridget Osborne; BBC journalists Julian Worricker and Jo Coburn; The Chiswick Calendar guest editor Lucinda MacPherson with Chiswick Book Festival Director Torin Douglas.
What we do
News and Features
Since we set up in November 2014 we have established the website, which now has more than 30,000 unique users interacting with it each month, and the weekly newsletter, which goes out to more than 10,000 people locally.
Our news stories are quite often taken up by the national press. Three examples from January and February 2023:
- Residents of Gunnersbury Park Garden estate objected to LB Hounslow planners wanting to put a car park for Transport for London staff on a wild bit of land which had been home to bats, birds and foxes for decades. ITV news spotted our story and sent a camera crew. The residents won their fight.
- Parents at Southfield Primary School removed their daughter from the school over cartoon images of the decapitation of famous women in history depicted on the wall of one of the school’s staircases. This one caught the eye of the Daily Mirror.
- On the day of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, we talked to a charity set up by ex-pat Turkish professionals living in London who had raised £150,000 for disaster relief in the first day after it happened. The BBC picked up our story and interviewed one of the trustees on BBC World TV and BBC London. The next day donations shot up and by the following week had reached over £1m.
Best of all is the response we get from our readers. We received a letter from a woman in her nineties who said she was not able to get out much any more. She loves reading the weekly newsletters because it keeps her in touch with all that is going on.
Then there was this lovely message:
“I began reading the newsletter during the first lockdown, I think it was. Wow how it opened my eyes to the hub Chiswick is. Reading anything online was like a lifeline, and to have anything to hand that was so local, and pertinent, was special. Thank you for all of the entertaining and informative writing, the shopping opportunities, and for caring so much about Chiswick (and its diversity).”
Image above: Chiswick Calendar party 2023; Photograph Frank Noon
Club Card scheme
We set up the Club Card scheme in 2015 as a way for local businesses to offer deals and discounts to our subscribers and persuade people to spend their money locally, particularly with independent businesses. We receive about 100 requests for Club Cards each week. The cards are free to our subscribers.
Subscribe to the weekly newsletter and let us know if you would like a Club Card:
Image above: Larry Pryce
Jazz at George IV
Jazz at George IV is getting good audiences on Thursday nights, thanks to Larry Pryce’s great contacts in the music business. He has been a jazz promoter in London for more than 40 years, organising the music for the iconic jazz pub, the Bull’s Head in Barnes and the Dover Street Wine Bar.
What started as a club once a month has flourished and we decided in April 2021 to make it a weekly event every Thursday night in the Boston Room of George IV. Club Card holders not only get cheaper tickets but a hefty discount on food and drink at the pub.
The mix is quite varied, largely New Orleans jazz and blues, with a bit of soul, funk, Latin and reggae mixed in. See who we have playing in the next few weeks.
Images above: Lucy Cufflin, Chiswick Cheese Market; Jan Preece, Chiswick Dog Show, with Gill Thomas; Photographs Anna Kunst
Current affairs debates
We launched just before that turbulent period of the Brexit referendum, when we had three general elections in five years, and the introduction of the cycle lane, which has been almost as controversial in Chiswick.
We put on a number of current affairs debates and interviews in front of audiences in Chiswick. The stand-out interview for me was Gina Miller, interviewed by BBC politics presenter Jo Coburn in March 2019:
We have had some fun as well. Celebrated ballet dancer Wayne Sleep spoke to The Chiswick Calendar’s editor Bridget Osborne at the Tabard theatre. He is a brilliant raconteur, with many stories to recount from his amazing career:
Our Media Club and political debates have been well attended and appreciated, thanks to journalists and broadcasters Julian Worricker, Jo Coburn, Jamie Coomarasamy, James Rodgers and Peter Oborne amongst others, for provoking lively debate.
The last Media Club we held before Covid shut everything down in 2020 was Julian Worricker interviewing Michael White, formerly the Guardian’s political editor, assistant editor, columnist and foreign correspondent, on Tuesday 10 March.
Images above: (L) Tommy Robinson, Chiswick School and Ekaterina Harwood, Chiswick Flower Market; (R) Suzette Llewellyn, actor; Photographs Anna Kunst
Art & Photography exhibitions
We have also established a tradition of holding art and photography exhibitions twice a year at the Clayton Hotel. Chiswick has a flourishing artistic community producing oil and watercolour paintings, drawings, pottery, jewellery, textiles and sculpture, many of whom take part in the annual Artists At Home open studios.
For our exhibitions, Chiswick In Pictures and Chiswick Through the Camera Lens we have concentrated on the work of those who have taken Chiswick and the surrounding neighbourhood as their inspiration. Since 2022 we have mixed photography and art in both our spring and autumn exhibitions:
We are also sponsors of the annual photography competition and exhibition that is part of the Bedford Park Festival, raising money for the church’s charities. You can see all the entries each year on our website.
Images above: (L) Joanna Raikes with Chiswick Calendar reporter Matt Smith; George Westwood with Chiswick Calendar director Nick Raikes
Chiswick Flower Market
In 2020 a group of Chiswick residents set up a flower market in Chiswick High Rd on the first Sunday of the month. The Chiswick Calendar’s editor Bridget Osborne was one of the founder directors, working on the flower market for the first 18 months to set it up and get it established.
The idea was to create an attraction which would bring people to Chiswick, and the market now had thousands of visitors each month. In the wake of the flower market, Chiswick Cheese Market opened on the third Sunday of the month, also run by local volunteers, and an Antiques and Vintage market also followed, on the second Sunday of the month.
Images above: Ash Appleton and Max Rademacher; Chsiwick Calendar photographers Frank Noon and Arad Reisberg; Photographs Anna Kunst
Chiswick In Film Festival
In 2022 we set up the Chiswick In Film Festival with film editor and director Andrea Carnevali (who also writes film reviews for The Chiswick Calendar) and script writer Rob Sprackling, in collaboration with the Chiswick Cinema.
Chiswick has a rich film heritage, both in terms of the number of films with sequences shot here and the contribution made by people working in the industry who live locally. The festival celebrates both.
We were delighted to show award winning director Aisling Walsh’s film Maudie and Rebecca Frayn’s film Misbehaviour. Both live in Chiswick, as do Downton Abbey Stars Phyllis Logan and Lesley Nicol, who also supported the festival.
Image above: West London Welcome Director Joanna McInnes and colleague receive their award from Jeremy Vine in 2023; Photograph Anna Kunst
Since 2019 we have been handing out community awards at our annual party to individuals and organisations who have done good things in Chiswick – from Torin Douglas, celebrating ten years of the Chiswick Book Festival, to Glen Monroe, senior helmsman with the RNLI, who has spent many years saving lives on the river, to Joanne McInnes, who set up the charity West London Welcome to help refugees.
Image above: RNLI helmsman Glen Monroe receives his award from Ruth Cadbury MP in 2019
We could not have done any of this without the support of our sponsors John D Wood, who have been with us from the start, Fuller’s, Asahi UK, the Hogarth Club, Chiswick Auctions, Arts Ed and the Clayton Hotel, and all the businesses which have joined our Club Card scheme and advertise with us.
Not least our lovely readers, many of whom send us a small but regular donation to keep us going. Everyone is invited to our parties, which are always publicised in the newsletter at the beginning of the year.
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