Friday, 18 December 2020

Westfield Sparkles, But No Lights for Shepherd's Bush

Westfield sparkles
Westfield sparkles again this year, but our local Council have again failed to find any money to put up Christmas decorations on Shepherd's Bush Green.

Every year, Westfield puts on a display of light and colour, while Shepherd's Bush Green and the surrounding streets are left with nothing to cheer the place up.

Our Council seem unable to hang any Christmas decorations in our shopping streets.

Monday, 14 December 2020

John Gordon-Smith Leads Hammersmith Park Cleanup

John Gordon-Smith leads the cleanup on Sunday
John Gordon-Smith is one of the unsung heroes of our neighbourhood, a local volunteer who regularly gives up his time to maintain and preserve the Japanese Garden at Hammersmith Park.

The Japanese Garden is one of our most distinctive local landmarks and a legacy of the Japan-British Exhibition of 1908, part of the original Great White City exhibition.

Yesterday John and his fellow volunteers were once again cleaning out the pond in the Japanese Garden, giving up their Sunday to clear the water of pondweed and algae. 

John was assisted by Mick, the park gardener and a number of other local volunteers including Richard, a gardener from Kew Gardens, who all worked hard to help restore the garden.  Many thanks to all of them for their hard work and dedication.

Saturday, 12 December 2020

St Stephen's Leaky Roof Needs Your Help

St Stephen's - leaky roof
St Stephen's church on the Uxbridge Road has almost raised the £220,000 needed to re-roof the church buildings, but is still short around £20,000. Can you help?

This Christmas there will be many worthy causes competing for your attention. A church roof is not a fashionable good cause, and yet roofs must be repaired. It has taken the best part of a decade to raise the money, largely through the persistent and dogged efforts of the indefatigable Juliet Byford, chair of the St Stephen's Roof Committee. 

Why contribute to the St Stephen's roof?  St Stephen's is a church that welcomes people from many different backgrounds, one of relatively few places in Shepherd's Bush where our many disparate communities come together.  

Thursday, 3 December 2020

Temporary Cycle Lanes in RBKC Removed

Temporary cycle lane on High Street Kensington
Few things get Londoners more upset than cycle lanes. If you are a cyclist, the absence of cycle lanes in central London verges on the barbaric - what civilised city would expose cyclists to the danger of occupying the same route as cars and lorries?

If you are a driver, then little gets you more annoyed than the often empty cycle lane next to you as you sit in one of London's frequent and endless traffic jams. 

RBKC are removing the temporary cycle lanes on High Street Kensington, but are they right to do so? Many locals think not, and have launched a petition at Change.org.

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Supporting Older Folks in Shepherd's Bush This Xmas

LBHF Xmas Party 2019
As a local resident and a wheelchair user, I was disappointed to learn that the Christmas lunch for older people has been cancelled this year. 

Whilst I am personally fortunate enough to be younger and do have family to spend Christmas with this year, many are not so lucky.

In 2019 Hammersmith and Fulham council hosted a lunch for 260 people, but the event will not take place this Christmas.

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Hammersmith Park Tennis Lockdown

Thou Shalt Not Play Tennis
Lockdown is a confusing time in Shepherd's Bush.  Exercise is permitted, but tennis appears to be banned. At least, it must be, because our council has padlocked the gate to the tennis courts in Hammersmith Park. 

There is no sign of course, and no explanation as to why – but the answer to everything these days is Covid. 

An enterprising local has found their own solution – someone has cut a hole in the fence, to make a handy entrance to the tennis courts.  

This past Sunday all three tennis courts were full, even the one that doesn’t have a net – our Council still haven’t found the money (we've been waiting for many years) to replace it.  

Saturday, 28 November 2020

Hammersmith Bridge Protest on Saturday 5 December

On Saturday 5 December from 2-3pm there will be a Hammersmith Bridge Protest Meeting.  Hammersmith Bridge is now closed not just to vehicles but also to bicycles, pedestrians and river traffic. 

The bridge is to remain closed indefinitely, as our Council, TFL and central government argue over who should pay. 

When will the bridge re-open? It has been closed since April 2019, following a long and sorry saga of temporary closures and regular postponement of the necessary repairs.

If you're fed up with the endless delays and prevarications and would like to see our council do something about repairing the bridge (which they own), then show up and let your voice be heard.

Friday, 27 November 2020

D-Day-style Solution for Hammersmith Bridge?

Proposed temporary bridge by Tim Beckett
According to a recent article in the Daily Mail, Shepherd's Bush author and journalist Robert Hardman has identified an imaginative solution to the perma-closure of Hammersmith Bridge - a "D-Day"-style steel replacement. 

The temporary bridge is the brainchild of marine engineer Tim Beckett and his team at Beckett Rankine, builders of harbours, bridges and piers. 

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Cooke's Pie and Mash Reborn?

Photo: Helen Carey
Cooke's Pie and Mash is back - or is it? Cooke's Pie and Mash closed its doors on 25 July 2015, a casualty of the aborted redevelopment of Shepherd's Bush Market that never was. 

Cooke's Pie and Mash had been a feature of the the Goldhawk Road for over a century, and was made famous by the cult film Quadrophenia, as well as being a favourite haunt of the Sex Pistols. 

Cooke's was part of the local landscape, and when they closed they even lost the right to use their trading name.  

The original building signage is being restored, but sadly the shop is not re-opening. Today, it is a plain old office building, but one that is celebrating its heritage with a new paint job. 

Friday, 6 November 2020

Shepherd's Bush Lockdown 2.0

Empty trains on the Central Line
Shepherd's Bush is back into Lockdown. Pity the businesses who barely survived the first Lockdown; now they must endure it all over again. 

There are however some rays of sunshine, such as the empty Tube train which opened its doors to me during my morning commute on Thursday - the first time in my adult life when I have sat in an empty train during "rush hour".  

For those who aren't getting out much, or indeed at all, below are some resources for surviving Lockdown 2.0 in Shepherd's Bush.

Thursday, 5 November 2020

Humans of Shepherd's Bush - No 14

Amar, aka Tony
Meet Amar, also known as Tony. Amar's father, Amaro, came from India to London in 1954 and started this shop at Shepherds Bush Market in 1960.

In the beginning Amar sold men’s ties in Petticoat Lane in East London on Sundays; he moved the business to W12 a few years later.

"Most of the shops here were run by women during the week, while the men had day jobs in factories.  My father cut rubber at a foundry nearby and worked in the market on the weekend for an extra income. The market ran for three days as it was also hard to get much stock in due to London rebuilding after the war".

Tony’s mother, Manjit, joined his father 15 years later from Punjab. She was chosen by his grandmother as a suitable wife for the then 19 year old Amaro while he was still in London. 

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Zoom Call re Future of Shepherd's Bush Market

Yoo - Market Owners
Yoo Capital
, the new majority owners of Shepherd's Bush Market, are hosting a virtual conference to air their early ideas for the market and wider area and to receive feedback. 

The Zoom call will be held on two dates: Wednesday 21 October at 6pm and Saturday 24 October 2020. 

To sign up,  email info@myshepherdsbushmarket.com or call Louise on: 07539 096459.

Monday, 12 October 2020

Japanese Garden Cleanup in Hammersmith Park

Volunteers at work on Sunday
On Sunday October 11 the Japanese Garden at Hammersmith Park enjoyed a much-needed cleanup operation, as local volunteers got to work.

The team was led by Japanese Garden Chair John Gordon-Smith, Mick, the park gardener and five local volunteers including Richard, a gardener from Kew Gardens, who all worked hard to help restore the garden.  Many thanks to all of them for their hard work and dedication.

Thursday, 1 October 2020

Thinnest House in Britain for Sale for Just Under £1m

skinniest house in Britain?
The "Thinnest House in Britain" is on the Goldhawk Rd, and is yours for just under £1m.

According to an article in the Daily Telegraph a few years back, the house is just 66 inches wide, and was last sold in 2009 for around £500,000.

Needless to say Faron Sutaria, the estate agents who sold it, said that its small size "adds to its charm".

The house on the Goldhawk Road apparently used to be a hatshop, and there is a nod to this ancestry in the form of the hat still hanging in what used to be the shop window.

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Free Covid-19 Testing Today

Our local council are offering free Covid-19 testing from a Mobile Testing Unit at the Phoenix Leisure Centre, today, Wednesday 9 September, until 3.30pm. 

The Unit is located on Bloemfontein Road, White City, London W12 7DB. No appointment is necessary, you just walk-up. 

The test is aimed at anyone who has symptoms, or think they might.

LBHF is asking that face coverings should be worn, and a 2m distance is maintained at all times.

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Hammersmith Bridge Protest Tomorrow at 5pm

Hammersmith Bridge 
Hammersmith Bridge is now closed not just to vehicles but also to bicycles, pedestrians and river traffic. This is apparently because of an "increased risk to public safety due to a sudden deterioration in key parts of the suspension structure."

The bridge will apparently remain closed "until the engineers are confident that it is safe to re-open to pedestrians and river traffic".

But when will this be? The bridge has been closed since April 2019, following a long and sorry saga of temporary closures and regular postponement of the necessary repairs.

Tomorrow Thursday 3rd September at 5pm there will be a Hammersmith Bridge Protest Meeting, to be held on both sides of the bridge.

Guests include a cross channel swimmer who will be swimming across the Thames from Barnes to Hammersmith.

If you're fed up with the endless delays and prevarications and would like to see our council do something about repairing the bridge, show up and let your voice be heard.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Why Can't We Clean Up Shepherd's Bush Green?

Shepherd's Bush Green on a Summer Morning
Back in 2014 we first started started posting about the sorry state of Shepherd's Bush Green, and the failure of our Council to do anything about enforcing the law.  Six years on, things are worse than ever.

Walk across Shepherd's Bush Green in the morning and you will see piles of fast food, empty bottles and cans, often dumped right next to the bins.

The worst thing is that there doesn't seem to be any attempt by our Council to enforce the laws against dropping litter. Why not?

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

BLM Protest in Shepherd's Bush on Sunday

Shepherd's Bush Green
A Black Lives Matter protest is to be held on Sunday at 12.45pm on Shepherd's Bush Green. According to a recent article at W12, the protest will be "peaceful, and socially distanced", as well as "family friendly" and will "include live music and socially distanced dancing".

Many BLM events have begun in peaceful protest and ended in violence. Let us hope, for the sake of everyone in our neighbourhood, that Sunday's protest is as peaceful as promised.

Let's hope it also doesn't leave a big mess behind. Protests don't generally involve live music and dancing - this one sounds a lot like a street party.

To see what a recent street party in White City was like - read this blog post.

Monday, 3 August 2020

Albertine Goes Al Fresco

Albertine - Outside Dining
It's not all bad news in Shepherd's Bush.  Our local wine bar, The Albertine, has at last won permission from our Council to set out some street furniture, allowing customers to sit outside and eat al fresco.

Wood Lane needs a bit of cheering up, and it's worth reminding Shepherd's Bush residents that eating out just got a lot cheaper - thanks to Chancellor Sunak's "Eat Out to Help Out" scheme, which gives diners 50% off the usual cost.

So let's give some help to Shepherd's Bush's struggling businesses and spend some money.

Monday, 6 July 2020

Threshold House Being Demolished

Threshold House, the 1960s office block on Shepherd's Bush Green that used to house the old Post Office, is being demolished.

After many years of legal wrangling,  the Hoxton Hotel group are building a new hotel on Shepherd's Bush Green. The old building is being swiftly - and remarkably quietly - taken down.

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Friday Night - Trouble in White City

Friday Night in White City
On Friday night, the White City Estate was the site of an incident of some fairly serious public disorder, the latest in a series of illegal street parties turning into riots - and violence against the police.

Anyone trying to get some sleep in West London on Friday night can hardly have missed the noise of the Police helicopters circling overhead. 


But if "Unlicensed music event" sounds to you like some innocent fun on a friday night, think again. Local resident Adam tells the story.

Friday, 3 July 2020

Guerilla Gardening in The Bush

Flowers in Macfarlane Rd
Every now and again, amidst all the noise and grunge of Shepherd's Bush, someone does something that makes you think our neighbourhood is pretty decent after all.

In Macfarlane Rd, one of our neighbours has anonymously and quietly planted flowers in the street next to one of the municipal cherry trees.

This is a quiet act of public-spirited optimism, in part because even flowers often get stolen in Shepherd's Bush. 

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Macfarlane Rd - Meet Your Neighbours on Sunday 5th July

Macfarlane Rd
Residents of Hopgood St, Wood Lane and Macfarlane Rd are cordially invited to come and "Meet Your Neighbours" on Sunday 5th July at 5pm, and celebrate 75 Years of the NHS.

The Corona virus hasn't brought us many benefits (less traffic?) but it has brought some communities closer together.

In Macfarlane Rd, the indefatigable Belinda Mitchell-Innes organised leaflets, a Facebook Group, and a WhatsApp Group to help keep an eye on the most vulnerable and make sure local people stayed safe. This weekend, she is inviting neighbours to a "Street Meet and Greet" at 5pm on Sunday 5th July.

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Albertine Re-Opens on 4th July

Saturday fourth of July is not only American Independence Day but also re-opening day for many restaurants and pubs in the UK.

Our local wine bar, The Albertine is to re-open, and are hosting a soft launch/private opening for their neighbours on Saturday 4th July from 5pm to 7.30.

Under the new rules there are 22 tickets available and people will be seated at tables.  You can buy a ticket on the Albertine reservation system for £15.00

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Corona Testing Comes to Hammersmith

A new Corona testing centre has opened up in Hammersmith, housed inside the Hammersmith Club in Rutland Grove. They've even bagged the handy url www.coronatestcentre.com. The test they use, which I took this morning, is the Boditech Antibody Test, a test developed by a South Korean company.

Google "Boditech Antibody Test" and not a great deal comes up; there is no Wikipedia page yet, for example.  So is it the real deal - is the test worth having?

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Listed Buildings in Shepherd's Bush - Wood Lane Post Box

Listed building on Wood Lane
Think of Listed Buildings and you tend to think of Georgian mansions and stately homes. Here in Shepherd's Bush we have few of those, but we do have a few buildings worthy of preservation.

To find them, follow this link to the listed building website, which gives a handy little map of the architectural high points of our neighbourhood.

Some of them are slightly eccentric, including this Listed Post Box on Wood Lane, which most people probably walk past without giving it a second glance.

On further inspection, it is a very handsome post box.

And woe betide anyone who tries to tear it down. This post box is protected with the full force of the law.

Thursday, 14 May 2020

When Planning Goes Wrong

1A Macfarlane Rd Before (left) and after (right)
1A Macfarlane Rd is a newly built property in Shepherd's Bush which is mainly of interest because the owner, having got planning permission to demolish the old two storey Edwardian structure and build a new four storey building, built something that was quite different from what was approved.

It's an interesting case because most builders follow the approved plans pretty closely. In this case, the owner made significant changes to what was approved. The question now is - what to do about it? Our Council have requested changes to the building, but the owner has now applied for retrospective permission to vary the original plans.

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

New Wood Lane Tower Proposed

Proposed 227 Wood Lane
A new 25 storey tower (see photo, left hand side) is to be built on Wood Lane, near the A40, just West of the ziggurrat tower recently built on the Imperial College London campus in White City.

Architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris have designed a new 29-storey tower block to the north of the A40 at 227 Wood Lane (see photo, left hand side).

The proposed tower would replace Browning House, which is a four-storey social housing block owned by Women’s Pioneer Housing (WPH), a housing association providing specialist accommodation.

The Hammersmith Society, guardians of good architecture in our neighbourhood, is against it, but the area has arguably been ruined anyway.

Saturday, 25 April 2020

Albertine Wine Bar Still Open - Now Doing Home Delivery

Allegra McEvedy at the Albertine
The Albertine, Shepherd's Bush's excellent local wine bar founded and run by celebrity chef Allegra McEvedy, is tenaciously fighting to survive the economic consequences of Covid-19 - by re-inventing itself as a take-out and home delivery kitchen and food shop.

According to a recent article in The Times, the Corona shutdown forced a complete re-invention of one of Shepherd's Bush's favourite wine bars.

On March 17th, when the shutdown began, as McEvedy put it: "on a night we might have taken £1,200, we took just £63." So began the fight to save the business.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Covid-19 Update from Macfarlane Rd

Macfarlane Rd
In Macfarlane Rd, my local corner of Shepherd's Bush, the indefatigable Belinda Mitchell-Innes has been organising leaflets, a Facebook Group, and a WhatsApp Group to help keep an eye on the most vulnerable and make sure local people stay safe.

Belinda also posts a weekly newsletter, offering the latest on how to survive the lockdown in the Bush. See below for Belinda's full local roundup.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Imperial College Campus Almost Complete

Imperial College Campus viewed from South of The Westway
The Imperial College Campus which has been slowly rising on Wood Lane, North of the Westway, is almost finished.

What is now clear is just how very undistinguished the architecture is. An opportunity to create a new and beautiful campus from scratch has been lost; what has been completed is an odd jumble of weird-looking buildings.

The site is dominated by the 34-storey ziggurat which towers over the Westway and was politely described by the Hammersmith Society as "controversial". "Very ugly" would be a better word for this weirdly asymmetrical building which now dominates views north from Shepherd's Bush and White City.

Thursday, 9 April 2020

Riverside Studios Community Events - Now Online

Riverside Studios
Riverside Studios re-opened on the north bank of The Thames this year, a new community arts centre for our neighbourhood.

Covid-19 has not been kind to their program of events, but there is much going on online.

Riverside Studios is hosting many free events to entertain and connect on Zoom.

Highlights include yoga, and a monday Culture Club at 8pm. See below for the full listing.

Monday, 6 April 2020

Bush Hall Needs Your Help

Bush Hall Needs Your Help. Like many businesses in our neighbourhood, Bush Hall has been crippled by Covid-19 and the subsequent Lockdown.

The music venue is therefore "reaching out for your support", hoping to raise money to cover the cost of cancelled gigs and lost revenue.

Bush Hall have set up an emergency crowd funder page and are asking everyone who can, to support them.

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Fighting Corona Virus in the Bush

Macfarlane Rd
The Corona virus hasn't brought many benefits to the Bush but it has brought some communities closer together. In Macfarlane Rd, the indefatigable Belinda Mitchell-Innes has been organising leaflets, a Facebook Group, and a WhatsApp Group to help keep an eye on the most vulnerable and make sure local people stay safe.

Below is an edited version of her latest email, with some useful information on how locals are keeping their heads above water, and how you can get involved.

Thursday, 12 March 2020

New Delina Kitchen at Shepherd's Bush Market

Local chef Nazareth Kelif is opening up a new venture, the New Delina Kitchen, under the arches in Shepherds Bush Market.

The new venture promises "delicious food, excellent cookery classes, and an amazing cultural experience". 

Naz needs to raise £1500 for the setup costs, so she is looking for support at indiegogo.com, hoping to crowdfund the startup costs.

Naz has taken a spacious arch in the market, where she will run cooking classes and serve Ethiopian food.  

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Humans of Shepherd's Bush No 13 - Michael Schumm

Head Teacher Michael Schumm
Michael Schumm is the Headteacher of one of Shepherd's Bush best local primaries - St Stephen’s CE Primary School on the Uxbridge Road.

St Stephen's is a great local school, one where parents are invited work together with staff to produce outcomes which have earned the school the classification of "Outstanding" from Ofsted.

Visit a classroom at St Stephen's and you will see happy children eager to learn, in an environment that feels both challenging (expectations are high) but also supportive and nurturing. Parents are encouraged to get involved and also to put their hands in their pockets for FOSS - Friends of St Stephen's.

In this interview, republished from an original interview at https://www.resource-arm.net/, head teacher Michael Schumm explains how he led St Stephen's from being a failing school in special measures to "Oftsed Outstanding" today.

Friday, 7 February 2020

Dimco "Exhibition London" Opens on Saturday

DIMCO Buildings - open until 3am?
The DIMCO Buildings, The Grade II listed former electrical station which sits at the heart of the Westfield shopping centre, is now an events venue, branded as Exhibition London.

Tomorrow, Saturday 8 February, sees the first event, the band Catfish and The Bottlemen - the first live music show.

Thursday, 30 January 2020

SEN Classes at Music House

Music House for Children on the Uxbridge Road is celebrating 25 years of bringing music to babies, toddlers and children.

Music House on the Uxbridge Road is offering music classes for children with special educational needs (SEN) at a specially discounted rate.

Music House was founded in 1994 by Emma Hutchinson, who also co-owns the Bush Hall and Bush Dining Halls with her husband Charlie.

Music House is a not-for-profit organisation which focuses on making music accessible to all; their pricing for group classes, workshops and events is purposefully kept at affordable rates.

My own children went to Music House when they were very young, and were welcomed by the friendly staff even when they weren't exactly well behaved - which was almost all the time.

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Winter Classes at Kite Studios

Kite Studios in Shepherd's Bush is a local arts centre with a progressive focus on kids with special education needs, or "SEN".

Kite Studios also run classes for adults, such the "Explore Art" class (see flyer to the left) and also a "Drop in and Draw" class (see flyer below)

Kite Studios runs art classes for children with Special Education Needs (SEN) on Thursdays at 4.30pm at their Askew Road home.

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Ceilidh at St Simon's Brook Green on Jan 25th

St Simon's Church in Brook Green is hosting a family-friendly Ceilidh at the church on Saturday, 25 January from 6pm - 8.30pm.

Saturday night is of course Burn's Night - a night of whiskey, haggis and dancing which is pretty much compulsory north of the border and well worth celebrating down south, whether you're Scottish or - like me - Scot-ish.

Thursday, 2 January 2020

Hammersmith Park Ranks No 9 in London "Tranquility Index"

Japanese Garden, Hammersmith Park
According to a recent article in the Evening Standard, Hammersmith Park ranks No9 in a new "tranquillity index" of quite spots in London.

A new start-up has spent the last three years figuring out the most peaceful places to get a break from noise and pollution in London.

They describe hidden spaces in the city which offer a welcome respite from the rat race, and have put together a “tranquillity index” for Londoners.