Lyric Fest returns to Hammersmith for a karaoke jam and family day

Evening sing-a-long party and BBQ all part of Lyric Theatre weekend

You’re invited to a mass karaoke session in Lyric Square. It’s one of the highlights of this year’s free Lyric Fest in Hammersmith.

Now in its fourth year, the two-day event hosted by the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, features the Friday evening (July 19) community singalong with the band Ultimate Anthems providing the music.

Hits from the 80s, 90s and Noughties will be featured, to sing and dance to, and the only thing you need to bring along is enthusiasm!

The evening warms up with live acoustic music from Kal Lavelle, plus DJs and a barbecue, on the Lyric’s roof garden from 6pm before the action transfers down to the square below, from 7.30-10.30pm.

Then on Saturday (July 20), there’s a gathering for families and younger children, with theatre, music and storytelling for junior fun-seekers at the Lyric’s family day.

Entry is free, all ages are welcome, and the fun runs from 11am-4pm.

As well as face-painting and giant board games, there will be beatboxing, pop-up children’s theatre performances, arts and crafts stalls, a baby rave and storytelling sessions. There will also be a barbecue in the square.

Organised by the Lyric, in conjunction with Hammersmith BID, the Lyric Fest also includes bee tours… accompanied visits to meet the bees in the three hives on the theatre’s roof.

Around 180,000 Buckfast bees call the theatre’s roof home, and the free tours are limited to eight visitors at a time (with some climbing stairs and walking involved).


Three men and a Panda set off for Mongolia

Hammersmith landscape pro Hew Stevenson grabs his mates and heads out for charity-inspired road trip

Heard the story about the three middle-aged blokes who drove a Fiat Panda 11,000 miles from London to Mongolia? No, us neither.

But this tall tale is about to become a reality for Hammersmith landscaper and Christmas tree trader Hew Stevenson. The well-known founder of Shoots and Leaves garden design and construction firm is packing his bags and heading East on Friday July 26.

Hew (pictured above) will be joined by mates Grant Jacobs and Tony Shilling – dubbed the Mongol Mongrels – as they raise money for a trio of charities during their rally. Their nominated causes include Cancer Research UK, Irish Cancer Society and Prostate Cancer UK. And without even turning the key in the ignition the trio have raised more than £13,000.

Horton and Garton is proud to be sponsoring the guys in their epic quest. John Horton, founder, said: “I wish the guys all the luck in the world. And it looks like they might need it!”

The guys will navigate their 1.2 litre Italian roadster on a ‘planned’ route (cough, cough) departing England via Eurotunnel to France, and then crossing Belgium, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria, pop into Turkey and Iran before turning left to head up through Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, followed by a quick right turn into Mongolia and finally a wee detour into Russia.

What could go wrong?

Grant told us: “When Hew starts a sentence with ‘I had a thought…’ it usually ends with us grabbing our passports, doing a Google Maps search, booking a budget airline and begging forgiveness from our wives. And not always in that order!”

This time, Hew had a rather more grand thought. And after a year in planning: “It’s on like Genghis Khan,” Hew says with a smile.

“We’d like to thank everyone who’s already helped us with the car and the logistics and the donations, which includes local businesses such as Horton and Garton, Fast Signs, Collins Motors, Dawes Paints, TNE Electrical, FOS Electrical and many others,” he added.

If you’d like to wish Hew and his merry crew well on their journey, you’re invited to their farewell party at the Princess Victoria pub in Uxbridge Road on Friday (July 19) from 6pm.

Or if you’d like to donate to their chosen charities or just check out where they’ve broken down along the way, visit: www.mongolmongrels.co.uk for more details.


Headaches in King Street as gas works begin at Hammersmith Broadway

Motorists in Hammersmith are braced for months of disruption as gas works begin in King Street

Gas distributor Cadent Gas is working to replace their 18-inch cast iron main in Hammersmith. Although King Street will remain open to traffic, there will be times when the road will be narrowed. Bus stops will also be affected.

This will affect customers visiting Horton and Garton – please take note!

Motorists in Hammersmith are already smarting after Hammersmith Bridge was recently shut due to safety concerns.

This followed the closure of parts of western King street in 2018 after a major water main burst, left businesses under water and diners to local restaurants scrambling to escape.

Phases of work

The gas main work will be carried out in phases, with the first phase starting from Hammersmith Broadway. The work is set to finish by February 2020. This includes a lengthy Christmas break between early December and early January.

Some side streets will also need to be closed – specifically Leamore Street – and residents should receive a letter through their door ahead of the closure. Warning signs will be displayed prior to any closure.

If you have any questions about the road works, please call Cadent Gas on 0800 389 8261 or email: info@communityrelations.co.uk


Have a riverside stroll and enjoy the Arts & Crafts legends of Hammersmith

New Thames trail guide highlights the rich artistic heritage of W6

The trail – designed for families who want to enjoy a walk while learning a little more about local history – reveals how many artists and craftsmen were drawn to Hammersmith in the late 19th century to be near its two most influential protagonists: William Morris and Sir Emery Walker.

The free, foldable guide includes pictures of historic buildings along the river with information on the personalities who lived in them and their friendships, work and continuing influence. 

The walk starts at The William Morris Society’s premises at 26 Upper Mall and ends at Emery Walker’s House at 7 Hammersmith Terrace – both were restored as part of the Arts & Crafts Hammersmith project.  

The William Morris Society’s headquarters in the Coach House and basement was the venue for lively Socialist meetings in Victorian times. It’s now open as a museum on Thursdays and Saturday afternoons, between noon and 5pm. Free entry.

 

Emery Walker’s House, which was a private home until 1999, has the most complete and authentic Arts & Crafts interiors in the UK and is also open on Thursdays and Saturdays for hour-long guided tours at 11am, 1pm and 3pm which can be booked online. 

A free hard copy of the trail can be picked up at either The William Morris Society Museum or Emery Walker’s House. Or you can view and download by clicking here.


Hammersmith’s iconic bridge will take years to repair

Cyclists rejoice while motorists are in despair. What is going on with Hammersmith Bridge and when will it be fixed?

Hammersmith & Fulham Council and the Mayor of London have spent the week talking about the future of Hammersmith Bridge. The result? It will take years for the bridge to be repaired and take the weight of vehicles again, they say. So for now, pedestrians and cyclists have the invaluable river crossing to themselves. 

On Tuesday night (June 18), the council’s Leader – Cllr Stephen Cowan – spoke to residents at a town hall public meeting (pictured below) pledging to ‘restore the bridge to its Victorian splendour’. The small audience heard about the unique problems in the iconic structure and the difficulty in repairing it.

The safety checks revealed that over decades the bridge’s bearings had seized up due to corrosion. This has caused the bridge’s natural and necessary flexibility to become compromised.

The bridge was closed to motor vehicles in April after engineers discovered hairline micro-fractures had started to appear in the iron casings around the pedestals of the bridge.

You can read more about the bridge here.

On Wednesday night, the Hammersmith leader spoke at a residents’ meeting hosted by Richmond Council and repeated the pledge to restore the bridge. He also described how they were working with TfL to create a plan for the repairs and solve the funding problem.

Unlike the public meeting in Hammersmith, the Richmond trip was a hot ticket. The council had such interest that they held back-to-back meetings to accommodate interested residents. Many asked why a new bridge couldn’t be built on the site.

Notably, Cllr Cowan promised to launch a ‘buggy’ service that would help older residents or those with mobility problems cross the bridge.

And on Thursday, the Mayor of London – Sadiq Khan – told City Hall members that a plan and funding package for the bridge repairs would not be ready until August.

Cue more groans from drivers.

Yet strangely, the limited data seems to suggest that motorists are getting out of their cars. Yes, some drivers are just choosing Putney Bridge or Chiswick Bridge instead. But others are – in technical terms – ‘evaporating’. Which means they’re just not making their journeys by car.

Given London’s severe air pollution problem is this such a bad thing?

Nevertheless, it’s good to hear both the Mayor and the council finally getting serious about the project. London needs more crossings to accommodate all modes of transport – from cyclists to TfL’s new (very heavy) electric bus fleet. 


Artists at Home: Interview with Hammersmith painter Ben Johnson

The artists of Chiswick, Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush throw open their doors again this weekend, giving you the chance to tour their studios and meet the creative talents.

Artists at Home covers 63 studios featuring painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, printing, mosaic, ceramics, needlework, jewellery and textiles.

The event starts on Friday (June 14) from 6pm to 9pm, and runs through the Saturday and Sunday, 11am-6pm. Once again, Horton and Garton is sponsoring the festival.

Among those taking part is Hammersmith artist Ben Johnson, whose home studio overlooks the river near the Black Lion pub and who will be opening 4 St Peter’s Wharf, Chiswick Mall, W6, to visitors. Sharing the space for Artists at Home is abstract landscapist Jenny Price.

Ben, who has worked in Hammersmith for half a century, is a hyperrealist, focusing on the precise detail of architecture and building expansive panoramic cityscapes.

“I’ll have a two-part display,” he explained. “The first part is a completed painting, two metres by 2.5 metres, based on a building at the heart of The Fin Gardens in Kashan, Iran.”

The painting (above) has taken two years to complete - a far-from-unusual timespan in Ben’s meticulous approach to his art - and will be exhibited alongside many of the studies for the final canvas.

A celebration of Persian/Iranian culture and architecture, it is likely to be the only time the painting will be seen in public before it enters a private collection.

In the second part of his studio show is ‘a selection of drawings from a recent obsession with using natural forces in combination with traditional artist’s materials to make marks’.

A departure from his customary precision painting, the technique is like an Aeolian harp in music, with air currents creating the notes. In this case, the wind moves pens and pencils to create what at first looks like random strokes, but which add up to natural geometric patterns.

Once Artists at Home has finished, Ben resumes work at his other studio in the heart of Hammersmith on a series of paintings based on contemporary architecture. Other local artists joining in the weekend’s open studio sessions include:

Sandi Friend, photography, at 20 Eyot Gardens, W6

Diana Everett and Patricia Wyndham, watercolours, 58 Black Lion Lane, W6

Caroline Winn, ceramics, 3 Western Terrace, W6

Rachel Busch, Lindsay Harvey and Lucy Strathon, printmakers, 32 Cleveland Avenue, W4

Sally Grumbridge and Tania Beaumont, prints, 31 Cleveland Avenue, W4

Linda Bloomfield, ceramics, 21 Flanchford Road, W12

Lisa Stocking, drawing, 26 Rylett Crescent, W12

Kate Fishenden and Jonathan Mercer, prints, 9 Greenside Road, W12

Milton Grubert, painting, 6 Askew Mansions, Askew Road, W12

Francesca Boyd, stained glass, 52 Askew Crescent, W12

A full brochure of participating artists, studios and map is available here


Diary of an Estate Agent: It is survival of the fittest

Independent local agents are stealing the march on their corporate competitors. And long may it continue, says John Horton.

New figures show that 284 offices of estate agents shut down last year – which represents 3.4% of the total number of estate agency offices in Britain.

This was far more than other industries, such as newsagents, women’s fashion stores, delis, hairdressers, Indian restaurants and florists. Over the past few months, I’ve read more and more reports about offices closing down.

It’s survival of the fittest for today’s high street businesses. And more specifically, restructuring of the estate agency industry is needed to weed out the uncompetitive and unprofessional practices within the property world.

It’s no surprise for me that the most highly successful west London estate agency offices today are the established independent agents. While the larger corporate companies are struggling with the challenges of the changing marketplace.  

Many questions still remain: is it just poorly performing businesses that have failed to plan? Is it the greedy commercial landlords charging sky-high rents? Is it onerous business rates? Is it the tenant fee ban? Is it the lack of quality staff and service? Or is it just everyone’s favourite top of Brexit to blame?

In my opinion, it’s a mix of all these factors.

But here at Horton and Garton, we’re proud to say that we continue to expand our market share and grow our business while other agents fail.

There are a growing number of empty and vacant shops in our high streets, and no existing trading business likes an empty unit/shop as their neighbour.

The high street is dying because of our changing habits as consumers. If you cannot demonstrate the quality of what you’re adding as a professional service, then consumers will often choose the service and buy on lowest price. But when it comes to selling or letting your property, you get what you pay for. Call your local, experienced agents and choose carefully.

While it can be a considerable investment to appoint the best local estate agent, it can be far more expensive to appoint the wrong one and watch as they fail to deliver the best result. In today’s market, the client will only know how expensive a struggling agent is until the property fails to sell.

The very good news for Horton and Garton and our clients is that we are experiencing a very promising start to 2019 and we continue to achieving excellent results for our vendors and landlords. Our sales and lettings teams are still busy and we’re continuing to grow our market share by working with the very best clients and their properties in Hammersmith, Shepherds Bush and Chiswick.

Our success has been down to accurate and realistic valuing accompanied by a clear marketing strategy tailored to each property. If you would like Horton and Garton to look after you and your property, please pop into the office or give us a call.


ArtsFest is back with packed nine-day festival

The festival celebrates the fantastic work of local artists with a series of (mostly) free events

This year’s festival runs from June 1 to 9. As ever, it’s supported by H&F Council and includes exhibitions, drama, live music, film screenings, walking tours and more at various local venues.

This year’s festival sees the return of JOY with a bigger and better line-up of theatre, music and dance shows celebrating local disabled people. It will showcase the works of already established artists and reach out across the community to emerging disabled artists and those who have not previously been involved in the arts. Check out the JOY programme schedule produced by Turtle Key Arts with support from the Lyric Hammersmith. 

"HF ArtsFest is excited about its most ambitious festival to date with new artists and partners on board as well as old favourites returning to the festival,” said Flora Herberich, Producer for HF ArtsFest.

Highlights at this year’s ArtsFest also include:

  • The Unity Choir in Lyric Square.
  • Photojournalism exhibition ‘Marginal’at the Re:Centre in Fulham Palace Road.
  • Reggae exhibition at the legendary Peckings Studio One record shop in Askew Road (pictured below).
  • Explore what you can do to help make our planet more sustainable with Open Cell and friends at Old Laundry Yard in Shepherds Bush.
  • Walking tour of the TV programmes produced in the borough.
  • ‘Hedgehogs Don’t Live in the City!’
  • Happy 150th year Periodic Table banner project in White City.

For more details of events and times, click here


Historic Buildings Group and HF ArtsFest host two walks

You're invited to Hammersmith riverside and Shepherds Bush film history walks

As part of this year's HF ArtsFest , the Historic Buildings Group  in Hammersmith & Fulham is organising two walks:

Walk 1 
Hammersmith Riverside 
2 June
230pm

This walk from Putney Bridge to Furnivall Gardens will look at the buildings and the art works along the Thames. Leader is John Goodier.

Walk 2 
Television and Film History 
9 June
2.30pm

Starting at Shepherds Bush Green, this walk will look at the many buildings in the area that have been used in the many processes in the production of TV programmes. Leader is Adrian Bray.

ArtsFest runs from June 1-9. Tickets on the door at £5. To book either of the Historic Buildings Group walks, e-mail: john.goodier7421@btinternet.com

For more details, click here


St Peter's Church hosts Eighties inspired sing-a-long for charity

SingWest invites you to sing and raise money for Duchenne UK

Enjoy the music of the Eighties? Look no further! Join the fun at a special night in Hammersmith's St Peter's Church to sing the classic Simple Minds tune 'Don’t You Forget About Me'. It's all for a very good cause. 

The song was memorably featured in 1985 cult classic John Hughes film, The Breakfast Club

The SingWest evening will help raise money for Duchenne UK, the charity that is doing everything it can to fund and accelerate treatments and a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy within the next decade. DMD is a devastating muscle wasting disease and is the most common genetic killer of children worldwide. 

SingWest is two informal choirs in west London that meet weekly to sing contemporary, gospel and choral music. Both choirs are open, inclusive and relaxed. No members are especially talented vocalists, some are genuinely awful they tell us.

That's why absolutely no singing talent is required. And once you've wet your whistle, join your fellow singers for a few drinks afterwards at The Cross Keys pub in South Black Lion Lane. Tickets are £15 and all proceeds go to Duchenne UK.

Click here to book your place