NEW YEAR HONOURS: Former White City pupil honoured for musical success

A former pupil of Burlington Grammar School for Girls has been recognised in The Queen’s New Year Honours list with one of the highest-ranking awards

Wasfi Kani Dame Honours Shepherd's Bush

Wasfi Kani, 64, was handed the CBE – or Commander of the Order of the British Empire – medal in the latest honours for her services to music.

Born in 1956 to parents who had fled India at Partition to take refuge in the UK, the family moved to west London and Wasfi attended Burlington Grammar School for Girls (now Burlington Danes Academy in White City) where she excelled at music.

The talented violinist played for the National Youth Orchestra and went on to study music at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, before launching Grange Park Opera company in 1997.

The keen musician went on to create Theatre in the Woods, a 700-seat opera house in West Horsley, Surrey, which is the UK’s first new opera house to be built in the 21st century.



NEW YEAR HONOURS: Hammersmith actor Sheila Hancock receives a royal gong

If you see Sheila Hancock out and about, a small bow wouldn’t go amiss. 

The ever-popular actor is now a Dame. Elevated in the recent New Year Honours for her services to the arts and charity work, the Hammersmith resident admits she’s finding it slightly hard to adjust to the title.

“It just doesn’t happen to people like me,” she said. “I’ve never felt myself this sort of person. I feel I may be lowering the tone! I feel slightly miscast, let’s put it that way.”

Sheila Hancock Dame Hammersmith

Return to Hammersmith

Nearing 88, this publican’s daughter – who recently moved back to H&F after living in Chiswick – has been made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her services to drama and charity.

She is a patron and supporter of the London HIV charity The Food Chain, a past winner of The Queen’s award for volunteer organisation of the year, and is also on the board of St Christopher’s Hospice in south east London.

A film maker, Radio 2 DJ and panellist (she was on Just A Minute for nearly half a century, and delighted TV viewers as one of the Grumpy Old Woman), she branched out into writing in 2014 with publication of her debut novel, Miss Carter’s War, charting the social upheaval of the post-war decades through the eyes of a teacher.

She had already written about her life with John Thaw, and about the challenges of coping after his death. She still has 20 box files of letters at home, written by people inspired and comforted by her words on bereavement.

She has a huge affection for W6, having set down her roots in Hammersmith… thanks to the nagging of her window cleaner!

First mortgage

Hammersmith Council gave me my first mortgage,” she said, proudly. “I was living in a basement flat in St Peter’s Square with my first daughter, hanging the nappies up to dry, and Charlie Jackson, the window cleaner, knocked at my window and said a house nearby in Black Lion Lane was coming up for sale. He said I should buy it.

“I didn’t know what a mortgage was, but Charlie took me along to the council and I got a mortgage and a building grant too, as it had an outside loo. I owe everything to dear Charlie; he got me on the housing ladder.

“I paid £3,000 for the house, and eventually paid off the mortgage. We sold it at a profit, and I was off! I love the river, and the diversity of the area, and the fact that we have every single ethnic restaurant you can find.”

Links to the Lyric theatre

Dame Sheila performed many times at the Lyric theatre in Hammersmith, where her daughter then worked as a drama therapist, completing a neat family circle.

“I did several shows at the Lyric, including One To Another, with Beryl Reid, which had sketches by people like NF Simpson and Harold Pinter, who I’d done rep with,” she said.

Other Lyric performances down the years have included Prin (1989), The Way of the World (1992) and Then Again (1997), while she also directed The Soldier’s Fortune in Hammersmith in 1981.

Dame Sheila says she is still ‘endlessly curious’, adding: “If people ask me to do something I’ve never done before, I tend to do it.”

Having already taken part in BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, she will shortly be seen in the Sky television series A Discovery of Witches.

She’s an urban fox at heart, despite (in normal times) spending part of the year living in a tiny hamlet in rural France. “I have to have London,” she said. “If I had to choose, I’d always live in London; it’s so full of surprises. I walk a lot, and I’m always finding something new.”

Don’t be alarmed if Dame Sheila gives you an intent stare if you happen to spot her in Ravenscourt Park. “I am an actor and I’m used to portraying people who are not like me,” she said.

“As an actor I’m always looking at people!”

Lyric Theatre Sheila Hancock

Horton and Garton is open for business - safely and securely

Despite the third national lockdown due to Covid, we are open for business

We are still helping our clients and customers buy, sell and rent properties in the Covid-secure manner that we established last year. You can read our full Covid-19 policy here.

While the Government has confirmed property viewings and moving home are allowed, we need to be extremely vigilant to protect our clients and our staff.

If you are looking to move, please:

  • Follow all of our best practice guide Covid-safe procedures
  • Only request physical viewings if you are seriously considering making an offer on the property
  • Alert us immediately if you are experiencing any symptoms or are self-isolating after being in contact with someone that has tested positive.

Read the full Government guidance on moving home here.

Since the lockdown was announced, I am ensuring that all my staff are being routinely tested at the Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s Covid-19 test centre at 145 King Street, W6.

If you would like more information about their rapid tests or want to get tested yourself at any of their local test centres, please click here.

If you have any questions about your own move or viewings during the current lockdown, please do not hesitate to contact the team on 020 8819 0510.

Horton and Garton

Olympia London will be transformed with huge new live music venue

A live music venue is to be built above Olympia London’s west exhibition hall in a £1.3billion regeneration project.

With 4,400 seats, the new venue will be the largest in West London – overtaking the 3,341-seat Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith. 

Olympia London owners Yoo Capital and Deutsche Finance International, signed the development deal with AEG Presents, which promotes Ed Sheeran, The Rolling Stones and Elton John. 

Chief executive Steve Homer said: “This is very exciting. Olympia is steeped in music history, as far back as Jimi Hendrix in the 60s.”  

New Hyatt Regency and citizenM hotels, with a total of 340 rooms, will support the complex on a 14-acre West Kensington site which will also include a four-screen cinema, 1,500-seat theatre, 40 restaurants and cafes, shops, offices and 2.5 acres of gardens and public space.

The aim is to be open by Christmas 2024. 

Yoo Capital chairman John Hitchcox said: “It’s been a challenging year for the events, live entertainment, retail and hospitality sectors, but this is a clear indication of confidence in this iconic landmark as a destination for culture and creativity.” 

He believes the hub will boost Hammersmith & Fulham’s economy to the tune of £9m a year. 

One reason investors have been so keen to back the project is accessibility. There are seven tube stations within a 15-minute walk. 

“We’re creating more opportunities for all visitors to our iconic London venue,” said Olympia London managing director Nigel Nathan. 

Olympia London opened in 1886 and is the capital’s busiest venue with 200 events attracting 1.6 million visitors a year. As well as Hendrix, big names who have appeared there include Pink Floyd, Rod Stewart, Status Quo, Primal Scream and The Cure. 

Could the new plans for Hammersmith Bridge be the long-awaited solution?

A temporary bridge scheme was announced on the day organisers of the annual Boat Race declared they were moving the money-spinning event to Cambridgeshire

Closed for 18 months to cars and since August to pedestrians and cyclists, Hammersmith Bridge cuts a forlorn – if still majestic – figure in West London’s riverside.

The 133-year-old bridge is broken and dangerous. But it’s also a critical piece of transport infrastructure that’s plunged many lives north and (especially) south of the river into disarray. Specifically, it’s affected the commutes of more than 1,000 pupils who normally cross the bridge every day to attend schools in Hammersmith & Fulham.

And without serious repairs, it’s so unsafe that even the two boats of Oxford and Cambridge are forbidden to speed underneath it for a few seconds once a year. The Times has dubbed Hammersmith Bridge – ‘The Bridge of Shame’ – after the Boat Race announcement and the subsequent discussion of Britain’s crumbling infrastructure.

Without Government funding to Transport for London and Hammersmith & Fulham Council to aid the repairs – estimated to be an eye-watering £141 million – the bridge isn't estimated to be fully functional again for another three years.

New engineering scheme

H&F announced that it had found an inventive new engineering scheme thanks to Sir John Ritblat from developers Delancey, and world leading architects and engineers Foster + Partners.

Now, a temporary raised bridge scheme could make the repairs both faster and cheaper. And it would allow for cars, pedestrians and cyclists to cross while pieces of the historic cast iron bridge are shipped away to be repaired before being replaced.

What do you think? Email: and let us know.


The announcement seemed to catch everyone by surprise. 

Under the proposal, a new raised truss structure would be built above the existing road deck featuring a lower level for pedestrians and cyclists and an upper level for cars and buses. This could all happen within a year of appointing a contractor – including boats passing underneath it.

I am optimistic that we now have a viable option within our grasp that is a win for all,” said H&F Council Leader, Stephen Cowan.

Two challenges

While Roger Ridsdill Smith, head of Structural Engineering at Foster + Partners, said: “We believe that our concept resolves the two challenges for Hammersmith Bridge economically and efficiently: delivering a temporary crossing quickly, whilst providing a safe support to access and refurbish the existing bridge. We appreciate the engagement and contribution from the technical experts in charge of the bridge and look forward to further studies to develop the scheme.”

Will it work? Time will tell, but it should at least dial down the vitriol on all sides. But just like the promise of the Covid vaccine on the horizon, this could be the shot in the arm that West London needs to get back to normal life and routines.







Have you seen the incredible shrinking building of Hammersmith?

The demolition of the ugly and unpopular concrete extension outside Hammersmith Town Hall is almost complete. Few locals are shedding any tears. But keep reading to find out what’s coming next to the site…

From our new corner office in King Street we’ve had a ringside seat to the demolition of the ugly old Hammersmith Town Hall Extension.

If you missed it, watch our time-lapse video of the demolition below.

The Hammersmith Town Hall Extension was never a particularly popular building in terms of its looks. And we’ve waved goodbye with some glee recently as it has shrunk and shrunk, faster and faster. And we’re not alone.

Local resident Eric Williams remembers when the brutalist concrete Extension was built in front of the Grade II-listed Hammersmith Town Hall. He told Horton and Garton: “I remember (vaguely) it being built in the very early Seventies, and how my old house in Studland Street used to tremble when they were pile driving.

“It was an ugly sod of a building, so glad to see the back of it really, but now the old ABC cinema has gone too it’s amazing how much space there suddenly is. Hopefully, it'll be turned back into something resembling the old gardens which used to sit between the town hall and King Street.”

While another resident wrote in to say succinctly: “Good to see the Extension finally coming down. It’s a long time coming!”

Let’s just say we’re all looking forward to the next chapter.

What’s happening now?

Now that it’s been reduced to a pile of rubble, the real show can begin. Which is the construction of the new ‘Civic Campus’ by Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

The new development should go some way to giving a shot in the arm to all the traders in the western end of King Street as it will include:

  • a four-screen cinema
  • genuinely affordable homes for local people
  • performance space for an orchestra
  • homework space for local young people
  • a rooftop bar and café
  • public art gallery space
  • a new public square (so Mr Williams will get his wish,,,).

It’s being hailed by the council as a ‘21st century community asset for all residents’.

Building in stages

The Civic Campus project is being delivered by a joint venture partnership between the council and housing association A2Dominion.

Having completed the demolition works, the new Civic Campus will be built in phases, with the council saying it will be completed by August 2022. With the rest of the campus a year later, finishing the new cinema, the affordable housing and offices by August 2023.

We’ve got the best view

“As soon as the plans for the new Civic Campus were announced, I quickly had two cameras installed outside our King street office as I knew that the footage would be of great interest to many locals,” says John Horton, Director and Founder of Horton and Garton.

“Seeing the site on my way to work each morning, it’s not always obvious what has changed from the day before, it’s only when you see our time-lapse footage that you can comprehend the huge progress that’s been made – it’s great fun to watch!

“In fact, I’ve had ex-residents tuning in from all over the world and getting in touch to comment on the demolition, everyone is happy to see the site getting a new lease of life and we’re all excited to see what happens next.”

Do you have any memories of the ugly old Hammersmith Town Hall Extension? If so, tell us! Email:

To see more pictures from the architect of the Civic Campus, click here

New map of trees in Ravenscourt Park picks 25 of the most magnificent

Horton and Garton supports the Friends of Ravenscourt Park to create its superb new tree trail

When did you last look at trees? I mean, really look at trees? Ravenscourt Park has some remarkable examples, including an unusual Indian Bean Tree, a Chinese Tree of Heaven and a rare female version of a tree whose heritage stretches back 250 million years.

Now, the park’s Friends group has created a tree trail to help identify and appreciate more of the magnificent specimens that fill our wonderful park. The new guide was sponsored and designed by Horton and Garton.

With more than 600 trees to choose from, the Friends of Ravenscourt Park have picked 25 notable examples, and it’s possible to join the tree trail from any of the park’s 10 entry points. 

Park is major draw to area

If you go in from the Memorial Gates on King Street, just up the road from the Horton and Garton office, you’ll spot a North American gem, a Red Oak – named after the colour of its leaves at this time of year. 

But if you enter the park from beside the Ladybird Nursery on Goldhawk Road, the first trees that you’ll spot on your right are ones linked to the coming festive season, Holly. Look out for the red berries that appear in the winter. 

John Horton, founder and director of Horton and Garton, said: "I’m lucky enough to walk through Ravenscourt Park almost every day, and always marvel at the trees, and how they change through the seasons, while still remaining fixed points in the landscape. It makes me appreciate what an asset this is for Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush. 

"As the market leading estate agent for the area, I’m always being told by families looking to move to Hammersmith that Ravenscourt Park is one of the big draws.  

"Which is why Horton and Garton is proud to support the Friends in celebrating the chestnuts, cedars, elms and planes with the Ravenscourt Park Tree Trail, featuring photographs of the trees, to help you identify them and learn about their origins and characteristics." 

Perfect time to visit

The park has never been more popular than during the pandemic, with everyone keen to get out and breathe some fresh air, and enjoy the boost to our wellbeing that comes from being surrounded by trees. 

So congratulations to the Friends for producing the tree guide, and to the Friends’ chair, Annabelle May, for her kind words when she said: "Horton and Garton have a well-deserved reputation for their community spirit as well as for their in-depth local knowledge, so we were delighted when they offered to sponsor the Friends’ new Tree Trail in Ravenscourt Park. It was a pleasure working with them."

You can download the tree trail here: 


Battle of the bins begins in Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush

Many homeowners in W6 and W12 recently woke up to the sight of new wheelie bins and food waste containers outside their front gates. But will the scheme delight or disappoint?

Kerbs across Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush look a bit different now that new food waste containers and wheelie bins have been delivered to some homes.

Large green wheelie bins – for rubbish – and large grey ones – for recycling – were delivered recently. With light grey food waste containers also being delivered separately.

The new service from H&F Council is being rolled out across a limited local area to test the new system, before being potentially expanded across the whole borough depending on resident feedback.

Are you getting new bins? See where the new service is being rolled out.

The pros? The wheelie bins mean that rubbish can be stored safely the pesky foxes. This should spell an end to neighbours waking up to find rubbish strewn across their road. And separating food waste from rubbish means that it’s much better for the environment.

The cons? Well, the rubbish and recycling bins are big and plastic and not so stylish. And with kerb appeal important to many local residents, they may not tickle everyone’s fancy!

So far, responses have varied. From some residents objecting to the huge plastic bins filling their small front gardens, to other residents applauding the council for finally launching a food waste service like neighbouring boroughs.

Social media has been awash with comments from local residents, including Charlie Baker who said: “OMG! Ginormous wheelie bins just delivered. H&F must be joking. The recycling bin is HUGE! Big ugly things ruin front gardens and views from front rooms. Are we supposed to push these monsters out into the street on collection day?”

To which Caroline Macmillan replied: “They are VAST. And UGLY.” And later Diana Rae agreed: “I have four enormous ones in my front garden because we are two flats. As you say, ruins the view from my sitting room.”

There was also support for the scheme. Acton resident John Naulis comforted locals by saying: “I felt exactly the same when Ealing Council introduced these to Acton a few years ago but I have got used to them now. I've grown a bush to hide them from the street. Good points include no more rubbish bags for the foxes to rip open. All the recycling is in a single bin, no need to sort it.

And Matthew Croxford defended the scheme, saying: “It helps recycling/separation of all our rubbish and reduces landfill. Sure, the big bins are definitely ugly but so is London's waste problem. We throw an awful lot of stuff away.” While a hopeful Steph Marinkovic added: “Fingers crossed H&F can roll them out everywhere. Sad to have missed out.”

There is no change to collections days for the homes in the trial area. You can check your current bin collection day here.

If you’ve been using your own bins to store rubbish, H&F say they can collect these from you, to help keep your property clear. Just email:

H&F Council told Horton and Garton:We’re here to listen to concerns and help residents make the most of this great new service. So, if you think you’ve received the wrong number of bins for your property, are concerned about the size, or have any other bin-related queries, please get in touch.”

Want more details? Visit H&F’s food waste and wheeled bins webpage.

Islamic art show explores William Morris’s inspiration

A new online exhibition examines the influence of Islamic art on the British Arts & Crafts movement, and one of Hammersmith’s most famous sons, William Morris.

Entitled ‘A Place in Pattern: Islamic Art and its Influence in British Arts & Crafts’, the show runs until 4 January at The William Morris Society in Upper Mall, Hammersmith. It is curated by researcher and artist Sara Choudhrey.

Using papers and objects from the William Morris Society’s archive and the Emery Walker Trust collection, Dr Choudhrey explores themes of nature, locality and cultural interaction.

Light and shadow

In 1882, Morris wrote: “To us pattern designers, Persia has become a holy land, for there in the process of time our art was perfected, and thence above all places it spread to cover for a while the world, east and west.”

The Walker family were friends and neighbours of the Morrises, and greatly admired Islamic art. They collected pieces on their travels in North Africa, the Middle East and Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The show plays with the effects of light and shadow, textures and form, mixing digital technologies and traditional techniques to bring together three different styles of Islamic art.

There is also an accompanying events programme, which includes online talks and virtual workshops.

The William Morris Society is based in the coach house and basement of Kelmscott House, Morris’s Hammersmith home for the last 18 years of his life.

Get full details of the exhibition here.

It follows the William Morris Society’s first foray into virtual exhibitions, ‘Highlights from the William Morris Society’s Collection’, which helped introduce a broader worldwide online public to the talents of the textile and wallpaper designer, artist, writer and political activist.

Morris lived by the river in Hammersmith from April 1879 until his death in 1896.

Help save Hammersmith's Lyric Theatre

Hammersmith’s Lyric Theatre is turning to its supporters to ask for help to ensure its survival as a top-tier drama centre

The Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith has launched a £50,000 crowdfunding appeal as it wrestles with the effects of the pandemic and works to find a way of safely reopening. 

At stake is not just the flow of award-winning, innovative shows at the restored 600-seat theatre in Lyric Square, but also the community programmes that have introduced many borough youngsters to theatre and provided career openings. 

Director Sian Alexander explained: “The Lyric is a charity, and we rely on ticket sales, bar sales, events, hires and classes for 75 per cent of our income.” 

Artistic director Rachel O’Riordan added: “Our safety curtain is down and the stalls are empty. But we can see this theatre full again, with your help.” 

Critical time

She described the coronavirus suspension as ‘a critical time’, likening it to the challenge of surviving two world wars, and said the Lyric was under financial pressure like never before having been dark for six months. 

The duo have recorded a short video to underline the magnitude of the theatre’s plight in its 125th anniversary year after a successful decade in which nearly two million people have attended shows. 

While emergency Government funding has helped, theatre management had to begin consulting on redundancies last month as it simply can’t afford to keep all staff on when the furlough payment scheme tapers away. Horton and Garton has also helped fundraising for the theatre over the years.

“We’re devastated that our closure has led to some of our talented team being made redundant,” said Sian Alexander.

The crowdfunding drive will help support youth activities at the theatre complex in King Street. The opening of the building’s Reuben foundation wing five years ago has enabled 180,000 teenagers to take part in classes and projects. 

The pandemic is threatening the survival of theatres throughout the country. “Without urgent support we could lose our nation’s amazing theatres,” added the artistic director. 

A series of rewards is on offer for donors to the crowdfunding drive, including golden commemorative pins, posters, backstage tours, tickets, hampers and – when normality returns – hosted parties for groups of friends. 

For more details or to donate, click here