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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

Outlook for the Chiswick property market 2021


As the new year begins Paul Cooney, Director of Horton and Garton Chiswick, has considered the outlook for the Chiswick property market in 2021 and shares his thoughts.

With over 11 years working in Chiswick and West London, Paul has sold hundreds of properties in the area and has weathered many a political and economic storm during his time working as an estate agent.

Based on historical trends and the appetite seen in the property market in recent months, Paul is able to share insight useful to those who are considering buying or selling in W4 in 2021.

Review of 2020

First, as a basis for any forecasts, a brief look at the events of 2020 and how the year concluded.

Following a decisive election result the Conservative party took the reins at the end of 2019 and the property market responded strongly at the beginning of 2020 with what was dubbed the ‘Boris Bounce’; property prices began to rise and the number of transactions increased.

The momentum of the market was abruptly halted by the coronavirus as the UK was placed into a national lockdown and the property market effectively closed for business for many weeks. Though some transactions were able to continue, for those that had already been agreed activity was paused.

Upon reopening in mid-May 2020, the property market generally picked up where it left off as pent-up demand increased the activity in the market. This busyness in the market propelled even further by the announcement of a stamp duty holiday in July 2020.

High levels of activity continued throughout the remainder of the year, the property market remaining open through the second national lockdown in November 2020.

Testament to the high levels of activity, we sold 98% of all the properties that we listed for sale in 2020.

properties sold 2020 Chiswick

Outlook for 2021

The UK property market predictions for 2021 from economic forecasters and industry experts are varied. Though there is a general consensus that there will be a marginal average price increase of a few per cent over the year.

In agreement with these forecasters, we believe that in 2021 we will see market stabilisation, adjustment and a steady rate of price growth.

The strongest demand is likely to continue to be for larger properties and those with outside space. There was a distinct lack of family homes available for sale in 2020 – those priced correctly would sell in a matter of days, we expect this to continue.

Throughout 2020 we sold properties of all shapes and sizes though there was clearly a stronger demand for homes valued at £750,000 or more with 72% of all the sales completed by Horton and Garton Chiswick in 2020 being at these values.

properties sold 2020 Chiswick sales agreed

Though the stamp duty holiday will be coming to an end in March we expect this to only have a limited impact as the majority of homes in Chiswick are in a higher price bracket than those who benefit most from the temporary reduction in rates. Though the stamp duty holiday is a welcome saving to anyone able to buy before the deadline.

To this end it is still possible to buy or sell before the end of March when the reduced rates will end. If you’re hoping to complete a transaction before the 31st March 2021, we strongly recommend you find the best possible team to help the purchase or sale conclude in a timely manner. Engaging with the best local estate agent, a reputable solicitor and an efficient mortgage broker will enable you to complete a transaction swiftly.

Contact Horton and Garton about your plans to move in 2021.

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.

John Horton MNAEA MARLA
Director
Horton and Garton

25 Christmas cracker jokes🎅


This festive season, many of us might be struggling to find something to laugh about. And with many parts of the country under the toughest government restrictions and facing Christmases without their families, the sales of Christmas crackers have hit a historic low.

That's why we decided that West London was in dire need of a cheesy cracker joke injection and, since the start of December, we've been posting a Christmas cracker-worthy joke everyday.

We hope you enjoy them, and be sure to share your favourites around the table to ensure LOLs a-plenty on the 25th.

  1. Why does Donald Trump have his Christmas dinner on a plastic plate? Answer: Because he doesn't like China!
  2. What did Santa do to the underperforming elves? Answer: He gave them the sack.
  3. Why did the children start to eat their new jigsaw puzzle on Christmas day? Answer: Their mum said it would be a piece of cake.
  4. Why did Rudolph log on to Amazon when his tail fell off? Answer: Because they're the biggest online re-tailers.
  5. Why did the mum buy her son a fridge for Christmas? Answer: Because she wanted to see his face light up when he opened it.
  6. How do you know that Santa is an expert in Karate? Answer: Because he has a black belt.
  7. What do composers write in December? Answer: Their Christmas Chopin lists.
  8. What do you call a child who doesn't believe in Santa? Answer: A rebel without a Claus.
  9. How much did Father Christmas pay for his sleigh? Answer: Nothing, it was on the house.
  10. Why is Father Christmas trying to go down fewer sooty chimneys this year? Answer: He wants to reduce his carbon footprint.
  11. What did West Londoners do during Tier 3 lockdown to amuse themselves? Answer: They made inside jokes.
  12. What did the detective say when asked if Joe Exotic was guilty? Answer: I don't know, let me mullet over...
  13. What do you call the panic buying of sausages in Germany? Answer: The wurst case scenario.
  14. Why wont Santa lose any of his presents this year? Answer: He's downloaded Sack and Trace.
  15. Why couldn't Mary and Joseph join their work conference call? Answer: There was no Zoom at the inn.
  16. Why are Christmas trees so bad at sewing? Answer: They're always dropping their needles.
  17. Why did the pirates have to go into lockdown? Answer: Because the "ARR!" rate had risen.
  18. Why is it best to think of 2020 like a panto? Answer: Because soon, it's behind you.
  19. Why didn't Mary and Joseph make it to Bethlehem? Answer: Because all Virgin flights had been cancelled.
  20. Which government scheme supports Christmas dinner? Answer: Eat Sprout to Help Out.
  21. Which athlete is warmest in winter? Answer: Long jumpers.
  22. What are the best Christmas jumpers made from? Answer: Fleece Navidad.
  23. Who is a Christmas tree's favorite singer? Answer: Spruce Springsteen
  24. What's the difference between the Christmas alphabet and the ordinary alphabet? Answer: The Christmas alphabet has noel.
  25. What is Dominic Cummings’ favourite Christmas song? Answer:  Driving Home for Christmas.

We hope these put a smile on your face and encourage you tell some turkeys of your own!

On behalf of everyone at Horton and Garton, we wish all of our West London clients a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year! 

Paying it forward in 2020 and beyond


A Christmas message on charity from our founder John Horton

"To put it mildly, 2020 has been a tough year. For independent businesses, for those working in hospitality or the arts, and the many charities that are working harder than ever to provide support during this time.

That's why, in a year when many have cut back and reduced their charity outreach spends, we decided to lean in and give back as much as we could to the communities that have helped us to thrive over the past 12 months. In total, we supported 19 community organisations, charities and local events in 2021.

As Jacob Marley so succinctly summarised in A Christmas Carol, ‘Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were all my business. The deals of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!’ As market leaders in our respective neighbourhoods, our Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush office and Chiswick office are extremely fortunate to be in a position to help:

Community and charity events

Back in February (when events didn't involve a computer screen), we supported RNLI Chiswick in organising their annual comedy night and in 2021, pandemic permitting, we hope to do the same again. From February 2020 on, all the community events we support turned virtual- but that didn't stop the community spirit.

There were the West London artists that took the annual 'Artists at Home' event online, not only uploading their work onto 'virtual galleries', but sending off the year in style raising over £11,000 for local charity The Upper Room with their Christmas online auction.

In Shepherd's Bush, we further supported The Upper Room as they tried to salvage their yearly 'Open Gardens Day' which sees local homeowners allow members of the public to take a tour of their gorgeous gardens. This day is one of the Upper Room's most popular fundraising events of the year, so having to cancel it was a major blow to the organisation. Fortunately, friend of the charity Emma Benton had the great idea of creating a 'Gardens of Stamford Brook 2021 calendar' instead which we took great pleasure in designing and printing. The result is an inside peek into the beautiful backyards hidden around the area, and can be bought here for just £10 plus postage. 

In Hammersmith, we worked closely with the Brackenbury Residents Association supporting the lighting of the Brackenbury Village Christmas tree and their annual quiz. Then back in W4, our Chiswick branch brought the festive fun supporting the Southfield PTA's Christmas jumper hunt in Bedford Park.

Competitions

Christmas is a time for giving, and a time for a giveaway. And for West London residents, the giveaways kept coming as we provided wonderful prizes for the Brackenbury Village Christmas Scarecrow competition, and Director of Chiswick sales Paul Cooney MNAEA organised his own Christmas Tree decorating competition.

Then with the Hogarth 500 – organised by the fantastic people at West London’s finest private members’ club The Hogarth, we brought the competition into the office as our 'In-Office' team and our 'Work From Home' team were pitted against each other (and the rest of Chiswick, Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush!) in a race to reach 500 miles through running, rowing, walking or cycling. Sadly, neither team took home first prize, but we did help to raise over £3,500 for the Sport in Mind charity.

The year ahead

2021 will see the rollout of the Ravenscourt Park Tree Trail that we helped the Friends of Ravenscourt Park to produce earlier this year. We were delighted to be involved in the creation of this map and hope that 2021 will bring more opportunities to support community projects like this. If you're part of a community group or organisation and think we can lend a hand next year, don't hesitate to reach out to us.

We look forward to (hopefully!) seeing you all again in the new year and wish you a happy and healthy 2021."

John Horton MNAEA MARLA, Founder and Director, Horton and Garton

A Very 2020 West London Nativity


Mary was sitting in her garden with a cup of tea and a slice of buttered homemade sourdough. Despite Nazareth’s Tier 3 restrictions, she was feeling smug as she’d finished her chores and even squeezed in a Joe Wicks PE session so she had a moment of free time before her Teams meeting at 11.  

Just as she was dozing off into a reverie about owning her own exotic tiger park in Oklahoma, an angel appeared from a socially distanced 2 metres away (but he didn’t have a mask on as they were outside). The angel told her she was to have a baby. He would be God’s son – a light for all the people of the world – and she was to call him Jesus. Mary was a little confused at first, “but then again everything is a bit confusing at the moment” she thought. She wondered if this was fake news, but with a bit of Googling and a lot of praying she realized that this really was God’s plan. And so she said “Yes.” 

She told her fiancé Joseph, “A miracle has happened” to which he replied, “Have the pubs reopened?!” “No” said Mary,“I’m pregnant.” Joseph wasn’t convinced… at least not until the angel paid him a visit, too. “Don’t worry,” Joseph said to Mary, “we can bring the wedding forward. We’ll need to cut down the guest list but we can livestream the service to everyone else on Facebook.” 

A few months went by, lockdown was eased a little and then tightened again, and it was almost time for the baby to be born. The Prime Minister said that Mary and Joseph needed to go to Bethlehem to be counted (even though last week the PM had also said they shouldn’t make unnecessary journeys which confused them: Stay Home, Stay Safe, Get Counted?!). They wondered and wondered what to do… they knew if they weren’t counted they wouldn’t be able to get Universal Credit, and with the carpentry business struggling, they really needed help.

So they reluctantly agreed to go – even though Bethlehem was increasing to Tier 3They decided it would be safer if they avoided public transport so they went by donkey using the D9 donkey highway, newly installed by the council to encourage donkey travel. If anyone stopped them, they would say they were taking their daily exercise with the family pet. So they packed up their belongings, including their secret stash of plain flour and loo roll, and set off heading south. 

When they got to Bethlehem, it was busier than they expected for a little town on the brink of a Tier 3 lockdownNo wonder the R rate was increasing! They tried to find somewhere to stay but it was hopeless. The first inn they came to was closed with the staff on furlough; the second inn was open but only for takeaways which had to be ordered online and collected from the carpark. They knocked on the door of the final inn. “We’re travelling from Nazareth to be counted. My wife is heavily pregnant and we desperately need a place to stay.” 

“Travelling in the middle of lockdown?” the innkeeper thought“Leave it to the northerners to spoil it for everyone, he sighed quietly under his breath. “We’re open,” said the innkeeper to Mary and Joseph, “but we’re full of keyworkers who are away from their families.” Mary was close to tears and the innkeeper noticed her eyes welling up. “I can see how tired you are,” he continued. “The E-Type is in the shop for repair,” he pondered. “How about the garage at the back? It’s directly under the flight path but these days it’s very quiet and there’s a Banham security system so you’ll be safe for the night.” 

And so Mary and Joseph settled down to sleep, but in the middle of the night the baby was born – which meant that Joseph could be there, which was good. They wrapped baby Jesus in a blanket and placed him in an empty Fortnum & Mason hamper.  

There were shepherds in the fields nearby watching their sheep (after all, they couldn’t work from home, could they?). They’d been in a work bubble since the second lockdown began and were watching “Strictly Come Dancing" on their phones with a wry smile, hoping against hope that Hammersmith local Bill Bailey would win the 2020 Glitter Ball. All of a sudden, a heavenly host appeared, singing. Well, not quite a host and not actually singing – just humming – and behind full PPE, mask and visor! The shepherds were used to listening intently across the fields and so had no trouble making out what the angels were telling them: a baby had been born who would be their King, and they could ‘meet’ him on Zoom. After a tussle with an overloaded rural broadband, they managed to connect and meet the baby Jesus, though Mary couldn’t figure out how to unmute herself. 

Quite a long way away and not within the travel corridor were three kings. A star had told them about the king as the angels would have had to spend too long in quarantine if they’d gone to visit. They made the journey to Bethlehem walking at a safe distance from one another, only stopping for the occasional M&S sandwich.  

When they arrived in Bethlehem, they found the garage. They sanitized, scanned the test and trace QR code on their apps and one at a time were able to go and see the new baby who was safely tucked up behind a perspex screen. They texted Joseph the Hermes tracking code for their gifts which would need to be left for 72 hours before opening. The kings bowed down before the King of kings and said their goodbyes. Then they each whipped out a handy antibacterial wipe to sanitise the garage door handle for the next visitor. 

And the baby? He smiled, yawned and went back to sleep, like all babies do. 

The details of His birth would be different if Jesus was born in 2020 and not in the 1st century, but the truth of Christmas and the importance of Christmas is the same now, as it was then. A heavenly King, born into our earthly mess. A shepherd King – for kings and for shepherds. May the peace of Jesus be yours in Christmas 2020 and always. 

Written by John Horton, Founder and Director of Horton and Garton Estate Agency, with the help of Rector Rachel Dale, parish of Lapley and Wheaton Aston, Stafford CofE 

Chiswick’s Christmas tree decorating competition


Adding to the festive cheer in W4, the Horton and Garton Chiswick office has teamed up with Mummy Wine Club and is running a Christmas tree decorating competition this December.

They’re searching all of Chiswick in the hunt for the best decorated tree and have some exciting prizes available to be won.

The competition

Is your Christmas tree the best decorated in all of Chiswick?

The competition is running from Monday 7th to Wednesday 16th December and to enter the contest, W4 residents should head over to Instagram and follow these steps:

Step 1: Follow @paul.m.cooney and @mummywineclub on Instagram.

Step 2: Add the hashtag #bestctw4 to the photo of your own Christmas tree.

Paul Cooney, Director of Horton & Garton’s Chiswick office will be selecting the winner on Thursday 17th December.

Simply follow Paul and Mummy Wine Club, upload your photo to your stories or grid, #bestctw4 and wait eagerly for news on Thursday 17th December as to whether you’ve won 1 of the 3 prizes available!

Festive prizes

1st prize - a 12 bottle case of delicious wine from Mummy Wine Club including:

Marie Courtin, Efflorescence 2014 Champagne, France £69 

Charles Heidsieck Brut NV Champagne, France £50  

Recaredo, Corpinnat Brut Nature 2015 Catalunya, Spain £33

Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2014 Kent, England £68  

Tolpuddle Chardonnay 2019 Tasmania, Australia £60 

Gerard Fiou, Terroir Silex 2018 Sancerre, France £26  

Olivier Roten, Heida 2019 Valais, Switzerland £36

Chateau Musar Blanc 2012 Bekaa Valley, Lebanon £36 

Bodegas Ontañón, Queirón Mi Lugar 2017 Rioja, Spain £32  

Chateau de Chambert 2014 Cahors, France £26  

Cos Cerasuelo di Vittoria 2016 Sicily, Italy £26   

Wabi Sabi, Populis 2018 California, USA £34

2nd prize - large Christmas hamper made by 1990 Gluten Free Homemade worth £150.

3rd prize - a small Christmas hamper made by 1990 Gluten Free Homemade worth £75.

Paul will be delivering the prizes in person on Friday 18th December.

Rules of entry

All competition entries must live within the W4 postcode and be aged 25 or over.

The competition will run from Monday 7th to Wednesday 16th December inclusively – images must be shared no later than the 16th December 2020.

The competition is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Instagram.

By entering, entrants confirm that they are 25+ years old, relieve Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s terms of use. 

Mummy Wine Club

For those of you who haven’t heard about the wonderful Mummy Wine Club or haven’t seen Paul’s recent posts about local Chiswick resident Victoria and her growing business, here’s what you need to know.

Established in 2018 Mummy Wine Club is a locally run wine company that champions small, sustainable and organic producers and puts wine into context with food matching ideas. 

Mummy Wine Club is known for its monthly wine subscription which is available for delivery throughout mainland UK. Hand selected by Victoria; each month 4 delicious wines are delivered to the recipient together with food matching tips. The wine subscription can be purchased as a gift – perfect for Christmas!

Victoria also runs educational and fun virtual wine tastings which have seen a huge rise in popularity through 2020. 

The bottle shop on the Mummy Wine Club website serves as the perfect place to find hand selected wines including limited editions. Victoria includes wines at varying price points in the selection available on her website with prices starting from £11.

Supporting local this Christmas

We’re particularly passionate about supporting local businesses and Christmas is a time when it’s possible to choose to shop locally and make a difference to local businesses that have endured so much this year.

Paul is running a shop local series on his Instagram and a recently published blog on shopping locally in Chiswick shares lots of ideas for places to purchase gifts, decorations and food this year.

Please do share this competition with your friends in Chiswick, we can’t wait to see all the beautiful trees.

 

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. 

Christmas shopping in Chiswick – Support local independents in 2020


Retailers have had to think outside the box and change the way they sell items throughout 2020, there’s never been a more important time to support local businesses.

Here we highlight a few of the places you might want to stop by, arrange a click & collect or order online for delivery this December to purchase presents, festive food and decorations when Christmas shopping in Chiswick.

Wheelers

Local garden centre, Wheelers is nestled just next to Turnham Green tube station, and is a longstanding feature of Chiswick with several flower stands dotted along the High Road and of course the flower stand next to the station itself.

From November, they sell a wide selection of beautiful festive home decorations and Christmas trees both cut and potted. They also sell gorgeous festive arrangements.

If you’re looking to add an indoor plant to your collection, or purchase one as a gift this year, Wheeler’s recommends a Peace Lily, Snake Plant or Boston fern as all have excellent air purifying qualities.

Snapdragon

A truly independent toy store, Snap Dragon is a an exciting shop catering to children in Chiswick. The shelves are stacked from floor to ceiling with toys to suit all ages.

From Lego to Jellycat cuddly toys, board games, costumes, craft kits, puzzles and all the popular characters children go mad for – it’s the perfect place to shop for the younger people on your Christmas present list.

You can find Snap Dragon mid-way down Turnham Green Terrace at number 56.

Marmalade jewellery

Specialists in making truly unique items of jewellery and in particular magnificent engagement, wedding and eternity rings, Marmalade Jewellery brings sparkle and glamour to Turnham Green Terrace.

With certified gemmologists, jewellery valuers and even a GemLab on site, their team can give you their expert knowledge on finding the perfect gemstone to compliment you. As well as alongside the beautiful rings, is a gorgeous range of British-designer silver jewellery, cufflinks and gift items. Marmalade is the perfect place to stop when looking for a Christmas gift for someone special in your life.

Elias and Grandsons

For generations Elias and Grandsons has been making and repairing shoes and leather items from their shop on Chiswick Common Road, which is just off of Turnham Green Terrace, by the common, before the bus stop if you’re coming from Chiswick High Road.

Their tucked away premises are frequented by locals who rely on them for their excellent services and beautiful leather goods. From stocking fillers to larger gifts Elias and Sons is a ‘must visit’ when seeking Christmas gifts.

Wild Swans

Located at 14 Devonshire Road, Wild Swans sell Scandinavian fashion, beauty and homeware. With a constantly evolving selection of labels you can be sure to be purchasing something a little more special.

The collection includes both up and coming designers and more established ones, many of whom are exclusive to Wild Swans and not available in any other shops in the UK. As many of us move to make our homes emulate Scandi simplicity to instil calm, it’s highly likely you will be able to find a perfect gift here.

Borough Kitchen

Since Borough Kitchen opened their Chiswick store on the High Road they’ve been a firm favourite with locals known to sell only the very best kitchen products.

From pickling kits to egg coddlers, nutcrackers and spice infusers there’s an excellent selection of smaller items that will make the perfect stocking filler for any budding chef. There are also excellent larger gifts, all carefully curated, you can be sure you’ll only be purchasing the highest quality items that are designed for heavy use and set to last.

Mummy Wine Club

Not all local independent stores have a shop front –  Mummy Wine Club founded by long-time local Victoria Daskal, is a Chiswick-based wine company which offers a monthly wine subscription. Each month (or every other month if preferred) a selection of carefully chosen organic and sustainable wines sourced from small, quality producers is shipped to subscribers.

If you’re looking for something a little different, something special that gives the recipient not only delicious wine but tips on food matching and professional tasting notes, as well as monthly educational and entertaining virtual wine tastings then the Mummy Wine Club could be the perfect Christmas gift.

Postmark

Independent and award winning greeting card retailer Postmark has just four shops in south and west London, if you’re looking to wrap your Christmas gifts in something stand out or want to send cards that aren’t the standard styles found at the larger chain stores then Postmark is the perfect place to look.

They stock Christmas cards, wrap, bags and larger packs of cards together with a selection of diaries and smaller stationary gifts including Lamy pens. The Chiswick store has been open since 2014 but in case you don’t know where to find them, they’re at 53 Turnham Green Terrace.

Macken Brothers

If you live in Chiswick and enjoy eating good meat, it’s likely you’ve stood in the queue outside Macken’s on a Saturday at some point – their popularity is down to the incredibly high-quality meats on offer and of course the service with a smile. All the meat is produced from UK small farms with no additives or growth promoters, all naturally grass fed.

They also hand out excellent cooking tips if you need them!

Established in 1960 by brothers Jim and Peter Macken and now run by Jim's son Rodney, Macken Brothers Butchers is a long-standing feature of Turnham Green Terrace.

The last day for ordering a Christmas turkey for 2020 is Saturday 19th December, if you’d like a change this year Rodney recommends either a Judy Goodman Goose or a Packington Cockerel which comes in 3-6kg in weight!

Fudges

One of London’s oldest independent bicycle retailers, many in West London will only trust Fudges when making a purchase or for services and repairs.

Fudges have everything from the recreational kids and adults’ bikes to commuters and electric bikes. They sell well known brands such as Brompton and Raleigh along with lesser known brands, they’ll even help you source hard to find bicycles and parts.

Not limited to bikes Fudges also sell scooters, cargo bikes and child seats – a great place to shop local if you’re planning on buying a bike or scooter this Christmas.

Chiswick Pets

Year round Chiswick Pets is the local go to for natural and organic pet food, treat and toys. They also supply bedding, training aids and cleaning and other supplies for a wide range of animals.

If you’re planning on purchasing your pet a special Christmas treat or toy, Chiswick Pets can help – they’re located at 32-34 Devonshire Road

Zen Maitri

Health is well and truly at the forefront of minds, so a visit to Zen Maitri, Chiswick’s Natural Health Apothecary, could be ideal for gifting those you care about this Christmas.

They offer a range of natural products and delicious herbal teas if you’re looking for stocking fillers. For Christmas they’ve put together hampers such as the Immunity Care Collection, Sleep Better Gift Hamper and The Stay Healthy Hamper – to suit a variety of budgets. 

Zen Maitri can be found at 39 Turnham Green Terrace.

Supporting local independents in 2020

We’re hugely supporting of independent businesses that operate locally in Chiswick and hope that the community is able to find all they need within the W4 postcode.

To learn more about these wonderful businesses head over to Paul Cooney’s Instagram page - @paul.m.cooney - where we’ve interviewed a number of local stores in the run up to December.

You’ll find tips on all types of things from what flowers to add to a festive bouquet to what meat to try next for a Sunday roast.

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: autumn@hortonandgarton.co.uk and let us know.

Surprise

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.