Twickenham’s glory days. Are they behind us, do they still lie ahead? Or are they actually right now? Whatever the answer, we predict that in years to come, with the benefit of hindsight, we’ll look back with a sense of nostalgia at how we imagined the future would turn out. But before we do that, we thought a quick tour of Twickenham’s past would be in order. We don’t mean the obvious signs such as historic buildings but rather the ones that got away – old adverts, road signs referring to a long dead borough and even fire hydrant covers. Below is a selection. It’s almost certainly not complete but feel free to point us to more of Twickenham’s ‘ghost signs’ and we’ll add them in.
Lipton sign – York Street
Twickenham Borough Council – fire hydrant
Changing signs, changing times. Beef tea & chicken broth on Staines Road
Boathouse goes here.
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Not wanting to be accused of spreading mis-information about El Brute’s plans to build a ‘permanent home’ for Gloriana at Orleans Gardens we thought we’d freeze the previous article. Why? Well, it’s mainly because the mahoosive number of comments (over 260!) was making it into a sprawling mess. You can still read it and all the comments but we thought we’d begin afresh, fully revitalised so to speak, with a re-cap on some of the facts, a reminder that the ‘consultation’ has begun and rapid return to some idle speculation. We’ve even got all the links you could want below. Sorted!
And we’re even regularly adding NEW UPDATES at the end so keeping checking back for those.
It’s been a while since we talked schools on here. Too long perhaps. So let’s do it right now but let’s keep it brief…
Two new primary schools have been approved for the area, both of which plan to open in September 2015. Teacher’s favourite, Michael Gove has given the nod for a Richmond Bridge Primary
and a Twickenham Primary
. OK, so perhaps he didn’t study the plans personally but they’ve been given the Gove-ahead (geddit?) by his Department for Education. Richmond Bridge will be operated by Bellevue Place Education Trust, Twickenham Primary by GEMS Learning Trust. When running at full capacity these two schools are expected to provide up to 840 primary school places for local children.
El Brute are delighted. There’s a great deal of pressure on school places locally, especially in East Twickenham and St Margarets – after all, who wouldn’t want to live around here – and the addition of four new forms per year group will help alleviate some of that pressure. Both projects now need to complete the tricky task of finding sites.
“Who are the people behind these schools?” you cry. GEMS Learning Trust forms part of GEMS Education which provides a range of education related services worldwide. It’s currently also opening new primary schools in Surbiton and Didcot. Bellevue runs a number of independent schools in the UK, two Swiss boarding schools (that sounds a bit posh, doesn’t it?) and, in September 2013, it opened its first school in the state sector, Rutherford House in Balham.
Meanwhile, El Brute’s grand vision for the redevelopment of Richmond College’s Egerton Road site into an education hub has taken another step forward. The proposal for a new free secondary school there of the non-denominational, non-selective, co-educational variety has also received His Goveship’s seal of approval. The plan would involve the site operating with three separate educational establishments – Richmond College (which would provide the sixth form), the new free school and the Clarendon special school which would move across from Hampton. This new ‘Richmond Education and Enterprise Campus’ is being developed as a partnership between the Council, Harlequins and Haymarket Media. The land would also provide a new base for Haymarket who are seeking to vacate their riverside offices in Teddington. The powers that be expect construction work to begin in late 2015 and the new secondary to open in September 2017. The school would provide five forms per year group.
* El Brute primary school
* GEMS Learning Trust
* Bellevue Education
* El Brute secondary school
FYI. It’s just over a year until Twickenham will ring to the sound of Sweet Chariots of Fire, the thwack of boot on ball and the gurgle of beer in gullet as the grandest egg chasing competition of them all comes to town. That’s right, it’s the rugby World Cup! And it’s not just an event that’s at Twickenham, we can expect the whole thing to feel a bit more, err, Twickenhammy all over than your regular set of internationals. It’s a big deal. If you’ve got questions about it then you’ve now got a chance to ask someone. We mean, of course, about how it will affect you and the town rather than about the fine detail of Stuart Lancaster’s team selection. Those World Cup organising committee types are running a ‘community engagement event‘ on the afternoon of Friday 27th June and the morning of Saturday 28th to answer your questions. Want more detail about timings? The image says it all – literally. Click to enlarge it and ye shall find.
So busy has this item become that we’ve added an updates section. Click Here to go directly to it. And it’s also worth noting that the comments stretch back over two pages so look out for the ‘older comments’ button when you get to the end.
[Edit: this article has been superseded by a more up to date article here and another here.]
Previously, on twickerati…
Welcome to ‘Gloriana World’ at Twickenham! Don’t knock it, it could be coming soon to a river near you. The royal barge Gloriana ‘off of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee’ needs a home. The proposal coming from Lord True, sorry, we mean Richmond Council, is that a new, purpose-built boat house at Orleans Gardens could be just the ticket. And what’s more, we’re not just talking solely about a boat house, we’re talking about a visitors centre, new cafe and new play area too.
Gloriana at Twickenham in 2012
Here at twickerati HQ, we like to mix a bit of nimbyism with support for progress and change. It’s an odd mix. It sometimes works but it does also mean we get nervous when presented with grand solutions to problems that we didn’t know existed.
As we wait for El Brute to decide on the subject of their next consultation, TFL are doing a real consultation that you might actually want to take a look at. It’s the busy St Margarets roundabout on the A316 which is the subject. The proposal? Well, it’s to “improve accessibility to crossing facilities” at the roundabout. This would involve removing the existing footbridge and replacing it with new, improved ‘toucan’ crossing facilities which can be shared by pedestrians and cyclists. This relates only to the western side of the roundabout near the footbridge (soon to be ex-footbridge), with the other crossing points being up for only minor amendments to signage. According to TFL the result will be that “all roads on this roundabout would then have accessible crossing points”.
This is a busy roundabout on the A316, near housing and very close to St Stephens primary school. Lots of cars, lots of kids. In other words, it’s important to get this right. Here at twickerati HQ we don’t know a great deal about road crossings – it’s not our forte – so we’ll just content ourselves with saying that safer crossings sound like a good idea but that an existing, properly working bridge might also be regarded as a safe option. Perhaps it’s just cost that prevents a “both, said Pooh” solution being applied.
Image: TFL website
* TFL A316 Consultation (deadline: 4th July)
When it comes to pomp and ceremony we’re better than the Queen or at least equal to her. The changing of the guard. The trooping of the colour. What do they say to you? Tradition? Days when Great Britain really was great? Tourists getting in the bloody way? All of the above, maybe? But we don’t actually care about SW1, we care about TW1 and Twickenham now has its own version of these esteemed traditions. We are, of course, talking about ‘the moving of the bus stops’ and ‘the widening of the pavements’. These two great ceremonies have become central to Twickenham life over recent months and, judging by some of the feedback on here and on Twitter, might still be for some time to come.
It’s a TWAP thing of course (that’s the Twickenham Action Plan, btw). Under the TWAP King Street is to become a more pleasant environment with no bus stops, wider pavements, more bike parking and with vehicle traffic flowing safely and sedately through it. That’s the theory. During the work the traffic in adjacent streets like Heath Road and Cross Deep seems to have got worse. Some think it will stay like that. We must not rush to judgement. Now, we all know that to be one of the most irritating and pompous phrases around but it also carries truth. It would be unfair to rule on the success or otherwise of the plan until all the work is complete but we cannot stop people from speculating in the meantime. In fact, we actively encourage it.
Some width in Twickenham
Central reservation changes
Dig for a TWAP victory!
But don’t just listen to us, have your say too.
The recent Foodies Festival at Marble Hill House drew in punters from around the area keen to experience a wide range of stalls, watch cookery demonstrations, listen to some live music and generally stuff their faces full of food and drink. Not a bad idea if you ask us. It was a good event. But of course it was an English Bank Holiday weekend and that usually means one thing: rain. OK, so it didn’t rain for the duration but there was plenty of it. The result? Getting all those vehicles off the park left the grass in front of the house looking more like farm tracks than a suburban park – and we should know, we went to the countryside once.
Basically, a large area is a massive mess. We’re talking mud, ruts and the odd splattering of engine oil. We’re sure it will be sorted out between English Heritage and the festival organisers but it’s likely to involve some quite significant costs. The planning statement for the event indicated that it would return for a second year but we can’t see either English Heritage or park users being particularly keen on that unless something changes, and not just the weather. English Heritage’s ‘Design and Access’ statement in their El Brute submission said, “The principal physical impacts on the site are the wear and tear of vehicles during installation and dismantling, mitigated by the use of a track-way. Reinstatement of any damage to the grounds will take place immediately after the event”. Well, there was a trackway but it was clearly inadequate for the heavy rain / heavy vehicle combination over the weekend. Continue reading
The 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings seemed like an appropriate time to highlight the role that Camp Griffiss, located in Bushy Park, played in the build up to the invasion. The Teddington Town website has a given a potted history of the camp. We liked it and so we decided to ‘re-blog’ it.
Originally posted on Teddington, Middlesex, UK:
Today the world honoured those that fought 70 years ago during the allied D-Day landings in Normandy, but did you know how Bushy Park played an important part in the invasion plans?
In 1942 construction began on Camp Griffiss, a 60 acre site created on requisitioned land in Bushy Park to house the Eighth Air Force, a strategic bombing force. This base was later was chosen by General Dwight Eisenhower as the location for Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF), deliberately away from central London to minimise the risk from air attacks.
In addition to anti-aircraft batteries being placed in the park, Diana Fountain, Leg of Mutton pond and Heron ponds were drained and covered with camouflage netting so as to not aid enemy bombers with navigation and bomb-sighting of the base.
Camp Griffiss from the air, along Sandy Lane, looking North. Click for larger version.
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