Twickenham House Fire Caused By Nutella Jar

Nutella jar was used to store loom bands

Nutella jar was used to store loom bands

A blaze which tore through a family home in Twickenham was caused by sunlight refracted through a glass jar on a window sill. The fire took hold on Sunday 15th February at the home of the Murphy family in Fielding Avenue in Twickenham and caused substantial damage to the property and led to the death of the family’s pet dog, Chilli. Mr and Mrs Murphy and their two children (aged 7 and 3) were not at home at the time. London Fire Brigade investigators identified a glass Nutella jar which was being used to hold ‘loom bands’ as the source of the fire. The combination of sun’s rays and glass jar were sufficient to cause blinds in a bedroom to catch fire.

Loom bands

Loom bands

The fire brigade has advised people to be aware of the risks presented by glass and crystal left in direct sunlight. News websites quote the fire brigade as saying that in the last five years there have been 125 fires caused by the sun’s rays and that these can occur in winter as well as in summer. This sad and bizarre story has now even made the news in the USA and Australia.

 

 

Pictures on the London Fire Brigade Flickr stream:
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LINKS:
* Get West London
* BBC London
* London Fire Brigade (Flickr)
* New York Post

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Pic of the Week: High Tides

Twickenham is by the river. People park their cars by the river. Sometimes there are high tides. Sometimes the cars get flooded. Oh dear. It’s not news. Get over it. It’s just a shame, a damned shame, but then we all experience a little bit of schadenfreude. You might as well just admit it.

Geese check out Audi

Geese check out Audi

Golf and barge. Twickenham

Golf and barge. Twickenham

LINKS:
Maybe these will help…
* Environment Agency
* Tide Times

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Twickenham High Street Update (Redux)

It’s our first High Street Update of 2015 so get ready for a roller coaster ride of emotions. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll experience the deep joy of a life-affirming message of hope. But most of all you’ll probably just tut and roll your eyes.

SPOILER ALERT: This article reveals details of shops that are opening and closing in Twickenham.

Smokin! We’re all going flaming BBQ bonkers in TW1. What do you mean you didn’t know that? Well, assuming you’re not lying, you’re about to find out now. The former Hobgoblin / Grand Union pub on London Road is becoming a branch of Blue’s Smokehouse. It’s due to open in late February or early March and bills itself as an “Authentic American BBQ” selling ribs, burgers and the like. There’s already one in Bracknell which has generally favourable reviews on TripAdvisor. Across the street from Blue’s, the Twickenham Wimpy is no more. It’s gone. Finito. It’s being replaced by a Steers burger joint. Steers sounds a bit more macho than good old British ‘Wimpy’ although both chains are owned by the same company, South African giant Famous Brands. Famous who?

Further up London Road, on the corner of Arragon Road, another pub that’s had more incarnations than it’s served pints is getting a comprehensive re-fit by its new owners. The former Rugby Tavern / London Road Bar / Coady’s etc. will re-open as The Shack 68, a bar and ‘smokehouse’. In fact you might even have seen the separate smoking smokehouse bit out the back. It should do well with rugby crowds. Is there a World Cup on the way by any chance? There surely is.

And finally on the carnivore’s tour, the former Ales & Tails Bar on York Street is being turned into a Chicago Rib Shack. There are already other branches dotted around the UK with the Twickenham edition set to open in March. Here at HQ we like the look of their American breakfasts.

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Grimwood Gun Stash

Strange news from the not-so-mean streets of Twickenham today, 17th February. The closure of Grimwood Road near the station led to questions being asked on Twitter. Was it a gas leak? Was it some kind of explosive device? Where exactly is Grimwood Road anyway? It turns out that weapons and ammunition were found at an empty house in the street. The Evening Standard reports that the stash was seized after police were initially called at around 12pm on Monday. The house was then secured overnight and when additional ammunition was discovered on Tuesday, a security cordon was put in place. Later on Tuesday @MPSRichmond tweeted, “Firearms found inside an empty house in Grimwood Rd #Twickenham – cordons were in place for house search – now removed. Enquiries continue.”

The Standard cites the Metropolitan Police as saying there was no indication the find was terror-related. Either way, it’s not the kind of thing one normally expects to hear about in London’s premier leafy suburb.

LINK:
* Evening Standard

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Roadworks Roll On

Surely everyone likes a nice bit of pavement don’t they? In Twickenham they’re all the rage, although it’s now becoming hard to remember a time when there weren’t any road or pavement works going on somewhere in the town centre. When Ian Curtis sang, “Where will it end?” in Day of the Lords it’s unlikely he was commenting on roadworks in his own hometown of Macclesfield but he might well have been. London Road, King Street and Church Street are all in a ‘state of transition’ at the moment but as we wait for them to finish, if you do have any memories of a time before roadworks, please feel free to share them on our Nostalgia page.

Roadworks roll on

Roadworks roll on

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Twickenham Fine Ales Brewery Tour

Twickenham’s rugby connections mean that the town is more famous for the consumption of beer than its production. It will be a long time before that changes but local brewery Twickenham Fine Ales is doing a pretty good job of putting Twickenham on the map for quality brews. In fact, it’s London’s oldest micro-brewery, having celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2014.

Founded by Steve Brown in 2004, the business has grown over the last decade picking up awards, moving to a bigger and better space, and raising both its profile and its sales. Its beers are now widely available in local pubs and further afield too. They can also be found, bottled up, on the shelves of discerning off-licences. Perhaps you’ve seen Naked Ladies, Grandstand and Redhead on the pumps at your local. These regulars form just three of the 20 different beers produced each year.

The brewery bar is open on rugby days (there’ll be a big screen there for this Saturday’s England game) and there are also monthly tours which offer a guide to the art of making proper ales and provide an opportunity to sample the wares ‘in the spirit of education and learning’. Here at twickerati we don’t usually do reviews but for the chance of drinking some booze at a real life brewery, we thought we’d break the rules and pop along.

For the beer-hardened band of brothers (and sisters) who assembled at TFA’s Mereway Road HQ the tour began with a run through of the brewery’s history before moving on to the rather more important subject of making beer. Our hosts Ben and Dave talked through the whole process from end to end with plenty of ‘sciencey’ bits thrown in. Dave even went into detail (too much detail, perhaps) about the hot, sweaty, uncomfortable work of cleaning out the copper. Rather him than us, we all thought.

Twickenham Fine Ales currently produce four brews each week but with demand still growing, a fifth fermentation vessel is now being added. Tour goers get the opportunity to sample three beers, in our case Grandstand (3.8%, well hopped, refreshing with citrus notes), Sundancer (3.7%, a crisp and hoppy session bitter) and Winter Cheer (4.4%, dark, full bodied, hints of spice). As brewer Dave explained, Twickenham beers tend to be at the ‘hoppier side of traditional’ with their hops sourced from countries such as the USA, Slovenia and Germany as well as from the UK. The rise of micro-breweries in recent years, especially in America, has caused a significant increase in the demand for hops, pushing up the price and meaning that brewers are having to look carefully at where they source their ingredients.

Grist, mash, liquor, sparging, hot wort, cold wort, wet yeast, dry yeast and ullage. If you don’t know what they are now, you will do by the end of the tour.

The Mereway Road brewery is not exactly a big place and so looking around doesn’t take up much time, but the insights into brewing and the business of brewing provide for a very interesting evening, made all the more enjoyable by the friendly and informative team. And then of course, there’s sampling the beer too. In conclusion: well worth a visit.

LINK:
* Twickenham Fine Ales Tours (cost: £15)

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Pic of the Week: The Thames at Twickenham

We all love the river, right? Right!  And we especially like this photo of moody skies over Twickenham from Eel Pie Islander Michele Whitby. Not bad for a view, eh? A bit of cloud, a hint of blue, patches of sunlight… and boats. Splendid.

 

Moody skies over the Thames [image courtesy of Michele Whitby]

Moody skies over the Thames
[image courtesy of Michele Whitby]

 

 

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Rugby World Cup Residents Briefings Scheduled

Twickenham stadium

Twickenham stadium

You will be looking forward to this year’s Rugby World Cup with either excitement or dread. Or indifference. Indifference might not be the best option given that the event is going to have a much greater impact on the town than the usual Six Nations and Autumn International matches.

The tournament begins with England v Fiji on 18th September, the first of ten games at Twickenham Stadium over a six week period. In addition to the usual match day stuff that you’ll be well used to by now, there will be international teams based locally ‘for training purposes’, visitors staying in the town (no doubt you’re registering with airbnb as you read this) and a ‘Festival of Rugby’ across El Brute’s domain with arts and music events as well as oval ball related antics. Oh, and there’s an agreement ‘in principle’ to close sections of the A316 on match days. Yikes. In other words, Twickenham will be busy.

If you want to find out more about these arrangements to help you prepare (or perhaps to help you plan your escape) then El Brute are running a series of community briefings in the coming weeks. There are business briefings on 27th February and 3rd and 12th March. These are now fully booked although the resulting FAQs will be made available online afterwards.

Briefings for residents (that’s people like you, btw) will take place between 5th and 23rd March. Details are:
*  Thursday 5th March, 6.30 – 8.30pm, Chase Bridge School, Whitton
*  Monday 9th March, 6.30 – 8.30pm, Turks Head pub, St Margarets
*  Tuesday 17th March, 6.30 – 8.30pm, Clarendon Hall, York House, Twickenham
*  Monday 23rd March, 6.30 – 8.30pm, Richmond Adult Community College, Parkshot, Richmond

 

LINKS:
* LBRuT – briefings page
* El Brute RWC main page
* Rugby World Cup 2015

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East Twickenham School Goes East

Ryde House, Richmond Road, East Twickenham

Ryde House, Richmond Road, East Twickenham

The school report about delivering more much needed primary school places in Twickenham would say something like, ‘needs improvement’. This time it’s East Twickenham that’s in a state of agitation and not without foundation. The plan for a new free school, Richmond Bridge Primary, took a knock recently when the peeps who are setting it up, Bellevue Place Education Trust, announced that they’d found a suitable site… in Richmond. So, the school that’s going to open in September 2015 is no longer Richmond Bridge Primary, it’s now Old Deer School and it’s going to be on Lower Mortlake Road, TW9. Good news for Richmond but bad news for East Twickenham and St Margarets. The trust says it will still welcome applications from TW1 types to the new school and that it still intends to open a school in the East Twickenham area in the future. (Do you remember the future? It was going to be a place full of wonderful things)

Once again it all boils down to the thorny issue of finding a suitable site. Ryde House on Richmond Road had been the intended location but with Lidl now planning to convert it into a supermarket, the school had to find a home elsewhere. Locals are now ramping up the campaign to get a primary school sorted for East Twickenham and have set up a website and petition to focus attention on the issue.

Elsewhere we wait to see what happens next in the saga of Twickenham Green Primary School whose proposed site, Heathgate House, squeezed between Colne Road and Heath Road didn’t impress Green-siders last December. And there’s a final call on another chance to comment (yes, really!) on the plans to turn the RUTC Egerton Road site into the Richmond Education and Enterprise Campus aka REEC. How. Many. Times? An outline planning application for that is expected in February.

We have to assume that all this location-related malarkey is well within the parameters of what Michael Gove would have expected when championing the free schools approach. We called the Department for Education to ask him to comment on the matter only to find that he’d been shunted sideways to the Chief Whip post. Some might observe that while Richmond Bridge Primary has gone east, Gove’s career might be heading south.

LINKS:
* East Twickenham Village site
* SET – Schools for East Twickenham
* Richmond Bridge Primary School – now to be called Deer Park School, TW9
* Lidl – Richmond Road
* REEC (comment deadline 30th Jan)

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