Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock. It’s the sound of the present slipping into the past, of the ‘now’ becoming the ‘then’. Unless you have a digital watch, in which case it isn’t. With the metaphorical clock ticking away we realised that it was quite a while since we’d dumped a High Street Update on our readers so let us freeze time for a minute and take stock of what’s hot and what’s not in our town centre.
We’ve now added a few more August UPDATES updates at the end of this piece.
Perhaps the most surprising news, or perhaps not, it that Ales & Tails bar on York Street has served its last rhubarb gin and tonic. The guys there worked hard to make it a success and they put a lot of effort into marketing and getting involved in Twickenham events. Indeed, we even had a couple of very successful Twickenham ‘tweet up’ social evenings there. But perhaps it just wasn’t right for a town where traditional pubs rather than bars tend to the norm. Maybe it’s a rugby thing. Either way, it’s sad to see the demise of another new venture on the high street.
Elsewhere Monica Boxley has closed her shop on Church Street but Lovers Lights Gallery are currently using it as a pop up space in addition to their existing gallery on The Green. Worth a look for arts and crafts, especially glassware.
On Heath Road there have been a few developments. Decoration has opened selling fancy-dan paints and decorating accessories. And yes, that does mean that Farrow & Ball paint is available there and so residents of Strawberry Hill and St Margarets can rest easy. It’s a marked contrast from feline-focused charity shop Paws which previously occupied the premises. Decoration (the Alternative Paint Company as was) is part of Callahan Interiors, who specialise in kitchens and interior design from their base in Hampton Hill.
Further up Heath Road, Memories has opened in what used to be Krafty Kidz. It sells greetings cards, gift wrap, party accessories such as helium balloons and it even has a few plants on sale too. Good luck to ’em we say.
When it comes to washing up bowls and garden refuse sacks, everyone’s favourite retailer the Twickenham Discount Store has re-located from near M&S to further up Heath Road to near Tesco. What else is there to say other than it’s your ‘one stop shop’ for those little pee-podium steps, cutlery drainers and sponges for cleaning the car. It’s a Twickenham institution, innit?
Staying on Heath Road, the Standard Tandoori has closed down, ditto Istanbul Ocakbasi, the restaurant venue that has had more name changes than it’s served hot dinners. Also the shop last occupied by B20, Twickenham’s smallest and shortest lived cafe, is getting some kind of makeover. We’ve also noticed that one of the best cafes in central Twickenham – and supplier of strong coffee to your humble correspondent – The Coffee Lab has not been open for a while. We sincerely hope it’s not a permanent closure although it does look like it.
And of course we can’t mention high street updates without covering the opening of the Twickenham Indoor Community Market at Mac’s Diner on Mondays & Tuesdays. It sells arts, crafts and collectables and organiser Alan Winter is keen to hear from you if you want to rent a table there. See our item on the market for more information.
And here’s a few that we missed above in our excitement to rush out the update and some that you’ve mentioned.
York Galleries on York Street has closed. To be honest, we can’t even remember if that’s new news or old news. You remember York Galleries? It was the place that never actually seemed to be open and had a window display of ceramic figurines and such like. Proper old school! An architects practice could be heading there.
Mi Vida has opened at 6 Heath Road in the place that used to be Twickenham Discount Store. It’s a hair & beauty salon. Want details of another hair & beauty salon? You got it! True is set to open on Cross Deep in the former Piano Lounge building. Rumours that it’s a front for Council Leader Lord True’s Twickenham-centric activities are entirely without foundation.
Need laser treatment? You’ll be delighted to learn that TLC Group, specialists in laser hair removal and skin and teeth whitening has opened a branch on London Road near the Police station. A great opportunity to get yourself tarted up for your police mugshot. And if you’ve still not had enough primping and preening then we’ll give a quick mention to Heath Road barbers Cut Unit who have extended into the next door premises, what used to be (very briefly) the B20 micro-cafe.
A Boots Opticians is opening on King Street in what was, among other things, the Card Factory shop. Tough competition for the local independents and Specsavers just round the corner in London Road.
Time to mention coffee again? OK. A new Puccino café has opened outside Twickenham station replacing the Café Taste that didn’t last long there. It’s also replacing the Puccino’s in the station itself which is closed during the current building work.
And there have been some rumblings and comments about Cook closing. They’ve tweeted that they aren’t closing and as at now the place is still definitely open for business.
And what does all this tell us? It shows that people are still willing to open new businesses in Twickenham town centre. That’s good. It also shows that the current focus of this bunch is local goods and personal services, in other words that you can’t easily get online. After all, a real haircut is generally better than an online one… unless you know different. But some might also be pondering on when healthy competition becomes ‘too much’ competition. Any ideas?