Wow! You just won’t believe what Twickenham town centre looks like now!!
Clickbait, eh? Hate or despise it you just can’t ignore it. Here at twickerati HQ we’re not in the business of using sensationalist headlines to try to draw in readers. Well, not all the time anyway but we do allow ourselves the odd exception. So what has been happening over the last few months then? Well, quite a lot since you (almost) asked. Here’s our round up of the recent real changes and the alternative facts on the mean streets of south west London’s premier leafy suburb.
On York Street, estate agents Haart will no longer be where your home is. They’ve closed. You’ll just have to buy or sell your house at one of the many other agents in Twickenham. So sad. Just along from them, poshly named Hugo Oliver, purveyors of luxury bathrooms, is now open for business in what used to be the Rugby Store and before that the Bottoms Up off licence. With Bensons for Beds just across the road and some other new businesses on Heath Road there does seem to be some kind of a ‘home improvementification hub’ developing in the town. That was part of the famous Twickenham Action Plan, aka the TWAP, if you recall.
On London Road, Happicraft has sold its last pram and completed its final 100 piece jigsaw puzzle. As with many other sellers of ‘things’, competition from online retailers proved too strong in the end. Many local parents were sad to see it go. The building is now a pop-up charity shop for the Octavia Foundation.
New store openings have largely focused on goods and services that you might want to get your hands on without having to wait for them to be shipped from a large warehouse near Slough. Hot meals for example. The Canteen has opened on London Road where Steers had a brief stay and where Wimpy was before that. Is it a cafe or is it a restaurant? Not sure. Either way it’s had some good comments on Twitter especially for its lunch menu.
Relax! Just in case you were getting concerned we can now reassure you that no High Street Update would be complete without a new coffee shop arriving in town. This time it’s Esquires Coffee, part of a Canadian owned chain, which has opened in King Street where Laverstoke butchers was and where before that it housed an underwear shop (yep, the one in Bend it Like Beckham) and another coffee shop. Can we now say that Twickenham residents are officially spoilt for choice when it comes to coffee? Err, probably.
Also on King Street, Phones4All is having a refurb. At this stage we’re not sure if it’s a real one or one of those ‘Twickenham refurbs’ that seem quite popular with some businesses. And talking of things that take an excessive amount of time, the Co-Op on Richmond Road is open at last after spending many months just about to do that.
Heath Road has seen all sorts of changes over the last few months. Remember Blockbuster? After that it was Morrison’s M-Local, then it was ‘My Local’ and it’s now the place to go if you need a screw or have the urge to fix something. Yep, we welcome Screwfix to Twickenham.
Next door to it is Ballaro, a new Sicilian restaurant in what used to be the longstanding Chinese Jun Ming. It sells Sicilian specialities and a range of pizzas. Twickenham is now without a ‘proper’ Chinese restaurant although there are a couple of takeaways and the new Sweet Diner cafe opposite in what used to be Cafe Fresh. Ben Thanh, a Vietnamese on York Street has shut but Pho Saigon is still going and still good. We can do Japanese, Vietnamese and Thai but not Chinese. How times change.
The former Flavours of Sicily place on Heath Road which has been through multiple incarnations over recent years (including Kaswani, Nights of Tehran and Pablo’s) will no longer be an underused restaurant struggling to get by. It’s going to be Londark. Who? What? Londark of course! If you’ve ever felt shortchanged that Twickenham does not have a decent seller of plastic bags you’ll be delighted to learn that Londark is coming. It’s a UK-based supplier of ‘great quality coated and uncoated polypropylene, polythene, polyester, and PVC products’. Woohoo! What with Seldram Supplies and its extra long acid proof gloves just up the road, Twickenham really is fast becoming the ‘go to’ destination for people needing to dispose of a body quickly and efficiently. Smokin’ !
Talking of food and staying on Heath Road, Polish shop Magalasia, the one with the sign in a font you could never properly read, has now turned into Anna’s Deli. Nearby, Greco-Italian themed restaurant Kamares is closing its doors. No more food, no more Elvis tribute nights. We’re not sure if those nights were legendary or not but one place that was definitely something of a Twickenham institution was Arthurs on the Green. The former public loo dwelling eatery was a favourite of many. The owners sold up and it’s now re-opened as Arthur’s Sourdough Pizza Restaurant. It’s not exactly far from Ask Pizza or Rubens Refettorio or the new Ballaro or indeed several other pizza places but as Twickenham residents know, it’s a good location especially in summer. It will also be serving breakfasts too which is very good to know. It’s owned by the same people who own the pub Alba on Richmond Road (previously The Rising Sun and The Aleksander).
Talking of things opening close to other things already doing similar things, the former Cakes World store on the corner of Heath Road and Laurel Avenue is now Fiesta Party Store selling party accessories such as helium balloons, plastic cups and plates, invites, cards and such like. It’s just a few doors along from Memories which is doing something very similar. We hope they can both prosper in the niche market that is Heath Road based party stores.
In a similar vein, the world famous Marc Jason’s Shoeworld has become Richmond Dental Suite. We hope their teeth improvement services are better than their geography. Twickenham is Twickenham. Richmond is Richmond, unless it’s in Yorkshire in which case it’s also Richmond but the wrong one, or it’s East Twickenham in which case it’s West Richmond. Simple. Need more dental options? Then you’re in luck because the ‘opening soon’ Dr Mide dentist on the corner of Heath Road and Heath Gardens really does look like it’s about to open very soon.
We’re going to wrap this up with some bad news for all the naysayers and moaners. All the people who thought that the ground floor space in Beaumont House, the not-so-new flats on the corner of Saville Road and Heath Road, would NEVER be filled are going to have to eat their words. Go on, eat your bloody words! A new nursery, Beaumont House Day Nursery is moving into the space! The hoardings are down and work is progressing to get it ready for its new occupants to open their doors to a toddling army of pre-schoolers in March. That just leaves the ground floor of the new, similar looking building opposite Tesco to remain vacant for a few years so that we can know that the earth is in its orbit and all is right in Twickenham.
That’s it. Thanks for reading and stayed tuned for more updates as and when we can be bothered to write them.