New Cinema Club for Twickenham

If you like watching classic and cult films which rarely get an airing on television or in cinemas then you’re in luck.  A new cinema club is launching in Twickenham to do just that.  Called, rather unsurprisingly, Twickenham Cinema Club, the aim of the new venture is to create a club run by members, for members. You can expect an eclectic mix of film with the idea that the members are the curators. There will also be a social element to screenings with an opportunity to chat before and afterwards. The opening film is 1945’s ‘Mildred Pierce‘ starring Joan Crawford. It’s something of a noir classic, a tale of ambition, struggle and mother daughter rivalry and is based on the novel by James M Cain whose other books include The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity. How’s that for pedigree?

twickenham-cinema-club-logo

 

To join the club costs £10 per year with the first film free and subsequent films at £7. Otherwise it’s £10 on the door for non-members.  For local film buffs, the new club is a welcome complement to Richmond Film Society which has been running since 1963 and focuses on world cinema with screenings at St Mary’s University.

Mildred Pierce is showing at Patchworks at The Cabbage Patch pub on Wednesday February 8th.

 

LINK:

twickenham-cinema-club-debut-film

 

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It’s Thames Watergate! Dry Christmas Hits SW London

The was mild panic on Christmas morning across a swathe of South West London (and yes, that includes Twickenham) after a water pump failed at Thames Water’s Hampton works leaving thousands of homes with no water.  Here at twickerati HQ the pressure dropped to a level that there was just a trickle from the kitchen tap. For others in TW1 and TW2 there was no water whatsoever. Not ideal, especially on Christmas Day. And what does one do in a situation like that?  One takes to Twitter of course! Plenty of questions were being asked about when the service would be restored but also about whether it was possible to cook sprouts in wine and drink only alcohol for the day.  The White Swan were quick to point out that although they had no water they did have plenty of booze.

For those attempting to cook Christmas dinner there was there great debate about whether to press on or postpone.  Even at twickerati HQ the monumental step was taken to defer the arrival of 12 guests for an hour and a half as we waited for updates from Thames Water…. so there are always some positives to come out of situations of adversity.

After a few hours the problem was fixed, water was restored and thousands realised how reliant we all are on seemingly simple things like having water on tap (literally). But how was it for you?

 

Some water: in happier times

Some tap water: in happier times

 

LINK:

 

 

 

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Merry Twickmas, Twickenham

“Christmas time, mistletoe and wine, building Trumpton one block at a time. With flats by the river and parking galore, we just have to hope that it’s better than before”.

Yes folks that’s what Councillor Pamela Fleming is absolutely insisting gets sung before all meetings at Richmond Council this Christmas. We’re not sure if she can actually hold a tune but we do know that she can hold a (party) line.

 

twickenham-christmas-tree

Christmas is upon us just as it was at this time last year. It’s a time when we look forward to wincing at our bank balances and praying that our guests will leave  (just bloody leave!) but we also look back on the year that’s ending. It’s been year of strange events, plucky Leicester City winning the Premier League, plucky Brits voting for Brexit, and plucky billionaire bully-boy businessman Donald Trump winning The Pres Factor across the pond. Here in Twickenham we’ve had our fair share of surprises too.  Surprise that LBRuT, aka ‘El Brute’, stuck with their unpopular scheme and chosen architect for Twickenham Riverside despite strong local opposition. Surprise that the high street at the end of the year looks very similar to the way it looked at the beginning, and surprise too that a new third runway at Heathrow got the nod from the government. Actually none of those three was remotely surprising but they warranted a token mention.

What of the riverside scheme? Here at twickerati HQ we’ve been disappointed that the Council have persisted with a plan that doesn’t do justice to the potential of the site, is overloaded in terms of scale and features a design that pays a traditionalist homage to a non-existent past.  After all these years of dithering and deliberation Twickenham looks set to end up with something that’s ‘sort of OK’ rather than something great. It’s a shame.  But on the bright side we do have a wonderful new station to enjoy as we go about our business. You’ve not seen it? What?? Well it was definitely going to be built after the Rugby World Cup. Definitely! The rugby world cup ended over a year ago but nothing’s been started yet. On the plus side, it’s not actually behind schedule because the phrase ‘after the rugby world cup’ applies to all dates from November 2015 to the very end of time. Hurrah!

At least the development opposite the station on the former post office sorting office site is nearly complete. It’s even got our new ‘community building’ / ‘cultural hub’ in it where things will happen that the community can do or look at or maybe wear or something. In truth, we’ve no idea. If it can support a thriving theatre-cum-performance space then that will be good but the only concrete idea we’ve had is that it might have been better to have a community building as part of the riverside development but what do we know?

On the high street, long standing Chinese restaurant Jun Ming closed,  Arthur’s is up for sale and we said farewell to the mysterious Cakes World and Marc Jason’s Shoeworld. The Press Room and Caffe a Roma arrived but so did Costa. The Heath Road restaurant that never lasts and which was most recently called Flavours of Sicily didn’t last. Former Blockbuster video store turned Morrison’s supermarket closed its doors again and is now turning into a Screwfix and a Co-op mini-supermarket has appeared in what was the Old Anchor pub. This, my friends, is the way of the world these days.

So what else happened? We had summer festivals and Christmas lights. New primary schools opened, more places are on the way in a giant new block at St Richard Reynolds College as is a whole new secondary school on the Richmond College site in Egerton Road. A man made national news when he brought Twickenham traffic to a standstill on a rugby day by throwing bricks and tiles off a roof and thieves blew up a cash point on Heath Road and made off with the contents. Richmond Council continued its merger with Wandsworth with the aim of making savings in back office costs through sharing resources. And if you wanted an ice rink to get you in the festive mood then you were to be disappointed. El Brute rejected proposals for a temporary winter rink in Radnor Gardens. Apparently school kids need the space…. even when they’re on holiday.

Here at twickerati we even managed to disappoint ourselves by living up to our recently lowered expectations. We updated the site only occasionally and focused on the same few stories over and over again.  The simple fix of finding more time, of writing with more wit and style and of securing regular contributors proved to be not quite so simple after all. But we battle on and, after all, why wouldn’t we with plenty of Twick-o-centric developments likely in 2017. Work on the riverside, maybe that new station, some new flats that look just like all the others, shops closing, shops opening, a permanent home for the Eel Pie Music museum.

This is what living in God’s own leafy outer London suburb is all about. This plus the parks, the river, the pubs, cafes and restaurants and above all else the people, i.e. you lovely lot.

As we conclude we say to you, put away thoughts of that charming John Lewis advert and think instead of the new seasonal YouTube video from El Brute Supremo, the Blue Baron aka Lord True.  Buster the Boxer’s got nothing on him.  This Council video is all about listening to Sir  True’s view of the world whilst looking at the back of his head in a giant mirror. Nothing says Christmas quite like that!

And that, little friends, is that. Have a great Christmas, have a wonderful New Year and thanks for reading this blog over the last 12 months.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS ALL

Some Twickmas going on

Some Twickmas going on

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Twickenham Christmas Lights Event – 27th November

Whilst we’re busy failing to bring you a round up of what’s going on in Twickenham, we thought we’d at least give a mention to the sizzlin’ spectacular Christmas Lights event taking place on Sunday 27th November. Put simply, it’s a Christmas event that’s taking place in Twickenham this Sunday, the 27th.

What’s on?  Plenty in and around King Street.  A Christmas market, a Santa’s grotto from 12.00pm and live entertainment from 2.30pm. Choo Choo! There are even train rides on one of those funny ‘petit train’ thingies.   There’s action in the Diamond Jubilee Gardens too. Oh, and look out for the reindeer.  The big switch on is at 5.30pm by the tree outside Santander.   Steve ‘off of the radio’ Allen will be doing the switch flicking.

 

Live nearer the Green? They’ll be turning a tree on there too.

 

LINK:

www.trytwickenham.com

(if it works for you)

 

Twickenham Christmas Tree

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It’s Poundbury-upon-Thames! New Riverside Designs for Twickenham Published

Richmond Council approves. Prince Charles would surely approve. But do you approve? You can have your say with El Brute and also vote in our poll below. The Council’s deadline for comments is Friday 16th December.

Revised design ideas for Twickenham Riverside have been published under El Brute’s Twickenham Rediscovered / ‘New heart for Twickenham’ banner. The proposals come from architect Francis Terry, El Brute’s chosen one for this particular project.

In the latest briefing note Pamela Fleming, Council Cabinet Member for Environment and the driving force behind the project says: “These concepts are not the final designs… but I hope that people will approach this consultation objectively and work with us constructively on developing a scheme so that the riverside is a place everyone can enjoy for many years to come”. In other words, “We’ve set the parameters and you can have your say within those parameters. We’ve left some things vague too but get with the programme.”

Twickenham riverside site from Embankment

Twickenham riverside site from Embankment

The document makes a big play of all the consultations undertaken so far and summarises the themes that have emerged en route… with a few notable exceptions, of course. There is no mention of just how much the majority of people seriously disliked the scale and style of the original concept or that many would like to see the whole thing re-started with a fresh brief and a transparent process. There is no mention either of the lido scheme which also has a lot of local support.  Putting those rather fundamental points to one side, El Brute do acknowledge locals’ other concerns such as the desire for the development to have some kind of town square, to have options to bring the community together and to have relevance to Twickenham’s riverside heritage. To try to address these points Terry’s ideas do have a more of a market town or ‘village’ feel to them.

So what do we have now? Well… there are three proposals.
One of them (Option 3) is essentially a re-worked version of the idea first given an airing back in 2015. Given how unpopular that scheme was, this option can be put to one side. Imagine it as a party leadership bid by Andrea Leadsom for the Conservatives or, for Labour, that Owen bloke that no one had even heard of before he decided to stand.  Never. Going. To. Happen.

Extract of design from LBRuT website

Extract of original design from LBRuT website

That leaves two options both of which move away from the dream of building a new Roman republic in Twickenham and look to the not-quite-so-distant past for inspiration. Think Bekonscot model village in Buckinghamshire or Poundbury in Dorset, the life-size model village that doubles as a suburb of Dorchester. Yep, it’s more Twee-kenham than Twickenham although Poundbury-upon-Thames does have a certain ring to it, doesn’t it?  In your face Richmond!!!

Possible Twickenham Embankment design From LBRuT website http://www.richmond.gov.uk/

Possible Twickenham Embankment design
From LBRuT website, http://www.richmond.gov.uk

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Brick Throwing Man Causes Heath Road Closure

A police helicopter buzzing overhead, Heath Road closed by police and a guy on a roof who has been chucking tiles and bricks into the street below. Not a typical start to a Saturday in Twickenham but that’s what we have had this morning.

Apparently the police went to a flat above a parade of shops on Heath Road at about 4.00am. A person then went up onto the roof and began throwing bricks and tiles into the street below. The road was then closed to prevent injury to passers by and it’s been that way now for several hours.

The situation is ongoing. Plenty of police are on the scene, including some equipped with riot shields, but so far they have opted to wait it out rather than risk injury or escalation, presumably with the person’s safety in mind.

With buses on diversion and rugby traffic heading to Twickenham is could make for a chaotic morning on the local roads.

UPDATE:
The situation continued into the early afternoon with the fire brigade and ambulance service in attendance. At one point he was heard calling for Coke and chocolate. Eventually the man, wearing not much by way of clothing but wrapped in the same red blanket that he had been wearing whilst on the roof, was taken down in a cherry picker and taken off in an ambulance, with medical attention perhaps being a priority in this instance.

 

Man throws object from roof.

(Pic courtesy of Olivier Fusil  / @olivierfusil on Twitter)

Man on roof

Man on roof

 

And here’s the man being taken down off the roof. (Video courtesy of Duncan Stone  / @DuncanCStone)

 

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Twickenham High Street Update (Yet Again)

When the going gets tough, the shops get going… from our town centres.  Harsh? Yes. True? Probably.  In our latest High Street Update we cover the usual array of departures but some good arrivals too. In fact with all these comings and goings it’s busier than Heathrow Terminal 6!

Costa Coffee has now been open for a couple of months on London Road.  It’s where Mail Boxes and the Princess Alice Hospice charity shop used to be.  Costa obviously spotted a gap in the market in Twickenham, a very tiny gap indeed.  Nero. Check. Starbucks. Check. Costa. Check. We’ve got ’em.  Add to that the likes of The Press Room (good coffee, btw), Corto (awesome almond croissants),  Cafe Zizou, York Street Cafe, Ruben’s Bakehouse, Sapori TW1,  Caffe Roma, Harris & Hoole, Rosie Chai and err, all the others and we reckon that Twickenham’s got  its tea and coffee bases covered for the time being don’t you? Room for one more?  On Water Lane, where Emily’s furniture store was, The German Bakery is up and running selling bread, cakes, coffee and enough gluten-free products to keep the most ardent gluten-phobe happy.

Costa, London Road, Twickenham

Costa, London Road, Twickenham

Talking of national chains which we sort of were, The Old Anchor pub on Richmond Road has been converted into flats with a mini Co-op supermarket on the ground floor. It’s due to open round about now and joins the ranks of Tesco, Sainsbury and M&S Food in the great pantheon of ‘express’ supermarkets in the town. Continue reading

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Council Publishes Twickenham Riverside Feedback

Last week El Brute published the feedback from its most recent exercise to listen to residents’ views on its ideas for Twickenham Riverside.  After getting roundly lambasted, damned, slated and panned after their initial publication, Richmond Council had another go at doing some listening to the locals (by which we mean trying to find support for continuing with their preferred course of action).

Water Lane car park - Twickenham riverside

Water Lane car park – Twickenham riverside

 

What do we know so far?  The Council’s chosen firm of architects was Q&F  Terry. Now that young Francis has separated  from his father’s firm, the Council’s preferred architect is Master F Terry. Same but different? Dunno.  What we do know is that just about everybody in Twickenham wants to see better use of the riverside site and that very few liked the original Terry design proposals – ill-suited architecture, too much residential development, large scale, no clear town square, too much parking by the river (or perhaps not enough depending on your point of view and where you live) were just some of the complaints. Cue more Council ‘listening’ but not much sign of any intention to go back to the drawing board for a wider ‘taking stock’.
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Heathrow Expansion Will (May) Go Ahead. (Or May Not)

[Update: 25 October. As expected the Government has just voted in favour of a third runway at Heathrow]

 

It now looks as if it’s definitely going to happen. Or it may not. After years of dithering a decision in favour of expanding Heathrow will (i.e. could) be made by the end of October. Note the ‘coulds’ and ‘mays’, or maybe that’s Mays. In short, no one really wants to be the PM who gives clear and irreversible support for expanding the UK’s busiest airport. David Cameron made a clear decision to have a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. And what did that get him? A chance to practise his after dinner speeches, annotate his Number 10 diaries and weigh up offers of lucrative consultancy work, we’d imagine. OK, so a third runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick isn’t exactly Brexit but it’s certainly highly divisive. A bit like HS2 with wings.

Insert planes here ^ ^ ^

Insert planes here ^ ^ ^

With so many local residents, local MPs and local Councils opposed to more planes filling the skies over west London, it’s not surprising that a decision keeps being fudged. All this goes on to the great annoyance of Heathrow who have said they’re ready to rock and roll with the construction work – they have the funds to do it from assorted sovereign wealth funds, pension schemes and elsewhere (all of whom no doubt have your very best interests at heart). It probably does make business sense to expand Heathrow but the purely commercial angle is just one aspect of such an important decision. There are the social, environmental and political angles too. Given these complexities, some question whether a third runway at Heathrow can ever actually be delivered.

The government decision in favour of Heathrow will still only mark the beginning of a new stage in the whole process. There’s a further public consultation planned, a Commons vote (complete with rebellious Tory MPs such as Zac Goldsmith, our very own Tania Mathias and the ever-pragmatic Boris Johnson), a planning process and, no doubt, assorted risks of legal challenges. Four years is likely to be the soonest that any construction could begin however, if the experience of the last few decades is anything to go by, in four years’ time we might see the government of the day establishing yet another new commission to look into airport expansion.

Plane landing at Heathrow

Plane landing at Heathrow

LINK:
* BBC News – latest
* Teddington Action Group – local opposition group
* Richmond Council – opposed to Heathrow expansion
* Back Heathrow – pro 3rd runway

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