Tag Archives: eel pie island

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

Continue reading

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Eel Pie Island Museum Seeks Support & Crowdfunding

In 2015 the plans for a museum dedicated to the music heritage of Twickenham’s Eel Pie Island became a reality when the museum ‘popped up’ above Twickenham library. It provided a fascinating journey through the Island’s place in Britain’s jazz, blues and R&B music scenes from the 1950’s to the very early 1970’s. The exhibition ran through until the autumn and since then the small team behind it have been looking to secure a permanent home for the extensive collection of musical memorabilia.

The good news is that the Eel Pie Island Museum has just been given the green light from LBRuT to use some space in central Twickenham to establish it on a more permanent basis. Museum Curator, Michele Whitby told twickerati, “This is really exciting news! Last summer proved that there is a ready market of people who want to discover more about the fantastic music heritage of our town, so the team at EPIM are raring to get going again and build upon last years achievements”. Good news indeed.

Eel Pie Island Museum

Eel Pie Island Museum

Michele and co have launched a campaign on crowdfunding website Spacehive to raise some more essential financial support. The project is linked to the Mayor of London’s Crowdfunding Programme, and with a little help from the twickerati, (i.e. you lovely lot), the Museum could receive a contribution from the GLA to boost their coffers. As Michele says, “The more we can prove that the local community are behind us with this, the more likely we are to get a pledge from the Mayor. So, if people could take a couple of minutes to register and ‘like’ the project that would be great. If anyone would also like to pledge an amount to back us, however large or small, then that is even better! Every penny will help to achieve our goal of establishing a permanent tribute to Twickenham’s musical and river-related heritage.”

Eel Pie Island Museum

Eel Pie Island Museum – pop up

If you’re not familiar with Eel Pie Island’s place in the grand scheme of things then you’ll certainly have heard of some of the names that performed at the famous hotel there: Acker Bilk, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, The Artwoods, Rod Stewart, Davy Jones (soon to become David Bowie) to name a few, but of course there were many, many more.

The EPIM team point out that for the project to really take off the important thing is to show that there’s widespread local support for the idea, so to find out more about it, take a look at the Spacehive link below. The Museum is also keen to hear from any businesses who may want to pledge an amount as a form of sponsorship.

The museum team can be contacted on info@eelpiemuseum.co.uk to discuss ideas and options. The GLA starts judging the various campaigns on 6th June and so there’s no time like the present to help promote the past. Chop chop.

 

LINKS:
* Eel Pie Island Museum on Spacehive
* Eel Pie Island Museum
* Previously on twickerati (Oct 2015)

Other Twickenham Music Heritage Links:
* Swinging 60s Shuttle Bus
* Live Music @ The Eel Pie Club

eel pie island hotel

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Pic of the Week: High Tides in Twickenham

The last few days have seen some very high tides in Twickenham complete with the usual array of flooded cars on Embankment. We especially liked this photo from near St Mary’s Church taken by @twickerman and posted on Twitter. Not bad, eh?

Eel Pie Island, High Tide (Feb 2016) Photo credit: @twickerman

Eel Pie Island, High Tide (Feb 2016)
Photo credit: @twickerman

Take care out there… and park wisely!

LINK:
* Government Flood Warnings Map
* Environment Agency Flood Alerts

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David Bowie: A Music Legend with a Twickenham Link

Eel Pie Island’s rich music heritage includes many famous names. Some of them are greats, a few of them genuinely deserve the title ‘legend’. One such legend, David Bowie, died today at the age of 69. Michele Whitby is a Twickenham resident and curator of the Eel Pie Island Museum which ran as a pop up exhibition at Twickenham Library last year. In this short piece, Michele, a huge Bowie fan, gives her take on the passing of someone whose nascent creative genius touched this part of London many decades ago…

11th JAN 2016. ‘Planet earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do.’
Being woken to the words ‘Mum, David Bowie has died’ coming from my daughter’s mouth at 7am this morning was not what I had in mind to start the week. My first thought was ‘please let it be one of those hoaxes’, my second was ‘if it’s true, then he orchestrated the release of his final album in perfect Bowie style’. Then I cried.

My daughter understood my tears and hugged me. After all ‘Starman’ was the song I chose to sing her as a lullaby when she was little and she has grown up listening to his music. She loved the line from his song ‘Kooks’, written for his own son, ‘And if the homework brings you down then we’ll throw it on the fire and take the car downtown’ (we were actually able to do this when we moved to a boat with a wood-burning stove!). She was as mesmerised as I by the fabulous V&A Bowie exhibition and it is testament to his genius that he could effortlessly engage different generations through his output of brilliant music. Continue reading

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Eel Pie Museum – Catch the Pop Up Before It Pops Off

Eel Pie Island was once at the heart of a music scene that helped kick start the careers of many famous bands. Performers who went on to become known the world over included The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and Rod Stewart. From the 50s through to the early 70s this small island in the Thames at Twickenham was central to a British jazz and rhythm and blues explosion which resonated far beyond the boundaries of south west London’s premier leafy suburb (that’s Twickenham btw).

The Eel Pie Museum explores the contribution of Eel Pie Island to Britain’s music heritage. As you know from previous pieces here on twickerati the museum is still looking for a permanent home but if you want to get an insight into what went down on the island, how it all began, who played and how it all ended then then there’s a pop up exhibition at Twickenham Library. It’s been running over the summer but if you’ve not seen it yet you’ve got until the end of October to take a look. It’s well worth dropping in.

Eel Pie Island Museum

Eel Pie Island Museum

Welcome to Eelpiland

Welcome to Eelpiland

The museum is located upstairs at Twickenham Library and runs until the end of October.
Opening times:
Mon 13.00 – 18.30
Tue closed
Wed closed
Thur 11.00 – 5.30
Fri 11.00 – 5.30
Sat 11.00 – 3.30
Sun 13.00 – 4.30

And don’t forget that if you like your music heritage on the move, there’s always the Swinging 60s Shuttle Bus to take you on a tour of the area’s musical sights. Or if you want to hear live R&B today, keeping up the tradition made famous on the island then check out the Eel Pie Club.

LINKS:
* Eel Pie Museum
* Swinging 60s Shuttle Bus
* Eel Pie Club

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Eel Pie Music Museum Update

Print Remember a few weeks ago when we told you all about the plans for a museum dedicated to Eel Pie Island’s music heritage? Of course you flippin’ do, although it was really the organiser Michele Whitby rather than us who told you all about it. Well Michele has an update for you on the state of the plans. And guess what? Here it is….

“Whilst still looking for permanent premises, the Eel Pie Island Museum will be running a pop-up version, renting two of the upstairs rooms at Twickenham Library, from early June until the end of October. We really wanted to have something in place for the Twickenham Festival and the Rugby World Cup so the chance to do this at the library is fantastic. Local businesses and residents have already come forward to help, both financially and with offers of skills and time. We would like to thank them all, particularly David McGeachie from Tenant Finder, the first business to offer sponsorship to the project. Dave has been active on the local music scene for 15 years and is really passionate about helping make the museum happen. We’re delighted to have him on board.

The museum is being run as a Community Interest Company, which means that all profits get ploughed back into the project. Anyone wishing to contribute any amount, no matter how small, can do so by bank transfer or cheque. Please email me at michelewhitby@hotmail.com for further details.

Really, every penny helps and will be greatly appreciated. We will be making a ‘wall of fame’ for contributors in the museum.”

Michele Whitby with David McGeachie

Michele Whitby with David McGeachie

LINKS:
* Previously on twickerati: Plans for an Eel Pie Island Museum
* Contact Michele at michelewhitby@hotmail.com

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Springtime in Twickenham

The sun’s been making quite a few appearances over the last week. At bloody last. If all this sunshine has caused you to forget why you love Twickenham, here’s a quick reminder…

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On Yer Bike! Well, Are You?

Village bike

A village bike

Did you see last week’s Ricky Twicky Times? Well did you? Cor blimey! That front page all about that bloody cyclist clocking 41mph in Richmond Park. Dangerous eh? And breaking the 20mph speed limit too. The article elicited plenty of comment online. Ban ’em! Leave ’em be! What about the motorists, they’re even worse. And as for those deer, wandering around, eating bark and chestnuts like they own the bloody park: twig-headed idiots. There were no winners.

It got us thinking about cycling. Unlike that chap in the park, not everyone wants to race around wearing lycra that provides onlookers with way too much information about what goes wrong when you hit middle age. But not everyone wants to ride at a sedate pace waving at vicars whether that be on a bike or on a deer. It’s about balance isn’t it? And there are always valid arguments both for and against that.

Lycra louts

Lycra louts on Cross Deep

How about some tolerance and respect and understanding? Why, just the other day, your humble correspondent got called a “two wheeled terrorist” for having the audacity to try to cycle through a green light whilst a group of rugby fans were attempting to cross the road despite the ‘red man’ facing them. Thanks guys. The very next day we witnessed a car braking hard when making a left turn into a side road, not because the driver had made an error when overtaking a bike but because a cyclist had been bombing along the pavement and had crossed the junction without so much as a sideways glance. Pavement cycling by small children is one thing (namely, illegal, a bit irritating but understandable), but there seems to be a small but determined group (usually men in their twenties, often in hi-viz work vests, en route to some place or other) who think a pavement equates to a cycle lane. Dudes, it doesn’t. Continue reading

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Plans for an Eel Pie Island Museum

Eel Pie Island Music LegendsYou might not know it today but Twickenham has a rich music heritage around jazz and rhythm n blues. Well, we say it’s Twickenham’s heritage but it’s fair to say that one small piece of this town is at the heart of it – Eel Pie Island. Perhaps you went along to the Eelpiland exhibition at Orleans House Gallery in 2013. If you didn’t, you should have. It gave a great insight into the Island’s music scene in the 1950’s and 60’s. But what if that exhibition could be made permanent for more people to enjoy? Michele Whitby is a Twickenham local,  Eel Pie islander and a champion of spreading the word about Twickenham’s place in music history. In this guest blog she takes up the story….

Eel Pie Island Museum
Michele Whitby

Plans are afoot to create a new museum in Twickenham dedicated to Eel Pie Island. World famous for its musical heritage, the island also has a fantastic riparian history, all of which really deserve to be celebrated and shared, not just with locals but also the many tourists that visit London.

Richmond-upon-Thames is steeped in history, stately homes and beautiful parks which all make it a great place to visit. But alongside the more traditional attractions, our borough is also sitting on a wealth of very significant musical heritage. Global superstars such as the Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton and many more, started out on their path to fame and fortune right on our doorsteps. Eel Pie Island played a pivotal part in the British RnB explosion and was a mecca for thousands of music fans in the 1950’s and 60’s; we really should be making more of this exciting aspect of our history.

For today’s sixty-somethings, who were actually ‘there’ when it all happened, the chance to revisit their youth and show their children and grandchildren just how cool they really were is something that is missing from the attractions we currently have on offer. At present we only have the Heritage Board outside the Barmy Arms dedicated to arguably one of the most exciting aspects of the area’s history – Eel Pie Island. The board attracts much attention and almost daily tourists amble over the bridge to the Island seeking a taste of the musical history, but of course the hotel is long gone and there is nothing left to see.

Eel Pie Island Hotel

Eel Pie Island Hotel

So, I want to set up and run an Eel Pie Island Museum in Twickenham, as close as possible to the Island itself. Continue reading

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