CHALLENGE ON THE GREEN

It is not often a highly qualified building surveyor is given to using superlatives, but Paul Hannent believes that 17, The Green is no ordinary restoration challenge.

Hannent, owner of Kingston-based Hannent Chartered Surveyors, has worked on many heritage sites, not least several buildings in Hastings on the South Coast, dating back to the post Norman Conquest era. But this former 18th Century Coffee House presents a rare challenge.

Since its inception in the mid 1700s it has never been fully restored. With the exception of a new roof three decades ago, the building has remained virtually untouched.

“This makes is both extremely fragile but also fascinating because it is so unusual to find a building which has hardly been touched. Almost every day we find something which is breath-taking in its historical importance. You can literally feel the history in the skeleton of the building,” says Hannent, who has been on site as the lead technical and structural designer, Party Wall Surveyor and Health and Safety adviser for the last three months.

“It will be an incredible home eventually but everything in it needs very careful handling. We have the best experts on site and the local authority’s Building Control officials, Gary Sumpter and Mike Jennings have been fantastic, but we need to move forward swiftly in order to preserve everything we can and make the building safe. Any delay now is a problem,” said Hannent, whose proven track record in this work is re-assuring to everyone working on the restoration project.

The up side of the lack of historic refurbishments is that so many of the original features remain lending the building a unique bond with its past. Any visitor to the site gets a clear and resonant insight into how the building would have felt during its colourful past.

One example of clues to its provenance are the large pieces of hand-painted 18th Century Oriental wallpaper revealed when the work began. Residents, retailers and several local history associations are fascinated with the work and have been reading the narrative boards on the front wall to learn more about the building.

“I can honestly say that in nearly twenty-five years of surveying this is one of the most interesting projects on which I have worked. All we need to do now is work diligently and quickly in order to preserve what is one of the great, iconic buildings of Richmond.”

A VERY PERSONAL FEUD

Image courtesy of Warner Bros.

Conflict is often the subject of great interest. Conflict between two women is always the focus of our fascination. Add to that the scandal, glamour and corruption of Hollywood at its height and you get one of the great stories of personal feud in the modern era.

It seems unlikely that the delightful Mary Wallace Theatre should be the setting for a production on this subject, and yet this riverside gem in our community, is the perfect location for a play which, set in the intimacy of the stars’ dressing room, reveals the calculating depths of their daily, bloody battles.

Bette and Joan by Anton Burge, directed by Harry Medawar is a revelation in the way that the recent, excellent BBC series was not. While television got to grips with the tension and explosive nature of their relationship, it is this production which shows us the awful, unrelenting bitching which played out on set.

Dorothy Duffy, who plays Joan, gets to grips well with the professionalism and drive of the iconic beauty of the pre-war silver screen while showing the star’s ability to bury the damage inflicted by an abusive childhood. Jane Marcus, inhabits the character of a mousey-looking woman who became the greatest actress of her generation. Both women turn highly creditable performances in a play which rests totally on their ability to interact and master fast-paced and witty dialogue.

Yet, is the production itself which commands attention; the original black and white footage of the previews of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane and stories of their animosity give a sense of the huge impact of the film and therefore their personal stories. When the soundtrack of an interview with the real Bette Davies is heard at the end of the play, there is a moment of recognition and – ultimately sadness.

We realise that at the heart of this tale is the irony that the two women should have been able to form a bond, if not a friendship. They had much to share in their fractured backgrounds, but in the end the conflict was one of talent versus beauty, a conflict fed by the avarice of Hollywood.

It is the devastatingly accurate and heart-breaking line that Bette could not bear to look at her own rushes that allows us to understand how personal feuds begin.

Bette and Joan. Richmond Shakespeare Society. Mary Wallace Theatre, The Embankment, Twickenham, TW1 3DU.

RT (River Tribe) Goes to RT (Richmond Theatre) for some RT (Rib Tickling) entertainment

Aladdin is once again back at Richmond Theatre with the lead role filled by the Panto legend Christopher Biggins.

It’s been eleven years since I last saw this extravaganza where I was unceremoniously pulled onto stage by Biggins during the Chinese Laundry scene.

Having my coat removed to throw into the washing machine, which promptly went awry in a puff of smoke and a big bang, I was offered back a tattered old rag of a thing.

Thus, I returned to my seat in the front row, considerably colder than I’d been previously, where Widow Twankey proceeded to wave at me throughout the show with a ‘coooeee Tony’.

I was reunited with my coat at the end and stayed on stage for the finale, linking arms with Biggins and Patsy Kensit kicking my legs up and singing ‘Is this the way to Amarillo’.

Thankfully, this time I sat further back in the Theatre and watched without fear of further humiliation. That privilege was reserved for a victim, sorry, audience member by the name of Oliver.

Biggins was his usual exuberant self, commanding the stage and interacting with Emperor Ming in the shape of Count Arthur Strong, who brought an element of old Music Hall to the proceedings.

Rikki Jay as Wishee Washee kept the audience participation at bubbling point throughout with some painful punnery, which is the least you expect from this most traditional of British institutions.

For me, the boo and hiss inducing (actor name please) as the Abanazar, Ava banana, Abercrombie and Fitch and everything else he got called brought some great stagecraft to the occasion with his deep thespian voice that rattled the chandelier when he sang with experienced resonance.

The whole production put me in a very Christmassy mood and lifted my Bah Humbug spirits with a Bar Visit at the interval and a fruity red to bring a glow to my cheeks.

Booing and hissing volume was then cranked up for the second half and some singing from Issy Van Randwyck and Princess Jasmine  got my feet tapping and my eyes boggling at the scantily clad dancers.

Kiddie interaction led to that ‘ahhhh’ factor I love to see at such an event and I can only imagine the mayhem in the wings at the multiple costume changes, pyrotechnics and impressive technical production as Aladdin (actor name please) hovered over the audience on a magic carpet and the huge Genie loomed in from stage left.

I actually howled laughing at the little set piece of ‘If I were not...’ choreographed for maximum mirth and no doubt exhausting for the participants with two performances a day.

My Vocal Tone rating is five star for energy, entertainment and groan-worthy jokes.

A cracking night out where if you leave without a silly grin on your face, you are a curmudgeonly Scrooge character devoid of a daft sense of humour. Oh no I’m not, oh yes you are.

 

MAKING ART

Richmond-based Sylvie Gormezano, advisor, curator and Chair of the Association of Women Art Dealers. Sylvie has collected art for more than 20 years, with a passion and commitment to promote contemporary and emerging talent.

Local history, art and altruism all coincided over recent months in Richmond with the “Views” project, for which 50 paintings inspired by the views and immediate area around the Royal Star and Garter Home on the top of Richmond Hill were commissioned. A celebration of the restoration of the Royal Star and Garter Home, the aim of the project was also to contribute to fundraising for the Victoria Foundation, a medical charity based in Richmond.

            At a time when patronage of the arts is sadly absent and altruistic projects thin on the ground, this collaboration, coordinated by Asgill House Trust, involved businesses with a local presence: it was sponsored by London Square property developers, who exhibited the paintings in the restored Marble Hall of the Royal Star and Garter and supported by the Bingham Hotel and Bhuti hosting a stylish and lively evening with a question and answer session with artists Luke Martineau and David Mach, as well as by our very own RiverTribe magazine supporting various activities around the project.

            Local residents will be familiar with the origins of the Royal Star and Garter Home, purpose built between 1921 and 1924 on the site of the old Star and Garter Hotel to house injured first world war veterans. A towering and imposing presence, for nearly a century dominating the landscape from the river at Richmond, the Home was sold in 2011 to London Square who restored and converted the Grade II listed building into apartments, as it was deemed to no longer meet the requirements of the current residents.

            Fitting then, for the Home to be the visual centrepiece for an exhibition of the 50 new artworks by artists who responded to the brief by producing work for the opening of the exhibition in the Royal Star and Garter building. The Victoria Foundation received donations from the sale of the works, as well as from sales of a glossy hardback book produced as a companion to the exhibition and a permanent record of this significant piece of local heritage.

            In all, seventeen artists participated, with a resulting wide range of artistic responses to the brief: for example, lyrical views of the river by Luke Martineau, John Brown, Natasha Kissell and Lynda Minter; a focus on Richmond Bridge and the boats by Jane Corsellis, John James and Jonathan Pike; views of the Terrace by Anthony Morris; while Varsha Bhatia, Naomi Alexander, Carl Laubin, Steve Whitehead and Roy Wright focussed on the building itself. Stan McMurthy produced a witty cartoon featuring a demanding prospective apartment dweller; Joe Hargan made complex and humorous paintings, heavy with artistic and historic symbolism –much of it relating to Turner and David Mach constructed large scale, hugely detailed collages, made up of hundreds of meticulously collated images with quite surreal results. Finally, Nessie Ramm’s round and oval paintings offered a delicate focus on the bird and botanical life to be found around the Star and Garter.

            Altogether, a fine example of a local collaboration, encouraging the arts and enabling charitable giving.

            So, who’s next?

 

sylvie@picturethisproductions.co.uk

www.thevictoriafoundation.org.uk

Uncertainty the new norm

Anne Ashworth is the Property and Personal Finance Editor of The Times. Here she writes about market forces, addressing the new reality and forecasts a return to strong growth in 2019.

There is a reason why property is a favourite topic of conversation among the British. Usually, there is much to discuss, such as the direction of prices; which streets in a neighbourhood are in favour and which are going out of fashion, and the latest renovation trends.

The current market standstill is a less compelling narrative. People are preferring to stay put rather than sell and transactions have slumped, thanks to burdensome stamp duty bills and Brexit anxiety.

With little prospect of immediate improvement, it’s understandable that many of the usually real-estate obsessed wish to avoid the subject.

Will this conversational deficit persist into 2018? This is what you need to know to get people talking again - and facing up to the new reality.

           

  • It’s useful (if not entirely consoling) to see the slowdown in context. In recent years, as prices rose strongly, the homes of some well-paid Londoners made more money than even their owners did. As a result, in real terms, taking inflation into account, the average London price is still close to 40 per cent above its level of 2008, at the start of the global financial crisis. The southeast and the east of England have also surged ahead since that era, although not at the same dizzy rate.

By contrast, recovery has yet to arrive in the northeast, where the average ‘real’ price remains below that of nine years ago.

 

  • During the summer, many homebuyers have been remortgaging to protect themselves against rising rates, but others have been sunk in apathy, despite the continued availability of attractive fixed-rate home loan deals from banks and building societies eager to meet their lending targets. Not all homebuyers qualify for these offers, but those who are eligible and still pass up the opportunity can expect scant sympathy if their repayments become more expensive.
  • Property price appreciation in London was driven by a lack of supply, but also by cheap finance. This era is drawing to an end, as interest rates edge upwards. But the draconian credit checks imposed on borrowers since 2014 will mean that most should be able to afford higher monthly repayments without becoming dangerously overextended and thus forced to sell their homes at a large loss.
  • The housing gurus are drawing up their forecasts for 2018 as we go to press. The predictions, to date, suggest that the stagnation will persist in the New Year, but that recovery should begin in London in 2019. This bounce, however, may be followed by a more circumspect mood, as higher interest rates lead to a further deterioration in affordability. For most of the current decade, London has been the star of the property market. In future, the northwest is expected to take the capital’s place in the limelight.
  • The market torpor may be causing anger at the government over stamp duty and despondency among those who want and need to relocate. But it is also having an interesting side effect. At periods of strong price appreciation, homeowners tend to opt for a neutral decor in the belief that this will lure house hunters. But when people have either chosen not to sell, or cannot find buyers for their homes, they make more personal interior style choices. Forget beige, grey and their variants. Say hello to wallpaper.

            The future is uncertain - and also floral.

ASK VIV

RiverTribe’s relationship expert, former Sky News Producer, Viv McGrath, takes a look at one of the biggest news stories of the year, sexual harassment, and gives us some practical advice on how to beat the bullies.

It started with the jokes. The ones with underlying sexual innuendo. I didn’t find them funny.  In fact, they made me uncomfortable.  But I was young and in my first job as a television reporter on a high profile current affairs show in Australia.  He was an experienced cameraman who’d been at the broadcaster for years. So, I laughed along with him and the rest of the team joined in.

The jokes escalated to being more direct. Innuendos about my sex life. How much I was up for it, how raunchy I might be. Still, I laughed along. I felt instinctively that if I didn’t, it would be me who would be judged.

Back then the culture was predominantly a ‘boys will be boys’ one. To get ahead, a woman was pretty much expected to be one of the boys to gain acceptance.  It didn’t cross my mind that his behaviour was inappropriate.

But there was one Producer who wasn’t like that.  I worked directly with him and he was a rock of support.

The contract was for one year, learning the ropes in a regional station, after which I’d return to my home city.  As the year progressed the cameraman’s behaviour graduated to him telling me he was annoyed with his almost-teenage daughter locking the bathroom door.  He felt he had the right to walk in on her at will.  He also joked how useful she was, as he made her fetch his beers, whenever he felt like one.

It culminated at my farewell party.  I went outside for a cigarette and the cameraman followed me. He lunged at me trying to grope me. 

I reported him to my boss the next day. Not only for what he did to me, but for what he had told me about his daughter. I was told he’d be given a warning. Whether that ever happened, I have no idea.

When I said goodbye to the rest of my colleagues, the supportive producer gave me a hug. He pulled me so tightly to him I could feel his entire body pressing against mine. He held me for an uncomfortably long time. Then I felt his erection.  Sexual predators come in many different forms.

If it happens to you, what should you do about it? Do you want to take it further?  It’s a decision only you can make. I’m not here to victim blame someone who decides they are not ready to take this step. But if you are, then there are options.

  • Can you calmly confront the person whose behaviour is offensive? Perhaps they’re  unaware that their conduct is unacceptable?  If not, then I would suggest writing  a statement as soon as possible and report it to your HR manager or a person in a position of power who has the duty to do something about it. You are legally  protected from discrimination by the Equality Act 2010 and employers are  obliged to abide by this.
  • Contact the Equality Advisory Support Service
      www.gov.uk/equality-advisory-support-service
  • Acas: www.acas.org.uk
  • Citizens Advice Bureau: www.citizensadvice.org.uk  or talk to a trade union representative. 
  • If you decide you’re not ready to speak out, talk to someone you trust, don’t suffer

     in silence.  

  • If you’re looking to join a new company, do your research.

     Ask them about their policies on this above all speak to current employees. 

Girl being struck. Portrait of young girl with bruises on her face showing stop sign, palm in focus

L.K Bennett Event

Shopping for a good cause.

This week RiverTribe were invited to an exclusive charity shopping event at L.K Bennett Richmond in aid of The Victoria Foundation. RiverTribe love L.K Bennett, there clothes are really great for any occasion whether you need a comfortable out for a work meeting, a casual blouse for a ladies’ lunch or a fun frock for a party you can find a fabulous variety of quality clothes in their stores. It was such a pleasure to have the Richmond shop to ourselves, it gave us an opportunity to admire the L.K Bennett winter collection more closely. The colours they have in store in at the moment as gorgeous for this season; festive red’s, midnight blues, shimmering glitter, deep burgundy, warm mustard's and not to mention the really pretty selection of accessories and jewelry that add the perfect finishing touches to your outfit. The welcoming manager of the Richmond store Paula De Jesus gave us a lovely peek into how we can incorporate some L.K Bennett items into our festive wardrobes ahead of Christmas and New Year. Anita Feron Clark a personal stylist and image consultant was on hand to give us women tips about what colours are best to wear for our skin tones and the wonderful Lorna Votier Development Director for The Victoria Foundation organised a generous raffle. When we left L.K Bennett gave us a cute goodie bag with a handy little leather notebook. This was a great event because we helped raise money for a good cause whilst having fun shopping and drinking some fizz. The Victoria Foundation are a local charity who organise many fun events so we’ll keep you posted on future events and hope you can join us next time!

www.lkbennett.com

Christmas is coming….

Christmas Dates for the diary

 
The Big Richmond Christmas Lights Switch On Event - 6pm Friday 24th November outside Whole Foods Market with Christopher Biggins and Harlequins Rugby Club.
 
Twickenham Christmas Lights Switch On Event - 2-5pm Sunday 26th November outside Santander Bank and Twickenham GREEN.
 
Whitton Christmas Lights - 12-5pm Sunday 26th November with the award winning Kneller Hall Music Band.
 
The famous Teddington Lights UP - 4-9pm Thursday 30th November sponsored by the LENSBURY with chosen charity RUILS and a Lantern Procession.
 
"Church Street Festival of Lights" - Saturday 2nd December - Markets
 
East Sheen Christmas Evening Market & Late Night Shopping & TREASURE HUNT- Thursday 7th Dec at the Hare & Hounds Pub across from Santander Bank.
 
East Twickenham Christmas Lights with Chairman Perminder, Local Councillors & The Mayor - 5pm Friday 24th November across the road from Thames Travel Agents.
 
Hampton Hill Christmas Parade - Friday 24th November 5pm
 
KEW SPARKLE - Friday 1st Dec - Kew Village
 
Hampton Wick Christmas Event - 5pm Wednesday 13th December outside SIGMA Cycling Shop
 
HAM PARADE CHRISTMAS MARKET - Saturday 2nd Dec with market stalls.
 
St Margaret's Christmas Fair - Sunday 10th Dec on Crown Road with Reindeer.
 
Oxford Street Christmas Lights with Rita Ora -  6.30pm Tuesday 7th November

 

The joy of baking

Last Week's Event

Last week RiverTribe had the pleasure of being invited to celebrate Ruben’s Bakehouse first birthday on Richmond Road. Now a well established bakehouse in our local area with one location on Twickenham high street and another on Richmond road. The evening was full of chatter and local people with a beautiful and delicious spread of food and hot pizza’s being served. The owner made a very emotive speech.. It was clear that he has a real passion for organic and sustainable produce, that for him quality is more important that quantity and that he bakes with passion and integrity. Perhaps the most inspirational aspect of his speech was his fundamental gratitude for his team and staff and how it is greatly important for him to create a family like network with the people he works with, which nowadays is something to truly be treasured. Ruben’s is a simple and honest bakehouse no tricks and the quality is consistent and products are always fresh. We are very lucky to have Ruben’s in our local area and hope to see many more bakehouse’s popping up around London. Leave us a comment with what your favourite things is about Ruben’s Bakehouse....

 

De-fusing the demographic time bomb

Nicola Hill, former Health Editor at Sky News,
takes a look at caring for an older population, a clear challenge in Richmond.

How many of you reading this are juggling caring for elderly parents with raising young children? Perhaps you are struggling to find qualified and reliable support for older members of your family, or well-run care homes with daily activities designed to stimulate and entertain.
Despite an ageing population and the rising number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, there is a major shortage of care on every level. No-where is the aging demographic more evident than in Richmond.
Those of us living in the Borough will have recently received our new council tax bills and may have noticed a precept to fund adult social care. Since we live in an ‘ageing borough’ and the council’s highest spend is on social care this explains the need for an increase in local tax.
Surrey Council threw the spotlight onto the problem when it threatened to hold a local referendum to see if it could raise council tax by a whopping 15% to fund adult social care. Seen as a bold political move, it eventually backed down after receiving re-assurances from the government that it would move quickly to tackle the crisis.
We are living longer and the burden of care is an unavoidable challenge that will only grow over the following decades.
Richmond may already have an older than average population but this is a nationwide trend and needs a nationwide solution; according to the chair of the Local Government Association, social care will be underfunded to the tune of £2.6bn by 2020. Many private care homes have closed down: According to the Care Quality Commission, the number of care homes in England has fallen from 18,068 in September 2010 to 16,614 in July last year. And the number of companies providing care at home has also fallen.
We need to prioritise the matter, making it a top concern. A friend of mine, a former Queen’s Nurse, set up such a company 25 years ago. But the introduction of the national living wage, and local authorities’ inability to pay higher fees meant her business was no longer viable and so 120 people lost their jobs and the elderly they cared for had to seek support elsewhere. Certainly, there was a lack of intuitive thinking in this case.
The devastating effect on the care provided for older people has a major impact on our hugely over-stretched NHS.
The Government hates the term bed blocking, but that is exactly what is happening; many elderly people who no longer need to be in hospital cannot be allowed home as there is no package of social care support available for them. It means longer waits in A&E for all of us and few hospital beds available at the end of the line.
There are more news stories about frail and vulnerable pensioners spending days alone, with a hurried visit from a carer who has only a few minutes to ensure someone is fed, bathed and has taken their medicine.
If we are lucky we will all grow old so we should ensure proper care provision is put in place now. We need to protect our older people. I am a trustee of the charity Action on Elder Abuse, and we hear horrific stories of half a million older people being abused in the UK every year, physically, mentally and financially.
We are campaigning for a change in the law, to make elder abuse a separate crime. By realising that elderly people are a vulnerable group who need protecting, maybe we will open our eyes to the need for the proper investment in adult social care. After all, an advanced and equitable society is measured by the way in which it treats older people.

Nicola Hill @ncmediatv www.ncmedia.org.uk www.aea.org.uk