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Anyone else fascinated by this?I have tested it for some research on a technical issue.  Not very accurate, and the information out of date.  But perhaps a reasonable starting point.Just out of interest, I asked the question:  "What is the history of Chiswick", and then reran the same question a few times.Here is the first answer.  I will post the next two answer to follow:"Chiswick is a suburban area of London, located in the west of the city. It has a long and rich history dating back to the Roman period.During the Roman period, Chiswick was an important site for the production of pottery and tiles, with evidence of kilns and other industry found in the area. The village was also an important stop on the road that connected London with Bath, and it is believed that a Roman road passed through the area.In the Middle Ages, Chiswick was a small village with a population of around 100 people. The village was largely rural, with a number of farms and fields. In the 16th century, the area became popular as a location for grand country houses, and several wealthy families built large homes in the area.During the 18th and 19th centuries, Chiswick grew rapidly as a residential suburb of London. Many of the grand country houses were converted into more modest homes, and new streets and developments were built to accommodate the growing population. The arrival of the railway in the mid-19th century further accelerated the growth of the area, making it easier for people to commute into central London.Chiswick has a rich artistic and cultural history, with several notable residents including the artist William Hogarth, who lived in the area in the 18th century, and the poet Alexander Pope, who built a villa in nearby Twickenham.Today, Chiswick is a popular residential area with a thriving community and a wide range of amenities, including shops, restaurants, and parks. The area has also become a popular location for film and television productions, with several notable productions filmed in the area, including "Downton Abbey" and "Doctor Who.""

T P Howell ● 32d9 Comments ● 30d

Objects in the sky

With what has been going on lately does anyone have any theories?I'd rather get away from UFOs and outer space and concentrate on what they possibly are, where they are from, and what they are doing.Given the balloon sighting, this has led to the detection of these last two objects very quickly and the shooting of them down. Have they been overhead for far longer than we know?Have we had these objects over our skies without knowing, could we in time now have our own official sightings?I see something last year during our heatwave and have emailed Howard Hughes of The Unexplained over this as i was totally baffled to what it was and its course and change in direction on a clear hot sunny day. On what has happened lately ive only just yesterday googled objects in sky summer 2022 and have found a video. Not quite what i did see but has similar points to it but it was only one object and very high up. But strangely its around the same time and it was over west london also. By telescope revieled more than the human eye as my first thought was a party baloon. But given height,its movements and weather conditions i ruled it out. But could it have been a surveillance drone. Could it have been something that we now know about in north america Again,forget UFOs,it takes 4 years to get to the nearest star,but it makes an interesting conversation. Well from my point of view it does anyway not that im a expert on this subject

Julian Pavey ● 36d17 Comments ● 34d

Update on energy companies SSE and OVO.

ILLEGAL TRANSFER FROM ENERGY PROVIDER SSE TO OVO.A response given on Trustpilot on 26-1-23  by energy provider SSE regarding my illegal transfer from energy company SSE to energy company OVO which are part of the same company."Hi, Thank you for your recent email, I apologise for the delay in my response.We appreciate you contacting us. When I check your account, it has already been transferred to OVO Energy. As a result, your account has been closed and we no longer have access to it. I suggest you to get in touch with OVO Energy because they are the team that can assist you.Thank you for contacting SSE."John from OVO has informed me that I was tricked by SSE to sign up to OVO with a false promise of a £50 energy credit.And the response given on Trustpilot by OVO. Thanks for getting back to me, Neil.I've checked over your account and I can see you've managed to reach the team. I am sorry that the letter has caused such confusion, but the install would have had to have been with SSE.Thanks,Dave.Both SSE and OVO are continuing to argue that the other party are to blame for the illegal transfer. I have to wait about 7 weeks for SSE and OVO to sort the mess out before the Energy Ombudsman will intervene. Anyone wishing to change energy providers would be wise to check on Trustpilot the company they are thinking of using before deciding. SSE and OVO are having shocking reviews. See part of Which magazine review of OVO below.                                                              "Ovo Energy came near the bottom of the table in 13th place out of 16 energy companies rated by 10,197 members of the public in the annual Which? customer survey. This is a big drop from last year, when it came joint second. It had poor two-star ratings for almost all of the aspects of service we looked at, managing an average three stars for just one - the accuracy of its payments."One dissatisfied customer said: 'It’s impossible to contact them. Online options don’t make it easy to solve problems.'

Neil Milkins ● 47d16 Comments ● 36d

Councillor telling porkies - but which one?

As we know, the normal traffic restrictions on Stavely and Hartington Roads were suspended over the Xmas/New Year period, 27 Dec to 02 Jan.However, LBH carried on issuing fines as normal, due to what was described as an "operator error".This was reported on the front page on 06 January: report included the following:Conservative Councillor for Chiswick Homefields, Jack Emsley, wrote to the council’s traffic department to ask for clarification, and has confirmed that all fines issued during the Christmas period will be cancelled.He said, “I’m pleased that we have been able to secure the cancellation of these fines, but the fact is that they should never have been issued in the first place...(More here: )This was repeated in the Hounslow Herald of 06 Jan, with the same verbatim quotation from Cllr. Emsley:, in the Hounslow Herald the following week (13 Jan), the Reader Comments page included a letter from Cllr. Katherine Dunne, LBH Cabinet Member for Climate, Environment and Transport Strategy, claiming:"This is not true. All erroneously issued PCN's were cancelled by the traffic team on 3rd January before any councillors, including myself were aware of it." So which is it? Cllr. Emsley improperly claiming credit, or Cllr. Dunne covering up?

Richard Cathcart ● 64d9 Comments ● 49d

The war on cars … across the UK, a war is being waged against car drivers. Matters became worse last week when new research emerged, appearing to support Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs).The Guardian called it “the most comprehensive study yet of such schemes in the UK”. It soon received praise from Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, and his Walking and Cycling Commissioner, as well as activists, who used it to conclude that LTNs are a roaring success.You didn’t need a statistics degree, though, to immediately spot that there were a few “issues” with this much-celebrated investigation. For starters, it had been funded by an organisation called Possible – “a UK based climate charity working towards a zero carbon society” – which has held events to encourage people to go “car free”. It is hardly the natural adjudicator one would hope for.Then there were the researchers, from the University of Westminster’s Active Travel Academy. According to its website, this academy (that no one’s ever heard of), wants to “address the acute global problems that car dominated transport systems have created.” So that’s two opinionated guides to the data.The data, itself, raises eyebrows. Researchers reviewed data from schemes “introduced between May 2020 and May 2021”. Although they reassure that the study has been “adjusted to account for Covid-era and other longer-term and seasonal changes”, it is an odd selection, given that traffic was in no way normal for parts of those years due to Covid lockdowns. Another issue with the research is that, for all the claims of being comprehensive, it was collected from less than half of the 96 LTNs installed in London between these two dates.Anyone with a basic understanding in statistics can see that everything about this “study” — from the flawed methodology, to its partisan commissioner and researchers, to the journalists who bigged up its results (one of whom, The Guardian’s political correspondent, Peter Walker, has written a book titled How Cycling Can Save the World), to the Mayor and his “czar” doing the same – stinks.It is, in fact, part of a much broader movement taking place across the country, in which elected bureaucrats, supported by a “Lycra Lobby” of cycling activists and eco wonks, are doing everything they can to end car use. Their tactics include cherry picking data, abusing democracy and smearing their opponents. Walker, for instance, recently wrote an article in The Guardian, in which he said “people objecting to traffic restrictions can easily become exposed to much murkier ideas”, implying that these include “alarmist conspiracies, often overlapping with antisemitic ideas of the New World Order and all-powerful “globalists”.” He and others get away with their militant anti-car campaigning because a large section of those in the upper echelons of power — from the media, to other politicians to the financially better-off — are on board, or complacent, perhaps because they don’t need to drive to work.As a journalist, I should explain that I am not some sort of “car fanatic”, as some have implied when I have have criticised anti-traffic schemes (as well as suggesting I am an “WEF conspiracy theorist”). I don’t drive, enjoy cycling and probably have a relatively low carbon footprint, having not eaten meat for over 20 years. I came into this political area after a chance meeting with a delivery driver in 2020, who complained to me about the issues he was having conducting his business, due to increasing anti-car measures under Khan. I felt for him and said I’d look into it. I did, interviewing local tradesmen — and they were mostly men — to find out their views. Their frustration, and financial losses, were palpable.Since 2020, things have become much worse for these tradersSince 2020, things have become much worse for these traders, with councils across the UK stepping up their efforts to ban cars, increasing anti-traffic schemes, including ULEZ (Ultra-Low Emission Zones), in spite of people continuing to make their objections known. Opponents of traffic reduction schemes are not conspiracy theorists or worse — self-employed couriers/ plumbers/ decorators, for instance, are some of the biggest economic victims, losing money each day because LTNs elongate their journeys, reducing the number of jobs they can carry out. Some traders have spent lots of money on upgrading their car to electric to be ULEZ compliant, only to find out that the car is now simply banned from certain routes. There’s also the disabled, vulnerable and elderly to consider.Drivers have turned to democratic channels in the hope that their concerns might be listened to. Recently, for instance, constituents in Haringey attended a council meeting, hoping for an exchange with the elected representatives who had installed LTNs. But the councillors called it off, blaming “disruption”, which others disputed. Often, bureaucrats — pretending to care about what locals think — launch farcical LTN consultations long after they’ve implemented them. The LTN resistance cannot win, not least because they rarely have the time, platform or economic bandwidth to stop anti-democratic measures, and they are up against a wealthier elite — including wonks — that deploy biased research to gaslight them. The concerns of ordinary people are no match for the white papers and purported intellect of the Lycra Lobby.Trying to raise these concerns, which I do regularly on Twitter and in articles, has been a lonely business, namely because I am trying to convince people who don’t drive to care about cars. People should remember that this is about more than vehicles; we are seeing an assault on democracy, in which one part of the population thinks it can override the rights of others, to the point of crippling their businesses, by using a dubious moral justification; that LTNs are good for everyone. For all these claims, it was shocking to see London recently become the most congested city in the world. How did this come about? Based on recent events, don’t expect an objective analysis any time soon.

Michael Good ● 58d47 Comments ● 49d

Door to door sellers

From Hammersmith and Fulham"Senior Trading Standards Officer Doug Love said that these groups check for any security features and sell the information on a “mug list” to burglars for cash.He said, “They see what they can about a home, to see if the resident might be gullible enough for another trader, or to have a look to see what type of security is at the front door, like if there is a chain or if the person is security conscious. We know there’s a currency in that sort of thing.”He said the scammers often pretend to be ex-inmates on a probation scheme, despite no such programme existing in the borough.The fake salesman are known to go door to door in the borough with holdalls of poor-quality dusters, dishcloths and sprays and flash fake permits. Doug said catching the criminals was “almost impossible” because victims report the crime weeks after it happened.Hammersmith and Fulham’s trading standards department released a guide to help locals to spot a scam in action. It advises residents to put a “no uninvited traders” poster on their front door, use smart doorbells with built-in cameras, or door chain for unexpected callers.Doug said, “Don’t deal with cold callers. Full stop. At its most innocent, they’re people selling overpriced goods. But at the more sinister end, it’s assessing the potential for far more serious crimes.“If you don’t know who’s knocking, don’t open the door or use a door chain. We need to warn people, especially elderly residents, from being as trusting as they are. The successful scammers are the charming, persuasive ones.”

Iris Hill ● 51d7 Comments ● 50d

Another Tom Pike lie - it’s probably less than 1000 cyclists a day on C9, not the 3000 he claims

At the Chiswick Area Forum on 22 November, ‘Professor’ Tom Pike said the following (see LB Hounslow YouTube site if you want to see it) “we shouldn’t have an argument about the facts. We also shouldn’t have an argument about how many cyclists are on C9”. (He pointed to the fact that “we” have cameras along its length.) He then said, “It’s averaging about 3000, it peaks at 4000 a day. We should focus on the facts here, take the heat out of the argument and make judgements based on what is happening here in Chiswick.”So I checked his arguments. FOI responses from TfL (you can find them online eg FOI-1431-2122, FOI-1192-2122) show that the number of cyclists on C9 in Chiswick is measured by sensor 62 count line 22096 at Annandale Road. It counts cyclists going both ways.In the 12 months to 30 September, the average daily 24 hour count of cyclists on C9 was 1,636. Fact, Tom Pike, fact. Not 3000. I think this categorically proves you cannot trust anything Tom Pike says. And bear in mind, this is BOTH ways, so it will be double counting every cyclist who goes to/from work or school, or every Deliveroo rider returning for another collection. Looking at the data from TfL, the morning 7-10 and evening 4-7 peaks are similar at 26% of journeys. So one can reduce the “number of cyclists” by at least a quarter. In all likelihood, the number of individual cyclists using C9 on average each day is below 1000.  That makes this one expensive £10m white elephant (notwithstanding the other economic damage it has caused to Chiswick). Also, don’t trust Paul Campbell, or Michael Robinson. When asked about the number of cyclists on C9, they post a chart which doesn’t just use count line 22096 as TfL advise, but adds in 2 other cameras on Chiswick High Road (ie not the cycle lane) - it’s noted on their chart which they carefully label “Chiswick High Road”, not C9. In other words they are deliberately inflating the number (to show a 2000-2500 average) to give the impression of more cyclists on C9 than there actually are to support their failing scheme. And they know it. TfL even describes that methodology in the stated FOI requests as “problematic”. So there you have it. Not only was Pike wrong about £10m of fines in Grove Park, but he and his friends at the London Borough of Hounslow Cycling Campaign are misleading us about the number of cyclists on C9. It’s about 1000 per day. Not 3000.

Richard Tate ● 58d94 Comments ● 56d

Photos of West London 1956-1962

Hi,Whilst doing research on what Hammersmith and Chiswick Looked like in the 50s I came across this website with lots of very interesting Black and white Photos of Hammersmith before the fly over was built and Notting Hill Gate before it all got demolished. the BlogToward the end of his school days my father Alisdair Macdonald was what job he was aiming for and with no hesitation he replied he was to become a photographer. This was laughingly dismissed and he was asked again where he saw his future.Unperturbed he set to work learning the trade. He bought a camera, set up a small dark room in the family house near Shepherds Bush in West London and began taking pictures. Pictures of anything; fetes, birds, building work, shops, snow, celebrity visits to local events and everything beside, all with the goal of getting them into print.He got his break after selling a few photos to the papers around Kensington, Chelsea and Fulham area and eventually began freelancing for the Kensington Post, then based in Church Street.In the early 1960’s he submitted pictures of the Notting Hill Riots to the national press and shortly after became a staff photographer for the Daily Mirror where he remained through the next 30 years.This blog will share some of the images from 1956-1962, a record of his learning the art that eventually led him to become one of the most respected photojournalists in Fleet Street.

A. Whitehouse ● 57d3 Comments ● 56d