Thursday 28 May 2009

Ayo gorkhali

Padding round Kensal Green cemetery this little gravestone stood out amidst the significant undergrowth - and considering the scale of the undergrowth...!

It's the grave of Henry Boisragon and his two children Guy Boisragon (a winner of the Victoria Cross) and Mabel Dent.

Cllr Carol Shaw, Cllr Simon Green and myself are shown here - the grave is immediately adjacent to Simon';s ward and he has been a staunch supporter of the armed forces and Royal British Legion and Carol's father fought alongside the gurkha's in WWII.

The grave reads:
In loving memorial
Major Genl. Henry F.M. Boisragon
Late of the 5th Gurkhas and 4th Sikhs
Born March 27th 1828
Died Sept 22nd 1890
Guy Huddleston Boisragon V.C.
Col. 5th Gurkhas
Born November 5th 1864
Died July 14th 1931
The shall be mine saith the Lord
In that day when I make up my jewels
Malachi 3.xvii

Sacred to the memory of
Mabel Maxwell Dent
Born November 7th 1862
Died February 17th 1942
Daughter of
Major Genl. H.F.M. Boisragon
wife of the late Major H.W. Dent
2nd Queens Royal Regiment
"I know that my redeemer liveth"

For more information and and and

Wednesday 27 May 2009

Why the bridge is so crucial...

This is one side of the many railway bridges that straddle the Kilburn High Road - it taken looking south from the footfalls of Shoot-Up-Hill.

This is the main railway bridge of the Metropolitan Line and is gloriously impressive in both it's scale, decor and condition.

One of the crucial elements with this bridge is it is the only one that has beendesigned to be painted and then by reflection has been painted - and though this angle doesn't show it off at it's best the painting is crucial.

Yet the other bridges of Kilburn High Road lays dirty and graffiti'd - there is a growing body of opinion and annoyance at the rail network's inability to maintain their bridges and understand the effect there bridges have on the street environment.

They may have become a magnet for street art, but their lack of maintenance makes them a visual drag on the atmospherics - come on rail networks - get your act together or does it require some street initiative from us to climb up and paint the bridges ourselves?

Tuesday 19 May 2009

The elephant on the bridge

We're on Mill Lane in West Hampstead and it's the mural on the railway bridge across Mill Lane (near Wayne Kirkum Way).

This is just one panel that has survived well and still smiles out at passers by.

I'm a huge fan of community murals and am stunned just how long they have survived over the years.

This one dates I think from the mid 1990's and is signed By Nakai Jirira, Age 10 1/2 (ten and a half).

For some it has a personal resonance, fprsome it's just dead cute, for all it's a great illumination in a string of panels that otherwise would be painted railway grey.


Monday 18 May 2009

Sigh, this is such a sad spectacle...

I try and avoid partisan politics on here but the demise of the good reputation of MPs seemed so inexorable that I helped co-ordinate this letter which went yesterday to Mr Speaker.

Dear Mr Speaker,

As Parliament continues to be dragged down by the allowance system, and its rules, the role of those in public service across the country is being undermined. We are Liberal Democrat candidates seeking to be elected to Parliament and yet we find ourselves disappointed, and frustrated, at the way in which this matter is being handled.

Every day our residents are telling us loudly that this must stop and this must stop now. Three things stand out:
• The resistance to the releasing of these documents and the attempt to exclude Parliament from the Freedom of Information requirements
• The way in which Norman Baker and Kate Hoey were treated when they sought to raise legitimate concerns
• The fact that, through you, parliament could now release the information into the public domain and cut short this parade of drip-fed news and empower MPs and citizens through a new transparent relationship.

It is vital that Parliament must become transparent and accountable now. We call on you, as Speaker of the House, to do everything within your power to force the full publication of all expenses immediately.

We also call on you to accept the independent review of MPs expenses and salaries chaired by Sir Christopher Kelly. If you are unable to do this we then ask you to consider your position.

Time is running out for politicians of all parties to repair the damage to our democracy.

Yours sincerely

56 Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidates
Ed Fordham, Hampstead and Kilburn
Sal Brinton, Watford
Andrew Simpson, Northampton North
Bridget Fox, Islington South & Finsbury; Duncan Borrowman, Old Bexley and Sidcup; Steve Goddard, Oxford East; Adrian Collett, Aldershot; Adam Carew, East Hampshire; Gareth Epps, Reading East; Sally Morgan, Central Devon; Sue Doughty, Guildford; Rebecca Hunt. Chatham & Aylesford; Sarah Carr, Hereford and South Herefordshire; Guy Voizey Canterbury and Whitstable; Jo Shaw, Holborn and St Pancras; Liz Leffman, Meon Vallley; Merlene Emerson, Hammersmith; Sandy Walkington, St Albans; Richard Burt, West Worcestershire; Caroline Pigeon, Vauxhall; Kevin Lang, Edinburgh North & Leith; Andrew Dakers, Brentford and Isleworth; Andrew Duffield,Hexham; David Kendall, Brentwood and Ongar; Ann Haigh, Epping Forest; Simon Wright, Norwich South; Liz Simpson, Tonbridge and Malling; Sam Webber, Bromley and Chislehurst; Rabi Martins - Luton North; Greg Stone, Newcastle East; Theo Butt-Philip, Bridgwater and West Somerset; Dave Radcliffe, Birmingham Selly Oak; Richard Clein, Sefton Central; Mike Cox, Uxbridge and South Ruislip; Andy Stamp, Gillingham & Rainham; Stephen Lloyd, Eastbourne & Willingdon; Mark Blackburn, Westminster North; Denis Healy, Hull North; Robin Lawrence, Wolverhampton South West; Alex Feakes, Lewisham and West Penge; Andrew Falconer, Brighton Pavilion; Dave McBride, Orpington; Nigel Quinton, Hitchin & Harpenden; Alan Beddow, Warwick and Leamington; David Goodall, Southampton Itchen; Ryk Downes, Leeds Central; Chris Took, Ashford; Peter Wilcock, Saffron Walden; Karen Hamilton, Birmingham Perry Barr; Qurban Hussain, Luton South; Keith Angus, Hackney North and Stoke Newington; Stephen Robinson, Chelmsford; Mike Bell, Weston-super-Mare; Dave Raval, Hackney South and Shoreditch; Fred Mackintosh, Edinburgh South; Munira Wilson, Feltham and Heston; Paul Zukowskyj, Welwyn Hatfield.

Saturday 16 May 2009

No books here since 1954...

Most people who use and know the public Library in West Hampstead know it on the corner of Dennington Park Road.

But for a time (4-ish years!) after it was bombed out of Westbere Road it sought refuge in the corner of Mill Lane and Fortune Green Road.

The entrance is pictured here in Cholmley Gardens and has a small little plaque on the left hand side of the entrance.

I've touched on this topic briefly before

It's a small historical link but a nice little piece...

I've also touched on the wider library story in Camden here

Friday 8 May 2009

All change - the proof is in the shopping

Before the much maligned Tesco in West End Lane opens I thought I'd just place on the public record some of the hoarding we have enjoyed over the weeks and months...

Along with the very loud and explicit commitments to being a store that works with the community.

What might be the evidence of those links with the community?
  • Low use of plastic bags with no automatic provision to shoppers
  • High profile provision of cotton and bags for life
  • Active support for the West Hampstead local food festival and the Jester Festival
  • Involvement of staff in West Hampstead community events - through the area forum, the community association etc.

There's no shortage of opportunity - let's see the reality of the words - straplines or beliefs?

Thursday 7 May 2009

1828 and still going strong...

This isn't the most obvious thing and in fact i only spotted it by accident. I was photographing round Holly Hill, Hampstead, NW3 and decided to capture the Junior Branch of University College School (JB, UCS) - of which I am a Governor.

And there on the pavement in the railing is a splendid original iron post.

It reads:
St. Johns
B. Griffin
- & -
J. Kelly

St Johns is the parish of the church in Hampstead and it's a great little survivor of times gone by.

The post now is 180 years old which makes you pause and reflect when you see the quality of comparable street architecture being installed today across London...

In 1828 of course the world was a very different place: Wellington as Prime Minister, Andrew Jackson President of America, Zulu Leader Shaka dies, Francisco Goya the painter dies, Dante Gabriel Rosetti is born as is Leo Tolstoy... George IV has been on the throne for 8 years and will reign for a further 2.