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Autumn 2005

The Government in its wisdom has decided that longer opening hours for pubs and clubs are the way to reduce anti-social behaviour on our streets at closing time. Only time will show whether they are right but what is certain is that the noise from music, car doors slamming, loud goodbyes across the street and low level vandalism etc associated with closing time in many pubs and clubs will now extend to later in the night with consequent annoyance to local residents.

The local councils have had the job passed to them from the magistrates courts of issuing new licences and this summer licensing committees have been busy hearing applications from licensed premises requesting longer hours and the objections from residents concerned about the impact on themselves. Councils cannot simply refuse all applications for extensions as this would only result in a raft of appeals at great cost to council-tax payers, since the object of the new legislation is precisely to allow longer hours.

What Elmbridge's Licensing Committee has been able to do is to modify the applications in cases where the pub concerned was simply asking too much - for example the George and Dragon's request was for later hours beyond midnight on too many days of the year and after representations at the committee hearing by local resident Keith Hathaway supported by Residents' Councillor Maureen Sheldrick, the management of the pub were reasonable and agreed to scale down their request. In the case of the Swan many conditions were imposed to try to meet objections from local residents. (At the time of going to press the Weston Green hearings had not taken place).

The Residents' Association has received copies of many objections and the Association's response has been coordinated through Maureen, who has worked actively with local residents, to ensure that the views of residents have been presented to the Licensing Committee. Not everyone will be satisfied but significant improvements were achieved. Local residents should monitor what happens when the new system comes into place in November since one good change is that local councils will be able to call in managers of licensed premises for review of their licence where there is clear evidence of unacceptable disturbance to residents.

 

 

The Thames Ditton air will be alive with the sound of pneumatic drills from late September to the end of the year. And the disturbance will all be in a good cause.

At last, The Thames Water Flood Alleviation Scheme is coming. And not before time many would say. The Residents' Association has campaigned for what seems like many summers for recognition of and action to prevent the virtual annual flooding of parts of our village.

The junction of Speer, Summer and Aragon where the new pumping station is now under construction
Site for new underground pumphouse

The Thames Water Scheme will be a joint Claygate / Thames Ditton set of works as both villages' outflow goes to the Esher Works. The total cost is £9.5 million. A underground pumping station will be dug and installed on and under a site on the recreation land at the Speer, Summer and Aragon junction.

This proposal gave rise to considerable angst among many local residents who feared an enormous bunker was to be built. The station is large but underground. The above ground inspection chamber will be camouflage painted as best as possible. It is essential to the project. There is a working example of this type of structure on the green opposite Molesey Police Station. It is not small but not as bad as feared.

The pipe work down Speer Road needs to be as straight as possible so sometimes it will be on the left and some times on the right. Obviously it will be done in rolling stages. Temporary traffic lights will control the one way workings.

The piping under The High Street will be upgraded. There is, as they, "at last light at the end of the tunnel".

Edward Rowe

 

 

A Sunday at the unuathorised car wash
A Sunday at the Car Wash

"There are two sides to every story". This old adage came to mind recently in light of the Car Wash which was situated on the Hampton Court Way. The operation had to be closed down and many residents questioned that action, feeling aggrieved, because they appreciated the excellent service being offered. Everyone admired the enterprise, enthusiasm and hard work of the young people who operated the service. However, there was indeed another side to this particular story.

The Car Wash began operating from the Lamb and Star Public House Car Park in approximately January 2004 - the operation was unauthorised. The Car Park area was sealed off with a high metal fence, a very large container was installed together with a canopied structure. Several large, obtrusive notices advertising the service were placed on the perimeter. All these measures were unauthorised and caused particular concern because of its proximity to the Weston Green Conservation Area.

When the Council became aware of the situation they contacted the owners of the Public House requesting that the unauthorised use cease. The Council advised and encouraged the operators to make an application for planning permission but no retrospective application was received at that time. The unauthorised operation continued and, in June 2004, the Council felt compelled to take enforcement action. The issues were complicated; displacement of car parking; highway safety concerns; the effect on the Conservation Area; and the harmful effect on the amenity of neighbours. The impact being witnessed at the front of the operation was obvious but the environmental impact being experienced behind the Car Wash, although major, was not apparent to an onlooker. A once quiet and peaceful cul-de-sac was now being subjected to intermittent jet-spraying and customer/operator "banter" from early morning to evening - 7 days a week. It became necessary to keep all the windows permanently closed and it was impossible to enjoy the gardens. There was no respite at weekends - a time when residents should be able to relax! One house was particularly affected - not only by the constant noise and smell of cleaning materials but also by the water which permeated the rear walls of the property. An Abatement Notice was served by the Environmental Health Division. The Public House owners lodged an appeal against that enforcement notice to the Secretary of State. Almost simultaneously they also submitted a retrospective Planning Application. This application addressed the environmental issues but unfortunately, its implementation would have worsened the congestion in the slip road and highway safety would have been compromised. It was subsequently refused.

An independent Inspector conducted a public hearing on 30th November 2004, attended by both Ward Councillors, and several residents. Several professional bodies acting on behalf of the Car Wash submitted evidence. Elmbridge Borough Council officers, your Ward Councillors and some local residents also gave evidence. The Inspector's Appeal Decision was received 31 Dec 2004 wherein the Inspector upheld the enforcement notice. This decision is available for public inspection at the Civic Centre. The Inspector was mindful of allowing sufficient time for the Car Wash to find alternative premises and agreed to the appellant's request of 3 months - 31 March 2005. Although photographs and reports in the local press indicated that the Car Wash had closed down - this did not actually happen! A second Planning Application was refused. Despite much advice and help from EBC the illegal operation continued. The enforcement action and the Inspector's decision to close on 31st March were both disregarded. The Council therefore, had no alternative but to take out an Injunction. On the 9th June 2005 solicitors, acting on behalf of the Car Wash, conceded the Injunction and the operation ceased ten days later.

It is hoped that residents now appreciate why it was necessary to take such decisive action against this unauthorised use. The Council has a responsibility to protect the rights and amenities of all its citizens.

Residents will be pleased to learn that the Car Wash operators have now submitted a Planning Application to relocate their operation to another part of the borough. We wish them every success!

Tannia Shipley.

 

 

Street-corner literacy in ZambiaDid you know that fifty percent of Africa's population is under l6? Compared with 19% in Europe? And out of this population there exists a huge percentage of orphaned and vulnerable children, many of whom resort to the streets? The streets of African cities and towns have become their home, their livelihood, their 'family'

It is to address the needs of these children that Street Child Africa was formed in 1998. From an appeal in a local Church to a UK registered Charity (Reg, No 1074832) with national support, Street Child Africa has undergone quite a transition from the early days of working out of a Trustees' home. The Charity now has support groups throughout Britain, and an active Scottish office heading up fund raising north of the border. But the mission remains the same - to help every vulnerable baby, every hidden child and every victim of rural and urban poverty. Based in the Home of Compassion in the heart of Thames Ditton, Street Child Africa works tirelessly to raise awareness and much needed funds for seven 'partner agencies' throughout Africa.

These 'partners' are small grass roots organisations working directly with street children. They provide trained young African 'street workers' who meet and befriend street children. Street children live in the shadows, and it is only through developing a relationship based on complete trust that the child will be able to make decisions allowing them to take a different path. Our partners offer drop-in centres, somewhere for the children to come and wash, rest, have a decent meal, feel safe. Street based literacy gives these marginalized children an opportunity to learn, and as they get older move into skills training. Counselling, advocacy and above all friendship are offered to these children who have ended up on the streets because of family breakdown, conflict and the pervading poverty of many African countries. Our partners in Senegal, Mozambique, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Zambia offer these children real choices where there was no hope for the future.

Following on from an extremely successful national charity campaign in The Times over the Christmas period, the charity was delighted to be nominated as one of three finalists in the Charity Times 'UK Charity of the Year Award'. Charity Times is a leading magazine for the Charity sector, and it is a testament to the hard work of the Charity's staff, trustees, volunteers and donors, that their work is being recognised through this nomination. Whatever the outcome of the Awards Ceremony on the 22nd September, Street Child Africa is proud to have been nominated.

Staff at Street Child Africa feel that this award is very much shared with the street children they help. One of the missions of Street Child Africa is to allow the voice of these children to be heard at local, national and government level. An award such as this draws attention to these street children who grow up alone in an alien world; a world where they are at best ignored, at worst abused.

If you are interested in learning about the work we do, buying our Charity Christmas cards, or holding a fund raising event, please contact our office on 020 8972 9820. Readers can visit our website to learn more about our work.

Felicite Holman

 

 

A Visit to Chertsey Museum

Chertsey Museum sketchFirst opened to the public in 1965 in the Old Town Hall, the Museum is located in the Cedars which is a Grade II Regency town house with garden. After a major building project it reopened in 2003 following the construction of a new reception area and education room as well as the refurbishment of the existing building. It explores the history of the area through hands-on exhibits and its varied collection.

Five galleries are available for visitors to explore along with additional facilities for education and research. On the ground floor is the Local History Gallery currently featuring the history of Chertsey Abbey which was once immensely wealthy but was destroyed by Henry VIII in 1537. Also here are Olive Matthews Fashion and Accessories Galleries, the current exhibition in the former being "The Fabric of Fashion". The accessories Gallery shows various examples ranging from the Tudor period to the 1970s. The fourth gallery is the Discovery Zone where children of all ages can enjoy the hands-on interactives that bring the past to life. On the first floor is the Temporary Exhibition Gallery which shows changing exhibitions linked to the local history. The Museum works closely with the local community with events and activities to suit all ages and tastes. Holiday activities for children aged 6-12 years are provided and Museum visits, classroom talks and loan boxes are available to local schools.

Touring the Galleries

Devoted to Local History it is recorded here that the Abbey of St Peter was founded in AD 666 and a new monastic house built on the site two and a half centuries later. The Abbey was at its pinnacle of its prosperity in the 14th century and encompassed a variety of activities including well-stocked fish ponds, some of which survive today. A 13th century lime kiln produced some of the finest decorative floor tiles of the medieval period. After the Dissolution in 1537 materials were quarried for Hampton Court Palace and also for Oatlands Palace which Henry VIII built for Ann of Cleves.

Most of the collection of costumes at Chertsey Museum come from the collection of Olive Matthews Evening dress by Madame Clapham c.1892which together with accessories, etc, was built up over 40 years. It comprises women's and men's items, many of them dating from 1740-1850. The 18th century dresses are all based on a traditional English type called the 'robe a L' Anglaise'. Hats, shoes, gloves, etc, are also shown. The men's costumes of this period include a coat, waistcoat and breeches of copper and yellow satin with silk and bead embroidery, lined with white satin. The whole array of costumes up to the present day is shown in a variety of changing exhibitions. Currently, this is devoted to exploring key trends in colour, fabric and decorative technique in a range of costumes. The next display opening in October, will explore the changes in fashionable dress as it evolved during the 20th century. Particularly notable will be a cream satin evening gown dated c. 1900 - the epitome of Edwardian elegance. Next to the Fashion Gallery is the Accessories Gallery which includes a 'Grand Tour' fan featuring three erupting volcanoes, a dazzling range of 18th century shoe buckles, and bags, parasols, lace, jewellery, etc, up to the 20th century.

The fourth gallery, the Discovery Zone, contains interactive exhibits. Pictures can come alive by spinning the zoetrope; or lift the lid of a musical toy chest and hear songs popular over 100 years ago.

Also see the extensive collection of ceramic vases and dishes from ancient Greece. There are also Greek ceramic interactives. The final room is the Temporary Exhibition Gallery which displays changing exhibitions linked to the local history and the collections, as well as a Research Room which offers a good starting off point to discover more about the local area.

It is anticipated that subject to agreement by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) a truly local history gallery will be developed for opening in summer 2006 that would replace the existing exhibition dedicated to Chertsey Abbey. It would tell the story of the whole borough from prehistoric times up to the present day, with the story of the Abbey told in full and the famous tiles and Viking sword still in pride of place. This will be called the Runnymede Room.

FREE ADMISSION. MUSEUM OPENING HOURS:

Tuesday - Friday - 12.30pm - 4.30pm 
Saturday- 11am - 4pm
Sunday & Monday - Closed
Chertsey Museum,
The Cedars, 33 Windsor Street, Chertsey, Surrey KT16 8AT 
Tel: 01932565764
Fax: 01932571118

 

 

In August we learned that yet again the NHS is to undergo more restructuring. Elmbridge Borough Council were given just one month - during August - to comment on the discussion paper received from the Surrey & Sussex Strategic Health Authority (to which the local Primary Care Trusts are responsible). From April 2006 there will be a new Primary Care Trust responsible for providing NHS services to residents in this area.

The Threats: This new restructuring follows the introduction of Primary Care Trusts (PCT's) less than four years ago - in 2002. Under that arrangement this area became the responsibility of East Elmbridge & Mid Surrey (EEMS) PCT and the promised 14 NHS rehabilitation beds at Thames Ditton Community Hospital, which are provided in Emberbrook Care Centre, became reduced to four - and would now be none, if it had not been for the support of our MP Ian Taylor, local County and Borough Councillors and Surrey County Council's Health Select Committee. As a result EEMS PCT was forced to agree to consult on their proposals to close all the beds and have had to accept that there is overwhelming opposition to their plans. But with EEMS PCT having received no stars in the latest round of assessments, and their worsening financial situation, there has been no final decision about the future of the beds.

Thames Ditton Hospital, with its 14 inpatient beds and the out patient services provided at the Emberbrook Health Centre next door, are not alone in being under threat from NHS cuts. Many will be aware of the current situation at Weybridge Hospital, where 18 beds for rehabilitation, respite and palliative care are under threat. Unfortunately we cannot be sure that other community hospitals in our area will not also be under threat in the not so distant future - it often seems that the NHS considers locally based health services an easy target.

It is not only in-patient services which are being cut. Without consultation, outpatient services provided at Emberbrook Health Centre (which were already far more limited than had been promised several years ago) have, in the last 12 months, also been either cut or much reduced; these include physiotherapy, audiology, chiropody/podiatry, ophthalmology, antenatal classes (evening classes cut) and consultants' clinics. Teenage Advisory Clinics in Molesey have been transferred to Epsom, as have many other services. Other services have been moved to Leatherhead and Kingston. All of these locations are difficult for patients to reach. Kingston has severe parking problems, the other locations are difficult to get to by public transport. Many of the patients will be working parents with young children or relatively infirm elderly patients many of whom are not able to drive.

An opportunity? If this loss of local health services is to be halted and reversed, it is essential that we stay alert and become involved. While saving costs, rather than patients' needs, is the main reason for this round of changes in the NHS structure the resulting changes may offer a better opportunity for local concerns to be recognised. At present there are 5 Primary Care Trusts (PCT's) covering the whole of Surrey and its borders. From next year it is anticipated that there will only be two. With only one PCT to deal with instead of the present two (East Elmbridge & Mid Surrey PCT and North Surrey PCT), Elmbridge Council see this as a positive development. But there is another positive aspect: because the PCTs would cover a much larger area the proposals include the possibility for a layer of local based management with their own, locally devolved, budgets. In this area, the local management would cover the whole of Elmbridge which includes five local community hospitals and health centres: Walton, Weybridge, Cobham, Molesey and Thames Ditton. Most of us are more affected by the standard of our locally based health services (be it GP and rehabilitation beds, physiotherapy, hearing tests, podiatry, check ups and treatment for most chronic conditions etc) than by almost any other part of the health service.

To make the most of the opportunity which these changes in the NHS bring, we need to make sure our needs and concerns are heard. Do we want our non-acute and most frequently used health services to be relocated further from home to locations to which it is difficult to travel? It is unacceptable that the most vulnerable members of our society will be required to travel long distances to receive basic care or visit sick relatives and friends.

We need to continue to press for local health services which are indeed 'closer to home', as promised by EEMS PCT last year. This means continuing to put pressure on the NHS to fulfil its promises to provide the inpatient and outpatient services where we need them - locally in our newly built hospital and health centre at Giggs Hill Green.

Karen Randolph
Chairman,
Friends of Thames Ditton Hospital.
Tel: 020 8398 5005
Email: Karen@randolph-watson.co.uk

 

 

 

Lynwood Allotment Association will soon celebrate its fifteenth birthday.

It was in 1990 that Cllr. Ruth Lyon approached some plot holders at Lynwood Road Thames Ditton. Members of that site, in common with most other sites in the Borough, were experiencing a low occupancy rate and there was some disillusionment and worry regarding the future. The two key areas identified were poor recruitment of new members and the lack of proper maintenance. It was thought that these areas could be best organised if each site could become self managed, but this concept needed the consensus and competence of existing plot holders. It was decided to proceed with a trial and Tony Johannsen and David Drake (both plot holders at the Lynwood Road site) took the concept from theory into practice by creating the three crucial documents felt necessary to launch viz. a constitution to establish an association, a master lease with Elmbridge Council and a plot holders sublease. After approval by SBC councillors/officials a meeting with all plot holders was held to seek support for the new operation. Self management would mean that a committee would need :0 be formed (some of whom would become trustees) to manage the site for members and on behalf of EBC. This would take over the responsibility for letting the plots, collecting rents and paying bills for water and maintenance.

In 1991 a self management lease for 20 years was signed with EBC. It allowed the Council to deal with one body instead of hundreds of individuals and to receive 10% of the collected rents in return whilst at the same time committing them to carry out some vital improvements before the handover.

Not a lot of rhubarb - but kale!The new system worked well. A newsletter was created and an AGM organised. The members felt in control of their site and easily identified with the elected Committee's objectives. EBC was now keen to have this system applied throughout the rest of the borough. Lynwood Allotment Association's chair Tony Johannsen became instrumental in helping to achieve this objective by visiting and passing on to other sites copies of their documents and details of the benefits and experience they gained.

Over the next two years all sites followed suit and signed up so that by 1993 Elmbridge would become the first Borough in the UK to have all of its allotment sites under self management. Mike Smith of EBC chairs 2 or 3 meetings annually for the 16 sites involved. Of more importance however is that all sites have reported being able to increase their occupancy rate. Since self management the number of plots let in the EBC area has increased by some 75 to 660 which represents 92% of the current total capacity.

The low cost of an allotment plot (varies between £20 and £25 p.a.) and the benefit of working in the open air to cultivate your own fresh fruit and vegetables have their obvious attractions and Lynwood Road's occupancy now stands at 95% with some 4 plots currently available.

However an allotment holder doesn't just need to be fit. The secret to a well kept plot is to keep a keen eye on the seasons and give your plot regular attention. A regular 2 - 4 hours every week is essential and probably more when planting and weeds grow most vigorously. LAA currently have a plot with 6 bee hives, another with a pond and one almost exclusively with flowers. Plots at Lynwood Allotment Association are let by Committee Member Barry Jordan (0776 282 5014) who will be glad to show prospective new members around.

Tony Johannsen

Links

Allotments UK - a resource for allotment gardeners.

 

 

by Margaret Briggs

Bottom in A Better PlaceI took that cottage without even seeing it - I was that desperate. You see it was wartime, my husband was abroad and it had become imperative that I find a place away from bombs for my two year old daughter and myself to live.

The day we moved in, the sun was shining as the Agent walked with me to the end of the so-called lawn. All was serene and beautiful - until I looked down. Over the edge of the lawn there was a precipice and below it lay a large expanse of ground dotted with various sized huts and quite a large pond.

"Who does all that belong to?" I asked.

The Agent looked at me in surprise. "It's yours" he said. "Didn't you realise you'd rented a smallholding?"

"A Smallholding! You mean - animals - Oh no!. No way. I've never, ever-"

He cut me short. "Well there's a pig sty down there. Room for ducks, geese, chickens. Maybe grazing for a cow. You're surely not going to waste all that potential food. Food There's a war on, you know." And then, quite suddenly: "Look I'm sorry, I've got to go. Good luck. Enjoy it here. Dig for Victory and all that" And he was gone. 

Well - after that I had to - didn't I? So I got chickens, raised them from day-olds in a cardboard box with an electric heater. And ducks. And a pig. But I must explain about the pig. It was an idea of the Government's. You fed a piglet on household scraps (yours and your neighbours') until it was so many weeks old. Then, either you got a licence to kill it and feed yourself and the entire neighbourhood for the Duration. OR you sold your grown-up pig to the Ministry of Food for quite a hefty sum.

All went well. Ducks swam in the pond. We got fond of the pig and christened him Bottom. Unfortunately most of the chickens turned into cockerels. Just one had a roving eye which was lucky for the hens and their laying propensity but the rest flew away because nobody told me that Black Leghorns needed their wings clipped.

I never got the cow which is why the grass in the paddock grew. It grew waist high and I was in despair until one day I met a tramp at a bus stop. He was a very friendly tramp and wanted to know if there was any work.

"Can you scythe?" I asked. Naturally he'd been scything all his life. So it was arranged that he came with me to inspect the job.

"What - just that? " he asked (and spat). "I'll be along in the morning about 8 and it'll be done before you can blink. Nice pig you got there". 

I nodded proudly and the ducks waddled happily after us up the path to the cottage.

The next morning I was up bright and early, thinking I might make my friendly tramp a mug of tea while he worked. Unfortunately the tea was never needed. The grass lay long and lush and unscythed, feathers were scattered all over it like blossom. The ducks had disappeared. So had the hens. As for the pig, it had sustained a mysterious injury and lay on its back and the vet had to come and put it down. Which meant of course - so much for the MOF - I couldn't get a licence to kill a pig that was already dead.

Luckily the local butcher came to my rescue and (promptly and certainly illegally) took the pig into his cold store and agreed to let me have as much pork as I wanted whenever I wanted it. But as there is a limit to the amount of meat one woman and one child can eat, quite suddenly I found myself with an amazing number of friends. Most were local but my special one was some way away so I cooked a large joint, got someone to leave it in an ice bag in the Left Luggage Department at Victoria Station and posted my friend the ticket.

How long records of nefarious rationing deals have been kept, I don't know but I should think 60 years should see me in the clear - particularly as the butcher sold the last remains of poor old Bottom' to the local Mayor at a Black Market price - and he wouldn't be likely to croak!.

So - there you are - a true story. And there was a war on.

 

 

Most readers of "Thames Ditton Today" will be aware of the six Almshouses close to Thames Ditton railway station. They date from 1720 and are important listed buildings. However, there are six further Almshouse units at the end of Weston Park which were built in 1980 but Almshouses existed on "Ditton Marsh" from about 1630.

The Weston Green Almshouses were funded by Dame Elizabeth Hill of Imber Court. The first building consisted of four small rooms under one roof, together with a quarter of an acre of garden, for "four poor labouring men or widows". Two further Almshouses were added many years later thanks to the Rt. Hon Fitzwilliam Hume Dick M.P. of Ditton House. As for the Station Road Almshouses (originally the land was called Gore Close), Henry Bridges, who had become "Lord of the Manor of Imber", provided the buildings we see today.

The Almshouses are not maintained by public or local authority money. Past donations by local people and an annual contribution from the Henry Smith Charity, together with a reasonable weekly maintenance contribution from each of the residents, are invested and used by the Trustees to ensure that the buildings are safe, secure and comfortable, and maintained to a high standard. Donations and legacies in the future will be gladly accepted.

The Trustees are local people or people associated with Thames Ditton, three appointed by Elmbridge Borough Council and up to four co-opted. Past Trustees have included well-known residents such as Lorna and Don McKerrow and Adrian Pierpoint. Today the Chairman of the Trustees, Chris Packham was born and bred in Thames Ditton and was the Borough Environmental Health Officer for Elmbridge. Other Trustees include a former business manager of "Thames Ditton Today" whose father edited the magazine for some years.

So there are close connections between this magazine, the Residents Association and the Thames Ditton Almshouses. But more Trustees will be needed in the future, so the Honorary Clerk, Irene Taylor (020-8398-1011) would be pleased to hear from anyone who might be interested.

As mentioned earlier the buildings are maintained to a high standard and the comfort of the residents is of great importance to the Trustees - so it is good to report the recent major work undertaken at the Station Road buildings. The Bridges Almshouses, which are two-storied, had the bathrooms with toilets downstairs. It had been in the minds of the Trustees for some years that an upstairs toilet would be a much needed facility, but the lack of space, the "listing" of the buildings, and the potential cost, seemed to make the scheme an impossibility. Two years ago, the Trustees led by their Chairman, decided to "grasp the nettle". Discussions took place with Planning Officers at Elmbridge, Social Service officers at County, grant providers both at the District Council and the Henry Smith Foundation, VAT advisors, the national Almshouse Association, and a number of other bodies, not to mention the residents themselves.

A local architect, Murray Denham of Tolworth, was employed, plans were finalised and Walton-on- Thames builders A. S. Ashcroft Ltd. won the building contract. Under the watchful eye of the architect, the builders carried out excellent work providing six dormer window extensions in the back roofs of each of the Almshouses. These blend with the existing style and brickwork of the old buildings. 

One of the almshouses showing the modification, in keeping with the building

The work cost a great deal of money but, thanks to some grant assistance and the cooperation of all parties concerned, the residents now each have a new upstairs room which contains a toilet, a hand-basin and a towel rail, together with storage space in the eaves - a happy and satisfactory conclusion to two years of work by quite a number of people which has provided much needed facilities to be used for many years to come.

Chris Burchett

 

 

Now in its 14th year, our Autumn programme at the hall includes the best of the country's performers and touring companies, with a splendid mix of music, drama and children's entertainment. One of the highlights in September is Donald Maxwell and Friends, when the famous baritone is joined by Rebecca Rudge and Anna Tilbrook in an opera supper sponsored by Garsons in aid of the Princess Alice Hospice.

The Love & Madness theatre company are noted for their original productions of Shakespeare's classics but which remain faithful to the original text. Following their exciting productions of "Othello" and "Romeo and Juliet" at the hall in previous years we are delighted to welcome them back on Friday October 7th in Twelfth Night, the comedy of identical twins separated by shipwreck and embarking upon new lives in a strange land. Previous productions have received critical acclaim "... a compelling hour and three quarters, this Othello is hard to fault" (The Scotsman, at the Edinburgh Festival) and "This is no ordinary production... innovative" (Daily Mail).

Andrew Brewis and Andrea Martin in Simply SondheimFans of Stephen Sondheim are in for a treat on Friday 11th November when Andrew Brewis, Andrea Martin, Joe Wickes, and Anna Thompson present Simply Sondheim. Andrew, who has played before the Queen and at venues such as the Cafe Royal joins up again with soprano Andrea Martin in old favourites such as "Send in the Clowns", "Maria", "Losing my Mind" and "Broadway Baby" from West Side Story. Those who saw Andrew Brewis' previous shows at the hall such as "Jerome and Julie" and "Adorable Doris" can look forward to a feast of nostalgia and witty songs. As the Stephen Sondheim Society itself says of Andrew and Andrea, they are "Simply Marvellous". English Pocket Opera makes a welcome return to the hall on Friday 25th November when they present An Opera Gala for the Festive Season, sponsored by Octagon. English Pocket OperaTickets include a three course supper and are in aid of Cancer Research and the concert will include highlights from Mozart, Puccini, Verdi, Lehar etc.

Thames Ditton's own talented young pianist, Tanya Ursova, is appearing twice this Autumn. Tanya's concerts with her friends from the Royal College of Music attract an enthusiastic audience and the flrst cconcert is on Friday October 21st with Anna Smith (viola) in a romantic programme including works by Chopin, Schubert and Prokofiev. On Friday December 2nd she is joined by Denitsa Laffchieva (clarinet) and Sagi Hartov (cello) in a concert including works by Beethoven and Glinka. Sagi is no stranger to the hall as he has appeared several times before. He was a finalist at the Rostropovitch Competition in Paris and last year made his debut at the Wigmore Hall.

Wild West to West End is the arresting title of Molesey Musical Theatre's show on Wednesday 16th to Saturday 19th November, a musical revue from shows from the 1920's to the 1990's including "Annie Get Your Gun", "42nd Street" and "Me and 'My Girl". Supper is included on the Friday and Saturday.

The children's shows at the hall are nearly always a sellout and the Autumn programme includes a how by Openwide Theatre on Saturday 5th October with live music, great puppets and lots of humour - and the most exciting title: A Wheelie Bin Ate My Sister. Stella, bullied and tossed in a wheelie bin, embarks on an adventure to find Robin Rubbish, Prince of Trash. With map, magic hat and lots of useful rubbish she gets bolder with every challenge. Pinocchio is one of the oldest children's favourites and Image Musical Theatre returns to the hall on Saturday 26th November with this family participation musical of Geppetto's wooden puppet.

Tickets for all these shows can be obtained from Joan Leiffer 01372 462978 and The Pro Shop, 50 High Street, Thames Ditton.