What have I missed since February 13th?

While you were all receiving a dozen red roses and gambolling in the still public forests, what did West Hampstead have to say for itself?

Local actress Jessica Hynes joined the campaign to save Charteris Sports Centre.

There’s a Kilburn Book Club launching: first meeting is March 3rd at the Black Lion.

Initial reports of a body found by the Brondesbury Medical Centre on the Kilburn High Road turned out to be a serious assault.

The north-west London graffiti fox story makes the Ham & High.

Admin and gas installation problems will delay the opening of Ladudu, the new Vietnamese restaurant on West End Lane.Now looking at April or May. Sainsbury’s Local meanwhile looks like it’s less than a week away from opening. The sign is very bright.

West Hampstead gets one of its fire engines back.

Camden published its budget and council tax report. [pdf]

Cllr Mike Katz argues that Camden is wrong to propose closure of Acol’s children’s centre

In Sport, Hampstead Cricket Club’s indoor team have made the South East England Regional final, beating Merrow from Surrey by 93 runs.

West Hampstead Wanderers lost to the impressive Kilburn Wizards.

Coming up this week:
Friends of West Hampstead Library has been reinvigorated in light of the threat to local libraries. There’s a meeting for restarting FOWHL on February 22nd at 7.30 at the library of course.
Swiss Cottage Safer Neighbourhoods public meeting on February 22nd 7-8.30pm at Crossfield Centre, Fairhazel Gardens.
Swiss Cottage Safer Neighbourhoods drop-in surgery on February 23rd 11am-1pm at the Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre.
West Hampstead Safer Neighbourhoods street briefing on February 27th 2-4pm outside O2 Sainsburys.

Tweet of the Week
Tough choice this week, we had some classics, but the winner is this public service announcement from Moya

What have I missed since February 6th?

While Egypt revolted and Rooney revolved, what was happening closer to home?

The West Hampstead & Fortune Green area forum took place on Monday.

Netherwood daycare centre could be a victim of the cuts.

Camden’s library consultation document was published – let them know what you think.

A Free School in Hampstead could affect the proposed school in West Hampstead.

Want to speak to Glenda Jackson about anything? Here are her surgery dates. [pdf]

The Luminaire announced its Wake Week gigs.

The Alliance on Mill Lane is going to undergo a major refurb/facelift

Brioche on West End Lane is starting evening opening hours, including cocktails!

The Wet Fish Café featured in a kids’ TV show.

Ed’s written about the history of Emmanuel Church history.

The next batch of Jubilee & Metropolitan Line closures was announced.

The Overground is going to be severely disrupted from Feb 19th to 27th.

The Black Path (along the Thameslink tracks) is being relaid and will be shut until the 17th.

Londonist is mapping the stencil foxes that have cropped up in NW London, including on the side of West Hampstead Tesco’s.

West Hampstead Wanderers took a point against Abacus Althetic.

Tweet of the Week

What have I missed since January 30th?

While Torres headed down the M6, checking the new police crime map (hint: the circles will be smaller in Chelsea, Fernando), what was happening in NW6?

The week got off to a great start with the West Hampstead Wanderers recording their first win.

Much of the rest of the week was marred by tube disruptions. The latest update on when the upgrade work will be over is now April/May (or even June). 

Meanwhile, there are new ticket office opening hours as of Monday at many local tube stations including West Hampstead.

Camden’s draft transport strategy is out for consultation.

Plans are in for the development of Kilburn market. Also on the High Road, the big unit next to McDonalds is to become a Halfords.

On West End Lane, yet another men’s salon is opening where Matrix failed (next to Café Bon). It will apparently offer men’s hand shaving.

Over on Fincley Road, salad bar Freshloopz is opening next to the Woolworths’ site.

There are concerns over police response times in West Hampstead if 999 teams are centralised.

Legacy nighclub on Finchley Rd seems unlikely to have its hours extended.

The Luminaire will be back for one final week in early March.

The Kitchen Table is hosting a supper club this Thursday. Pop in to reserve (or DM on Twitter).

Coming up:
The West Hampstead/Fortune Green area forum is Monday night (7th). Do go along if you’re interested in what’s happening in the area.

Tweet of the Week

What have I missed since January 23rd?

While Egyptians rioted because Andy Gray asked Richard Keys to “tap his phone”, what comical misunderstandings were happening in West Hampstead?

The Ham & High reported that neighbourhood watch is alive and twitching in West Hampstead.

Twitter, of course, is a sort of real-time neighbourhood watch, and reported an attempted break-in at the rear of a house opposite the park in Iverson Road.

There were also reports of conmen trying to convince people to part with their gold for pennies.

And of course something in Kilburn caught fire – this time it was the building works around Peacocks on the High Road.

Last week you may remember the link to a Kilburn poem. There’s much more on the Kilburn poetry project here.

Also in Kilburn, a planning application was posted to fundamentally change a large part of Cambridge Avenue.

Two more bits of planning on Mill Lane – one to turn No. 60 (the former site of West Hampstead Community Centre) into flats and a shop and another to change the London Heath Clinic to residential use.

Did you enjoy the West Hampstead Christmas market. Find out how you can get involved with more local markets.

There’s also news on Tesco’s deliveries at the Fortune Green branch and a chance for you to have your say.

More Asian food action than you can shake a chopstick at: Vietnamese restaurant ladudu, due to open where Glo was on West End Lane, is recruiting, while a new sushi restaurant opened in Swiss Cottage.

If you REALLY like West Hampstead’s train stations, this seven (count them) minute video is for you – it actually has a slightly amusing end.

The campaign to save Charteris Sports Centre continues apace. Keep up to date or get involved here (and follow @save_charteris &/or @11streets).

In sports news, once again the West Hampstead Wanderers were beaten, this time 6-3 by the Kilburn Wizards. The scores are getting closer boys.

And racehorse Kilburn finished third in Saturday’s race at Lingfield.

Tweet of the Week

What have I missed since January 16th?

While the media obsessed over political resignations, what was happening in West Hampstead this week?

MISSING PERSON: Daisy has been missing from Kilburn, London since January 10th.

The battle over the development of Gondar Gardens continues.
At the same end of town, there are some changes to the proposed development at No.1 Mill Lane.

Further down Mill Lane, newcomer The Private Space has popped up on Facebook, and is also offering 20% off an initial hair appointment. 

At the other end of West Hamsptead, roads and pavements in the Swiss Cottage conservation (soon to be officially renamed South Hampstead) and West End Lane area are going to have maintenance work this year.

Two local community centres are upping their online game. Kingsgate is on Twitter, while the West Hampstead Community Centre has a website.

The local women’s centre received more than £340,000 in lottery funding, while the children’s centre in Acol Road looks set to be a victim of local cuts.

Also at risk of being cut is our local 999 police response unit.

Here’s a postcard and a bit of backstory of a major fire that happened by Kilburn station in 1910.

Astonishingly, one of the screenshots promoting Google Places on the iPhone worldwide shows our very own Lately.

Culture news
The run of small hours at Hampstead Theatre has been extended to Feb 19th. I reviewed it.
On Wednesday, Kilburn was on Homes under the Hammer and then West Hampstead was on Will My Crash Diet Kill Me?
The hunt is on for Camden’s unsung musical heroes.

Sports news
The local men’s hockey team is aiming to remain unbeaten this season – they’ve won 12 on the trot so far.
West Hampstead Wanderers meanwhile lost on Monday, but the season is young.

Coming up
This Wednesday is the Swiss Cottage Area Action Group

Tweet of the Week

What have I missed since January 9th

While waters rose around the world, what were the good people of NW6 getting up to?

Locals’ sporting prowess was put to the challenge in the first match of the season for the new West Hampstead Wanderers. Unfortunately it was a 10-4 defeat.
Fortunately, the league system was completely changed at the end of the week and that result was wiped.
Hampstead cricket club announced its winter indoor nets training.

Rachel’s hand-drawn map of West Hampstead (and its tweeters) was a big hit with locals.

The Tricycle Theatre’s political play The Great Game will be performed for (but not at) the Pentagon.

In crime news, a local described as “violent and dangerous” was jailed for six years.
While the man charged with the stabbing last week has been remanded in custody following his court hearing.

Cuts news
Read preliminary details of Camden’s formal consultations on its cuts.
(the next local area action group meetings are Jan 26 for Swiss Cottage and Feb 7 for the combined West Hampstead & Fortune Green meeting).
Here’s an update on the (non-development of) Fortune Green community services.
And some longer-term local planning issues.
Across the border in Brent, you can discuss the cuts at Brent area forums.

Here’s a poem by Aoife Mannix about Peel precinct.
And in other literature news, West End Lane Books has free Story Time sessions for kids 3-7 every Thursday at 4pm with the recently retired assistant head of Beckford School

And finally, The Railway announced that all its deliveries will take place after 8am

Tweet of the Week
Some astute observation on the challenges of modern life in West Hampstead by Tim

What have I missed since January 2nd

While everyone was heading back to work, and breaking New Year’s resolutions as fast as possible, how did 2011 start in West Hampstead?

The major local news of the week was the stabbing of a 24 year-old woman in broad daylight. A man has been charged.

The local sport of Ken-spotting was made much easier when he protested outside the tube station.

Talking of local luminaries, two West Hampstead residents received New Year’s Honours: Gerard Oppeheimer OBE, chair of Camden Society and Bert Kwouk OBE, actor.

Cllr Andrew Marshall discussed pedestrian crossing issues on Greencroft Gardens.

There was a fire above the T-Mobile shop on Kilburn High Road.

Racehorse Kilburn won the 3.10 at Lingfield on Friday at 15/2. @Cyburn was smart enough to have placed a bet.

Talking of races, a West Hampstead teacher broke the consecutive marathons world record.

Two art courses for kids were announced at Kingsgate Community Centre. One on animation and one with clay.

The Daily Telegraph reviewed the Czech Restaurant. Unfavourably.

Mill Lane Vets had a website overhaul.

The Google Street Car was in West Hampstead yesterday. Did no-one get a photo?

For those of you on Twitter, a new hashtag started – #whampflat – for people with rooms in search of rooms/or with rooms to let. 

Photos of the Week
Two photos this week – firstly, these hyperlocal inspired cupcakes made by Lauren and Sarah:

And then this treat, snapped off the TV (is it legal to post this?) by Jess:

Tweet of the Week
For once, the Tweet of the Week also contains actual local news about a new men’s hairdressers on West End Lane.

What have I missed in the past two weeks?

Yes, it’s catch-up time. While you were all gorging yourselves on mince pies, feeling like death warmed up while forcing yourself to be nice to elderly relatives, and then seeing in the New Year, what was happening in West Hampstead and surrounds?

There was snow of course. Lots of you commented on Camden’s response on the blog.
Cllr Andrew Marshall wrote his own thoughtful reaction.

Andrew also commented on the cuts in Camden, and on the alterations to the High Speed trainline route out of Euston, including a detailed map of the proposed route through the area.
Talking of things coming up this year, I collated everyone’s local predictions for 2011, and also set a quiz based on 2010’s news

Not a lot happened over Christmas, although Kilburn’s St Augustine’s Church featured on Sacred Music on BBC4 on Christmas Eve. Sadly, the concert doesn’t appear to be on iPlayer.

Down in that part of Kilburn, there’s been a pop-up art project underway for a few weeks.
Back up the High Road, there’s a planning application in to turn the Luminaire and King’s Head into flats and a shop.

Remember Conservative PPC Chris Philp? He has a new role in the AV referendum. It also turns out he was the highest spending PPC in England!
The Private Space – the new stylist on Mill Lane – is offering a 25% discount to people from local businesses starting from January.

With the Jubilee Line closed for much of the holidays, it was delays on the Met Line that made the news
And finally, Belsize Road’s popular cheap restaurant Little Bay is on Twitter.

Tweets of the Week
As we’re covering a fortnight’s worth of news, two tweets today. First up, this observation from Bill Glover:

And then a New Year’s exchange between former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan and Atiq Ghafoor:

What have I missed since December 12th?

While you were waiting for your deliveries from Amazon and kissing your colleague on the photocopier, what was happening in West Hampstead?

It was another quiet week, dominated of course by snow.
The closure of Brent Cross was big news on Twitter – it was even briefly a global trending topic. Otherwise there was the usual combination of photos of snowmen and complaints about the lack of grit. If you’ve got something to say about how the local area has coped with the sudden snowfall, add your comments on the blog.

If you’re looking for some seasonal entertainment, read my review of The Nutcracker at Pentameters Theatre.

Remember, the saga of the disappearing Kilburn Christmas tree? Well, its final resting place has been revealed – it hasn’t moved far – just to the permanent market on the High Road next to Argos.
Away from seasonal excitement, there are changes afoot to the way Camden consults locals on planning applications. Read more here and here

Read the report of the Kilburn area action group meeting.
What’s new?
LoveFood on West End Lane finally IS on Twitter @WeAllLoveFood (although hasn’t tweeted yet)
The idiosyncratic Penguin boutique is becoming a hairdresser

Only two weeks until New Year’s Eve. Where are you going to be?

The snow of course means that there’s a photo of the week as well as Tweet of the Week. Photo of the week is this from @Lady_Pennyworth who sadly may not be a West Hampstead resident for much longer. There were many snowmen, but this was one of the cutest.

Now, Tweet of the Week, which does in fact include a photo (confusingly).

What have I missed since December 5th?

While you were throwing paint at the Royal Rolls and wishing Wagner was still in X Factor, what was happening “in da hood” (as we never refer to it)?

Well, not a lot in fact. It was a very quiet week in West Hampstead.

The saga of Kilburn’s Christmas tree continued. The Kilburn Times covered it (obviously), but even the Daily Mail picked up the story (scroll down) although both for the “Glenda no-show” angle rather than the “where is the tree now?” question.

West Hampstead’s inaugural Christmas market was a success.

There was a sighting of the local graffiti fox on the side of Tescos.

The Railway has installed 3DTV and showed its first match this Sunday.

This week sees the Kilburn area Action Group (that’s for those of you in Camden’s Kilburn ward) on Wednesday 15th at the Abbey Hive Community Centre at 7pm
Next Sunday there’s panto at Kingsgate Community Centre. Oh no there isn’t. etc. etc. Details here.

And that’s it… for this week. Told you it was quiet… apart from Tweet of the Week of course.

What have I missed since November 28th?

It’s been a busy week of snowy excitement – but while you were reading Wikileaks, what whampleaks did you miss?

On Monday, local residents got together for an area action group meeting to discuss transport, shops and the budget cuts. Sadly, it wasn’t the most representative group of West Hampstead residents.
On Thursday, a different group of locals (with three overlaps) got together at Whampgather V.
One of those overlaps was Lib Dem councillor Keith Moffitt, who gets the first Tweet(s) of the Week:

@KeithMoffitt: Just pondering what utterly different occasions #whampgather and #whampareaforum were!

In the bleak midwinter, why not go to The Tricycle to see the astonishingly good Midsummer.
Kilburn’s Christmas tree was switched on by the Mayor of Brent on Friday evening – by Saturday morning it had disappeared. Apparently Kilburn Business Friends could afford only one night’s insurance.
Will Kilburn’s “Sports & Arts” bar get a licence. It seems unlikely. Here’s the licence application, and two background articles.
A woman on a very late tube was intimidated and assaulted by a girl gang at Kilburn station – for just 50p.
Back in West Hampstead, the West End Green Christmas tree underwhelmed.
But there are plenty of exciting Christmas shopping opportunities in the area.

There’s some disagreement about whether to extend the West End Green conservation area.
Camden and Islington will not be sharing a chief executive, as was mooted earlier in the year.
Cuts were debated in the council chamber. Local councillor Nancy Jirira had strong words in advance for Labour – and for her own Lib Dem party nationally.
Library cuts are inevitable. Cllr Tulip Siddiq posted the annual cost of each Camden library, but told me (in the second of our Tweet(s) of the Week:

@TulipSiddiq no decisions on individual libraries will be made until we complete an extensive consultation with library users

Pizza Lupa has won a pizza award.
The Railway reacted positively to some complaints about early morning noise.
Explore Learning is opening in Fortune Green and is on Twitter.

So, yes, it snowed, and that means there’s a Photo of the Week, this from (and copyright) @antjebormann

Was tough to pick a final tweet of the week this week, but here’s the winner

What have I missed since November 21st?

While you were watching events in North Korea and waiting for snow, what news did you miss in West Hampstead?

Open and shut case
The biggest local news even became a UK trending topic on Twitter for a while. The Luminaire, Kilburn’s premier live music venue, announced it will close at the end of the year.
Another Kilburn venue, The Good Ship, launched a blog.
There’s also a new blog for Kentish Town.
I launched a comprehensive local business directory. It includes West Hampstead’s newest arrival, stylish stylist The Private Space.
The Gym Group finally received its 24hr licence.
Karahi Master, however, was refused a 5am extension.

Lets get political
Hampstead & Kilburn Tory PPC Chris Philp was on Radio 5 telling Kate Silverton that the Royal Family was “stony broke“.
Brian Coleman was reselected as the Conservative candidate to represent Barnet & Camden on the London Assembly.
Camden council has been tweeting about budget savings all week.
After my interview with Camden mayor Jonathan Simpson, the Evening Standard profiled him and mayoress Amy Lamé.
There is dispute about the siting of a new primary school in West Hampstead.
Local students attended the midweek demo against changes to higher education funding.
All three of West Hampstead’s councillors are now on Twitter as Gillian Risso-Gill joins Keith and John.

Thameslink to go ahead, but delayed to 2019.
A PCSO gained an ASBO for a persistent beggar.
More on the previous week’s story about parking fees on red routes.
Local charity The Winch is looking for a part-time voluntary comms manager.

Coming up
Thursday 2nd is the fifth edition of local tweet-up Whampgather. Everyone’s welcome.
Tonight (Monday) is the West Hampstead & Fortune Green Area Forum.
Kilburn’s Christmas lights are switched on on Friday 3rd.
Saturday Dec 4th is Beckford Primary School’s Winter Fair from 2pm to 4.30.

Tweet of the week

What have I missed since November 14th?

Between royal wedding plans and Irish bailouts, what has been happening in the ‘hood

Big news first: The big local tweet-up/hyperlocal get together is on December 2nd at The Lion on West End Lane. We have an area reserved at the back of the bar. If you could let me know if you can make it, that would be lovely although by all means feel free to just turn up. Read about previous #whampgathers.

Upgrading your laptop? Why not donate your old one to The Winch

You may recall commuters getting stuck between St Johns Wood and Baker St a few weeks ago. This starts to explain what happened.
The regular update here on the progress on the Jubilee Line engineering works.
Plans to charge for parking on red routes (where it’s allowed – usually only for short-term parking) would affect Finchley Road.
In yet another tubemap mashup, West Hampstead & Finchley Road were omitted. Travesty.

A man was found dead in a house in Kilburn this week.
Men were jailed after a house attack in West Hampstead, mistaking it for a brothel.
A house fire in Maida Vale triggered a brave response from the West Hampstead fire brigade.

Christmas is coming
Yes, I know it’s still only November, but Christmas lights and fayres are starting up.
Kilburn’s big night is December 3rd.
Belsize Park is having eco-lights.
Gary & Danielle Lineker turn on the St Johns Wood lights on November 28th.
And don’t forget the West Hampstead Christmas market.

Cuts again
Libraries again – Brent invests cash, now plans to close libraries.
The Kilburn ward newsletter discusses cuts as well as many many other topics.
Look who’s on Twitter:

Coming up this week
There’s an exhibition all this week on the Abbey Road regeneration proposals. If you live in the area, then go and see it.
Tuesday sees a one-off return of wordPLAY to the Good Ship in aid of Cystic Fibrosis.
A week on Monday (the 29th), the West Hampstead & Fortune Green area forum starts at 7pm in the Synagogue Hall on Dennington Park Road. Read about last February’s forum.

Tweet of the week
Two parts to this: a surprisingly positive review of the Czech restaurant
And then the tweet of the week from Richard Lander who appeared to have a good time at the much mocked (not least by me) Lite.

What have I missed since November 7th?

While you were rioting on Millbank and watching landmark events in Burma, what was the news closer to home?

The Guardian ran a gloomy piece on the impact of cuts based on an unnamed inner London borough. Could it have been Camden?
There’s already talk of libraries being closed in Brent.
And library resources in Camden seemed to cause a spat between councillors.
Councillors both sides of the Kilburn High Road complained about a college campus closing.
And (they said it would never happen), Glenda‘s on Twitter. Sort of.

Bakeaboo celebrated its 4th birthday.
But Beatties Sweeties looks like it’s closing.
We reviewed Barraco and The Wood Grill.
I cooked macaroons at Waitrose Cookery School.
The X-Burger House’s website finally went live.
Roni’s Bagel Bakery and Atari-ya were feeling the love

Some details emerged about the fatal scooter crash at Lymington Rd.
Network Rail issued a press release on the new Thameslink station.
The West Hampstead Christmas market has been given the all-clear.
I reviewed the excellent .45 at Hampstead Theatre.
A photo tour of Hampstead Cemetery was posted.
An internet café is for sale in Kilburn.

Coming up
There’s a pub quiz at the North London Tavern on Wednesday evening in aid of Cancer Research

Tweet of the Week

What have I missed since October 31st?

So we had tube strikes, media strikes and fireworks, but what’s got you excited this week (apart from the fully functioning Jubilee Line this weekend of course)?

There was a bank robbery in Willesden Green.
A Kilburn councillor discussed how housing benefit changes might affect the local area.
There’s yet another film-based tube map; this time we’re West Hampstead Side Story.
More updates on the Jubilee Line progress.
Mr Pink’s Grill House is now “Wood Grill House”.

Midwinter singles night for Midsummer at the Tricycle (money back if you get married).
There’s an album named after Fortune Green, @Tangentical reviewed it.
Talking of music, I interviewed Camden’s mayor Jonathan Simpson.

Coming up
Next Saturday – a Fortune Green kickabout.

Photo of the week
Tough one this week, with mauve skies aplenty. But this local topiary treat from @NW6Lady had to be the winner.

Tweet of the week

What have I missed since October 24th?

It’s been a relatively quiet week in West Hampstead while you were carving pumpkins and dodging exploding toner cartridges.

The West Hampstead community Christmas market has been given the green light.
I got caught up in a CBBC candid camera style prank at The Wet Fish Café.
The fire brigade union strikes continue, with one planned for Nov 1st and one for Bonfire Night.
The next 24hr tube strike is due to start at 9pm on November 2nd.
Kilburn’s Tin Tabernacle is in need of help.
Some locals may have noticed Royal Mail trolleys on the street.
There was a Labour hold in the Kentish Town by-election, so no change to Camden council’s composition.
The Winch launched its new and improved website.
Update on the Thameslink station development.
A local community group donated final funds to charity as it closes.

Coming up
Fireworks at Roundwood Park on Nov 6th, meeting at West Hamsptead tube at 7pm (RSVP).

Carving of the week
Ok – it’s a butternut squash, not a pumpkin, but this effort from @mermayden‘s flatmate is fantastic.

Tweet of the week

What have I missed since October 17th?

What happened in West Hampstead while George Osborne was giving all our money to Wayne Rooney?

The first cut is the deepest
Last Monday, a rush hour power failure left Jubilee tube trains stuck between St Johns Wood and Baker Street and people (including many #whampers) had to be evacuated.
On Wednesday, when attention was on the government’s spending review, TfL announced ticket prices and changes to some travelcards for 2011.
TfL are apparently “not playing ball” according to Cllr @KeithMoffitt when it comes to switching off the West End Lane traffic lights at Iverson Road, which are redundant while Iverson is closed.
STOP PRESS: another accident by West End Lane Tesco Express witnessed by @bubela: “Just saw yet another accident at corner Lymington/WELane! Car drove into the large bollard base, tyre blew. Driver shocked but OK.”

A close shave

On Friday morning, there was a house fire in Gondar Gardens.
The FBU went on strike on Saturday.

But despite a general work-to-rule, West Hampstead fire officers saved a toddler’s birthday.

A cut above the rest?
Camden released details of the “average” resident of the borough.

Cut crime
Swiss Cottage ward has seen a fall in robberies and burglaries over recent months.

Directors cut
Yet another customised tube map – this one renames stations based on film connections. West Hampstead is “Scenes of a Sexual Nature”.

Cuts like a knife
The Waitrose cookery school at Finchley Road is open for bookings.

Paper cuts
Local paper, Camden New Journal, won at the regional press awards.

Cutting remarks
Bought a Groupon voucher for The Alice House? If you’ve not reserved already, you won’t be allowed a table until the new year now. @ZoeUm was “furious”, but Groupon have offered her a full refund.

Square cut
Plans are afoot for some big changes at the Grove End Road end of Lord’s.

Cut to the chase
When are the next opportunities to meet up?
Nov 6th, Fireworks at Roundwood Park. Plan is to meet at WH tube at 7pm. Drinks in Willesden after.
Nov 12th, Broken Glass at Tricycle Theatre. If we can get 11 people we get a 10% discount. Oct 25th is cut-off date to let me know.

Photo of the week
No Tweet of the Week this week. Instead this fantastic photo from a set of three by @rcsoar.

Twitter / Facebook / Mailing List

What have I missed since October 10?

While you were trying to get to sleep by counting rescued Chilean miners, and following a day in the life of the Greater Manchester Police, what was happening in NW6?

Two road accidents in two days – in the same place? A Domino’s delivery guy was lying in the road on Friday night after apparently having been knocked off his scooter by a taxi outside Tesco’s on West End Lane. Then on Saturday night a car collided with a pedestrian at the same spot. It seems no-one was seriously hurt.

Talking of Domino’s, Tuesday night was Pizza Tasting night.
There was more food reviewing when we visited Small & Beautiful in Kilburn.

Talking of Kilburn, You can sign up for circuit training in Kilburn every Thursday (off Willesden Lane).
The fantastic kids adventure playground in Kilburn Grange Park has won an award.

Talking of awards, the first Kilburn Historic Plaque was unveiled on Monday in honour of A.A.Milne.

Talking of Pooh… A revised planning application has been submitted for the new Thameslink station, dashing hopes that this will be built any time soon.
Jubilee Line closures are now expected to run until March 2011. I’m proposing a day-long pub crawl along the length of the line to celebrate.

Talking of drinking, problem bar 3one7 has received a one-month licence suspension.
Meanwhile, the Legacy Club in Swiss Cottage continues to cause headaches for local residents.

Talking of Swiss Cottage, here’s my review of Enlightenment, the play at the Hampstead Theatre.
And my review of The Saloon Singer at New End Theatre in Hampstead.

Talking of enlightening, sadly it looks like no Alexandra Palace fireworks this year.
We’ll have to go to Roundwood Park instead.

Talking of fire, West Hampstead had a fire engine removed in anticipation of the forthcoming strike over shift changes.

Talking of changing hours, Karahi Master wants to extend its closing time from 2am to 5am.

Talking of late night revelry, the opening night of OxjamKilburn’s four-day comedy festival was, er, interesting.

Talking of comedy, is anyone really going to pay £1.5m for one of the houses in Gondar Gardens?
That is, if they ever get built.

Talking of terrible headlines, fancy volunteering for a West Hampstead Christmas Fair?

And finally, talking of things in the future, what’s coming up this week?
Art-Boutique-Café SenseS opens on Monday.
There’s a great Amnesty event at The Good Ship on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, the LJCC hosts a talk on Securing the State.
It’s Get Online Week in Camden, with a wide range of workshops.
And on Saturday, OxjamKilburn Takeover hits Kilburn.

Tweet of the week

Unashamed local boosterism from @ClaytonTFord.

What have I missed since October 3rd?

So, you’ve been following Chilean mine rescues while whistling John Lennon tunes, but what’s been happening closer to home?

The former reservoir at Gondar Gardens could become houses. Locals aren’t happy. Photos of the plans and the objections, and ten things objectors think you should know.
Proposals for accommodation for 350 students in Blackburn Road were approved on appeal.

Ticket to ride
So the Jubilee Line does have some benefits.
A tube strike on Monday wasn’t enough; Thameslink was crippled as well.

I wrote a blog about West Hampstead during WW2.
A campaign starts to name the footbridge over the railway lines after a former flower-seller.
Info from here and here crops up on BBC 6Music (1h15 in).
A plaque commemorating AA Milne will go up in Kilburn on Monday.

There was a fracas in The Lion on Thursday.
Work-to-rule meant West Hampstead lacked fire brigade cover for a few days

Can’t buy me love
Mr Pink’s new shop is going to be green.
Mail Boxes Etc is opening soon in Kilburn.
Sainsburys (whenever it opens) will have an ATM.

The End
I’m on Facebook now, and don’t forget the mailing list.

Tweet of the week

What have I missed since September 26?

All the local news that’s happened while you were wondering whether Ed or David would lead Labour, and why Wales in October was ever a good idea for golf.

Brotherly Love
Talking of the Milibands – they are local boys of course.
Why did Glenda vote under her married name of Hodges?

Kilburn Love
Blog postings by me on the opening night of The Betsy Smith and on Kilburn’s music scene past and present.
OxjamKilburn is coming very soon with a comedy festival from Oct10-13, and the music happening on Oct 23rd.
Kilburn’s status as a world city was confirmed.
Kilburn library (in Queens Park) will host writers workshops.

Camden Love
Details on Camden pop-up shops.
Share your views on the local voluntary sector.
Free swimming for U16s and over-60s.
Grants for cavity wall insulation.
And more on recycling.
Camden is getting 2,000 street shovels for residents’ use in snow, plus more grit.

Celebrity Love
Local celeb Robert Webb announced he was moving, but thankfully not too far.

Love exercise?
The Gym Group FINALLY opened this week. People seem to like it.
Could there be a 2012 gold medal for a whamper?

Shop Love
Whamp-based online gift shop Funky Honey went live. *Whampers can get 10% discount until the end of the year using code FUNKYNW6 at checkout*
Achillea Flowers opened this week.
So did patisserie/café Chez Chantal (although the refit’s not finished).
SenseS (replacing Seagull Travels) bills itself as an Art-Boutique-Café.
Rings is being ripped out from the inside.

WHampstead Love
You can sign up to a mailing list to receive this weekly round-up via e-mail, as well as reminders of upcoming meet-ups (max. 6 mails a month).

I’m Outta Love
The next tube strike starts Sunday evening and runs through Monday.
A tunnel fire on Friday afternoon shut down the Met Line.

Story of the week
The big story of the week was the fatal accident in Belsize Park in the early hours of Thursday morning. Details remain unclear, but it seems that the Singaporean Cambridge medical student was killed by a bus – the driver may not have know he had hit her.

Police, Twitter, Action
A second Hampstead jeweller’s was targeted by thieves.
£10,000 was swiped from a security guard in Belsize Park.
Should the police be more visible on Twitter? You can follow @metpoliceuk and @CO11MetPolice (the Event Planning Team) but no separate boroughs have accounts. 
Here is a list of all police officers and forces on Twitter.

Tweet of the week

What have I missed since September 18th

What has happened in NW6 while Ken was winning Labour’s mayoral nomination and Delhi tried to keep the Commonwealth Games on track?

Kicking off in Kilburn
Much midweek hullabaloo at the announcement of a new bar in Kilburn. Friday’s launch party for The Betsy Smith launch party saw many #whampers in attendance. Some of the cocktails are a little unusual.
On the other side of the road, retailer Peacock is set to open on Tuesday.
The Kilburn Times website gets its makeover.

The (ahem) rise and fall of West End Lane shops
Two interesting West Hampstead charity shop offerings this week. West Hampstead Life cannot be held responsible for the consequences of buying both together:

(car clamp via @gitfinger and book via @mariagoltyakova)

Best-One finally closed its doors, but optimistically suggested the nearest alternative shop.
Rings pizza & kebab shop also shut down, but a re-opening looks imminent

A little more highbrow
Hampstead Theatre has joined Facebook.
On Wednesday, there’s a heady mix of psychoanalysis and cabaret (sadly now sold out) at the Freud Museum.
The Hampstead & Highgate Festival is happening right now

Tweet(s) of the week
West End Lane roadworks and the arrival of the new Kilburn bar prompt this week’s winners

What have I missed since September 11th?

The summer is over, and everyone’s back at work and tweeting about the Pope. So you might have missed some of this week’s highlights.

Food & flowers

Achillea Flowers opens this month on Mill Lane
Guglee is the newest arrival on Finchley Road
Chicken chain Nandos is buying burger boy GBK

Crime & punishment

The Ham&High (with its shiny new website) reported on virgin trafficking in West Hampstead
George Michael was imprisoned after his Snappy Snaps encounter
The mounted police make an arrest on West End Lane

The Hand of God (including Tweet of the Week)

Labour were as victorious on the football pitch as they were in Camden’s council elections

What have I missed since September 5th?

Welcome to a new blog feature. As Twitter gets bigger and busier, I know its hard for people to stay on top of the volume of messages they receive. This means you miss stuff. So, (almost) every week I’ll post a selection of the West Hampstead news and tweets you might have missed. Long-standing #whampers may recall the weekly Digest that ran for a couple of months until it became too time-consuming. This is a sort of no-frills version. Comments on the idea very welcome.

Camden announced rubbish collections would be reduced to once-a-week [pdf].
So you may need to buy more kitchen caddy liners.
It was also revealed that Camden & Islington would be sharing a chief executive as of next year.
Cllr Mike Katz reflected on the implications for the Kilburn area which straddles Camden & Brent.

My blog on West End Lane shops became the most viewed ever on the site, and the comments keep on coming.
It prompted an article in the Camden New Journal.
The Ham & High meanwhile picked up a twitter-originated story about problems at 3one7 on Finchley Road, which then found its way into the Mirror, Metro and Evening Standard. Nearby nightclub Secrets is under investigation too.

Culture & Entertainment
There was a launch party for bake-a-boo’s cookbook.
West End Lane Books posted a video of its appearance on SkyArts.
OxjamKilburn is holding a series of battle of the bands nights – contact them for details.
The Luminaire has a podcast that runs through its September highlights.
We went to The Arches on Wednesday for #whampreview

New arrivals
Two local eateries joined Twitter. Kilburn’s new X Burger House and Abbey Road’s marginally more established Poem Bar & Grill.
The Priory Tavern on Belsize Road has re-opened; its website is a work in progress

Tweet of the week
Tuesday was tube strike day, which meant many people turned to the buses. It turned out to be not as bad as some might have thought.

West Hampstead Digest No.12 – Review of the (er…) “Year”

Back in October, when @WHampstead had already been around for a good few months, it seemed like a good idea to take some of your messages and photos and aggregate them into a weekly round-up of the week’s whampevents. Encouraged by some excitement that week, Digest 1 went to press on October 11, the week that the leafy streets of West Hampstead were rocked by gun crime. Choosing the lead story for Week 1 was as easy as bumping into Ken Livingstone on the morning commute into work.

Week 2 was momentous thanks to the inaugural whampgather. I won’t lie. I was a wee bit nervous as I walked up to The Alice House. I didn’t think that nobody would come, but I wasn’t at all sure it was going to be a hit. My fears were swiftly allayed. A real big thank you to those of you that turned up that night and made it such a success. Of course one notable West Hampstead tweeter was absent but delightfully made up for it with a message that evening.

One of the long-running stories of the year was the power cuts that knocked out large chunks of the area with alarming frequency. EDF claims it is working on the problem, which involves a local substation, but the problem is big enough that it has its own hashtag now.

The billboards around the tube and train stations have prompted an unusual flurry of comments. Most recently, Tory PPC Chris Philp’s cherubic face has beamed down on us, but earlier in the year it was the typos in the adverts for Alfred Court that caught the eye. After getting it wrong first time, one might have thought that all efforts would be made to get the replacement sign right. One might have thought.

Whampers once again found that there was no local fireworks display – the Primrose Hill display having been cancelled many years ago due to health and safety concerns. Somehow the message hasn’t sunk in.

Travel problems have been the cause of most of the gnashing of teeth among Whamp tweeters. And it’s not just been the Jubilee Line. Thameslink commuters, already coping with the long-running line improvement works encountered a whole new problem in mid-November.

Week 6 also saw whampers undertake the first whampreview at the Czech Restaurant. Perhaps the less said about it the better.

Later in November there was a major breakthrough for tweeters living around Willesden Green when Brent MP Sarah Teather’s lobbying bore fruit and the Metropolitan Line stopped at the tube station when the Jubilee Line was closed. Hurrah.

A topic that always generates a surprising amount of interest is the opening and closing of new shops. Broadhurst Gardens was a veritable hub of retail comings and goings at the end of the month, with an eclectic mix of shops opening.

December brought the second whampgather – another roaring success, with a three-fold increase in attendees. Sadly, not all loyal whampers were able to make it. Their loss, some might say!

Bursting the bubble of whampeuphoria was news of the farcical Jubilee Line engineering works. TfL and its contractor Tube Lines played the blame game while passengers look like suffering.

In the run-up to the holiday season, we were all dreaming of a whamp Christmas and lo and behold, the white stuff began to fall. One short simple message captured everyone’s ambivalence to snow: yes, we love to wake up to a blanket of white; no, we don’t like to have to actually deal with it on a workday.

Finally, the Christmas edition of Digest threw a crossword at readers. Some attempted but only one succeeded. Congratulations to @bubela, who will be getting a free cappuccino. Here’s the solution.

So that was @WHampstead in 2009. Roll on 2010. The Year of the Whamp.

West Hampstead Digest No.11 Christmas Special

Puzzle time

A change for this special Christmas edition of Digest. Rather than regurgitate everyone’s tweets about Monday’s snow or Friday’s over-eating, Digest is following in the best tradition of Christmas publishing and giving you a crossword!

You can either download a printable version, which might be easier, or the clues and grid are below. All the answers to clues in italics are to do with the area (that’s most of the down words and a couple of the across ones). Then rearrange the letters in the shaded squares to find a phrase associated with the neighbourhood in 2009.

Answers will be printed in next Sunday’s Digest Review of the Year. If you’d like to send in your solution, contact @WHampstead for an e-mail address. There might even be a prize.

1. Girl in chains meets locals here (3,5,5)
7. I don’t go north-east in old London bus (5)
8. A judge decrees you can call me (5)
10. Caesar spends second millennium in Norwegian town (4)
12. Only time will tell of Clannad split (4)
13. Fish’s raw greeting (2)
14. Abbreviated sum of online chat (2)
17. Breathe in album from the classical/modernist tradition (5)
19. Need one of Titmuss’s 51 excuses for 4 down (5)
20. Heading in that direction (2)
22. A millionth of the Greeks can’t be wrong (2)
24. Slow birds get confused at night (4)
27. Sediment pressure reshapes list of soils (4)
28. Amid the wailing sir, enchanting music (5)
29. Puzzled goat on South Island (5)
30. Habito, ergo sum (4,9)

1. Staging Wagner’s Ring three times (8)
2. Walk slower than Pele (8)
3. Johnnys come to the bar after hours (7)
4. Blackberry maker falsely claims it falls within European standard (5)
5. Go lightly this season to avoid prick (5)
6. Kilburn icon’s condition (5)
9. Posting bits long before Twitter (5)
11. Separates Frognal from Thatcher’s thoroughfare (3)
15. Grind out the pathway (4,4)
16. Dwarves’ Hi-Ho drags us to Kilburn panto (4.4)
18. Step up to the dining table this Xmas (5)
19. Fry et al. tell of Norse God down under (7)
21. Initially preceding Silverlink (3)
23. Route in front of Spanish square (5)
25. Tool raises money for #whampforgood (5)
26. Mates power early Met Line trains (5)

West Hampstead Digest No.10 Local news where you set the agenda

(Click here for one-page PDF version)
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow There’s been one big story all week. Twitter went a bit snow crazy at the first sign of flakes on Wednesday morning. Just after 9am the first reports of NW6 snow appeared although it was 20 minutes before West Hampstead had its first snowflakes. The localised nature of the snowfall meant that some were seeing snow while others were only reading about it. It was almost 10am before Digest confirmed a snowflake sighting. Of course snow evokes many different emotions. More snow fell on Thursday evening – this time more impressively triggering reports of flickering lights and a dodgy TV reception for whampers.There was some hope of a snow day on Friday, but ’twas not to be. Of course the puppy-dog excitement of snow soon turned to discussion and complaints about gritting roads and transport headaches. #whampsnowElectioneering begins in earnest
Emerge from West Hampstead tube station and you are confronted by a large billboard declaring Tory PPC Chris Philp‘s battling credentials. No sooner had Chris joined Twitter than his alter-ego @notchrisphilp popped up.Thoughts as to who was behind the @not.. account flew around but as yet no obvious candidate has appeared. #whampvote

Whampcarol success despite the cold
See the blog for full write-up of #whampcarol

Photo of the week
This treat from @emprom, of a snowball in Kilburn Sainsbury’s, captured everyone’s imagination.

West Hampstead Digest No.9 Local news where you set the agenda

(one-page PDF version available)
Jubilee farce continues
Confusion reigns over exactly how many more closures Tube Lines needs to finish work on the Jubilee Line. Is it six weekends? Is it 28? Depressingly, no-one seems to know, and the prospect of more disruption looms large. Surely the time has come for clarity and for leadership. Sadly, both seem lacking.
Whampers, unsurprisingly, were not impressed. Reactions ranged from the sarcastic
to fingers-in-ears,
to the comically resigned,
to the angry.
Despite both TfL and Tube Lines maintaining that their working relationship has improved, there is still no coordinated message. All parties were called before the House of Commons Transport committee during the week. Not that the results were especially enlightening or positive.
An unscientific WHampstead poll asked what form people would like any additional closures to take. Weekend closures were marginally the least popular option. Of course whampers may not be representative of all users.

Many people said they would prefer a total shutdown until the work was complete. Although of course this is not a straightforward option from everyone’s perspective. For many people it seems that clear communication around what work is being done when, and WHY it’s taking so long would all help ease the animosity towards TfL. As @sam_elliot says above “we need some sort of elected mayor to sort this out.”
Whampgather II: Tremendous turnout
See full write-up on blog.Darker Shores: Panto for grown-ups?
Full review on blog.

West Hampstead Digest No.8 Local news where you set the agenda

For a one-page PDF version, click here

Supper Club trend hits West End Lane

West Hampstead’s discerning diners were at The Wet Fish Café on Monday night for the restaurant’s first supper club. A few tweeters were present to sample the food including @mayfield22: “Andre the owner explained how he wanted to bring together local residents who enjoy food and wine in a more sociable atmosphere than usual. It worked; six of us at my end of the table quickly introduced ourselves and got on with setting West Hampstead and the world to rights.”

Each course was paired with a wine. The fish stew was outstanding – and a little too robust for the Spanish white from Monterrei. The main course of duck confit was paired with a Bordeaux-style red introduced by a wine specialist who surprised everyone by announcing it was an Israeli wine. Service was friendly and efficient, and the kitchen coped remarkably well with delivering great food to 35 of us simultaneously.

@lulupho also raved about the evening, “I had a fantastic time,” she said. “I’ve asked Andre to put a bottle of the Israeli wine aside for my next boozy lunch there.“ The community spirit is flourishing in West Hampstead. Read more about the event on the blog.
Jubilee Line delays continue to 2010
Inevitably, we learned that the Jubilee Line engineering works were going to overrun. Tube Lines (the contractor) and TfL argued the toss over who is to blame, but residents are forced to face 10 more weekends of disruption. The Bakerloo Line is the next to have long-term work, and we can only hope that we never get the Jubilee, Bakerloo and Metropolitan lines all down on the same day. LibDem PPC @edfordham was forthright in his view, while @dasilvajums mused as to how the rail replacement services affected TfL’s carbon footprint.
Tuesday’s West Hampstead ward meeting presented another opportunity for FCC and Network Rail to hear locals’ concerns about the new ticket office although apparently the session did not cover the topic. Instead, rail representatives were available for discussion before the meeting started.

Belsize ward, meanwhile, focused on more crucial matters. #whamptravel
Changing rooms
Tweeters are concerned about Karahi Master on West End Lane. If anyone has the lowdown, do let us know. The racing green empty property at 149 Broadhurst Gardens is being refitted. This quickly triggered the usual reaction to any possible new retail operation. A call to the agents revealed the truth.

That news didn’t sit well with everyone. A reminder that there’s also a whisky & cigar shop opening in Broadwell Parade, raising the prospect of a fragrant walk to the tube for local residents.
The new supermarket at 194 Broadhurst Gardens is yet to open, but signs have gone up revealing some of the treats that wait in store. #whampshop

First Whamplunch finds the mark
For locals around during the day, the first #whamplunch took place at David’s Deli on Thursday. @bubela gives us the lowdown: “Whamplunch was a great success. Meeting people I had only imagined when reading their tweets was fun, and the group of six gelled very well. The food couldn’t be faulted and the friendly owner kindly donated freebie felafels (+dip), which were much appreciated.” The next #whamplunch is December 16th at The Alice House. Please let @WHampstead know if you’d like to come. #whamplunch
Bizarre tweets from Elephant Walk
Hit-and-miss Sri Lankan restaurant Elephant Walk has joined Twitter. Rather than alerting followers to special offers or tempting them with photos of the food, it seems to talk the area down and focus on berating Stephen Fry. A highly individual approach to microblogging. #whampnewExciting tie-up with The Winch
We announced this week that The Winch will be our official 2010 charity. There’s much more about this on the blog, and please think about how you can get involved. #whampforgood

West Hampstead Digest No.7 Local news where you set the agenda

(Click here for the one-page PDF version)

Accidents, Algerians and aggrieved locals… It must be #whamptravel

The challenges of getting to, from and around this part of London have once again dominated the local chat. Digest came out too early last week to catch the news of another traffic accident involving a bus on West End Lane.

Calls to change the traffic system came in, with suggestions of zebra crossings near Tesco’s. Perhaps, however, West Hampstead should be more cutting edge and take the approach that is gaining traction across Europe of Shared Space. The idea is to de-segregate road and pavement users. This might seem counter-intuitive but, where the idea has been implemented, the statistics show that there are fewer accidents because everyone (and especially drivers) tends to be more cautious. It is not a scheme that will work everywhere of course but perhaps West End Lane, which already has slowish traffic, could be a good testing ground. Already there is a campaign to bring the idea to Hampstead.

The other excitement of last weekend was that the Metropolitan Line made its inaugural stop at Willesden Green (which it will now do on weekends when Jubilee Line is shut ). Thanks to @PkerUNO for the photograph. Of course this weekend both lines were down. Plus ça change.

Wednesday evening was football evening, and demonstrated neatly the evolving nature of Kilburn’s population. Early on in the evening, Algeria beat Egypt to qualify for the World Cup, and immediately messages began to appear about honking horns on the Edgware Road and Kilburn High Road. A few hours later when Ireland were denied the chance of a penalty shootout by the hand of Thierry Henry, there was nothing but silence from the traditional Irish enclave, once affectionately known as County Kilburn.First Capital Connect is never far from the news at the moment. Its timetable continues to be a work of fiction as staff work to rule. It has got to the stage where questions are being asked in Parliament.

To add to FCC’s woes, there is now a late-stage minor revolt about the proposed new station on Iverson Road. @joe_sayegh spotted this article in the Ham & High about residents arguing that the plans will remove parking bays and destroy the embankment. There will be a meeting on Tuesday, but Digest’s readers were largely unsympathetic.

The plans are exempt from requiring planning permission, and the company will argue that it has made efforts to liaise with the local community using measures such as the drop-in meeting at the library a few weeks ago. Is this going to run and run? It seems a certainty that there will be a station on Iverson Road, but will residents manage to gain any further concessions? #whamptravel

Remembering the place of politics
Electioneering at public ceremonies of remembrance is frowned upon. Both Brown and Cameron have apologised for the photographers at Westminster Abbey to capture their appearances at what should be an apolitical event.

Old news for Camdenites. A council hoo-ha kicked up after Lib Dem PPC Jo Shaw was accused of muscling in on the borough’s Remembrance Sunday event and filming it. She issued a statement saying she would not be using the film for party political purposes and emphasizing her per-sonal connection to the armed forces.

Adding fuel to the fire, Lib Dem PPC (Hampstead & Kilburn) @edfordham posted footage of himself at an Armistice Day ceremony in West Hampstead on his You Tube channel. This incurred the ire of both Tory and Labour representatives alike.

Ed replied, but never explained what the facts to be checked were. See @RichardOsley’s blog for more.

Other news. @CamdenGP confirmed that H&K Green candidate Beatrix Campbell is on Twitter (albeit quietly). #whampvote

West Hampstead Digest No.6 Local news where you set the agenda

This week’s digest consists of the review of the Czech restaurant and a couple of other short pieces, including our first contributed piece. Thanks to @bubela. If you would like to write for Digest, drop me a line or DM me on Twitter. Access the one-page PDF here.

Literati on the Lane
by @bubela
Most of West Hampstead seemed to be squeezed into West End Lane Books on Thursday evening for Phyllida Law’s reading from her new book Notes to My Mother-in-Law. Several local actors were present along with the author of some people’s book of the year, Me Cheeta.

As well as some lovely back-chat with daughter Emma Thompson, Phyllida shared her views on living in the area for many decades, regretting the loss of fresh fish shops and butchers, but of course happy with the excellent book shop. #whampculture

Every which way but home
For once the tube was in everyone’s good books this week following the announcement that the Metropolitan Line would stop at Willesden Green when the Jubilee Line was closed for engineering works. A victory for Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather.

Anger shifted to the rail network with First Capital Connect’s timetable collapsing into disarray as staff worked to rule. First Capital Connect has agreed to compensate some affected passengers. Details on the website.

Saturday saw traffic chaos outside the O2 centre as a combination of lane closures and a broken-down car led to lengthy delays. @allaboutcarl kept us all updated.

West Hampstead Digest No.5 Local news where you set the agenda

(for a one-page PDF version: click here)

Whampagne Supernova

Photo (c) Jerry Barnett. See more of Jerry’s work at http://www.blackandwhitebritain.com

Ever since Camden council closed the Primrose Hill fireworks, locals have had to make more effort to go and see a decent organized display (although some people still just keep coming to Primrose Hill armed only with ignorance and the phone number of the New Journal).

Clearly your experience of Bonfire Night rather depended on where you were. These two tweets were just 3 minutes apart:

Two hours later, the sporadic distribution of fireworks hadn’t changed. In just 8 minutes Digest received these three:

Digest went to Roundwood Park in Willesden for Brent’s firework display on the day itself, even getting the treat of a Bonfire Night sausage. The display was great, although the much advertised sound system didn’t seem to carry to where Digest was standing. Friday was a fairly quiet fireworks night although maybe they could be heard but not seen.

Come Saturday and the north London action was at Alexandra Palace. The crowds thronged, the fireworks did their whizz-bang thing, and this time the obligatory Star Wars theme music was clearly audible. A sizeable West Hampstead posse fought its way through accident-delayed traffic and walked up hill and down dale to get a good view of the pyrotechnics.
Despite grumbles and moans, there doesn’t seem to be any likelihood of organised fireworks returning to Primrose Hill anytime soon. Where do you think Camden could host a fireworks display without risking a crowd crush?
Commercial aspirations
Glo’s temporary closure has become permanent. The West Hampstead branch has been dropped from the company’s website and then a To Let sign went up in the window a couple of days later. Glo always seems to have struggled with its confused menu and slightly odd location. It was rarely full, and must have competed with the ever-popular and good value Banana Tree just up the road.
The local Twitterverse got all excited at the prospect of a new shop replacing the convenience store opposite the Thameslink entrance.
@Gitfinger spotted the sign and followed up to find out precisely what sort of staff experience the mysterious company wanted (one might argue they missed a trick with their recruiting poster: “Kitchener – your country needs you” etc.). Eventually though it was @bubela who was first to solve the (not very cryptic) puzzle:

The saga of the commercial units in Alfred Court continued. An agent explained to Digest that it neither the restaurant nor the retail space were likely to be a typical high-street chain. More about this on the blog.
Accident black spot
Wednesday morning got off to a bad start.

The stretch of West End Lane from Iverson Road to Broadhurst Gardens is particularly narrow, with three different buses ploughing down it and pedestrians frequently crossing at any opportunity. Accidents here are too frequent:

There was even an accident on the night of the first whampgather at the same Iverson Road/West End Lane junction. One cycle commuter’s views are clear:
Cycle accidents in London are on the rise, as more of us turn to two wheels in the wake of high public transport ticket prices. Ride carefully! #whamptravel
Good news/Bad news
The Jubilee Line was open south of West Hampstead this Sunday. Digest urged readers to make the most of it.
But Councillor Keith Moffitt quietly dropped a bombshell earlier in the week. Details were not forthcoming. I think we all dread to imagine. #whamptravel

West Hampstead Digest No.4 Local news where you set the agenda

Bit of a change for this week’s digest. Have summarized and updated the blog posts below into one article on new retail developments in West Hampstead. Access the one-page PDF here.

Updates to Newcommers [sic]

The unit next to the florists may not be empty for long. There’s an application in for it to become a whisky and cigar shop. It’s seeking a license to open until 10pm even on Sundays.

More alcohol in West Hampstead? Perhaps a good thing that the Camden housing advice centre by the tube station (currently unused) is destined to be a Metropolitan Police Safer Neighbourhoods unit. This is intended to be a base for PCSOs rather than a place to charge/hold members of the public.

West Hampstead Digest No.3 Local news where you set the agenda

(for a one-page PDF version: click here)

Twitter Unplugged
Parts of West Hampstead were plunged into darkness on Monday evening when an EDF substation failed. The CNJ reported on the impact on businesses following the 10-hour outage. Being off the grid didn’t mean being offline though. Some residents had to change their cooking plans for the evening. @Gitfinger (below) also dug out the candles.

Later that evening David announced there was some left in the pan for any hungry locals. Perceptions of the impact varied depending on your love of the dark.It wasn’t long, however, before the novelty of life in the dark began to wear off.
Power was restored the following morning but dropped out again later that day. Let’s hope Cllr Keith Moffitt delivers on his tweeted promise. #whampower
A platform for change
West Hampstead’s library turned into a railway platform of a different kind on Wednesday. First Capital Connect and Network Rail were using the space to display their plans for the revamped Thameslink station. Digest went along to investigate.

Architecturally, the plans look attractive. The new station will be on Iverson Road, linking up to the new footbridge. An entrance “probably” with ticket gates, will be retained near the existing entrance, so pedestrian traffic over the road bridge should be reduced substantially. Of course it will make no difference to the pedestrian crush between the tube, the Overground, and Iverson Road. Broadly the plans make sense: as well as the new station, the platforms are being extended to accommodate 12-carriage trains, which will increase capacity substantially. Residents (and councillors) are concerned, however, about the impact of the work.
It’s not a positive result for everyone. Joule the jewellers has to move, as Network Rail owns its property and it will fall victim to the pavement widening scheme. Joule has notices of protestation in its window. Full details of the overall Thameslink programme here, but precise details on the West Hampstead programme are not online yet. #whamptravel

Social media emphasizes the social
West Hampstead’s social networking took another step forward this week. First, the date and venue were confirmed for the second #whampgather. Followers were encouraged to vote for their preferred dates, and the most favoured date was Thursday December 10.

The Alice House agreed to give us the same space again. Negotiations over any free drinks will take place nearer the time, but the signs are encouraging. The immediate reaction was positive, and numbers should be good. For any confused readers:
The Wet Fish Café has generously agreed to donate a prize of a meal for two. The winner will be drawn from a list of attendees on Dec 10. #whampgather

Whampreview launched this week. The concept marries the social side of whampgather with requests for eating and drinking recommendations. Eight of us will be going for dinner at the Czech & Slovak National House in mid-November (that may include dumplings) and to generate a review of this long-established local restaurant. At least that’s what the idea was. #whampreview
Spinning a new tale
In The Rooms Above, (West Heath Yard, opposite The Emmanuel School), a gym has opened where you pay only when you use it. Most of the world operates on similar lines, but gyms have traditionally made money on apathy. My Fitness Boutique has joined Twitter, so go and say hello. #whampnew

Whither Whifi?
Tell us your fave local WiFi outlets. #whifi

Photo of the week
Christmas creep from Camden

West Hampstead Digest No.2 Local news where you set the agenda

(for a one-page PDF version: click here)

“Whampgather” tweet-up makes the news The first ever whampgather took place on Monday 12th at The Alice House. An early glitch, when the staff were unaware that free drinks had been arranged, was soon rectified. There was a terrific turnout, despite tube and bus delays doing their best to slow people down. Sixteen people, the vast majority of whom had never met each other before, all chatted about their experiences of the area, and were able to draw all sorts of connections.

Having bombarded Stephen Fry with invitations, we were delighted when he finally saw one from @JudeStone and sent a reply.No awkward silences meant no time for the “Rename whampgather” competition, and the consensus was that we should stick to whampgather. Therefore, the draw to win an NW6 t-shirt from @ilovemypostcode took place on Tuesday – the winner seemed pleased.Whampgather excitement lingered late into the week as @SarahReardon worked some PR magic on the Camden New Journal. The article appeared in Thursday’s edition (although the paper is not readily available in West Hampstead) and online on Friday. The CNJ has said that it may even attend the next one. So, put on your best frocks and, again, doctors notes are the only acceptable excuses, although this one from @Choppsicle comes very close.

Music venues overlooked
Camden council listed 10 of the best live music venues in the borough but of local places, only The Good Ship made the cut. Readers had other ideas. There’s also professional music at The Railway, Lately, and even Pizza Express. Talking of which, @bubela had heard from local shopkeepers that West End Lane’s Pizza Express was going to be closed and turned into a Sainsbury’s. Digest contacted Pizza Express who categorically denied that the branch was closing, “West Hampstead is a really popular PizzaExpress,” according to spokesperson Alex Whitelaw.
On the campaign Twail
The general election has yet to be called, but unofficial electioneering has started. West Hampstead is in the new constituency of Hampstead & Kilburn and with redrawn boundaries, the Tories and LibDems are already arguing over which of them is the true challenger to Labour.
The three candidates are existing Hampstead & Highgate MP Glenda Jackson (Lab), Chris Philp (Con) and Ed Fordham (LibDem). Only Fordham is on Twitter, where he directs followers to blog entries about local architecture as well as to political material.
All three were at the Tricycle this week for hustings. Fordham posted extracts of the event – focused on his performance – on his YouTube channel, including a robust defence of Kilburn in the face of those who talk it down. Digest is more than happy to direct its readers to similar links from the other candidates. We will follow the progress of the main three parties up to the election, keep you up to date with the other candidates, and run some very unscientific polls to gauge your thoughts.
This will be the first general election where Twitter will play a part and, in the aftermath of Obama’s well-orchestrated online campaign, we can expect all the parties and candidates to up their digital game. #whampvote
Tube fares rise. What tube?
Another weekend of tube closures barely got a reaction from resigned locals. The midweek announcement of TfL price rises, in order to pay for improvement works, didn’t pass unnoticed however. #whamptravel
Photo of the week – Read closelyMaybe that was the spelling in King Alfred’s time. Thanks to @PkerUNO for spotting this West End Lane billboard.

West Hampstead Digest No.1 Local news where you set the agenda

(for a one-page PDF version: click here)

Live coverage of Hemstal handgun drama
Crime was the big story of the week, following Tuesday’s gun drama on the streets of West Hampstead. Tweeting from the scene were @medcabnath (whose photo is below) and @2muchcoffeekate.
BBC Travel confirmed the road closure but, as the excitement wound down, residents still weren’t entirely sure what had happened. It wasn’t until later in the week that we got updates from BBC News, the Camden New Journal, and the Ham & High.
All the drama led to an exchange the next morning over the crime rate in West Hampstead. @WHConservatives said crime in the area was on the rise. When @Whampstead challenged this stance (which one person had criticized as “spreading fear“), the local Tories pointed out that burglary and theft from cars were both higher in West Hampstead than in neighbouring areas.

The Met’s statistics, available here, show that they are right. However, it seems misleading to suggest that West Hampstead is a “high-crime” area, relative to this part of London. This blog entry looks into the issue in more detail. The text of the police’s appeal is here.

Being the urbane bunch we are, not everyone was too fazed by the developments and quips about bulletproof vests for the commute home abounded. The pick of the bunch, however, was from @2muchcoffeeforkate, one of the on-site tweeters. #whampcrime

West Hampstead Whinges
A burst water main on the Kilburn High Road wreaked havoc on travel plans.

Of course the flooding was a problem for local businesses too, but not all handled it as well as some of you might have hoped for.

None of this is new, as this article from 2005 reminds us. Mind you, given that the word “Kilburn” derives from the name of the stream that runs beneath it (now the River Westbourne), flooding in these parts probably dates back to the days before there were even water mains to burst. #whamptravel

We’ve got the Ex-Factor
NW6 was left reeling by the news that X-Factor finalists are no longer housed in the area. They were here: But no longer will they slurp their coffee in Caffé West as the news broke that the house this year is in Golders Green. @emma_marion used that terrible few hours when twitter froze to do some sleuthing.
Fans had already tracked down the property and there were photos in the press the next day of the place being beseiged by fans. The police now have to spend resources controlling people like this person who fruitlessly begged @WHampstead for the location.

However, @KateTheIrish1 told us that contestants used to drink in the Railway. Perhaps the wannabees have come home to roost. #whexfactor

Whampgather in Whonderland
The Alice House is the venue for the first ever local tweetup, which takes place on Monday evening. With a competition and free drinks, it promises to be a social event to rival Henley or Ascot. See you all there.

New to the neighbourhood
It‘s not new to West Hampstead, but popular restaurant The Wet Fish Café is new to Twitter. You can keep up to date by following @TheWetFishCafe. #whampnew

Photo of the week
@gitfinger claims he was “having an Elton John moment