A large financial boost is needed to save the performing arts

By Helen McMurray The impact of the coronavirus epidemic on businesses and jobs is becoming all too obvious now. Since we live so close to Theatreland, you may have already heard from people connected with the Performing Arts of the particular difficulties they are going through, and I understand that former employees across all the …

Dave Ferris: neighbourhood worker who led collective action and fostered a community spirit

By Nick Bailey, Helen Haigh, and Mairi Mills Dave Ferris (left) with partner Adrian Dowson. Dave Ferris, who died in April, was a community worker at the Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Centre for more than two decades, and was highly regarded by his colleagues and the management of the organisation. Generous in spirit, and genuinely democratic, it …

Mike Pentelow: much-loved journalist, communist, and author

Mike Pentelow in pub.

By Peter Kirker Mike Pentelow enjoying music and a drink at the King and Queen pub in September 2018. Mike Pentelow, who died suddenly at home in April, was a long serving contributor to Fitzrovia News and Tower, its predecessor, editor-in-chief for 13 years, and an accomplished trade union journalist and author. His book Characters …

The artist Harry Jonas – ‘Last of the Fitzrovians’

Row of buildings.

By Robert Cunning I first met Harry Jonas in the early 1980s. I was a volunteer with Islington social services, and a message came in to help an ageing artist, who thought he was the best painter in Britain. Harry Jones lived at 35 Maple Street (with arched window). Photographed in 1969. Source: London Metropolitan …

When this is all over we will have learned the real meaning of community

By Pat Tulloch It is the week before lockdown, I self-isolate as I have an underlying health condition that makes me vulnerable to Covid-19. At the Fitzrovia Centre we are in the business of creating social cohesion through bringing people together, it becomes clear we will be unable to maintain safety and forced to close. …

Help us improve the streets for walking and cycling in Fitzrovia West

Map of Fitzrovia West.

By Barbara Corr A group of residents in City of Westminster want the council to make our streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists and help maintain social distancing ahead of any lockdown being eased. Fitz West and Westminster Healthy Streets want to hear suggestions for improving the streets and have produced a map to which …

Mouth-wateringly good, baked comfort food to take away on Warren Street

Shopfront.

By Stephen Heath For those struggling for a glimmer of cheer in these grim times, I do recommend a brisk walk (or two) up to Shaheen Peerbhai's Miel Bakery on Warren Street. Unlike its now boarded up neighbour, our other favourite foodie haunt, the iconic Honey & Spice, it is still open and offering a limited …

If we don’t care for our own backyard then nobody else is likely to

TfL map of Oxford Street west district.

By Griff Rhys Jones There are big plans for Oxford Street in the offing. You may already know of them and they are certainly going to affect the residents who live around that retail artery. There was a consultation with Transport for London, but it appears that they put up the “wrong address” on their …

Take action now to have your say on Oxford Street plans

Buses and taxis on Oxford Street.

By Caroline Mawer Pedestrianising Oxford Street may sound like a great idea. The Mayor of London made it his manifesto commitment and the plans are being drawn up. But it needs to be a great idea for local residents and businesses as well as the global tourists the Mayor is apparently hoping to attract. We don’t want to have the surrounding streets even more …

The Housing and Planning Bill will damage London’s long established residential communities

Parliament website page.

We write as members of a Residents' Association, facing the challenges of the proposed Housing Bill, which will affect all who live in properties owned by borough councils in central London. We are concerned that the effects of the Housing Bill are not widely known, and that, if passed in its present form, the Bill …

Staying underground can seriously damage your neighbours’ health

Brutalist building.

By Roger Wilson For those who want to travel cheaply and aren't too concerned about a window view, an inside cabin on board ship can be an expedient, if not delightful, experience. It may not matter too much that waking up in the morning you don't know whether to put on a sweater or a …

City West Homes has poorly managed this maintenance programme and blighted people’s lives

Street scene with scaffolding.

By Edward Kellow If you have been down Hanson Street in Fitzrovia recently you may have noticed the number of buildings shrouded in scaffolding and green netting. This isn’t an art installation or a leftover from the Fitzrovia Arts week. The scaffolding is part of a programme of repairs to housing managed by City West Homes …

A readable public sector how-to for council officers and Whitehall mandarins

Part of book cover.

Book review -- The Public Sector: Managing the Unmanageable, by Alexander Stephenson. Reviewed by Amaan Ali The public sector concerns us all at this very delicate time in British politics. The NHS is poised to be the major election issue in May. Moreover, a still sluggish economy is bringing yet more critics to call public expenditure …

Play areas and organised activities for young people in Fitzrovia

Playground and open space.

By Sandra Wheen Parents of babies, children and young people may like to know that Fitzrovia has a variety of small play areas and regular organised activities. Young people and their carers have plenty of opportunity to get more out of living here. The Fitzrovia Community Centre has many activities for parents with babies and children up to age 4, but there …