Book swapping is going London wide

Last May West Ealing Neighbours started a book swap in West Ealing station, and we have given away several thousand books since then. The success of this book swap has inspired Chris Gilson of West Ealing neighbours to start a campaign to get a London-wide book sharing scheme in operation by the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics.

We’re also hoping to tie our West Ealing book swap with the Guardian newspaper’s campaign and the Bookcrossing movement.

If you’re keen to get involved, then check out the new blog:

West Ealing Arts Project ‘OPEN’ is well worth a look

Chris Gilson checks out the new arts centre on the Uxbridge Road.

Last week I popped into the new West Ealing Arts Centre, OPEN. From the outside, 113 Uxbridge Road is a relatively unassuming red brick office building, but inside it’s packed with workshop spaces, art installations and galleries, spaces for musical performances, and there are even plans for there to be a community cafe on the third floor soon. WEN have also installed a Book Swap in the first floor.

Here’s a taster of what’s on offer:

OPEN will be open from 10am-6pm from this Wednesday to Friday, and there are plans to be open Tuesday-Friday from the week after next.

Check out OPEN’S new website.


Is the age of tall buildings for London at an end?

Chris Gilson reports on the potential slow-down of skyscraper growth in London, as a result of fiscal austerity.

One of West Ealing Neighbours’ major concerns in the last half decade is the potential growth of super-massive skyscrapers and commercial developments in the town’s center – all without increased provision for social services for new residents.   The recession has certainly slowed down a number of these developments, and now Bloomberg reports that for the capital in general:

London property developers are sacrificing height and glitz for better returns as the craze for building iconic skyscrapers comes to an end, said Ken Shuttleworth, the architect of the landmark Gherkin building….

While skyscrapers with nicknames such as the Shard, the Cheesegrater and the Walkie Talkie are joining the 40-story Gherkin as part of the British capital’s skyline, those buildings reflect past rather than present considerations. All of the office towers that are due to open in London by 2014 were conceived before the financial crisis and developers are increasingly adopting cheaper, less ambitious plans.

Does this mean that Ealing is now going against the grain by continuing to try and build large, tall, buildings (like the proposed 21 storey successor to Westel House) and developments?

Read the full article here.

West Ealing is in dire need of a cinema: a pop up cinema would be a great addition to our community

Allison Franklin and Chris Gilson look at the possibilities of having a pop up cinema in West Ealing.

Pop up shops and restaurant are common in London nowadays: an empty retail unit is taken over for a few weeks with minimal fittings and then it’s gone. This concept has now extended to cinemas; films are being shown in places as diverse as old railway tunnels, under motorway flyovers and even abandoned petrol stations.

There are thousands of square feet of unused office space along the Uxbridge Road. This space could be easily used as a pop up cinema. A pop up cinema would need:

  • empty available indoor space. There’s plenty of that locally
  • a licence to show films
  • some comfy furniture (sourced via Freecycle) or people could bring their own
  • basic catering
  • tickets (Rymans. Sorted.)

Pop up cinemas are very attractive as they will provide a way for people to get together and meet their neighbours and other locals, and not break the bank going to the pictures.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.

If you’re interested in helping out with starting a pop up cinema in West Ealing, pop us an email.

Book swapping in West Ealing

Are you bored of the Metro? Or, do you rush out the door and forget to take a book with you on your morning commute? Well, WEN has something that might help you, at least at West Ealing Station.

Several weeks ago, we installed a Book Swap in West Ealing Station – and it’s had a great response since. We’ve been inspired by other successful schemes, such as the one in Wimbledon. The idea is to offer commuters the opportunity to read a good book travelling to and from work.

Where is it, and how does it work?

It’s just inside the ticket office at West Ealing Station, on your right, as you enter from the street.

It’s very, very simple. Just have a look at our shelf, if you see a book you like, grab it!

Do I have to return my book?

If you like, yes, but you don’t have to. There are over 60 books on the shelves and we hope some books get returned for other travellers to read but we’ll also keep an eye out and stock up as and when needed.

If you do have any spare books that you think others might want to read, leave those instead.

Any comments and ideas on the WEN Forum about how we could develop Book Swap in West Ealing are very welcome.