Owl craft fun in Shepherds Bush Library

We had lots of fun creating these cute baby owl pictures at the Shepherds Bush Library Tuesday Craft Club. The children used cotton wool balls for the fluffy little baby owls and added lots of details to make a night time owl picture.

Shepherds Bush Library craft Club runs every Tuesday (term-time) 3.45 to 4.45pm and is aimed at children aged 3-11. There is a small voluntary fee of 50p towards craft materials. come and join in!

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Creative writing with Joy Rhoades

Joy Rhoades writing workshop at Hammersmith Library 2017

Have you always wanted to write but are not sure where to start?
Have stories that you want to tell on paper but don’t know how?

Joy Rhoades’ recent creative writing workshop at Hammersmith Library helped 25 budding writers with these questions and more.

A graduate of the Creative Writing Master’s program at the New School University in New York, Joy has published a number of short stories in the United States. Her debut novel, The Woolgrower’s Companion, is forthcoming from Penguin in early 2017 in Australia and the UK.

Joy began the session by introducing the basics of fiction-writing, including:

  • What to write about?
  • Why ‘write what you know’?
  • Why writers are readers
  • The writing process: writing, reading, editing, sharing
  • When you have something polished, what then?

Attendees also had some fun putting words on paper, and were given a chance to read out and discuss their work in a supportive and inclusive atmosphere.

Don’t worry if you missed out; Joy will be repeating this FREE workshop on Thursday 28 February, 6pm at Shepherds Bush Library. Please contact the library on 020 8753 3842 or email marilyn.welsh@lbhf.gov.uk to reserve a place.

Joy Rhoades writing workshop at Hammersmith Library 2017

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Would you Adam and Eve it?*

xmasAround this time of year newspapers and the radio repeat stories such as the urban myth about changing the name Christmas to Winterval. Also you see references to Xmas and Seasons Greetings rather than Christmas and Merry Christmas.



The computer age has also created new words such as Twitter, Cloud, Snapchat, etc. And now a cookie is more commonly known as a small piece of computer data rather than something you eat.

crsI was born in the ‘Baby Boomer’ age – an invented word for the period after the Second World War when the birth rate increased dramatically. A large part of my family originated from the south east of London and as a child I didn’t realise that some of my everyday language was a mixture of cockney rhyming slang and old sayings.

When someone was flabbergasted they would say ‘Well I’ll go to the foot of our stairs’ – which made no sense. When it was time for bed you went up the wooden hill – up the stairs. And when it was cold you put the wood in the hole – closed the door. I accepted that if I came home dirty after a hard day playing in the street I was as ‘black as old noogits’. It was many years later that I discovered this meant I was as black as the large black knocker on the door of the old Newgate prison.

To confuse things even more a lot of the cockney rhyming slang would be shortened to one word making it even more difficult to understand. For example ‘tom’ was short for ‘tom foolery’ which meant jewellery. And the ‘currant’ was the ‘currant bun’ which meant the sun. Some rhyming slang was in part descriptive too, such as ‘trouble and strife’ for wife. This could be rather apt for a lazy or hen-pecked husband referring to his nagging wife.

crs1Some rhyming slang was created to keep up with modern trends, for example when flared trousers became fashionable they were known as ‘Lionel Blairs’. But now I often hear references or quiz questions about rhyming slang created by over-imaginative people who have no idea about original rhyming slang. Someone recently decided a nose would be a ‘fireman’s hose’ just because it rhymed, but the original rhyme was in fact an ‘I suppose’. I’ve even heard Santa’s Grotto referred to as Blotto just because it rhymes, but every true Londoner will know that being blotto means being drunk!

Every part of the body was included in rhyming slang, from ‘plates of meat’ for feet to ‘Barnet fair’ for hair. Some were slightly risqué such as ‘Bristol City’ and ‘bottle and glass’ which I will leave for you to interpret.

So this Christmas if you are going out for a knees up put on your whistle, titfer and daisies. Put your greens in your sky and go down the frog to the ruba. Have a few tiddlies but don’t get Brahms.

wineIn other words this Christmas if you are going out to celebrate put on your suit, hat and boots. Put your wages in your pocket and go down the road to the pub. Have a few drinks but don’t get drunk.




Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.




*Would you believe it?

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The Father of Modern Calligraphy

Edward Johnston was born on 11 February 1872 and is often regarded, with Rudolf Koch, as the father of modern calligraphy.


Johnston has been credited with reviving the art of modern penmanship and lettering through his books and teachings. His book Writing & Illuminating & Lettering, 1906, sparked a renewed interest in the art of calligraphy. Inspired by William Morris’s admiration of medieval manuscripts, he studied historic calligraphic scripts and devised the simply crafted round calligraphic handwriting style, written with a broad pen, known today as the foundational hand.



He is probably most famous for designing the London Underground typeface. In 1913, Frank Pick commissioned him to design a typeface for the Underground, and the simple and clear sans-serif Johnston typeface was the result. It was used throughout the London Underground system until it was re-designed in the 1980s.


Not all his students were happy with his decision to create a sans-serif design for the Underground, in a style thought of as modernist and industrial. His pupil Graily Hewitt privately wrote to a friend:

In Johnston I have lost confidence. Despite all he did for us…he has undone too much by forsaking his standard of the Roman alphabet, giving the world, without safeguard or explanation, his block letters which disfigure our modern life. His prestige has obscured their vulgarity and commercialism.

As well as the typeface, Edward Johnston also designed the famous roundel symbol used throughout the system:


Both practitioner and teacher, Johnston mentored many famous calligraphers and type designers including Eric Gill and Anna Simons. His link with Hammersmith and why he is included in the Hammersmith & Fulham Archives is that he lived at 3 Hammersmith Terrace from 1905 to 1912. Near neighbours were Emery Walker and Douglas Pepler.


Note that the font used on this plaque is not “English Heritage’s own unique font” to quote English Heritage but London Underground’s New Johnston sans serif, the 1979 version of the font designed by Johnston and introduced in 1916. Three other Underground-related blue plaques use this font: Frank Pick, Lord Ashfield and Harry Beck.




Fiona Fowler

Volunteer, Archives & Local History Room





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Ben Aaronovitch at Hammersmith Library

Hammersmith Library was very lucky to host a visit from author Ben Aaronovitch, part of his tour to promote the latest novel featuring Peter Grant, “The Hanging Tree.”
For those of you unfamiliar with Ben’s books, the “Rivers of London” series has been described as “a unique blend of police procedural, supernatural mayhem and threads of fascinating hidden history woven through the very fabric of the plot” and “fast-moving, funny, full of warmth and features one of the greatest and most historically rich cites in the world: London.”

A very active supporter of public libraries, Ben is quite happy to give a talk for free (in return for coffee and cake).

Ben delivered a characteristically energetic Q & A session, to an audience of thirty people. He covered subjects such as story arcs, finding the right voices for his audio books; and how some characters who he brings to life for one scene then refuse to go away!

He also spoke about his adventures as a bookseller, including the practice of “Meerkatting” or in other words looking around expectantly for customers to help/pounce on (Ben does a very convincing Meerkat impression).

As a bonus Ben also treated us to an impromptu dance routine!
Thanks to Ben from all at Hammersmith Library for a most entertaining talk.

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Hot off the press: Newsbank

Have you heard of Newsbank? I would like to introduce this valuable online reference resource which is available (at no cost!) to Hammersmith & Fulham library members.


NewsBank (which can be accessed here from our page of online resources) is a vast searchable database of news worldwide from over 9000 local, regional, national and international sources, including print and online newspapers, blogs, newswires, periodicals, broadcast transcripts and videos. Search either by publication title or by using search terms (note that any results with the exception of videos do not contain illustrations as the text is displayed as a transcript of the original text and not a facsimile of the newspaper page).

An example of a subject search illustrates a local slant to national match reports of the England v Wales 2016 Six Nations rugby match:


What can you use Newsbank for?

  • Residing in London and missing news from your home town? Use NewsBank to catch up with events.
  • Planning to expand a business outside London either nationally or abroad? Use NewsBank to get a feel of the new location from the local and regional press.
  • Student gathering data for a dissertation? Use NewsBank to obtain background information and data by using selected search terms in NewsBank.
  • Researcher? Find useful links to current events: try NewsBank’s special reports on topics including the American Presidential election or the last June’s British EU membership referendum.

And a bonus feature: if you are using this resource on a continuous basis for a specific topic there is no need to repeatedly access NewsBank on the off-chance that new entries have been added to the database – simply select your relevant search terms and use these search terms to set up a NewsBank email alert facility for any future added entries.

Francis, Tri Borough Reference Service

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Naxos Music Library

With an unparalleled depth of classical music content, extensive background information, and improved search facilities that remain simple and effective, Naxos Music Library (NML) is a pleasure to use regardless of your prior music and/or technical knowledge.


Hammersmith & Fulham Library Service has just added the Naxos Music Library to the collection of online reference resources available to library members. This is a free streaming service of original recordings from Naxos and other recording labels. Users of this resource can search for individual performers and composers from a wide range of musical genres ranging from classical, jazz & blues, Chinese music to rock and pop recordings.


Library members can access Naxos and the other online resources, apart from Ancestry, from any computer by simply using their library card number. Click here to access Naxos Music Library (you will need your library membership card to hand). Happy listening!

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