Grenfell and our community: One year on

It has been  over one year since the Grenfell Tower disaster took the lives of at least 72 innocent members of our community.

We apologise to our readers for our absence, but as locals,  THINKers were very personally affected by this as seen on a previous post of ours here:

And here is our post from a day after the fire last year:

We say a big thank you to all the  thousands of people who  came from all around and walked in solidarity with us on Thursday the 14th. Among many people there, we spotted Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow

But we want to  especially thank our North Kensington community for being strong, resilient, postitive,  courageous and supportive towards one another. The loss of so many in North Kensington may have torn a hole in our community and left so many of us suffering; but we will never ever let it  destroy us. Those who  we believe partly responsible for this disaster and those who exacerbate  our trauma and suffering further by their behaviour after everything that has happened, really should remember this.

There  is a long path for us to travel down before we see justice and of course nothing can bring back the people we miss. But still we are strong together and we  go on

There also badly needs to be a sea change in both this Governments’  and  some in many local authorities’ attitudes towards social housing and their treatment of people living in it. 
Words cannot alone describe our mixed feelings at this time, so we will leave you with some pictures from the Silent Walk, from other local community events, of scenes around North Kensington, and of some of our local buildings which were lit up   #GreenForGrenfell. 

For all who helped us, helped out or just simply care and remember  –  we thank you.  


Green for Grenfell: Shine a light for our community

This is a very difficult  and distressing time for North Kensington, with the Grenfell Tower Inquiry ongoing and it coming up to the anniversary of the anniversary of the fire disaster on the 14th of June, which took the lives of at least 72 members of our community. 

Unsurprisingly, the grief and distress have taken hold of many people around here including ourselves (we apologise to our regular readers for the shortage of posts;  sometimes it isn’t always easy to be able to write about things that you are deeply affected by –  “No Justice No Peace”   is real to us).  

THINK  strongly believe that in troubled and dark times, we need positivity and hope as  well as remembrance and reflection and we urge our readers to please donate, support and share the fundraiser to illuminate  the 12 towers nearest to Grenfell Tower green between the 14th and the 17th of June. The link is below.

Local artist, campaigner and friend of THINK, Toby Laurent Belson, is behind this wonderful initiative and here are  links to his websites for our readers to enjoy Toby’s fantastic and inspirational work:

We also hope that many people from all around get involved in Green For Grenfell Day on the 15th of June this year. Here is the link to  the Grenfell United website:

 As for the illuminations, a few have questioned whether they are a good use of money or not. Well THINK should point out  that as affected locals who live around the corner from Grenfell and knew people in the Tower – we fully support  this fundraiser. Sometimes our words are simply not enough to  describe its importance to our local community  at this time and  entirely sum up how we feel about this  – so here is Toby Laurent Belson to explain further:

“It may be a brief moment. So is a festival. So is a faith service. So is a family dinner. So is a hug. So are many of the things in our lives that offer those moments that we find strength from during the rest of our lives.

All of the feedback I have received over ten months, the emotions I have seen, the responses and support I have had constantly from Grenfell United, residents, RAs – not to mention my own intuition – tell me it is the right thing to shine light at a time that for so many will be a moment of such darkness. I want people to look up. I want people to see something they may never have seen before. I want people to see that these communities in the sky matter and must be as safe as those on the ground. I want people to feel that they are somewhere.

I hope it will be seen outside of our community also, to show our togetherness to everyone else. That we continue to support each other and work through our challenges. That our focus on justice is absolute and runs throughout the community.”


Where’s the Wally Andrew “Bully Beef” Foster? And where is the “dust analysis” in Earl’s Court? 

THINK have got wind of  – and no it isn’t the  filthy toxic exhaust fumes we have to breathe when walking down certain roads in Earl’s Court and West Kensington, nor is it the pollution we suffer from in our own “backyard” the Westway  –  it is of  the Earl’s Court Conservatives  claiming to have “independent analysis” of soil and air quality around the Earl’s Court area.

Andrew “Bully Beef” Foster the chair of Kensington. Chelsea and Fulham Conservatives is allegedly behind emailing and  leafleting constituents (some of whom are suffering from health issues, partly due  to the excess pollution and even more so, from  dust from the huge redevelopment, when the Exhibition Centre was pulled down) , claiming to have independent analysis  pointing to the redevelopment  apparently posing no increased health risk to residents. Some  of our readers who might not be familiar with Andrew  “Bully Beef” Foster can read about him  in a post of ours here:

Some might ask where is this analysis?  Because nobody seems to have a copy! Others  may wonder why do the Earl’s  Court Conservatives make out that they are against this disaster of the Earl’s Court Masterplan – when they  are  still very obviously defending this  disasterplan and developers’  “Crapco” Capco’  to residents and trying to diminish the repercussions  that this ill-judged (to say the least) development has caused to the local community? 

Unfortunately  it appears Earl’s Court  residents Andrew  “Bully Beef” Foster and Cllr Malcolm  “Bananaman” Spalding  appear  to prefer to listen to developers rather than to look out for what is  truly in the best interests of their neighbours…….

Here  below,  is  a copy of an email sent by Earl’s Court Conservatives, stating that they obtained independent soil analysis  and conducted air quality tests. As some can see below, they state that details are “available from the council’s website” but have omitted a link! We wonder if this analysis and findings actually exist! Our “Piglet-Pie” awards aren’t exactly coveted. …

Here’s a post with our  first Piglet-Pie award going to Kensington and Chelsea College management for claiming there was a  “surveyors’ report” stating that  Wornington  College was not fit for purpose.  Well it appears NO surveyors’ report ever existed!  (And for those interested in an update about what happened to Ian Rule, then interim vice principal who stated there was a  surveyors’ report – he was frogmarched from the building amid allegations of £3million going missing from college funds) 

Post (with video clip of Ian Rule stating there was a surveyors’ report)  here:

Same old  s@*#t different story? 

Well obviously  Andrew “Bully Beef” Foster has a hell of a lot of explaining to do as do Cllr Malcolm “Bananaman” Spalding and  so does newly elected Tory Cllr Hamish “Durian” Adourian…..

Anyway,  here is something THINK  totally believe in; Earl’s Court has always been a vibrant area with music and art  very much at its’ cultural hub. The loss of the Exhibition Centre has greatly affected the area. The Save Earl’s Court campaign has put together an environmentally friendly proposal to build the world’s greenest venue on the site of the former Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre – let’s help revive the area and  its’ surrounding communities and do some  good for this part of London that has been so badly treated by RBKC Tories and former Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Please sign and share here:
It is just as well that Earl’s Court has a decent local councillor – Liberal Democrat Cllr Linda Wade, who has always spoken up for and campaigned for the  local community. She has opposed the Masterplan and been very clear on her position on this from the start. So has Kensington Labour MP Emma Dent Coad.  It is time the local Tories in Earl’s Court made their position crystal clear on this so maybe Cllrs Spalding and Adourian can do so?   – after all,  we wouldn’t like to think that some people will just say anything to get elected…….

Grenfell, our local community and THINK: Nearly a year on

THINK apologise to our regular readers  for our rather lengthy absence from the blog. It has been a difficult time for us, with it almost being a year since the Grenfell Tower disaster, plus the disappointing local election results and dealing with trauma and our anxiety for our community.

Last week,  the Grenfell Tower Fire Inquiry heard tributes and statements  from some relatives of the  victims.  We thought it was only appropriate and right that we took a longer break to  also extend our silence in tribute.  We send our love, respect and solidarity  to all survivors and bereaved and all others in and around the community affected. 

Recently,  a few   have been sending us emails querying  as to why THINKers haven’t attended the Inquiry and as to why we haven’t posted details of it.

We guess  that some just aren’t aware that we are still in trauma and grief, that many of us live within a five minute walk of Grenfell Tower and that some of us have lost friends. Maybe if some  were, they might try to understand that being at the Inquiry for some of us, can be too personally distressing. Some of us do plan to attend hearings at some point, but when we feel ready to. 

Anyway, we also believe it is important that  a blog like ours, that comes from nearby (but not actually in the Tower or walkways), is very careful  not  to post anything that could interfere with the Inquiry or anyone taking part in the Inquiry .  

We have already in previous posts, expressed some opinions on a few of those who we believe have questions to answer, and that it is vital that  ourselves and others who are not survivors or relatives of victims,  allow those who are speak more on this. A lot of people have a lot to say about Grenfell, but a few  of the outside  comments we sometimes hear, particularly on social media   (from some who have no connections to our community) are far from helpful and some are very offensive to many here. 

We have heard that RBKC leader, Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy” Campbell has attended some of the hearings and we very much hope  she not only listens to every word, but takes on board in terms of council policy,  the various points and concerns that many affected  will make at the hearings. 

Of course, we cannot second guess just how long this inquiry  take, but we warn both RBKC and the Government that many here who are traumatised will take years to heal. We still have  serious concerns over poor council  responses to  safety of social  housing (such as  tower blocks – mentioned in our “Dixon House”  post,  and  fire exits –  our “Hesketh Place” post)  and  we ask the Government to take action over potentially dangerous cladding.  

 THINK cannot emphasise enough the importance of provision of safe and decent social housing both in this borough and in many other parts of both London and the UK. 

This is not the time for the policians  to try and act as if they care, it is time for them to take  real steps to protect the safety and wellbeing  of residents in social housing and show that they really do care. We also  strongly believe that  attitudes need to badly change over  the importance of the provision of social housing in higher value areas like ours. 

What happened at Grenfell Tower   was avoidable and  a disaster like this must never, ever  be allowed to happen again. 

THINK will leave the last words to our good friend, Grenfell Action Group member, campaigner, and survivor Edward Daffarn. We  strongly recommend that anyone  who takes an interest in the matter and proceedings watches this video of him being interviewed by Jon Snow of Channel 4 News,  If you have not seen it yet, please set aside half an hour of your time to watch this:

Grenfell Silent Walk – tomorrow 14th May 2018

Tomorrow is 11 months on since the Grenfell Tower disaster devastated our North Kensington community. We will likely have a long wait to see those we believe responsible brought to justice and many of us are still struggling to cope with our trauma and loss.

There will be a protest outside Parliament between 3pm and 6pm.

The Silent Walk  will return to its original route and will start outside Notting Hill Methodist Church at 7pm.

We  say a big thank  you all who have joined with us and supported our community

Next month it will be one year on and there will be a series of activities organised then.
Here is a statement from Grenfell United:

“Grenfell United would like to thank all those individuals and local organisations that have contacted us with regards to arranging activities around the year anniversary of the tragic events of the 14th June 2017, and take this opportunity to inform the community of our plans for the 14th, 15th and 16th of June 2018. On the 14th June, Grenfell United are asking that the privacy of the bereaved families and survivors is respected.
During the daytime members of Grenfell United will be gathering together privately in order to be able to support each other and reflect and grieve in peace. We will be calling for the UK to observe 72 seconds of silence at midday to remember each life that was lost in and after the Grenfell Tower fire. On the evening of the 14th June, Grenfell United will be taking part in the Silent March and then we will gather to observe “Iftar” and the breaking of bread at sunset, which we hope many of our fellow marchers will join us in.
On the 15th June, Grenfell United are working with the Dept of Education to request that as many school children as possible are able to wear green items of clothing to school in order to highlight “Green for Grenfell” (more information to follow). On Saturday 16th June, Grenfell United will not be putting on any events ourselves but we will be encouraging our members to join in with the many activities that are being organised by the North Kensingon community (including Al Manaar and various local RA’s).
Finally, we would like to thank you for your support at what will be a challenging and difficult time for our community. Grenfell United are determined that the local community comes together in unity over the anniversary period and that local organisations who wish to contribute with events or ideas do not feel marginalised or excluded. It is very much the hope of Grenfell United that all the different local organisations and RA’s can come together and work collaboratively to ensure that any events that are being scheduled are run in a way that respects the wishes of bereaved family members and ex-Grenfell Tower residents and promotes inclusivity and celebrates community cohesion.”

THINK : Our first birthday

Yesterday was the  first anniversary of our blog. We thank all our readers, followers and supporters who have been with us on our journey. We also thank all the campaigners, other blogs and community groups who have inspired us. Still we have a lot to do in and around our community and we are not going to sit here and shut up or go away…..


We are proud of our diverse mixed community and its uniqueness and history, which has sadly in recent times come under threat by our council  and  unscrupulous property developers who do not have our best interests at heart.

We started this blog last May as more of a noticeboard for campaigns and local community activities, but as anyone can see now, the blog has evolved into something very different! We have been on a rollercoaster of a journey – our blog and Group started before Grenfell and we have had a lot of cope with  for obvious reasons. Although we have had a lot to deal with, we do recommend that others become  more involved in our community activities, and supporting others.

Our priority as a group and blog   will always  be our immediate local area, but we will always take an interests in our neighbouring communities and the issues residents there have to face.

Many regular readers of this blog will have read our posts on Earl’s Court, and we have some posts about Chelsea coming up. We intend to inform (and yes, sometimes, to entertain!) and always to support our friends and campaigners in ours and other communities.

We may be feeling deflated and run down after some disappointing local election results in RBKC, but this also means we have more of a duty to make our voices heard!


Here is a selection of a few of our most popular blog posts to celebrate a year of THINK:

Out takedown  of former MP Victoria Borwick and her election leaflet :

On some of the amazing campaigners who are truly an inspiration to us:

Our first post on Earl’s Court and the brilliant alternative plans for the area by  the Save Earl’s Court campaigners:

Success for the campaign to save Notth Kensington Library:

Local residents fighting to save Wornington College stand up to KCC management and RBKC:

And some good news for the Save Wornington College campaign:

On some who sat on the Grenfell Recovery Scrutiny   Committee:

Some on the council and their supporters would rather not talk about Grenfell. We do not know how any decent human being can turn their backs on the isssue:

And finally our post and some pictures of last month’s Grenfell Silent Walk. We will always remember, campaign for and support all in and around our community affected:

Of course we are still relative newcomers on the blogging scene and we would like particularly thank the two local blogs who have  been a big influence on THINK of course:

From The Hornets Nest :

And Grenfell Action  Group:

This is our 164th post. Thanks ever so much to everyone from North Kensington and beyond  all for your support!!

Anyone hear the one about Malcolm Spalding, Earl’s Court and the dead parrot? 

Word has got round to THINK of a speech made in the Town Hall by Tory councillor for Earl’s Court. Malcolm “Bananaman” Spalding, in which he compared the Save Earl’s Court campaign to a “dead parrot”

He also called the campaign to Save Earl’s Court the “biggest and most spectacular failure in local history”.

Bananaman Spalding also in the speech said about the demolition works: “Everything is working beautifully. Despite a Cllr (Linda) Wade’s best efforts and the Save Earl’s Court campaign, they haven’t saved it. It is going to plan”.

Well THINK believe that Cllr Spalding should explain himself to residents and businesses in and nearby the area  who have suffered greatly due to this ruinous plan. We think he needs to explain his position on the issue  to his electors  in full. 

When the issue of the  masterplan was last brought up in Kensington Town Hall by Earl’s  Court Lib Dem Cllr Linda Wade, earlier this year who sought a statement from RBKC Deputy Leader Kim Taylor-Smith at the time, we saw Spalding sat in the chamber, yet he was strangely very quiet…….

See our post from back in February here:

We have not found any record  of Malcolm Bananaman Spalding actually opposing the masterplan and we believe any support for this unworkable plan is simply bananas…..

What we do see  sense in supporting however, is the petition by the Save Earl’s Court campaigners to build the world’s greenest venue on the site of the former exhibition centre. We urge all our readers to  sign, share and support this here:

We will leave the last word  on this to the Save Earl’s Court supporters. A campaigner has told THINK:”The dead parrot is in fact Capco’s  Earl’s Court Masterplan which is in chaos and which is no longer viable. The Save Earl’s Court campaign has always highlighted  how risky it was. Spalding is not crowing any more.”

A  controversial Conservative councillor for Courtfield:

Pictured here on the left, is Cllr Janet Evans (aka “Botox Janet”) . She is a newly elected RBKC Tory councillor for Courtfield Ward.

  THINKers have seen Botox Janet some months before she became a councillor as she has been seen regularly cheering on her Tory friends and  rudely shouting at other visitors to the chamber who do not share her enthusiasm (including her shouting at then-Labour candidate and now councillor for St Helen’s, Portia Thaxter).

Janet Evans is also the proprietor of Janet’s Bar in Old Brompton Road. A few months back we checked out some of the reviews posted online – they made for interesting reading!  To be fair to Janet’s Bar, we haven’t been to the place, but we’re not exactly sold on the idea of getting a side order of rudeness  or even racism with our drinks!

Interestingly and surely by no mere coincidence a few of  these reviews  have mysteriously disappeared from Tripadvisor  at around the same time Botox Janet  was elected! 

Just as well THINK had some copies……. 

 Some reviews of Janet’s Bar:

“most horrifying experience. the rudest american woman treated my friends and I disgustingly, wouldn’t serve us as 1 of us didn’t drink alcahol. don’t come here, terribly overpriced and shocking service.”
“Never have been treated so rude, horrible experience. Janet the owner, yelled at me to get out of her bar because I wasn’t drinking even though everyone in my group had ordered very over priced cheap drinks, she said if I didn’t leave she would kick me out, 5 minutes after arriving not even getting a chance to look at the menu.”

“Avoid this place ! Racist and rude bar tender, disgusting”

“The owner is an actual psychopath and she only hires fellow psychopaths to work there. Enter at your own risk unless you’re also a psychopath.”
“Kicked me and my friends out when one (of four) didn’t buy a drink. Made a big scene for no reason. The prices are extortionate and the drinks suck, plus Janet is very rude. Sad!”
“Janet is probably one of the worst people I’ve ever had the misfortune of meeting. Rude, unfriendly and ruined our evening. Don’t go here!”
“What an absolutely appalling experience. The rudest establishment in the greater London area.

“The staff seem to have got customer service completely wrong. ”

“Rudest bar manager. Screams at you, never says thank you. Awful drinks. Totally overpriced. Everywhere else in SK for those prices gets you a proper drink. She should be closed. Avoid.”

“On a serious note – never ever go here. The owner is a sociopath.”
“‘Janet’ is the most disgusting human being I have ever met. I have never experienced so much prejudice. 3 out of 4 of us bought beers and she told us to leave because the 4th person wasn’t drinking. She called us ‘pricks’ and ‘cheapskates’.

“Kicked me and my friends out when one (of four) didn’t buy a drink. Made a big scene for no reason. The prices are extortionate and the drinks suck, plus Janet is very rude. Sad!”

“Janet is probably one of the worst people I’ve ever had the misfortune of meeting. Rude, unfriendly and ruined our evening. Don’t go here!”

“overbearing owner ruins this bar. Janet asked intrusive questions about my ethnicity after trying to read my surname off my credit card. She also asked personal questions about my friend’s health issues as I tried to pay. Other customers have told me about her xenophobic and racist remarks. Rumour has it that she even owes some of her employees. I wouldn’t be surprised if she can’t afford to pay them. The only thing keeping this business afloat is their late license and lack of local competition. They never have foot fall until after the pubs close. Bad employment practices and a bratty owner. Don’t give them your money – let the free market run its course!”
“Having read the reviews, I’ve decided to go to this bar to experience the nasty owner. I’ve never read such a lengthy series of dreadful reviews about a single individual’s behaviour. And her replies on Facebook are so offensive, indignant and unapologetic… mental problems? She’s a tourist attraction of hatred, and meanness. Incredible how someone faced with so much criticism of herself can go years blaming others. What must it be like to spend your life being horrible to people and becoming notorious for it? I’ll have two inexpensive drinks, use the toilet a lot (she doesn’t like this apparently), and taunt her a bit to see what she’s made of. Let’s dance! 😂”

RBKC TCC Street Properties: the blind leading the blind? 

Pardon us at THINK if we imagine it to be just a mere coincidence that the TCC (Tenants Consultative Committee) meeting for street properties just exactly happens to be this evening, at the same time as induction for councillors – so no local representatives there.

What, therefore, is the point in going? Are we just to sit there while the council recites rhetoric and palms residents off with a PR exercise.

We are running out of tolerance with RBKC and their refusal to  involve residents in exploring other housing options, particularly their blind ignorance towards any idea of residents forming housing co-operatives, for example.

RBKC also invite some who lets just say have mud   – if not blood – on their hands to have a say in these meetings.

All in all we think the TCC street properties meetings are  partly a precursor to regeneration  on the quiet for those who are most vulnerable, and also for others, are merely an exercise in handing over more power to those less accountable. Maybe if RBKC really wanted  to do something helpful, and informative perhaps they could hand residents a full list of their contractors?

Otherwise it just looks like a far less accountable version of the TMO. We urge RBKC to please be open and straightforward  with residents and to learn from their mistakes –  after all some of us will  spend the rest of our lives living with the council’s mistakes……

THINK’ s election night(mare)  and the results 

 The local elections are over and so are THINK’s hopes for real positive  change in our community. 

For those who would like to see the results in full  (and for those who can bear to), you can go to this link which has the ward by ward results:

Some THINKers were at the Town Hall for the count that night. We were there for quite a few hours before the results came in. One THINKer needing the ladies walked in and saw something  odd in the cubicle our leader, Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy” Campbell was coming out of – who knew Dizzy Lizzy eats bananas in the toilets? 
On seeing big piles of ballot papers in the red trays , we did have our hopes up, but sadly as everyone now knows, the postal votes came in and we were left with huge disappointment.

One of the results that we were particularly interested in was Earl’s Court as the Tories there have long benefitted from a three way split vote there.

We heard one bit of good news in hearing that the brilliant Liberal Democrat councillor and local campaigner Linda “Wonderwoman” Wade had not only been re-elected but she polled more votes than any other candidate. Unfortunately Tories Cllr Malcolm Spalding and Hamish Adourian were also elected there (but not Lloyd North, whose past as an “actor” may well have contributed to him having fewer votes than the others) 

We also saw former Tory MP for Kensington, Victoria “Lady Baking Powder” Borwick at the count -she was hugging Tory chair  and nasty bully Andrew “Bully Beef” Foster at one point. 

Some locals here may have seen Borwick along with Tory Cllr Matthew Palmer upsetting some residents by  posting about Grenfell on Nextdoor when an election campaign was on. 

Yes, Matthew “Chicken Run” Palmer was there too, but as he represents safe Tory Queen’s Gate Ward, there was no chance of him losing his seat.

RBKC Deputy Leaders Kim “Tailored Sloth” Taylor-Smith and Will Pascall were re-elected in Stanley Ward

Labour only made one gain – St Helen’s Ward, where the Conservative councillor Eve Allison had just a majority of only one vote, so no surprises there. 

All in all it was a dreadful night and some of us were there until 7am in the morning, just hearing the bad news. We expect social housing and all council owned buildings (including Canalside House and Wornington College) to now be at risk as RBKC’s reserves are running low and because the Tories will now feel that they have the public’s full support – this was the one election that could have made a difference, but no. We will not in our lifetime likely ever see a real posintive change at RBKC. Earlier, we saw Justice 4 Grenfell  illuminating a sign outside the Town Hall. THINK do not expect to see this in our lifetime either:

We hear that the Labour campaign was late in getting going, that their postal votes were not as organised as the Conservatives, but we won’t look around for someone to blame here. 

THINK will watch this council’s every move  like a hawk  – we particularly wonder who will now chair the Housing and Property Scrutiny Committee now  (decent Tory) Sam Mackover has stepped down from the council – it will be more than a bad joke if Matthew Palmer (who sits on that committee)  takes his place…….

We do not feel safe in our homes or convinced that RBKC will not bring back regeneration and “CON”sultations under another guise. In fact we won’t be surprised to see them trying to force us away from our homes and communities and out of North Kensington . 

And if anyone thinks that making noise, waving a banner about or having countless meetings will make the slightest bit of difference to what happens;  let us tell you it won’t. It is all about the balance of power and there are 36 Tory councillors and only 13 Labour councillors and one Liberal Democrat and this make up will decide everything regardless of how others feel about it.