How I Surprisingly Became a Feminist Historian

Local councillor Sam Hearn writes a blog about his week


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Friday 13th October : Still catching up on emails from last week. I spend time researching and then chasing up on matters arising from the Pension Fund Panel meeting. The Pension Scheme AGM is in November and I will have to make a short presentation. I also find myself reflecting on the previous day’s productive meeting of the Association Trustees. Fellow councillors and selected candidates are enthusiastically sharing their views with me about the proposed Cycle Superhighway No. 9 – lots to mull over.

Councillor Sam Hearn

Saturday 14th October : Into the Western Eye Hospital early in the morning for my second cataract operation. All goes well but I “collapse” in a heap when I get home. I try and prepare for a meeting tomorrow with Gabriella Giles and Mike Denniss my fellow Riverside Ward candidates in next May’s Local Elections.

Sunday 15th October: At our Ward Candidates meeting we discuss previously circulated information and pose for publicity photos. We have lots to put in place and get done.

Monday 16th October: More interviews in Feltham of potential candidates for the May 2018 Local Elections. Some interesting life stories from people who really wish to make living and working in the Borough of Hounslow a much better experience.

Tuesday 17th October : To the George IV for the public meeting on the Cycle Super Highway run by Chiswick Calendar. The event is booked out and Cllr Todd has kindly lent me his ticket. Julian Worricker chairs the meeting in a good humoured and even handed way. TfL fielded a number of experts, and the Panel includes the Mayor's Commissioner for Walking and Cycling, Will Norman.

It reassuring to hear the proposed scheme is not a done deal and that the public’s views will be listened to. It seems strange to me that so little consultation of businesses and residents has taken place before the scheme was worked up. It will cost over £70m to implement. I leave the meeting no better informed on what the benefits will be for Chiswick residents who do not cycle (or will not in future cycle) along the High Road. What are the benefits for businesses, pedestrians, bus passengers, delivery drivers and private motorists? It seems that a reduction in air pollution is not one of the expected benefits. Apparently we must look at the bigger picture.

I guess have to be careful what I say since we were warned by Will Norman that the trolls are already out and causing havoc on social media.

Wednesday 18th October : To Feltham Library for a meeting of the trustees of the Thomas Layton collection. Much of the charity’s historic book collection is now temporarily housed at Feltham Library. A healthy discussion ensues about insurance and our responsibilities as trustees. I have to cut and run for the Civic Centre to catch a meeting of the Environment and Scrutiny Panel. I arrive to hear the end of a presentation on the operation of the Prevent Strategy in Hounslow. We discuss how to bring to a successful conclusion the work of a task-and-finish sub-committee on domestic violence and abuse. Cllr Lambert reports on the terms of reference agreed for a new task-and-finish sub-committee on air quality. The review will look at the Council’s failure to deliver its agreed action plan on air pollution.

Thursday 19th October : I learn that at the Overview and Scrutiny Panel meeting on Tuesday that there was a successful partial ‘push-back’ on the Council’s attempt to abolish the third stage of its complaints procedure. It is hard to see how the vital involvement of councillors in the process can be retained without the third stage. I await developments.

To Hampton village: I am the guest speaker at a meeting of the Hampton Society. My subject is the life and times of Sybil Penn, dry nurse to Edward VI and reputedly Hampton Court Palace’s most often encountered ghost. I am not exactly sure when I became a feminist historian but it amazing what a different perspective you gain by looking at the world from the distaff side.


Cllr Sam Hearn


October 27, 2017

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