Ben Aaronovitch’s visit to Hillingdon

On Thursday 23rd April Hillingdon had the pleasure of hosting Ben Aaronovitch, author of Rivers of London, on his tour of all 33 London Boroughs for Cityread 2015. The evening was in The Great Barn in Ruislip, on the much loved Manor Farm Heritage Site. In the forecourt was a vintage Police Car, the local Police Cadets were there to help out and there was even hot food and a prosecco bar.

Ben & the competition winners

The evening began with music performed by local talent Ethan Beer, whose song ‘The Thames’ was used on the Cityread promotional video. Then we got started with Ben being interviewed by two local students from Vyners and Harefield Academy who then did readings from his first book. Following this was a Punch & Judy show based on those readings much to the delight and amusement of the audience!

Ben being interviewed

Ben then interacted with the audience and had a rather unique Q&A session – trying to make sure that he answered everyone’s question as we had a local Police Cadet run around with a microphone after the waving hands. There were over 130 members of the public there so it was quite a task! After the Q&A Ben made sure that everyone who had come was able to get their books signed.

Book Signing

As it was World Book Night we were also giving away free books to encourage more people to start reading for pleasure!

Here is some feedback from the evening:

Very nicely hosted and efficiently organised – like the multi-stranded aspects of the evening’

‘Professor Dumpling was a brilliant touch!’

I really enjoyed the Punch and Judy show’

‘Thanks for a great evening’

‘Loved the bar idea!’

Thanks so much to everyone who came along and help our events to get better and better! Keep checking them out online at

by Lara

P.S –  Don’t forget! We are still collecting book reviews for Rivers of London up until Friday 1st May! Get yours into a Hillingdon Library as soon as you can to be entered into a prize draw to win a Kindle Paperwhite. Draw will take place after the Bank Holiday.

Going potty about pottery at Harlington library

Ann, Branch Manager at Harlington library has been telling us about the ‘Potty About Pottery’ session she organised at her library and how it came about.

Potty about Pottery 1
Neena Speding, Programme Area Leader, Family Learning,Adult and Community Learning and I decided to arrange a session, although they already hold classes next door in the Adult learning rooms connected to the school. Neena wanted to get out into the public areas, new audience etc and I wanted to encourage family activities, new to libraries.
All the parents and children want to come again, so does the tutor. I’ll be arranging a session in October half-term to coincide with our cultural and literature festival.
Those attending the class where asked the question ‘What have you found most valuable about the event and why?’ and they received some really lovely and positive feedback.

“It was exhilarating” 
“Doing it together with my son”
“To be able to work with other people”
“Patience and a sense of achievement”
“Working with clay techniques, knowledge”
Keep an eye on the Hillingdon Libraries events page for details of any upcoming sessions

Botwell Family Fun Day

On Saturday 18th April Hillingdon Libraries hosted a family fun day at Botwell library in celebration of London Cityread.

With so many activities on including a Punch & Judy show, Wizard-hat making, a special ‘Crime Hunt’ around the library and most importantly cupcakes…It was difficult to know what to do first.

BWP&J1The Punch & Judy show kicked off at 2pm and over 60 children watched as Professor Dumpling put on a show that some of them had never seen before in their lives. Mr Punch was up to his usual shenanigans and some children even got to feed some sausages to the hungry crocodile!

Then there were wizard hats to make with stars and moon shapes and a crime hunt that really made you use your brain!

Throughout the day over 1,000 people came through Botwell library – which is a fantastic number!

A great day out for all the family.
By Lara Cityread-colour-logo-lo-res-for-web

Punch & Judy at Uxbridge library

On Friday 17th April we hosted an Adult Punch & Judy evening at Uxbridge Library. Forty-nine people attended this special performance especially run to promote ‘Rivers of London’.

UXP&J2Professor Dumpling started off the show introducing us all to the familiar Mr Punch & his wife Judy but some other interesting characters were added to the mix. Mr Jobsworth was the hilarious health & safety officer who has reservations about Mr Punch’s stick and insisted on inspecting his sausage machine – needless to say, Mr Jobsworth ended up getting closer than he would’ve liked, much to the delight of the audience.

All the classic situations were still there, baby being thrown down the stairs, the beating of several people with sticks and Mr Punch tricking a rather policeman into the stocks…but all with risque and more adult humour.

After the show Professor Dumpling took questions and was kept talking by the audience for quite a while. He then invited all to look at his Punch & Judy memorabilia dating back hundreds of years.

A really interesting and nostalgic evening.
By Lara

Cityread launches across London & Hillingdon Libraries

Cityread launches today across all 17 of our libraries
Cityread is an annual celebration of reading and literature across all of London. Each April, Cityread asks London’s citizens, workers and visitors to pick up a book – the same book – and read it together. This year’s book is Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. Taking the chosen novel as a starting point, we have put together a month-long programme of events that will be taking place in our libraries. This is across all 33 London Borough’s and here is what Hillingdon has to offer you:
* Ben Aaronovitch Author eventRivers-of-London
* Punch & Judy Shows across the Borough
* Talks on the History of the Metropolitan Police across the Borough
* London Board Games Events
* Walk along the River Pinn
* Walk with Healthy Hillingdon across Ickenham Marshes plus lots more…
There are also leaflets in your libraries where you can fill in a review and enter a prize draw to win a Kindle Paper White!
For more information go to: