ANNIE PENNINGTON: Local web designer


Annie Pennington tells Jo Reynolds about her rescue cat Robbie

Were you born in the area?

No, I was born in Germany. My father was in the Control Commission, which governed Germany after the war (WW2).

Is he German?

No, he was English and based there. I was there maybe a year and a half and then went to Cheshire. And then Scotland – I was brought up in Fife. And then I lived in Amsterdam in the late 70s, which was quite interesting. Then I came here.

How long have you been here?

London, 1980. Here, 1997. We lived in Earl’s Court before.

Has it changed?

It’s really changing now. Many of the old pubs have gone. Tesco used to be a pub. It certainly is being gentrified.

What are your favourite local places?

That’s really not a fair question as they each have their own individual and useful charm.

What would you change or improve about the area?

The dog poo bags get me. People just drop them and they never go away. I go to Neighbourhood Watch meetings at Shepherd’s Bush Police Station and one of the things that always comes up is dog poo.

How do you feel about the area being badged a village?

I find it highly amusing. Apparently, there’s been a bit of an issue about it. Some people don’t like it. They say it’s a road not a village, but I think it’s good. We need a name. But I also think it’s slightly humorous.

Why did you choose here?

My partner Simon and I were renting in Earl’s Court and we wanted to buy. We drove around and just came across it. We didn’t think, we must go to Shepherd’s Bush, but it had to be somewhere convenient for Blackfriars where I worked, down by where Tate Modern is now.

What work?

I did magazine makeup, the layout for trade magazines, contract publishing. I left the Blackfriars firm and joined a company in the New King’s Road that specialized in sport and I did all the internet banners, mini websites and online competitions.

Did you train as a graphic designer?

No, I trained as a textile designer. I went to art college in Bradford. Hockney went there – before me.

What’s your day job now?

I’m a web designer. I got into it when I was doing the magazine makeup in the mid-90s because they were very keen to get online. We got trained up and I continued doing it because I love it. My house style is simple, clear design. Each one is bespoke. I don’t use templates. I do a lot of authors’ websites. I seem to work well with authors. I know exactly what they want. I do like working with authors.

Why did you set up the Askew Business Network and what is it?

I’d lived here for nearly ten years but we didn’t really know many people around here because I worked elsewhere and our friends were in Earl’s Court. When I was made redundant from the job in the King’s Road, I started my own web business and I joined networking groups. They were very useful. I thought, why can’t we have one here? At one networking meeting I met Charlotte Cottle who said, what a great idea. If it hadn’t been for her I wouldn’t have started this off. Charlotte’s moved away now and started a family, but I couldn’t have done it on my own. One of our first supporters was Tom Ryland from CPA Architects and he thought it was a good idea for all the people who work from home to network. Our first do was in 2010 at the Greyhound pub and loads of people came. I’ve met so many people. Previously, when I walked down Askew Road I never met anyone I knew but now I can’t go out without bumping into someone I know. It’s great. People are smiling at me and I’m thinking, have I met you?

What’s your membership up to now?

It’s not a membership as such because everyone’s welcome but our mailing list today is around 480.

How often do you hold events?

On the last Tuesday of every month we hold a lunchtime event in The Orchard Tavern on Askew Road and anyone can come. You can get a nice lunch there. Usually a dozen or so people turn up. And we do evening events in the Greyhound pub on Becklow Road where people pop in for a drink and a chat. Sometimes we have speakers. We’re thinking about a speed-networking event for businesses, but all ideas are welcome. We like input from people. We’re always open to ideas.

What’s your role now?

We have a rotating chairmanship which we all take turns at, but there’s no strict hierarchy. We all muck in. I do all the social media, the website, posters et cetera. I send out the newsletter and write it. We share duties. It’s great to have other people on the committee. There are eight of us.

Are you doing anything special for Christmas?

Yes. It’s going to be very big. We have a Christmas Fair at the Greyhound on the 4th of December. It’s on the newsletter so all you have to do is subscribe. But the big thing is going to be on the 15th December, when Santa switches on the Starch Green Christmas lights (at the south end of Askew Road). Same as last year, we will be doing this with the Hammersmith Community Garden Association (HCGA) – based in the glasshouses by the cafe in Ravenscourt Park. Last year Johnnie Boden switched them on and we couldn’t find the switch. He’s nice Johnnie. This year we’re going to have carol singing. It’s going to be really nice.

What would be your perfect day?

Lying on my favourite beach in Kefalonia and then having grilled sea bass for lunch in our favourite taverna. That’d do. I won’t tell you the beach because everyone will go there. But, I’d miss my cat, Robbie. He’s a rescue cat. He came from the Mayhew Animal Home. They’re very good. They tell you all their habits before you take them home. I just love cats. I remember when I first picked one up. They’re such lovely bendy things.

Thank you, Annie. It’s been a real pleasure to meet you.

For further info about Annie, visit her website

For further info on the Askew Business Network website visit

Interview by Jo Reynolds (Oct 2014)

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