Heartbreak as homeless concert pianist is killed on London streets

Heartbreak as homeless concert pianist is killed on London streets


norman lebrecht

February 11, 2015

An elderly lady was knocked down by a lorry in Chiswick, west London, yesterday morning.

She has been identified as Anne Naysmith, a former concert pianist who was reduced to living on the street after being evicted from her home and seeing her car towed away after a neighbour complained of its rundown condition.

She is known to have given recitals at the Wigmore Hall and Leighton House. Her life went off the rails after the collapse of a relationship with a singer.

Ms Naysmith was believed to be in her late 70s. If you knew her in happier times, please share reminiscences.

More here.


A local acquaintance recounts the few known facts of her life here.

The video below is an acted dramatisation of her last years.

The Lady of Chiswick from Adam-James Baldock on Vimeo.


  • norman lebrecht says:

    From Costa Pilavachi, Universal Music:
    Liz and I knew her well. Apparently, she used to live in the first Chiswick house we rented, at 22 Prebend Gardens. She sent us a letter once saying that she had the right to live at this address with a “peppercorn” rent. She also used a clapped out car on our street as a daytime base. I saw her wandering all over the neighbourhood, or I should say, shuffling. Many neighbours supported and helped her. I never saw her engage directly with someone, she seemed to be lost in her own world. I am sad that her life has ended like this.

  • Alexandra Eldin-Taylor says:

    Anne Naysmith was a regular churchgoer at St Mary Abbotts, Kensington. She refused all help but when I was ill gave good old fashioned advice. Anne used to wear plastic bags filled with bird feathers on her feet. She sang well at the church and I am sad that she died in this way. Requiescat in Pace.

  • JAMA11 says:

    Her life may have gone off the rails after a breakup, but her story points toward obvious and severe mental illness. Very sad.

    • Ronny Graham says:

      depression can cause a disconnect between the normal needs to accommodate to society and an individuals response to the particular stresses in their life. This is especially the case if a sufferer experiences this for a long time and without relief. If this woman was diagnosed and treated for the illness she suffered from at any stage, she would have been a benefit to any society she lived in. Instead, she was ‘treated’ to imbecilic rhetoric

  • baron z says:

    How dare anyone presume to diagnose and label her after her death. That is so disrespectful and false. You can’t possibly know. For anyone to give concerts requires so much inner strength and dignity, one can’t simply accept help from people. Shame on Britain for not providing her with proper housing and a stipend for what she contributed to culture. And to say if she had simply taken “her medication” that she would have been cared for is outrageous. Even if she had a form of depression, that misused word, it does not mean it could have been successfully treated by a pill and/or bogus therapy. That works for a few people, and is a medical scam for many more.

  • Ronny Graham says:

    You are correct in condemning Britain. I respect what you say about anyone who gives concerts being strong. I do not accept your response that I am disrespectful. I am sorry that this woman was mistreated in the way that she was. My insight regarding depression comes from personal experience. I am ashamed of the society I live in that allows so many people to be willfully disregarded and allowed to suffer in this way.