July 2019

Features

History continues

IMG_0431An image of the pub with A H Bywater painted above the door, who was landlord in 1901

Once frequented by highwaymen and now run by a football legend, the site of the pub now known as Nightingale on the Green has a rich history. Millicent Brown reports

It is a historic Wanstead public house which has been visited by families for centuries – and recently, it has been buzzing once again under changed ownership and the new name of Nightingale on the Green.

Dating back to the early 18th century, the picturesque green it is situated upon – once known as Mob’s Hole – was the heart of all the crime that characterised this now tranquil area of Wanstead. At that time, a woman who called herself Lady Butterfield kept a notorious roadhouse here.

The green was a well-known place for people to go and enjoy a drop of alcohol and some gambling – and legendary highwayman Dick Turpin was the most regular and famous visitor. In fact, he and his accomplices are thought to have used many different parks and buildings in the whole area to launch their raids on who they thought were wealthy families travelling through Epping Forest. Turpin, born in 1705, and his accomplices certainly made our Georgian ancestors watch over their shoulders!

The current building dates back to 1851 and is now Grade II listed. It is the only building from the Victorian era to remain in the square. The pub has enjoyed many different landlords over the past centuries – the first known landlord was James Wyatt from Dorset – but the one most locals will remember is Noel McMahon, who ran the place for 30 years. More recently, it was taken over by the football legend Frank Lampard Snr, whose son, also Frank, was recently appointed manager of his former club Chelsea FC.

Most people will remember the pub’s current landlord as he was capped twice for England and played as a left back for West Ham for most of his career. Prior to that, he had a brief spell at Southend United.

Since taking over the pub, Frank Snr has taken a keen interest in the local community – and the main thing he has become involved in is Snaresbrook FC, based on the Nutter Field, which he is now sponsoring for the second season. “It has been absolutely fantastic running this pub – all the customers are so friendly and seem to get on really well. Recently, the weather has been great at times, so people have enjoyed a barbeque. When it hasn’t been so good, everybody has stayed indoors and watched Sky Sports on telly or had a quiz,” said Frank Snr.

The venue has now enjoyed refurbishment both inside and out, which happily hasn’t spoilt the way it looks – and the pub has managed to keep its traditional green colour and cosy atmosphere.

Nightingale on the Green is located at 51 Nightingale Lane, Wanstead, E11 2EY. Call 020 8530 4683 or visit wnstd.com/notg
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WWII memories

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To commemorate the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II, the East of London Family History Society is inviting its members to share their wartime memories. Janet Seward reports

In August, the Newham and Redbridge branch of the East of London Family History Society will hold a members’ evening, but guests are still welcome. These evenings are an opportunity for members to share family stories or the trials and tribulations of detecting their ancestors.

We don’t usually have a theme to these evenings, but as September brings the 80th anniversary of the start of the World War II, we have decided to devote the session to memories of that time. So far, we have three confirmed speakers. Michael Potter and I will co-ordinate the evening.

One of the first significant events of the war for many was the evacuation of civilians, especially children, from areas most likely to be bombed. Most of us have family experiences of evacuation either first-hand or passed down to us. My parents and their brothers and sisters were evacuated, but a combination of home sickness and the Phoney War saw them return to London by Christmas 1939. There were, however, two heart-warming exceptions. My mother’s youngest sister and brother, aged four and six, were evacuated with a 10-year-old sister. The elder sister was given strict instructions by my grandmother that “the little ones” had to stay together, which she achieved. The two small children were placed in the loving care of a middle-aged couple who managed a smallholding in Uxbridge. The little ones kept in touch with ‘Mum and Dad 2’, as they called their evacuee parents, and still meet their grandson, who they knew as a baby as he was born while they were evacuated.          

Michael will start the event with an introduction and some first-hand memories of his wartime childhood and evacuation.

Dennis Galvin will then give a talk on his memories of being evacuated from London. Dennis summarises his experience by saying: “It all started appropriately enough with Land of Hope and Glory, Pomp and Circumstance (all men must be free) and Rose of England, and then with no buckets and spades or ice cream cornets, we seemed to go for our first-ever holiday to a very beautiful part of England.”

The advent of war meant men were called up to fight, and former soldiers and sailors, many veterans from the First World War, were required to train the new recruits. Many ex-servicemen had joined the police force when they retired from the military and, of course, the police was full of fit young men who were needed for active military service. The result was police numbers suffered just at the time a resilient full strength force was required.  David Swinden will give us a short talk on the Metropolitan Police during the war. It will include how the force managed their activities by recruiting 27,000 auxiliary police officers.

The East of London Family History Society will meet at Wanstead Library on 28 August from 7.30pm (visitors: £1.50). For more information, call 020 8554 8414
News

Family event: evening bat walk through Wanstead Park

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A bat walk for families with children aged seven and over will take place in Wanstead Park on 30 August.

Hosted by the Field Studies Council and the Friends of Wanstead Parklands, the two-and-a-half-hour walk will depart from the Temple at 7.30pm (adults: free; kids: £5).

“Explore the park’s diversity of bat species – including soprano and common pipistrelles and Daubenton’s – and learn how they use sound to see. We will use bat detectors to hear them,” said a spokesperson.

Visit wnstd.com/bats

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Family event: learn how to identify trees in Wanstead Park

Wanstead+Park+1©Geoff Wilkinson

The Field Studies Council (FSC) in partnership with the Friends of Wanstead Parklands will be running a tree identification course for families in Wanstead Park this month.

“Join us on a walk and learn how to identify our trees using their leaves, bark and seeds… Discover how trees contribute to our environment,” said an FSC spokesperson. Suitable for children aged 18 months to 11 years, the workshop will run from 10am to 12 noon and from 1pm to 3pm on 21 August (meet at the Temple; adults: free; kids: £5).

Visit wnstd.com/trees

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Family event: bug hunt in Wanstead Park

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Children and their families are invited to take part in bug hunt in Wanstead Park this month as part of a series of activities run by the Field Studies Council in partnership with the Friends of Wanstead Parklands.

“We will look for creepy crawlies under logs and stones and spot insects on plants and trees,” said a spokesperson.

Suitable for children aged 18 months to 11 years, the hunt will take place from 10am to 12 noon and from 1pm to 3pm on 8 August (meet at the Temple; adults: free; kids: £5).

Visit wnstd.com/bugs

News

Petition calling for government funding for Whipps Cross Hospital

Whipps Cross HospitalWhipps Cross Hospital

A local health campaign group is urging residents to sign a petition calling for the government to provide funding to rebuild Whipps Cross Hospital.

“Barts Health NHS Trust has the go-ahead to develop plans for Whipps… But with a funding shortfall, the pressure will be to sell off too much land to the detriment of the size and facilities of the new hospital. Government failure to invest in NHS building is a real threat to our hospital’s success,” said a spokesperson for Waltham Forest Save Our NHS.

Visit wnstd.com/wxp

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Wanstead Society plans to host more social events for its members

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Following a popular summer social event earlier this month, the Wanstead Society is developing plans to host more informal gatherings for its members.

“We held our annual summer social in the Nightingale on the Green pub in July. We had a great turn out and hope to make the society more social with more drinks and dinner events in the near future,” said Scott Wilding, chairman of the community group.

The Wanstead Society is a non-political organisation working to protect, preserve and improve the local area.

Visit wnstd.com/ws

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Wanstead Fringe 2019 will be ‘bigger, better and more fringe-worthy than ever’

kinemaOpen-air cinema, a popular Wanstead Fringe event. ©Geoff Wilkinson

Organisers of the seventh annual Wanstead Fringe – which will run from 7 to 15 September – say this year’s event will be ‘bigger than ever’.

“The week-long Fringe will include more live professional theatre, comedy, music, demonstrations, talks and assorted cultural activities than ever before. Not to mention established favourites like the open-air Wanstead Kinema and the jumble trail,” said a spokesperson.

Last year, the Fringe attracted thousands of local residents as well as visitors from further afield. This time, organisers are expecting an even higher level of interest – especially with more events taking place in Aldersbrook, including a new play to be staged at the Aldersbrook Community Centre. A musical production of The Railway Children at Forest School promises to be another highlight.

Visit wnstd.com/fringe19

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First-aid fun: life-saving skills for children at Wanstead House

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Children are invited to learn life-saving skills next month, with two first-aid courses to be held at Wanstead House.

Making use of fake blood and music, the sessions – which take place on 1 and 22 August from 10.30am (£19.50) – will cover, among other subjects, choking, CPR and the recovery position. “The course is aimed at children aged four to 13 years. All get to use a training defibrillator and administer a pretend electric shock,” said a spokesperson for course administrators Butterfly First Aid.

Visit wnstd.com/firstaidkids