April 2019


Beat the clock: sign up for time-themed 10th anniversary Art Trail Wanstead

© Sharon Lindsey

Artists with a link to Wanstead are invited to join Art Group Wanstead this month for the opportunity to take part in their art trail in the autumn. Taking place from 7 to 22 September, the event – which is now in its 10th year – will show all types of visual artwork by local amateurs and professionals in shops, businesses and community centres. Extra events are also being planned for this year’s anniversary trail, sponsored by The Stow Brothers. “The chosen theme (not compulsory) for this community art event is ‘Time’. A wide interpretation is encouraged – it might be inspired by a time-travel TV series or your own futuristic vision of Wanstead,” said event organiser Donna Mizzi. “Everyone who joins the organising group (membership is free) will be given the option of paying a fee to take part in the trail.” Visit artgroupwanstead.com


A wander around Snaresbrook

As part of Local History Month, Lynn Haseldine Jones will be leading a walk around Snaresbrook to discover the history of this commuter suburb, starting with the Georgian period and then looking at later developments in Victorian and Edwardian times. Here, the local historian describes some of the sites that will be visited. Photo of Snaresbrook Crown Court by Geoff Wilkinson

We begin at Snaresbrook Station, where the railway first came in 1856. Changing the nature of the village from a predominantly Georgian settlement to a bustling Victorian suburb, there is still evidence of the Great Eastern Railway, hardly noticed by passengers on the busy Central Line.

Along Hollybush Hill are a few Victorian houses. Mornington Lodge has changed its name to Kingsley Grange, but Staffa and Iona are still there, though no longer Barnardo’s homes. The great feature of the Hill, though, is Snaresbrook Crown Court.

This fine building began as the Royal Infant Orphan Asylum, the foundation stone of which was laid by Prince Albert on 24 June 1841. The official opening was by the king of the Belgians on 27 June 1843. The building later became the Royal Wanstead School until 1971, before becoming the court building it is today in 1974.

Along Snaresbrook Road we can admire the court from the edge of the much-loved Eagle Pond, as pictured here. This appears on a map of 1735 but may be older.

Across from the pond is Willowholme, a Georgian house dating from the 1750s, with its own well. People living in less grand houses would have got their water from the Birch Well, which is still there, tucked into the forest by the court’s railings. Elegant White Lodge is further down the road. Also on Snaresbrook Road is the memorial garden, containing a lovely sundial, the scene of a service on 11 November every year.

As we turn the corner into Woodford Road, we pass the 18th-century Eagle pub (now beautifully refurbished); it was a stopping point for stage and mail coaches long before the railway arrived.

We will head towards The Drive to admire some of the large late-Victorian houses, and glance across the road to James Hilton House, thought to have been the home, in the 1930s, of James Hilton, the author of Lost Horizon and Goodbye, Mr Chips. Sadly, some of the big houses have long gone – Snaresbrook Hall was replaced by flats in the 1930s and Hermitage Court replaced two large mansions. Gowan Lea lasted longer, a school with a good reputation, but regrettably, now also replaced by flats.

And we end our tour at the gates of Snaresbrook House. Although the origins of the house go back much further, these are dated 1900 and marked with the initials of diamond merchant David Symons, who lived there from 1891 to 1905. After his wife died, he chose to move to South Africa, where his main business was located. But the area must have made a big impression on him as the home he had in Durban until his death in 1935 was called…Snaresbrook!

Lynn’s walk will depart from Snaresbrook Station at 2pm on 22 May (free; booking required). For more information and to book, visit swvg.co/snaresbrookwlk or call 020 8708 2417

After taste

Following East London Wine School’s recent launch at Wanstead Golf Club, school director and wine expert Sam Alder explains why a trip to the Aosta Valley left a pleasant aftertaste that lingers to this day

So, how did I end up working in the wine industry and owning a wine school? Not a traditional career choice and certainly not an option on the career day at school!

My first job was in banking. I loved it and suspect it was there I discovered wine. We ‘drank’ wine, a lot of wine, but only after work, of course! My passion for ‘tasting’ was thanks to some bad weather and a great sommelier.

Halfway through our annual Italian ski trip there was an avalanche; the ski slopes were closed. We were stuck in the town, we couldn’t go up the mountain, couldn’t go down, so what to do? Obviously, a wine tasting in the local wine bar. Why not? The sommelier opened six different bottles from the local wine region, the Aosta Valley. We tasted them all with glee and listened intently to his presentation of each wine. There was one in particular that helped me understand how and why tasting wine was important, to savour it rather than just drink it. The name of the wine was translated to ‘The Blood of Judas’. It was red, chilled, sweet, some petillance (bubbles). We loved it, it wasn’t expensive, just new, different, delicious and, of course, paired beautifully with the local cuisine. Top tip: if it grows together, it goes together. Everyone in our group bought two bottles bringing them home to the UK in ski boots.

Back at work, my colleague Mark was talking about the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and how he was studying wine! What? There were qualifications in wine? I had no idea. These WSET qualifications must be the way forward to satisfy my hunger for more knowledge about wine. It was then I started my journey with WSET Level 1 Award in Wines. I progressed to Level 2, 3 and then to a Diploma in Wine.

During this time, the banking world was changing dramatically. I’d had a great career, but I needed and wanted a change, not just a career change, but a lifestyle change. It must have been fate. The opportunity to buy a wine school came up and I jumped at the chance.

Running a wine business is hard work, with lots of late nights, weekend working, keeping up with the markets and trends, but it’s also a lot of fun and very rewarding. I get to taste some amazing wines, to talk about wine, to meet other wine lovers and experts, to teach and, every now and again, I can diversify into beers and spirits. When you see someone have that light-bulb moment, when they understand why French Syrah is different to Australian Shiraz for instance, it’s so rewarding.

Sam runs the East London Wine School at Wanstead Golf Club. For more information, call 020 7622 2148

Future for Whipps

Whipps Cross HospitalWhipps Cross Hospital

Wanstead resident Charlotte Monro explains her involvement in the campaign to ensure the community has a strong voice in Whipps Cross Hospital’s redevelopment plans.

A new hospital is being proposed for Whipps Cross with a health ‘campus’ on the site. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. We want a hospital designed to the best of standards, and which will meet our health needs of the future. But with the resource-starved NHS of today this won’t happen unless we all fight for it.

I have worked in the local health service as an occupational therapist since moving to Wanstead in the mid-1980s with my husband Stuart and our young daughter. For much of that time, I have also been a union rep and campaigned to protect services. Just 13 years ago Whipps Cross Hospital was fighting for its existence. Staff and the local community came together in the Save Whipps Cross campaign, gaining huge support. We succeeded. Then, again in 2013, the future of the hospital felt uncertain when, following the merger into Barts Health, we were sinking under devastating staff cuts accompanied by a climate of fear. I found myself sacked after speaking out over cuts in our stroke unit and reinstated after a long fight supported by colleagues, unions and health campaigns.

So, I was truly happy to be speaking at a recent packed public meeting about building a new Whipps Cross, also addressed by John Cryer MP and Alwen Williams, Chief Executive of Barts Health. The health campaign group Waltham Forest Save Our NHS organised the meeting to bring the potential new hospital to the attention of the public, and to set out some crucial concerns. Will there be enough beds and capacity for the fast-growing population? This is a must. Our campaign is challenging the initial proposal to provide fewer beds than there are currently. We want public funding – no more crippling PFI-type debts. There must be enough land for future expansion needs; key worker housing for health staff; and proper public and staff involvement and consultation.

Why is a new hospital so urgent now? The age and layout of the buildings cause constant difficulties for care and make the hospital much more expensive to run. I remember many a risk assessment on staff trundling laden cages across the uneven road and pavement surfaces, or doorways too narrow for modern hospital beds. But most of all, the daily problem of lack of space on nightingale-style wards. As you assist a patient from their bed to their chair or commode, it is quite an art to avoid the next patient sitting a few inches away, let alone privacy and infection control being compromised.

A new Whipps is not yet a certainty. But Barts Trust has been given the go-ahead to develop the next stage of planning, reiterated by the Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock, when he visited Whipps in March.

For more information on the Waltham Forest Save Our NHS campaign or to invite a speaker, visit wavidi.co/savenhs. For information on the future of Whipps Cross Hospital, visit wavidi.co/whipps

Choose yourself happy

Happiness is a choice based on our internal representations, says psychotherapist Usha Chudasama, who is hosting two workshops at Wanstead Library this month as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.

Internal representations are the pictures, sounds, feelings, tastes, smells and self-talk that our brain sifts through when information comes via our five senses. Our brain is bombarded with so much information that it will delete, distort and generalise all that input and form an idea of what it all means – this also creates our belief systems and plays a large part in our perception, self-talk and level of happiness.

Positive self-talk is essential for success and happiness. We judge other people and ourselves by the messages we receive and the perspectives we take on as ours. She’s so “tall/short/fat/skinny” or I’m so “stupid/kind/fat/amazing” etc. These are all labels that become our inner voice – our inner self-talk. What labels do you use for yourself or others?

Have you ever stopped to hear the thoughts in your head? Have you stopped to see the images your mind creates? Most people I work with are either not aware of their pictures or thoughts or they can’t stop that constant chatter in their heads and react in situations rather than giving a thoughtful response and then feel bad about themselves afterwards.

The thing is that the images you create or the words you use to describe yourself and others are constantly shaping your world and the world around you. When I have worked with people in therapy, they have sometimes used incorrect labels which then makes them live lives that keep them in a mental prison based on that label. For example, if they always call themselves “stupid”, then the danger is that they begin to live up to that label. The language you use to speak to yourself is so important and powerful because unconsciously you will act ‘stupid’ and it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. That means you will start to believe it because your mind will recall memories or pictures of times when you felt stupid and interpret this event like the ones before.

What makes people happy is directly connected with the words and pictures they consistently use. This is because our brains are designed to find what we look for. What if you called yourself ‘clever’, ‘magnificent’ or ‘smart’? By changing the words and mental images we use to label ourselves, we change the way we think about ourselves.

Also, as our brain thinks in pictures, having positive images of ourselves and the goals we want to reach helps us manifest positivity and happiness in our lives. What you have to remember is that the labels you use and the pictures you make in your mind need to be kind. What makes people happy are realistic labels that empower you. These kinds of labels become your identity.

Usha will be running two workshops at Wanstead Library: Cultivating Happiness Skills on 11 May from 3.30pm to 4.30pm (free) and Creating a Vision Board on 18 May from 3.30pm to 5.30pm (tickets: £4). Visit wavidi.co/libraryevents