July 2020

News

Local teenager seeks sponsorship for finals of Miss Junior Teen GB

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A teenager from Wanstead is seeking support from local businesses having won a place in the finals of Miss Junior Teen GB 2020.

Thirteen-year-old Layla Badowska will take her place on stage at the competition’s climax in Blackpool this October if she can secure £350 of sponsorship. “Her dream has come true, and this is just one example of a young mind staying determined and focused against all the challenges of COVID-19, including being stuck abroad for four months!” said Layla’s mum.

Visit wnstd.com/laylab 

Features

Wanstead – always in vogue

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As a portrait photographer who became as famous as his celebrity subjects, David Bailey needs no introduction. As a ‘place of heaven in the East End’, Wanstead Park needs no introduction either. When Mr Bailey took his camera to the park during lockdown, the result was his 99th cover for British Vogue

Long ago, when I was a child in the East End of London, a German, for some reason, wanted to kill me. His name was Hitler, as you may have guessed. He was one of only three men whose name I knew. The others were Stalin and Churchill.

Anyway, Hitler caused me the most aggravation. He always sent his air force over to bomb me at say six o’clock or in the late afternoon, which was when Toy Town came on the radio. This went on for a short period of my life until I was about seven and a half. The Blitz was over and Hitler was dead, and sadly, I had outgrown Toy Town.

A bike was my friend and I could roam wherever it took me, together with my mate Roy. Mostly around the East End, where all the bombed buildings were my playground.  But then I discovered a place of magic called Wanstead Park. This wonderful place was not full of broken glass and shrapnel. (I missed the shrapnel – I had a great collection of it.) But this place was perfect with its lakes and what seemed to me a jungle of trees. And to top it all, the bluebells in the spring.

The park has never lost its magic. I still visit whenever I can to see the ruin of the boathouse I thought was Dick Turpin’s hideaway, and the mystery of the old manor house that was pulled down long ago.

It was, and still is, a place of heaven in the East End.

For more information on the story behind this image, visit wnstd.com/vogue
News

Proposals for new cycling routes through Wanstead Park

DSCN1910©Haydn Powell

A group of local cyclists are proposing a trial of three new shared-use routes – for pedestrians and cyclists – in Wanstead Park.

“There has been a marked increase in the number of people cycling in the park since lockdown began. We would like to see some positive changes, which protect both walkers and cyclists,” said a Redbridge Cycling spokesperson. The routes include a path from Wanstead Park Avenue to Warren Road and a path connecting Warren Road with the Ilford side of the park.

Visit wnstd.com/parkcycle

Features

Post-COVID world

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What will Wanstead look like in a post-COVID-19 world? In the third of a series of articles, Chair of Wanstead Society Scott Wilding, who is exploring these issues as part of his job, offers his thoughts

Dealing with the new normal of a post-COVID-19 world is still a challenge for all of us. The virus has not gone away; people are still dying from this disease. And we all find ourselves coping with the challenges of daily life in many different ways.

As each month progresses, the lockdown which has dominated our lives begins to ease. Last month, we were able to get a haircut and go to the pub for the first time in months. The economy, and with it our lives, is beginning to open up again.

This series of articles seeks to examine what life will likely be like in the ‘new normal’. Lockdown brought many challenges, but a huge one was home schooling.

Some pupils never left during lockdown, while others did get some education just before the summer holidays. But all pupils will be required to attend school from next month.

Lockdown shone a light for many parents on what it’s like to be teacher, but also the benefits of smaller class sizes and one-to-one teaching.

Average class sizes in England are around 30 pupils, but in lockdown that was halved – or even more so – for those who were able to attend school. The benefits of smaller classes have shown that pupils get more bespoke learning experiences and can do better as a result.

Lessons that did take place were often held outside in a more informal environment with an emphasis on practical activities. This style of learning has shown both pupils and staff that a new way of learning – that takes pupils away from purely desk-based study – is not only possible but can improve the overall educational experience. The UK is one of very few countries that places such a high emphasis on desk-based learning, and perhaps this experiment in education has shown what else is on offer.

The challenge for schools and the government will be to capture the positives. No one can suddenly double the number of class sizes, and teaching staff, by next month. And as we approach winter, outside lessons become less likely.

But lockdown has at least shown what could be possible. And if we are to take some of the good bits from the last few months, and take time to pause and consider which parts of our ‘old’ life we want back, has this not been an opportunity to rethink how we educate our children? Although, for most parents I know, they are looking forward to having their kids return to school in September, whichever way lessons are taught.

For more information about how you can help your neighbours during these difficult times, visit wnstd.com/help
Features

Watch this space

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In the second of two articles, Marian Temple of the Wanstead Community Gardeners keeps a watchful eye on a special space, now known as the Cherry Pye Bed. Photo by Geoff Wilkinson

All the twenty-something patches adopted by the Wanstead Community Gardeners have a name. We gave this traffic island between The George and the station the fanciful name of the Cherry Pye Bed when we took over the wider end some four years ago.

It’s a puzzling name for those not familiar with the quirkeries of Wanstead history. The reference is to a plaque on the wall of The George facing the station. The plaque dates from the previous 18th-century pub, the old George and Dragon. The wording is as follows and should rhyme:

In Memory of
Ye Cherry Pey
As cost half a Guiney
Ye 17 of July
That day we had good cheer
I hope to do so maney a Year.
RC 1752 D Jerry

The meaning of this is lost in the mists of time. A cherry pie would not have cost half a guinea: 10 shillings and sixpence, or just over 50 pence in today’s money. A considerable sum in 1752. Could this have been something to do with a bet? And who were RC and D Jerry? Evidently, a good time was had by all.

Since the first flowers – Californian desert bluebells appeared in June – we have been treated to a procession. Some of them not recognised, but favourites include scarlet flax, Californian poppy, cornflower and English marigolds. We wait with interest to see what comes next. This patch has proved popular with everyone, including the passing drivers. Some even hope for a red traffic light so they can sit and look at the flowers!

This sort of project is not maintenance-free, especially on a patch neglected for years. We are constantly weeding to try and give the new plants less competition. Next year, we intend something different and will be laying turf with a perennial mix of wild flowers. A lot of hard work initially, but the turf should establish easily and its use will reduce maintenance. Obviously, this project is not finished and we are learning as we go along. Like the words of the 1752 plaque, we hope our patch of flowers will give good cheer for many a year. Cherry pies for the workers always welcome!

Definitely a ‘watch this space’ situation.

For more information on the work of the Wanstead Community Gardeners and to get involved, visit wnstd.com/wcg
Features

Remembering Peter

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Essex Art Club is sorry to announce the death of Wanstead resident Peter Luscombe, whose training as an architect led to a lifelong hobby.  Chair of Essex Art Club Mary Springham reports

Peter Luscombe was an accomplished painter and a long-term committee member of Essex Art Club and of many other art organisations. He took on responsible roles for most of the societies to which he belonged.

During lockdown, Peter had been circulating images of some of his old paintings to a large circle of colleagues, and we put some of them up on the Essex Art Club website. It was typical of Peter to do something informal, fun and interesting.

He worked primarily in watercolour, but in recent years, had used acrylic paint with spectacular results. He was also a talented portrait artist.

Peter successfully ran our Sunday painting group at St Barnabas Church hall for more than 10 years, and we will restart this as soon as we are able to do so since it is a very important activity for club members and visitors.

Peter originally trained as an architect and worked mainly in the City of London. “I was articled to an architect for three years when I was 16, which was a sort of apprenticeship. This method of training has long since been superseded by full-time courses in colleges and universities… Throughout my career, I produced illustrations both for my own designs and also for the various practices for which I worked. However, my interest in art has not been confined to work. It has been a hobby throughout my life,” explained Peter in a Wanstead Village Directory article in 2017.

He was a member of the Company of Chartered Architects (he was also a founder member), the Society of Maritime Artists, the Fine Arts Society of Painter Stainers Livery company, Chair of the City Heritage Society and a member of the Conservation Area Advisory committee in the City. He was also a devoted member of St Barnabas Church.

Essex Art Club has made a donation to the British Heart Foundation in his memory.

Peter died suddenly in June 2020. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him.

To view more of Peter’s paintings and to read his article from June 2017, visit wnstd.com/luscombe
For more information on Essex Art Club, visit wnstd.com/eac
News

Kickabout: a short film about football, lockdown and friendship

Nigel+Jan-PHOTO-by-LouiseNigel Bunyan and his son Jan. ©Louise Naraika

A local filmmaker has produced a short film set in Wanstead that looks at lockdown from his son’s perspective. Locations included Christchurch Green and Aldersbrook Primary School.

Film and TV editor Nigel Bunyan said: “Kickabout began as a project for my son Jan and I to shoot during our hour of daily exercise in May. It grew in scope after I showed some industry friends a rough cut and they offered to help me with the colour grading (Chris Rodgers), sound editing and mixing (Tony Gibson and Stefano Marchetti) and music (Warren Bennett) so I’m quite pleased with the finished film.”

He continued: “When thinking up a story we opted to just dramatise lockdown as we were experiencing it. So the film features Zachary, one of Jan’s best friends from school, who he barely saw in the first few weeks of lockdown even though we only live a street away from each other. During the early stages of lockdown we thought missing their friends was an enormous challenge for children that the media usually overlooked. All children have experienced these very abrupt changes to their lives so we hope the film will resonate with children everywhere.”

Mr Brian Hughes, headteacher at Aldersbrook Primary School, said: “I just think Jan’s film is amazing. We have tried to celebrate the ‘triumphs’ of children over the lockdown, and this is certainly one of them. We have been amazed at some of the new skills that children have learnt which we would not have covered in school over this time; film making, cooking, exploring their local environment more. As a school I hope we can hold on to some of those triumphs that come when we all slow down a little and consider what ‘real’ learning could look like!”

Although he works in the industry, Nigel emphasised that anybody thinking they’d like to have a crack at filmmaking should do just that. “The technical barriers that made filmmaking so inaccessible when I was a child simply don’t exist anymore. I shot Kickabout (and the other films on Jan’s YouTube channel) on my iPhone, you can do professional standard editing with free software and scriptwriting costs no more than the price of paper and pencils. If you keep your story short and simple you can make a short film in a few days.”

He offered a few tips for wannabe filmmakers. “Start by reverse-engineering something you like. So maybe watch a short programme from CBBC or a commercial that tells a story and break it down into its component parts. Look at the number of characters, scenes and shots used but most of all think about the characters. Think about how the story shows how they behave and how they change. With your own story establish what your character wants, show what stops them getting it and then show them overcoming those obstacles – don’t forget that it’s because we first see Indiana Jones fail that he becomes a hero when we see him succeed. Most of all, however, have fun with it.”

Visit wnstd.com/kickabout

News

Summer skip on Christchurch Green to help reduce waste problem

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A skip has been temporarily placed on Christchurch Green for the summer to help alleviate the high levels of rubbish being left there.

“There is a Vision RCL staff member on site all the time at the moment, to help clear the waste. There have also been enforcement officers issuing fines for littering… No doubt much of the waste is due to the increased use of the park on sunny days, as well as the pandemic. But it would be to the benefit of all if people could take their rubbish home with them,” said Councillor Paul Donovan.

News

Local foodbank donation target

IMG_3548Items bought for Redbridge Foodbank from cash donations

The Tin in the Bin Network has set itself a target to reach 18 tonnes of foodbank donations by the end of August.

“We’re currently at around 13 tonnes, but we are worried as donations tend to drop in the summer. Cash donations have been incredible; we’ve raised over £5,500 and have been able to buy things that Redbridge Foodbank don’t get much of – canned meat, washing powder and shower gel, for example,” said James Paterson. Collection points are located at homes across the area.

Visit wnstd.com/food

News

National Lottery grant secures future of Wanstead Parish churches

Screenshot-2020-06-16-at-12.05.04St Mary’s Church was consecrated on 24 June 1790, by the Rt Revd Beilby Porteus, Bishop of London

Wanstead Parish has secured a £72,500 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

“This will enable the church council to appoint a team with expertise in ecclesiastic buildings to undertake a governance review and commission surveys and reports on both church buildings in the parish. This will help us explore how the churches may be reordered to better serve the wider community, the churchyard used more effectively and also how the carbon footprint of our buildings may be reduced,” said a church spokesperson.