December 2020


Catherine Tylney-Long (not that one) to roam Wanstead Park in three years


A pregnant cow which took part in the Wanstead Park grazing trial last autumn has given birth.

The female calf has been named Catherine Tylney-Long, after the last owner of the Wanstead mansion. Catherine is likely to have the opportunity to graze in Wanstead Park herself in three years’ time, subject to a risk assessment that is performed on each cow before they are allowed to roam freely.

Last September, her mother, Quinine, along with Nina and Naru, were the first cows to be allowed to graze in Wanstead Park in 150 years.


Community advent calendar: ‘we were overwhelmed by the response’

Screenshot 2020-12-21 at 13.02.19

The creator of a community advent calendar has thanked participants for making the project a success.

“We would like to send a heartfelt thank you to everyone in the community who supported our advent calendar initiative and donated to our fundraiser for The Corner House Project. We were overwhelmed by the response and raised an incredible £673! Thank you for bringing the calendar to life, Wanstead, and for helping us to support an incredibly worthy cause!” said Elsa Arnold.


Redbridge greenery survey


Redbridge Council is seeking feedback to help shape its Green Urban Landscape policy, which will create a plan for improving council greenery across the borough.

“This policy will update the old tree policy from 1996 and seeks to unify our approach to greenery… This policy is just one step on a journey to improving the environment within Redbridge,” said a spokesperson.

The survey closes on 15 January.



All talk, all walk, always…


COVID-19 brought a dormant Lake House Estate WhatsApp group to life. Then, group chat helped organise a jumble trail, a Halloween trail and an Advent trail. Now, Frances Hills hopes the chat will continue

It all started with a WhatsApp group. A sleepy WhatsApp group with a confusingly long name and rarely any messages. And then Covid-19 hit. Suddenly, there was a surge of activity; people wanting to help isolating neighbours, a more acute awareness of the need for the Tin in a Bin donations, and just a general need for checking in like there wasn’t before.

We all put rainbows in our windows and clapped on a Thursday night. But naturally, we started to check in on the WhatsApp group less and less. However, we had started something. Our small community, that isn’t quite part of Leytonstone, Wanstead, Forest Gate or Aldersbrook, had developed like it hadn’t quite developed before.

August came, and finally, we were given the go-ahead to host a socially distanced Jumble Trail, which was a huge success, and got the neighbours talking face-to-face again. I’ve got happy plants reminding me of what a nice (and very hot!) day that was.

The nights grew darker, and Halloween approached. I’d seen that Wanstead was doing a Halloween window trail, which looked perfect for the kids who would otherwise be feeling let down by a lack of trick or treating. I suggested we have one on the WhatsApp group, and the uptake was brilliant. One night with a lit-up window and suddenly the neighbours were chatting enthusiastically again, thanking each other for a lovely evening walk.

Time for another suggestion. This one was a big one though… an Advent window trail. I had no idea how this would go. Unsurprisingly, the residents were keen. It only took a few days for all of the dates to get signed up while the anticipation mounted.

For those that don’t know, an Advent window trail is where a different house decorates their window on one of the days of Advent and include the relevant date. Every day, there was a new window to walk to and admire, along with a lovely hubbub within the WhatsApp group. Neighbours were taking their children out for an evening stroll, spotting Christmas trees and numbered windows, and then sending lovely messages of thanks to each other on the WhatsApp group afterwards.

It’s started a bond within the community that wasn’t really there before, and we can only hope that long after the Covid-19 nightmare comes to an end, the community events and the sense of belonging within the group continue. There’s nothing better than feeling connected to your neighbours, especially in times like these. Thank you to all of the Lake House Estate residents for taking part.


When Santa came to town: local PTAs invited the big man to tour Wanstead

isantamage0Santa visited local streets aboard Steve Hayden’s milk float

A number of local school PTAs joined forces in December to organise a visit from Santa and his elves, who followed a trail across Wanstead and South Woodford.

“We all pulled together to sprinkle some Christmas magic into children’s lives during a time when we had to cancel a lot of our usual Christmas activities. Huge thanks to Parker Dairies, North London Loft Rooms and Terry Tew Sound and Light for supporting this event. And, of course, Santa’s elves who got drenched in the rain to greet delighted children,” said organiser Amy Moore.

Donations can still be made to support projects at the schools.



Whipps Cross Hospital: human wellbeing in building design

Whipps-design-sketch-1A concept of the new hospital from a presentation by lead architect Paul Bell of Ryder Architecture

The ‘things that make for human wellbeing in building design’ was the focus of a recent campaign meeting about the plans for the new Whipps Cross Hospital.

“Why daylight and views in our workplace help us sleep, how access to greenery in hospital grounds lets staff de-stress, that air pollution makes London children’s lungs on average 10% smaller. Of course, the new designs presented were the big focus,” said a spokesperson for the Sustainability Action for Whipps campaign group.

Watch a recording at


Family relaunches Wanstead puzzle created by the late Jill Stock


Jill Stock’s daughters have launched a website to enable residents to continue to buy the Wanstead-themed jigsaw puzzle their late mother created.

“Mum made a montage of Wanstead as part of the art trail when her nursing career came to an end. Encouraged to share her labour of love with the community, she made her montage – entitled Wanstead – a very Special Community – into a jigsaw puzzle, which she sold at the farmers’ market,” said Kate Gloudemans. Jill died in a road traffic collision in May 2019.



Wanstead cares: ‘the kindness of this community never ceases to amaze’

Screenshot 2020-12-21 at 12.53.07A drive-through for donations took place at Wanstead Cricket Club earlier this month

Organisers of the Wanstead CARES (Community Appeal Rough sleepers Emergency Survival Kit) initiative have praised the community for their generous response.

“The kindness of this community never ceases to amaze. We were blown away by all the donations this month… Nearly 600 gifts for children and adults of vulnerable families, local charities including The Magpie Project, Frank Charles’ appeal, Hestia and many others. We also collected over four carloads of donations – which will enable The Corner House Project to support the homeless this winter – as well as nearly 50 crates of food for Redbridge Foodbank. We could not have achieved this without you, our fabulous community and all our lovely volunteers, who were amazing. Thank you!” said Suzi Harnett and Juliette Harvey.



Why can’t you see me?

grace-1Grace showing off her new braces

Wanstead teenager Grace Wolstenholme invites you to watch her YouTube channel for an insight into life with cerebral palsy. In the fifth of a series of articles, Grace uses more f-words than we’ve ever published before

Hi everyone. It’s me again, Grace. Today, I thought I’d tell you all about something very exciting that’s happened. For most teenagers, this isn’t a big deal, but for me, it’s huge. Basically, I’ve finally got braces on my top and bottom teeth!

The reason why I’m so excited – and having them done at 17 – is because two years ago, I was under the Royal London Dental Hospital to get braces, and they told me they were able to put the braces on and I was going to get straight teeth. They started off with my top front six teeth, but the bracket fell off one. They said that it was fine to have five brackets and to get the sixth one back on when I went back for my bottom teeth.

So, I went back for my bottom teeth and I went into a massive room with cubicles full of dentists. I got called into a cubicle and I asked the student who was doing my teeth: “You’re going to do my bottom teeth right?” She said to wait for her tutor to come over, so I just thought she meant the fully qualified dentist will have to do it. Because of my movements, it was a bit tricky, and I also need suctioning, otherwise I’d choke on my saliva!

The fully qualified dentist came over and said that because I move too much and need suctioning, they were unable to give me braces. I said: “Why don’t you just do it yourself, because you’ve got more experience?” Oh no, she couldn’t do it herself because she was too important, so I said: “Why don’t you sedate me, because I’m sedated for everything else?” But she said they couldn’t do that because it’s a luxury treatment, not a necessary procedure to be put under for. I went mental. “Just because I’m disabled, it’s like it doesn’t matter if I look good and have straight teeth! But all these f**king able-bodied people can get f**king straight teeth! Just because that f***ing doctor f**ked up the birth and made me f**king disabled! You’re f**king discriminating against me!”

On the way out, I shouted at everyone getting their braces fitted. “F**king good for you, you get f**king straight teeth, but I don’t because I’m f**king disabled and the dentists here are discriminating bastards!”

Later that day, my mum promised me that she would try to find a good orthodontist that might be able to give me braces, and that’s what she did. To cut a long story short, I’ve finally got my braces on my top and bottom teeth. I want to thank my amazing dentist, Ama, for not giving up on me and making my dream to have straight teeth come true.

I’ve got to stop typing now, because I’ve gone over the word count. Happy Christmas and see you all next month.

To watch Grace’s videos about life with cerebral palsy, visit

Restoring Wanstead Park

Wanstead-Park-Lake-stitched©Luciano Ocesca

In the 10th of a series of articles looking at the developing plans for restoring Wanstead Park, Richard Arnopp of the Friends of Wanstead Parklands explains the latest spanner in the lake restoration works. Photo of Perch Pond by Luciano Ocesca

The Wanstead Park restoration project has always been something of a rollercoaster: nothing much happens for a while, and then developments come thick and fast. There’s quite a lot of news at the moment – some good, some less so.

The single issue that preoccupies the Friends of Wanstead Parklands – and everyone who cares about the park – is the state of the lakes. Created in the first half of the 18th century, the lakes were intended to create vistas of water around three sides of Wanstead House. Originally nine in number, the five survivors (the Basin, Shoulder of Mutton Pond, Heronry Pond, Perch Pond and Ornamental Water) still form one of London’s finest waterscapes and are the park’s defining feature.

Sadly, the lakes are not in good condition. Only one – the Basin, owned by Wanstead Golf Club – seems to have no serious problems. As for the others, the water level in the Shoulder of Mutton Pond fluctuates seasonally, and it would benefit from some de-silting, but it is otherwise fairly stable. However, the other three lakes are in a bad way. The concrete lining of Heronry Pond is completely compromised, and even with constant replenishment via pumping from a borehole, it is impossible to keep it anywhere near full. The neighbouring Perch Pond looks healthy but appears to be heavily dependent on leakage from its western neighbour. Worst of all is the Ornamental Water, which has taken a turn for the worse in recent years for reasons which are not yet fully understood. Water levels have remained persistently low, and even when the lake was flooded by the River Roding in December 2019, immediately began to fall by about 7cm per week until, within a few months, it was back to where it had been before.

Addressing the state of the lake system is one of the central themes of the Parkland Plan (covering restoration and management), which was adopted by the City of London earlier this year.

Making plans is all very well but they also need to be paid for. There we have run into a problem. The key to funding the Parkland Plan was that radical works were assumed to be required to the lakes to bring them into line with the Flood and Water Management Act 2010. It was anticipated these modifications could cost up to £10 million, based on what had been spent on a similar project on Hampstead Heath.

This presented an opportunity for Wanstead Park, as the spending would come from central, rather than Epping Forest, budgets, and it would make sense to carry out other improvements and repairs to the lakes at the same time. Any non-statutory element of the work could potentially have been used as match funding for a parallel bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund to pay for a whole range of improvements to the park.

Unfortunately, the recently published engineer’s recommendations have rather thrown a spanner in the works. He concluded that the works required were far less extensive than had been assumed. Provisionally costed at around £500,000, this is only 5% of the ballpark figure we were working on before. This means the complex funding package for the Parkland Plan will need to be rebuilt from scratch.

We know that Epping Forest is working on new funding options. However, in the meantime, we will be pressing for early implementation of those aspects of its Water Management Strategy that might make an appreciable difference. In our view, the change in funding assumptions for the Wanstead Park project, as well as the worsening state of the lakes, has created a new situation. Most of these options would not be unduly expensive. In our view, they now need to be explicitly decoupled from the main project and expedited as a project in their own right.

Over the last decade, the Friends have been patient and supportive as Epping Forest officials raised awareness within the City of London of the plight of Wanstead Park. Our interventions (notably a 2017 ‘summit’ of stakeholders at the Palace of Westminster) have helped to build a ‘coalition of the willing’ and identify practical ways of doing something about it. Now, we are exploring ways in which we can unlock new sources of grant aid for the park as the requesting charity. Next month, I will pass on some good news on a current instance where we have been able to do just that. However, as far as the lakes are concerned, the ball is in the City of London’s court. Wanstead Park’s custodian needs to put the current setback behind it and come up with a new funding strategy. The present situation is too dire for action to be delayed much longer.

For more information on Wanstead Park and to become a member of the Friends of Wanstead Parklands, visit

Declaration of Trust


Hollie Skipper from local solicitors Wiseman Lee takes a look at the issues surrounding property co-ownership and explains why some property owners may want to consider making a Declaration of Trust

When you own a property with another, a trust relationship is automatically created between you, and the rights and duties of each of you are set out in law.

However, co-ownership law is limited and will not record any personal agreement you may have made with your co-owner in relation to how you own the property, in what shares, what each of you will contribute and what will happen to the proceeds if the property is sold. If the property is held under a joint tenancy, in the event of the death of one of you, legal ownership passes to the other. However, if you both make a Declaration of Trust, then the law will step in to protect the terms that each of you agree.

Declarations of Trust are useful for couples who own a home together and wish to record their individual financial contributions to protect their interests in the event of a relationship breakdown, or for those providing financial assistance to their children or grandchildren for the purchase of a property. Individual contributions can be ring-fenced so that if the property is sold, the contribution is protected as much as possible. This will be largely dependent upon there being sufficient proceeds from the sale to discharge any mortgage.

A Declaration of Trust can record:

Each party’s financial contribution and the percentage split of ownership.

What each party will receive in the event the property is sold.

How much each party will contribute towards mortgage payments or outgoings.

The division of any rental income.

Specify that neither party can secure a debt or remortgage without the other’s consent.

Set out the terms and timescale if one party wishes to buy the other out.

You can create a Declaration of Trust even if you have owned the property in question for a long time, but there may be Capital Gains Tax implications when doing so. A declaration can also be prepared in conjunction with a new purchase and will be signed on completion.

Declarations of Trust are also useful for tax and estate planning. The legal owner(s) of a property can gift their interest by declaring they hold it for another. Although they remain the legal owner in name and continue to have some control over the property, it will fall out of their estate for inheritance tax purposes.

Declarations of Trust are a complex area of law and careful consideration and professional advice is required.


Deep roots


Wanstead resident Jean Medcalf has published her first poetry book at the age of 89. To Everything There is a Season is a collection of lyrical, spiritual poems about nature. In the second of a series of articles, Jean introduces Network, a poem with an apt Christmas message

I came to live in Wanstead just before Christmas 1960. I remember my very first Christmas as a newly-wed. I carefully prepared the turkey, put it into my shiny new oven. Myself and my husband went visiting, planning to return to a delicious dinner. Unluckily, I wasn’t used to the new oven. I forgot to switch it on and we returned to raw turkey! 

Winters were much colder then and, of course, we had no central heating, just coal fires and oil heaters. Hot water was provided by a 1930s cast-iron boiler in the kitchen, which had to be stoked each day with coke. I used to get up at 6am to light the coal fire. The children got dressed in the living room as it was the only warm room, and I put their woollen vests on the fireguard to warm. Milk would freeze in the bottles on the doorstep, clothes froze rigid on the washing line, and there were beautiful Jack Frost patterns on the windows.

There were very thick fogs in winter as well. When you were out in the street, you literally could not see your hand in front of your face, and when driving with my husband, I kept the passenger door open to see the kerb!

The Saturday before Christmas, as we did our shopping, we could hear the sound of carols along the High Street, from the Women’s Voluntary Service at the Corner House. The Salvation Army band came round the streets in their uniforms and peaked caps, and sang Christmas carols gathered around a barrel organ, and there was a big Christmas tree on the Green.

We bought our turkey, ham and sausages in Dennis the butchers and the tangerines, dates and nuts from Harveys. Also, a real Christmas tree, which looked pretty but dropped needles all over the carpet.

Woolworths was the shop for Christmas decorations: packets of paper chains, which had to be painstakingly licked and glued together, red and green crêpe paper, tinsel, fairy lights, chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil to hang on the tree, pink and white sugar mice with string tails for the stockings, and of course, glue and glitter for home-made Christmas cards.

I used to buy the children’s Christmas presents from the lovely toy shops we had in those days. Vane’s the bookshop in Cambridge Park. Reed’s on the corner of Wanstead Place, which sold bicycles and toys, a lovely little shop near Snaresbrook Station that sold wooden doll’s furniture and Gravatt’s in Nightingale Lane for all sorts of toys, jigsaws, little dolls, paint boxes, board games and colouring books.

And who can forget the big treat for children – a visit to Santa in his grotto at Bearman’s in Leytonstone, the wonderful department store that I am sure many local people will still remember fondly.

by Jean Medcalf

Time to check the network

Time to tie the knots of ravelled aunts
Catscradle the newcomers from the womb
To pleach the family tree with distant cousins
To trawl the book for the forgotten few

Alone, bereaved, insane and old.

Time to test the warp and weft for strengthening
Renew the wear with friendship and with love
Darn in the weaker spots with woven letters
All frayed edges must be unafraid

Test tension, teach it to relax.

Time for our network now to be elastic
A trampoline to bounce us out of grief
A loving safety net to ease our falling
A laughing hammock curved for troubled nights

Secure in bonds of love

Time for no gaps that you and I might fall through
Time for no depths that we might leave unplumbed
Time for no breadth and height to be omitted
Time for the Big Fisherman to net us

Time He took the strain.

Jean’s book To Everything There is a Season is available in paperback (£4.75). Visit