January 2021


Wild Wanstead


In the 24th of a series of articles charting the Wild Wanstead project, Nicola Steele explains how you can help garden wildlife in winter

It’s nippy out there! Winter is the hardest time of year for many of the creatures that rely on our gardens for food and shelter. But there are simple things that will ensure your outdoor space is a precious winter wonderland for insects, birds and our fantastic urban wildlife.

Leave the leaves
Old leaves are a vital spot for minibeasts to overwinter. Rather than removing them all, pile them up in a wild corner. Heaps of leaves or brushwood can also make the perfect nest in which animals like hedgehogs, toads and newts can hide, rest and hibernate.

Have a rest
In the old days, gardeners would clear up borders at the end of summer, cutting back vegetation and removing seed heads. It is now believed it is better to leave the task of tidying up the garden until early spring, providing shelter for insects throughout winter.

Feed the birds
Native plants, hedges and trees are a natural larder for birds, providing berries and seeds, as well as a home for insects – a critical food for many types of bird. With vegetation now swapped for paving in many gardens, putting out extra food can help. Provide a range of seeds, fresh unsalted peanuts and table scraps (cheese and fruits, such as apples and pears.) Garden birds also love dried mealworms or waxworms. Other menu specials for garden birds include:

  • Fat blocks, with added peanuts for starlings, insects like mealworms for tits, and berries for finches.
  • Finely chopped bacon rind and grated cheese for small birds, such as wrens.
  • Sunflower seeds for sparrows, finches and nuthatches.
  • Good-quality seed mixes for robins and tits
  • Niger seeds for goldfinches.
  • Over-ripe apples, raisins and song-bird mixes for thrushes and blackbirds (on the ground).

Make a compost heap
Compost piles are fantastic for minibeasts as well as creating soil improver for the garden. In winter, the warmth generated by decaying vegetation makes it a welcome habitat for toads, and even grass snakes and slow-worms.

Break the ice
If your garden pond freezes over, make a hole in the ice by placing a pan of hot water on the surface so that wildlife can drink and get in and out. Never hit the ice to crack it, as the shockwaves can harm creatures in the pond.

Offer water
Provide a shallow dish or container of water at ground level. This will benefit other garden wildlife that needs to drink, as well as birds.

Bug hotel
Make an insect or bug hotel and put it up in a sheltered position. Overwintering ladybirds and lacewings will find this useful.

Plant winter flowers
Pollinators that emerge early can struggle to find food in winter, and researchers think this could become a growing problem as climate change messes with long-standing weather patterns. Spring bulbs are an easy solution. Great options for pollinators include crocuses, snowdrops, alliums, grape hyacinths and snakes-head fritillary.

For more information on the Wild Wanstead project, visit wnstd.com/wild

COVID-19 vaccine survey


Healthwatch Redbridge is asking people to complete a survey about COVID-19 vaccines.

Two vaccines have now been produced and approved for emergency use and the NHS has begun vaccinating people against coronavirus at numerous hospital hubs in the country’s biggest immunisation programme in history.

“We are aware that some communities and individuals are slightly reticent about having a vaccination. With this in mind, we are currently asking people to tell us if they were offered the vaccination would they have it, and if not, why not? Once you have completed the survey, we would appreciate if you could share the link with people you are in contact with, including colleagues, family and friends in order for us to understand where there might be concerns and to ensure we can provide specific information for individuals to make informed choices on being immunised,” said a Healthwatch Redbridge spokesperson.

The survey itself is anonymous and has an optional section where you can leave your contact details if you wish to say more on the topic.

“We feed back information to NHS and care providers to ensure they understand the issues that local people face.”

The survey takes about four minutes to complete.

Click here to take part.

Do not contact your GP for a COVID-19 vaccine. The NHS will contact people directly and there will be extensive public information announcements about how, where and when you can get vaccinated. 


Restoration of the iconic telephone box outside Wanstead Station

IMG_2831The phone box before the restoration

Following the involvement of Redbridge Council, the restoration of the iconic red telephone box outside Wanstead Station has been undertaken by BT.

Wanstead Park Councillor Sheila Bain said: “I’ve been working with BT over the last few months on the refurbishment of the telephone box. It is protected as a Grade 2 listed structure and BT has a responsibility to maintain it as the owners. The door had been removed for safety reasons and there was some delay in being able to get a replacement, which is now installed.  All the missing glass has been replaced and there is a working phone. A fresh coat of paint will be applied in the Spring.”


2020 Poppy Appeal in Wanstead raised over £3,000

Screenshot 2021-01-05 at 12.53.58

A message from Jim and Sue Carroll, organisers of the Poppy Appeal in Wanstead.

“A huge thank you to the people of Wanstead for their response to last year’s poppy collection for the British Legion. In spite of the difficult circumstances and the very last minute change of plans (apologies to those of you who missed Jim the Poppy Man later in the week) as a result of the lockdown, you still gave extremely generously to the cause.  A one day ‘flash sale’ of poppies outside the old bakers shop (sadly missed but very helpful for us) netted £1,184.48 in a single day, with socially distanced queues forming at the table! It took a little while to get the odds and ends in and counted because of the sudden door closures, but we are proud to say that the Wanstead area collected £3,247.35, a bit over half of the normal annual rate. Specials mentions to Moments and Wanstead Station, both of whom really surprised everyone and also to Daisy the Florist, Harveys the Grocers and Cafe ChiChi, not only for doing really well, the last two as first time collecting stations, but for staying open during the lockdowns to keep us supplied with what might not be life saving essentials, but were certainly mental health essentials!
With the vaccines coming on line, we hope that this year will have something like normal service, but in the meantime we would like to wish everybody a happy and most importantly healthy 2021.”


Walks Past Wanstead

Screenshot-2020-12-04-at-10.55.05John Rocque’s London 10 Miles Round Map (1746). Courtesy of the British Library and MOLA via layersoflondon.org

Russell Kenny and Paul Hayes have devised a series of self-guided history walks around the Wanstead area, which can be followed on a phone or from a printable map. In the first of a series of articles championing these tours through time, we discover some local historical highlights

History isn’t confined to museums or National Trust properties. As a lockdown project, we compiled a series of walks to encourage friends and neighbours to discover the history on their doorstep. Future articles in this series will outline each of the walks, but in this first instalment, we focus on snapshots of that history, starting in the ‘dark ages’ and working through to the 20th century.

Walking north along the insignificant-looking River Roding, we retrace the steps of a group of Anglo Saxon settlers known as The Hroðingas, who sometime in the sixth century began a journey up the river whose name derives from theirs. They went up into Essex to settle the area of land around the villages now also called The Rodings.

Wanstead Flats was cleared of woodland on the orders of the Abbot of Stratford in the 12th century, to provide grazing for sheep. Many of the great religious houses farmed huge flocks over vast acreages. The wool sustained a large domestic weaving industry, and supplied a very profitable export market in Europe.

Henry VII, founder of the Tudor dynasty, acquired Wanstead Hall in 1499 as a hunting lodge. Henry VIII also hunted there, as did members of Elizabeth I’s court.

Sir Josiah Child became governor of the East India Company, which had a monopoly of trade with India and China, generating vast wealth for individuals and capital to finance the Industrial Revolution. Child bought the Tudor Wanstead Hall and Manor, and transformed the parkland. Later, his son Richard replaced the Hall with a new, grand Palladian style Wanstead House. Completed in 1722, it was hailed as the ‘English Versailles’.

Wanstead House was inherited by a young Catherine Tylney-Long in 1805, but was held in trust for her until she was 21. Meanwhile, the French Prince de Conde, cousin of the guillotined Louis XVI, rented Wanstead House whilst exiled during the Napoleonic period. Louis XVIII, who regained the throne after Waterloo, was a frequent visitor, in 1808 joining the Prince of Wales to review British troops on Wanstead Flats.

Perhaps surprisingly, the railway through Manor Park is one of the oldest in the world, opening in 1839, only two years after Euston became London’s first mainline station.

Wanstead also played its part in World War Two. Aircraft production was carried out in the tunnels of the Central Line. Anti-aircraft guns and barrage balloons were deployed on the Flats, which also housed German and Italian prisoner of war camps. Bombed-out families were rehoused in prefabs near the Golden Fleece pub, and allotments were established as part of the government’s ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign.

We hope this brief taste of the continuing presence of history in our everyday world has whetted your appetite to read future instalments, or better still, to access the walks themselves and get walking while learning about the history around us.

To view or print the walking guides and maps, visit wnstd.com/walkspast

Palliative plans?

Screenshot 2020-12-21 at 13.30.05

It appears the Margaret Centre does not feature in plans for the new Whipps Cross Hospital. It provides specialist palliative care and cannot be lost, says Julie Donovan, a retired occupational therapist

The Margaret Centre grew from a need. You would have dying patients on the ward with just a curtain around them, family very upset, grieving, no support, nothing afterwards, lots of gaps. In 1987, the vision of the staff was realised and the Margaret Centre opened at Whipps.

I started there in 1988. I loved the work and I stayed for 27 years. We cared for our patients in the community, day care and in the in-patient beds on the unit. I would work with my patient in each setting. Being able to come in for a stay helped patients stay at home for longer. Planned respite admissions allowed a family a break if they had been struggling.

Many of our patients died at home. It was planned, with the services, equipment and everything that was needed. But some situations were too difficult and stressful. Sometimes, from the diagnosis, the staff would suspect a difficult death. And that would have been discussed carefully with the patient and the family. We had the closest multidisciplinary team working I have ever seen in any service.

The Psychological Support Service on the unit offers not just bereavement counselling but support before the death to help a family prepare, including children who face losing a parent. Complementary therapy like aromatherapy or Indian head massage is available to patients and to relatives as well, to help a family member who may be very stressed or not sleeping. Again, quite unique.

There is a day room for relatives and a kitchen where you can make hot drinks and a microwave for snacks. It is very comforting; the process of making a warm drink is actually quite therapeutic. That adds to the whole family feeling of the unit.

The main purpose of my work as an occupational therapist was to maintain people’s independence for as long as possible, allowing them to live while they were still alive. One man loved painting. We rigged up an easel over his bed. I made him brushes with grips, giving large handles, and I left him sitting up in bed painting.

Teaching techniques for conserving energy in the daily activities is a big area of work, showing family or carers how they can assist somebody comfortably, without hurting them – pain is a big issue.

New gardens completed in the last year were really well used over the summer. They were funded out of the charity for the Margaret Centre, which people donate to very regularly. In fact, the extension half of the building was funded by £1.17m raised by local people and charities. An added obligation to maintain the Margaret Centre.

To join the campaign or share views, email whipps.cross.campaign@gmail.com

Trust in your Trustees


A trust allows you to place assets under the control of chosen trustees, either during your lifetime (by deed) or on your death (by will). Hollie Skipper from local solicitors Wiseman Lee explains

A Discretionary Trust allows you to leave a portion of your assets under the control of your trustees. These should be people that you trust implicitly, such as friends, family or professional advisers, who may also be the executors of your will.

You will choose exactly who the beneficiaries of the trust are and exactly how much the fund will be. You can create a trust over a percentage of your assets, over a specific sum of money or over your entire estate. The fund can be held in a simple bank account or invested.

Your beneficiaries are not entitled to any part of the fund until your trustees decide. Their decision will likely be based on the needs of the beneficiary. Your trustees will have the discretion to decide how much your beneficiaries receive and when, and payments can be small and regular or in lump sums. You are able to leave some written guidance to your trustees, although they are not bound to follow this.

Why create a trust?

  • Future flexibility: you may be unsure how you would like your assets to be distributed in years to come, so leaving this to your trustees to consider in the future may be more practical.
  • Beneficiary receiving benefits: if your beneficiary receives an inheritance, this could be considered when they are financially assessed and mean they lose some, or all, of their state benefits. Your trustees can pay your beneficiaries just enough money to ensure their benefits are not affected.
  • A beneficiary unable to manage their own affairs: your trustees could use the trust fund to ensure your beneficiary is cared for during their lifetime. If your beneficiary has lost capacity and does not have an attorney or deputy appointed, then the trust arrangement could prove beneficial.
  • Concerns about a beneficiary receiving a large sum of money: whether it is a young or irresponsible beneficiary, a beneficiary who may be vulnerable or subsequently needs to move into care, you may decide it is not sensible for them to be given their inheritance in one go or be immediately entitled to the money.
  • Protecting the money from creditors: as your beneficiary will not be absolutely entitled to the funds until your trustees decide, the money is protected in the event of bankruptcy.

Depending on how much you settle into trust and when, there will be potential inheritance tax consequences or benefits. Specialist advice is needed.

Wiseman Lee is located at 9–13 Cambridge Park, Wanstead, E11 2PU. For more information, call 020 8215 1000

Zooming in

tea-for-two---alan-simpson© Alan Simpson

Having embraced Zoom for their fortnightly meetings, Woodford & Wanstead Photographic Society member Alan Simpson gives a snapshot of what the historic club offers to the community

Founded in 1893 in the Coffee Tavern beside George Lane (South Woodford) railway station, Woodford Photographic Society added Wanstead to its name in 2005 because that is where, in more normal times, we now meet. As one of the oldest photographic societies in the East Anglian Federation, we celebrated our 125th anniversary in 2018.

Our fortnightly programme of events includes talks, competitions, exhibitions and outings. We also run informal masterclasses to teach Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom basics. We have a wide variety of photographic skill levels and everyone is willing to share his or her knowledge and learn from others. Social nights are held on the second and fourth Monday of each month. These informal meetings take place in the bar area at Wanstead House and give members opportunities to network. The club is also active on Facebook and Instagram, where members and non-members can share images and comments. Visitors and potential new members can attend their first three club meetings free of charge.

Our programme includes talks and demonstrations by guest speakers, some from the local area, and others from further afield. Our competitions are judged by qualified external judges. Under Covid-19 restrictions, we made good use of Zoom and had judges and presenters from across the country.

Our current membership total is approaching 40, and through Zoom, we even recruited a new member in the USA! Several members have gained Royal Photographic Society LRPS and ARPS distinctions. One member has recently gained his FRPS, the club’s first for several years.

Most genres are represented by our members. Our annual print and projected image competitions can attract more than 200 entries. The subjects include landscapes, portraits, sport, street photography, nature and wildlife, with many particularly creative images amongst them.

When the club was formed back in 1893, its aims included ‘the discussion of the subjects connected with photography in a social manner, and the encouragement of photographic research practice among the members by mutual and friendly assistance’, and ‘a desire to do something of value to the community’. Today, we are a friendly club and welcome everyone with a passion for photography, amateur or professional, acknowledged artist or enthusiastic novice.

We hope to continue our mutual and friendly assistance, and to carry on serving the photographic community well into the future.

The Woodford & Wanstead Photographic Society normally meet on the first and third Monday of each month from 7.45pm at Wanstead House. All meetings are currently on Zoom. Annual membership is £55. Visit wnstd.com/wwps

Wheelie bins from spring 2021

L1210473-2©Geoff Wilkinson

Most residents in Redbridge will get a new free wheelie bin this year.

“The wheelie bins will be hitting homes across the borough from spring and will help reduce the amount of street rubbish on bin collection day,” said a spokesperson. The roll-out follows a pilot in February 2020, which saw a reduction in household rubbish and an increase in recycling. Each 180-litre bin holds around three black sacks of rubbish.

Visit wnstd.com/wheelie


Local filmmaker’s comedy about hobby horsing ready for festivals

HH20The Hobbyhorser proof of concept short film was shot at Redbridge Drama Centre, Wanstead Youth Centre and in Roding Valley Park

Wanstead resident and filmmaker Marc Coleman is hoping his new comedy about the Finnish sport of hobby horsing will get the green light from backers this year.

“In early January, we’ll hopefully be screening the short film at the Kenneth More Theatre for all cast and crew. The film will then be sent off to festivals and producers in the hope of gaining funding to make the already written feature film,” said Marc, whose next project will be a comedy-horror about a sea creature discovered along the Essex coastline.