February 2022


Will you?


Hollie Skipper from local solicitors Wiseman Lee explains why making a will is important if you wish to avoid complications – and costs – for those left behind after your death

Husband Tim and his wife Cathy have two minor children. When Cathy died without a will (intestate), her jointly owned property with Tim automatically passed to Tim by survivorship, together with the remainder of Cathy’s estate worth £100,000.

After a few years, Tim remarried in his 40s. His new wife, Liz, has two minor children from a previous relationship.

After their marriage, neither of them made a new will. In any event, their marriage would have revoked any will that they had individually put in place before their marriage.

Tim and Liz bought a new house together as joint tenants. Tim was healthy and active but died three years later in a climbing accident when his children were still under the age of 18.

Liz is now the sole owner of the house she bought with Tim and her children may well inherit that property on her death if she too dies without a will. Furthermore, Liz would be entitled to a significant portion of Tim’s other assets and could effectively receive his entire estate, which is likely to include the assets of his first marriage. Tim and Cathy’s children could receive nothing. Only if Tim left other significant assets, after Liz had received her share under the rules of intestacy, would his children inherit any remainder, which is likely to be a small portion of Tim’s estate.

It is tempting to believe these facts are somewhat extreme, and the outcome described unlikely, but situations like this are common and relate to most second marriages, even in later life.

With the proper advice, Tim and Liz could have made wills after their marriage to provide adequate provision for each other but still ultimately protect their own children’s interests in assets they may have amassed during their previous relationships.

This whole issue is obviously sensitive and for many a taboo subject. However, it is estimated that over 30 million UK adults have not made a will.

Covid-19 appears to show growing evidence that younger people in their 30s and 40s have started the will-making process. The sad but perhaps inevitable issue is the pandemic has caused many people to focus on thinking beyond tomorrow and next year and to the making of a will.

Putting a will in place does not need to be expensive and there are other services, such as lasting powers of attorney and declarations of trust, which could also leave your affairs in much better shape.

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


A Potted History

Screenshot-2022-01-13-at-15.04.44A medieval herber

Ruth Martin of the Aldersbrook Horticultural Society has compiled a potted history of the garden. In the first of a series of articles, she guides us from ancient civilisations to the medieval period

Gardens have existed for thousands of years – the gardens of the ancient civilisations influenced gardens in the West. Egyptian gardens were centred around pools where lotus flowers and papyrus grew, surrounded by beds of poppies, cornflowers and corn marigolds shaded by palms, figs, vines and pomegranates. The paradise gardens of Persia included formally laid orchard trees, planes and cypresses.

In ancient Islamic culture, symmetrical layouts of gardens were used, divided into quadrants, by rills representing the four rivers flowing from paradise: water, milk, honey and wine. Roman gardens were influenced by the Greeks – and were an integral part of the house surrounded by columned walks, including pools and fountains. Mosaics, trellis and frescos were common features and the architectural plants used are familiar to us today – clipped hedges and elaborate topiary made of laurel, bay and box with flowering plants of roses, lilies and myrtle.

During the medieval period (800–1500), the influence of Persian gardens and designs spread around Europe. England was culturally and politically part of Europe; Roman designs also influenced English gardens. Medieval gardens belonging to the wealthy consisted of three types: the herber, the orchard and the pleasure park. Royalty and nobility would have all three areas, covering some 15 acres, the more moderately well-off would have two, covering two to five acres, and the town bourgeoisie and lesser manors would have the herber of under an acre.

The herber consisted of a lawn, herbs and flowers, with trees at the edge of the lawn to provide some shade. There would be turf seats, arbours, trellis works and fountains. The orchard contained fruit trees and walks and the pleasure park or little park was bounded by palisades. At the centre, was a timber-framed garden building, as well as ponds for fish and waterfowl.

At this time, however, the majority of the population lived in squalid hovels made of wood frames with wattle and daub, leaky thatch, damp walls and wet floors, and if they owned animals, they would share the space. The slightly better-off villagers lived in marginally better houses, with separate barns for their animals. Gardening as we know it did not exist; the land around the hovel was used to grow vegetables to feed any animals and themselves. They had a diet of cabbages, kale, leeks, onions and turnips supplemented by any game they could trap. Fruit was also grown – apples, pears, plums and cherries. Some cottagers attempted to cheer up their garden by collecting plants from the wild and planting them amongst the vegetables. The cottage garden was born.

Ruth will be giving a presentation on the history of the garden at Aldersbrook Bowls Club on 8 March from 7.30pm (visitors: £5). Visit wnstd.com/ahs


A lot to lose

King-Cups©Roger Snook

In the eighth of a series of articles by plot holders at the Redbridge Lane West allotments – which are under threat from the adjacent gas works – Roger Snook explains why the site is a lifeline for him and others

Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote a poem, Inversnaid, in which he made the following plea for the preservation of our rich, yet vulnerable, wildlife and wild places.

What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and wilderness yet.

You might think the last things allotment holders want are the three Ws (weeds, wildness and wilderness). At the moment, as winter continues, our allotments are bare and like a wilderness. But, beneath the ground, they are preparing for this year’s harvests. We like wild animals and wild flowers (weeds) wherever we can make room for them, and have recorded nearly 200 species on our allotments. (There is a photographic display of them on the Redbridge Lane West gate.) The allotments have become a sanctuary for wildlife, and a green lung, refreshing the air in the midst of urbanisation and motorways.

Now, we find that Cadent, the multimillion-pound gas giant, wants to turn some of our allotments into a temporary (two-year-long!) plant and equipment store and heavy vehicle roadway while they simply erect a new electric fence and carry out other minor upgrades. Some plot holders will lose a significant part of their land permanently!

Gas burning is a major pollutant and petrol burning even more so. We are desperately trying to make the obvious plain to Cadent: find somewhere else for your plant and vehicles and rethink your plans for moving materials on, off and within your site without land-grabbing ours. We are trusting our councillors (who have a strong ‘green’ manifesto) and our community (4000-plus of whom have already signed our petition), to protect this irreplaceable amenity.

I am 80 years old and disabled. The allotment is a lifeline for me, as it is for many others, young and old, well and unwell, all sexes and of many ethnic groups and religions. I’m what Big Brother, in his official documents, calls ‘white English’, and David Wright, my fellow allotment holder for the last nearly 20 years, is half my age and of Jamaican extraction. I taught for 40-odd years at Ilford County High School for Boys, and David is a local university lecturer, born in Brum.

We allotment holders are a happy band of pilgrims from all walks of life – and very much want it to stay that way! We often grow more than we need and are able to give produce to elderly folk living on their own and to homes giving respite care. It is not only a close-knit community of growers, the allotments are very much a part of Wanstead life. Please do all you can to support our cause.

To view more wildlife photos taken by Roger and David, visit wnstd.com/eln
To view the petition to save the Redbridge Lane West allotments, visit wnstd.com/sta


Illustrating a point

queen-of-heartsThe Queen of my Heart greetings card design by Karina Laymen

Karina Laymen believes illustration is a servant of the creators of art. In the first of a series of articles, the Wanstead House tutor presents a piece of work from her Valentine’s Day greetings card range

Even though the Valentine’s Day celebration has a blurry and dark origin – from the death of two men executed in Rome during the third century to the killing of priests in the Middle Ages – the matter this day brings us now is love.

One of the most supported theories about the birth of this celebration is the pagan festival of Lupercalia during the fourth century, which praised and promoted the fertility of women and the matching of couples. This Roman festival was Christianised during the fifth century by Pope Gelasius, setting the day of the festival on 14 February. In England, as in other parts of Europe, February was considered the mating season of birds, so this month was soon connected to connotations of love.

No matter the origins, nowadays, we celebrate love in a very sweet and explicit way by sending greeting cards to our other halves, married or not, at the beginning of a relationship, in a solid love story or even an expected relationship with someone.

Around the middle of the 17th century, there was a surge in the custom of sending handmade paper cards to lovers or potential lovers to express gratitude, affection or even requests for a relationship. During the 19th century, the production of factory-made cards started to rise.

It is a time where a rose, a gift card or a box of chocolates will translate a deep sentiment of love into a playful gesture towards our significant other, to express our joy and happiness that the gift of love generates inside us. The human desire of joining themselves to a twin soul does not come from a fleshly impulse, but it is a spiritual command engraved in the deepest essence of our configuration: we are born to love, to be loved and to be joined to our ‘other I’; it is part of our intrinsic nature. As the body is part of our nature and we take care of it, the spirit is also part of our nature, and we must cultivate it with the water of love, generosity and kindness.

Let’s cultivate our love for that significant other on this Valentine’s Day with a gesture of kindness to celebrate our joy towards them with the perfect love, which in better words: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (Corinthians 13:4–5, King James Bible)

Creativity surrounds Valentine’s gift cards and the imagery ranges from sweet roses, cute cherubs to humorous cartoons. The fullness of the art of illustration, in this specific festival, will serve the purpose of love at its finest level, recreating endearment, joy, passion and even flirtation and humour, so much needed in a time like this.

To view more or Karina’s work, visit wnstd.com/karina

Karina’s greetings cards will be available at the Flamingo Fair on 12 February from 11am to 4pm at Wanstead Library.

Karina teaches art classes every Friday at Wanstead House from 10am to 12pm. She also runs bespoke illustration courses for small groups. For more information, visit wnstd.com/riae or call 020 8550 2398


Listen and learn

Screenshot 2022-01-25 at 10.53.02

In the 24th of a series of articles, David Bird discusses the work of Redbridge Music Society and introduces tenor Michael Gibson and pianist Lucy Colquhoun, who will perform in Wanstead this month

Redbridge Music Society continues its current project of promoting and supporting outstanding young musicians with a recital on 15 February in the Churchill Room at Wanstead Library, to be given by award-winning Scottish tenor Michael Gibson, accompanied by Lucy Colquhoun on piano.

The recital will include some traditional Irish and Scottish folk songs, a popular Neopolitan song and some well-known parlour songs. The recital will end with a performance of Robert Schumann’s famous song cycle Dichterliebe.

Michael Gibson is a recent graduate of the Royal College of Music (RCM) International Opera Studio, where he held the Aldama scholarship and studied with Professor Janis Kelly. Previously, he graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Royal Northern College of Music. His recent operatic roles include Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Azael (L’enfant Prodigue), Ecclitico (Il mondo della Luna) and Roméo (Roméo et Juliette) at the RCM Opera Studio.

​As an in-demand concert soloist, Michael has performed works including Mozart’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Bach’s St John Passion and B Minor Mass, Finzi’s Dies Natalis and Puccini’s Messa di Gloria. He has also given performances of song cycles, including Beethoven’s An die ferne geliebte, Britten’s Winter Words and Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin.

Michael was a runner-up in the 2021 Clonter Opera Prize, and has participated in public masterclasses with Sir Thomas Allen, Susan McCulloch and Sir Graham Vick. He is a member of the Glyndebourne Opera Chorus and a current holder of the prestigious Making Music Phillip and Dorothy Green Young Artist Award.

Pianist Lucy Colquhoun studied at RCM with Roger Vignoles, winning all the major accompaniment prizes, including the Alisdair Graham, Titanic Memoriam and Joan Chissell Schumann Prizes, along with numerous scholarships. She is a Britten-Pears and Park Lane Group Young Artist and a Samling Artist. She is currently a staff member at RCM.

Lucy has performed at many major concert venues, including London’s Southbank Centre and Royal Albert Hall. She has played at many prestigious UK Music festivals, including the Oxford Lieder and Brighton Festivals. She has broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and Colombian National Television. She has been an accompanist for Sir Thomas Allen and for singers in the finals of the Kathleen Ferrier Awards at Wigmore Hall (including the 2019/2020 winner Benson Wilson).

Michael and Lucy will perform at Wanstead Library on 15 February from 8pm (booking required; visitors: £10: members: £7). Call 07380 606 767. Redbridge Music Society is supported by Vision RCL and affiliated to Making Music.


Restoring the Roding

Cray-AfterRiver Cray (after)

The Thames21 project is making improvements to the River Roding adjacent to Wanstead Park. Catchment Partnership Development Officer Will Oliver provides an update in the second of a series of articles

The environmental charity Thames21 has joined forces with Vision Redbridge Culture and Leisure, City of London (Epping Forest) and the Friends of Wanstead Parklands to improve habitats within a stretch of the River Roding bordering Wanstead Park.

By adding fallen trees to the channel, we can provide homes for a wider variety of animals and plants by encouraging the river to ‘rewild’ itself away from its current straight, featureless form.

In the December edition of the Wanstead Village Directory, I discussed in more detail how this process works. But before work on the Roding can commence, we must first secure a Flood Risk Activity Permit (FRAP) from the Environment Agency (the government body responsible for protecting the environment).

Bar a few exceptions, all work that happens in a main river or on its floodplain must have a FRAP. This permit is only granted if the work will not increase the flood risk to properties or businesses. Since my last article, the Thames21 river restoration team have written up their plans to improve the Roding alongside Wanstead Park through the addition of staked and secured fallen trees. These have been submitted to the Environment Agency and, all being well, we hope to be awarded a FRAP by the end of February. We will then be contacting volunteers to carry out the river improvement project.

Whilst we wait for this permit to be approved, it’s a good opportunity to highlight a similar project which Thames21 has recently completed on the River Cray at Footscray Meadow, Bexley in south London.

River Cray (before)

The River Cray is one of only 200 chalk streams in the world. Unlike rivers such as the Roding, which receive large amounts of rainwater, chalk streams are almost entirely fed from underground water stores, which rise through chalk bedrock. This filtered water means a chalk stream should run crystal clear. Just like the Roding, the River Cray has been artificially straightened and widened over the years, reducing the value of the habitats it holds. In 2020, Thames21 worked with local volunteers to introduce 16 fallen trees to the river channel alongside Footscray Meadow. The photos above shows a section of the Cray before and after fallen trees were used to narrow the channel. Already, the processes described in my last article have been kick-started with the river developing wilder areas for animals and plants to thrive.

Fingers crossed, we’ll soon be seeing similar improvements in the Roding!

For more information and to get involved with the Thames21 project in Wanstead Park, email will.oliver@thames21.org.uk


History comes home

Image-3Fragments of Roman pottery found at the site of Wanstead’s Roman villa. ©Redbridge Museum

Redbridge Museum will open a new permanent exhibition later this year exploring 200,000 years of local history. In the first of a series of articles, Museum Officer Nishat Alam looks at some of the items on show

“About 20 years ago at Earl Tilney’s park in Wanstead, a Roman mosaic pavement was found,” wrote Smart Lethieullier of Aldersbrook Manor House in a letter to a fellow antiquarian in 1735. He went on to suggest “that the mosaic could have been the floor of a Roman banqueting house.” So began the search for Wanstead’s Roman villa.

The Romans had first arrived on Britain’s shores in the year 55 BC, led by Julius Caesar, on the hunt for the precious metals Britain was known for. A second, more successful violent invasion began in 43 AD, and the Romans settled in pockets across the island, establishing cities like London and Colchester.

Wanstead’s proximity to the road from these cities – and the river now known as the Roding – meant it was the ideal location for a villa, a place where people lived, farmed and entertained. At the time of Lethieullier’s letter in 1735, a newer building had just been constructed on the site of the Roman villa. It was in the spectacular gardens of Wanstead House, then owned by Richard Child, Earl of Tylney, that the mosaic pavement was discovered while gardeners dug holes to plant an avenue of trees. However, the exact location is still a mystery.

From 1947, several excavations carried out by local historian Jack Elsden Tuffs and later Frank Clark of the West Essex Archaeology Group (WEAG) uncovered many objects that help us piece together what the villa may have looked like. The artefacts suggest a wealthy family once lived there. Pieces of painted wall plaster, roof tiles and the mosaic pavement mentioned in Lethieullier’s letter all point to a house built with no expense spared. Many of the materials found would have been imported from other parts of the empire, including expensive Samian pottery from Gaul (France). Tiles for a hypocaust heating system meant the villa may have had underfloor heating and possibly a bathhouse. Animal bones among the remains indicate there was a farm attached to the villa too. The villa was possibly abandoned by its owners around the year 400 when the Roman empire collapsed.

In the 1960s, Elsden Tuffs established that the mosaic pavement was located on the northwest side of the Perch Pond. In 2007 and 2008, ground penetrating radar was used to detect features indicating a possible walled structure, but the search for Wanstead’s Roman villa continues.

The artefacts shown here (on loan from the City of London) will be displayed in the new Redbridge Museum, which will also feature a digital interactive exhibit to explore the villa.

Redbridge Museum is located on Clements Road, Ilford, IG1 1EA. For more information, visit wnstd.com/museum

To complete a survey about what else should go on display, visit wnstd.com/rms


Healthy retirement

IMG_0319January’s meeting of the Redbridge and Waltham Forest branch of the NHS Retirement Fellowship

Margot Cooper is a former catering officer for the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital and is keen to welcome more retired health care professionals to the local branch of the NHS Retirement Fellowship

The NHS Retirement Fellowship is a national charity set up in 1978 as a social, leisure, educational and welfare organisation for NHS staff. Today, the Fellowship comprises a much wider membership from the health and social care sector and their partners, and includes staff that have been outsourced to the private sector, hospice staff, League of Friends helpers and volunteers generally.

Membership can be postal or in branch (there are over 120 branches across the country). All members have the opportunity to be involved in the wide range of interesting and fun activities within branches and nationally.

Our local branch (covering Redbridge and Waltham Forest) has been going for over 40 years and meets at the pastoral centre of Our Lady of Lourdes in Wanstead on the first Monday of the month from 2pm to 4pm. There is an annual £30 fee and a local £2 per meeting charge. Our monthly meetings are a time to enjoy live entertainment, listen to serious talks on ageing problems and the necessary paperwork, plus events featuring speakers, singers, artists and authors.

Our branch has a welfare coordinator who is very diligent at looking after the needs of the unwell, and indeed every member’s welfare. We also have a number of clubs offering different activities. Our bowls group play indoors and outdoors all year round. The lunch club offers afternoon teas at different locations. Our concerts and theatre outings (using your freedom pass) with block-booked tickets has yet to restart, but organised walks are ongoing. We have a wonderful organiser for trips – some just for a day out to gardens and outdoor shows, nurseries and places of interest, others for short holidays to Ireland and middle England. Our computing club needs a little help and we welcome suggestions for speakers and entertainers.

We publish a magazine, News and Views, three times a year. The editor is always looking for interesting and relevant articles.

Our group needs more volunteers to make the tea and take part in running the club and the committee. We certainly have room for a few more members as the hall holds 120.

One benefit of the pandemic has been Zoom and getting to watch talks organised by Mirthy (mirthy.co.uk), which offers free online events for our members (recent presentations have covered topics such as London architecture and family history). But you do need a screen and you are usually alone. So, it would be lovely to see new faces at the club.

The Redbridge and Waltham Forest branch of the NHS Retirement Fellowship meets at the pastoral centre of Our Lady of Lourdes, 51 Cambridge Park, Wanstead, E11 2PR.

For more information, visit nhsrf.org.uk or call 01305 361 317


Redbridge Lane West allotment plot holders consider response to Cadent

allotments©Stephen Lines

Redbridge Lane West allotment plot holders held a meeting in January to consider their response to Cadent’s latest proposals to carry out upgrade work on their adjacent gas compound.

“Although Cadent has made changes to their earlier proposal, we feel there is much that remains unclear. We have asked the council to work with us to get Cadent to provide more detail. We want to protect the allotment land from permanent damage and loss, and we think there’s more Cadent can do to reduce their impact,” said a spokesperson.


East End Atmosphere

Canary-Wharf-L1230077©Geoff Wilkinson

Geoff Wilkinson will be reopening his photography gallery in Wanstead this month, with new images added to his exhibition depicting the atmosphere of London’s East End, an area which resonates with many residents here

For the last four years, I have been wandering through London’s East End photographing streets, open spaces and buildings, in fact, anything that looks likely to change or disappear.

However, development happens, sometimes at an alarming speed, and sometimes it’s very dramatic. The one constant during this time has been the river. Following the Thames east from Tower Bridge leads you past old warehouses, where barges and ships unloaded goods from all over the world. Now, most are converted into smart apartments.

As the river follows the bend past Limehouse, one of the most dramatic developments opens up before you, Canary Wharf, so named because fruit from the Canary Islands was originally unloaded there. Building was completed in 1992, but still today it is expanding. When you come across it at night, it’s difficult not to be impressed; it may not be to everybody’s taste, but you can’t deny it’s a statement to change. Next door on West India Quay, 200-year-old warehouses still exist, housing the Museum of London, restaurants and bars. The exteriors of warehouses built in 1802 have survived to a large degree, a good example of how original buildings can be converted and maintain their fabric.

I am still going to spend nights seeking out the unchanged parts of the City and East End, capturing the atmosphere while it still exists.

This month, when we reopen the gallery, I will be adding new pictures to the photographs on display. The images will bring back memories for older visitors who grew up in the East End, and for the younger ones who lived in apartments there and who now have families and have moved further out. The more I explore, the more I discover hidden pockets that still exist. It’s just a matter of looking.

Geoff’s Eightyfour Gallery is located at 84 Nightingale Lane, Wanstead, E11 2EZ. For more information, call 020 8530 1244 or visit wnstd.com/84


Redbridge youngsters to vote for their Members of Youth Parliament

youthp-1Members of Youth Parliament take part in an annual debate in the House of Commons

Voting will take place this month to elect Redbridge’s two Members of Youth Parliament.

All young people (11- to 18-year-olds) who live or study in Redbridge are eligible to vote, and ballots will be delivered to secondary schools, colleges and other centres around the borough. “A total of 96 young people applied to take part in the election and 10 candidates were selected,” said a Redbridge Council spokesperson.

The Youth Parliament term starts in March and runs for two years.

Visit wnstd.com/youth22


Turf wars

Aldersbrook-Farm-CoL-cemeteryAldersbrook Farm on the edge of Wanstead Flats, now the site of the City of London Cemetery

At this month’s meeting of the Wanstead Historical Society, historians Mark Gorman and Peter Williams will be explaining the various ways Wanstead Flats has been used for agriculture over the years

Farming, market gardening and horticulture in the area around Wanstead Flats has a long history, yet Wanstead Flats today shows few signs of a time when farms and fields made the area an important centre for food production.

Today, the allotments, which are dotted around Wanstead and Leytonstone, are the only reminder of this not very distant past. As those farms and fields gave way to housing, allotments became increasingly important to local people to help support themselves. During two world wars, supply shortages increased the significance of local food production and led to allotments springing up on Wanstead Flats itself. Not surprisingly, at the end of each of those wars, allotment holders made determined efforts to keep their green spaces, while the City of London Corporation, which has overall responsibility for the Flats, fought to return them to their former use for recreation and leisure.

But the story of the struggle to cultivate the Flats goes back much further. From the time of the Norman invasion in 1066 to the 1800s, this was an area of small villages and farms. Wanstead Flats was, as it is today, a large open space on the southern edge of Epping Forest, but then surrounded only by the villages of Leytonstone, Wanstead and Forest Gate, whose inhabitants used their ancient rights to graze their cattle and collect firewood. This led to frequent disputes with the local landowners, who regarded Wanstead Flats as their property.

Change was on the way, as by the early 1800s, London was making its presence felt. Market gardeners were involved in extensive potato cultivation for the London market. The Flats was also the destination for drovers bringing herds of cattle from all over Britain to fatten up their animals before taking them to Smithfield market. The Rabbits pub on Romford Road was a centre for agents and drivers doing deals for cows. Meanwhile, much of the topsoil of Wanstead Flats was being stripped off and sold to feed the growing demand for pot plants in Victorian London. The Flats was a place of intensive activity.

By the 1900s, the large-scale cattle drives were over, killed off by the arrival of the railways. Wanstead Flats, stripped of much of its loam and denuded of many trees, was in a sorry state, and the City of London Corporation, as managers of the Flats and the rest of Epping Forest, set about restoring the area. In this they were helped throughout the next 100 years by the presence of small herds of cattle grazed by farmers from Waltham Cross.

Wanstead Flats is no longer the setting for struggles over food production, but the important role it played in feeding both London and the locality deserves to be remembered.

Mark and Peter’s talk will take place at Wanstead Library on 7 February from 8pm (visitors: £3).
Call 07949 026 212