January 2023


King Charles III’s Coronation: apply to host a street party


Residents wishing to mark King Charles III’s Coronation with a street party must make an application to Redbridge Council by 1 March.

“We will relax many of the usual rules and will not charge residents for road closures to celebrate this special occasion. Further details will feature on our website as plans develop,” said a council spokesperson. The Coronation will take place on 6 May and applications can be made to host a street party on any day of the special bank holiday weekend.

Visit wnstd.com/streetparty


Campaign to save Wanstead Youth Centre as council considers its future


Redbridge Council is considering the future of Wanstead Youth Centre, which it claims is in need of over £2.4m of refurbishments.

A campaign to save the Elmcroft Avenue site and register it as an asset of community value has been launched.

“This is a vital facility and there is simply nowhere to relocate all the groups that meet there. We reject the council’s claim that the venue is no longer fit for purpose; the flooring and lighting have only recently been improved,” said a campaign spokesperson.

A consultation on the future use of Wanstead Youth Centre runs until 13 March.

Visit wnstd.com/wyc


New map shows all Tin in a Bin foodbank collection points


A new map has been released locating all the Tin in a Bin foodbank collection points.

“We now stretch to Newbury Park in the east, Forest Gate in the south and Woodford in the north. We are always looking for more collectors, so if you live in a road or area not already covered on the map and would like to join our 50-plus network, please let us know,” said James Paterson.

Current foodbank requirements include tinned food, rice, pasta, pasta sauces, jams, peanut butter, cereals and long-life milk.

Visit wnstd.com/tinabsites



workhouseThe Waterloo Road workhouse, Bethnal Green

This month, The East of London Family History Society welcomes Sarah Wise to Wanstead Library, who will be talking about the Victorian workhouses of east London

The workhouse was just about the most feared and hated of all Victorian institutions – every bit as terrifying as prison and the ‘lunatic’ asylum. It wouldn’t be abolished (along with the entire machinery of the Victorian Poor Law) until 1929, but it continued to cast a long shadow across the family memories of many people – my own late mother included.

In the ‘General Mixed Workhouse’ were mingled together the able-bodied, the aged, children, the infirm, the acutely sick and the so-called ‘morally degenerate’. The Poor Law Commission declared in 1909 that this was why it was such a terrible method of dealing with poverty: “The continuous social intercourse between young and old, hardened and innocent, loafer and genuinely out-of-work.” Their report approvingly quoted one chairman of the Board of Guardians of the Poor as saying: “To the reputable clean-minded inmate, this association with the depraved is the bitterest and most humiliating experience.” There were, in 1909, some 24,000 children under the age of 16 in the workhouses of England and Wales, and while the Commission had discovered no large-scale child neglect or cruelty, nevertheless, the effect of workhouse life on a child’s spiritual and intellectual well-being was felt to be immense.

As one example, throughout the 1880s and 1890s, problems continued at the Bethnal Green Workhouse – in particular, their tardiness in adding an infirmary wing, to which the poor of the locality could go when ill or after an accident. Overcrowding was a perennial problem, and cleanliness and lack of good lighting were often cited. Extra premises for an overspill workhouse were leased out of the borough – in Well Street, Hackney – but this was a short-term solution. The Local Government Board (the Whitehall body that oversaw the nation’s workhouses) made a long and unannounced visit to Bethnal Green in 1894 and issued a damning report on the conditions and the corrupt awarding of contracts to supply the workhouse. 

Whether old or new, big or small, rural or urban, the workhouses of the nation were felt to be increasingly out of step with how a modern, technologically advanced country ought to be providing for those who were unable to compete in the workplace. This is why we see, from the early 1880s onwards, a concerted campaign to ‘humanise’ them, with many more creature comforts, better food, entertainments and hobbies.

In my illustrated talk, I’ll be focusing on these changes, with an emphasis on the London experience, and in particular, how the Bethnal Green workhouse was run.

Sarah’s talk will take place at Wanstead Library on 18 January from 7.30pm (visitors: £3). Call 07762 514 238

For more information on Sarah’s research, visit sarahwise.co.uk


Free will


Derek Inkpin from local solicitors Wiseman Lee looks at the problems of family disputes in relation to inheritance and wills and explains the importance of equity and mediation

What if your father who owns his farm says to you: “One day, all this will be yours,” but then years later, you fall out and your father changes his will to exclude you and leaves the farm to your brother? Can the law help you? Would your answer be any different if, based on the above promise, you worked on the farm for low wages for many years because you relied on that promise, and then have to leave the farm cottage you were given to find employment elsewhere?

Normally speaking, a promise is not enforceable unless it is made part of a contract. Another aspect is that we are free to change our will until death. However, if we act to our detriment by relying on a promise of inheritance and give up getting a better-paid job elsewhere to work on the farm, the verbal promise given to you earlier will likely be enforceable.

There is something called equity, which will put right an injustice where the law would not normally help. Equity will restrain the rigid application of legal rules where the outcome would be unconscionable and therefore unfair because you have been given a promise but later that promise to confer property on you is broken. 

The remedy which you ask the court to decide in your favour is called proprietary estoppel. This sounds rather quaint, but put simply, means a person cannot break a promise without the court stepping in to stop an unfair outcome. If this explanation seems an obvious result, what the courts continuously have to do is to resolve a clash of legal principles. For example, on the one hand, having the freedom to make a will of your choosing but having that will overturned because something was said many years before which contradicts the will.

Family disputes, of course, can get very complicated and expensive because the persons in dispute see their family relationship fall apart with the worry of how the dispute is to be paid for. Against that, the arguments both for and against raise really important principles which, understandably, people are not prepared to forgo.

One of the major changes in my working lifetime is the use of mediation. Instead, therefore, of listening to both parties’ barristers slugging it out in court with the huge legal costs normally being paid by the loser, there is much to be said for the appointment of an experienced mediator, who helps both sides at a fairly early stage make their own contributions to the process and, hopefully, an agreed outcome, with your lawyer to help you during the process.

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


Listen and learn

rmsRedbridge Music Service students

In the 28th of a series of articles, David Bird discusses the work of Redbridge Music Society and Redbridge Music Service, whose students will be performing in Wanstead this January

Two main aims of Redbridge Music Society are to promote and support up-and-coming young musicians, especially those residing within the borough, and to bring a diverse range of musical styles and genres to the people of Redbridge. Both aims will be realised when the students of Redbridge Music Service put on a recital in the Churchill Room of Wanstead Library this January. 

Based at the John Savage Centre in Barkingside, Redbridge Music Service is the gem in Redbridge’s musical crown. Through the many years of its existence, the service has nurtured numerous talented young musicians, a large number of which have gone on to become professionals.

As part of the levelling-up strategy, the government has recently published a refreshed national plan for music education, building on the existing system of national music education hubs. A cornerstone of the plan is that every music hub establishes a local plan, involving partnerships and opportunities for students to progress and create music together, especially through live performances. To this end, Redbridge Music Service provides a wide range of instrumental and vocal tuition in schools throughout the borough – even at nursery and reception level – with instruments being available for hire from the service’s instrument centre.

In addition, Redbridge Music Service presents about 50 annual concerts, ranging from events at the John Savage Centre to public recitals, such as the Wanstead event and other major events at Redbridge Town Hall. And every two years, Redbridge Music Service puts on the renowned Redbridge Schools’ Choral Festival at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

The importance of being involved in music and gaining performance skills cannot be underestimated. Learning a musical instrument can significantly improve important developmental qualities, such as self-confidence, imagination and creativity, memory and coordination skills and communication, team and social skills – all of which also greatly benefit other areas in the school curriculum. 

Redbridge Music Service encourages its students to explore music from a wide range of historical periods, genres and traditions. This will certainly be evident at the recital at Wanstead Library when the students will perform an eclectic mix of music and musical styles. Their recitals are always a popular and well-attended event and are now a standard annual feature in Redbridge Music Society’s calendar. Please come along and support our exceptional home-grown talent!

Students of Redbridge Music Service will perform at Wanstead Library on 24 January from 8pm (tickets on the door: £8). Call 07380 606 767. Redbridge Music Society is supported by Vision RCL and affiliated to Making Music.


More than words


Art Group Wanstead member Stella de la Sauce presents her leaf poetry artwork, which makes a statement about human language and existence

The poet RM Rilke said: “If we surrendered to earth’s intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees.“ One could argue Homo sapiens have risen. Humankind’s ingenuity has allowed us to shelter ourselves from the inhospitable sides of nature, but the unkind and destructive way in which we dominate the natural world has come at a cost. We have removed ourselves so far that we have started to regard ourselves as distinct from that of which we are ultimately a part. While we may appear to stand tall, without roots to ground us, will we eventually fall? 

I have always been fascinated by this dichotomy of the human existence and when, after a first career as a dancer, I embarked on a new creative career as a visual artist, it was this fascination that inspired my work. Nature’s resilience, the implications of our lost connection to nature and what it would take to reconnect are reoccurring themes in my art.

We don’t get wet in the rain.
We have umbrellas.
We don’t get mud between our toes.
We have shoes.
We don’t feel the storm.
We have houses.
We don’t smell the grass.
We have a job.
We don’t hug trees.
We have a life.
We have…
Lost, so much.

When I wrote this poem and typed it directly onto leaves, it was to create a symbol of the missing dialogue between us and nature, wondering if the very language that humans tend to regard as the most sophisticated form of communication around, may, in fact, be a barrier when it comes to connecting with the natural world. Since nature doesn’t speak to us on our terms, do we fail to even make an effort to understand?

Having recently joined Art Group Wanstead, tirelessly run by the fabulous Donna Mizzi, I have had the wonderful opportunity to show, amongst other works, the piece Leaf Poetry: Lost at the Wanstead Festival and at The Stow Brothers. I have been able to experience first-hand how supportive Wanstead and the Wanstead Village Directory are of their local arts community. The openness with which locals have engaged with my work has been a huge pleasure. I am looking forward to many more future conversations about art and nature with the lovely people of Wanstead.

To view more of Stella’s work, visit sdls.gallery. For more information on Art Group Wanstead, visit wnstd.com/art


Lady that knits


Jo Fensome helps support the local area through knitting. Here, the Friends of Wanstead Parklands member explains her nickname and why she loves living here

A few years ago, as I came out of Wanstead Station, a woman came up to me and said: “You’re the lady that knits!” Her son had bought a little pumpkin I had knitted and he had lost it and she wondered if I had any more. So, that’s who I am now!

I was born in Lewisham Hospital on the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour (7 December 1941). Useful knowledge in quizzes. When I was two years old, we were bombed out of our home in Streatham and evacuated to a little village close to Malvern. After the war, we moved back to Streatham and then to Bexleyheath. My youth was spent as a member of the Woodcraft Folk and I spent each summer camping in the UK and once in Norway and once in Austria.

When I married I moved to a village in Kent called Lenham where I joined the Women’s Institute. Life got complicated and I moved to Leeds with my daughter Ruth. My parents had moved to Tadcaster so we were close to them. I taught in a primary school in Bramley. When Leeds closed down their middle schools, I took early retirement. I then spent my time as a Woodcraft Folk Leader and on many management committees. I also volunteered at a Development Education Centre, thus continuing some work in schools.

My daughter moved to Forest Gate after university. My best friend in Leeds was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s and went into residential care in Plymouth. I decided to move closer to my daughter and thus bought my flat in Wanstead in June 2009.

I really enjoy the fact that I have Wanstead Park on one side and Wanstead Flats on the other. As I like to know more about the place I live, I joined the Friends of Wanstead Parklands and was soon a member of the committee.

I looked for a way to raise money for the Friends and found some pattern books for knitted toys. I now knit many toys which are sold on the various stalls we run and also on the litter pick days in the park (second Sunday of every month; meet at the Temple at 11am). I was delighted to raise £196 at the last Wanstead Festival by selling the knitted animals. When Covid came along, I left the committee but still knit toys to sell.

I love Wanstead Park because I always feel better when I am in it. The greenery and the lakes give me great pleasure. I love to visit the Temple when it is open and enjoy a coffee or diet coke bought from the Tea Hut. I sit by the side of Heronry Pond watching the ducks, geese and swans enjoying themselves. I’ve seen great crested grebes and many small water creatures. I’ve listened to all the birds that frequent the woods. I am very glad to have moved here.

For more information on the Friends of Wanstead Parklands, visit wnstd.com/fwp


Sheets and blankets to be collected at Eagle Pond to aid swan rescues


Local swan rescue volunteers are collecting unwanted blankets to aid the transport of injured birds.

Avian influenza means nothing used for one bird can be used for another, and we have rigorous cleaning routines in place. We use bedding in the ambulance travel pods and also when a rescued bird doesn’t need admission but is held locally for observation,” said Swan Sanctuary volunteer Gill Walker. Bed linen, sheets and blankets will be collected at an event at Eagle Pond on 21 January from 11am to 12 noon.

Visit wnstd.com/swanrescue


Redundancy rights


The redundancy process can be stressful and difficult, so it is important to know your rights as an employee, says Jo Cullen from local solicitors Edwards Duthie Shamash

If you are about to be consulted, or you are in the process of being consulted about redundancy, it is important you know your rights.

You have the right not to be unfairly dismissed. In a redundancy, this means:

  • You should be warned and consulted about the proposed redundancy.
  • Your employer must adopt a fair basis on which to select for redundancy. They must identify an appropriate pool from which to select potentially redundant employees and must select against proper criteria.
  • Your employer must consider suitable alternative employment if appropriate.

The right not to be unfairly dismissed only applies to employees who have been employed continuously for two years or more at the termination date. However, you have rights from day one of employment where your redundancy is due to discrimination due to any of the protected characteristics (sex, pregnancy, marital status or civil partnership, age, race, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment or religion), victimisation or harassment or for less favourable treatment due to your fixed-term or part-time status. If you are on maternity (or adoption or shared parental) leave, you have an automatic right to be offered any suitable alternative vacancies that may be available.

If your redundancy is confirmed, you will be entitled to your contractual notice subject to statutory minimum notice. Where you have been employed for two years or more, you will be entitled to a statutory redundancy payment, calculated according to a formula based on your age, length of service (capped at 20 years) and a week’s pay (subject to a statutory limit, currently £643 as of April 2023). You may also be entitled to a contractual enhanced redundancy payment subject to signing a settlement agreement. A redundancy payment can be paid tax-free (up to £30,000). All other contractual payments such as notice and holiday are subject to normal deductions for tax and national insurance. With two or more years service, you will also have the right to take reasonable paid time off to look for other work or arrange training.

If your employer is insolvent or refuses to pay, you have the right to apply to the National Insurance Fund for payment of your statutory redundancy and some other payments.

We would advise you to take advice early to ensure you are aware of your rights in full and of any time limits to make a claim for unfair dismissal, victimisation or discrimination.

Edwards Duthie Shamash is located at 149 High Street, Wanstead, E11 2RL. For more information, call 020 8514 9000 or visit edwardsduthieshamash.co.uk


History comes home

tv© Redbridge Museum

Redbridge Museum will open a new permanent exhibition in spring 2023 exploring 200,000 years of local history. In the 11th of a series of articles, Museum Officer Nishat Alam looks at some of the items on show

Happy New Year from Redbridge Museum! While we remained closed in 2022, it was a very busy year for our team. We spent time meeting with local people and collecting more stories, writing text labels and panels, and working with designers to come up with some brand-new displays telling the story of the people, places and events that make up Redbridge’s history.

Through this column, I’ve explored various themes that will feature in the new museum, from Wanstead’s Roman past and local women’s history to the difficult stories surrounding historic figures and houses in the Woodford area. While it seems as though I may have covered nearly all of Redbridge’s history in the past year, there’s still plenty I haven’t mentioned. Some of the new displays to look forward to are a new and bigger early history section, a Mini Museum for under-5s and a new roomset featuring one of the most unique objects in our collection: a 1970s Keracolor ‘Space Age’ television, pictured here.

The museum redevelopment wasn’t the only thing we were working on in 2022, of course. We opened our Asian Roots in Redbridge exhibition in April, celebrating the history of South Asian life in Redbridge, and Royal Redbridge to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in May. In June, we worked with an app developer to create an exciting augmented reality experience with a Victorian mangle from our collection, combining history and technology for Redbridge Central Library’s Tech Ilford festival.

A personal highlight for me was People Powered, a major project in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery. In the summer, we held workshops with local young people and acclaimed photographer Eddie Otchere, exploring photography and the history of Ilford Limited, the world-famous photographic company. The project ended with the Ilford Limited: Analogue Stories exhibition, which opened in December and remains on show until March 2023.

Schools and families can also continue to enjoy Redbridge Museum programmes while we’re closed. Teachers across the borough can still book our popular education sessions for their year groups, taking place online or in the classroom. And anyone with children to entertain can view and download a variety of Museum from Home activities from our website. 

The good news is we don’t have too long left to go! The new Redbridge Museum, complete with old and new stories about the borough’s past, will reopen this spring. We hope that Wanstead and Woodford residents will join us to celebrate this new chapter.

For more information on Redbridge Museum and to complete a survey about the new displays, visit wnstd.com/rm


Volunteer bakers raise over £1,200 for local children’s hospice


The Haven House Christmas Cake Appeal raised over £1,200 last month.

The annual fundraiser was embraced by nine volunteer bakers, whose festive cakes were delivered across Wanstead and Woodford in exchange for a donation to the Woodford Green hospice.

“I would like to say a big thank you to the bakers for their time and effort, and for paying for the ingredients out of their own pockets, and to the buyers who gave very generously, many of whom support this cause year after year,” said organiser Sarah-Jane Mendonça.