aRASRC19_027© Dave Warren 2019 for The Reading Agency, with thanks to Pancras Square Library

6,5,4,3,2,1… read

Library Development Officer Christine Thompson invites Wanstead’s children to take part in a space-themed reading challenge this summer and read six library books over the holidays. The Reading Agency’s annual Summer Reading Challenge is aimed at children aged four to 12 years and helps get almost three quarters of a million children into libraries to boost their reading skills and confidence. Children’s reading can ‘dip’ during the summer holidays if they don’t have regular access to books and encouragement to pick them up. In 2019, children across the UK will be able to take part in this year’s Summer Reading Challenge, entitled Space Chase, an out-of-this-world adventure inspired by the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. It is also the 20th anniversary of the...

(A)-DSC_2188-St-Marys,-Wanstead-2© Geoff Wilkinson

St Mary’s story

A series of talks will take place at St Mary’s Church this month exploring the building’s history. Canon Professor Mark Chapman, Professor of the History of Modern Theology at Oxford University, is one of the speakers. In the middle of the 19th century church architecture was big business – there was a wholesale rebuilding of medieval buildings and many celebrity architects. Only about a hundred churches were left untouched by the Victorians. Our ideas of what a church should look like come from their rather vivid re-imagination of the Middle Ages. When the Victorians built or ‘restored’ church buildings they had a particular set of ideas they wanted to put into practice: almost always they used Gothic forms, which they felt were properly ‘Christian’ (rather...


Old enough to…

In the first of a series of articles looking at Age UK RBH’s Allan Burgess Wanstead Activity Centre, manager Jackie Balman outlines a week of workouts and classes and invites anyone over 55 to pop in. Hello, my name is Jackie Balman and I manage the Allan Burgess Activity Centre in Wanstead for Age UK Redbridge, Barking and Havering (RBH). The centre is located on the corner of Grove Park and Wanstead High Street. We are open from 9.30am to 3.30pm Monday to Friday and from 9.30am to 12.30pm on Saturdays for coffee. In this article, I would like to give you some idea of what we offer here at the centre. For Redbridge residents over 55, this place is an absolute must! The activities...

IMG_20180719_203605142©Guli Hamra

Ball of creativity

Ahead of a series of wool art workshops for children at Wanstead Library, Guli Hamra explains how growing up in Kyrgyzstan provided her with an intrinsic connection to wool and how her creativity unravelled. My name is Guli and I have been living in England for 17 years. I am originally from Kyrgyzstan, a country in Central Asia. People in my country have traditionally been nomads and they have always used wool in their life. I grew up where people make carpets from wool, as well as yurts, clothes and many different things which we still use in modern life. In my childhood, I used to help my mum, our neighbours and relatives to make carpets. So, I know how to work with wool! I used to...

IMG_0385©James Knight

Colour experiment

James Knight has been experimenting with colour and abstract paintings since his childhood, experiments which have helped prepare him to take part in the 10th Art Trail Wanstead this September. My early years were spent in Shoreditch, and I always had an interest in drawing, painting and colour. My family were printers and worked with colour and form. I remember helping my mother spread ink onto a letterpress printing plate during my childhood. The form of the spread ink was one of my earlier experiments with colour. When I entered secondary school, my two main influences were art teachers Mr Wesley and Mr Swindon. Mr Swindon was a great portrait and caricature artist, whilst Mr Wesley was wonderful with colour and pattern. Both encouraged me to...

IMG_1826qFrank Lampard Sr with Snaresbrook FC

Squad of winners

Despite missing out on the league title, Snaresbrook FC are still a squad of winners, says Millicent Brown, and they count Frank Lampard Snr among their supporters. It’s been another fantastic year for the historic local Wanstead football team Snaresbrook FC, which has been playing on the Nutter Field for decades. Originally named RAFARNO – short for Royal Air Force Army Royal Navy Officers – the club was set up at the end of World War One to provide sporting activities for the local community. Even these days, a fenced-off section with a fir tree remains at the top end of the ground, marking the area where horses and carriages used to drop off passengers. This season, the team has been competing in one of...

20190622_065954Adam Land (Chair of Carefree Kids) with his niece, Francis, and two club members hit the first ball for the event

Aldersbrook Lawn Tennis Club holds 24-hour charity hit-a-thon

Aldersbrook Lawn Tennis Club held a 24-hour hit-a-thon last week, raising funds for children’s mental health charity Carefree Kids and the club. “Tennis and social members kept a ball in play during 24 hourly slots; either a tennis ball, a table tennis ball or a pool ball,” said a club spokesperson. Running from 6pm on 21 June until 6pm on 22 June, the event has raised £800 so far and was supported by local bands Replay, Breakfast Bunch and Major 3rd. Located on Blake Hall Road, the club boasts six all-weather courts. Visit


‘Not on our Watch’: interviewees needed for anti-war history project

Residents who have been involved in anti-war movements in east London are invited to participate in oral history project ‘Not on our Watch’. “We will be recording stories of campaigning, struggling and building relationships within the grassroots peace movement from post-WWII to the present day,” said a spokesperson for Eastside Community Heritage, a charity which promotes an understanding of inter-generational experiences through historical explorations. Call 020 8553 3116...


Public speaking club offers confidence boost

The new president of a local public speaking club is encouraging any residents keen to improve their confidence and leadership skills to join them. The Woodford Green Speakers are affiliated to Toastmasters International and meet fortnightly at Wanstead Golf Club. “Toastmasters has helped thousands around the world to overcome their fears of public speaking,” said Pamela Odukoya, who was elected as the group’s president in June. Meetings will take place on 9 and 23 July from 6.45pm. Visit


Memorial plaque for Joseph Merrick at City of London Cemetery

A memorial plaque has been placed in the City of London Cemetery at the recently discovered location of the final resting place of Joseph Merrick, who was exhibited as the Elephant Man in the 1880s. After his death in 1890, Joseph’s bones were removed of flesh and stored for medical study. What happened to the rest of his remains had been a mystery for over a century, until author Joanne Vigor-Mungovin studied the Aldersbrook cemetery’s burial records in April this year, which ultimately led her to the grave’s location....

ahgin-2Morning of the Battle of Agincourt, by Sir John Gilbert (1884)

The Battle of Agincourt: one of England’s most celebrated victories

The Battle of Agincourt (25 October 1415) will be discussed at next month’s meeting of the East of London Family History Society at Wanstead Library. “King Henry V’s wet, cold, tired, hungry and scared army inflicted a massive defeat on the French. Their knights charged into heavy, wet ground and were slaughtered, many even after they were captured. But when he returned home, Henry received a hero’s welcome,” said Jef Page, whose presentation will take place on 24 July from 7pm (visitors: £1.50). Call 020 8554 8414...

Screenshot 2019-06-26 13.55.18Jessica Norton, George Ireland and Lydia Haynes

Young line-up for Christ Church’s annual operatic event

An annual operatic event will return to Christ Church next month. “Glamour on the Green is an evening of operatic singing in the church from young professional musicians, with two sessions of music surrounding a 90-minute interval for picnics in the garden,” said a church spokesperson. The performers for the event on 20 July (from 6.30pm; tickets from £20) are: Jessica Norton (lead soprano), Lydia Haynes (mezzo-soprano), George Ireland (piano), Clem Hetherington (tenor) and Tom Mole (bass). Visit