To mark Women’s History Month, an Eastside Community Heritage exhibition at Wanstead Library will uncover the stories of local women inventors this March. Judith Garfield reports The world of invention and enterprise has been male-dominated throughout history and the lives and creations of female inventors have frequently been overlooked, glossed over and ignored. Women have consistently had their contributions swept under the rug and hidden in the background while their male counterparts have stood in the foreground as standalone pioneers. Women from east London who were behind four revolutionary innovations – which changed the way we eat, dress, love and find our way home – have now had their stories discovered in our new exhibition. One such story was that of Phyllis Pearsall, who invented...

Wanstead High School© Geoff Wilkinson

School reunion: calling Wanstead High School’s class of ’77

An informal reunion for those who attended Wanstead High School between 1970 and 1977 – and who will therefore be turning 60 this academic year – will take place at The George this month. "This will give our year group the opportunity to meet and re-meet with old friends, have a king-sized catch-up, reminisce and raise a glass to our days at school… If you have any photos you’d be happy to share, please bring them along," said organiser Francesca Fenn. The event will take place on 13 March from 7pm. Visit wavidi.co/class77...


Fine amnesty as libraries across Redbridge undergo major upgrade

Libraries across Redbridge are being upgraded to improve online and interactive services for library users. “The new system will make it easier and quicker for residents to download eBooks and search for books and services online, as well as incorporating a brand new app so customers can access their library on the move… This is also an opportunity for budding authors and local publications to share their work online as the system change will give them access to online facilities,” said a spokesperson. During the upgrade – which is expected to be completed by mid-March – it will not be possible to renew items and a fine amnesty will be in place until the end of the month. Joining a library, using public computers and...

Haven House Sparkle Walk

Haven House Sparkle Walk returns to Wanstead with new route

An annual 10km women's walk in aid of Haven House Children's Hospice will begin and end in Wanstead on 10 May (£15, plus sponsorship), with this year's participants following a new route encompassing Epping Forest, South Woodford and a halfway Sparkle Station in the grounds of the Woodford Green charity. "Our Sparkle Walk is back, and it’s bigger, brighter and packed with even more glitter," said a spokesperson. Last year's event, which raised more than £21,000, saw more than 200 women take part. Visit wavidi.co/sparkle19...

New nets

Cricket club launches Project Heron to raise £75k for new nets

Wanstead and Snaresbrook Cricket Club has launched a fundraising drive called Project Heron. "To help us build on our recent achievements on the field, our facilities need to be upgraded urgently. We have identified what we need: new, state-of-the-art ECB-certified nets, the same kind the players use at Lord’s… We also plan to complete the refurbishment of our clubhouse by the start of the 2020 season," said a spokesperson for the Overton Drive club, which is looking to raise £75k. Visit wavidi.co/prheron...

Defib launchThe launch took place last month

Saving lives: new defibrillators to be installed in public places

Redbridge Council is installing 30 public access defibrillators in a bid to save lives. “The locations are being finalised and we will be able to share the information very soon… The project will include four on our housing estates across the borough and installations at Redbridge libraries in partnership with Vision,” said a council spokesperson. An online map shows the current location of the borough’s defibrillators – including one at Wanstead Leisure Centre – to be updated as the new equipment is rolled out. Visit wavidi.co/defib...

Plans for Derek's Garden

School to construct reflection garden in memory of lollipop man

Wanstead Church School has won £3,750 from the Aviva Community Fund, having reached the final round thanks to online votes from local supporters. "Our bid for funding for our reflection garden project was voted a judges' choice winner and means the project can now go ahead," said a school spokesperson. The garden – which it is hoped will be in place by the Easter holidays – will be called Derek’s Garden, in memory of lollipop man Derek Jarvis, who helped children cross Wanstead High Street for 10 years before he died in 2017....

Climate ChangeThis is an emergency

‘This is an emergency’: local meeting on climate change (and what to do about it)

A public meeting on climate change will take place at Wanstead House this month. Featuring speakers from Extinction Rebellion – an international social movement that aims to bring about change through non-violent resistance – the event on 26 March (7pm to 9pm; free) will share the latest climate science findings, discuss some of the current psychology around climate change and offer solutions through the study of social movements. "The planet is in ecological crisis: we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction event this planet has experienced. Scientists believe we may have entered a period of abrupt climate breakdown. This is an emergency," said event organiser Kathy Taylor. "Everyone is welcome, and there will be time to ask questions and discuss afterwards." Email wansteadclimateaction@gmail.com...


Decade to remember

Join historian Nick Dobson on a trip back to 1950s London at Wanstead Library this month and discover a decade during which wartime austerity gave way to growing optimism It is tempting to look at the 1950s as the dull decade bracketed by the battlefield of the forties and carnival of the sixties. If the London of the 1960s is in glorious psychedelic colour, then surely the fifties remain in drab black and white? However, the decade which started in austerity ended with Harold Macmillan telling us we had never had it so good! It was a decade of steady progress towards new confidence and prosperity; a march towards modern Britain, seen with greatest clarity in London. At the start of the fifties, the average...

DSC_4428-q©Geoff Wilkinson

Floating ideas

Rising at Molehill Green in Essex, the River Roding passes through the Wanstead and Woodford area en route to the Thames, bringing with it a very real flood risk to local homes. In the first of a series of articles charting the ideas and hopes of the River Roding Project – which aims to reduce that risk – Laura Hepworth from the Environment Agency is keen to seek community support for the project. Photography by Geoff Wilkinson The River Roding has a long history of flooding. Flood events have been recorded since 1926, occurring in 1939, 1947, 1974, 1988, 1993, 2000 and 2007. In 2000, over 400 properties flooded in Woodford. Charlie Brown’s Roundabout was shut for over a week, impacting access to schools and supermarkets. Broadmead...


Here for us all

With a new shop to open in Wanstead this month, Saint Francis Hospice will raise its profile in the area. But the service provided by the Havering-based charity has always been here for us, says Amanda Green. This time two years ago Saint Francis Hospice entered my life as my mum entered Saint Francis Hospice. It was life-changing on many levels. Mostly, of course, because my beloved mum was dying and went into Saint Francis to receive end-of-life care. But it was also life-changing because once I and my family experienced what a hospice does, and in particular the care which Mum received, there was no way we couldn't feel anything but compelled to support the charity by raising funds and awareness. For me, this...


Busy doing nothing

Before the internet, boredom was something to be feared. Today, experts are wondering whether it is good for us. Wanstead resident Steve Wilks examines why this may be the case. Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard thought it was the root of all evil. Writer Mary Renault considered it intellectual defeat. French sociologist Jean Baudrillard declared it the world's second-worst crime. But where boredom might once have been something to fear, today we are never truly bored. In our era of non-stop notifications, how can we be? According to a survey, the average Brit checks their smartphone 28 times a day – at least once per hour. That's more that 10,000 times a year. "Those little spaces of 'no work', like walking through a park, are disappearing,"...