Many fine bits of historic Wanstead no longer stand. But one solid block of it is part of the fabric of our everyday experience, and it is fitting that as we start to unveil the events which will make up the first Wanstead Fringe, we doff our caps to it.
The block in question is the 1752 “Cherry Pie Stone”, encased in the side of the George Inn. Strangely spelt and worded, its lettering is weatherbeaten but, like Wanstead itself, it still stands.
The story behind the stone is not known for sure. Wanstead historian Winifred Philips thought it was the result of a bit of thieving, while some think it just celebrated a good feast. But the inscription – â€œThat day we had good cheer/I hope to do so maney a year” – struck Wansteadium as almost the throwing down of a gauntlet to keep a noble tradition alive.
The stone calls out to us: “Hold a cherry pie bake-off!”
So that’s exactly what is happening, as part of the inaugural finge (which begins in just two weeks’ time). All Wanstead bakers are invited to try to outdo each other in their skills as they play a part in this revival of bygone traditions – and the focus for the baking will be the Wanstead Village Show, which is being held on Saturday 14 September at Christchurch.
As well as the cherry pie category, there are classes for cupcakes, preserves, knitting, photography, flower arranging and vegetable, fruit and flower growing (including one for unusually shaped fruit or veg). Â Full details ofÂ Â how to take part in the Wanstead Village Show 2013 can be downloaded here.
Wansteadium will be honoured to be one of the judges, and will lavish praise and minor celebrity on the baker whose cherry pie impresses the most. So get baking.