Uncertain future for St Mary’s

St Mary’s, photographed by Geoff Wilkinson
St Mary’s church in Overton Drive, probably the most admired building in Wanstead, faces an uncertain future as the church community which worships there considers how the building should be looked after.

The Grade 1 listed church, which is part of the Parish of Wanstead, faces high maintenance costs – estimated at ¬£150,000 – and so is discussing three options for its future. One is to hand the building over to a charitable trust; a second is to sell the building to another Christian denomination; and a third is to hand the building over to a churches’ conservation charity. All three options would mean the end of weekly Anglican worship at the site which has been going on for more than 800 years, though services could be held a number of times each year.

An additional problem has been caused by changes to the way the Heritage Lottery Fund gives grants to places to worship, which have made it harder to get backing.

An estimated 30 people worship at the church each Sunday, with a further 200 meeting at Christ Church on the High Street.

The consultation is, however, open to other ideas for the building’s future. And naturally anyone with a passion for the building who has deep pockets would be welcome to come forward. The church can be contacted at wansteadparishadmin@uwclub.net.

Bonfire of the box trees

Wanstead is currently overrun with nasty little caterpillars which have devastated hundreds of gardeners’ box trees. And the forecast isn’t good.

Wansteadium has been warning since 2016 about the rise of the box caterpillar, and sadly it’s now come true with long-established and cultivated plants being stripped of their leaves. The pest was first detected in the UK in 2011 and has been gradually spreading north. It arrived in Wanstead in 2015/6.

There is little gardeners can do to tackle the pest, apart from picking the caterpillars off by hand and using powerful pesticides, which many people won’t want to do. Anecdotal evidence suggests Bayer’s Provado Ultimate Bug Killer (available at Heads n Tails) can have some effect, but some gardeners will conclude that pulling up the boxes is a better solution.

The new campaign group Wild Wanstead, which is encouraging people to make the most of their gardens, has this list of suggested alternatives to box.

Time Out sees error of its ways

Time Out has belatedly realised that Wanstead is not part of Forest Gate, following complaints from two Wansteadium readers.

Last week we noted that the magazine’s Love London awards had given accolades to Bare Brew, The Larder, Manor House, Luppolo and the Duke – but had classified them all as being part of Forest Gate.

Readers @lovevintagecary and Andy wrote to the magazine pointing out the error of their ways, and both received assurances that next year Wanstead would be classed as Wanstead. The error had come, apparently, because they had taken their definitions of neighbourhoods from Google Maps. Andy offered to post them an A-Z, while Cary proved her point with copies of Boundary Commission maps.

Next year, they were told, things would be set right. We’ll be watching.


Wanstead Tube ‘second most dangerous’

Wanstead Tube station has come out second highest on the whole London Underground for passenger injuries. There were 22 injuries recorded in 2017, compared to seven for South Woodford and three for Snaresbrook.

The figures for local stations are:

No explanation has been given for the figures, or rationale as to what makes stations more dangerous than others. Wanstead’s relatively long escalators, for instance, might be a factor, but it still has more accidents per passenger than Holborn (2.06) or Angel (1.19) which have longer escalators.

The data was released by TfL and published by Accident Claims Advice, which has produced this map based on the figures.


London Underground Accident Map

What IS Time Out’s problem with Wanstead?

Results of one Forest Gate category

Sadly no Wanstead establishments made it to the Time Out Love London Awards 2018.

Several Forest Gate ones did though, including winners Bare Brew, The Duke and the Manor House, and runners up including The Larder and Luppolo.

Year after year the Time Out awards seem to have a problem with¬† the existence of Wanstead – for several years Wanstead venues were listed as being part of Leytonstone, until we threw our toys out of the pram and they were reclassified as “Leytonstone and Wanstead”. But now Wanstead is officially a part of Forest Gate. Personally we blame the Wanstead Tap for blurring the lines.

In the meantime, many hearty congratulations to all these Forest Gate winners.