Big weekend of events in Wanstead

The pent-up enthusiasm for events completely overflows this weekend in Wanstead. Here is a quick rundown.

SATURDAY 4 December

Christmas Present Appeal – a chance to drop off gifts for people who need them (new gifts only, please – suggested items include toiletry sets, Lego, Play Figures/dolls, Play Dough, Colouring Sets, Board Games, Magic Sets, Books, Stocking Fillers, £5 gift cards). Also needed are warm clothing and trainers for homeless men; also pants and socks (new). And items for the foodbank, including chocolates, selection boxes and non-perishable food items. Organised by the Tin in a Bin team. Drop off from 10am to 2pm at Wanstead Cricket Club.

Small Business Saturday – support the local High Street traders we all value so much. If you can buy something from them, rather than elsewhere, then you should.

Local Makers Market – the Christmas edition of this firm favourite returns, with local craftspeople showing handmade products, to the Christ Church halls from 11am to 4.30pm.

Charity Christmas Fair – from Wanstead Social Knitworks – knitted gifts raising money for the Corner House Project. At the Cuckfield from noon-5pm.


Wanstead Farmers Market -The forecast is now looking fine for the first of the Christmas farmers’ markets. 10am – 3pm.

Wanstead Church School Christmas Fair – Christmas carols, fair rides, games, face painting, Christmas shopping and good old fashioned festive fun at Wanstead Church School’s outdoor Christmas Fair. You can also book for children to have a magical Elsa experience: There is also a silent auction with items donated by local businesses 11am – 3pm.

Snaresbrook Primary School Christmas Fete and Silent Auction – Fun for all the family including Santa’s grotto, arts and crafts, carols and refreshments. 12pm – 3pm.

(More to come…)

(We have temporary glitches with our usual Events Calendar. Please for the time being let us know of any events by emailing them to

Christmas tree sales start early

No waiting for December for the start of Christmas tree sales this year, as Wanstead’s usual vendors start to see how they will fare against the Tree Amigos venture on Christchurch Green.

What is that about? The arrival of the tree seller on the Green has enraged many Wanstead residents on social media, many of whom say it is unfair competition for Wanstead traders.

Why is it there? It’s the first time that the Green has been used in this particular way. Like many other spaces, the Green is run by Vision Redbridge Culture and Leisure, a charity which operates facilities on behalf of Redbridge Borough Council. Vision is seeking to make more use of the open spaces and also is seeking to raise money, which it undertakes is reinvested in Redbridge facilities.

What does Redbridge say? In a statement to Wansteadium, a spokesperson for Redbridge said:

“This is the first time we have had a Christmas tree market at Christchurch Green and it has been received positively by many visitors to Wanstead. It is one of a number of events and activities in Wanstead that add to the Christmas season festivities.

“Having unique temporary vendors coming to the borough is all part of our efforts to improve the Christmas experience in the area. The Christmas tree seller at Christchurch Green is also offering reindeer and Father Christmas themed games for children, and has donated to the Silent Auction for Christchurch School Christmas Fayre.

“We have many other activities across Redbridge for the festive season, such as ice skating at Fairlop Waters, and on Saturday 11 December at 4:30pm the Santa Express will be visiting Wanstead.

“We want residents and visitors to come to the local area to shop, eat and drink, all of which benefits our local businesses.”

What do Wanstead councillors say? A statement posted on Facebook by Jo Blackman, Paul Donovan and Daniel Morgan-Thomas says:

We have been assured that the vendor must leave the Green undamaged as part of their agreement; they pay the market rate for use of the space which will be ploughed back by Vision into local leisure and parks maintenance. The fencing is there to protect the stock and help contain the market. We encourage residents to shop locally on our High Street and hope they will also enjoy the activities on the Green this Christmas.

What next: Jo Blackman added she would be monitoring the impact on High Street sellers from the new venture.

ULEZ expansion working?

Fewer drivers than expected are driving polluting vehicles in the newly expanded Ultra Low Emission Zone, which includes Wanstead.

Good news for: Humans and other lifeforms in Wanstead and other areas inside the North Circular which are being exposed to less pollution. The zone expanded in October.

Unexpected consequence for: Transport for London, which had expected to raise up to £2m a day from charges for drivers who had not updated their vehicles to less polluting models. Cameras within the ULEZ recognise moving vehicles which are not compliant and charge owners £12.50 a day. TfL has lowered its financial expectations to £600m over three years because of “fewer journeys by polluting vehicles being made compared to original expectations”. (Quoted in the Standard here.)

Bigger picture: TfL has had its finances hit by the lockdown with millions of people staying at home rather than going on the Tube or buses. It’s appealing to the Government for extra funding and has warned that bus routes and even an entire Tube line might be closed to save money.

Reminder on how to submit events

With Christmas approaching, happily events are taking place again (unlike last year, and – who knows? – unlike next year). And the best way to let Wanstead people know about an event is still the Wanstead Events Calendar. After years of faithful curation by Stephanie Pettigrew, it’s now possible for organisers to add and amend events themselves.

How to submit an event: On the links at the top of this page you’ll see “Wanstead Events Calendar”. Beneath that you will see a link which says “Submit an event”. You can also just click this link.

Just follow the steps. You’ll be able to add all details for your event – please add a picture too to make sure it gets noticed. All events have to be approved (to avoid spam) so there might be a delay until your item appears on the calendar.

D’vine riddle

The new building in its final stages

New shop: The rather impressive new building on the site of the former Joliffe Builder’s office is to be an establishment known as “D’vine Nature”. We don’t yet know what kind of business it will be, but a licensing application has been made to Redbridge for it to have an off-premises alcohol licence.

What is it? We’re trying, with our finger stuck in the air, to work out what it might be… An organic wine cellar? A wholefood shop? Something we can’t yet imagine?

Traditional: As ever, we wish the people behind the venture good luck and hope what they bring will add to rich texture of the High Street.

Flashback: The new building was approved after a previous application, which would have been known as The Cube and would have been clad in green, was rejected. This new development provides seven one-bedroom flats and six two-bedroom flats as well as the new shop.

Farewell to Oxfam’s Andrew

It’s goodbye to Andrew Farress, longtime Wanstead resident and, for the past decade, manager of the Oxfam bookshop on Wanstead High Street. He’s leaving Wanstead to move with his partner to Taunton, Somerset, where he will be taking up a new role managing the Oxfam shop there.

Under his management, and with the support of volunteers and donors, the Wanstead shop has become one of Oxfam’s most successful and has helped raise hundreds of thousands for the charity. He has also been an enthusiastic supporter of the Wanstead Fringe, hosting several events in the shop over the years.

Good luck to Andrew, and thank you for your service.