Dear Lord Sugar
Wanstead has loads of history, but not much of it is left for us to enjoy today.
One exception is the Cherry Pie sign on the side of the George. The story behind the sign, which is dated 1752, is a bit mysterious, not least because the building is much more recent than that.
One theory, passed down the generations, is that a workman was up a ladder, leaned against the wall and stole a cherry pie from a vendor who passed by with a tray on his head. The workman was brought before court for this minor crime and fined half a guinea, hence the “cherry pey as cost half a guinea”.
Wikipedia tells us more:
The most likely explanation is that it was placed there by the landlord of 1752, David Jersey (corrupted by centuries of repainting and re-cutting the inscription to D Jerry on the plaque), commemorating a feast which included a huge cherry pie. Monstrous pies were a feature of 18th-century Essex rural festivals; the Galmpton Gooseberry Pie Fair in Devon is still in existence, and other inns around the edge of Epping Forest were famed for pies (rabbit pie at The Reindeer, Loughton, now Warren House, and pigeon pie at The King’s Head, Chigwell). Wanstead was well known for its cherry orchards as late as the 1830s, when they were mentioned by poet Thomas Hood, who lived in Wanstead 1832–5.
So you can see this is a charming bit of Wanstead history, which is in your stewardship since you own the building that the George is in. And yet it looks like it’s in a bit of trouble.
A leaky downpipe has clearly made the side of the wall damp. It’s now covered in green mossy stuff, and it will surely not last much longer unless urgent attention is taken.
Please, Lord Sugar, make sure this is sorted.