Author: Wansteadium

The Wanstead Fringe was highlighted by the Times on Friday as a reason people should move to Wanstead, something which has given Wansteadium a spring in its step this weekend.

There are several other compliments for Wanstead too… “pleasant shopping street”, “good range of independent shops”, “as leafy as you’ll get without moving to the real country”, and perhaps the best bit of all: “Locals are a community-spirited bunch in Wanstead.” Our friends in the Wanstead Community Gardeners get a very nice nod, as do Wanstead’s schools. The full version is online here.

In fact the only catch mentioned is that Wanstead is “encircled by busy A-roads including the North Circular”. Definitely more to come on this subject from October when the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone is extended to all areas inside the North Circular, meaning old and more-polluting cars will be banished from Wanstead. Bad for owners of older cars – good for people who like their air to be clean.

The Wanstead Fringe is going ahead this year from 3-19 September. Early details of some events will be published here in the next few days.

If you’re on this site, you’ll be aware that we like to note new signs on shops in Wanstead. We make no apology for this (so if your reaction, having come to this site, is to object to us writing about a new sign, then you really should take a look at yourself rather than add a comment to this post which says something like “Have you got nothing better to be interested in? You’re utterly pathetic” We’re not. YOU are).

So nice to see the new sign over the beautician now known as Polished, and even nicer to note that it complies completely with the rules for signs on High Street shops (which state that it should not be “internally lit”, a rule which seems to be more honoured in the breach than the observance).

And for those keeping count of Wanstead shops which have French names, please remove Click Beautique from the list.

(Just FYI, the list currently includes: Beauté Parfaite, Provender, Café Brasserie, Jo Jo Maman Bébé, Le Marmiton, La Bakerie, and Le Voyage.)

Woe betide anyone who needs to make a phone call while out in Wanstead and doesn’t have a mobile with them. The absolute state of the phone box – which has actually deteriorated since these photos were taken – is a disgrace. The phone itself is useless, the cubicle is a health hazard, and the noble idea of providing public access phones seems to have lost its point.

This is a nice bit of unsung social action… Wanstead estate agent Dabora Conway is marking three years since it started supporting The Hygiene Bank, an organisation which helps women and families who suffer from domestic abuse by providing basic items such as toothpaste and deodorant.

The High Street office collects new, unused, in-date personal care and household cleaning essentials including deodorant, shower gel, shampoo/conditioner, sanitary pads and tampons,  face wash and wipes, disposable razors and shaving foam, nappies, soap, toothpaste/toothbrushes, body and face lotions, make-up, beauty gifts and toilet roll.

A Hygiene Bank co-ordinator said: “Women and families in our community are suffering horrendous domestic abuse.

“The ways in which this abuse is inflicted is often via withholding household funds to buy basic items such as toothpaste and deodorant so the women feel too ashamed to go out in public and therefore stay in the house where they can be controlled.

“Complete denial of access to sanitary items is another obvious and degrading way to exercise ultimate control over a woman’s (& daughter’s) freedom on a regular basis. 

“These women and their children seek support and advice at a local refuge but they are often not in a position to escape their abusers.

“Also, hygiene poverty is not being able to afford many of the everyday hygiene and personal grooming products most of us take for granted. The reality of low income is that it restricts people’s options, leaving them caught between being able to heat their homes, pay the rent, eat or be clean.”

Donations have unfortunately dropped off during the pandemic – so anyone who is moved to help is invited to drop in suitable items to the Dabora Conway office on the High Street.

Further information can be found at thehygienebank.com

Modesty forbids us from going on too much about this, but it’s only fair to note another baby step in the early life of Wanstead Bookshop, a new venture which in its first few months has already supplied hundreds of books to Wanstead readers.

The new development is a pop-up bookshelf, housed hospitably by the High Street’s newest café, City Place Coffee. The bulk of Wanstead Bookshop’s sales are online at wansteadbookshop.com (it’s a website which offers personal service – radical, huh? – and same day despatch of books). But having a physical presence on the High Street offers a glimpse of a different dimension. The economics of bookshops are pretty unfavourable, Wansteadium can exclusively reveal, and will continue to be so while people still buy from well-known online retailers whose name begins with A and contains a Z.

But the new bookshelf has been warmly welcomed by customers and has been something of a hit.

We can also happily announe that the new novel from Wanstead’s favourite actress, Jackie Clune, is available at the bookshelf, as well as online.

And we can also tempt readers that as part of its contribution to this year’s Wanstead Fringe (assuming Covid doesn’t derail things again) Wanstead Bookshop will be hosting a series of events with writers who include Hannah Armstrong, the author of the much anticipated history of Wanstead House.