Ralph Wansteadman

Wansteadium reader Jim Cactus writes:

Ralph Steadman – the illustrator and cartoonist best known for his long working relationhip with Hunter S. Thompson that heralded ‘gonzo’ journalism, in Rolling Stone magazine and in the novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Illustrator of material as diverse as Alice in Wonderland, Animal Farm, a set of stamps, the Oddbins catalogue, the poster for Withnail and I, Private Eye, The Independent, The Telegraph, and a host of other things. One of the Greatest Living Englishmen.

Anyway, turns out Ralph – a famous scouser – spent his formative years in Wanstead. Lived in Herongate Road in the early 60s, and went to study art at East Ham technical college. I heard it from the horse’s mouth on Monday. I was gobsmacked. There should be a blue plaque!

In Steadman’s 2005 book Untrodden Grapes he confirmed Jim’s tale. He wrote: “The first wine label I ever produced, I did for myself. I was living in digs at the time, a rented room opposite an open common called the Wanstead Flats, in the eastern suburbs of London. My landlady allowed me to brew my own evil concoction in a conservatory to which I had access from my room through a French window at the back of the house. It was springtime and my juices were rising. I needed to create something to remember the precarious times spent in a series of terrible rooms I located with tiresome frequency, each with a 100 percent beaten-pewter landlady as a fixture.”

Formative indeed. Anyone in Aldersbrook able to shed more light is welcome to contact us. There’s more on Ralph Steadman and his new book Extinct Boids which is being published on Thursday here from the FT. If you are really moved you can buy the book from Amazon by clicking here.