What’s to become of Andrew’s Builder’s Merchants?

No-one seems to know what is to happen to the former Andrew’s Builders Merchants on Woodbine Place.

Renovations are clearly taking place at the boxy little shop, which closed last year after many decades’ service to the people of Wanstead (tap washers and fairy lights, mostly).

Double glazing has been installed, and electrical work has been taking place. But it is the removal of the ultra-distinctive black and white painted wooden sign, a familiar and charming sight for years, which is for many people a real sadness.

Some Wansteadium readers have even suggested launching an online petition to ensure the sign is saved for posterity. One, Dan,  said: “The landmark signage has been removed and it is sad to think that this has been allowed to happen. The high street has suffered badly in recent years and this is another blow to its preservation.”

It is clear, though, that far from being a redundant shell, for the right business this could be just the right opportunity, with high visibility, and lots of people nearby. For Wanstead too it could be a wonderful addition to the ecosystem of the high street. And yet mystery surrounds the plans – a spokesman for Redbridge Council told Wansteadium that it had not been notified of any work at the building.

Even the mighty Wanstead Society has drawn a blank. It has been drawing up suggested plans to tidy up the land at the front, where the pavement is extremely narrow – especially for families dodging buses while walking to the Treehouse Nursery or the library. They are hoping that the accountants THP and the children’s shop Bambini will help in working out exactly who owns which bit of land, and then apply to the council for some maintenance work to take place. But attempts even to find out who is the current owner of the building itself have so far proved unsuccessful.

Anyone with knowledge of plans is invited to contact wansteadium@gmail.com. Discretion assured.



Campaign for a nicer bit of Wanstead?

Wansteadium reader Roger Estop writes in reaction to the news that Andrews Builder’s Merchants is to close:

Great shame. I have bought some excellent wire, screws, glue, undercoat and gardening gloves here and always enjoyed browsing the brooms and rope. Such regrets – why did I still go to Homebase? The big Andrews sign is a local landmark. Mind you, this is also one of the most charmingly scruffy bits of Wanstead with the forecourt mixed up with display goods, car parking, pavement and the adjacent exposed yard behind cafe Brunch. Whatever happens next, let’s enhance this little spot (and the public conveniences opposite). A nicer Woodbine Place campaign?

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