Wanstead property update: G&Ts, Wanstead films, and good news for property obsessives

Wansteadium’s property blogger George C Parker writes:

During the bubble years, many speculators seemed to forget that a house is first and foremost a place to live. Nowadays it seems people are buying houses for the ‘right reasons’, and are more inclined to improve or extend them as their requirements change. For those planning a Spring project, now is a good time to be researching recommendations from friends and neighbours. Never be shy to ask! People seem to like discussing domestic construction work – it is one of those engrossing and emotive subjects like surviving a plane crash, or live-donating an organ.

When we extended the current Parker Towers into the loft space, several of our neighbours were extremely generous with their time and advice, passing on invaluable “dos”, “don’ts” and “not with a bargepoles”. Naturally these discussions took place in convivial surroundings, which always helps. To paraphrase the advert: Smoothing out the design, planning (if you’re in one of our Conservation Areas) and actual build experiences over a friendly g&t – priceless!

Perfect information
The very observant among you might have noticed that the Wansteadium top brass have been trying out something new in the line of property information. We’ve had it hidden away a bit, but from today, and thanks to our chums at Nestoria, we are offering you on our front page an up-to-date list, with pictures, of houses and flats on the market in Wanstead. For those of us who are mildly obsessive about the subject it is a bit like crack. I hope you enjoy it all as much as I have – any reactions welcome – georgecparker@wansteadium.com should reach me just fine.

Congratulations to local cineaste Helmie Stil! The silver screen is a passion of mine, and I’ve enjoyed discovering Helmie’s blossoming career online

Maybe one year Wanstead will support its own Film festival – possibly outdoors like the Stella Screen events – who knows?! George Green I’m looking at you!

Anyway, as our latest auteur continues to garner awards and critical acclaim, I’m beginning to wonder if the pavement outside the former Kinema should be inset with golden stars and cemented hand prints.

Pride of place would go to local lad Alfred Hitchcock. Mike Leigh also shot Another Year in Aldersbrook, as hardened readers will remember.

And late intelligence reaches me that movie scouts are going round some of the model 1930s semis on the Nightingale Estate, looking for a house to set a new film in. In my humble opinion, they’re nice enough roads round there – some houses still look perfectly preserved as 1930s examples, though low interest rates are leading to many a loft conversion. It’s not quite the Counties, naturally, but can feel like a slice of pure England there. I shall furnish you with more information about the film as I get it.

Harking back a couple of years, my erstwhile golfing buddy Robert Mitchum used Wanstead Park in his 1977 vehicle “The Big Sleep”. SeventiesRatPack.com!

I suppose I could say the movie looks dated now, but then its director might pass the same comment back at me! Michael Winner, Joan Collins, Edward Fox and Oliver Reed in Wanstead – those were the days. The High Street was like the Kings Road that golden summer. Of course it would be indiscreet of me to recall if Ollie had the odd skinful in the George, or if Winner was obnoxious to any local restaurateurs! Maybe I’d reveal all in Helmie’s next blockbuster biography of a Wanstead property tycoon and blogger …

Wanstead property roundup

Wansteadium’s new property blogger George C Parker writes:

I hear that plans for redeveloping the former Wanstead cinema site which adjoins the George pub are again being readied. Once home to a 600-seat picture house, the upper floors of the current building have gradually lost their grandeur as they have been allowed to lie unused and baleful. The proposed project outline can be viewed here. Earlier incarnations of the plan were, ahem, snookered by campaigners from the Wanstead Society – and I anticipate a hotly-contested rematch might be in the frame. I’m not a professional aesthete, but the plans don’t look particularly attractive to me (not that what’s there at the moment will have tourists flocking). There are pics of the old cinema, which was rather charmingly known as the Kinema, on Flickr here. If nothing else, someone ought to reclaim the name Kinema for Wanstead.

• Morgan and Randall (deceased)? Passing the bare Onedeko boutique this fine day, I was similarly struggling to locate erstwhile realtors Morgan Randall at their habitual premises. Was it, I wondered, just a refit of their office or could Wanstead really be down to the bare bones of half-a-dozen estate agents on the High Street? Should one be preserved ahead of time for posterity, at the hands of a first class taxidermist? It’s a mystery – but someone did answer the phone when I rang.

• My favourite subject in life is, of course, the Wanstead property bubble. As we all know, it’s not really a bubble at all. It’s just pure sustainable value based on quality of life and impressive transport links. But I was very impressed to see how quickly a For Sale sign in the everso desirable Grove Park changed into a Sold – I reckon it was just three or four days – and with an asking price of just under a million Huckleberry Hounds, I reckon that means the good times haven’t left us.

• While I was in that neck of the woods, I spotted this rather impressive looking tool at work. Though my photo doesn’t do it justice, it was an incredibly long drill. Really long. I suppose I could go to the trouble of finding out what it was in aid of, but to be honest I’ve got better things to do. Anyone who knows, be a good sort and let me know. You can contact me at the address below. And while you’re at it, I’m always on the lookout for interesting properties in Wanstead, Snaresbrook and Aldersbrook. Not to buy, you understand, lorks no. Just to talk about.

UPDATE, 8 June: Wansteadium reader Ray has no time for Kinesentimentality. “All the talk about save the Kinema from the Visigoths who want to build flats for people to live in – I bet if you ask a hundred people in Wanstead where the Kinema was, only a handful would know and even less would care.
When was the last film shown there and what was it?… Come on wake up if the Kinema was running up to last week then yes okay save it but its not been for donkeys years.”

It’s a view, Ray, fella, it’s a view.

Meanwhile, fellow reader Lisa sheds some light on the drill. “This piece of land was sold through Strettons Auctioneers quite a few months back and there were plans to build 3 terraced houses with off street parking. I am sure that as work appears to have started plans of some sort are finally going ahead. I am sure there will be more info on the Redbridge planning website. Hope that helps satisfy your curiosity

You can contact George at georgecparker@wansteadium.com