wansteadshops

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It’s been a long time coming, but Wanstead’s ‘new’ pet shop is now open for business, as the shelves are gradually filled and stock is moved from its decrepit former premises next door. The new shop is modern, clean and massive by comparison, with plenty of room for animals (in an air conditioned section at the rear of the shop) and for general household goods too.

Owner Mas Beg, who was named shopkeeper of the year by the Wanstead Society in 2010, and his fellow gerbilmeister Trevor Spicer are busily getting the shop ready. New attractions include items long missing from Wanstead High Street, including boxes of nails and screws and small electrical bits. And they are open to suggestions for items that people would like to be stocked.

When Wansteadium asked this question first in May 2011, nominated items were Polyfilla, Evo-Stick, string, sink plungers, dustpans, mothballs, lightbulbs and clothes pegs. You’re welcome to add anything, using the form below. Mas says he’s watching…

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The former shop, now ripe for redevelopment.20121230-004806.jpg

The view from the rear – the new brick building is the complete development, meaning what the new shop gains in floor space it loses in outdoors room at the back. Mas says he will continue to stock plants at the front.

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giftlist2012Here is this year’s final Wanstead Gift List – our list of good presents which can be bought from Wanstead shops.
It’s been collated by Wansteadium and readers, and is our annual contribution to avoiding a Mayan apocalypse coming to our beloved Wanstead High Street. So all readers are encouraged to do their duty.

★ Amber drop earings for approx £35 from Keatings
★ A place on sewing course from Stitch
★ Family photo taken in one of Wanstead’s parks nicely presented in a silver photo frame (£10) from The Art Shop
★ Silver open heart necklace from The Orange Tree (£12) [Reader writes: “It was present to myself and I’ve had loads of compliments since buying it last week.”]
★ Wooden toys for toddlers, from the Pet Shop (Heads and Tails)20121216-215253.jpg
★ Cool iPhone-style cufflinks, Nicole’s
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★ Hipflasks, the Art Shop

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★ Diaries from Bennett’s newsagents

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★ And our top selection: In a week that the Cabinet decided placemats were an appropriate present for the Queen, there can be no better present than Wanstead-themed coasters. From the Art Shop.

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It’s time again for the increasingly annual tradition of the Wanstead Gift List. The rules are the same as last year:

• Wansteadium readers are invited to nominate anything suitable for a Christmas gift which can be bought in Wanstead
• The best and most original gifts will make up a top 10 which we will publish here
• The reward for nominators will be a warm glow of community spirit and, one might hope, a thriving High Street.

Please send nominations as soon as possible, and by close of play on Monday 10 December, using the form below or by e-mail to wansteadium@gmail.com. Include whatever details of the item you can.
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• Wanstead’s role in the running of Redbridge Council has increased with the appointment of Wanstead Conservative Councillor Alex Wilson to the Redbridge ‘cabinet’ – the executive part of the council. Now three of the nine councillors on the cabinet are Wanstead Conservatives (Alex Wilson, Thomas Chan and Michelle Dunn) following the resignation of Cllr Sue Nolan, who is admittedly a Snaresbrook councillor. (If you’re expecting Wansteadium to assess whether this shift in the balance of power is going to have big effect on the governance of Redbridge, you must be new here.)

• So it may or may not be good news for residents of Wellington Road who are planning to be out in force at the Area One committee on Monday evening – after they got word that their campaign to stop or slow through-traffic had not succeeded. Motorists coming down Hermon Hill cut down Nelson Road and go on to Wellington Road to avoid the traffic lights at the junction with the High Street. Except on Mondays when the bin lorry completely blocks the road, and said motorists curse, slam into reverse and retrace their tracks. Residents say 60 cars a day speed down the road at up to 70mph.

• Congratulations to Keatings Jewellers on Wanstead High Street which is celebrating its 25th anniversary. And congratulations also to nearby Santa Fe which has marked its 20th anniversary.

• And at the other end of the High Street, it’s reported in the Wanstead Guardian that the owner of the buildings which house Snaresbrook Cars and the much loved Ironing Board outside Snaresbrook Station has applied for permission to demolish the buildings and put the business into temporary cabins. More here.

• Meanwhile reviews of the delicacies on offer at BBQ Express, Wanstead’s favourite talking point, after it apparently opened. The tweet and photograph below were posted on Friday night by Uzii Shaban who uses the hashtag #boss. But Uzii seems inadvertently to have posted a picture of a different branch of BBQ Express since as we all know, Wanstead’s sign now has no flames and is not illuminated as in the picture. Maybe the photo of the real thing just didn’t do it justice.


• And finally, the new subscribers keep on coming. At the time of writing there were 352 people who had signed up to receive Wansteadium by e-mail. Each morning, on those days when we have published a new entry, they get a beautiful and fascinating e-mail with which to wow their friends and colleagues. You can join them by signing up here.

On Monday, Wansteadium launched the Wanstead Gift List 2011, an attempt to find – by the end of this week – a top 10 of excellent Christmas gifts available from Wanstead. There’s been no shortage of nominations, which we will be publishing this week. But this report was submitted by a Wansteadium reader who, for obvious reasons (not spoiling suprises) wants to remain anonymous.

“In June, I set myself the challenge of doing all my Christmas shopping in Wanstead this year, mainly to cut down on travel and hassle but also because I realised that what was available locally was as good as anything I could get ‘in town’ and often there were things that were special to the local shops.
So far it is going well and I am determined that I will stick to my intention, especially after telling one of the local traders what I was trying to do and she nearly burst into tears and told me how hard things are for local traders.

“The first step was to tell the family what I was going to do & make sure that they understood that I would not be buying huge presents, but rather thoughtful & useful ones. My daughter says she is particularly looking forward to receiving a gift-wrapped bag of sprouts!

“I buy for my father (90), husband (62), daughters (30 & 34), son-in-law (40), grandson (18 months), granddaughter (5), stepson & stepdaughter (34 & 38), daughter-in-law (33), brother-in-law (54), parents of in-law children & a friend’s birthday on Xmas Eve (74).
So far I have:

  • A ‘Tin For Bits That Don’t Go Anywhere’ for daughter’s partner (but there are lots of other ones such as a man’s tin for electrical bits) – from several shops, but I got mine from Nicole’s;
  • Several gift boxes from Heart Foundation & Olive  Orange Tree to put in some keepsakes/heirlooms for my daughters from my grandmother (eg hand-embroidered, hand -laced handkerchief; tray cloths & tablecloths with drawn thread work etc) and tissue paper from the Art Shop;
  • Fashion scarf & earrings (both new) from Heart Foundation;
  • Mini suitcase to put dolls clothes in that I’ve knitted (for granddaughter – already had the left over wool and patterns) – from Nicole’s;
  • A Cath Kidston button box from Orange Tree for daughter to which I’ve added some heritage buttons from my own button box & a hot water bottle with knitted cover, also from Orange Tree;
  • Assorted goodies to eat to be shared around from the various food shops – including assorted bottled beers, a honey comb, relish & pickle, biscuits & a ginger beer kit, as well as chocolate and toffee treats from Thornton’s at the Art Shop;
  • From Oxfam – new, or good as new, book on breadmaking for son-in-law to which I will add a basket of organic ingredients bought locally (including the basket) & an unused book of restaurants round London with recipes for their signature dishes – again to which I will add a basket of ingredients – for stepson;
  • From Barnado’s – 4 good quality children’s books for grandchildren;
  • From Boots, Wanstead Pharmacy & Olive Tree, assorted bits to put in wash bag for granddaughter for when she goes to stay with grandparents;
  • A photo frame for my friend’s birthday (she has a new grandchild) from the Art Shop and some fancy hand cream from Wanstead Pharmacy;
  • A ‘Picasso clock’ from Images in Frames for stepson & daughter-in-law;
  • From the Olive Tree again, 2 mis-matched china cups & saucers for daughter & partner as they are putting together shabby chic tea set in assorted blue-based patterns. They come as candles but the china is sound.
  • From the Art Shop, assorted traditional toys, games etc such as jumping beans, old maid, jacks, train whistles etc etc for stocking fillers – yes the adults still have Xmas stockings to which everyone adds small gifts under £1.

I have yet to buy:

  • an amber necklace from Keating’s for step-daughter;
  • a snuggly blanket/rug & cushion from the Orange Tree for daughter;
  • a food mixer from the electric shop (this is a joint Xmas & birthday present for one daughter);
  • a pair of candlesticks for daughter-in-law from Images in Frames;
  • a shirt each for son-in-law & brother-in-law;
  • flowers for in-law parents from Lillie’s
  • flower vase for daughter-in-law from Blush Temples
  • the turkey, ham, sausage etc (on order from the butcher) & all fruit & veg from the greengrocer (our pudding & cake have already been made from ingredients bought in Londis or the Co-operative)
  • my husband’s present – HELP – so I will be reading suggestions from others with great interest.

Further suggestions can be made on Wednesday by emailing wansteadium@gmail.com. A full list of nominations will be published on Thursday, and the Top 10  (as judged by an impartial cabal of discerning well-wishers) will be published on Friday, just in time to go shopping at the weekend.

Wansteadium rarely deals in rumour. But a reliable source happened to fall into conversation with a stalwart Wanstead acquaintance who said they had written to upmarket ironmongers Robert Dyas to suggest they should consider opening a branch in Wanstead. The company, the report says, replied that they were in fact considering doing such a thing.

And the signs seems promising at least. Earlier this week the company announced that its dire £10m loss in 2008-9 – which had many fearing for its future – had turned into a £2.7m profit in the year to the end of March. The company’s boss even said that confidence had returned and that it was planning to open six new stores in the year ahead.

With the loss of Woolworths and Andrew’s Builders’ Merchant there is certainly a Robert Dyas-shaped hole on Wanstead High Street which most people would undoubtedly be delighted to see filled.