FORA members visit Vestry House Museum and Borough Archives


Vestry House Museum Visit on Sunday 20th November 2016

Golden leaved autumn is a fabulous time to be in ye olde Walthamstow Village by St Mary’s Church. The museum nearby showcases the rich tapestry of Waltham Forest’s heritage  It has been at various times over the centuries, the parish workhouse, a police station and a private home. FORA members were fortunate enough to be treated with an in depth tour courtesy of the delightfully engaging Susan Roberts . Our thanks to her and Gary Heales, Assistant Curator of the VHM for being so gracious and accommodating as were the volunteers 

Highlights : Themed displays capturing the unique heritage of the local area , including the famous Bremer Car, a Victorian parlour, costume gallery and wonderful display of locally manufactured toys and games as also a chance to have a gander at some of the photo archives .A collection of 80,000 historic photographs from across the Borough is accessible to everyone by appointment. As always volunteers are much in demand so do feel free to get in touch. Entry is free with donations appreciated 

Vestry House Museum, Vestry Road, Walthamstow, E17 9NH (T) 020 8496 439

FREE FORA Friends and families social evening

After the fantastic turnout at our AGM we have decided to hold a friends and families evening where again Shah’s Star of India will handle the catering. This event will give you a chance to AGM2meet other members and neighbours and discuss local issues. We welcome any non members to attend. Anyone joining FORA on the night will get a full refund of the £5 entrance fee. This event is free to existing FORA members.  Please let our Chair, Vaseem Gill, know in advance if you would like to attend via email: or Phone: 07980 718988


6pm Saturday 3rd December 2016 St Andrew’s Church Community Hall, 153 Colworth Road, E11 1JD 


New Planning Applications and Conservation

A number of planning applications which, in our view, contravene the conservation status of Upper Leytonstone have been observed recently.  Forest Residents Association remains determined and committed to protecting the special character of the area. There is a shortage of family sized housing in the borough and Leytonstone has a good stock of these houses. FORA would like to see Waltham Forest Council and Historic England uphold the conservation  order by:-

  • preventing housing being turned over to short term and or multiple occupancy
  • ensuring that listed properties are suitably maintained and protected
  • upholding the conservation order
  • supporting our community by encouraging longer term family occupancy in family housing

See here for a previous FORA post on planning

If you would like more information on these matters please get in touch

Leytonstone Residents let down by politicians over decision to allow continued expansion of City Airport

At a recent FORA committee meeting anger and disappointment from local residents was sadly noted as ministers gave the green light for the latest set of expansion proposals for London City Airport. See the following article in The Guardian

Since the concentration of City Airport flight paths directly over Leytonstone aircraft noise has significantly reduced the quality of life of people living in East London. The further increases agreed in July will only make the problem worse.

Anti airport expansion campaigners have made the following points:-

  • Airports should not be based in cities
  • Aircraft noise pollution has serious negative health effects
  • Aircraft particle emissions are harmful to human health
  • Increased air travel is not environmentally sustainable
  • Our country needs a strategic transport strategy written by a responsible government able to think ahead

For more information on the impact of aircraft noise on human health see some recent research from Professor Stephen Stansfeld from Queen Mary College University of London

If you would like to find out more or join the campaign to stop the growth of airports in cities see the following links

If you do not live under one of London City Airport’s flight paths and want to know what it is like see the following video we made in May 2016.



FORA enjoys drinks on the terrace at Westminster

Inside Westminster

Inside Westminster

On 6th July 2016 FORA members were treated to a historical tour of the Houses of Parliament by the highly entertaining Leyton & Wanstead MP John Cryer. Alongside the 900 year history of the building John explained the workings of parliament from the point of view of a current Member of Parliament. John is also chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party, a role which has been not been without challenges of late. So it was very interesting for FORA members to hear of the mood at Westminster during this historic last 10 days in British politics.


John explains the story of Emily Wilding Davison

John explains the story of Emily Wilding Davison





As the weather was warm we took the opportunity to have a drink and chat on the terrace bar from which there are wonderful views across the river Thames. All members who took part expressed their gratitude for an excellent event.

Riverside Terrace Westminster

Riverside Terrace Westminster


FORA would like to express appreciation to John Cryer MP for giving us such an informative and lively tour of the seat of government during what has been a very busy time for him. For a write up of a previous tour given to FORA members by John see here.

100 years since the first day of the battle of the Somme

One hundred years ago today the battle of the Somme began. The first of July 1916 was the worst day in the history of the British Army with 19,000 dead and 38,000 wounded for advances of between 1 and seven miles. It is quite startling to think that on that day Britain suffered higher casualties than the Suez, Falklands, Northern Ireland, Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts combined. The battle of the Somme was one of many such battles in World War One or the Great War as it was known. During four months of the Somme offensive 420,000 British, British Empire and Dominion troops, 195,000 French and 650,000 German troops were killed. The offensive was finally called off in November 1916.


Laying wreaths

Thousands of soldiers from Leytonstone served in the First World War and many did not return. You can find out more about these men and where they lived at the Leytonstone War Memorial Project.

Preparing to lower the flag 1st July 2016

Preparing to lower the flag 1st July 2016









Like many villages, towns and cities across the country London Borough of Waltham Forest held a service to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first day of the Somme. The service was attended by the Leader of the Council, Mayor and members of the public. The Western Front Association provided a display of artefacts from the period and blew whistles used to signal the men to go over the top. The Vestry House Museum provided additional documentary material.

Leytonstone War Memorial

Leytonstone War Memorial

Words and pictures by Martin Sepion

Blue Plaques of Leytonstone

Fanny Craddock

Fanny Craddock

The first TV chef I remember was the terrifying Fanny Craddock. You have to be of a certain age to know her name as she pioneered the idea that we can eat more interesting food following the period of rationing of the 1940s and early 50s. She was born in Fairlop Road Leytonstone and while there is a blue plaque to commemorate her the original house was demolished years ago.


Probably the most known resident of Leytonstone is film director Sir Alfred Hitchcock.

Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock

Hitchcock’s parents had a greengrocers shop in Leytonstone high road in what is now a petrol station. Hitchcock was part of a group of young film makers from London who made films in what was a thriving London film industry.



Blur lead singer and musician Damon Albarn grew up in Fillebrook Road Leytonstone and attended George Tomlinson Primary School. Albarn references local landmarks such as Hollow

Damon Albarn

Damon Albarn

Ponds in his music.






Photographer David Bailey was born in Leytonstone and lived in Wallwood Road E11. He was part of the exciting new group of talented people from more humble backgrounds who were able to break through to prominence in the progressive atmosphere of the 1960s. His photography was more naturalistic and less formal than previous fashion photography.  He was perhaps the first superstar of photography and very much a part of the ‘swinging sixties’.

David Bailey

David Bailey







If you know of any other WFH blue plaques in Leytonstone please let me know via the comment section below. For a fuller list of Leytonstone notables see here.

By Martin Sepion


Inspection of Whipps Cross Hospital

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of all health and social care services in England. They register, monitor and inspect services to make sure they provide safe, effective, compassionate, high quality care, and encourage them to improve.
CQC will shortly be inspecting services provided by Barts Health NHS Trust, which includes:
Services delivered at –
Mile End Hospital
Newham University Hospital
The Royal London Hospital
St Bartholomew’s Hospital
Whipps Cross University Hospital

CQC are interested to hear if you have any feedback about the services delivered by this Trust.
See the attached poster for how to contact the CQC

Preservation of the Leytonstone Conservation Area

The Leytonstone Conservation Area is now under threat from unsuitable planning applications and the serious neglect of a listed building. Council officers do not appear to see the bigger picture, and how they could individually and collectively lead to erosion of the character and appearance of the area.

The neglected building is a Grade II Georgian house at 133 Whipps Cross Road. Historic England has now put it on its “At Risk” Register. It describes the condition as poor and deteriorating. An application was made in 2006 to convert it into flats but was rejected by the Council.

The spate of new planning applications should be viewed in light of Conservation Area law and local planning policy. By law, no development should be allowed in a Conservation Area if it does not enhance or preserve the character and appearance of the area. Special Planning Guidance issued by the Council says it believes conversions of houses into flats in Conservation Areas are contrary to these objectives and it will normally presume against them.  Forest Ward, in which the Conservation Area lies, has also been designated as one of the borough’s Restricted Conversions zones by the Council. This means planning permission should not normally be granted for any family house in the zone to be converted into flats, because the council wants to retain family-sized accommodation in those areas. Residents know, however, that planning decisions can sometimes be a hit-or-miss affair, and law and planning policy are not always logically applied.

An application has been made to extend the listed house adjacent to that on the “At Risk” register. It is 135 Whipps Cross Road, also Georgian and Grade II listed. The owners want to build a ground and first floor extension including loft conversion with rear dormer window. The plan incorporates the conversion of the property from three self-contained flats to five self-contained flats. The creation of the existing three flats was allowed some years before the Council designated it a Conservation Area in 1990.                                                                                                   Application Reference number 161148

Close to these two Georgian houses, still in the Conservation area, there is an unused piece of land to the rear of 111- 117 Whipps Cross Road. Yet another application has been submitted to build what’s called a bungalow on it. Similar applications have been rejected in the past. This was for good reasons including the position and small size of the land, its limited access and threat to protected trees. In 2012, permission for two bungalows was refused. In 2013, permission for one bungalow was refused, and this was again later refused on appeal. The latest application is for the construction on the land of a “two-storey, 2 bedroom bungalow”. The land backs on to houses on Fladgate Road. One resident there has looked up the Oxford Dictionary definition of bungalow. It says “A low house having only one storey or, in some cases, upper rooms set in the roof, typically with dormer windows.”

Application Reference number 161666

Applications that most blatantly go against the intention and spirit of Conservation law and local policy have been made to convert a family home at 20 Forest Glade into flats. Forest Glade is one of the most prominent and best- preserved roads in the Conservation Area. One application is for an extension to convert the house into two self-contained flats, another is for an extension to convert it into 4 self-contained flats. There is also a separate extension application. The applicant makes it clear that he is aware of the Conservation Area and local policy restrictions on flat conversions of family homes, but seeks to downplay their relevance in this case.

Application Reference numbers 161007, 161008,161092 

Please go to the council website if you wish to comment on any of the applications.