The Cultural Hotspot that is Leytonstone

Leytonstone in East London is ideally located with excellent transport links into and out of the city of London. Via London underground central line you can be in the City or West End within 30 minutes while the road network links well with the M25 and M11 motorways. Leytonstone itself, while being a London suburb, is surrounded by open space. Epping Forest lies to the north, Wanstead Flats and Park to the east, with Hackney Marshes and the Olympic Park to the south and west.  In the middle of this green space Leytonstone forms an island of largely Victorian terraced housing resulting in an area with a strong sense of identity.

Leytonstone Tube Station North By Northwest Mosaic

Within Leytonstone you will find:

  • Leytonstone Film Club
  • The Woodhouse Players Amateur Dramatic Company
  • The Stone Space and Mind The Gap Art Galleries
  • Leyton & Leytonstone Historical Society
  • Local Markets featuring local made/produced items
  • The Alfred Hitchcock Society – Alfred Hitchcock of Leytonstone Society
  • Several Active Residents Associations
  • Stone Rangers – Leytonstone Branch Women’s Institute
  • The East Side Jazz Club – East Side Jazz Club hosts the best musicians in London
  • Wanstead Flats Parkrun
  • News From Nowhere Club – monthly talks covering a wide range of topics
  • A regular Makers Market
  • An annual festival
  • Many great pubs and restaurants offering food, music and a wide range of other activities

This is a flavour of what Leytonstone has to offer. For a fuller list with links see our Lovely Leytonstone page.

Historical Walk in Leytonstone

FORA members and friends were treated to a fascinating guided walk by Dr Neil Houghton of Walthamstow Historical Society on Saturday 21st May. Neil set the group the challenge of spotting the subtle differences in architecture which enable us to date houses and identify their original purpose. We learned about the wealthy families who lived in the area before the building of the Victorian terraced housing seen today. Characters such as two governors of the bank of England and an extremely rich slave trader lived in this part of Leytonstone. We identified the boundary between the forest royal hunting ground and land on which commoners had grazing rights during the medieval period. We heard of the four thousand year old flint tools found along the streams running through the area. We listened to the rich history surrounding the procurement and building of St Andrew’s church. Neil provided us with maps and information and helped us to become ‘eagle eyed’ field historians.

Some members of FORA have four legs

Some members of FORA have four legs

Participants gave very positive feedback on the event and on behalf of all I would like to thank Dr. Neil Houghton for his time, energy, entertaining delivery and thorough knowledge of his subject.

E11 Forest Glade Spring Cleanup on Saturday 16th April 2016


FORA volunteers with their haul of 35 sacks of rubbish collected from the woods between Forest Glade and James Lane. Video clip Assessing the haul.

Folks tend to  find it a useful way to meet fellow residents whilst participating in a modest local community self help effort,for WHATEVER  length of time they  can devote.

So many have forged fast friendships now  and it’s worth looking back and noting how we were once strangers , but met at just such an event or similar

If you can’t make this one , there are others that happen UK wide and year round  .You can find your nearest groups here.


FORA visits Parliament

Big Ben 18 November 2015

Big Ben 18 November 2015

On Wednesday evening a group of Leytonstone residents visited The Houses of Parliament and were treated to an informative and highly entertaining personal tour by our member of parliament John Cryer MP.
We met John in Westminster Hall built 1097-99, he came straight from the division lobby where he had been voting on a bill in the commons. John is an excellent and highly knowledgeable speaker and gave us a fascinating history of the parliament buildings, an explanation of how parliament works today, and many anecdotes and stories from behind the scenes at Westminster.

John Cryer MP with residents of Leytonstone at Westminster

John Cryer MP with residents of Leytonstone at Westminster

We saw bomb damage from both the IRA attacks of the 1970s and the Luftwaffe from the Second World War. We saw where kings and queens of England where laid in state. We saw where the gunpowder had been deposited in the 1605 gunpowder plot. We saw the statue where the suffragette Emily Wilding Davison chained herself during a protest for women’s rights in 1911. We saw the door Black Rod knocks on during the state opening of parliament by the Queen. We entered the division lobby where members of parliament vote for or against by entering either the ‘Aye’ or the ‘No’ lobbies. While waiting for John we heard the division bell ring calling MPs to a vote in the commons. We entered the commons chamber and stood by the dispatch box where David Cameron, Harold Wilson, Tony Blair, Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George, and Clement Atlee among many others have stood and made their speeches. We heard about the seating arrangements and protocol in the commons and found out the origin of the term ‘toeing the line’.
John described the traditions of the commons and shared stories of some of the colourful characters who have been elected over the years.

FORA residents with their Member of Parliament

FORA residents with their Member of Parliament

All of the members of our group felt the event was highly informative as well as wonderfully entertaining. On behalf of FORA I would like to express our appreciation to John for an insiders view of parliament and for being an excellent host.

If you would like to find out more about this topic visit the Parliament website
By Martin Sepion