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.

Lea Marshes

FORA visit to Lea Marshes

On a beautiful autumn afternoon FORA members were treated to an informal guided walk to Lea Marshes. Our three experts chipped in with insights into different aspects of the marsh lands which adjoin the river. Claire Weiss, John Rogers and David Boote led us on a journey through time and space as we explored human activities in the Lea Valley from pre-history to the present. The Lea was an important route for people in prehistoric times as well as roman, medieval and the modern era.  The talks ranged from Viking river boats to the struggles of A. V. Roe, a pioneer of aircraft design who used the marshes for experimental flights from 1909. 

The  growth of suburban London in the late Victorian era led to a renewed importance for the marsh lands. Being a floodplain the land retained much of it’s natural heritage in both animal and plant life. It also became increasingly important to the growing urban population as an open space offering an antidote to the urban sprawl. Local people have fought over generations to retain the marshlands for public enjoyment in the face of waves of developers seeking to encroach upon the land for profit. This struggle continues to this day and several areas of marsh are currently under threat of development.      

If you would like to find out more see:-

David Boote Leyton and Leytonstone Historical Society and Waltham Forest Walks

Claire Weiss Save Lea Marsh

John Rogers The Lost Byway

Lea Marshes

Viking Riverboat Waterworks Nature Reserve

Lea Valley Park – Nature Reserves and Open Spaces

Steven Saxby

News From Nowhere Club FREE Talk – Sat. February 11th 2017 @The Epicentre E11 4LJ

More Anglican than Anarchist: Christian Socialism and the Labour Movement

Speaker: Canon Steven Saxby : Waltham Forest’s very own Red Vicar will speak on the role Christians, including Anglicans, played in the formation of the Labour movement and the Labour Party. The Church Social Union, the Guild of St Matthew and the Church Socialist League all made important contributions to Labour. Stewart Headlam and Conrad Noel, notorious radical clerics, were leaders of a movement which challenged the Church and challenged the Party and was hugely

Steven Saxby

Steven Saxby

important to George Lansbury, sometime Labour leader. With reference to how the churches related to other Labour strands, including those inspired by William Morris, Canon Saxby will consider how the churches helped transform the UK at the turn of the last century and how they might again contribute to the social movement politics required to bring real change to Britain today.

Founded in 1996, the News from Nowhere Club challenges the commercialisation and isolation of modern life.
Meetings are monthly on Saturday evenings.

News From Nowhere 2017 Programme

At the Epicentre, West Street, Leytonstone E11 4LJ

http://leytonstoneepicentre.co.uk/contact/

7.30pm Buffet (please bring something if you can)
8.00pm Talk & discussion till 10pm & back to buffet 
Travel and Access
• Stratford stations & 257 bus
• Leytonstone tube (exit left) & 257/W14 bus
• Overground: Leytonstone High Road, turn right, short walk (from about Feb 2017 – best to check)
• Disabled access
• Car park / Bikes can be brought in
• Quiet children welcome.
• Phone to confirm the talk will be as shown
• Meetings open to all – just turn up
• Enquiries 020-8555-5248
Free entry: voluntary donations welcome

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.

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

 

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.

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