Waltham Forest

Locksmith sticker debate rages on

Sticker from burglars posing as locksmiths

Beware burglars posing as locksmiths

The story I reported about locksmiths stickers being used by potential burglars has taken some twists and turns in the last few days.

The story was originally reported on the BBC website about a burglary in Wandsworth, but doubt has now been cast on whether this is just some form of advertising as the practice is clearly more widespread, including in Waltham Forest.
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Hollow Pond fire pictures

Hollow Ponds after the fire

Fire damage near Snaresbrook Court and the small pond

Undeterred by yesterday’s fire, the boats were back on Hollow Pond today and people were out enjoying themselves in the albeit cloudier weather, but the scenes of devastation made it clear that this was by far the worst fire to have hit this part of the forest for very many years.

Fire damage was not confined to one area but affected parts of the forest near Snaresbrook Road and the former lido, and a much larger area from the main pond past the small pond and down towards Snaresbrook Court (some media reports yesterday described this incorrectly as Wanstead Flats — slightly confusingly this part of the forest is formerly known as Leyton Flats due to it being historically part of the old Borough of Leyton and Leytonstone).

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Hollow Ponds evacuated as fire breaks out

Hollow Ponds FireThe Hollow Ponds area was evacuated by police this afternoon as fires broke out and smoke engulfed the pond and surrounding forest. Rowing boats were called in and people were asked to leave as fire engines moved in to tackle the fire towards the north end of the main and small ponds.

Fire engines had already attended a fire earlier in the day by Snaresbrook Road causing the road to be shut off to traffic and further traffic disruption was caused along Whipps Cross Road and surrounding roads as a result of the later fire.
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Love Your High Street Leytonstone Saturday 8 June

Love Your High StreetSaturday 8 June 2013 is Love Your High Street Day in Leytonstone organised by the London Borough of Waltham Forest and E11 BID.

There will be a day of activities in Leytonstone Town Centre including a pop up Hitchcock cinema, silent disco, open day at St John’s Church and regular activities like the E11 Market.

Don’t miss the opportunity too to visit the Stone Space’s Star Walls exhibition which closes on 9 June and Woodhouse Players’ The Oedipus Plays on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 June.

Waltham Forest residents will also get vouchers to spend in local shops.

Charity Christmas carols in Leytonstone today

Christmas decorationDon’t forget there will be Christmas carols in Leytonstone town centre today supporting the Mayor of Waltham Forest’s charity:

Thursday 6 December, 4.30pm-6.00pm

Carol Singing in aid of the Mayor’s Charity

Leytonstone Town Centre

Come along and join in the singing!

The mayor of Waltham Forest, Cllr Richard Sweden, will be attending and will be raising money for his charity Leyton Orient Community Sports Programme. The event is organised by the Ward councillors and supported by local schools and churches.

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Leytonstone Today Banner Christmas 2012

Christmas markets and carols with the Mayor

Leytonstone Christmas 2012The Christmas lights are up in Leytonstone and this week sees the Christmas season really get going with Christmas markets this weekend at St John’s, The Methodist Church and the Lion Heart Market and Christmas carols in the town centre on Thursday led by the Mayor of Waltham Forest.

  • For more events see: Christmas events 2012 (and there are of course lots more events going on around Leytonstone)
  • For ideas for Christmas shopping see: Christmas shopping 2012
  • See also this report in the Waltham Forest Guardian about free parking for shoppers in Waltham Forest including Church Lane, Leytonstone (please do not contact this site for details, I have no more information!)

Saturday 1 December

Lion Heart Christmas market

Outside the Red Lion Pub

Saturday 1 December

Arts and Crafts Christmas Market

The annual arts and crafts market held simulateously at St John’s Church, Church Lane, and the Methodist Church Hall on Leytonstone High Road.

More information: Waltham Forest Council website

Saturday, 1 December 2012, 11:00

Christmas indoor market

Luna Lounge

Handmade crafts, tarot card reading, henna painting, home made cakes and free soup.

More details from the organiser: Luna Lounge on Facebook

Sunday 2 December

491 Jumble Sale

Organiser and more details: 491 Gallery on Facebook

Thursday 6 December, 4.30pm-6.00pm

Carol Singing in aid of the Mayor’s Charity

Leytonstone Town Centre

Come along and join in the singing!

The mayor of Waltham Forest, Cllr Richard Sweden, will be attending and will be raising money for his charity Leyton Orient Community Sports Programme. The event is organised by the Ward councillors and supported by local schools and churches.

Christmas Services at St John’s Church

For a full programme of Advent and Carol Services over the Christmas period see the St John’s Church website

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St John's Tower looking West and towards the City

Fireworks, compost, music,theatre and film

The nights are darker but there’s plenty going on in Leytonstone to lighten the mood in the next week or so.


Leytonstone Wanstead Flats and Canary Wharf from St John's TowerThursday 1 November, 20:00 until 21:45

Live classical music and tower tour

St John’s Church, Church Lane Leytonstone, E11

The season of magnificent views from St John’s Church Tower is nearing an end with one more opportunity tonight and a special for bonfire night (see below).

In 360 degrees you can see the O2, Olympic Park, right across the City to the London Eye, the Shard and even Alexandra Palace as well as Epping Forest, Whipps Cross and Wanstead Flats. The evening starts off with live music and finishes with a warm drink.

If you don’t fancy going up the tower, there’s an invitation to attend the concert for free instead.


Friday 2 November (and 3, 9, and 10 November)

Woodhouse Players — A voyage around my father

Welsh Church Hall, 879 Leytonstone High Road, E11 1HR

Transition Leytonstone Community Garden siteSunday 4 November, 11am to 3pm

Transition Leytonstone Composting Workshop

Church Lane Community Garden, Harold Road, E11 4QX

Go along to the new Community Garden to meet the neighbours and learn all about building clean, effective compost containers and top composting technique. Take a packed lunch to eat and /or share!

The entrance to the Community Garden is at the bottom of the foot-bridge over the A12, near where Harold Road meets Vernon Road.

On Sunday 11 November there is also a Raised Beds Workshop (that’s vegetable or flower beds!)

On Sunday 2 December Transition Walthamstow is running a Draughtbusting Workshop which is also open to people from Leytonstone.


St John's Tower looking West and towards the City

Monday 5 November, 7pm (booking essential)

Live classical music and tower tour Bonfire Night Special

St John’s Church, Church Lane, Leytonstone

Live jazz will start the grand finale of this year’s tower tours: a bird’s eye view of Bonfire Night displays in Waltham Forest and all over Essex and London, with homemade gingerbread and hot chocolate or coffee at the top of the tower.

Reverend Raymond Draper, vicar of St John’s, says: “Our Sunset over London and London by Night tours started in June and have been a great success. The tours have helped towards the outstanding cost of the recent tower repairs and restoration, but more importantly visitors have discovered this beautiful church, enjoyed wonderful music, and had an inspiring experience of London. The special tours for the Olympic opening and closing ceremonies were a highlight, and we’re very much looking forward to more fireworks for our final tour of 2012 on November 5.”

Only 20 places available. Tickets for 5 November are £50. Sorry, no under-8s.

To book


5 November 2012, 5pm-10pm

Waltham Forest Council Bonfire Night Fantastic Fireworks Display

Chestnuts Field, Waltham Forest Town Hall Complex, Forest Road, Walthamstow, E17 4JF

This is a free event for all Waltham Forest residents. There will be fireworks, music, entertainment, fairground rides and a wide range of refreshments to snack on.

More details: Waltham Forest Council website


Wednesday 7 November, 7.45pm

Leytonstone Film Club

Alice (15). Dir: Marco Martins. (2005) Portugal; 102 min.

Leytonstone Library, Church Lane, E11 1HG


Thursday 8 November

Casino Fun Night

at the Star of India.


Until 11 November

The Stone Space Tumbled House Exhibition

This exhibition continues until 11 November. Check the Stone Space website for opening days and times.

Towering high over Leytonstone

Panorama from St John's Church towards Stratford

I was delighted to be given the opportunity last night to be in the first party to try the new Sunset over London tour of St John’s Church in the centre of Leytonstone.

Church Lane, the Library and High Road Leytonstone towards StratfordI have been up the tower once before, many years ago, when it was so cloudy you could hardly see as far as Leytonstone Overground station and I was hoping that wasn’t going to happen again after this awful summer. I was not disappointed.

There was cloud in the sky but still some sun breaking through and as the sun went down there was a distinctly red glow from the West.

Leytonstone Overground stationThe tour starts with half an hour of musical entertainment. Last night it was a delightful performance by Rachel Smith who played flute, alto flute and piccolo with works by Bach, Ibert, Piazolla, Debussy and a composer, Paul Lewis, who had written a piece especially for her. Rachel is a professional flautist who has played throughout the world and on BBC radio and television and has recently released a CD Aquarelles. Different musicians will play at each tour.

Hard hats are provided for the tour and you are advised to wear trainers — certainly not high heels — and clothes that won’t mind a bit of dust. It is good advice as the winding stairs to the top are narrow for most of the way and very narrow at the top. It’s probably best to visit one of Leytonstone’s restaurants after the tour, rather than have a hearty meal beforehand, though none of us got stuck!

Looking towards Hackney and Haringey and the sunsetThe views from the top are really spectacular. Although a church steeple may not seem very high compared with the London Eye or the new ArcelorMittal OrbitTower in the Olympic Park, when it opens, St John’s has the distinct advantage that Leytonstone is already one of the highest points in London so the top of the tower really does have unparalled views.

The City of LondonYou have a full half an hour to study the vista.

If you are a local you will see Leytonstone in a completely new light and the first thing that strikes you is just how much greenery you can see compared with many other parts of London.

Even if you have never been to Leytonstone before, you will find you have a good view of the Olympic Park and right over London. You can see the O2 in Greenwich, Canary Wharf, the City of London, the Shard, which was inaugurated yesterday, and even as far as the London Eye.

Looking East you can see to across Newham and Redbridge towards Havering and Barking & Dagenham.

To the West you can see Enfield on the other side of the Lea Valley, and Hackney and Haringey, which if my geography is correct is where the sun was setting.

You are provided with a four page guide to the many sights you can see and you can borrow binoculars.

Canary WharfAs a bonus we also got to see the fireworks display from one of Waltham Forest’s Urban Classic event, part of its Big6 events season.

After descending the tower there was a choice of tea, coffee, hot chocolate and biscuits (all Fairtrade and included in the ticket) and a chance to chat to others in the party.

Wanstead Flats and looking EastPart of the reason for introducing these tours is to raise money for the church to pay off the expenses it has incurred in its recent restoration,.

However, Rev Draper is also keen to stress that he sees the church very much as part of the community and wants to welcome everyone from the community. There’s no attempt to enrol you and anyone from any denomination, or no denomination, would feel just as comfortable visiting.

This is one part of the community opening up a facility to the whole community and it is one of Leytonstone’s hidden gems that everybody should take the opportunity to enjoy.

More information

St John’s Church has a regular programme of concerts open to the public, many of them free, and there is also the churchyard trail.

Boundary Commission changes: should Leytonstone join with Walthamstow or Stratford? Hurry, reply by 3 April!

UK ParliamentThe Government is reducing the number of MPs in Parliament and this means the Boundary Commission has been asked to redraw boundaries.

In the proposals the current Leyton and Wanstead constituency represented by John Cryer MP will go. Leytonstone and Forest wards will join the new Walthamstow constituency and Cathall and Cann Hall will join the new Stratford constituency. However, to make this work, Chingford would be linked to Edmonton, which would also include Higham’s Park, Higham Hill and Hale End.

The Boundary Commission has the difficult job of trying to make constituencies a similar size and follow council and natural boundaries.

However, Waltham Forest Council has proposed putting Leytonstone and Forest Wards into a new Stratford and Leyton constituency which would allow Higham’s Park, Higham Hill and Hale End to stay with Chingford (without Edmonton).

If you have a strong view on these changes you have until 3 April to comment to the Boundary Commission. You need to comment on a specific proposal, not just give your personal views.

The Waltham Forest proposal can be found on the Boundary Commission website reference 022214.

These proposals do not change the borders of the council. We will still all be in Waltham Forest, it’s just the areas our MPs represent that will be changing.

Boundary Commission proposed Stratford constituency

Boundary Commission proposed Stratford constituency

Boundary Commission proposed Walthamstow constituency

Boundary Commission proposed Walthamstow constituency