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History of Leyton

Memories of Wanstead Park from Jo-Ann Buck

Wanstead Park

In the 1930s my family (father, mother, elder brother Ernie and me) lived in Scotts Road, Leyton, next door to my father's parents.

On many a summer Sunday, the four of us would walk via Bushwood to Wanstead Park, passing the Leg-of-Mutton Pond, or by another route passing part of the golf course.  On arriving half-way down the Glade, we would set up 'camp' at the edge of the trees, then some of us would go (passing or jumping over the fallen logs) to the Park-keepers' Cottages, where our cricketing gear and folding chairs were lodged by one of the keepers, with whose family we had become friends; they had two daughters one of whom (Peggy) was about my own age, and Pearl a few years younger.  Their name was Adams.  With friends and sometimes a passing stranger we would play a very informal cricket match in The Glade, pausing for frequent cups of tea and ‘pop’, and of course a picnic (corned beef, tomatoes and crisps mostly, with bananas and a tin of cream - nothing but the best !).  The other park-keeper's name was Cockell, who had a daughter Ada.

Peggy and I might occasionally walk round the large lake at the bottom of the Glade (I think it had a name, but I can't recall it), or - against all instructions to the contrary - if there weren't many people about, would take out a canoe on another lake.

The Park had originally been part of the grounds of the mansion Wanstead House which had stood near Old Wanstead Church built in the early 18th century; it was demolished in 1824.  It had belonged to William Pole Wellesley Tylney Long (!), by virtue of his having married an heiress.  At the junction of Overton Drive and Blake Hall Road, there are (I think still) two ornate stone gateposts which had been the beginning of the entrance drive to Wanstead House.

Perhaps some Old Leytonians like me may recall some of these names and places.

Jo-Ann Buck, née Holman)



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