First motor fire engine tested on Wanstead Flats

Monday, 19 June 2017

In 1908/9 West Ham Fire Brigade made the momentous decision to move from horse power to the internal combustion engine. Wanstead Flats it turned out played a key role in testing the new appliance.

Fire engines used to look like this:


Forest Gate fire station
7 March 1908 (Newham Archives)
The Council’s Watch Committee placed an order for a new fire tender with Lloyd & Plaister of Wood Green. They were one of many small motor manufacturers then based in London in the early stages of motor production. London at that time was still a great manufacturing centre as well as the world’s largest port, and biggest financial/banking centre. There were many factories producing manufactured goods.

The new tender had the registration mark AN 898.


November 1910, advert for Allen-Liversidge
 brakes from FIRE magazine, showing AN 898
 Lloyd and Plaister escape carrier, the first
 motorised appliance for West Ham fire
brigade. In the early 1900's there were many
small motor manaufacturers in London and
Lloyd and Spicer of Wood Green, being one 

(photo: John Murray and David Spicer)

Source: Commercialmotor.com

Commercial Motor magazine 29th July 1909 devoted a whole article to this new fire tender:


transcription

At the beginning of this year, the Watch Committee of the Borough of West Ham awarded a contract to Lloyd and Plaister, Ltd., of Wood Green, for a motor vehicle which in all respects should fulfil the usual fire brigade requirements, and which should be capable of transporting a full-sized escape, five men, and a quantity of hose, stand-pipes, and other equipment at a speed of 15 m.p.h. on the flat, and 5 m.p.h. up any hill in West Ham. We are not familiar with anything that can properly he called a hill in any part of West Ham, but it is a fact that the new machine will .safely and comfortably travel out the flat at 30 m.p.h., whilst it can do all that is necessary in the matter of hill climbing. On test, it has been stopped and started on a gradient of 1 in S. near Muswell Hill.
It continues:
Other characteristics of this new machine, which became evident &firing the test-run, were the comfortable springing of the chassis, the smoothness with which the " L. and P." clutch picked up its work, and the ease with which it was possible to steer a machine of such unusual dimensions ; at the full speed, a perfectly-straight, over poor roads on Wanstead Flats, was maintainable while the steering wheel was only held between one finger and a thumb. The exceptionally-wide track, the long wheelbase, the low centre of gravity of the chassis, the inclined stub axles, and the excellent design of the steering gear all make for results such as this. It is important to note that the application of the front brakes does not in any way interfere with the movement of the steering wheel. Anyone who has ridden on a horsed escape-cart, at full gallop, will have noticed, not, perhaps, without a tremor of anxiety, the manner in which the escape will, on occasion, swing from side to side ; not so, however, with a well-designed motor-escape equipment, for its progress is quite steady, and free from objectionable swaying, even while travelling over an open space like Wanstead Flats when a high wind is blowing. The braking and steering gear of a motor fire-engine must, of necessity, be entirely above suspicion, on account of the machine's considerable weight and its frequent high speed in congested thoroughfares. The gross weight of the West Ham motor is 3 tons, 6 cwt., 3 qrs., and of this the escape itself weighs 11 cwt. This escape-wagon is a thoroughly workmanlike job, and it has the appearance of having been designed and built throughout for fire-brigade requirements.
(the escape refers to the wheeled ladder it carries)

The machine was placed in service at the long disappeared sub fire station in Balaam Street, Plaistow and its photograph has appeared in a number of local history books and websites (see here).


Balaam Street sub fire
 station before World War 1

Lloyd & Plaister soon disappeared as a motor manufacturer though Southgate ordered a fire engine from them a couple of years after West Ham. Dennis and Leyland started to dominate the fire engine market. Dennis started small as a London based manufacturer of bicycles and lawn mowers!

The author local historian Peter Williams is working on a history of West Ham Fire Brigade.

E7 food shops - FSA ratings, April 2017

Monday, 5 June 2017

This is the third summary of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) cleanliness ratings for Forest Gate food shops; for others, 2014 and 2015, see here and here.

There are more stores covered in this survey than in the previous ones, because more have opened and the FSA have been more diligent at tracking them down for assessment (29 were surveyed in 2014, 74 in 2015 and 104 in the current survey).

We have been a bit more restrictive in the types of shops we have included this time. So, although news agencies, post offices and chemists are included in the FSA listings, we have omitted them from this year's survey - as selling food is not their main function.

With these changes and caveats in mind, caution should be exercised in making sweeping comparisons of overall performance across the three surveys. 

Overall, however, the headline would be that standards in food shops locally appear to be improving. 

For example, the 2017 survey recorded 53% of local food shops receiving four (good) or five (very good) stars for food hygiene. The equivalent figure in 2014 was 28% and in 2015 46%.

In 2017, although a disturbingly high 26% of food shops were awarded two (generally unsatisfactory) or fewer stars, the equivalent figures for 2014 was a dreadful 34% and in 2015 a slightly better 22%

Part of the explanation for the apparent overall improvement in performance between the surveys is that most of the dreadful shops from previous surveys have subsequently closed - with customers presumably adding a thumbs down to their standards, matching that of the assessors.

One exception to this trend, however, seems to be the awful Wenty's Tropical Foods, of Upton Lane. It managed the difficult task of worsening its 1 star (major improvement necessary) rating in 2014 to zero stars (urgent improvement necessary) three years later. 


Wenty's on Upton Lane - going from bad to worse
Can it get any lower? Can it survive? Will it be closed down sometime soon? Watch this space - for the next survey!

The second major explanation for the overall apparent upward trend in results is the pleasingly high (14 shops) number of premises which have seen a significant improvement in overall hygiene - up by two or more stars, compared with the relatively small number (5 shops) that have experienced a downward drift of similar proportions. See lists of plaudits and custard pies below.

The FSA use detailed criteria in making their overall assessment, and summaries can be found here. For simplicity, we have applied a shorthand, and indicate it in the sub-heads below.

A word on the dates, below. The date immediately following the address of each entry is the date of the last FSA inspection. The dates and ratings below that are the stars recorded in previous surveys covered by this blog.

Plaudits

shops improving by two or more stars since recent surveys


Al Rehmam Food Stores - up from 2 stars (2015) to 5
Nirala - up from 2 stars (2015) to 5
Pennies & Pounds - up from 2 stars (2015) to 5
Reids Minimart - up from 2 stars (2015) to 5
Himalaya Food Stores - up from 1 stars (2014 and 2015) to 4
Barry's Meat Market - up from 3 stars (2015) to 5
Co-operative - up from 3 stars (2015) to 5
Mina Stores - up from 3 stars (2015) to 5
Tesco (Romford Road) - up from 3 stars (2015) to 5
Devran Supermarket - up from 2 stars (2015) to 4
Cakes & Bakes - up from 1 stars (2015) to 3
Amaan Butchers and Grocers - up from 0 stars (2014) to 2
Up from zero stars to 2 over 3 years
Kitheta African Shop - up from 0 stars (2015) to 2


Custard pies

shops declining by two or more stars since recent surveys

Eggless Cake Box  - down from 5 stars (2015) to 1 star


In 2015 it was known simply as the Cake  Box and
was awarded 5 stars. Since then it has become the
 Eggless Cake Box. In addition to the disappearance
 of the eggs have gone 4 stars
- as it now scores only 1 star
Al Madina Butcher - down from 3 stars (2015) to 0 stars
Akbars - down from 5 stars (2014 and 2015) to 3 stars


Down from 5 to 3 stars
Bondor Cash and Carry (Green Street) - down from 3 stars (2014 and 2015) to 1 star
Sobji Bazar - down from 3 stars (2015) to 1 star

5 stars (Very Good)

Al-Rehman Food Store
465 Romford Road 
E7 8AB
January 2016
2015 rating: 2

Aphrodites Food 
Railway Arches 370 & 371 Station Road 
E7 0AB
February 2016

Aswat & Sons
170 Green Street 
E7 8JT
October 2015

Barry's Meat Market
49A Woodgrange Road 
E7 0HX
February 2016
2015 rating: 3


Local favourite butcher's - up from 3 to 5 stars
Blackstone
60 Upton Lane 
E7 9LN
January 2016

Bonoful Indian Sweets
178 Green Street 
E7 8JT
September 2015

Cheap Store
157 Green Street 
E7 8JE
August 2014
2015 rating: 5

Co-op
67-73 Woodgrange Road 
E7 0EL
January 2017
2015 rating: 3

East London Wine
2 St Georges Road 
E7 8HY
October 2016

Fish Mela
39 Upton Lane 
E7 9PA
October 2015
2014 rating: 5
2015 rating: 5

Gafoor Pure Halal 
134 Green Street 
E7 8JQ
October 2015
2015 rating: 5

Hammer Nutrition 
227 Romford Road 
E7 9HL
November 2015

KK Fruits & Veg
281 Green Street 
E7 8LJ
December 2015

Mina Stores
274 Green Street 
E7 8LF
December 2016
2015 rating: 3

Nawal
253 Green Street 
E7 8LJ
February 2015
2015 rating: 5

Nirala
276 Green Street
 E7 8LF
July 2015
2015 rating: 2

Pennies & Pounds
452 Romford Road 
E7 8DF
September 2015
2015 rating: 2

Reids Minimart 
19 Station Road 
E7 0ES
July 2015
2015 rating: 2

Step In Local
321 Romford Road 
E7 9HA
May 2015

Tesco
542 Romford Road 
E7 8AF
October 2015
2015 rating: 3

Tesco
28 Woodgrange Road 
E7 0QH
February 2016
2014 rating: 4
2015 rating: 4


Woodgrange Road's Tesco - up from 4 to 5 stars
The Urban Chocolatier
Unit 30 232 - 236 Green Street 
E7 8LE
April 2015
2015 rating: 5

TSB Cash & Carry
428 Katherine Road
E7 8NP
August 2015
2014 rating: 1
2015 rating: 5


Upton Lane Food & Wine
7 Upton Lane 
E7 9PA
March 2016

Variety Foods 
20 Carlton Terrace Green Street 
E7 8BZ
September 2016
2015 rating: 4

Woodgrange Market Organic Veg Stall
41 Hampton Road 
E7 0PD
JUly 2014


4 stars (Good)

Angies Stock Shop
51 Woodgrange Road 
E7 0EL
September 2015

Bharat Food Store Roots
4 - 6 Carlton Terrace Green Street 
E7 8LH
February 2016
2015 rating: 5

Caner Supermarket
163 Odessa Road 
E7 9DU
February 2016

Convenient Off Licence
55A Field Road 
E7 9DW
February 2016

Costcutter
191 - 197 Upton Lane 
E7 9PJ
October 2016

Davina Supermarket
58 Upton Lane 
E7 9LN
September 2016

Devran Supermarket
5 Woodgrange Road 
E7 8BA
January 2016
2015 rating: 2

Forest Food & Wine
76 - 78 Dames Road 
E7 0DW
January 2016

Forest Gate Food & Wine
90 Woodgrange Road 
E7 0EW
January 2016

Happy Shoppa
359 - 361 Katherine Road 
E7 8LT
February 2016

Himalaya Food Store
332 - 336 Katherine Road 
E7 8NW
September 2016
2014 rating: 1
2015 rating: 1


Up from an unsatisfactory 1
 star to a very respectable 4 stars
Iqbal Food Store
4 St Georges Road 
E7 8HY
February 2016

Jainal Mini Store
135C Green Street 
E7 8JE
February 2016

Katherine Food & Wine
241 Katherine Road 
E7 8PP
November 2015

Krishna Cash & Carry
380-382 Romford Road 
E7 8BS
November 2015

Nades Express
446 Romford Road 
E7 8DF
February 2016

Pas Mama Shop
122 Upton Lane 
E7 9LW
February 2017

Patco Fruit & Veg
374 Romford Road 
E7 8BS
February 2016

Patel's Corner Shop
1 Green Street 
E7 8DA
February 2016

Pound Point
115 Green Street 
E7 8JF
October 2015

Provincija
364 Katherine Road 
E7 8NW
February 2016

SM Food
9 Upton Lane 
E7 9PA
April 2015
2015 rating: 4

Tesco
326 Katherine Road 
E7 8PG
October 2015
2014 rating: 5
2015 rating: 5

The Cake Family
88A Upton Lane 
E7 9LW
November 2016

The Forest Gate Offy 
122A Godwin Road 
E7 0LP
February 2016

Toor Stores
101 - 105 Green Street 
E7 8JF
February 2016

Vraj General Store
78 Station Road 
E7 0AD
January 2016

Zadran Supermarket
470 Katherine Road 
E7 8DP
January 2016

Zaga Supermarket /Day 1 Local Express
12-14 Woodford Road 
E7 0HA
January 2016



3 stars (Generally satisfactory)

777 Shops
518 Romford Road 
E7 8AF
January 2016

A & S Mini Market 
376 Katherine Road 
E7 8NW
August 2016
2014 rating: 3
2015 rating: 3


A & S Mini Market - consistently
 scores 3 stars
Akbar's
51 - 53 Upton Lane 
E7 9PA
February 2016
2014 rating: 5
2015 rating: 5

Asona Ba
305 Romford Road 
E7 9HA
February 2016
2014 rating: 3
2015 rating: 3


Another consistently "generally
satisfactory" Romford Road food shop
Bay Of Bengal
109 Green Street 
E7 8JF
December 2016

Berket Food Centre
116 Woodgrange Road 
E7 0EW
December 2016

Bismillah Halal Meats
70 Upton Lane 
E7 9LN
January 2016
2014 rating: 3
2015 rating: 3


One of the best rated local Halal butchers
 - comes through consistently with 3 stars
Cakes & Bakes
302C Romford Road 
E7 9HD
April 2016
2015 rating: 1

Grange Food & Wine
76 Woodgrange Road 
E7 0EN
November 2015

Green Village
10 Carlton Terrace Green Street 
E7 8LH
February 2016

Iceland - Woodgrange
4 - 20 Woodgrange Road 
E7 0QH
September 2015

JB Sweets & Savouries
372 Romford Road 
E7 8BS
February 2016

Katarzynka Polish Supermarket
318B Romford Road 
E7 9HD
December 2015
2014 rating: 3
2015 rating: 3


Consistently "generally
satisfactory" Polish
supermarket
London Sweet & Grocery
72 Woodgrange Road 
E7 0EN
January 2016

One Stop Shop
296 Romford Road 
E7 9HD
February 2016

Orbit Food Stores
2 Reginald Road 
E7 9HS
January 2015
2015 rating: 3

Pascheal Exotics & Wesco Enterprises
36-38 Upton Lane 
E7 9LN
January 2016

Smiling Coast Foods
75 Green Street 
E7 8JF
July 2016

Sri Supermarket
522 Romford Road 
E7 8AF
December 2015

TSB Cash & Carry 2
41 Upton Lane 
E7 9PA
March 2016

United Halal Meat
3 Carlton Terrace Green Street 
E7 8LH
February 2016
2014 rating: 3
2015 rating: 3

Vasara 
171 Forest Lane 
E7 9BB
March 2016
2014 rating: 3
2015 rating: 2


After a slight dip in 2015,
 back up to 3 stars
Vinto
529 Katherine Road 
E7 8EB
July 2016
2015 rating: 2
2 stars (Improvement necessary)

Amaan Butchers & Grocers
42 Upton Lane 
E7 9LN
January 2017
2014 rating: 0

Dallas Supermarket
323 Romford Road 
E7 9HA
November 2015

Dames Off Licence
215 Dames Road 
E7 0EA
February 2013
2014 rating: 2
2015 rating: 2


Last tested in 2013 and in
 need of improvement then
Green Street Fish Bazaar
56A Green Street 
E7 8BZ
November 2015

Kiheta African Shop 
1A Sebert Road 
E7 0NG
January 2017
2015 rating: 0

London Fish Bazaar
149 - 153 Green Street 
E7 8JQ
January 2017
2015 rating: 1

M K Bros
30 - 32 Woodgrange Road 
E7 0QH
May 2012
2014 rating: 2
2015 rating: 2


Woodgrange Road's MK Bros with a
consistent and disappointing 2 stars
Safari International
Ground Floor Front 49 Upton Lane 
E7 9PA
February 2017

Unique Cash & Carry
418-420 Katherine Road 
E7 8NP
January 2016
2014 rating: 3
2015 rating: 3


1 star (Major improvement necessary)

7 Till 11 
77 Wellington Road 
E7 9BY
July 2016

A & S Food
200 Shrewsbury Road 
E7 8QJ
June 2012

Anand Pan Centre
229 Green Street 
E7 8LL
December 2016
2015 rating: 1

Atawakal Fresh Halal Meat
493 Katherine Road 
E7 8DR
August 2016
2015 rating: 1

Bondor Bazaar Cash & Carry
130 Green Street 
E7 8JQ
December 2015
2014 rating: 3
2015 rating: 3


Bondor, Green Street - down from
 a decent  3 stars to a poor 1 star

Bondor Cash & Carry
116 Upton Lane 
E7 9LW
December 2015
2014 rating: 1
2015 rating: 1

Green Hut
457 Romford Road 
E7 8AB
October 2016

Khan Brothers
45 Woodgrange Road 
E7 8BA
July 2016

Osiedlak 
79A Woodgrange Road 
E7 9BB
January 2016

Sea Food Supermarket
109-111 Woodgrange Road 
E7 0EP
June 2016

Sobji Bazar 
92 Woodgrange Road 
E7 0EW
December 2015
2015 rating: 3

The Eggless Cake Box
163 Green Street 
E7 8JE
August 2016
2015 rating: 5

Unique Supermarket
513 Katherine Road 
E7 8EB
January 2017


0 stars (Urgent improvement necessary)

Al Madina Butcher
21 Upton Lane 
E7 9PA
2015 rating: 3

Gloria Stores
74 Shrewsbury Road 
E7 8A
February 2016

Ishmael Halal Butchers
184 Shrewsbury Road 
E7 8QJ
July 2016

Wenty's Tropical Foods
26 Upton Lane 
E7 9LN
October 2016
2014 rating: 1

An appreciation of Forest Gate artist Eric Dawson

Wednesday, 24 May 2017


Last year's Newham Heritage Week paid a rare local tribute to Forest Gate artist, Eric Dawson, by displaying some of his original works at The Gate, and elsewhere in Newham.

Eric Dawson in his late 80's 
These paintings are normally hidden from public view, in the stack of the reference library and archives. Many of the paintings are specifically of our local area and we felt that they deserved a more permanent public viewing.

Last train leaving Forest Gate station
We are grateful to Newham Library service, to whom Eric donated many of the paintings and to Eric and his family for being able to present them. It should be made very clear that the paintings are the copyright of Newham and Eric's family, who we are sure will be glad that they can be shared with a wider public than who normally has access to them.

Sunday evening in Upton Lane
Eric was born in Forest Gate in 1918, and was educated at West Ham Secondary school and West Ham School of Art. On the outbreak of war in 1939 he joined the armed forces, serving for almost five years.

Sunday School anniversary, Woodgrange
 Baptist church, early 1930's
After the war he joined Carlton Artists as a designer - six years later moving into women's magazines, first as Art Director of Homes and Gardens and later as Art Director to the Women's Own Group.

Woolworth's in Green Street
He later moved back to press and TV advertising, finally freelancing and working for a range of top-ranking agencies and high street companies.

Looking Back
On retirement, in 1988, he began to bring some of the memories of his earlier life back, with a series of watercolor paintings, exhibiting at the National Army Museum, Epping Forest District Museum - where he lived latterly - and about 20 other locations around London.

Grandfather and Eric Dawson, in the kitchen
Eric donated 42 paintings to Newham Council about a decade ago, all under the theme Growing up in East London 1918 -1939. To celebrate the donation, Newham Council published his memoir Looking Back, in 2006, which basically provided a commentary to the donated paintings.

The house Eric Dawson
 was born, 6 Beauchamp Road
Eric was born at the very end of World War 1, but never knew his father, who died following a gas attack in the trenches.

Children watching Dawson's fish van
 leaving Beauchamp Road for their
 shop in Woodgrange Road
The Introduction to Looking Back says of it:

He evokes a comfortable but nor really wealthy Forest Gate of close-knit families and helpful neighbours. There are some chain stores on the busier streets, but every neighbourhood has its small privately-owned shops - butcher, grocer, sweet shop, boot and shoe repairer, oil shop - providing  necessities on a daily basis.

Coffee stall by Forest Gate clock
Sunday schools and Temperance meetings attracted large audiences and it was not unusual for a cinema to seat 3,000 people. At home, evening parties included poetry recitals and songs around the piano. He described families travelling on the criss-cross of local railway lines to spend holidays at seaside resorts where the lodgings were modest, but the home cooking superb.

Horswills were builders in Green Street
Eric described his Forest Gate origins at the start of his memoir, thus:

In 1890, two brothers, joining an accelerating movement away from the overcrowded eastern districts of the City of London, left Bow for Forest Gate. They brought adjoining houses in Beauchamp Road, leasehold for around £200 each. The elder brother was my grandfather, William Robert Buck, the other my great uncle, Arthur. Both were recently married. ...

Grandfather with Eric Dawson
In the early days of the 1920's it seemed as if every other road in Forest Gate was lined with shops. The main thoroughfares, heavy with traffic, much of it still horse-drawn, contained the larger establishments - Woolworth's, The Penny Bazaar, Home and Colonial, the Co-op. Lots of dress shops, haberdashers and milliners, Freeman, Hardy and Willis (shoes), Montague Burton, 'the tailor of taste'.

Dolls' hospital, by Forest Gate station
The back streets provided the daily necessities of the local inhabitants. Just around the corner from us in St George's Road, a group of such local shops existed ...

Kenner -tailor of taste, 36 - 38 Upton Lane,
 painted in 1998
Within five minutes walk was West Ham Park. Here we sped our scooters along smooth asphalt paths, and in the summer learned to play cricket (underarm bowling) in the shades of the leafy chestnut trees. The flower gardens splendidly maintained by the City of London Corporation, were patrolled by stern park keepers, with whistles. Close by was Upton Lane school, which all the family at various times attended. ...

Two Sikh men, by the Gurney
 memorial in West Ham Park
Further north, along Upton Lane, occupying a whole block, was the Forest Gate Sanitary Steam Laundry. The establishment ejected vast clouds of steam across Upton Lane; at night the dramatic effect was enhanced by powerful but flickering arc lights illuminating work areas. Sounds of heavy machinery rent the air, occasionally interspersed with women's voices, raised in song, a truly Wagnerian manifestation. ...

Forest Gate Steam Laundry, Upton Lane
On the far side of West Ham Park was a large house called The Cedars, once the home of the Gurney family (ed: Elizabeth Fry, principally). It was now used by the local Territorials and by the British legion, the ex-servicemen's club ... Outside The Cedars several horse brakes were drawn up, decorated all over with flowers and favours and were filling up with excited children, the atmosphere distinctly of the knees-up variety. ...

Intermission, Broadway Theatre, Stratford
Looking Back - Growing up in East London (1918 - 1939) by Eric Dawson, published by Newham Council 2006, £7.99