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  1. Just reading 'Jimi Hendrix - Starting at Zero. His Own Story' I found a bit where Hendrix writes ' We play really hard in the clubs. The club managers think we're an abomination but the public thinks it's awesome. One time we played at the new London club the Upper Cut where we had about 5000 turn up. It scared me to death when I saw all those people out there! But I just went on and did what I felt like and everything worked out alright '. Chronologically it doesn't make sense as this is seems to have been written in Autumn 66 when he didn't play Upper Cut until Xmas 66 when it opened. Also, there's no way he could've played there in front of 5000 but perhaps that's him exaggerating for effect to convey that he was nervous playing in front of a big crowd. Do you think there is more to be written about The Upper Cut and Lotus clubs or have you exhausted archive material and those who played /went and willing to be interviewed?Regards, Chris Morris (Forest Gate resident since 1986)


  2. Hello,
    I was wondering if you could help me I have been following your blog for a few years now and as a recent former resident of my beloved Newham and I say that earnestly. I wondered if you could help me on my quest. I would like to find out about the Aeronauts of Wanstead Flats/Park, were there any? Some were the people who would entertain the crowds at the Fairs during the Edwardian Period with their hot air or gas balloons and parachute ascents and descents and the non entertainer Aeronauts, who it either was a hobby or a business. I am esp. interested in an Edwardian Lady Parachutist called Dolly Shepherd (Born 1886- Died 1983), who I found out about in August 2015, since then it’s been an amazing journey for me, the type I could have only dreamed of. Dolly ascended into the skies age of 17, after 30 mins of training, before a plane had ever flown in Europe, rising up to the heights of 2000ft or more, holding on to a trapeze bar attached to a balloon – the harness parachute not yet invented – you let go and you could fall to you death.
    Dolly was born in Potters Bar, however she is not currently official recognised in Hertfordshire, although celebrated around the UK and in some parts of the world. Please look her up; she was an amazing woman with a fantastic story that was almost never told: a Guinness World Record Holder for the first mid air rescue, a WW1 Driver & Mechanic in France on the Western Front and that’s just the start. I have a copy of her autobiography, now out of print.
    Through my Dolly Shepherd research I have also found an article, on a man named Captain William Dale (It was a tradition that aeronauts ref. to themselves as Captain), he died via a very tragic balloon accident at the Crystal Palace, in 1892 and at the time of his death he was registered as living at 57 Cecil Road, Plaistow. I was born in Plaistow, so checked where the house was. Also there is a statement from a Mr Thomas Wright, a retired aeronaut from Forest Gate who spoke at the inquest as Captain Dale was his assistant for many years. Have you come across these two Gentlemen?
    Any help would be fantastic, I am not saying that Dolly Shepherd performed at Wanstead Flats; I know there was the famous Spencer Family around too. I just wondered if Dolly or her colleagues could have passed through, via a balloon into the air entertaining those Edwardian East London Crowds all that time ago.

    Thanks in advance


    Kind regards


  3. I lived in tower hamlets road forest gate just after the war in white prefabs, I recall a tree coming down on the house opposite and my sister went to a school just up the road. There was a man who came round with a horse and cart with a round about on it. I cannot find any reference or photos to this has anyone got information to share
    We would walk into the town centre with cobbled square and a horse drinking trough there.

    1. If you haven't had any luck try the East London site. Lots of comments there about the man with the roundabout. Or Real memories of Forest Gate and contact the site admin. They are very knowledgeable.

  4. You are using one of the copyrighted photos I shot of Ronnie Lane without compensation for usage. I don't even see a credit on the photo. -Theresa DiMenno

    1. Sorry, Theresa, I picked it up from somewhere, without an acknowledgement. If you tell me which photo it is, I'll be more than happy to add a citation, with thanks.

  5. Here's a piece I wrote about the Flats altho I now live in Benfleet Essex

    Wanstead Flats
    I’m sitting with eyes closed tightly
    Reflecting on life as a child
    Wondering what is important
    To keep a reader beguiled
    The story that comes to mind I’ll relate
    Of the times of a Country at War
    As children each day was an experience
    We’d never seen before
    It was in the Summer holidays
    When Mum would give 2 brothers & I a treat
    A case packed with orange juice ,towels and sandwiches
    Filled with cheese, Spam or left over cold meat
    Dressed in old clothes we boarded a steam train
    An disembarked at the station at Manor Park
    This was a day for us all on Wanstead Flats
    Where we’d play, hide and swim
    In the lake and go home before dark
    With suitcase of goodies by her side
    Mother would find a comfortable seat
    We’d run off and climb trees or swim
    Until hungry or thirsty then Mother we would meet
    Then she pointed out this huge lorry
    With huge Barrage Balloon by it’s side
    Attached to it a huge basket
    In which Paratroopers training would ride
    Then as we watched the balloon filled with gas
    And began to soar into the sky
    Attached to the lorry by a huge winch & cable
    Finally reaching it limits far above
    At a height where the Paratroopers were able
    To launch themselves out and glide gracefully down
    A hard lesson they had to learn
    For a forthcoming life threatening battle
    Their fighting skills on the ground they would earn
    Ironically as we walked further
    Across Wanstead Flats as they were known
    The huge area before us had been surrounded by barbed wire
    Into a German Prisoner of War Camp it had grown
    Temporary accommodation under Canvas
    Armed guards patrolled the perimeter outside
    Though most of the prisoners had lost the will to fight
    If they escaped there was nowhere to hide
    When you witnessed how easily the prisoners were treated
    Against the treatment of Allied P O W’s at Belsen and such
    A hard lesson to learn of the unfairness of War
    But it stood in my memory this much
    The once again a walk to the station
    To catch a steam train home to Newbury Park
    Just Mum and I and 2 brothers
    Arriving home well before dark
    For at this time after dark not a light would be seen
    Every car, bike or torch had a shield
    For it was decreed by the authorities
    Information to the air overhead would be revealed
    Houses had curtains made of black
    Shutters concealed even more
    Just a little insight to strangers
    Not having lived in a country at war .

    Dennis shrubshall 20th August 2016

  6. hi i live on sebert road and i want to see some pictures of the houses opposite woodgrange infant school

  7. I believe the girl on the bike in the middle of the 1910 postcard photo is my grandmother Winifred Violet Coe (nee Gage) as I have a copy of it with my grandfather Fred Coe's hand writing on it with an arrow stating it is "Win"

  8. Seems my grandmother, Kathleen Griffin (born approx 1920) working as a waitress in Wanstead, gave birth to my mother in Forest Gate Hospital on 3rd Nov, 1937. Birth name Elaine Brenda Griffin. Mum was adopted 6 mths later and named Bridget Mary Murray) by Leonard Murray (School master) and Ada Violet Murray (Housewife) from Ilford (later Benfleet, Essex). Would anyone have any useful information? I live in Logan, Qld, Australia.

  9. Hi there,
    There is a Canvey Island Essex, which neighbour's Benfleet, website you can join via Facebook. Might be one for Benfleet but if not, locals may be able to help

  10. Hello
    I knew a young lady called Susan (Sue) Munnings she lived in Earlham Grove, I met her at a holiday camp in about 1976. I would love to know if anyone knew her or even knows her. Many thanks.

  11. Does anyone know which corner the Windsor Restaurant was on, in Woodgrange Road?
    Be interested to find out about this little bit of Forest Gate history. Thank you.

  12. May have found it (from G C Spiro):

  13. Anybody know what happened to Bentley's Newsgents 281 Green Street E7?

  14. Does anyone know where Monega Road gets its name from? Could it be from Monega Hill in Scotland? It’s a very unusual name


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