Food hygiene in Forest Gate; the good, the bad and the urgh - (1) Food shops

Friday 26 September 2014

Newham has recently joined the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS), under which all premises selling, or processing food for public consumption are inspected, and awarded a Food Hygiene rating certificate.

Inspected premises are encouraged (although not compelled) to publicly display their star rating score. Many choose not to, and in some cases, as will be seen, for obvious reasons.  A bit of compulsion here would be much more reassuring for the public, and apply pressure for improvement. Not a priority for the laissez faire government we have, apparently.

Approximately 150 premises in Forest Gate have been tested and their ratings appear on the Food Standards Association (FSA) website
We will be presenting these results over three postings, with a photo, details of the ratings and time of the last inspection accompanying each.
This week we start with food shops, the scores of some of which are frankly more eye watering than mouth watering. In following weeks we will look at schools, social care institutions and finally restaurants and hotels.

Food premises are accorded between 0 and 5 stars for their premises, depending on how they score against standards set by public health officers, in three categories.  They take account of:
- how hygienically the food is handled
- the conditions and structures of the premises (including cleanliness); and
- how effectively the business manages is records relating to food safety.

A top score of 5 will mean that the business performs well on all three criteria.

A score of zero, that they perform poorly on all three.  Persistent zeros or scores of 1 can result in a premises being closed down. In extreme cases of poor hygiene standards, an inspector can close down dirty premises, with no warning.

Scores of between 1 and 4 are, as they sound, grades, which will reflect  how well the premises score, overall, against all criteria.  They could be excellent on two and poor on one, for example and get a score of 2 or 3, or simply mediocre on all three criteria and get a similar score.

The records relating to Forest Gate are very patchy, in terms of the comprehensiveness of the cover, and the range of results emerging.  We would estimate that upwards of 50 per cent of local food-related premises have yet to receive a certificate - for example a cluster of premises around the Forest Station (Forest Tavern, the Fox and Hounds, the Co-op, Kaffine,  Artemis -coffee stand) are without scores. Their time will come, as the inspection programme is rolled out.

Anyone wishing to get fuller details of the condition of any premises mentioned below can obtain a full copy of the relevant inspection report, via an FOI, to Newham Council.

The results are presented in street alphabetical order, and then in numerical order. The date given is of the latest inspection.

Dames Road

Dames Off-Licence

215 Dames Road
February 2013
2 stars

Forest Lane


171 Forest Lane
January 2014
3 stars

Green St

Muzda Bakery 
129 Green Street
April 2012
3 stars

Bondor Bazaar Cash and Carry
130 Green Street
February 2012
3 stars

Taqwa Quality Halal Meat 

 133 Green Street
June 2013
1 star

Alaudin Sweet Centre 
148 Green Street
June 2012
5 stars

The Cake Box
163 Green Street
March 2014
5 stars

United Halal Meat 
3 Carlton Terrace
Green Street
May 2013
3 stars

Katherine Road

Tesco Express
326 Katherine Road
September 2011
5 stars

Himalaya Food Store
334 Katherine Road
May 2013
1 star

A and S Mini Market

376 Katherine Road
June 2012
3 stars

Unique Cash and Carry

418-420 Katherine Road
January 2013
3 stars

TSB Cash and Carry
428 Katherine Road
January 2014
1 star

Romford Road

Asona Ba 

305 Romford Road
June 2011
3 stars

Perrier Wines 
315 Romford Road
April 2014
2 stars

Katarzynka Polish Supermarket 

318 Romford Road
April 2013
3 stars

Upton Lane

Wenty's Tropical Foods
26 Upton Lane
August 2013
1 star

Fish Mela
39 Upton Lane
November 2010
5 stars

 Amaan Halal
42 Upton Lane
June 2013
0 stars

51- 53 Upton Lane
January 2014
5 stars

Bismillah Halal Meats
70 Upton Lane
May 2013
3 stars

 Bondor Cash and Carry

116 Upton Lane
February 2014
1 star

Vansitaart Road

Bottle and Basket
13 Vansittart Road
June 2011
5 stars

Woodgrange Road

Woodgrange News Mart
25 Woodgrange Road
February 2012
3 stars

Tesco Express
28 Woodgrange Road
May 2012
4 stars

MK Bros
30-32 Woodgrange Road
May 2012
2 stars

Karuri Newsagents
35 Woodgrange Road
August 2013
2 stars

Barry's Meat Market
49a Woodgrange Road
April 2014
3 stars

AMB Food 4 You

99 - 101 Woodgrange Road
May 2013
5 stars

Kenny Johnson and the Lotus Club

Wednesday 17 September 2014

We've featured a brief history of  Upper Cut club, on Woodgrange Road, on this site a number of times in recent months - including our recent chat with the club's big name "owner", Billy Walker (see here).

This week we feature a less famous local impresario, but one who, without doubt, had a much greater and longer lasting influence on the music scene in Forest Gate, East London and further afield - Kenny Johnson. We caught up with Kenny recently and chatted about his Forest Gate days and in particular his greatest local legacy, the Lotus Club.

Lotus club, above Courts on right of photo,
with Xmas decs -  1983
The Club was located  above what is now the 99p stores, and existed , in one form or another, under his control as a music venue for almost 40 years. The building was completed in 1938, as a classic Burton's men's outfitters, and, as was almost standard practice, the shop had a snooker hall on the upstairs floors.

During the Second World War the premises were used as a base and bar for the Home Guard and the place where children's rations were dispensed by the Ministry of Food.

Kenny Johnson keeping an eye on the Lotus cloakroom
The Lotus Ballroom was opened on the first floor of the building in about 1952, by ballroom dance impresarios Byron and Mons Woodmansee, as the dance craze swept the country. By the end of the 50's Burton's had pulled out and the rest of the block was occupied by Courts, the furniture company.  The ballroom, however, remained unaffected.
Undated ticket for a Lotus disco, for 12.5p!
Enter, Kenny Johnson. Kenny was brought up in Old Ford, and moved to Forest Gate's Earlham Grove in the late 1950's.  He soon started to work at the Ilford Palais as a bouncer, where he met future Upper Cut club owner, Billy Walker. Like Billy, he was an amateur boxer and had been a market porter, but at Spitalfields.

When the Palais closed for a year for refurbishment, around 1960, Kenny spotted a gap in the market and opened the Jive Dive, in a house in Earlham Grove (number 193), next to the Royal Mail sorting office, in 1960, in what had previously been the Earlham Grove Dance Academy.

Kenny outside the Jive Dive,
successful enough to allow a jag
The Jive Dive originally opened as a coffee bar, but soon obtained an alcohol license.  The ground floor was converted into a bar, and the basement a dance hall. It was imaginatively decorated, for the time - with bamboo partitions, film and gig posters on the walls and with plants, real and artificial, adorning key areas.
Kenny (with beard) on the door of the
Jive Dive, with friends and relatives
Eddie Johnson, in his book Tales from the Two Puddings, says this of the place:

The Jive Dive seemed to fulfil a real need in young people; it was the time of the 'mod', and young East Enders were, in those days, the most fashion conscious in the world; rendezvousing in Forest Gate every weekend and going to our club, they would have a few drinks and then dance their socks off in the basement. There was no trouble and the customers were a lovely crowd.
The venue proved a great success, but the resultant crowds were understandably less popular with the residential neighbours, and so the brothers closed it as a venue and looked elsewhere for music promotional opportunities.

Ever a man with an eye for a show business opportunity, Kenny spread his impresario wings wider, and put on regular and very successful gigs in the upstairs of Stratford's Two Puddings pub - later run by his brother Eddie - as the Big Beat Club.

He promoted events at other local venues, such as West Ham Town Hall, The old Eagle and Child pub on Woodgrange Road and the Spread Eagle, in Tottenham, West Ham Baths (where Jerry Lee Lewis was to play for him - see photos), Shoreditch Town Hall, Dagenham, Harlow and Croydon. And then very much further afield in the UK, in Liverpool and elsewhere, where his dad and uncle would help with the management of the events.

Jerry Lee Lewis gig, promoted by
Kenny Johnson, 1964

Jerry Lee Lewis, playing I'm on Fire,
recorded the night before his West Ham
Baths gig. The video can be found on
YouTube here:

Jerry Lee, with some of Kenny's friends
and family prior to the Romford Road gig
Kenny felt there was a gap in the market for a permanent pop music venue in the Forest Gate/West Ham area. As he was having difficulties at the Jive Dive he saw that the Lotus Ballroom's success was waning, as fashions moved on, and seized an opportunity with both hands.

He bought the lease of the ballroom, and reopened it, as the Lotus Club, in 1962. He brought to it one of Britain's earliest discotheques (the original having been pioneered at the Two Puddings), and began to attract some decent bands, to provide live gigs. It soon became the most popular haunt in North East London and Essex.

A night at the Lotus, with Tommy Bruce on mike
The line-ups were amazing, and over time, certainly rivalled those of the Upper Cut, for their significance. They included the Small Faces, as Kenny was friends with Ronnie "Plonk" Lane, founder member and bassist, and the band used to rehearse at the Two Puddings, when his brother, Eddie, ran it.

'You Really Got Me' - Kinks gig for £70
- the price of the band, not the ticket!
Kinks, dedicated followers of fashion

Small Faces: rehearsed in Two Puddings,
starred at the Lotus
Kenny remembers hosting Long John Baldry and His Hoochie Coochie Men, when the future Elton John, who then played the organ, and Rod Stewart were in the line up. In a considerable coup for the Club, Kenny booked a Kinks gig for £70 the week they topped the charts with You've Really Got Me - September 1964.
Lotus, Stratford Express advert 3 November 1967
Kenny was well connected in music circles, which accounted for the array of talent he was able to book, and the club's success rapidly grew.  He soon felt he needed a venue that could accommodate more than the 600 or so that the Lotus regularly attracted, and spotted an opportunity when the former roller rink, on the other side of Woodgrange Road became available.  It was in the hands of liquidators, NSA investments and he prepared to re-locate.

But, just as he was about to do so, the Walker Brothers nipped in, cut a deal with the liquidators' owner, Norman Aaronshon, and the Upper Cut opened, as local competition for the Lotus. Kenny stayed put.

He says he bore the brothers no malice, and his friendship with Billy, which had gone back to the time when they sparred with each other at West Ham Boxing club, in Plaistow's Black Lion pub, remained unaffected.

Other big names continued to appear at his club, including local boys David Essex and  Joe Brown, big name British groups, like The Hollies. Pretty Things Manfred Mann, the  Animals and Searchers, along with transatlantic stars like The Temptations, Little Eva and John Lee Hooker.

Kenny's most fondly remembered gigs featured Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, and Mary Wells (which attracted his biggest ever turnout).

Lotus advert for the Club's biggest
 gig, Stratford Express 17 April 1967;

600 adoring fans flock to Kenny's
favourite gig, to hear Mary Wells' My Guy
His connections in show business extended to television and he supplied bands to appear on Ready Steady Go, and was able to attract a TV crew to his staging of Screaming Lord Sutch, at the Lotus, when he was standing for Parliament.  A clip from the gig survives on YouTube (see below) and on the walls of the venue you can see adverts for the forthcoming Kinks gig.

Screaming Lord Sutch ; Jack the Ripper
- at the Lotus Club. Video can be found on YouTube here:
The Lotus was opened 6 nights a week and could count on big crowds, including the Swinging Sixties style "celebrities" and "personalities" like West Ham footballers Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst, as well as local boxing heroes.
The Club, however,  was hit by changing licensing regulations from the late sixties, which affected admission criteria and imposed stricter health, safety and fire escape regulations (no more 600 crowds!).  These restriction gradually adversely impacted on the type of band the Club was able to attract, and thus, on its popularity.

Stratford Express
22 December 1967
So, Kenny Johnson extended his reach and featured gambling, bingo and a regular restaurant on the premises, to compensate.  These, too, suffered as a result of changing local authority regulations, which further inhibited business for the venue.

Kenny in the 70's, when
Lotus club in full steam
The Lotus Club continued, with dwindling crowds, until the mid 1990's when Kenny reached out to a new community and offered Sabura - a West African/Portuguese music tradition, which attracted considerable Angolan audiences, and regular live radio broadcasts to Lisbon and Luanda (capital of Angola!).

The Lotus Club, in its 70's manifestation as a casino
Courts the furnishers sold the building to the Peabody Trust, who wanted to redevelop it for social housing, in 2001 (their attempt failed), and the Lotus Club was evicted  - bringing down the curtain of 40 years of live music at the venue - a remarkable feat for a small, apparently sleepy suburb of East London.

Kenny now lives by the Essex coast, is a regular visitor to Forest Gate and maintains his fitness by weekly tennis sessions, a passion he embraced half a century ago.  Recently, together with brother Eddie, he has promoted a couple of Sixties revival nights at Stratford Town Hall, putting on bands of the time, to the great delights of attendees of the time!   We will happily promote any future events they promote!

Kenny today: "Anyone for tennis?"
Footnotes We would like to thank Kenny for his time and memories during the interview we had with him, his brother Eddie, whose book Tales from the Two Puddings will stir many a memory for older regulars of his former Stratford pub, but most of all to local historian Carol Price. She is Kenny's cousin, biggest promoter, interview fixer and, most of all, supplier of many of the fascinating photos featured in this blog.  All errors are, of course, ours.

We would be delighted to hear memories from any attendees at Lotus club events, or indeed anyone of the "scared" audience, featured in the clip from the Screaming Lord Sutch gig!

Archaeology and oral history of Wanstead Flats in WW2

Thursday 11 September 2014

Our recent features on the Wanstead Flats' Prisoners of War (POW) Camp, and the post war development plans for the Flats provoked a considerable amount of interest (see here and here).

Building on that, and some careful archaeology by the Leyton and Leytonstone Historical Society and oral history interviews by Eastside Community Heritage (see footnotes for details of both), we've tried to piece together a fuller picture of World War 2, on the Flats.

Outline map of Flats, indicating locations
of features mentioned in this blog. (Note: we now
understand that the gun emplacement - nos 4 and 5
 - were not by roadside, but about 200 meters
in from the road)
The open space of  the Flats provided convenient muster points for troops during the war. One contributor to the oral history project recalled that there was a:
Transit army camp (on the Flats, soldiers would) stay there over for a couple of days while they were waiting for transport out of the docks. They would then parade through the High Street, down to the docks, get on boats and then off. It was something you went up to quite often. You hear the band playing in the distance and you ran up to High Street North and there was this long column led by the band, with trucks and marching soldiers and everything
Another remembered that the troops: " threw their money around to kids in the street (as they) went off to fight."

Bernard Ball, who was born in Thorpe Road in 1935, had many memories of Wanstead Flats during WW2. These populate much of  this blog.  Rem
embering the general situation in the area at the time he recalled:
They had a searchlight in places and ... places for anti-aircraft guns and a barrage balloon. That was also used for training people to do parachute jumps at later times.
Reiterating the muster point, referred to above, he told ECH:  
Troops that were gonna be used to go over to France for D Day were gonna be encamped on Wanstead Flats. They had built barbed wire right round the Flats, and there was the usual, like, machine gun posts. ..
The following sections refer to specific activities that took place in different places on the Flats during the war and the key to the map indicates their locations

Location 1: Allotments and Prisoners of War Camp

Our recent blog featured the Prisoners of War Camp that was located between Lakehouse and Centre Roads, towards the end of the Second World War. Bernard Ball put a little flesh on the bones of that story, when he spoke of the area's previous war-time function, as allotments for food production. He says: 
Before they had the Prisoners of War Camps they did allow people to have allotments on parts of Wanstead Flats. I can remember my father had an allotment half-way up Lakehouse Road on the right hand side. Of course, once they took it over for camps they were all gone. (note: we now understand that the allotments continued to be used, after the POW camp was built)
At a later stage that was used as a camp for German prisoners of war and ... one of the things that I do remember is how forgiving the people of the area were, considering that the people in West Ham had been bombed terribly ... they threw over cigarettes and things for the Germans, which is great really that people can be that forgiving
I can remember them putting up patrol towers and that on the corners .. but I can never remember them building any actual structures to keep them in. I can only remember them being in tents.
Dig for victory, put into practice
on the Flats during WW2
Daphne Farrow, another contributor to the ECH project spoke of the POWs:
We would see them . A lot of them were inoffensive ordinary people. I nursed prisoners of war. 'Cause I was a nurse during the war, so I nursed some of the soldiers, our wounded soldiers and I nursed some of the wounded prisoners of war. So, I always found them alright.
Locations 2 and 3: Barrage Balloons

About a hundred meters in from the car park (2) on Centre Road, in the long grass to the left, are four tethers for WW2 barrage balloons (3) (see photo). These were anchor points for the huge sausage-shaped silver fabric airships, each with three fins, one on each side and one below. They were used to try to deter low flying enemy aircraft from getting too close to ground targets in East London, both to stop local bombing and to ensure that the aircraft stayed within the scope and range of radar.

Barrage balloon tethers,
still standing on the Flats
The balloons were hoisted into the air, to a height of about 2,000 feet by cables, from the anchor points shown.  The intention was also to make German planes fly higher, and so become better targets for the anti-aircraft weapons and machine gunners that operated elsewhere on the Flats (see sections 4,5 and 8, below).

Barrage balloons, of kind flown above
Wanstead Flats, to keep enemy aircraft
within sight of radar and of anti aircraft guns
The balloons were often crewed  by members of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) during the war, although we do not know whether this was the case, locally. Bernard Ball, recalled them:
They had barrage balloons as a deterrent, not that it was a deterrent .. you knew the German planes would fly into them, but they would also be used for training ... we just assumed they were either pilots or paratroops.
They had a little basket underneath .. they could not take too many people up  ... only two or three.
These balloons survived the war, and were used for parachute training in the years immediately after its conclusion

Locations 4 and 5: Gun crew station, decontamination unit, Anti-Aircraft (Ack-Ack) site

There is a cluster of WW2-related facilities in and around the petrol station and City of London playing fields stores and houses on Aldersbrook Road, facing Herongate Road.
Ack-Ack guns, of kind deployed on Wanstead
Flats, as anti-aircraft deployment in WW2
Behind the service station there is a long brick wall, some of which dates back to the 18th century, when it was possibly part of the old Aldersbrook Farm. A short distance away there is a cluster of trees, known as Long Wood, within which can be seen the foundations of some unidentified WW2 buildings.
One contributor to the oral history project recalled that after the war
Everything was cleared away, there are one or two concrete bases where the buildings stood on. The only building I can recall being there was what was used, later on, as changing rooms when they started to develop it into sports pitches.
Through the trees to the right is a white painted wooden hut (see photo).  This was used by gun crews during the war (see below for details) and is now used as a maintenance store by City of London playing fields staff.

Gun crew station, now Playing Fields' staff storage depot
To the front of this shed, behind a metal fence, was a decontamination building (see photo), which was to be used in the event of a German gas attack. Victims were to be stripped, showered and offered new clothing by Red Cross workers.  We have no indication of how frequently this facility was used during the war.

Decontamination unit, now used by City of London staff
Near here, in front of what are now City of London playing fields' staff housing, and opposite Herongate Road, was an anti-aircraft gun station. This was demolished after the war , although it is difficult to make out any features, remains, or outlines of foundations of the old building today, as the photo indicates.

This site was an ideal location for anti-aircraft, or 'Ack-Ack', as the term was transmitted by signallers, and stuck as slang, for the guns. From here enemy aircraft could be seen clearly and shot at, over the Flats. If downed, the planes would not be likely not crash into and destroy houses and kill civilians.

These stations were frequently staffed by women from the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) during World War 2, although we do not know whether this was the case on the Flats.

Location of other WW2 buildings, off Aldersbrook 
Road - no traces remain of them
It is interesting to note that by the time the mid 50's street map was published (see below) no trace remained or was indicated of the WW2 structures, although the former Aldersbrook Farm was still marked.

1950's street map, showing location
of prefabs and bandstand, but not
of other WW2 buildings on Aldersbrook 
Road (near the marked farm)
Location 6: Prefabs

As we have mentioned in previous blogs, (here), prefabs were erected on the Flats, by  East Ham council, on land facing the Golden Fleece. They were built, often with German prisoner labour, towards the end of the war, to house bombed out East Enders (see photo).  They were mainly removed in 1957.

Their exact location is indicated on the street map extract (above).  Interesting to note that all the prefab streets were called "gardens", testifying to the allure these homes had as residences for people bombed out of more densely and less open space areas in the East End.

Prefabs on Wanstead Flats, built in
1943/44 and demolished 1957
They were very popular with local people, as a number of contributors to the ECH oral history project testified.

One contributor, describing their location, said: 
Then from the bend in Capel Road up to the pub, the Golden Fleece, was prefabs. And then from Chestnut Avenue and Cranmer Road, up to more or less Lorne Road there was a section of prefabs.  Some were like little palaces, they were absolutely beautiful.  ... They had an indoor toilet and  two bedrooms and a lounge come kitchen.  For some reason I think the first ones were a little bit damp, but then they sort of improved on them, and they were really nice.  They were easy to clean. 
They were all on the ground floor. They had a garden around them .. they had a side. People could do their washing, hang it o the line. If they had a bike, they could put it round the side. They were better than the slums of the East End. 
Another contributor said:
Think about it. Each individual family had their own. They didn't need to share an upstairs, downstairs with a Mr Brown, Mr Smith. So, consequently, Mr Jones had his own little Shangri-La. That's the only way you could explain it, and they were very, very popular. Not only that, but here they were getting fresh air.

Bernard Ball described their popularity:
I know people were very upset about them demolishing the prefabs, because people actually liked them a lot. In fact, when they re-housed people from the prefabs into what shall we say proper housing, other people squatted in them almost straight away and it took them ages to get rid of the pre-fabs, because people wouldn't move out of 'em.
Location 7: Allotments

'Dig for Victory' became a rallying cry for self-sufficiency during the Second World War, and the government encouraged the development of allotments on 'unused' ground, wherever possible, to compensate for lost food imports.

Wanstead Flats became an ideal location. As mentioned above, some of the area that was later to be developed into the POW camp on the Lakeside Road area was, early in the war, allocated to allotments.

So, too, was much of the area on the Capel Road side of the Flats.  As one contributor to the Eastside project recalled:
The allotments started roughly at Lorne Road to Tilney Road (on the Flats) and round on the bend in Capel Road before you came to the pre-fabs. There were four sections of allotments ... for people to grow their own food on.

Location 8: Pillbox site ?

Look closely at the bridle path, facing Latimer Road, about 10 metres in from Capel Road. Here there is a semi circle of brick and stone slabs (see photo).

Traces of possible Pill Box foundations on the Flats

There is real controversy as to what these may be.

It is possible that this was the site of a pill box, as it would have provided machine gunners a good vantage point for firing at enemy aircraft as they flew ahead. As with the Ack-Ack location, further north, this site would have given gunners a good view of approaching aircraft, safe in the knowledge that any planes hit would have been unlikely to have inflicted much civilian damage or death and injury.

Pill Box of kind likely to have been located on the Flats
28,000 pillboxes were constructed in WW2, nationwide, and the photo below is of a typical one, whose contour shape is similar to that of the brick and stone remnants at this point on the Flats.

However, a probably more realistic, if less dramatic, explanation is that the bricks were not the base of a pill box, but possibly something to do with some of the prefabs, which also stretched down to this end of the Flats.  They could even have been the remnants of an old garden wall. There is no trace of a Pill Box on the 1944 airphoto of the Flats, so it is extremely unlikely that there could have been one here, at all.

Location 9: Bandstand wood storage point

Towards the Centre Road end of Capel Road, there is a circle of trees which marks the site of the old bandstand, built in the late 19th century (see photo, and street map extract for location). This was a popular venue for open air concerts, pre-war. The enthusiasm did not survive the war, consequently the bandstand was demolished in 1957, at the same time as the prefabs (see above).

In the distance, the bandstand - demolished
in 1957, used in WW2 as wood storage point
During the war, however, the bandstand itself, was used as a collection and storage point for wood salvaged from bombed out houses.  It was used by local people as firewood, to help repair or rebuild houses and by children to make rafts, for sailing on the nearby Jubilee pond.

Daphne Farrow, reminiscing to the ECH project spoke of the bandstand:
There was a big railing, with a gate around it. .. During the war they piled it with all the wood that they took from the houses that got blown down.
And so concludes a rather rapid look at WW2 on Wanstead Flats, as seen through the eyes of witnesses and archaeologists.  We'd be delighted to hear any other, similar, or related accounts, for the Forest Gate area, in general.

Footnote 1. We are very much indebted to Eastside Community Heritage
(details here) for permission to use extracts of some of the interviews they undertook for the Wanstead Flats project in 2008, and to Leyton and Leytonstone Historical society (details here)for some of the pioneering work on the archaeology of Wanstead Flats.

Footnote 2. We are very much indebted to a vigilant member of the Leyton and Leytonstone History Society, Wanstead Flats sub group for contacting us as soon as the original blog was posted, with some corrections and updates.  We are happy to have incorporated these into the posting, above - as our hope is to be as comprehensive and accurate as possible. These principally concern the Pill Box controversy (location 8), and a more accurate photo of an Ack-Ack gun of the kind deployed on the Flats.