Historical Society members enjoy walk in Wanstead Park

On 16 July the Friends of Wanstead Parklands led a walk for about 30 members of the City of London Historical Society. As their name suggests, this is a group with interests which mostly focus on the Square Mile, but in this instance they wished to visit Wanstead Park on account of its link with the City Corporation.

St Mary's Church, Overton Drive
St Mary's Church, Overton Drive

The walk began with a visit to St Mary’s Church, Overton Drive. Churchwarden Peter Brown gave an excellent historical and architectural introduction to St Mary’s, which was built in 1790 on land provided by Sir James Tylney-Long, owner of Wanstead House, who also largely paid for the fabric. The Vicar and Curate of St Mary’s very kindly provided refreshments for the group.

Members of the City of London Historical Society at St Mary's
Members of the City of London Historical Society at St Mary's - a remarkably unchanged late Georgian church, and Redbridge's only Grade I listed building.

Next stop on the itinerary was Wanstead Golf Club. Manager John Nolan escorted the group along the northern edge of the course, past the site of Wanstead House. They continued past the sites of the Conservatory, the eastern parterre and the American Garden. Leaving the golf course at Warren Road, the group then entered the public park and walked around the eastern and central portions, where Friends committee members Richard Arnopp and Ralph Potter pointed out a selection of the surviving historic features. They also discussed some of the problems and dilemmas with which the park’s custodians have had to contend, as well as some of the options for addressing them.

Wanstead Golf Club: based in the eighteenth century stable block of Wanstead House
Wanstead Golf Club: based in the eighteenth century stable block of Wanstead House

The extreme heat left some members of the group rather shattered by the end of the walk, but they all appeared to enjoy it and the visits to St Mary's and the Golf Club were an unexpected bonus for them. We in turn are greatly appreciative of their generous donation, which we are sharing with the Parish of Wanstead. Our thanks are due to Rev. Elizabeth Horwell and John Nolan for their time and help.