Black Lives Matter in Leytonstone

Video of the community Black Lives Matter peaceful protest in Leytonstone on Saturday 13th June at Linear Park on Grove Green Road.

The event was organised by Grove Green Ward Labour Party. A powerful speech was given by Grove Green Councillor Anna Mbachu. As a healthcare worker, Anna spoke movingly of how she has witnessed first-hand the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the BAME community. Tom Taylor from the local Labour Party, and organiser of the protest, spoke of the long heritage of anti-racism in East London going back to the Battle of Cable Street through to the Rock Against Racism Festival in Victoria Park in 1978. Hussain from the Waltham Forest Council of Mosques urged people to network within the community with like-minded people. Passing cars and buses beeped their horns in support, cyclists rang their bells. The names of black people who have lost their lives in racist attacks, after interactions with the police, from Covid-19, the Windrush Scandal, and in the Grenfell Tower Fire were read out whilst the protestors took the knee and observed a minute’s silence.

Social distancing was very well observed throughout with positions marked out on the pavement 3 metres apart and plenty of stewards were on hand to make sure the event passed safely. It was great to see so many families in attendance, including my youngest son who helped make this video.

 

 

Secret Landscape of Leytonstone

A walk around part of the border of Leytonstone, London E11 that contains some of its stories embedded in the landscape. From James Lane past Leytonstone School past St. Andrew’s Church to the source of the lost river of the Filley Brook (Philley Brook), on the possible site of an ancient burial ground. Then past the Hollow Ponds, over Leyton Flats to the High Stone on the border with Redbridge.

Filmed during the lockdown on Saturday 2nd May 2020.

Lockdown Pub Crawl around Leytonstone

The Whitsun Bank Holiday weekend was the perfect time for a pub crawl around the pubs of Leytonstone here in East London. Although all the pubs have been closed since the 21st March due to the lockdown, it’s a great time to celebrate the drinking establishments that are such an important part of community life. This walk features: Heathcote & Star (1905), The Northcote (1886), Birkbeck Tavern (1881), Plough and Harrow (1651), Leytonstone Tavern (1865), The Bell (1720), Red Lion (1670), The Crown/Byrds (1720), The Walnut Tree (1997), The North Star (1858), The Green Man (1660), Luna Lounge (2004), Filly Brook (2020).

The fantastic Waltham Forest Oral History Workshop have produced a brilliant history of the Borough’s pubs – Behind the Bar, which can be downloaded from their website.

Leytonstone Lockdown Walk

I’m really enjoying the challenge of digging deeper into my local area for my lockdown walks. For this video I only cover a short section of Leytonstone High Road and yet it was so rich in resonances and associations. It starts with the ghosts of the M11 Link Road protests in Dyers Hall Road in the early 1990’s. Then passes the rubble of the much-loved 491 Gallery, now being very slowly transformed into a block of flats with a beautiful view of the A12/M11 Link Road. Passing on to Leytonstone High we face another development of flats built on the site of Lincolns Pub, but which YouTube comments have informed me was better known to locals in its previous incarnation as The Elms.

We acknowledge Marnie Court, named in honour of Leytonstone’s famous son Alfred Hitchcock, born further down the High Road. The turning point in the walk is the former State Cinema on Leytonstone High Road, now a banqueting venue. From here we turn back along the High Road then into Trinity Close which once would have led us to the ground of Leytonstone FC at Granleigh Road. Leytonstone were a very successful non-league football club, multiple winners of the Isthmian League and the FA Trophy. The ground is now a housing estate.

Leytonstone lockdown walk

The traffic on Leytonstone High Road was still a relatively busy. Scooters buzz away from Yard Sale Pizza. There were more pedestrians at points on this particular day, Friday 17th April around 5pm, than I anticipated, despite very few shops being open (only food shops and chemists).

It was sad to the see the Red Lion closed, chairs on tables, and the shutters down on the Luna Lounge. When will we be back supping a pint of ale and listening to live music at Luna?


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The Lighting of the Leytonstone Menorah

Leytonstone Menorah

Leytonstone Menorah

Leytonstone Menorah

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This evening saw the lighting of the first Leytonstone Menorah to mark the last night of Hannukah.

The celebration was organised by Leytonstone and Wanstead Synagogue in Fillebrook Road. It was a beautiful community event, attended by a large crowd in the hundreds, gathered around the Menorah in a raised bed on the corner of Fillebrook and Grove Green Road opposite the tube station. A band played, doughnuts and laktes were handed out, and the Rabbi spoke about the illuminating of the darkness that Hannukah represents.

Sunday sunset walk through Bush Wood

Bush Wood

The Shard seems to be aligned perfectly with the avenue of trees that cuts across Wanstead Flats from Leytonstone to what was once the grounds of the grand Wanstead House. I believe I’ve erronously claimed in the past that this avenue was laid out by Humphrey Repton (confusing it with the avenue of trees he planned in Wanstead Park near one of the lakes). The sunset reveals this alignment in the startling burnt sky. One of the reasons the last light is a perfect time to walk on Wanstead Flats.

Bush Wood

It was dark by the time we looped back from Blake Hall Road, following the path to Bushwood Lodge, and then turning into Bush Wood. Our passage through the woods was illuminated by a full moon casting a crystal trail through the muddy woodland. This pond in Bush Wood has always had a slightly mysterious tinge, often dried out in summer, in winter it lurks like a magic bog among the trees. The moon sat above the bare trees solely to cast moonbeams into this very pool.

Iain Sinclair & Edith Walks at Leytonstone Pop-Up Cinema

Iain Sinclair Leytonstone

I had to photograph Iain Sinclair in front of Leytonstone’s Olympic Fish Bar in Church Lane. The great London writer had come to introduce his film collaboration with Andrew Kötting, Edith Walks at Leytonstone Pop-Up Cinema in Leytonstone Library. Iain had been a prominent critic of the London 2012 Olympics, resulting in Hackney Council temporarily banning him in 2008 from speaking in its libraries.

Iain Sinclair Leytonstone

Iain Sinclair introducing Edith Walks

Iain Sinclair Leytonstone

Iain Sinclair introducing Edith Walks at Leytonstone Pop-Up Cinema

When introducing Iain Sinclair, I mentioned how in the boom years of the psychogeography revival at the turn of the millenium, the idea of a Sinclair – Kötting collaboration was considered the psychogeographer’s ‘dream ticket’. Then while I was working at the National Film Theatre that dream ticket quite incredibly manifested itself with the film Offshore Gallivant, which screened at the NFT in 2006. Iain gave a humorous account of the making of the film as the crew spent the entire trip throwing up over the side of the boat meaning little footage was actually shot, however somehow Kötting still managed to make a film.

Iain related this to the making of Edith Walks, one of a number of subsequent collaborations between the pair, documenting a pilgrimage in the wake of King Harold’s wife Edith Swanneck from Waltham Abbey to the battlefield at Hastings. The nature of a 100-mile walk meant footage was not easy to capture throughout. Some of the scenes I shot at Waltham Abbey and on the towpath to Enfield Lock made their way into the final cut. A fair percentage of the film was shot on iphones using a Super8 app. The result was something magical and entrancing that the audience received warmly and sparked a fascinating discussion after the screening.

Edith Walks by Andrew Kötting

Iain Sinclair in Edith Walks directed by Andrew Kötting

Edith Walks Kötting

Claudia Barton as Edith Swan Neck

Leytonstone Pop-Up Cinema is the first Wednesday of the month at Leytonstone Library