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…In Redbridge!

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It’s beginning to look a lot like a Barkingside Christmas!

Donning a Santa hat and munching on Gingerbread men, Raeesa Mukhtar joins Barkingside residents as they welcome the festive season.

It’s officially Christmas in Barkingside! Okay so, it may not be snowing, the presents haven’t all been wrapped and it’s definitely not time to buy the turkey… Yet, when I went to Barkingside Christmas light switch-on last Thursday, it was clear that the festive season had taken over almost every shop on the High Street! All around me decorations stood proudly in place, hanging from trees draped with tinsel and glitter. Lights adorned shop window fronts, twinkling happily at passers-by. Despite the cold biting at my fingers, I felt cosy and excited for the coming events.

3.30pm and school is out! The library begins to get busy, but something caught my eye beyond the bookshelf. A figure, dressed in red and white, wearing a Christmas hat and…walking on stilts! Accompanied by two elves, the tall woman made her way out of the library and onto the street, ducking so as not to hit her head on the ceiling! The trio began patrolling and calling out to children, telling them to visit the library and take part in the famous Gingerbread Man Trail. Even whilst skilfully standing on stilts, the woman made a fabulous balloon for each child that stopped to say hello. One lucky little girl received a balloon resembling a red and white candy cane. Once parents had snapped photographs of their ecstatic children they began to flood through the doors of the library. Everyone was desperate to see Santa of course!

The library looked and felt festive, just like the High Street shop windows. The shelves were covered in tinsel and a lovely little Gingerbread house perched on the edge of the front desk.  To the right, there was a spectacular array of trees and decorations, alongside which were tables armed with juice and biscuits for the visitors. Christmas spirit had even descended on the lovely staff, who donned cheerful headbands as they showed children to the eagerly anticipated Santa’s Grotto! Squeals of laughter and beaming smiles filled the library and it seemed that everyone had a great time celebrating Christmas in Barkingside!

Post Author: Raeesa Mukhtar



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GB Volleyball Star comes to Wanstead

GB Olympic Beach Volleyball star Chris Gregory popped down to Wanstead Leisure Centre yesterday to teach a group of excited youngsters to play volleyball! As part of the Sportivate project Chris will be returning to Wanstead in December to inspire more young people. Find out more about our Sportivate events here.

Chris Tweeted after the event:

‘Top @SportingChamp1 visit with a fast-learning, high energy group at Wanstead today!’

Take a look at the pictures we took!

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Redbridge Museum – Map of the week

This time in Map Of The Week we continue with an insight into what is now Fairlop Waters. As our map of the week shows, during the Second World War it was a Royal Air Force airfield.

The map was created in 2000 by local historian David Martin, based on research and aerial photographs of the site. The airfield was operational from September 1941 to August 1946. A number of different aircraft, including Spitfires, Typhoons and Mustangs flew from Fairlop, which housed around 1000 personnel.

Title Fairlop Airfield

Associated Dates– 1949

Location – On display- Redbridge Museum, Central Library 1st Floor

Opening times – Tuesday-Friday 10am-5pm & Saturday 10am-4pm

Website Visit the Museum webpage

 Map of the Week

Post Author: A. Deo

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GB Volleyball Star to inspire young people in East London


GB Beach Volleyball giant Chris Gregory will be inspiring youngsters in a Sportivate project at Wanstead Leisure Centre! Chris will be working with children, teens and young adults as part of key initiative to create a sporting legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

This project is managed by the Thames Gateway Foundation, a local charity, which seeks to inspire young people into a lifetime of sport. The Foundation provides opportunities to take part in free multi-sports activities taught by professionally qualified coaches. This Sportivate project has been made possible through funding from Sportivate and a partnership with Pro Active East London, Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure and Wanstead High School.

“I’m hopeful that I can inspire young people to sustain their sports participation. I’m really looking forward to visiting this exciting project!” –  Chris Gregory.

Sportivate is the £56 million National Lottery funded Olympic and Paralympic legacy initiative that gives 11 to 25-year-olds who aren’t particularly sporty six to eight weeks’ free coaching in a new sport and then helps them find low costs ways to continue to play.

New figures published this year show that almost 250,000 teenagers and young adults have so far benefitted from free or discounted six-to-eight week sports coaching courses through Sportivate.

Of these over 200,000 have successfully completed their course, missing no more than one session.

To help inspire and motivate these Sportivate participants, Sport England’s  Sporting Champions team of current and retired elite athletes, many of whom competed at London 2012 – will visit Sportivate sessions to share their experiences and enthusiasm for sport.

What:  Thames Gateway Foundation Sportivate Volleyball Project

Where: Wanstead Leisure Centre, Redbridge Lane West  E11 2JZ

When: 11 am on 27th November  2013 and 11am on 11th December 2013

Who: Chris Gregory GB Beach Volleyball

places people play

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Oceans Apart By Andrew Diamond

Make sure you don’t miss out on another brilliant poem! ‘Oceans Apart‘ by Andrew Diamond was presented at Redbridge Central Library for this year’s National Poetry day, and follows on from our last poem ‘Painting the Oceans by Nina Simon. We will post a new poem each week, so keep checking for updates! Please send any works you would like published to


Oceans Apart

Upon the oceans, deep and vast,

Many people in the past

Would hoist their sails upon the foam

To find a place to call their home.

Some were fleeing persecution,

Some in fear of destitution,

Others taken forcibly

To be sold into slavery.

From Europe and from Africa

They gathered in America,

Australia and Canada,

The Welsh in Patagonia.

The English, Irish, German, Scot,

The wandering Jew, a melting pot

Into the ocean they did drift,

A massive population shift.

And that is how it is today,

Migration hasn’t gone away.

You will always see disorder

Every time they close a border.

It is natural to flee;

Life is best across the sea

And despite our place of birth

We’re really citizens of Earth.

Andrew Diamond

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Calling all Teachers!

Are you aware Redbridge Museum based in Central Library Ilford offers *FREE sessions for key stage students on the following topics?

  • Romans
  • Tudors (at a stretch)
  • Victorian Childhood and Washday (combined works best)
  • World War II
  • Black and Asian contributions to WWII
  • Local History – Ilford; Wanstead and Woodford
  • Old and New Toys
  • Britain Since 1930
  • Migration
    • Suitcase Stories
    • South Asian Migration

And also at the historic Valentines Mansion and Gardens we offer workshops for which there is a charge**


  • KS1 Workshop based around investigating the Victorian Kitchen at the Mansion,
  • KS2 we offer the ‘Who’s Who Mansion Mystery’.
  • During the warmer months of the year pupils can take advantage of sessions that make use of the gardens close to the Mansion – ‘Meet the Gardener’

For enquires or bookings please contact Redbridge Museum on 020 8708 2317

More Information – visit the Museum page

Email –

Or download a copy of our Schools Programme here

* Travel cost not included
 **Valentines Mansion sessions are charged at £90 per class 

Post Author – A Deo

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Redbridge Museum – Map Of The Week

This week’s Map of the Week is a plan for Fairlop that never came to light.

In 1937 the City of London purchased 1,000 acres in order to build a civic airport. But with the threat of the Second World War these plans were rejected.

By the 1940’s the land was used as an airfield for the Royal Air Force. After the war the government announced that Fairlop was unsuitable and instead a small west London airfield was chosen – today’s Heathrow Airport!

The land was purchased by Ilford Council in 1955 and over time became the wonderful Fairlop Waters Country Park we all know and love today.

Title Borough of Ilford  Fairlop Schemes

Associated Dates1937 

Exhibition   A History of Redbridge in Maps

Location – On display- Redbridge Museum, Central Library 1st Floor

Opening times – Tuesday-Friday 10am-5pm & Saturday 10am-4pm

Website  Visit the Museum website.

Post Author – A Deo