diamond geezer

 Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Three East London villages: 1) Wennington

And if you don't need to look that up on a map, congratulations. Wennington's the last village in London heading east towards Lakeside, about halfway between Rainham and Aveley, and very very nearly in Thurrock. It sits alone on the Thames marshes, just high enough not to flood and disconnected to any residential sprawl. It's also very old, with a mention in the Domesday Book and an early medieval church, in which the ashes of a semi-famous mathematician are interred. Three hundred people live here, almost all along one side of one street, paying their London taxes and voting for London's Mayor. And if only the trains stopped you might have heard of the place, but there's a reason they don't, and the solitude's probably part of the appeal. [7 photos]

The village exists as half a dozen runs of cottages plus two farms amid some fairly squelchy fields. First up from the Rainham end are New Cottages, which'd rank as Fairly Old Cottages in most other London boroughs. Walk a bit further along the road and the terraces run together... Laundry Cottages, Marine Cottages, Kent View... each comprised of relatively affordable two-up two-downs. There's no shop anywhere in the village, but one slightly larger house proudly proclaims itself as The Old Post Office 1886-1967. Oh, and "Kent View" may have been true once but the county no longer appears clearly on the southern horizon, which is blocked by the landfill heaps of the Aveley Marshes, now grassing over in the middle distance.

A particular quirk of Wennington is that it has no public footpaths. One long pavement along the main street yes, but there are no tracks off into the marshes in case you fancy a walk. I did see one local resident wander off into the wilderness behind a trotting dog, but you'd probably not get too much further at this time of year without ending up knee-deep. Another barrier is the Channel Tunnel Rail Link which speeds by a few hundred yards away behind a concrete barrier, blocking access towards the Thames. A more ordinary c2c service runs parallel, but only Rainham and Purfleet get stations, and intermediate passengers can only stare as they rush through. Immediately behind the railway is the A13, stalking across the Wennington Marshes on a long viaduct. And beyond that is an equally inaccessible bird reserve which the RSPB are currently scraping out to improve the habitat.

The church of St Mary and St Peter hugs up close to the road, but then the whole village does so that's no surprise. The present building dates back to the 13th century, and survives with a regular Sunday service because the village ganged together a while back to kickstart fundraising for roof repairs. Just outside the northeast corner is a squat obelisk to the memory of Henry Perigal (1801-1898), a Huguenot stockbroker's clerk who dabbled in mathematics and meteorology in his spare time. His main area of expertise was compound circular motion, but today he's remembered solely for an elegant cut-and-shift dissection of Pythagoras' Theorem. Henry was the first to discover the pleasing geometrical proof depicted here, and which also appears on the side of his obelisk (though considerably harder to see on the weathered post).

Next up is the village green, originally the site of a large manor house, now with 20 interwar semi-detached houses around the perimeter. This could easily be part of the Becontree Estate, were it not for the atypical village sign depicting the church and a tiller of the soil. The parish noticeboard features two posters warning about lung cancer, both since obscured by a faded printout that screams SAY NO TO GRAVEL EXTRACTION IN WENNINGTON. It'd be all too tempting for some company to move in on the surrounding marshes and dig them out, but earlier this year residents raised a 2000 name petition against, and local MP Jon Cruddas is firmly anti too. As things stands the worst that's currently confirmed is the seeding of a new golf course on the edge of the village, completion date unknown.

The next building beyond the green greatly surprised me - a fully functional fire station! Here we are in a tiny village only a few hundred yards from the edge of the capital, and yet the London Fire Brigade has closed a dozen other more central stations and left this one open. To be fair I suspect Thurrock pays a fair amount towards Wennington Fire Station too, plus it is jolly conveniently located near an A13 junction for speedy egress, but even so... you can't buy a Mars Bar in the village, but you can find a dozen folk who'll offer smoke alarm advice.

And it's just up the road past one last farm that Wennington, and Greater London, terminate. A busy road rushes by, with the Premier Inn and the Lennards pub fractionally on the London side and the Willow Farm Giant Bootsale (Every Sunday) fractionally in Thurrock. I arrived in time to see the last purchase-laden stragglers walking away, or maybe a few vans selling leftovers in a field was the height of the day's trade. A pint in the Lennards might have been welcome, but it appeared to be deep in Sunday roast mode so I took advantage of the village's one excellent transport link and escaped. The 372 bus runs through Wennington two or three times an hour on its way to Lakeside, or Hornchurch, should you ever wish to visit. I may have just saved you the effort.

[Today's challenge: write seven paragraphs about as obscure a corner of London as possible]

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan22  Feb22  Mar22  Apr22  May22  Jun22  Jul22  Aug22
Jan21  Feb21  Mar21  Apr21  May21  Jun21  Jul21  Aug21  Sep21  Oct21  Nov21  Dec21
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20  Aug20  Sep20  Oct20  Nov20  Dec20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

» my flickr photostream

twenty blogs
our bow
ian visits
blue witch
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
round the island
wanstead meteo
christopher fowler
bus and train user
ruth's coastal walk
the ladies who bus
round the rails we go
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel
from the murky depths

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
Things to do outside London
Inner London toilet map
The DG Tour of Britain

read the archive
Aug22  Jul22  Jun22  May22
Apr22  Mar22  Feb22  Jan22
Dec21  Nov21  Oct21  Sep21
Aug21  Jul21  Jun21  May21
Apr21  Mar21  Feb21  Jan21
Dec20  Nov20  Oct20  Sep20
Aug20  Jul20  Jun20  May20
Apr20  Mar20  Feb20  Jan20
Dec19  Nov19  Oct19  Sep19
Aug19  Jul19  Jun19  May19
Apr19  Mar19  Feb19  Jan19
Dec18  Nov18  Oct18  Sep18
Aug18  Jul18  Jun18  May18
Apr18  Mar18  Feb18  Jan18
Dec17  Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
Aug17  Jul17  Jun17  May17
Apr17  Mar17  Feb17  Jan17
Dec16  Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

the diamond geezer index
2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
Herbert Dip
capital ring
river fleet

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
doctor who
blue peter
peter pan
feng shui
leap year
bbc three
vision on
ID cards