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Author Topic: Wanstead Flats, London. Model Boating Lake Memories  (Read 1028 times)

Davo

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Wanstead Flats, London. Model Boating Lake Memories
« on: March 18, 2018, 02:13:51 PM »

Growing up in the docklands of East Ham in the 1950s, a Sunday treat (while mum cooked dinner) was a run up to Wanstead flats with dad and my brother in the motorbike and sidecar. There were model aircraft to be seen, usually control line or free flight in the 1950s and 60s, as well as model boats on the purpose built lake by Dames Road.  There was another lake nearby, in Capel Road, for tethered hydros but I only ever saw it in use a couple of times.
The main lake for me was the place to be and in later years is where my Sea Queen would run with a Merco 61 controlled by a McGregor 3Ch radio (costing 110 in 1975). I was only earning about 12 a week so a big investment!
The large boat in the picture ran a lawnmower engine and a huge homemade propeller.
Vintage photos of boating lakes in the 20s, 30s and 40s often show crowds several deep; all keen to see models on the water.I have found a few photos on the net and wonder if any other readers used this lake and have some photographs of the activity that went on.
David
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tony23

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Re: Wanstead Flats, London. Model Boating Lake Memories
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2018, 12:27:02 AM »

Hi David,
I was also sailing a small pond yacht from one end to the other setting the rudder only and a bit of sail trim although I was extremely young, my dad would take me and my brothers there whenever he had some free time. I built a wood Fairy Huntsman and my best mate worked as a Saturday boy for Merco in Edmonton he would come round my house after work with pockets full of parts from there bins and we would build working engines from parts so we fitted a Merco 61 marine in our huntsman and it went like a rocket. For many years I was a member of Wanstead Flats aero club on the other side of the pond looking at it now I cant believe how close to the main road we flew even free flight Junior 60's.


I see you live in Epping I have just recently moved there.
Tony
 
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Klunk

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Re: Wanstead Flats, London. Model Boating Lake Memories
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2018, 06:26:18 AM »

in the mid 80,s i went to see an elderly gentleman i had met in 308's. his wife had died 2 years earlier and he had no family.  i walked into a seemingly normal flat at Wansted.....we had a cuppa in his kitchin then wandered into the lounge. in there were 40 model rc aeroplanes all made out of card and brown paper, all hanging from the ceiling and on shelves. him and his wife had lived in wansted all their lives and both had made the planes. we then went to the 2nd bedroom  which was full of yachts and boats. there was an alley through the boats. most boats had motors in them and again all made of card and brown paper. this was his wife's passion. she loved boats.  he told me when she died she was cremated, so he put her in her favourite boat took it to the pond a set it of fore and pushed it out into the middle.  i saw him quite a few times after that and went flying with him several times. he loved free flight and jetex and and was a demon at rubber flight. he died in the early 90's and by the time i found out the council had cleared the flat and binned everything.
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tony23

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Re: Wanstead Flats, London. Model Boating Lake Memories
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2018, 01:17:32 PM »

what a lovely story my uncle who's passed away now was very well known over Victoria park for his tether racing and anything fast boats, Wanstead flats pond is filled in now those purpose built boating lakes are getting far and few between.



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Davo

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Re: Wanstead Flats, London. Model Boating Lake Memories
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2018, 01:44:49 PM »

How nice to hear some Wanstead stories. The 50s and 60s was a time when weekends were spent visiting family or pursuing a hobby; not going to the supermarket or retail park. People planned their week properly and managed to buy food despite what would now be seen as restrictive opening hours. Living in the prefabs of Eisenhower Drive, Beckton Road, we had plenty of ditches to sail on (boats pulled by a long piece of string!) and the removal of the large coal heaps (Beckton Gas Works) left several large lakes. However, Wanstead was my boating mecca and it is sad to see these local model boat ponds disappear.
David
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David

destroyer42

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Re: Wanstead Flats, London. Model Boating Lake Memories
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2018, 03:17:53 PM »

Hi All,
Ah yes old days, I used to fly there and have model boats on the pond when I was a kid, used to walk there from Forest Gate to do my hobby as a youngster , couldn't afford radio control, it was control line flying or gliders and rubber band planes, boats where clockwork or free running.
Used to be a big fair there during Easter and Summer time as well.
Haven't been that way for years, I expect it's changed a lot.

Destroyer42
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springersrus

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Re: Wanstead Flats, London. Model Boating Lake Memories
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2018, 05:58:44 PM »

Thats a lovely picture of me in the water at the pond taken by a mate of mine when we were both in the forest gate model boat club we used that pond and the one on the corner of capel road for a long while until they both dried up in the late 70's.
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tony23

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Re: Wanstead Flats, London. Model Boating Lake Memories
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2018, 06:41:59 PM »

Wow thats unbelievable that must bring back great memories I see your in Hainault I flew for many years on the Fairlop fields where the skate park is now best days as I remember.   
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tony23

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Re: Wanstead Flats, London. Model Boating Lake Memories
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2018, 06:45:03 PM »

It's funny I reckon at some time some of us here have spoken to each other, when I was a kid my mum always took us to Wanstead Flats fair over Easter holidays it was the best times!


https://www.wansteadwildlife.org.uk/index.php/home/about-wanstead-wildlife?id=104
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springersrus

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Re: Wanstead Flats, London. Model Boating Lake Memories
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2018, 07:39:51 PM »

I lived opposite the pond in dames road for many years (50 plus) but moved 20 years ago now run boats in belhus woods Lake with G.T.M.B.C. I also belonged to wanstead flying club in the 50's doing free flight and single channel radio control (home made)..good old days long gone.
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tony23

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Re: Wanstead Flats, London. Model Boating Lake Memories
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2018, 08:27:04 PM »

you very probably new my best friends dad he flew free flight and rubber there in the same period his name was Colin Anderson when I was about 12 I would sit up my mates shed with Colin making free flight models from plans he had a vast collection of vintage petrol and diesel engines plus some jetex which we loved..
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