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Quaker Meeting House, Wanstead

Modernist building based on four hexagons within an Epping Forest setting. Contains a sunny meeting room for Quaker worship facing onto a wooded burial ground of simple headstones, including that of Elizabeth Fry and, recently the Meeting House's architect Norman Frith who died in 2015.

Architect

Frith, Norman

Date

1968

Bush Road E11 3AU

Sun 1pm-5pm. Last entry 5pm.

Leytonstone

101, 308

  • Free parking
  • Refreshments available
  • Regularly open to the public at no charge
  • Toilets available

QUAKER MEETING HOUSE, WANSTEAD History ÿOur Meeting House was built in 1968 and replaces an earlier ÿ meeting house that stood whereÿtheÿcurrentÿcarÿparkÿisÿlocated. ÿ Quakers first met at here in 1870 when some Friends moved from Plaistow as part of the expansion of London eastwards at this time. ÿ Many Wanstead Friends were successful in business and lived nearby. ÿ Our groundsÿareÿsurroundedÿbyÿlandÿforming partÿofÿEpping Forest, ÿandÿtheÿMeetingÿHouse siteÿwasÿoriginallyÿoccupiedÿby an archery ÿclub who mayÿhaveÿillegallyÿenclosedÿtheÿlandÿand builtÿa clubhouse ÿwithinÿtheÿForestÿinÿc1850. WithÿtheÿpassingÿofÿtheÿEppingÿForestÿAct in 1878, illegal enclosure ÿ was forbidden and most newly constructed buildings on Forest land ÿ hadÿtoÿbeÿdemolished,ÿwithÿtheÿexceptionÿofÿreligiousÿbuildings. The burial grounds include the headstones of friends buried in Plaistow and Barking, including that of Elizabeth Fry.ÿ This MeetingÿHouse ÿThe original Meeting House was long and thin with fire places at ÿ each end and may have originally been used for indoor archery. By the 1960s the building had become dilapidated and localÿQuakers ÿraisedÿtheÿfundsÿforÿa modernÿreplacement. ÿ The architect was Norman Frith, who was a member of Wanstead ÿ Meeting with his own architectural practice. He also taught ÿ architecture at North East London Polytechnic. The replacement ÿbuilding had to includeÿtheÿfollowing: ÿ A large meeting room suitable for Quaker worship, which is often ÿ silent with short periodsÿofÿspokenÿministry.ÿThis room shouldÿhave ÿan acousticÿsuitableÿforÿthe clear understanding ofÿnormalÿspeech, ÿwithout intrusive ÿechoes. ÿA social room and adjacentÿkitchen,ÿsuitableÿfor refreshments ÿ Children’s room Library Welcoming foyerÿand circulationÿspaceÿsuitable forÿinformal ÿgatheringÿafterÿmeetings Ancillary spaces ÿAccommodationÿforÿaÿwarden Be a buildingÿsuitableÿforÿuseÿbyÿotherÿcommunityÿgroupsÿand ÿpublic meetings. ÿ Theÿbuilding takesÿthe form ofÿfourÿlinked hexagonsÿconnected by ÿaÿfullyÿglazedÿfoyer,ÿvisibleÿto the road with views down to the ÿ burial ground. The main meeting room is a regular hexagon and ÿ faces south over the burial ground. The building is deliberately ÿ plain, respectingÿQuakerÿtestimonyÿforÿsimplicity.ÿIt alsoÿreflectsÿthe ÿarchitectural ideasÿofÿits time, including spaces visually open to the ÿ outside, clear modern sculptural forms and a construction optimistic for a time when ‘energy would be too cheap to meter’. ÿ ÿ ÿ ÿ ÿ ÿ ÿ ÿ ÿ ÿ ÿ ÿ ÿ ÿ ÿ ÿ ÿ ÿ ÿ ÿ ÿ ÿ ÿ ÿEco-refurbishment ÿBy 2012 our high fuel bills and our testimonies to sustainability ÿ and the environment led us to embark on a programme of ÿ refurbishment to make the building more energy efficient. ÿ Unobtrusive but very effective works have included: ÿCavity wall insulation to reduce heat lossÿthroughÿwalls byÿmore ÿthanÿ75 per cent ÿNew acoustic ceiling and thermal insulationÿinÿtheÿmainÿmeeting ÿroom ÿNew ceilings and insulation to children’s room and libraryÿDraughtstripping Newÿheating controlsÿandÿboiler Low energyÿlightsÿandÿcontrols ÿ The ÿMeeting ÿHouse ÿin ÿuse ÿThe ÿ Meeting ÿ House ÿ continues ÿ to ÿ be ÿ used ÿ regularly ÿ by ÿ Quakers ÿ and ÿ a ÿ variety ÿ of ÿ other ÿ community, ÿ leisure ÿ and ÿ religious ÿ groups. ÿ ÿQuaker Meeting for Worship is held every Sunday at 11am. Children ÿ and Young Peopleÿmeetÿatÿtheÿsameÿtime. ÿ The ÿmain ÿmeeting ÿroom, ÿsocial ÿroom, kitchen and children’s room can be booked for events and andÿmeetings. For ÿdetails ÿof ÿ availability ÿplease ÿcontact ÿthe ÿwarden ÿon ÿ 020 ÿ8989 ÿ4511 ÿor ÿ qmhwanstead@gmail.com ÿ