Walthamstow (/ˈwɔːlθəmstoʊ/ or /ˈwɒlθəmstoʊ/) is the
largest district of the
London Borough of Waltham Forest
London Borough of Waltham Forest in east
London. It is located 7.5 miles (12.1 km) northeast from Charing
Cross. Historically in the county of Essex, it significantly
increased in population as part of the suburban growth of
was incorporated as the
Municipal Borough of Walthamstow
Municipal Borough of Walthamstow in 1929
before becoming part of
Greater London in 1965.
situated between the
North Circular Road
North Circular Road to the north, the Lea Valley
Walthamstow Reservoirs to the west, and
Epping Forest to the east.
1.2 Early history
1.3 Urban development
1.4 Local government
1.5 Recent history
7.2 Sports clubs
9 Notable residents
12 External links
Walthamstow is recorded c. 1075 as Wilcumestowe ("the Place of
Welcome") and in the
Domesday Book of 1086 as Wilcumestou.
Walathamstow (parish) population
# no census was held due to war
source: UK census
In 1213 King John visited Shern Hall, the manor house in Hoe Street
that survived until it was demolished in1896. Until the 19th century
Walthamstow was largely rural, with a small village centre (now
Walthamstow Village) and a number of large estates. The main route
through the district was Hoe Street. There were various smaller lanes
crossing the town. The road now known as Forest Road was originally
called Clay Street. Further south, the High Street was named Marsh
Street, and led from the original settlement out to the marshes.
Shernhall Street is an ancient route, as is Wood Street, to the
east. In the 1660s Sir William Batten, Surveyor of the Navy, and
his wife Elizabeth Woodcocke had a house in Wood Street where,
according to Samuel Pepys, they lived "like princes" and cultivated a
vineyard. The Vestry House, now the Vestry House Museum, was used as
the first town hall. By 1870 the place had grown to the size of a
small suburb and a new town hall was built in Orford Road from which
affairs of the village were run.
With the advent of the railways and the ensuing suburbanisation in the
late 19th century,
Walthamstow experienced a large growth in
population and speculative building.
Hoe Street, looking north, 1955
The Lighthouse Methodist Church which dates from 1893 which is
situated on Markhouse Road, on the corner of Downsfield Road. There is
a lantern at the top of the tower, which also contains a spiral
staircase. The church was erected because of the generosity of Captain
David King of the shipbuilding firm of Bullard King & Co which
also ran the Natal Direct Shipping Line, which ran ships direct from
Durban without stopping at the Cape.
LGOC X-type and B-type buses were built at Blackhorse Lane from
October 1908 onwards. The B-type is considered one of the first
mass-production buses. The manufacturing operation later became AEC,
famous as the manufacturer of many of London's buses. On 13 June 1909,
A. V. Roe's aircraft took to the air from
Walthamstow Marshes. It was
the first all-British aircraft and was given the ominous nickname of
the "Yellow Terror" but officially carried the name Avro1. Roe later
Avro aircraft company, which later built the acclaimed
Walthamstow was an urban district and from 1929 a municipal
borough in Essex. In 1931 the population of the borough, covering an
area of 4,342 acres (17.57 km2), peaked at 132,972. In 1965
the borough was abolished and its former area merged with that of the
Municipal Borough of Chingford
Municipal Borough of Chingford and the
Municipal Borough of Leyton
Municipal Borough of Leyton to
London Borough of Waltham Forest
London Borough of Waltham Forest in Greater London. Other
places in east
London formerly of the county of Essex, such as Ilford
Romford were placed into
London Boroughs along with Walthamstow.
None of the postal district names or codes was changed at this time
Ilford remained Ilford, Essex, and
Walthamstow remained London
Since the 2012 Summer Olympics, the town has become increasingly
popular mostly as a result of gentrification. Local property prices
have increased at a high rate of 22.3% from 2013-2014, compared to
London's average of 17.8%. It has turned
Walthamstow into a
'trendy' town similar to Shoreditch. The leafy
Walthamstow Village in
particular has become sought-after by buyers.
On 29 May 2015, a regular local unicyclist was hit and dragged under
by a double decker route 212 bus in Hoe Street. Locals numbering up to
100 people helped to pull the bus off the unicyclist. The MP
for Walthamstow, Stella Creasy, later said she was "proud" of the
community for saving the unicyclist's life.
Walthamstow elects councillors to Waltham Forest
The Nag's Head in Orford Road,
Grade II listed building
Grade II listed building of the former Jones's Butchers Shop in
Wood Street, dating back to the late 18th century
St Mary The Virgin, the oldest building in Walthamstow, dating as far
back as the 13th century
Walthamstow is bordered to the north by Chingford, south by
Leytonstone, east by the southern reaches of
Epping Forest at Woodford
and west by
Tottenham and the
River Lea valley. The A112 (
Road, Hoe Street,
Chingford Mount Rd) passes
Walthamstow and its neighbouring towns forming
part of an ancient route from
London to Waltham Abbey.
Walthamstow Central is the main town centre and includes Selborne Road
and the High Street.
Walthamstow Village conservation area is a peaceful and attractive
district to the east of what has become the commercial centre of
Walthamstow. The area is roughly defined as being south of Church
Hill, west of Shernhall Street, north of Grove Road and east of Hoe
Street. Orford Road is the main route through the district, though
even this is a quiet thoroughfare by the standards of London. The
village has a small selection of specialist shops, pubs and
restaurants, and house prices tend to be higher in the streets of this
neighbourhood. It was voted best urban village in
London by Time Out
magazine in 2004.
Upper Walthamstow is to the east of
Walthamstow Village. The area's
main thoroughfare is Wood Street, which has a good selection of shops
and local businesses, and is served by railway, with a railway station
on the Liverpool Street to
Wood Street is home to Wood Street Indoor Market. The market was
the site of a cinema from 1912 to 1955, operated by the Penny Picture
Theatre Co. It re-opened under new independent management in 1953 as
the Rio Cinema, but this was short lived and it closed in 1955.
Now the market is filled with quirky market traders, and was
documented in a short documentary made by Mark Windows.
Walthamstow has a wide variety of housing stock, but the vast majority
of residential property was built in the early 20th century. From
Coppermill Lane in the west (next to the marshes), to Wood Street in
the east, there are scores of terraced streets dating to the Edwardian
era and the 1920s. The area along Markhouse Road and St James Street
has many examples of Warner properties. These were developed as
affordable housing for the working classes in the early part of the
20th century. Bombing raids in the
Second World War
Second World War and urban
redevelopment projects in the 1960s and 1970s have left areas with
more modern housing, mostly in the shape of low-rise concrete blocks.
The northern continuation of Markhouse Road is St James's Street to
which Blackhorse Road follows, served by underground and railway
stations, which in turn becomes Blackhorse Lane. This is bound on its
western side by industrial units and warehouses. The
London Borough of
Waltham Forest has proposed developing the area around Blackhorse Road
railway station to become a gateway to the town.
Highams Park and Hale End, though both in the E4 postcode, are
historically part of Walthamstow. Although bounded by the marshes to
the west and parts of
Epping Forest to the east, there is little open
space in the actual town. There used to be two commons in the town,
Church Common, adjacent to St. Mary's Church in
and Markhouse Common, located off Markhouse Lane (now Markhouse Road)
and what is now the western end of Queens Road. Both open spaces were
lost in the 19th century, when the land was sold to property
developers. Lloyd Park has been open to the public since 1900 and is
located on Forest Road behind the
William Morris Gallery. It has a
formal garden with a pond, and the adjacent Aveling Field has
facilities for bowling, tennis, basketball, an outdoor gym, a skate
park and a children's play area.
Walthamstow's large size and seven wards makes it difficult to obtain
demographics about the town as a whole. The wards that cover
Walthamstow are: Chapel End (northeastern part), Higham Hill
(northwestern part), High Street (western), Hoe Street (inner-eastern
Walthamstow Village), Markhouse (southwestern), William Morris
(northern), and Wood Street (eastern and Upper Walthamstow).
As of the 2011 census, White British is the largest ethnicity in all
wards. Other White is the second largest in all wards except
Markhouse. The other double-digit ethnicities are Pakistani and Black
African. The highest White British ward is Chapel End (35%),
whereas the lowest is Markhouse (24%). Other White is largest in
High Street (18%) and lowest in Wood Street (14%). Pakistani is
highest in Markhouse (18%) and lowest in both Chapel End and Higham
Hill (9%). Black African is largest in
Higham Hill (10%).
The High Street is dominated by
Walthamstow Market, which began in
1885, and occupies all but the last 100 yards of the street. It is
reputed to be a mile long, but in fact measures
approximately ⅔ of a mile. It is the longest street market in
Europe. The market is open five days a week (not Sunday or Monday),
and there is a Sunday farmers' market. The street is lined with shops:
a selection of high street chains, but also many independent small
shops specialising in food, fabrics, and household goods, as well as
cafés. The overall tone is downmarket and unique. There are two
patches of new-ish development: at Sainsbury's, and the Mall Selborne
Walk covered shopping centre both of which have large multi-storey
car parks. Shopmobility Waltham Forest operates in the Mall, loaning
mobility scooters and wheelchairs, with volunteer helpers, to disabled
and older people.
The historic central library on the High Street was one of many built
with money donated by the Scottish-American businessman and
philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, whose portrait bust can be seen on the
exterior of the building. It was modernised and expanded in 2006–07,
although there were claims that this was at the expense of book
holdings. According to the Waltham Forest Guardian, "almost a quarter
of a million books have gone missing from Waltham Forest libraries
amid claims they have been burned or pulped", and the borough's
library stock fell by 60% over the two previous years. At the same
time, a large plot at the corner of High Street and Hoe Street was set
for substantial redevelopment as a retail space. This site was
previously the location of the town's central post office and a
shopping arcade built in the 1960s. Plans for the redevelopment of
this site initially fell through in 2005, but work on a new cinema,
flats and restaurants started in April 2013 and was completed in
Walthamstow Central bus and train stations
Railway stations include:
Walthamstow Central (
London Underground Victoria line, London
Blackhorse Road (
London Underground Victoria line,
Walthamstow Queen's Road (
Wood Street (
St James Street (
Lea Bridge (Abellio Greater Anglia)
Lea Bridge is in the far southwestern edge of Walthamstow, near Upper
Clapton. The station was opened in 2016. All other stations in the
area are operated by Transport for
London (TfL) services.
Walthamstow lost its rail link to Stratford with the removal of the
550 yards length of track known as the
Hall Farm Curve in 1970, and
there have been campaigns for its re-instatement.
London Buses routes 20, 34, 48, 58, 69, 97, 212, 215, 230, 257, 275,
357, 675, W12, W15, W19 and night route N26 serve the area. In
addition, route 69 provides a 24-hour service. Bus services
include a full infrastructure including a Hopper service and a multi
point to point network exists; serviced from and to its own main bus
station terminus situated near the train station, along with a cross
network passing through the centre and outskirts.
Walthamstow was home to the popular 1990s boy band East 17, who named
themselves after the area's postal code E17, and titled their debut
album Walthamstow. The indie rock band The Rifles are from the area as
was Jimmy Ray. Ray grew up in the Lloyd Park area and attended Winns
primary, and Sidney Chaplin and McEntee secondary schools. In the
early 1990s he performed at various E17 venues, including the Royal
Standard, as part of local pop group 'The Cutting Room'. Ray later had
solo hits in the UK and US. It is home to the band The Bevis Frond.
Walthamstow is a major centre in London's grime music scene, with many
bedroom studios and underground music enterprises. Artists include
Lethal Bizzle and his band Fire Camp.
Bromheads Jacket song "Poppy Bird" references
Walthamstow in the
Walthamstow is mentioned in the Paul McCartney and Wings song "Old
Siam, Sir" from the 1979 album Back to the Egg.
"Long ago, outside a chip shop in Walthamstow" is the first line of a
song named "Ann and Joe", recorded by
The Barron Knights in the late
1970s. This was a spoof of "Long ago, high on a mountain in Mexico",
the opening words of Angelo, which was a UK number one hit in 1977 for
Brotherhood of Man.
"Waiting in Walthamstow" is a song by
The Cranberries from the album
The track the "Battle of Epping Forest" by Genesis on the album
England by the Pound has lyrics based in the area such as
"Along the Forest Road, there's hundreds of cars - luxury cars."
The artwork for Blur's
Parklife album featured photos of the band at
Walthamstow Pumphouse Museum, a Grade II listed building
The newly restored historic neon sign of the
Walthamstow Stadium in
An early British film studio the
Walthamstow Studios operated in the
area between 1914 and 1930.
EMD (Granada) Walthamstow
EMD (Granada) Walthamstow , a landmark Grade II listed cinema
building (formerly the Granada) with connections to Alfred
Hitchcock in Hoe Street closed in 2003 when it was sold to the
Universal Church of the Kingdom of God
Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) which sought permission
for a change of use to a place of worship.
Many members of the local community opposed and successfully
campaigned against the UCKG plans. Comedian and presenter Griff Rhys
Paul McGann and writer
Alain de Botton
Alain de Botton are among the
famous names to have backed local residents in asking the local
authority to stop plans to convert the building into a church.
The Waltham Forest Film Society and Campaign to save our cinema
McGuffin, was the focal point for local campaigners.
UCKG failed to gain planning permission to convert the building from
Waltham Forest Council
Waltham Forest Council and later from the then Secretary of State for
Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles. In 2014 the building
was sold to a pub company who set up a bar in the grand foyer and
began bringing it back into use as a venue.
The Empire cinema a separate new multiplex opened in December 2014
Waltham Forest F.C.
Walthamstow Avenue F.C.
Walthamstow Avenue F.C. (defunct club located at Green Pond Road
Walthamstow Avenue & Pennant
Haringey & Waltham Development F.C.
Walthamstow Cricket Club
Walthamstow secondary schools include:
Frederick Bremer School
Holy Family Catholic School
Walthamstow School for Girls
Sixth form and further education providers include:
Big Creative Academy
George Monoux College
Waltham Forest College
Former residence of Sir Robert Wigram, who died here in 1830
One of its most famous residents was the writer, poet, designer and
socialist William Morris, who was born there on 24 March 1834, and
lived there for several years. His former house in
Walthamstow is a
museum dedicated to his life and works, while the grounds of the house
are a public park (Lloyd Park in Forest Road).
Local engineer, Frederick Bremer, built the first motor car in London
between 1892 and 1894. In 1912
The Motor magazine, after much debate,
recognised the Bremer car as the first British built petrol-driven car
(now on display in the Vestry House Museum).
Keith Albarn, manager of
Soft Machine and father of Damon Albarn,
taught art at
Walthamstow Art College in the 1960s
Clement Attlee, Member of Parliament for
Walthamstow while he was
William Batten (died 1667), Surveyor of the Navy, had a "palatial"
country house at Walthamstow; his son, who was in debt, sold it off a
few years after his death.
Stephen Bear reality TV star
Alonza Bevan, bass guitarist of Kula Shaker.
Lethal Bizzle, Rap/Grime artist and associated rap collective Fire
Camp, Attended Holy Family Catholic School.
Denis Blackham, renowned music mastering engineer.
Peter Blake, artist, painted sleeve cover of the Beatles Sgt. Peppers
Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Leonard Borwick, concert pianist, born in 1868.
Matthew Bourne OBE, choreographer and dancer, was born in Walthamstow.
Mick Box, guitarist for Uriah Heep born in Walthamstow.
Theodore Ronald Brailey
Theodore Ronald Brailey pianist on the RMS Titanic
Frederick Bremer, inventor, built the first petrol driven car in Great
Britain in 1892
David Cairns guitarist with
Secret Affair was born in
Alexander Champion Founder of British whaling - died 1795 in
Anjem Choudary, Radical
Islamist hate preacher
Phil Collen, lead guitarist of Def Leppard.
Stella Creasy, Labour MP
Johnny Dankworth, jazz musician, who attended Sir George Monoux
Paul Di'Anno, lead singer of
Iron Maiden 1978–81.
Adam Devlin, guitarist for the Bluetones lives in Walthamstow.
Benjamin Disraeli, former British Prime Minister, attended Higham Hall
School in Walthamstow, as did William Shore, later father of Florence
Ian Dury, singer and songwriter, studied at
Walthamstow Art College.
Fleur East, singer and The X Factor Finalist (Runners-up), Attended
Holy Family Catholic school
East 17, British pop boy band, including singer/songwriter Brian
Sir George Edwards, designer of Concorde
Lucian Ercolani Founder of furniture company Ercol, was living at 27
Walthamstow in the 1911 census
Air Marshal Sir Kenneth Charles
Michael Giddings CB OBE DFC AFC and
Bar, born in
Walthamstow in 1920
Thomas Field Gibson, manufacturer who aided the welfare of the
Spitalfields silk weavers, lived at Clay Hill
Maurice Glasman, social theorist and Labour life peer
Eleanor Graham, book editor and children's book author, born in
Peter Greenaway, film director,studied at
Walthamstow College of Art
Fitz Hall, English footballer currently playing for Watford was born
Darren Hayman, singer and songwriter, former resident
Helen Hollick, writer, born in
James Hilton, author, attended
George Monoux Grammar School
Peter Hennessy of Nympsfield, former journalist with The Times;
historian, academic and author
Mick Hume, journalist
Countess Judith, wife of Earl Waltheof, prominent post-Conquest woman
Harry Kane, footballer, attended
Chingford Foundation School
Colin Kazim-Richards, footballer, was born in
Leytonstone but schooled
Agnes Marshall, English culinary entrepreneur, born in
Sir George Monoux, Lord Mayor of
London in 1514 and local benefactor;
founded the grammar school and almshouses
William Morris, designer, socialist and artist
Fabrice Muamba, footballer, attended Kelmscott School
Denis Payton, saxophonist for the Dave Clark Five, was born in
Grayson Perry, ceramicist and 2003
Turner Prize winner, had his studio
Walthamstow until 2014. He referred to
Walthamstow in his 2013
Reith lectures, naming it 'Awesomestow'
Pascale Petit, poet, nominated twice for the TS Eliot poetry prize
DJ Rap (Charissa Saverio) grew up in
Walthamstow and lived there until
recently, was born in Singapore
Jimmy Ray, recording artist, born
Ken Russell, film director, studied at
Walthamstow Technical College
Nick Saloman, progressive rock musician
June Sarpong, television presenter, born
Baroness Scotland, Attorney General, grew up in
Walthamstow School for Girls
Vivian Stanshall, musician, painter, singer, broadcaster, songwriter,
poet and writer, best known for his work with the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah
Band, grew up in Grove Road, Walthamstow.
John Kemp Starley, inventor, born
Colin Stinton, Canadian-born actor
Thomas Griffith Taylor
Thomas Griffith Taylor (1890–1963) Antarctic explorer
Lawrence Trent, international chess master and commentator
Daisy, Countess of Warwick, heir to the Maynard estate and Shern Hall
in particular at which she lived briefly after her father's death
Peter Waterfield Olympic diver
Dorothy Wedderburn Principal of Bedford College and Royal Holloway and
Bedford New College, both
London University, was born in Walthamstow
Danniella Westbrook, Actress
Geoffrey Wellum, RAF fighter pilot in the
Battle of Britain
Battle of Britain was born
Walthamstow in 1921
Timothy Williams, bilingual novelist of crime fiction, lived at Whipps
Peter Winch, philosopher
Adam Woodyatt, English actor who plays
Ian Beale in EastEnders, born
Lutalo Muhammad, British taekwondo athlete, attended Holy Family
Jody Fleisch, English professional wrestler, debuted in 1996, and is
still wrestling around the world
St Mary's Parish Church dates from the 12th century
Walthamstow Old Town Hall, now
Yiguandao UK headquarters
15th century "Ancient House" in
Monoux Almshouses in the village
Vestry House Museum
William Morris Gallery
Longitude Zero marker in
Upper Walthamstow Road
Walthamstow Central Library
Selborne Walk Shopping Centre, now called The Mall, Walthamstow
St. Peter's-in-the-Forest church, near Woodford New Road in the
southern edge of Epping Forest
Front of the bus and train station interchange
View of the A406
North Circular Road
North Circular Road from a footbridge in eastern
Walthamstow, near Woodford
The filter beds at Coppermills Treatment Works
The old Town Hall
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Waltham Forest London Borough Council
Waltham Forest London Borough Council - Regeneration of Walthamstow
British History Online - A History of the County of Essex: Volume 6
Richard Dunn - A brief history of Walthamstow
Walthamstow Memories - Recollections of past and present Walthamstow
Archival Material relating to
Walthamstow listed at the UK National
Register of Archives
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Walthamstow.
Portraits of Valentine La Touche McEntee, 1st Baron McEntee of
Walthamstow at the National Portrait Gallery, London
Walthamstow at the English Heritage Archive
Nostalgic photos of
Walthamstow at History-in-Pictures.co.uk
London Borough of Waltham Forest
Highams Park (including Hale End)
Brisbane Road football stadium
Lee Valley Riding Centre
Lee Valley Ice Centre
Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge
Vestry House Museum
Waltham Forest Theatre
Walthamstow Pump House Museum
William Morris Gallery
Parks and open spaces
Larkswood Playing Fields
Lee Valley Park
WaterWorks Nature Reserve
Woodford Green (part)
Tube and rail stations
Leyton Midland Road
Leytonstone High Road
St James Street
Walthamstow Queen's Road
Grade II* listed buildings
Areas of London
Central activities zone
Holloway Nags Head
Kensington High Street
King's Road East
Elephant and Castle
Isle of Dogs
Lists of areas
Barking and Dagenham
Hammersmith and Fulham
Kensington and Chelsea
Kingston upon Thames
Richmond upon Thames
Canley (borough) (The Bill: TV soap)
Charnham (suburb) (Family Affairs: TV soap)
Gasforth (town) (The Thin Blue Line: TV series)
London Below (magical realm) (Neverwhere: TV series, novel)
Walford (borough) (EastEnders: TV soap)
London Plan 2011, Annex Two: London's Town Centre Network –
Greater London Authority