Another sun baked day with relentless heat, and today it’s a day out at the northerly end of the Victoria line at Walthamstow Central. The station also serves the Overground, and just a few minutes away, a separate Overground line via Walthamstow Queen’s Road, which happened to be my arrival point.
I didn’t know what to expect as I’ve only driven through parts of Walthamstow before, but the landscape looked unfamiliar to me at these stations as they are some way away from the main A503 Forest Road which I was more familiar with. Nevertheless, this was a surprising day, which started slowly but one that built up to be quite a rewarding, yet tiring day.
The walk from Queen’s Road to Walthamstow Central is somewhat intimidating as it takes you through a tired social housing area, and leads you through a building site. However the building site is part of Waltham Forest’s regeneration plan for the area to make the transition between stations more pleasant…time will tell, but as you arrive at the Central station, and you look closely, you’ll notice the wall mural that clearly tells you where you are.
Walking up to Hoe Street, which is the main route through the town (I think I can call it a town), I first turn right heading south but quickly realise there’s little to offer and u-turn to walk in a northerly direction along the length of Hoe Street. And this is when I find the real Walthamstow.
The town’s beauty is revealed through it’s hidden historical features, diverse eateries, it’s vibrant and extensive market in the area known locally as ‘the village’, it’s colourfulness seen through its myriad of wall paintings; be they murals, graffiti or information, and it’s slightly retro feel through its architectural style.
The shops and places of interest unearth some local history with most older buildings having been converted into bars, restaurants and nightclubs. The Mirth, a converted cinema, looking dull and uninteresting during the day, but comes to life in the evening, with its doors open revealing the grandeur of a 1920’s cinema auditorium, beautifully lit and decorated where guests can enjoy its opulence. Next door, a former dairy where a wall plaque records it as a place where Herbert Llewelyn Walton once worked as a milkman, but now a discrete bar with some interesting artwork. Adjacent is the entrance to Tramworks, converted mews that amongst other things once housed stables for horses pulling trams through Walthamstow. It’s modern diversity is somewhat epitomised by a simple logo on one door advertising an online travel app sn-ap.
Further down the road I chat with a worker in Ruby Stables who was busy reclaiming a decorative garden urn, and returning towards the town, I’m struck by the artwork on display outside the Le Delice Italian Bakery. I end up spending some time chatting with the baker and shopkeeper (Manola) and I was tempted by the array of breads on display. This is a shop worthy of visiting if Italian bakery is your pleasure.
The market runs for a kilometer all the way from High Street, outside the Empire Cinema, through to St James Street and adjacent to its station; and in a way connects the two stations. But a walk through the market on a busy day is not for the faint hearted as the walkway between the stalls is full of shoppers determined to get the day’s bargain. As with all open air markets, I find the display of foods and clothes are always colourful, as indeed are the market traders themselves; some of whom challenged my taking pictures until I explained what I was doing and shared my ‘business card’ with them.
Having walked the full length of the market, I have it in mind to head for the William Morris Gallery but I underestimated the distance via Blackhorse Road especially in the heat of the afternoon sun. Nevertheless, I encounter some more visual treasures along the way
When I finally arrived at the gallery it was about to close, so that will be a visit for another day, but still there was plenty of time to enjoy the surrounding gardens and views of the house from different perspectives.
I hope you enjoy Walthamstow as much as I did and here are some more samples of the artwork seen around the area? I include them not only as as a record of my visit, but because they represent a statement of the people and their surrounds.
For more info, look up Walthamstow on Wikipedia
See all Walthamstow pics on Google Photo here – feel free to comment