To start off this week, I went on a mission to the local library to see what they had on the local area. Here is what I picked up:
I know that Vestry House Museum, a former workhouse in the area, holds a vast archive of local history, and so I have made an appointment to go there next Saturday (it was too late to go yesterday).
Looking through the books that I picked up, I found some interesting information that could go on to form the basis of my article:
- 1991 was the year I was born
- Just kidding – I think I’ll focus on other topics
- The Bremner car, built in Walthamstow, has been acknowledged to be the first motor car, ever!
- The Lea Valley, in which Walthamstow is situated, links all the way up to Hertfordshire and is an essential waterway for transport and cargo, and water supply to London. The New River constructed to bring water from Hertfordshire to Islington in London and is sloped at a descent of a few inches per mile to flow water into the capital
- Sir Alliott Verdon-Roe tested his Avrplane, a triplane, on the Walthamstow Marshes in 1909
Today, I went on a “structured wander” around the area. My first place to visit was The Mills”, a community centre by St James Street. They have a space for children, sports activities, a lending library, and an exhibition by local artists.
They have a sewing group on Thursdays that I might start to attend so that I can get to know more people in the area.
I picked up a copy of the local paper, the Walthamstow Echo, whose front page covers the maternity cover for the MP Stella Creasey. The area is very artistic, and murals can be seen everywhere, here are some I saw today:
And look at the purple silver sparkly house!
Near my house, the railway bridge has been painted with William Morris-esque patterns by the local primary school, as well as some amazing yarn bombing on the bollards. There’s a soldier, a snowman, a Tardis. I’m not sure if they are associated with the primary school, but they definitely brighten up the area!
Next up was the Pump House Museum. Originally a pump house, obviously, for Thames Water and Sewage, it has been listed and converted into a museum displaying fire brigade history, transport history and local inventions.
The first duplicator for offices was developed in Walthamstow, saving typists hours of time copying documents.
Next up was a walk around the Wetlands. I wanted to go to the Copper Mill Pump House on the Wetlands but it was closed thanks to the storms over the weekend.
Since the development of the water treatment works and the local ordnances to prevent industry polluting the rivers, the Wetlands have been established as a centre to protect and regenerate the wildlife in the area. Look how clean the water is! You can also fish here.
The Wetlands gave me a great view over London…
With the water treatment plant in the foreground, you can see the economic hubs in the background, Isle of Dogs (Canary Wharf) to the left and the City on the right.
I didn’t realise how close Alexandra Palace was either.
This part of London is very suburban, with most buildings being residential or low-rise industrial. So, where tall buildings are developed they are very visible. They are mostly residential blocks built next to the transport stations: Walthamstow, Blackhorse Road and Tottenhale, see the images below:
Following the transport link, the borough is trying to encourage people to cycle more, building Quiet Cycle routes and measuring their usage:
From the research I have done so far, the common themes I have seen are arts and craft and transport, both through the centuries. Why is this? More research will reveal…
Links to follow up: