Visitors e-mails 2003



From Christine.............Walthamstow..........28th August 2003


Dear Richard

I found your site through Friends Reunited and reading your section on the Markhouse & Marsh Street Drama club brought back some happy memories. My twin sister, Carol, and I used to attend the club between about 1972/73 and 1975/76. I still have three of the reviews by the local NODA representative, John Chandler and I will gladly send you copies if you would like to include them on your site. I notice that for the pantomime ‘Puss in Boots’ in January 1975 you have a mention as the organist. The other reviews are for ‘Four One Act Plays’, September 1974 and ‘Life with the Girls’, July 1975

Cyril Maylon was our form teacher at Beaconsfield School and he got us involved with the club. I believe he needed some dancers for the chorus for one of the productions and asked Carol and I, and one or two others from the school, if we would like to do it. I can’t remember what the production was, but think we were fairies/elves and had to do a dance around toadstools!! If I remember rightly we used to go to rehearsals with the senior group on a Monday and Friday evening and we also used to attend a junior group at the club on another night. I think Cyril Maylon may have also taken this group for a while, but it was later taken over by Daphne Carroll, another Beaconsfield school teacher. We left the club after the pantomime in December 1975 (again I don’t recall what the production was) to concentrate on our exams.

Carol & my memories of the club are a little vague now but we do remember June & Denis Heath and the Hayden sisters. I also remember well the final performance of 'Life with the Girls', which was in front of a group of local disabled children. I think my character was a journalist and I was doing an interview, I completely forgot my lines and although I was being prompted I just couldn’t remember them. Happy days!

Christine Bower

From Pete......................23rd August 2003


Just a few more memories

Just reading your early history, I also watched Billy Bean - I think it was on Saturday afternoons, the only bit of it I can very vaguely remember is "Billy Bean and his weather machine"

When I was about 8-10 (about 1955 ish) I used to collect bus numbers and my favourite spot was at Bakers Arms, there were trolleybuses on various routes and a regular occurence was for the poles to fall off the overhead wires while turning from Leabridge Road into Hoe Street and although the buses could run off of battery power it normally happened that the conductor had to get the big pole with a hook from under the bus and try to put the current carrying poles back on the lines, sometimes the buses did not have a pole which was much more exciting! There were two bus garages near Bakers Arms, the one at Leyton Green - that is still in use and the garage in LeaBridge road that was for trolleybuses - that was near the overhead railway by Dunton road.

I remember going to see Johnie Ray at the Granada (I think he wore a hearing aid) also going to most of the cinemas that were open at the time. The Century at the corner of Belmont road E10, the Ritz just a few yards from there, I also went to watch the wresting at Leyton baths - where Tesco's is now. The Plaza in Hoe street is an abandoned wreck as is the Granada, There was also the Dominion in Buxton road, the Gaumont at the corner of Church Road and Leabridge Road, the Empire at Bell Corner there was also one at chingford Mount - I think it was just off Albert Crescent.

The Lido at Whipps Cross was also open then - not much left of that now!

All the best,

From Pete......................14th August 2003

Hi Richard

Like your site - found it while surfing. I was born at Thorpe Coombe in 1947 and lived in Pembroke road before moving to Priory Court in 1958. I used to be a regular supporter of WAFC (before they won the amateur cup as well!) until their pitch was sold and flats built on it. I went to school at Henry Maynard when there was a seperate boys and girls school as well as mixed infants school, I remember an eclipse at the time when I was in the infants school and we were all given bits of photo negative to go out in the playground and see it. Maynard was knocked down then rebuilt, burnt down and now rebuilt again. Next school was Gascoigne - glad when I left there! I have lived and worked around Walthamstow most of my life.

All the best

From Carol..............Dagenham..........ESSEX........14th August 2003


I was recently sent a booklet "The Lea Bridge Turnpike and The Wragg Stage Coaches" by a fellow family history researcher in Australia. This chap is aware that I am compiling a One-Name study of the surname Wragg (and variants) and wondered if I would be interested in learning more about this Wragg family - no relation to my own Derbyshire Wraggs I'm afraid. So, I decided to search the net for any references to the family and was delighted to find your website, which is most interesting :-))

May I take the liberty of asking you to post a request on your site for any Wragg family descendants to contact me? I would love to know what happened to this famous local family. In the meantime I shall do a little more research and might have more to pass on later.

If you have any information that you think may be of assistance to Carol send an email to

From Elaine.........Purleigh.......Essex........23rd July 2003


Elaine Davis

A couple of days ago whilst carrying out research into my Family History, I came across a wonderful website, with photographs and visitors memories of their families who lived in Walthamstow. Although I never actually lived there, both of my parents and their families did.

My father's family lived at 45 Boundary Road, unfortunately I remember very little about them, apart from Sunday afternoon visits where we used to have "winkle teas". I certainly have a very vivid memory of extracting the winkles from their shells using a pin. My Grandfather's name was George William Hems and I believe that he had a Furniture Removal Business somewhere in the Walthamstow area. My Grandmother was called Florence Damery, she was a French Polisher and I believe met my Grandfather at a factory in Hoxton where she worked. It is possible that my Grandfather actually owned this factory, but this is not confirmed. When my parents were first married they lived with my Father's parents at 45 Boundary Road and my sister was born there. Prior to my birth they moved to Tottenham. I believe my Grandfather died somewhere between 1954 and 1958. My Grandmother remarried to Harry Moore before her death between 1962 and 1965. I believe Harry Moore then married again to Dolly. Both my Grandfather and Grandmother were I think buried in Chingford Cemetery. My father was Benjamin Hems known as Johnny (he hated the name Benjamin), he had a brother George and a sister Florence (known as Flossie). George married Phyllis Reynolds and they both still live in Walthamstow. Flossie married Bert Irwin and I believe they ran a sweetshop in the Walthamstow area at one time before moving to Southend.

On my mother's side of the family, my Grandmother Edith Chesterman lived at 6 Orford Road, Walthamstow in a row of cottages along an alley opposite the Nags Head Public House. The house fronted on to the railway line and there was a small shop on the corner, although funnily enough I can never remember this shop actually being occupied. My mother tells me that at one time it was a laundry, which was run by two sisters who lived in a little cottage on the other side of the road. The front door of the house was never locked, entry was gained by putting your hand through the letter box and pulling a string, this string was attached to a catch and a good hard tug resulted in the door popping open. My mother Freda was born at this house, she had two sisters Eileen and Gladys who unfortunately died in childhood, one of diptheria and the other of peritonitis, they were both buried in Queens Road Cemetery. I have many happy memories of weekends spent at my Nana's house. I used to spend my Saturday afternoons watching the weddings at St. Mary's Church. My Nana was the most wonderful cook, she always made her own bread and to this day I don't think I have ever had bread that tasted as good as she used to make. Her other speciality was Coffee Cake, probably completely guilty for the fact that I am no size 8 now!

Crochet was another of her loves, her fingers moved at unbelievable speed and she seemed to crochet mats and tablecloths for all her friends and neighbours. She always wore dresses and cardigans, which she had made herself, again all crocheted. Periodically she would produce cardigans for me, unfortunately in those days they were made with "pure wool" which used to make me itch like mad, I grew to dread the arrival of Nana with yet another garment for me. When she died I inherited her collection of patterns and needles and although it took me many years I did eventually master the art and produced the odd doily or two.

She used to have a bit of a penchant for the odd glass of Stout and on many a summer evening we would wander down Orford Road to the Queens pub for her tipple. I was made to sit outside with a bottle of coke and a packet of crisps so used to take a bit of a dim view of these outings. My mother remembers that in fact Nana used to look after this pub from time to time when the Licensees were on holiday. In fact Nana seemed to have lots of friends with connections to the Licensed Trade, possibly because her father Harry Arthur Banks was a licensed victualler, and we think that his father was also in the trade. I remember visits to "Charlie Browns Roundabout" a public house situated by the roundabout. Again I think Nana and Uncle Lal used to help out there. Nana had a huge mirror with a gilt frame, which sat atop the fireplace in the front parlour at Orford Road. My sister now has this mirror and we think that it probably came from a public house.

I also have vivid memories of the weekly trip to the Public Baths, not to swim but to actually bath. A bathroom was eventually added to her house but she must have been in her 70's by the time that happened. I had always lived in a Flat so Nana's garden was a joy, she bought me my first and only paddling pool and I have memories of splashing around with the children from number 8, although I can't remember their names.

She had a lodger, known to me as Uncle Lal. He was like a Grandfather, unfortunately my real Grandfather had long since remarried and had a second family, so I have no memory of him. Uncle Lal was retired and I believe that he worked before his retirement at a Power Station or Power Company in the Walthamstow area. His death was very tragic. He attended a reunion at the Power Company and somehow managed to fall down a fire escape stairway. He died a few days later without regaining consciousness.

Nana was a spiritualist/medium and was a member of the Walthamstow Spiritualist Church in Vestry Road. She used to travel all over the country to hold "meetings" and once or twice took me with her, although I was never allowed to actually attend these meetings. I remember her also travelling to Belgium although she didn't take me on that trip. The fact that I was excluded from these meetings gave a huge air of mystery to the proceedings and allowed my vivid imagination to run riot. I think she was quite famous for her spiritualist work, I remember seeing newspaper cuttings about things she had done. My mother remembers her taking a large service at The Carlton Cinema, which used to be in the High Street. Mrs Smith who was at the time the Mayoress of Walthamstow evidently arranged this service. According to the newspaper report, every seat was filled and a full house witnessed my Nana stand for two hours in a trance with her hands held above her head, whilst she held the service. Doctors in attendance was purported to have claimed that this was a physical impossibility. She also used to hold twice weekly spiritualist meetings in the front parlour of her house. This room housed the best furniture and a piano, which I always yearned to be able to play but never could.

Because of the spiritualist connection I always considered the house to be a bit on the "spooky" side. Strange noises were common. Nana came home after popping out one evening to find me hiding underneath the bed, because I had heard something untoward. She then decided that I was old enough to understand these things and let me attend one or two of her meetings.

My mother used to work at Continental Shoes in the High Street, my father was a chauffer for a gentleman by the name of Bob Collins who owned a sweet shop also in the High Street. I still have a very fancy tea set which Bob Collins bought back as a gift for my parents from a holiday in Italy, although a couple of the items got broken when I managed to knock the box containing the tea set off a shelf!!

We moved from Tottenham to Ilford when I was about seven. I think I must have read a few two many Enid Blyton books because a few months after we moved, in a fit of unhappiness I decided to run away from home. I packed my bag and the dog and left. In view of the lack of Circus and travelling Fairs to join, I made my way by bus to Nana's, foolishly thinking that she would be really pleased to see me. As you can imagine she wasn't too impressed and promptly took me straight back home again.

Well time marches on, Nana sadly died in the late 1970's. I married and had children of my own and moved to Essex. I recently took a trip down memory lane and revisited Orford Road. Nana's house is still there and looks exactly as I remembered it. It took a good deal of restraint on my behalf to not stick my hand through that letterbox to see if that string was still there !!!!!

I would absolutely love to hear from anyone who remembers any of my family, especially George and Florence Hems of 45 Boundary Road, about whom I know so little and even more especially anyone who can remember my Nana Edith Chesterman (nee Banks). I would also like to hear from anyone who has since lived at 45 Boundary Road or 6 Orford Road.

You can email Elaine on

From Ernie.........Stevenage............22nd Feb 2003

Hi Richard,
I was born in Chaucer Road in 1926 and moved to Stevenage 1952. How well I remember Walthamstow. I used to go to Chapel End School and then went on to William Morris Central School. I was called up for National Service in 1944 and served in India & Malaysia and was demobbed
in 1948.

We lived in Fulbourne Road for many years and on leaving the army I was a bus Conductor on the 38 Route out of Leyton garage. My father lost a leg in the 1st world war but in spite of his disablement was well known for his efforts as a Firewatcher. I certainly miss Menzes pie and mash shop and the High Street also going to the Walthamstow Palace on a Saturday. My aunt & uncle used to run the Gardeners Arms at Markhouse Road. I certainly enjoyed your website Richard and will be looking for more news as it comes. Memories are still coming back and if anyone remembers the Hill family please get in touch. Many Thanks.
All the best from

If you would like to contact Ernie, email me, and I'll pass it on.

From Ed.........Thornbury........1st February 2003

I don't know much about Walthamstow other than where it is and that it has a reservoir, but I do remember Billy Bean. The song came into my head this morning so I decided to look him up on the internet. That led me to your site. I was born in Liverpool in September 1946 (escaping in 1972), so perhaps it's only the most select
people like us who remember him.