Visitors e-mails 2011



From Steve Aherne ...........................................Chingford...............12th October 2011


I was fascinated to read your pages. I attended Maynard between 1956 and 1960 where I was fortunate to be taught for 3 of the 4 years by a Mrs Florence Week(e)s. I believe she retired around 1967. She had such an influence on me that I often wonder what became of her. Do you or anyone of your visitors have any idea how I could find out about her. She insisted in good behaviour and could be strict when necessary but I recall that for the last 15 minutes of every day she would read one of the classic childrens stories to us and bring them to life. When I read some of those same books to my daughter it brought back strong emotions for a teacher whom I was lucky to have known so many years before.

Keep up the good work

Best wishes


If there is anyone who can update Steve regarding Mrs. Week(e)s then please email me and I shall pass it on.


From Stella Palm (nee Tarling)..............U.S.A ...............7th September 2011

Hi Richard,

My name is Stella Palm, nee Tarling. I have lived in the United States since 1958, but was born at 23 Grange Road, Walthamstow, E17 in 1942.

I attended Markhouse Road Infants School, Edinburgh Road Junior School, and Markhouse Senior. Grange Road was torn down after I left the UK but I have some wonderful memories of my life there. It was a dead-end street of St. James Street and consisted of about eighty row houses. Everybody knew everybody else and many families were related. It was like living in a small village and there were no secrets – everybody knew everybody else’s business.

In one of the letters from a former resident of Walthamstow the writer wrote about Mr. Jones the art teacher at Markhouse School and I remember him well; in fact I went on a couple of his art weekends at the village of Thaxted. I remember Mr. Easton as headmaster, but I was especially fond of Miss Townsend. She was the English teacher and the library was in her classroom. She gave me the biggest speaking part in the Christmas play one year, and would have been pleased to know that she was the one to know she was the reason I have performed in many community theater productions in Connecticut and Las Cruces, New Mexico where my husband have resided for the past sixteen years.

When I was in infant’s school I had a much-loved teacher named Miss Girling. She made rather a pet of me and even took me home with her for a weekend……and one of the places we visited together was the Walthamstow Museum!

It seems as though after I left England all my bridges were burned behind me: Grange Road; my church, St. James; Markhouse Road School no longer functioning; the swimming pool and the old Palace Theater in the High Street, and many other places that I have fond memories of, also.

There were five children in our family; Sheila, Rita, twins Jean and Jim, and me. Rita lives here in New Mexico, our siblings stayed in England. Sheila and Jean are now deceased. Our mother died just before my second birthday and our father was left to raise five children between fourteen and two. When he died when I was eleven I lived with my oldest sister (Sheila Grice) and her family until I went to work at fifteen. I worked for the Walthamstow Dog Racing kennels for a couple of years and boarded in their house (The Limes) while doing so. Before coming to the US I worked and lived at the GRA (Greyhound Racing Association) kennels in Potters Bar.

Even after all these years, I still sometimes dream of my life in Walthamstow, and really enjoy other people’s memories of the town.



From Brian Waller..............Romford...............28th August 2011

Hi Richard, I felt I had to e mail you after I recently stumbled upon your website. (I dont know how I got there but it must have been a bit of silver surfing). Reading your early memories was a real trip down memory lane as I lived not very far from yourself.
I was born in April 1947 at Thorpe Coombe & spent my early years until I was 16 at No 127 Hibbert Road. This was just over the border in Leyton but with an E 17 postal address. (No postcodes then) Going from Theydon Street along Hibbert Road our downstairs flat was the second gateway on the right after Bridge Road. My very good friend Dave lived at No 135 this was the very first door on the right after Bridge Road. Even after all
these years we still sit next to each other at football matches. Although I grew up not very far from you we would have gone to different schools as we came under the Borough of Leyton. My Infant & Junior schools were Sybourn Street & then off to Ruckholt Manor after failing the 11 plus. The "Ditch" used to flow across the bottom of our garden and there was always great excitement after heavy rain and then a rush to get out to Bridge Road to see how high it had got. My parents were married at St Saviours Church. I think my Mother had fibbed about her address
so they could get married there. I too remember the Liden factory and I believe that name came from the founder and his wife. Lilian & Dennis.
In those days you could not stray far without seeing Aunts & Uncles. I had them in Blythe Road, Kettlebaston Road and Coppermill Lane. There was another who worked at the laundry (Westcotts?) and lived near the Brewery. Was that Tolly Cobbald ? Talking of the laundry I have just recalled taking a bag of washing to the 'Bagwash' in Lea Bridge Road and hanging it on a big hook to have it weighed. I also had one Uncle who I would see as he cycled home to Chingford from Hoxton as he would cut through Bridge Road where we were usually kicking a football against the wall or playing cricket in the summer using stumps chalked on the wall. One Uncle was a Gas Fitter who would cycle from job to job with what seemed to me like a huge bag of tools hanging from his handlebars. I also had an Aunt & Uncle who lived in Dunedin Road Leyton and this really is a coincidence as Auntie Louis worked as a
clippie for approx 35 years on the No 38 buses out of Leyton garage and must have worked with your Father on some occasions. I think she retired around 1975. Perhaps she was known as Lottie. I expect you remember the Bus strike which I think lasted about 6 weeks. Was it around 1957? They must have been tough times.

I remember the modernisation of the Warners flats becoming available, although we never had it done. I recall my Mother being worried about the extra rent money that would have to be paid. Some other brief memories. Saturday morning pictures at the Gaumont (I think 6d ). The flower lady (florist) on the corner of Lea Bridge Rd. & Markhouse Rd. Stan the newspaper vendor outside what was Barclays Bank shouting " News, Star & Standard ". Whipps Cross Lido & Larkswood swimming pools. Hollow Ponds. Getting the spiders out of the zinc bath after bringing it in from the garden.

Since leaving Hibbert Road I have mainly lived in the Romford area. Recently I have been back over old ground as one of my sons has moved to Walthamstow.

Brian Waller


From Peter Everett..............Walthamstow...............9th August 2011

Regarding email from Victoria Vickers 14th May 2011:-

The shop referred in Hoe St, with another near Bakers Arms, was Pollards. A few doors along Hoe St.
was Holstocks bakers where in the early 50s I was a van boy on a horse and cart.
I was born in Milton Rd. off of Hoe St. in 1937 and have lived in Walthamstow ever since.

Yours Peter.


From Mark Lewis.................Romford........................16th July 2011

Hello To Richard,

I'm replying to the note from Dave Petford regarding the Simmons family coal business. My grandfather was Archibald Simmons but know as Jim. He worked for the Simmons coal business from the mid 1920s. I believe the company was owned by his uncle.

I can't tell you much more than this apart from the business being in Hoe Street from memory. I think my grandfather lived in Grove Road as a child and young man.

I remember him telling me that the horses they used knew when it was knocking off time as they would try and head back to the stables on their own.

Mark Lewis


From Victoria Vickers...............................Enfield.......................14th May 2011

What a good website you have Richard. This evening I was sitting with some friends of mine and we were discussing some of the old shops that used to line Hoe Street.
I myself was born at Thorpe coombe Hospital in Forest Road in 1963 and as a youngster my mother used to take me to Menzies in the high street for a cheap dinner. I was also forced to drink a glass of sarsapirella. YUK! Well my question to you is: Do you remember a haberdashery shop in the Hoe street? It used to sell all sorts, from underwear to bed sheets. I can’t seem to remember the names of the shops along Hoe street, but I do remember what there was. I think this haberdashery shop used to be next to a wood merchants shop and the other side going towards the Granada was the fruit and veg shop. Now the fruit and veg guy sold up many years ago and I know he now runs a stall at Enfield market because that’s were I live now and I’ve talked to him there. I do however remember that this haberdashery shop had another shop at the Bakers Arms.

Could you help please? I would be grateful if you could ask anyone you might know if they remember the name of these shops, as I’m not going to get much sleep until I know.
By the way I have just come back from a lovely evening at the Vestry House museum which was hosting a Victorian eve, it was very good.

Many thanks Richard

Best wishes

If you can help Victoria with any information regarding the shops along Hoe Street, please email me and I will pass it on to her.

A follow up letter from Victoria is as folllows:-

I'm an Artist and would love to hear from any other painters in Walthamstow. Perhaps you would be kind enough to mention this on your memories page and see if anyone is interested in corresponding with me or setting up perhaps a Walthamstow Art appreciation group, these are just a few ideas that I've had rattling around within the grey matter. Also I wanted to mention to you that my father has been a bus driver for the last 26yrs. He started at Leyton bus garage and then moved to Hackney garage. He use to drive the Routemasters on Route 38 to London Bridge for years.


From Vera Forbes........................Western Canada.................21st April 2011

Hello Richard,
What a great place to find to bring back old memories of my dear old Walthamstow. First of all I must tell you that my Dad was a stallholder in Walthamstow Market for over 50yrs. He sold China and his pitch was outside Linden Road School. He was known as Wally Rice or "China" to the people of the market. My name is Vera and was born in 1934 in Tower Hamlets Rd. When I was two we moved to our house at 91 Sommers Rd. I lived there till I was 22yrs. I married and had two boys then emigrated to Canada. I also had two brothers. Jimmy, the eldest and Bernard. We all attended William McGuffie school at different times. My brother Jimmy has passed on but Bernard lives on Canvey Island.
I am now 77yrs old and memories mean a lot especially when you are so far from home, and yes it will always be home to me even though Walthamstow has changed sooooo much. When I grew up there it was considered a select area BUT not now. Also I just read another e-mail from Jacqueline Slater. She mentioned a Jacqueline Spooner. I knew the family very well, especially the Mum and Dad and the son Terry and daughter Sandra. I also used to baby-sit Jacqueline, what a small world.
Just one more thing, I had a friend once that lived in Ringwood Road. His parents had a Greengrocers shop and his nickname was SPUD. I was wondering if anyone remembers the shop.
Thanks Richard,
Take care God bless.

From Andrew Mackenzie....................Cairo................26th March 2011

Dear Richard,

I really enjoyed your website and looking at scenes of Walthamstow which have now been lost in time. Local historians, like you, give people an opportunity to journey back into their past and discover something new about a particular place of interest. I was born in Walthamstow during the early 1970s, in Brookfield Avenue just off Shernhall Street, and have happy memories of Walthamstow's unique mix of people and places - the village, Epping Forest, and of course, the Market - all located in the same working class suburb of London! Amazing!

I live and teach in Cairo (Egypt) now and your website gave me the opportunity to reconnect with 'home', after finding the time to search for images of London on the net. I have similar childhood photos taken with my sister taken in our old back garden, however, my 1970s purple flared trousers make them too embarrassing to share!

Keep up the good work!

All the best.

Andrew Mackenzie

From Dave Petford........................Paignton..........................8th January 2011

Hi Richard

I'm trying to find information on the following coal merchants in Walthamstow operating between the wars and after 1945.

G. Simmons (my Grandfathers' Uncle whom he worked with) working out of Hoe St. goods yard.

F. Wells this business could be linked to my family as I have found two photos of the men and their 7 Plank PO coal wagon taken at the Wharf in June 1929.

Click Here to see photos

My mother, Joan Simmons, and her family lived at 79 Lansdowne Rd and I can remember my Grandfather delivering coal by horse and cart in the early 50's.


Dave Petford

If you can help Dave with any information regarding the Simmons family or their Coal business, please email me and I will pass it on to him.

From Cleve Edmonston.................Chingford...............6th January 2011

Hi Dick, [Told you I was known as Dick in my younger days!!]

Should have done this years ago, but better later than never eh?

My memories. (sigh) Where do I start, I have so many? How about you and me in your dad`s shed trying to electrocute one another by poking about in the back of old TV`s and the `spark` that jumped from the back of your ear to the end of my nose as I tried to peer over your shoulder to see what you where doing! There are so many personal ones, like bus spotting, train spotting, riding to Southend and back on our bikes. Markhouse Road School Drama Club; you showing me how to operate the school lighting switchboard. Marsh Street Youth Club, the Sea Cadets, SS St. Andrews I think it was? And what do we have in common almost fifty these on besides a long lasting friendship? The fact that if either of us were born a girl we would have been called `Maureen`.

As for Walthamstow, well, one never forgets ones roots and mine are well established there as are yours. I was born on a cold day in January 1951 in the front bedroom of 12, The Crescent, a half moon turning off Station Road not a stones throw from St James` Street at the bottom end of Walthamstow High Street. One of, if not `thee` longest outdoor market in Europe.

Rationing was still in place when I entered the world and would remain so for another two or three years and it could well have been this and the fact that no one had any money, that I ended up, or started off, being a sickly child who suffered colds and chest problems and had pneumonia three times within the first three years of being on this mortal coil. However, sickly or not, my parents must have a done a great job of caring for me as I am still around now, sixty years on and managed to survive the lack of double glazing, central heating, no carpet other than a small square beside the bed and ice forming on the inside of the bedroom windows during winter. I also suffered and lived through London smog, or Pea Soupers, a green swirling deadly concoction of smoke from factories and vehicles and coal fires that went up onto the air on a still winters day, stayed there until night fell and then descended like a cloak of death that one could taste and see and was the cause of probably countless numbers of deaths in young and old alike. On the way home from school one wrapped a scarf around ones face in an attempt to filter it, but it could still be tasted and smelt.

As a boy growing up in London`s East End and not being that long after WW2, there were plenty of `playgrounds' in the way of derelict buildings and abandoned ones and my `mates` and I spent hours and hours playing in the derelict houses of South Grove and the deserted churches of St. James` Street and the little wooden church in Markhouse Road. As a boy, ones `manor` was small in those days and to venture into other `manors` could mean a bloody nose or being chased out, likewise if kids came into your manor and a place they were seen to have no right being, then you chased them out. Yes it was all very territorial and primitive back then and gangs ruled areas. `Teddy boys` as they were called then, teenage boys that had their hair greased back in a DA style a quiff at the front that wore `drainpipe trousers` and velvet `drape coats` with fat cushioned suede boots. All carried a steel comb for grooming which was a constant pastime although the comb could also be a formidable weapon, some went further and carried the deadly open, or `cut throat` razor.

As things move on and developed so even the gangs progressed, or at least changed, and in the nineteen sixties we had `mods` and `rockers`. Rockers were the old `Teddy boys`, only now they donned leather jackets with chrome studs in them and leather fringed sleeves, blue denim jeans and `winkle picker` boots that tapered to a point at the toe end. The greased hair remained and so too the steel comb although the open razor vanished for the most part and was replaced by the bike chain and short length of pipe filled with melted lead. The rival `mods`, were a cleaner cut group with un greased shoulder length hair, smart suits and polished shoes and the almost uniform khaki coloured Parker coat. Whereas `rockers` travelled on a motorcycle, `mods` used the scooter, favouring the Lambretta . This was adorned with fox tails hanging from numerous aerials and spot lights mounted all over the entire front of the machine and as many mirrors as one could fit to the handlebars. With the engine encased, the scooter was a cleaner way to travel than the greasy motorbike, but the motorbike was more manly even in the way it sounded compared to the scooter that some called a scooter a `floss wagon' or `hairdryer`.

My Dad had always had a motorbike, mostly with a sidecar attached so as to take us kids out to the coast now and then or visit relatives in Harlow, a new town built as an overflow town to London and providing men with much needed good quality housing and jobs. My brother-in-law also had a motorbike, as did my eldest sister and as did I, and on a Friday evening one could see these machines all in line outside number 2 Camden Road off Markhouse Road, the house I was brought up in. At number 6, Camden Road, lived my very good friend, Steve Hume and he and his mates all had their scooters lined up on a Friday evening. bearing in mind the times and the gangs, it must have looked queer to someone not in the know and in fact one night a long haired, bearded Hell`s Angel looking guy in his mid twenties knocked at the door of our house and asked if it was some kind of bikers club? To which we said it was not and then once inside we laughed and began to see what he must have seen.

As far as `other memories` go I have plenty of them. I remember the little corner shop opposite where we lived in Camden Road, Bennettes `s and the way having saved up for fireworks, Sid Bennette would choose one of these and two of them like a pick-and-mix and place them into a large paper bag and then always drop a couple more in for `good luck`. I remember his ice lollies in the summer at just a penny each that he had bothered to make himself and was probably his bit of money or `lolly` on the side. I remember the door that lead from the shop to his living room at the back and just how much stuff was hanging on cards on that door. Stuff like plastic combs to hairclips to in fact just about anything that came attached to a card. Packets of rubber bands, packets of lighter flints etc, etc.

Other memorable shops in the area were `the oil shop` in Markhouse Road. A shop that sold paint, varnish, mixed up paint on request and sold all manner of ironmongery from nails by the pound (in weight) to paraffin for heaters. I remember too the jolly red faced man that worked in that shop and always wore a brown long cotton lightweight coat to protect his regular clothes. Then there was Strutt`s the sweet shop, where Mr Strutt the owner used to make his own sweets and sell them both in the shop and also from a stall in Walthamstow High Street. The smell from that shop was unbelievable as was the taste of his home made toffee apples, peanut brittle, cocoanut ice and many other sugary delights.
The `off license` almost on the corner of Camden Road in Markhouse Road was another memorable place as on the pavement there was a set of wooden double opening trap doors used for delivering of barrels of beer or wine as thinking back on it, I never remember it actually selling beer from a pump or anyone ever sitting in the shop and using it as a pub? Anyway, what was fascinating was to see the draymen deliver the wooden barrels and collect the empty ones via this opening in the street as all they did was to loop a length of rope around this cumbersome and weird shaped container and then either haul it up a type of ladder, or lower it down and never once did the huge barrel slip off and fall.

Summer`s seemed long and never ending then and winters non existent; and as kids we played `run-outs` around the block until ten o clock at night when our mums could be heard calling us from the front gate to come in for bed and we could be heard pleading to be allowed to stay out just for another five minutes, we were having that much fun. Even the new invention of TV never kept us in back then for our imagination was far better than most of the stuff on the `tele`. There were exceptions of course, like Peter Brady in the Invisible Man, Danger Man with Patrick McGoohan and the Quatermass films starring Brian Donlevy, but for the most part, if we were not playing out in the street, we were playing in the back garden with coyboys and indians and my secondhand toy train set and loving every minute of it.

Coal was delivered to the door on lorries in big greasy looking sacks by big dirty looking men with leather covers attached to their hats and shot into a coal bunker in the back garden or into the cupboard under the stairs. Milk was delivered to the door on a daily basis and paid for weekly if my mum could afford to pay and I worked for the milkman, Ted, as his milk boy for many years and earned enough to save up to buy myself a Raleigh Blue Streak racing push bike coloured Electric Blue from Frank Lipscomb the bike shop up Markhouse Road.

I remember we had a late winter one year, late, we had two feet of snow in April, I think the year was 1964? Just as Ted the milkman turned his electric milk float into Camden Road, the batteries froze up and there it remained, stuck. Well, my old dad had made a sledge up for us kids as the snow had been around for a while and we, Steve Hume, my brother Jeff and myself got this out and put it to good use and we placed a milk crate on it and whilst Ted sat in my parents house drinking tea and writing out notes as to what customer had what milk, we took the milk off the float, placed it in the sledge and delivered it to the waiting customers.

Walthamstow High Street on a Saturday, market day was a buzzing place and I would sometimes get down there after finishing the milk round and push my way through the crowd or more often than not, as I was too tired having been working all day, get home to find that my mum had brought back pie and mash and liquor from the pie shop, Manzies. This was in the days long before KFC and McDonalds and even today, I still rate pie and mash as a more fulfilling and wholesome meal.

Of random memories I remember the rag and bone man coming around on his horse drawn cart singing out "Old rags and lumber, any old lumber!" and ringing a hand bell to gain attention. There was an old guy that sawed and chopped wood for kindling and twisted a piece of wire around each bundle before taking to the streets to sell it. There was a `half-man` that used to pass our house and sometimes my dad used to speak to him. He had no legs and was sat upon a board with castors on the corners and moved himself along by means of a block of wood held in each hand, which he used to brush the pavement with. There was the old woman that lived in the house between Steve and me, Mrs Bowak, she was a spiritualist, a medium and on some Friday nights, big expensive cars, like Roll Royces and Bentleys would pull up and strange looking people in full evening dress would go in her house for séances. Bowak`s house was creepy to say the least and she had heavy blue velvet drapes up at the windows and a painting of some red indian on the opposite wall that was her `guide` in the `other world`.

There were more than forty cinemas in Walthamstow and Waltham Forest when I was a lad, now there are none, not a single one. There were about five in the High Street, another three or four in Hoe Street and some even had big music acts appearing at them back in the sixties like the Kinks and the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and Dave Clark Five. The Granada in Hoe Street was famous for this and the last to shut it doors as a cinema despite it going multi-screen. Some of the others became bingo halls and social clubs or were just demolished but whatever their demise it was a crying shame that such lovely buildings with sometime very ornate interiors passed into oblivion.

Well, having ranted and raved long enough, I would like to sincerely thank Dick for allowing me my thoughts of Walthamstow and for the work he must have put into building this site for others to enjoy. May others long add to it for continued enjoyment. Lest we forget.

Best wishes and fondest memories. Cleve Edmonston

Thanks for your kind comments Cleve.