From Steve Aherne ...........................................Chingford...............12th
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
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
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 elses 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 infants 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
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 peoples
memories of the town.
From Brian Waller..............Romford...............28th
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
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.
From Peter Everett..............Walthamstow...............9th
Regarding email from Victoria Vickers 14th May
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
I was born in Milton Rd. off of Hoe St. in 1937 and have lived in Walthamstow
From Mark Lewis.................Romford........................16th
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.
From Victoria Vickers...............................Enfield.......................14th
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 cant 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
thats were I live now and Ive 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 Im 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
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
From Vera Forbes........................Western
Canada.................21st April 2011
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.
Take care God bless.
From Andrew Mackenzie....................Cairo................26th
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.
From Dave Petford........................Paignton..........................8th
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.
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.
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
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
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.