The Economist journalist ‘s tongue in his cheek echoed what so many knew, that the William Morris Gallery was tarted up because the Olympics was a-comin’. I move amongst people who have been rate-payers in Leyton for half a century and they have no idea that there is a Walthamstow Village or that the William Morris Gallery in the big house in a park somewhere up Forest Road is a public place for everyone to enjoy. Each time I visit the Gallery I never see evidence of the multi-cultural society which is Waltham Forest. Yer can’t please all of the people all of the time, eh?
And as for the “thrift” shop opposite, fast becoming a cultural wing of all things Lloydy…. hands off ye gentrifiers. That is the Sally Army Shop and the best second-hand shop in London. I will stand on the kerb and watch it transform into another hipsters’ den. What isn’t sold there? A handbag with a clasp selling at £42 in the Village will cost you a mere 50p and you get the original dust and a smile from the right ole proper counter staff.
The William Morris Gallery was changed to hit the spot so a new entrance with a shop was constructed, a tea room was put in, and the toilet doors were cleverly camouflaged with swirly Morris wallpaper designs. Upstairs, up the beautiful curly stairs, past the gorgeous huge and shiny door-knobs, the curator holds gigs for poetry and art lovers. Cue pre meet up delights at La Delice and a pint after at Ye Olde Rose and Crown whilst residents in Priory Court and Warner flats wonder why the lights are still on in Lloyd Park.
Time will pass and the die is cast. There is a programme of events right into 2013 but unless the coach-loads are pulled in then the volunteers have their work cut out and someone will have to justify the millions spent. One visit to see the Essex do-gooder’s swirly stuff is, by all accounts, enough.