Leytonstone School E11 previously Leyton Senior High School for Girls. Built in 1911 on 17th century domestic house model from the design of the architect W. Jacques. There is a plaque to W. Jacques on Lea Bridge Rd Library or is there?
In the bright sunshine today 16th February 2014, with my thoughts on making a quiche and the suffering folk on the Somerset Levels and in the Thames basin, I slung on my winter coat and went out without a plan . I went left and up past Tesco. I did peep in but refused to buy the £7 bunch of withery flowers reduced to £2. Crossed over the almost empty street having stared in astonishment at a fox staring back at me and decided to get to Grove Green Road E11. For that I needed to cross though past the back of Leyton Sixth Form College. The birds were singing merrily and it was all very medieval in its silence and 1950 front pavements and Sunday-ness. It was ten because a church bell rang once. Up by Whipps Cross there were one or two early cars but I’ve never seen the major road so empty as now.
Across the road was a white English woman (I can tell) and I knew we’d greet each other. As it turned out we together shoved with our feet broken glass from the kerb into a gutter. She was carrying her husband’s teeth as he’d been taken into Whipps Cross Hospital in the middle of the night. We chatted away. She invited me to go into St Andrew’s Church around the corner where I’d meet the lay preacher who corresponds with me for Up Your Street events.
Leytonstone School is a fabulous building. To me it’s like a cloistered nunnery. The sun was on its brick work. I love it. I loved it more from an empty road. Even the front gates were open so I went in.
The church next door stands majestic and calm. A service was going on . The church bell I’d heard had been the summons, the invite to prayer. The lay-preacher was busy preaching. I turned and followed Forest Road right up to Essex Road. Here were terraced houses, aka cottages I should think as we get more gentrified, without front steps or gardens! Their front doors open directly onto the age-old pavements.
And on window-sills there are pots, plant-pots, not even being stolen. Where am I? I do love that silent part of Leytonstone. An Indian looking guy was fiddling around with his hanging basket. He didn’t even look at me. Strange how people are.
Hainault Road is always intriguing. There are massive houses, churches, and more towards Leyton High Road, a proper greengrocer’s just selling greengrocery. That happens down Wood Street too.
Wood Street is construction in process because I never felt any buzz. I saw plenty of scaffolding, new pavements, poverty, men with cans and swear-words, a Co-op doing a roaring crusty French baton trade, Mother’s Hub displaying African kids’ gear (we there again?) and the same kind of shuttered shops I remember from the nineties. Someone is kidding themselves if they think Wood Street is up there with The Village E17.