Reminiscing in a launderette.

Years and years ago when rats roamed Walthamstow and up by Eden Road the houses had wooden porches full of umbrellas, wellies and paraffin heaters, when velvet curtains were the rage and guaranteed to last twenty years and they did! when the Asian Centre was a twinkle in the chimney smoke sky then I heard that my cousin had a butcher’s shop in Beulah Road. She was Carol Bell as a singleton. I never knew her married name. Full of curiosity partly because no-one in my family ever owned anything I went along to see her imagining she with a stripey apron and a cleaver raised above her peroxided head. Blow me down, the couple had moved out and away the day before. Look below for a mention of Horsey’s Butchers back in the fifties so there really was a butcher’s.

Beulah Road in Walthamstow is special now. It is in the Sacré Coeur of Waltham Forest, the conservation area away from the new builds down by the station, in the heart of the Village of E17 .The road name  is exotic and there’s even a Beulavilla. Don’t tell me Beulah Road is named after Warner’s sister’s husband’s auntie’s grandmother. The name belongs to Downton.

Today I went to do a reccie on the Deep Clean Launderette deep cleanand am certain it’s on the old butcher shop site.

laundry 1

There I met some women and we got talking. Here was a rehearsal then for the “Hanging Words Out To Dry” reminiscence workshop and writing stimulus happening on 7th November. I needed to see if there were chairs for the seniors to perch on for two hours on that morning.

2 laundry

PS Beulah, Eden, Biblical, (Blake?) roads built around St Mary’s Church E17

Look at this from Linda Hall b 1947 nee Wiley off Richard Dunn’s Walthamstow History website.

My name is Linda Hall formerly Wiley and I now reside in Vancouver, Canada.

I used to live in Beulah Road in Westcotts Laundry         where my Mum Win Wiley managed the laundry. In the tiny little accommodation         above and behind there resided my Brother Anthony (known as Tony in later         years) my Dad, Nan and Granddad. There was an outside loo and a tin bath         hanging on the outside wall that was bought into the the scullery for         “bath night” once a week. I was born in 1947 and my Brother         in 1944. We both went to Maynard Road infant school and then Junior. Our         secondary modern school was Joseph Barret later to become Warwick Road         with the Girls having their own school built down the road. My brother         left Joseph Barret and went on to Tom Hood Technical College. As a teenager         I used to go to The Mambo Youth Club that was held in Maynard Road Junior         school Hall.

On our side of Beulah Road there was Horsey’s the         Butchers, a wool shop, a sweet shop, a second hand stall where the Friers         lived and then the laundry. Further down there was a removal company where         a friend of mine named Edna lived and then there was a grocery store where         they used to pat 2 ounces of butter together behind a pale green shield.         That is as far as I can remember on our side. Opposite us there was Cundys         the Greengrocers and a sweetshop. Way further down there was a barbers         and a chemist and a few other shops but can’t think now what they were.

After school every afternoon I was sent round to         Scotts the Bakers in Orford Road for a small tin loaf or a large one depending         on the circumstances, either way by the time I got home I had picked and         eaten the end off. It smelled so good I couldn’t resist. There was a big         fish shop almost adjacent, then my mind goes blank until Isons the Oil         Shop where we got our paraffin from and anything else you may need. It         was like Alladins cave. Cross Eden Road and you came to the Post Office,         Button Factory The Connaught Cafe, where I spent my teenage years drinking         coke and sharing one cigarette between two people. There was the TA training         centre on the corner of Orford/Beulah. Opposite side of Orford Road was         the Connaught Hospital and further down there was a house that did Ballet,         Tap, Singing lessons and Piano. I did the Ballet and Tap but for the life         of me can’t remember what it was called. There was the Greengrocer who         used to stand outside his shop and say Good Morning to everybody, wearing         a lovely clean white apron.         There was a sweet shop whose owners emigrated to Australia. I think their         Daughter’s name was Linda. As I read this I realize how many blanks there         are. Of course I am forgetting the Queens head pub on the corner.

My Husband and I along with our kids emigrated         to Canada in 1982 but go back every year as we still have lots family         and so we have seen many changes through the years. In 2011 I did a memory         lane walk around Old Walthamstow. The laundry is still there albeit under         a different name. Scotts Bakery is still there, again under a different         name. Isons name is still above the shop

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Memory Lane @”Milling Around”

The Mill supports its own online magazine called “Milling Around”. Walthamstow residents and fans are invited to submit writing for publication after Irena has edited it professionally. All good fun.

The Mill has activities going on all the time e.g baby yoga, herbal recipe workshops, chess and so much more. It’s great and stands at the St James’ Station end of Walthmastow Market, E17. If ever you get a chance to go on a social history walk around that High Street, then Roger Huddle is your man, and others too. The Street is oozing with history. It used to be called Marsh Lane.

The Christmas Post.

When I was a mere young thing I did the Christmas Post in Walthamstow starting each snow-hung morning in the Walthamstow Sorting Office in Church Hill. That was in 1970 when I lived in a ground floor two-room lodging in West Avenue Road. Around the corner was the entrance to the “Village of Walthamstow Toni ” as advertised inside the railings on a Council notice-board. I never ventured up that path.

My postal round took me into Grove Road, Eden and Palmerston Roads and all their off-shoots. Every house had an unlocked porch and most had in them low-burning paraffin heaters with that unique warm smell.

At that time I was a student and very hard up. On one particular morning I was feeling the cold and was hungry. At the end of Beulah Road, an old woman was putting out her cat just as I was approaching. Without shame, I asked her if she had a crust of bread for me. She went in and came out with a slice of Sunblest covered in butter. That was a good day for me.sunblest

My last job finished on Christmas Eve and by 4pm I had to report back to the office to give in my bag and collect my wages, in cash of course. Relieved, I went straight into the market into the winter darkness and queued at the first fruit stall.

“Two oranges please.”

The costermonger flicked open the brown paper bag with his fingerless gloved hands and raised his voice facing the queue behind me.

“Two oranges. Cor! You ‘avin’ a party?”

The lights swinging under the tarpaulin never caught my reddening face.”

By Gillian Lawrence. Christmas 2012

High Street Seniors today part 2

What a fabulous evening. We High Street Seniors looked like we meant business in our yellow Hi -Viz jackets , carrying red rucksacks and walking with intention through the streets of Walthamstow Village at orange streaked sunset in jolly good company. Most of the seniors had not been to Walthamstow Village before so we stopped as dusk came down to check out the Ancient House, Vestry House Museum, St Mary’s Church, The Welcome Centre, the Almshouses, on and on. Total white people’s history to our multi ethnic High Street Seniors. (Well it is Black History Month). We all enjoyed looking and learning, then went around to Orford Road to qawp at Beautiful Interiors and The Asian Centre before a little sit-down in Beulah Road. Years ago I found out that my cousin owned the butcher shop in Beulah Road. I went along to see her and lo and behold she’d moved away the day before. The day before. That was when the village was nothing. Nothing to show off about, well before Asian centres and beautiful interiors. Aah and I see the music and theatre house is sold. High Street Seniors passed the warm lights of the pubs and Spar and went to Orford Social Club.  I love the entrance and I love the wooden shutters on the window insides. There we listened to Louise’s talk about The Matchwomen’s Strike. Absolutely worth the walk and the visit.