Someone said to me “Yeah, but what is The Village, Walthamstow? Just a load of decrepit houses” .
There is that. Mind you, they sell for half a milyion…nearly. Going towards The Village from Lea Bridge Road in the rain. you get the stench of damp century old walls, wooden scaffolding, and builders’ fag smoke as renovations and guttings- out proceed.
The Village has the best Spar in London. Believe it not! The staff are miserable, the reduced goods are mouldy and the place only survives because it sells expensive baked on the premises bread, up-market pizzas and Tesco is far away. There’s a Costcutters down the road towards the unfashionable part of Leyton.
So besides your posh buns, you should carry also an accessory, namely a baby or a toddler and preferably both
This is a different world from mattress- strewn fronts around Bakers Arms. The Village has a waft of money about it and of course is a prime target for street robbers. Grove Road by night is dangerous wit youf on unlit bikes zig-zagging across from pavement to pavement.
You would like to think that the roads around Beulah Road there are full of neighbourliness and soirées. No. By 6pm it’s dark and Victorian such that you cannot feel safe walking home from the station for example at 11pm. It’s a shame. It’s safer to walk in the brighter lights of Bakers Arms with all the hen and chip outlets and a good smattering of every nationality.
So there are many houses which are awfully distressed but magnetic in their charm because they remind those who were in London in the fifties of a different cherished order. Then the people moving in just love the quaintness. There are trees and gorgeous front pathway tiles with good ole Hydrangea clumps and ancient Plane trees.
The best time to sniff around is on a Saturday afternoon when the newly formed shops are open, when you can get a good look at the inhabitants who actually have age-old manners and spatial awareness so that they move to let others with buggies pass. Not a lot of people do that!
It was quiet yesterday in the Salvation Army Shop in Forest Road E17 the Thrift Shop. Or was it? In the café room I witnessed others’ pain and joy. Babies and toddlers were playing on a colourful mat whilst women were doing some keep-fit in a class in front of them. That happens every Tuesday. As you were!
During the vintage accessories’ hey day pre London 2012 one could snap up 1960 clasp handbags for 50p. in the Sally Army shop and flog ’em to the posh shops in Walthamstow and Stokey (you know where I mean) for £42-£70. The market’s out of it now. Except in Beulah Road near to the wool shop. Remember the excitement of cupcakes?
No condition is permanent.