Culture vultured.

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.

A Day of Galleries, Museums and Libraries


Can Altay gave a talk at the William Morris Gallery about art in spaces and the public or users’  interaction with it. Or something along those lines. Fabulous talk and earnest. Can has travelled all over expressing his art and evaluating the impact of his visionary concepts and tangible visible work or constructions. About 21 of us had booked for free to enjoy the first talk in the newly refurbished William Morris Gallery in Lloyd Park Walthamstow. The place was packed today with coach loads of seniors although the coaches must have been hidden. The toilets are full of Morris organic art wallpaper.The place is buzzing. Before it was brown and quiet like an old fashioned library. I loved it more then. It belongs to everyone now with its noisy café and crowded foyer festooned with bundles for sale .Not cheap souvenirs either. I’ll get over it. Waltham Forest Council tarted up so many places but I rarely see the famous ethnically diverse resident population in any Gallery, Museum or place of interest, I’ll keep looking and I’ll be disappointed again and again.

The Stratford Library staff had not heard of Stratford Museum. It’s actually the People’s Museum of Newham and just across from Gala Bingo going towards Bow. There we enjoyed a welcome orange juice , choccy biscuits and a film about changing Stratford (yawn…overdone pre Olympics, I’d say) then we looked at the permanent exhibition. Again flog the history of the indigenous population but all good.

Off then to The Nunnery in case any Madge Gill work was up still.Nothing doing and so The Carmelite Café fed and watered us with green tea and miracles of nutty and syrupy flapjacks.

Straight into a no. 25 bus with our trusty Freedom Passes then the 308 to Wanstead Station to get to the Library for a Family History Open Forum evening. Brilliant. We were rewarded with a cuppa for transcribing baptism records from 1844. Wasn’t hard and we were in jolly good company.