Distressed In The Village

Someone said to me “Yeah, but what is The Village, Walthamstow? Just a load of decrepit houses” .

.Grosvenor rd east E17

G road east e17

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

. 200

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.G road east e17 2 There are trees and gorgeous front pathway tiles with good ole Hydrangea clumps and ancient Plane trees.

Super village E17                Oct in the Village E17

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!IMAG00288

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.

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