Vestry House Museum

Vestry House Museum Vestry House Museum presents the history of Waltham Forest. Attractively located in the Grade II listed Vestry House, the Museum can be found in the historic area of Walthamstow Village.

Originally built as a workhouse in 1730, Vestry House has since been a police station and a private house, before it opened as a Museum in 1931. Vestry House Museum houses Waltham Forest Archives and Local Studies Library. It is also home to an award-winning public garden. Group visits and Schools: Vestry House Museum welcomes group bookings; guided tours can be arranged. The Museum has an active schools programme with a wealth of resources available, including activity sheets, loan boxes and object handling sessions. Please book in advance: www.walthamforest.gov.uk/vhm-schools.htm Shop Our shop offers small souvenirs, toys and games from the past and history books and maps of the area. Archives and Local Studies Library The Museum houses Waltham Forest Archives and Local Studies Library, which offer a wide range of resources relating to the history of Waltham Forest. Our extensive printed and manuscript holdings provide key sources for many research topics. By appointment only. Photographic Collection The Museum has an outstanding collection of photographs of Waltham Forest dating back to the 1860s. The collection provides a vivid record of the changing society and local life. By appointment only. Venue Hire Our community Room, complete with kitchen, is available for hire at reasonable rates Tuesday- Sunday 9am-10pm and can accommodate up to 80 people.

Agnes Cotton died on 20 May 1899. She was born in 1828 at Wallwood House, Leytonstone, the Cotton family home until the ...
20/05/2020

Agnes Cotton died on 20 May 1899. She was born in 1828 at Wallwood House, Leytonstone, the Cotton family home until the 1870s. Our photograph shows Wallwood House in 1892.

A local social reformer and philanthropist, Agnes Cotton built the Home of the Good Shepherd (industrial home for girls) at The Pastures, Davies Lane, Leytonstone in 1879-1881.

T E Lawrence died on 19 May 1935. Author and military intelligence officer, he was British liaison officer during the Ar...
19/05/2020

T E Lawrence died on 19 May 1935. Author and military intelligence officer, he was British liaison officer during the Arab Revolt in 1916-1919. Lawrence owned land at Pole Hill, Chingford from 1919-1930, where he planned to set up a private printing press with Vyvyan Richards, then a teacher at Bancroft's School. Our photo shows Cloisters, the hut where Lawrence stayed when visiting Pole Hill. Cloisters was built in 1921 for Richards, but was demolished in 1930 and later re-erected at The Warren, Loughton.

Gulielma Lister died on 18 May 1949. An eminent mycologist and naturalist, she lived all her life at Sycamore House, 871...
18/05/2020

Gulielma Lister died on 18 May 1949. An eminent mycologist and naturalist, she lived all her life at Sycamore House, 871 High Road, Leytonstone. She was a world expert on mycetozoa (slime moulds) and her many years of international research included frequent field trips to Epping Forest.

Gulielma Lister was a founding member (and subsequently president) of the British Mycological Society, and also the first woman president of the Essex Field Club in 1916. She was an accomplished artist, and many of her detailed watercolours of specimens are held by the Natural History Museum.

Our photo from 1911 shows High Road Leytonstone as it was in Gulielma Lister's lifetime. The second photo shows Gulielma at home c1930,, image credit: https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/xjf696546eng/gulielma-lister-at-her-home-sycamore-house-leytonstone-c1930-xjf696546-eng/#.WqEcn_ynwXM

15/05/2020
We Are Here WF

The exhibition We Are Here opened at Vestry House Museum in March. While we are closed you can enjoy a virtual visit thanks to this wonderful taster tour by We Are Here WF: https://weareherewf.org/gallery/taster-tour/

Take a taster view of the #weareherewf exhibition and enjoy some of the music too! View here: https://weareherewf.org/exhibition-gallery/
@heritagefunduk @wfcouncil #history #blackhistory #sixties #music #photography #walthamforest #leyton #leytonstone #chingford #highamspark

Friday Hill House, Chingford, the home of Robert Boothby Heathcote who was born on 13 May 1805. Rector of Chingford from...
13/05/2020

Friday Hill House, Chingford, the home of Robert Boothby Heathcote who was born on 13 May 1805. Rector of Chingford from 1829, he was influential in parish developments in the 19th century. He commissioned the building of St Peter and St Paul's church in 1844, Chingford Infants’ School in 1856-57 and Friday Hill House in 1839.

Ian Dury was born on 12 May 1942. Initially an art lecturer, he turned to a career in music, becoming a hugely successfu...
12/05/2020

Ian Dury was born on 12 May 1942. Initially an art lecturer, he turned to a career in music, becoming a hugely successful punk singer songwriter with his band The Blockheads. His biggest hit was 'Hit Me with your Rhythm Stick', number one in Jan 1979. Our photo shows South West Essex Technical College c1960, when Dury studied there at Walthamstow School of Art.

Ian Dury is remembered on the heritage plaque at this location, now Waltham Forest College. Plaque image by Spudgun67, full credit here: https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Peter_Blake_Ian_Drury_Peter_Greenaway_Ken_Russell_(Waltham_Forest_Heritage).jpg#

William Gordon Stables died on 10 May 1910. Beginning his career as a Royal Navy surgeon, he later became a prolific aut...
10/05/2020

William Gordon Stables died on 10 May 1910. Beginning his career as a Royal Navy surgeon, he later became a prolific author of boys' adventure fiction. He was an early pioneer of caravanning, and his caravan The Wanderer was a celebrated sight in Chingford when he camped near the Royal Forest Hotel in the late 1880s.

The first image is our photo of the Royal Forest Hotel, circa 1890s. The second photo shows The Wanderer with Stables in highland dress on the right, image credit: https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:William_Gordon_Stables.jpg#mw-jump-to-license

This short film clip shows The Wanderer, newly restored by the Caravan Club, at Buckingham Palace for the Club centenary in 2007: https://youtu.be/QAcGh6_OPsg

Marsh Street, Walthamstow (now High Street) viewed from Hoe Street in the 1870s. Walthamstow Hall school for the daughte...
06/05/2020

Marsh Street, Walthamstow (now High Street) viewed from Hoe Street in the 1870s. Walthamstow Hall school for the daughters of missionaries was located in Marsh Street until 1882. One of the earliest independent schools for girls, it was co-founded in 1838 by Dorothea Foulger who died #OTD 6 May 1852.

Dorothea and her husband John Foulger had moved to Walthamstow in 1833, and soon became active members of Marsh Street New Meeting, the local Congregational church. The church was strongly committed to missionary work and the Foulgers offered an open house for Christian missionaries of any denomination. Becoming aware of the need for a school for missionaries' daughters, Dorothea Foulger enabled its foundation in Marsh Street supported by subscription.

The first pupils were five small girls, but the school rapidly grew in both size and reputation. Pupils were taught reading, writing, accounts, English language, history, geography, and Latin. Languages were deemed important as many pupils were expected to enter missionary service in later years. By the 1870s the school had outgrown its Marsh Street premises and in 1882 it moved to Sevenoaks, Kent.

Looking for VE Day home-schooling activities for this week? Take a look at our new virtual exhibition ‘Victory in the St...
05/05/2020
Victory in the Streets: How Waltham Forest Celebrated VE Day | Vestry House Museum

Looking for VE Day home-schooling activities for this week?

Take a look at our new virtual exhibition ‘Victory in the Streets’ and have a go at:
• reading our family friendly VE Day & World War 2 fact sheet
• testing your knowledge with our quiz
• listening to VE Day tribute poems
• making your own paper bunting

All resources can be found here: https://bit.ly/VEDayVHM

#AllTogetherNowWF #VEDAY75 #MuseumFromHome

Following Nazi Germany signing the act of military surrender in Berlin on 8 May 1945, celebrations erupted throughout Europe and North America. In the United Kingdom, over a million people took to the streets to celebrate the end of almost six years of total war. Street parties were held in every co...

As we prepare to mark 75 years since VE Day, we've launched 'Victory in the Streets', a virtual exhibition revealing how...
04/05/2020

As we prepare to mark 75 years since VE Day, we've launched 'Victory in the Streets', a virtual exhibition revealing how Waltham Forest celebrated the end of war in Europe: https://vestryhousemuseum.org.uk/victory-in-the-streets-how-waltham-forest-celebrated-ve-day/

This image shows Sidmouth Road in Leyton, where on Wednesday 9 October 1940 a high explosive bomb fell and destroyed or damaged many of the houses. Over a million houses were destroyed during the Blitz bombing campaign and more than 40,000 civilians were killed. When Nazi Germany surrendered, street parties were held across the country and the residents of Sidmouth Road can be seen here smiling and celebrating in front of the road’s bomb-damaged houses.

Our photograph of the William Girling Reservoir near Chingford marks the anniversary of the birth of civil engineer Sir ...
01/05/2020

Our photograph of the William Girling Reservoir near Chingford marks the anniversary of the birth of civil engineer Sir Robert Wynne-Edwards on 1 May 1897. Wynne-Edwards was employed by John Mowlem and Co to build the William Girling Reservoir for the Metropolitan Water Board in 1935. His recommendation for the removal of a layer of soft clay was overruled, and part of the reservoir's embankment later collapsed in 1937. The British Research Station report vindicated Wynne-Edwards' construction plan, leading to a redesign in 1938 incorporating his original recommendation. The case attracted publicity and helped to establish the new science of soil mechanics in Britain.

On #InternationalDanceDay we remember former Leytonstone resident Christopher Gable (1940-1998), principal dancer with t...
29/04/2020

On #InternationalDanceDay we remember former Leytonstone resident Christopher Gable (1940-1998), principal dancer with the Royal Ballet from 1961-1967. In 1965 the role of Romeo in Sir Kenneth MacMillan's 'Romeo and Juliet' was created on him. Gable co-founded Central School of Ballet in 1982, and was Artistic Director of Northern Ballet Theatre (now Northern Ballet) from 1987-1998.

This 1963 British Pathé film shows Christopher Gable at home in Leytonstone with his wife and fellow Royal Ballet dancer Carole Needham: https://t.co/mOXAeY999P

This newscutting from our Local Studies Library is from the Daily Mail, 24 April 1964.

Edward Newman was born on 27 April 1918 at 9 Coleridge Road, Walthamstow. An eminent computer engineer, Newman co-develo...
27/04/2020

Edward Newman was born on 27 April 1918 at 9 Coleridge Road, Walthamstow. An eminent computer engineer, Newman co-developed the Pilot ACE (Automatic Computing Engine) in 1950 and later led research in pattern recognition. This Ordnance Survey map section shows Coleridge Road in the early 20th century.

We are indebted to Kirstin Sibley for her extensive research on Edward Newman's work and local connections. The Invisible Numbers exhibition for the E17 Art Trail in 2017 featured the display 'E A Newman and Pilot ACE: Turing’s Legacy', created by Kirstin Sibley with illustrator Andrew Baker and technical adviser Oliver W Duke-Williams. In this blog post Oliver W Duke-Williams describes the significance of the Pilot ACE in early computing: https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/dh/2017/06/13/invisible-numbers-ted-newman-and-the-pilot-ace/ The exhibition's Pilot ACE newspaper is held in our Local Studies Library.

ASEA Electric, Fulbourne Road, Walthamstow in the 1940s when Peggy Knight worked there as a shorthand typist. Peggy Knig...
19/04/2020

ASEA Electric, Fulbourne Road, Walthamstow in the 1940s when Peggy Knight worked there as a shorthand typist. Peggy Knight was recruited to the Special Operations Executive in World War Two, and parachuted into France in May 1944. For her courageous service she was awarded the Croix de Guerre in 1947. Today is the centenary of her birth on 19 April 1920. Thanks to Leyton and Leytonstone Historical Society for this account of Peggy's life and local connections:
http://www.leytonhistorysociety.org.uk/peggy_knight_1.html
Peggy's photograph appears in this feature:
https://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/579480.from-the-typewriter-to-blazing-sten-gun/

Hilda Martindale was born in Leytonstone in 1875 and lived as a child at Gainsborough Lodge, Gainsborough Road. This Ord...
18/04/2020

Hilda Martindale was born in Leytonstone in 1875 and lived as a child at Gainsborough Lodge, Gainsborough Road. This Ordnance Survey map section shows Leytonstone in 1875. Hilda Martindale's distinguished civil service career began when she joined the Home Office as a factory inspector in 1901. By 1925 she was Deputy Chief Inspector of Factories, and then Director of Treasury women’s establishments from 1933-1937. She was a lifelong advocate for women's rights and working conditions. Hilda Martindale died #OTD 18 April 1952. Her portrait can be viewed on the National Portrait Gallery website: https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw102113/Hilda-Martindale

The Broadwest Film Company was based at studios in Wood Street, Walthamstow from 1916 until the 1920s, specialising in f...
17/04/2020

The Broadwest Film Company was based at studios in Wood Street, Walthamstow from 1916 until the 1920s, specialising in film adaptations of novels and plays. Walthamstow offered proximity to Epping Forest, used for location filming of some productions including a series on Dick Turpin. The company name derived from the surnames of its co-founders, film director Walter West and funder George Broadbridge, later 1st Baron Broadbridge. Broadbridge died #OTD 17 April 1952. He was Lord Mayor of London in 1936. His portrait from this time is held at the Guildhall Art Gallery and can be seen here: https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/sir-george-broadbridge-18691952-lord-mayor-of-london-1936-51332/view_as/grid/search/keyword:broadbridge/page/1

Belle Vue House in Hale End, Walthamstow was the home of publisher Charles Cooke, who died #OTD 16 April 1816. Cooke was...
16/04/2020

Belle Vue House in Hale End, Walthamstow was the home of publisher Charles Cooke, who died #OTD 16 April 1816. Cooke was the first to sell illustrated pocket editions of a wide range of English classics. A luxurious edition on vellum paper sold for two shillings and a superior edition for one shilling, but most popular of all was the cheap edition at sixpence. Sales generated huge profits, enabling Cooke to build Belle Vue House in 1803. It was designed by Edward Gyfford, and the landscaped grounds featured an artificial lake. The Belle Vue estate survived until the 1890s, the house alone remaining until 1937.

This illustration is from the Walthamstow Antiquarian Society monograph 'Some Walthamstow Houses' by George Bosworth (1924).

Coronavirus (Covid-19) UpdateFollowing new government guidance issued on 20 March we have taken the decision to close Ve...
21/03/2020

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update

Following new government guidance issued on 20 March we have taken the decision to close Vestry House Museum until further notice.

As the situation is changing daily we will continue to update our response across social media and our websites.

To get the latest COVID-19 information from Waltham Forest Council sign up at www.walthamforest.gov.uk/covid19enews.

**Now open**We Are Here is a photographic heritage project capturing the lives of Windrush Generation residents of Walth...
06/03/2020
We Are Here: Photographing the Windrush citizens of Waltham Forest | Vestry House Museum

**Now open**

We Are Here is a photographic heritage project capturing the lives of Windrush Generation residents of Waltham Forest, who came to the UK from the Caribbean in the 1950s to the 1970s. The project is led by Image17, a collective of photographers based in the Borough. This exhibition at Vestry House Museum features 50 new photographic portraits as well as over 100 personal family pictures, mementos and oral testimonies.

Find out more: https://vestryhousemuseum.org.uk/whats-on/photographing-windrush-citizens-waltham-forest/

Thursday 5 March 2020 - Sunday 1 November 2020 @ All day - We Are Here is a photographic heritage project capturing the lives of Windrush Generation residents of Waltham Forest, who came to the UK from the Caribbean in the 1950s to the 1970s. The project is led by Image17, a collective of photograph...

05/01/2020

Off to Orford road they go to wish local shop owners a happy new year. #walthamstowwassail

Happy New Year! Today we celebrated Walthamstow Wassail’s 10th anniversary. The family craft activity ‘make wassail neck...
05/01/2020

Happy New Year!
Today we celebrated Walthamstow Wassail’s 10th anniversary.
The family craft activity ‘make wassail necklace’ was delivered by Scribble and Smudge and traditional wassail songs led by Gail Macleod.
A big thank you to Lucy Gibson for organising such a lovely event...
The wassail isn’t over yet you can catch up with them at the Nags Head Pub! #Walthamstowwassail

05/01/2020

Apple Wassailing.... #walthamstowwassail

It's nearly time for our annual festive celebration. Here's what we've got planned:1pm - 4.30pmChildren's arts and craft...
07/12/2019

It's nearly time for our annual festive celebration. Here's what we've got planned:

1pm - 4.30pm
Children's arts and crafts: make your own Christmas cracker
🌲
Explore genuine artefacts from a Victorian household. Can you work out how they were used?

2pm - Dramatised reading of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. Hear this classic tale read out loud by The Red Headed League (20 min duration - repeated at 3pm)

2.30pm - Sing traditional Christmas carols with local choir Sing17 (30mins duration)

Festive refreshments - including mulled wine - on sale all afternoon

Free entry (suggested donation £3)

Ever wondered how artists can go on strike? Head to Vestry House Museum this Friday 20 September - the day of global #cl...
16/09/2019

Ever wondered how artists can go on strike? Head to Vestry House Museum this Friday 20 September - the day of global #climatestrike - to find out!

Today: BeeWild Family Day Join OrganicLea for a bee and flower hunt in the garden, and create beautiful prints based on ...
08/09/2019

Today: BeeWild Family Day
Join OrganicLea for a bee and flower hunt in the garden, and create beautiful prints based on what you find!
Free, drop-in, 1.30-3.30pm

Invitation! Be among the first to see our new display of work by Cornelia Parker and Rachel Whiteread, part of the Londo...
05/06/2019

Invitation! Be among the first to see our new display of work by Cornelia Parker and Rachel Whiteread, part of the London Borough of Culture #waysofseeing project. Join us tomorrow from 6.30pm.

**Coming soon**Swarm: artists respond to the pollinator crisis14 June 2019 - 26 January 2020Artists Anna Alcock, Hannah ...
03/06/2019

**Coming soon**

Swarm: artists respond to the pollinator crisis
14 June 2019 - 26 January 2020

Artists Anna Alcock, Hannah Ford, Miyuki Kasahara, Alke Schmidt and Sandie M Sutton present new work reflecting on the alarming decline of bees, wasps, butterflies and other pollinators. Featuring painting, printmaking, textiles, sculpture and installation, the exhibition is both a call to arms and a celebration of these wondrous and hard-working insects.

Find out more: https://vestryhousemuseum.org.uk/whats-on/swarm-artists-respond-pollinator-crisis/

Our friends at Rendezvous Projects have received funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to explore the pirate r...
29/04/2019
Sweet Harmony: Radio, Rave and Waltham Forest, 1989-1994 - Rendezvous Projects

Our friends at Rendezvous Projects have received funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to explore the pirate radio and rave scene in Waltham Forest during the years 1989-1994.

They want to hear from you if you were part of the dance music scene in the borough at this time, or if you'd like to help with research for the project.

Find out more at: www.rendezvousprojects.org.uk/work/sweet-harmony

Rendezvous Projects is delighted to announce that we have received funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to undertake a project in London Borough of Waltham Forest to explore the …

Waltham Forest History and Heritage Network
10/04/2019

Waltham Forest History and Heritage Network

Become a Trustee at Walthamstow Pumphouse Museum.

See more details here: https://walthamforesthistoryandheritage.net/news/

Walthamstow’s Pumphouse Museum is housed in and around a Grade II listed former Victorian wastewater pumping station, with collections relating to this and to local innovation in transport, technology and manufacturing.

A volunteer-run site, The Pumphouse Museum has just undergone a review of governance and operations which will help prepare plans for exciting future development. As a result of this they are looking to expand their Board and are seek applicants.

Wonderful prints from today's family learning workshop 'Print an Easter rabbit'  organised by Waltham Forest Adult Learn...
09/04/2019

Wonderful prints from today's family learning workshop 'Print an Easter rabbit' organised by Waltham Forest Adult Learning and led by artist Claire Willberg.
Thank you to all our volunteers who supported the session.

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Comments

I have just noticed the madhatter event is sold out. I was planning to take my 3 years old with his little Peter rabbit costume along with my friend. I am gutted is sold out. Is there any waiting list or anyway to get an extra ticket? I would feel so bad my little boy misses out on this, he would love it so much!
Can you help? Do you know anyone who has/had a corner shop or worked at one in East London? As part of a heritage project for The National Trust we would like to arrange oral history interviews and collect photographs to capture the story of migration and the importance of the corner shop in the community. These will be archived with The British Library. The types of shops included will be newsagents, general stores, post offices and grocery shops in East London. If you know someone who can take part then please DM me or comment below.
There was recently a very interesting post by members of the group walthamstow memories. There are so many photographs of couples married at st Mary’s church. If this has not been done before it’s a wonderful idea for a future exhibition
Thank you for hosting a Honey Pot Theatre Company. Knitting Bee seemed to go down a storm and we had a great time too.
I remember going to local history talks at the Vestry House in the late 70s given by Mr Tonkin.
CGS were working in Shernhall Street today and were amazed to uncover this little beauty. Our clients have lived here since 1952 and had no idea the boiler was there. Amazing find indeed. Tel: 07816 504 352
Vestry House Museum aparfrom the santa thing, do you have to pay for the other christmas stuff such as the performances. or is it free to get in.
We had an awesome time visiting the wonderful Vestry House. Thank you to our local residents and Councillor Berberi for sharing your time with me.
Please look at the comments I’ve posted about the film nights! Can someone get back to me please?
My grandfather was a h simpkins who had the mineral water factory in the 1930’s. I believe my uncle donated labels etc which I believe are in your archives. It is not easy for me to get to London is there any way of photographs being taken for me and I’m happy to pay. Thank you
Hi there. Who do i contact re private hire of the space please? Many thanks.
My suggestion for personalising the old bike in the exhibition.