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. 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.

Operating as usual

08/05/2021

CHINGFORD THEN & NOW
Queen Elizabeth Hotel on Forest Side (Formally Queen Elizabeth's Hill) in 1911. It was reported that Joseph Long was a beer retailer at a converted private house in 1862. The 1891 census showed the occupants as, 'Martha Long, widow, public house keeper, living with six daughters, a son, a general servant, a barman and a cellarman.' There appears to have been a new building in 1900 and the owners became Whitbread & Co. #chingford #pub #history #london

This week marks 70 years since the opening of The Festival of Britain in May 1951. This national celebration of British ...
07/05/2021

This week marks 70 years since the opening of The Festival of Britain in May 1951. This national celebration of British arts, design and technology was centred on London's Southbank, but numerous local events took place across the country. Our photo shows the opening ceremony of Wathamstow's Festival of Britain celebrations at the Town Hall in 1951.

This week marks 70 years since the opening of The Festival of Britain in May 1951. This national celebration of British arts, design and technology was centred on London's Southbank, but numerous local events took place across the country. Our photo shows the opening ceremony of Wathamstow's Festival of Britain celebrations at the Town Hall in 1951.

Our beautiful garden through time. Thank you for joining our Facebook celebration of our 90th Birthday! Our museum first...
02/05/2021

Our beautiful garden through time. Thank you for joining our Facebook celebration of our 90th Birthday! Our museum first opened #OTD 2 May 1931. We look forward to reopening in 2021 and hope to see you then!
#VHM90

Some installations & displays spanning the decades at Vestry House. We Are Here WF 2020, local history display 1934, Bre...
02/05/2021

Some installations & displays spanning the decades at Vestry House. We Are Here WF 2020, local history display 1934, Bremer car gallery and Victorian Parlour. #VHM90

Some former Vestry House Museum colleagues in our galleries: Maureen, Cagla, Leanne, Gary. #VHM90
02/05/2021

Some former Vestry House Museum colleagues in our galleries: Maureen, Cagla, Leanne, Gary. #VHM90

Happy days in Vestry House Museum garden! Village Festival 1988, Apple Day early 2000s & 2011, 1940s day 2011. #VHM90
02/05/2021

Happy days in Vestry House Museum garden! Village Festival 1988, Apple Day early 2000s & 2011, 1940s day 2011. #VHM90

Vestry House in the 1960s when still Walthamstow Museum, and the Beating the Bounds ceremony in 1964. Vestry House becam...
02/05/2021

Vestry House in the 1960s when still Walthamstow Museum, and the Beating the Bounds ceremony in 1964. Vestry House became the local history museum for all of Waltham Forest sometime after the creation of the London Borough of Waltham Forest in 1965.
#VHM90

Images of Vestry House from our artwork collections. Early 20th century interior, probably from the period when Constanc...
02/05/2021

Images of Vestry House from our artwork collections. Early 20th century interior, probably from the period when Constance Demain Saunders lived here. Exterior by Walter E Spradbery, 1947.
#VHM90

The Panelled Room and police cell door, photographed in 1934 when the Walthamstow Museum opened its rear extension in th...
02/05/2021

The Panelled Room and police cell door, photographed in 1934 when the Walthamstow Museum opened its rear extension in the Old Armoury rooms. The panelling came from Essex Hall, demolished at this time. The police cell now houses our recreated scene from April 1861, when local labourer James Wright had been arrested for being drunk and disorderly. #VHM90

The museum at Vestry House first opened as Walthamstow Museum of Local History #OTD 2 May 1931. To celebrate our 90th an...
02/05/2021

The museum at Vestry House first opened as Walthamstow Museum of Local History #OTD 2 May 1931. To celebrate our 90th anniversary today we'll be sharing some of our favourite VHM images. This painting by A B Bamford depicts Vestry House in 1900. It featured on the lovely cake for our Diamond jubilee celebration in 2006. #VHM90

Pet cats with members of the Wire family! This image is from our collection of photographs taken by local photographer A...
11/04/2021

Pet cats with members of the Wire family! This image is from our collection of photographs taken by local photographer Alfred Wire, headmaster of Harrow Green Boys' School, c.1880s-1890s. #PetDay

Pet cats with members of the Wire family! This image is from our collection of photographs taken by local photographer Alfred Wire, headmaster of Harrow Green Boys' School, c.1880s-1890s. #PetDay

Our photo shows the Easter Fair at Lea Bridge Road, Leyton in 1957.
05/04/2021

Our photo shows the Easter Fair at Lea Bridge Road, Leyton in 1957.

Our photo shows the Easter Fair at Lea Bridge Road, Leyton in 1957.

Louisa Martindale (1872-1966), surgeon and suffragist. She studied at Royal Holloway College and the London School of Me...
30/03/2021

Louisa Martindale (1872-1966), surgeon and suffragist. She studied at Royal Holloway College and the London School of Medicine for Women before qualifying as MD in London, 1906. Setting up private practice initially in Brighton and later in London from 1923, she was senior surgeon at the New Sussex Hospital from 1911. She was involved in suffrage campaigns in both Hull and Brighton.

Louisa Martindale served as president of the British Medical Women's Federation, 1931 & the Medical Women's International Association, 1937-1947, having helped establish the latter in 1919. A pioneer of radium therapy in Britain, she claimed to have performed more than 7000 operations throughout her career. Appointed CBE in 1931, she published her autobiography 'A Woman Surgeon' in 1951.

Louisa Martindale was born in 1872 at Gainsborough Lodge, Gainsborough Road, Leytonstone, seen in our photo following its sale in 1964. Portrait: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Louisa_Martindale,_President_of_the_Medical_Women%27s_Federation.jpg
#WomensHistoryMonth

Hilda Martindale (1875-1952), civil servant. She was born in Leytonstone when her family lived at Gainsborough Lodge, Ga...
30/03/2021

Hilda Martindale (1875-1952), civil servant. She was born in Leytonstone when her family lived at Gainsborough Lodge, Gainsborough Road. She studied at Royal Holloway College and joined the civil service in 1900. Serving in the Home Office factory department from 1901-1933, she became senior lady inspector in 1912 & deputy chief inspector in 1925. In the early 1900s she travelled widely as a factory inspector, producing reports which informed campaigns for better working conditions for women. Her special responsibility for investigating accidents and industrial poisoning amongst women & girls from 1912 onwards led to close liaison with the Health of Munition Workers Committee during World War One.

Her final post was as director of women's establishments at the Treasury, 1933-1937. She sought to achieve equal pay for women civil servants and removal of the bar on civil service employment of married women, but did not succeed in these attempts. In 1935 she was appointed CBE. Our OS map section shows Gainsborough Road, Leytonstone in 1875, the year of her birth. Portrait https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/person/mp77010/hilda-martindale
#WomensHistoryMonth

In our final posts for #WHM2021 we focus on the Martindale family, firstly Louisa Martindale née Spicer (1839–1914), wom...
30/03/2021

In our final posts for #WHM2021 we focus on the Martindale family, firstly Louisa Martindale née Spicer (1839–1914), women’s activist. She grew up in a Congregationalist family in Woodford Green, becoming interested in women’s rights at a young age. Following marriage to widower William Martindale in 1871 she lived for about four years in Gainsborough Road, Leytonstone, where her daughters were born. Widowed in 1874, she later moved to Brighton. There she helped found the Women's Co-operative Movement and a women’s dispensary. A pacifist, she was active within the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, committed to winning the vote with non-militant methods. Our photo shows Leytonstone as she knew it, Church Lane c.1886. Portrait https://spartacus-educational.com/Wmartindale.jpg
#WomensHistoryMonth

Honey (Anne) Lantree (1943-2018), drummer with 1960s group The Honeycombs. She played drums on all the band’s recordings...
28/03/2021

Honey (Anne) Lantree (1943-2018), drummer with 1960s group The Honeycombs. She played drums on all the band’s recordings. International publicity followed their chart topping hit ‘Have I the Right?’ in 1964, making Honey Lantree the most acclaimed female drummer in the world at the time. https://youtu.be/5jqAz9k7mWM

Honey Lantree grew up in Highams Park and went to Sidney Burnell School (later Highams Park School). Our image shows The Avenue, Highams Park as she would have known it. Portrait: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Honeycombs_(1964).jpg
#WomensHistoryMonth

The Greek Theatre at Walthamstow School for Girls was planned in 1924 by headmistress & classicist Mary Norris. It opene...
27/03/2021

The Greek Theatre at Walthamstow School for Girls was planned in 1924 by headmistress & classicist Mary Norris. It opened in 1925 with Medea, performed by a chorus of school students with Sybil Thorndike in the leading role. The Greek Theatre Players were founded in 1957 and have staged a Shakespeare play here annually since 1958. Theatre photo 2017. Scene from school production of Iphigenia, late 1920s.
#TheatreDay

The Palace Theatre opened in Walthamstow High Street in 1903. A popular venue for music hall and later annual pantomime,...
27/03/2021

The Palace Theatre opened in Walthamstow High Street in 1903. A popular venue for music hall and later annual pantomime, it was also the stage for two Walthamstow Pageants in 1930 & 1934. Plays were shown for two years before it closed in 1954. It was demolished in 1960. Exterior c.1910. Scene from Walthamstow Pageant 1934.
#TheatreDay

Walthamstow’s Victoria Hall opened in Hoe Street (then Greenleaf Lane) in 1887. Renamed several times, it was the Victor...
27/03/2021

Walthamstow’s Victoria Hall opened in Hoe Street (then Greenleaf Lane) in 1887. Renamed several times, it was the Victoria Theatre from 1896, King’s Theatre in 1899, Victoria Hall again in 1907 when it became a cinema & finally the Victoria Picture Theatre from 1921. It was demolished in 1930 to provide a site for the new Granada cinema. Exterior image 1910. Interior c.1900. #TheatreDay

Marion Foale & Sally Tuffin, founders in 1961 of the Foale & Tuffin fashion label, based at their London shop just off C...
26/03/2021

Marion Foale & Sally Tuffin, founders in 1961 of the Foale & Tuffin fashion label, based at their London shop just off Carnaby Street from 1963. Their bright and colourful designs were synonymous with the Swinging Sixties and influential in the fashion revolution of the time. Well known for their tailoring, they helped to popularise trouser suits for women. Foale and Tuffin met when studying at Walthamstow School of Art. This was part of South West Essex Technical College, seen in our photo from c.1960. Portrait from William Morris Gallery film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKUoLqKcUQk
#WomensHistoryMonth

Vera Searle née Palmer (1901-1998). Sprinter & sports administrator, born in Leytonstone. She set world records for 250 ...
24/03/2021

Vera Searle née Palmer (1901-1998). Sprinter & sports administrator, born in Leytonstone. She set world records for 250 metres in 1923 & 1925. At a time when women were excluded from the Olympic Games, she was a silver medallist at the Women's Olympiad 1924, & again a silver medallist at the Women's World Games 1926. Committed all her life to the cause of women in athletics, Vera Searle was inaugural secretary of the Women's Amateur Athletic Association 1930-33, and later vice-chair 1959-73, then chair 1973-81. In 1950 she co-founded the National Women's Cross Country Association. In the early 1900s the Palmer family lived at 88 Dunedin Road, Leyton. The Dunedin Road area is shown in our 1942 photo. Portrait: https://youtu.be/I58DLDSsWUI
#WomensHistoryMonth

Violet Hopson (1887-1973), actor & producer. A star of British silent movies, she appeared in more than 100 films betwee...
22/03/2021

Violet Hopson (1887-1973), actor & producer. A star of British silent movies, she appeared in more than 100 films between 1912-1926. These included several films for the Broadwest company, based at studios in Wood Street, Walthamstow. In 1919 she formed her own film production company, Violet Hopson Productions. Portrait
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Violet_Hopson.jpg #WomensHistoryMonth

Gulielma Lister (1860-1949). Mycologist, naturalist & a world authority on mycetozoa (slime molds). A founder member of ...
20/03/2021

Gulielma Lister (1860-1949). Mycologist, naturalist & a world authority on mycetozoa (slime molds). A founder member of the British Mycological Society, she served twice as its president. She was the first woman to serve as president of the Essex Field Club, from1916-1919. Born in Leytonstone, her lifelong home was Sycamore House, High Road E11. Our photo shows High Road, Leytonstone as she would have known it. Portrait https://thedailygardener.org/otc20191028 #WomensHistoryMonth

Agnes Marshall (1855-1905), cookery writer and entrepreneur. Famous for her signature works 'Book of Ices' (1885) & 'Fan...
18/03/2021

Agnes Marshall (1855-1905), cookery writer and entrepreneur. Famous for her signature works 'Book of Ices' (1885) & 'Fancy Ices' (1894), she helped make ice cream popular in the late 19th century. She & her husband founded the Marshall School of Cookery in Mortimer Street, London in 1883, and also ran a business to make & sell cookery equipment. Her many innovations included a fast ice cream machine, the edible ice cream cone and use of liquefied gas in the ice cream making process. She was born as Agnes Smith in Walthamstow. The street location for her birthplace is unknown. Portrait https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Agnes_B_Marshall.jpg Marshall School of Cookery 1887 image https://www.myinnervictorian.nl/victoriaanse-scones-authentieke-recepten #WomensHistoryMonth

Priscilla Johnston, née Buxton (1808-1852), abolitionist. She was assistant to her father Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton whils...
16/03/2021

Priscilla Johnston, née Buxton (1808-1852), abolitionist. She was assistant to her father Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton whilst he led the parliamentary campaign to abolish British colonial slavery. She led female anti-slavery activism, as co-secretary of the London Female Anti-Slavery Society 1832 & co-organiser of the national ladies' anti-slavery petition 1833. Comprising 187,000 signatories, it was the largest anti-slavery petition ever presented to parliament. Our 1909 photo shows Leytonstone House, where Priscilla Johnston lived in 1851 when it was the Buxton family home. Portrait https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Priscilla_Buxton.jpg #WomensHistoryMonth

Eleanor, Lady Wigram (1767-1841). Philanthropist who set up a day school in Walthamstow in 1807 & Walthamstow Female Ben...
14/03/2021

Eleanor, Lady Wigram (1767-1841). Philanthropist who set up a day school in Walthamstow in 1807 & Walthamstow Female Benefit Society in 1815. Married to Sir Robert Wigram, she was mother to seventeen children & six step-children. The Wigram family lived at Walthamstow House, Shernhall Street, shown in our photo from 1927. Portrait https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lady_Eleanor_Wigram_by_Charles_Shirreff_miniature.png #WomensHistoryMonth #MothersDay

Mary Fletcher née Bosanquet (1739-1815), Methodist preacher. Following conversion to Methodism she co-founded in 1763 an...
12/03/2021

Mary Fletcher née Bosanquet (1739-1815), Methodist preacher. Following conversion to Methodism she co-founded in 1763 an orphanage & school at The Cedars, Leytonstone. In 1771 she convinced John Wesley to accept women preachers in Methodism. Mary Fletcher was a very popular preacher, on one occasion addressing a crowd of 2,000 people. Our photo shows her birthplace, Forest House, Leytonstone. Portrait credit https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mary_Bosanquet_Fletcher.jpg #WomensHistoryMonth

Patricia Scotland, Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC (b.1955). Attorney-General from 2007-2010, she was the first woman to ...
10/03/2021

Patricia Scotland, Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC (b.1955). Attorney-General from 2007-2010, she was the first woman to hold the post since its creation in 1315. In 2016 she became Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations, again the first woman to hold the post. Born in Dominica, Patricia Scotland grew up in Walthamstow and went to Walthamstow School for Girls, seen in our photo. Portrait credit https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Patricia_Scotland_2013_(cropped).jpg #WomensHistoryMonth

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My book about my grandfather, the controversial minister of Trinity Church, Walthamstow, is out on 2 November 2020. "Between Heaven and Earth" by Robert Nurden is my biography of my colourful relative, Stanley James, pastor of the Walthamstow Congregational church 1906-16. He both charmed and alienated his congregation with his feminism, communism and pacifism during the First World War. He also, as a husband and father of seven, scandalised his congregation by conducting passionate affairs with women in his congregation. Before that, as a young man in Canada, he was a cowboy, navvy, hobo, soldier in the US army, newspaper reporter and actor. After being sacked from his Walthamstow church, he joined pacifist organisations, worked alongside Bertrand Russell and eventually converted to Catholicism, counting GK Chesterton among his friends. A colourful life, indeed! You can buy this page-turner of a biography on Amazon.com after 2 November.
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.