London Walking Tours    with Joanna Moncrieff

Walthamstow Wanderings

Not one to sit around twiddling my thumbs after my guiding exam was over yesterday I felt at a loose end. As readers of my blog will realise my life has been taken over by revision and practising for the exam rather too much lately hence no blogging for far too long.

I sat in Green Park in the sun for a while wondering what to do and then decided to join my friend, C, who was going on the E17 Art Trail . In retrospect probably not the best idea after traipsing the streets of Mayfair in sandals not really suited to long walks but I survived and it was only around about 6pm when we finished up in the Rose and Crown that I suddenly felt completely exhuasted.

I have lived in the E4/E17 area all my life but discovered parts of Walthamstow yesterday I never knew existed.

This is the 5th year for the Art Trail and there are 150 exhibitions, walks, talks and cycle rides at 90 different venues. Many of the exhibitions are in private homes. Everyone we met yesterday was really friendly, enthusiastic and welcoming. The art we saw was diverse no two venues having similar styles. The Art Trail runs until next Sunday 13 September.

My first surprise was a lovely green space – Stoneydown Park – just off Blackhorse Road where I met my friends C and V. Being a bit mentally exhausted from my exam it never occurred to me to take photos of our tour.

Our next surprise was no. 10 on the Art Trail entitled “Tales from the Forest” . The address was “The Secret Garden”, Flat 3, etc etc. The flat was in a nondescript block just behind Walthamstow Market. At the top of the stairs we emerged onto a roof terrace which was amazingly quiet being so close to the market. Katja Rosenberg’s prints and postcards and fairytales written by local schoolchildren were all around for us to browse. She welcomed us with a magic potion (wine or orange juice) and encouraged us to spend as much time as we wanted browsing or reading. It was a great place to start the trail. Katja’s work will next be on view at Wonderland at the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green from 26 September.

My other favourite venue was no 13 on the list “Teenage Pics” in the Outset Centre, (access via Frederick Street, E17) which I had never heard of and was surprised to find that my train passes within feet of it every day. This was an exhibition of deckchairs that had been reclaimed from old park buildings and given a new lease of life by local young artists. The painting was done directly onto the canvas and there were some striking designs. This exhibition is open Monday to Friday this week 10 to 5 and until 9pm on Tuesday.

Our last surprise of the day was a sample shop somewhere near to the Alpha Business Centre where we had seen no. 12 on the list “We have a Product Malfunction” which unfortunately I just didn’t get. However we found this great shop selling samples from the Spanish clothes shop Almatrichi and I bought a gorgeous top in that green colour that you only seem to be able to buy in Spain for only £5.

Our penultimate stop was in Celsius in Hoe Street which included some collages by former Grange Hill actor Terry Sue Pat who played Benny back in the late 1970s/early 1980s and now lives locally. Our final stop was the Rose & Crown which has its own exhibitions as part of the Trail but I was just too exhausted to do anything more than sit down and have a drink.

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