London Walking Tours    with Joanna Moncrieff

Hidden Chingford (to me anyway!)

I’ve just started working on two local walks that I will be doing as part of the Appetite Festival in June. The theme will of course be food & drink but not having done walks in either Chingford or Walthamstow before I’ve been reading a lot to get myself up to speed on the history of each area.

I have lived in Waltham Forest most of my life – firstly in Highams Park, then Walthamstow and now Chingford for the past 15 years. So I thought I knew Chingford pretty well.

However whilst going through all the historic plaques in Waltham Forest here I was amazed to discover one in a road less than half a mile from where I live. I have walked along the north end of Woodberry Way many times as it’s the quickest route from my flat up to Pole Hill and into the Forest. However I have never had the need to walk to the south end of the street that links to the main road, King’s Head Hill (named after the pub – the King’s Head). So I was very surprised to discover a house which was formerly the gatekeeper’s lodge to a detached property that stood where Woodberry Way is today.

Gatekeeper’s Lodge in Woodberry Way – all that is left from Sunnyside House

I discovered this on Sunday night so went out for a wander yesterday and took this photo. So far all I have gleaned about “Sunnyside” is that it was used as a Red Cross depot during the First World War but demolished shortly afterwards. The house had previously been lived in by Josiah Gunton who was a partner in a firm of architects, Gordon and Gunton later Gunton and Gunton. In 1958 (and when Josiah Gunton was long dead) the firm of Gunton and Gunton built the 3rd Mercers’ Hall, in Ironmonger Lane in the City.

I have now gone way off track from my walk as is always the case when you start researching. It’s fascinating but not what I need for this particular walk. I would still like to find out more about Sunnyside House though so back to the drawing board.

Continuing with my wander yesterday I was then amazed to discover a road I never knew existed. Only yards from Chingford Green and the main St Peter & St Paul’s Church there is a road parallel with the path which I knew about but had never walked down – The Green Walk. However today on my walk exploration where I normally walk up and down roads several times to see what would work I discovered a tiny road off this road – Queen’s Walk.

Queen’s Walk, Chingford E4

It is practically a path not a road – it doesn’t lead anywhere – and at the end is a property with a large farm gate across it. It is almost rural. I am guessing that it is named after Queen Victoria who visited Chingford on 6th May 1882 when she gave Epping Forest to the people of London. Incidentally there is currently a temporary exhibition (until 30th June) about Queen Victoria’s visit at the fantastic new visitor centre, The View, next to Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge. I may go tomorrow.

In the course of my research I did also (thankfully) manage to find some information on the right subject – namely a couple of cafes that had once existed in the days when hundreds of daytrippers descended on the Forest every weekend.

If anyone has any information about either “Sunnyside” or Queen’s Walk I would be grateful to hear from you – food related or not!

My Chingford walk for Appetite takes place on Sunday 9th June (2pm-4pm) to coincide with the monthly farmer’s market and the Appetite Food Trail so obviously will include a couple of tastings along the way. More details soon. My Walthamstow walk takes place on Saturday 1st June at the same time.

The author of this blog (Joanna Moncrieff) is a qualified City of Westminster Tour Guide who specialises in food and drink themed walks in the West End. 
Details of all her walks are listed here.
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