London Walking Tours    with Joanna Moncrieff

Walthamstow Matters from 1962/63

I have recently become rather obsessed with old guide books and in fact have a backlog of ideas for posts taking excerpts from such books as they contain so much of interest.

My latest purchase was last night at Chingford Historical Society’s monthly meeting.  My purchase was the Summer 1962 and Summer 1963 editions of ‘Walthamstow MattersA review of local affairs past and present’.

Walthamstow Matters 1962 and 1963

These were issued by Walthamstow Borough Council a couple of years before the creation of the London Borough of Waltham Forest in 1965.

Today a booklet like this would probably be overlooked but these two publications have a wealth of interesting information of what life was like in Walthamstow in the early 1960s.

There was an amazing amount of entertainment being provided by the Council as can be seen on the programme below from the 1962 booklet. There is similar going on in 1963. Modern dancing every Saturday, weekly ‘Funtime’ for children, leading bands and artistes playing every Sunday and variety entertainment every Saturday night too at both the Assembly Hall and the now long gone Lloyd Park Pavilion.

Entertainment in Walthamstow 1962

On the opposite page is an advert inviting people to lend their money to the council with a minimum investment of £100 at an interest rate of 6.5%.

Scrolling through the section entitled ‘You and Your Rates” I found this gem:

“When you consider that for a house with a rateable value of £26 you will pay less than 14s per week – the price of four packets of 20 cigarettes (and without any cancer content) – the value received seems pretty good.”

The same issues then as now:

“The Council have considered the implications of installing parking meters but have decided against erecting them. The problem of car parking for shopping and commercial purposes and outside private houses is no nearer solution.

About the proposed Victoria Line:

“The Victoria Line which will complete the development at the corner of Hoe Street and High Street is still in a state of ‘suspended inanimation’ and has now become enmeshed in railway reorganisation generally under the guidance of Dr Beeching. The London Transport Executive have decided, however, that because of technical difficulties which have become more apparent since the electrification of the Liverpool Street to Chingford Line, the Victoria Line should terminate underneath, and be linked with, Hoe Street Station and not at Wood Street Station. There will be a saving of £1,000,000 in the capital cost. The Council have accepted the position for the time being but are seeking an interview with the Minister of Transport to find out his intentions about constructing the Victoria Line and to make sure he does not lop off any more of the line.”

And on traffic jams:

“The Ministry of Transport’s answer to the traffic problems at the Crooked Billet is – traffic lights are no solution, there must be a large ground level roundabout, and a flyover above – all very expensive. The roundabout will come first …”

Thankfully the flyover never arrived.

I am sure I have read something recently about alternatives to the borough’s name of Waltham Forest and the 1963 publication has a list of some of the contenders. I rather like Waltham on (or by) the Lea but am so pleased they didn’t choose Walchingley. 

Potential names for what became the LBWF

Lastly within these two booklets is lots of very interesting local history information which I will be reading avidly. The detail is thorough which is just what I want. No doubt some of this content will end up in one of my local walks!

Join me on my best selling Walthamstow walk ‘From Monoux and Morris to Beer and Bacon Jam’  tomorrow, 19th January 2019, with the next one after that on Sunday 10th February. Find out more here 

The author of this blog (Joanna Moncrieff) is a qualified tour guide and leads walks in the West End, Islington, Walthamstow and Chingford. 
Details of all Joanna’s walks bookable by groups can be found here