St Mary’s Church, Walthamstow.

Sunday 07 June 2015 – Walthamstow.

Like the Parkland Walk from yesterday, an exploration of Walthamstow’s St Mary’s Church has been on my to-do list for over a year, and since becoming a worker I have just not had the time or the inclination to explore it, even though it is only a ten minute walk from home…

St Mary’s has had a longer history than I first thought with the first church being built on the site in the 12 century, though not much of the original building remains perhaps just the footers at the end of the internal columns right at the front of the church. Reconstruction, modification and expansion of the church regularly took place over the next 400 hundred years with further work in the 19th century.

This was slightly wasted as the church was extensively damaged during the second world war and all the railings around the church yard were removed for the war effort – to be replaced in the 1950s.

It was a fairly last minute decision to walk up and take some photos, we had been having some quite nice weather and the grass around the gravestones was long and moody and I knew that if I left it until my trip to New Zealand this week, it would all be mowed flat when I returned.

I have not used my big old DSLR for ages, but once I started using it again I realised how much of a mistake that was. I love that camera.

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E17 Art trail

The annual E17 art trail has been going since 2005 and has been growing each year with this the tenth anniversary being the biggest yet. This year it ran over three weeks from the beginning of June with over one hundred and sixty locations showing art, holding performances or learning experiences. All by local artists, fabulous !

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For those who do not know what E17 is, it is the postcode for an area in north east London, around the suburb of Walthamstow, where I mostly live – and one the many good reasons to live in the area!

I was not able to, nor to be fair, interested in going to every event that was included in the program, but El and I did manage to squeeze a fair few of them in and I took a few photos as we went. June was a bit of a mad busy month for some reason – SUMMER I guess, so here is a quick summary of the things I liked best.

There was a huge range of exhibits from the large mural by Stu Lee on the side of a house down by Blackhorse Rd tube station – which was my favourite single piece from the trail, I guess with my love of street art, there are few surprises there.

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To the small knitted figures from the Howard Rd garden.

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Unsurprisingly my focus was primarily on looking for photographic based exhibitions and the two I enjoyed the most had photography as the key visual element, though the stories behind the photos were the more important aspect. I didn’t get photos from the first.

The Ex-Warner Project is a photographic and oral history project recording the stories and histories of the people who live in the old Warner houses near Lloyd Park. The Warner houses were built at the end of the 19th century and into the early 20th century as social housing, they are quite distinctive small terraced houses, which are now mainly privately owned. I really enjoyed listening to the stories and looking at the images. An interesting project.

The second project I liked was on display at a newly opened coffee shop Bygga Bo, which just happens to be at the end of El’s road and serves great coffee and really nice cinnamon buns… This project had stories and photos of people who are of mixed-race, sharing their experiences of growing up. Again it was really interesting to read about people’s experiences in this, very multi-cultural piece, of London.

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In the grave yard of St Marys Parish Church was a cool little exhibition from Whitefields school of small sculptures made from found items, I really liked it.

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There was also an exhibition inside the church. I am going to visit the church properly soon as it has an interesting history!

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There was a load of stuff happening in Walthamstow Village including Breaking Bard, a collection of sayings from Bill Shakespeare posted in the windows of houses in a few of the streets. It was quite amusing.

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And in the streets of the newly named “Poets Corner” – so named as the surrounding streets are named after poets, were a collection of verse.

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What I liked about these, and the whole art trail in general was that it gave all residents an opportunity to participate and share in the event.

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There was some interesting work in the Winns Gallery from Waltham Forest College, including this interesting sculpture from student – Simona Pesce.

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Even the underground station was in on the project with a couple of walls holding some quite interesting prints.

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There are a few small galleries in Walthamstow and we visited a few of them, including the Pictorem Gallery way up by the Bakers Arms, which had a show by a range of artists. El even bought a small piece!

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I am not sure if this was part of the trail or not, but it was on the way , and it looks like it has been left for a reason – maybe it is art ?

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Separate, but sort of part of the art trail, is a new project called the free library project that now includes Walthamstow. There are a number of small library boxes around where people can exchange, take or leave books. A very cool idea – one that should be taken up everywhere ! This box has been painted by street artist Hannah Adamsezek – who I last found here, a slightly different environment !

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I missed a whole load of things out due time and missed a bunch of photo ops as I didn’t always have a camera.

It was a truly awesome event, and I am looking forward to 2015 – I may even join in as well !!

Gods Own Junkyard

Saturday 31 May 2014 – God’s Own Junkyard – Walthamstow.

God’s own junkyard has been a feature of Walthamstow for many, years and amongst other things is a place to store the neon signs collected by its owner. Last year the site it was on was sold so the ever pervasive building of flats could spread there. At the time it seemed to be the end of God’s own Junkyard and there was a bit of a local hue and cry about it – it even made the national papers, so maybe it was bigger than local. Luckily a new place was found and God’s Own Junkyard can now be found inside at the small industrial estate on Shernhall St, and still in Walthamstow.

Chris Bracey who owns it has been in the neon-sign business for many many years, originally working with his father who also made neon signs. The “Junkyard” is a massive collection of signs made by and collected by Chris, his work has been seen in loads of major motion pictures and videos. It is also frequently used as a location for photos shoots and videos. Some of the work is for sale, though I suspect a lot of them are just too good to let go.

It is great place to visit, for a look around – and from this weekend (hopefully) there will be a cafe opening for coffee and food. I really enjoy visiting there. The photos will give you some idea of what the place looks like.

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There is a small garden out the back, where coffee can be drunk and food eaten. It is almost as quirky as the inside and I really liked the subliminal message here…

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 One of the other great things about an afternoon visit to God’s own junkyard – is the factory over the way – a new East London brewery – The Wild Card Brewery. It was too early in the day to be open when I was there, but I have been for a visit and a taste before and the beer is brilliant.

For a good afternoon out, check out Shernhall St Industrial estate….

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