Lights are not just for Christmas, art in Walthamstow

In 2019 Walthamstow was declared London Borough of Culture. It’s easy to spend a day sightseeing. Walthamstow has great bric-a-brac shops, museums like Vestry House, a long street market but for a day-trip my top tips would be…..

Gods Own Junkyard, a riot of neon lights. Chris Bracey and his family have been making neon lights to order for 30 years. They work with film studios and fashion houses and rescue discarded neon signs. Your first reaction is WOW. It’s a bit of magic, irreverential, pure rock and roll.  There is a craft brewery and café in the yard. It is approximately half-way between Walthamstow Central and Wood Street. Open Fridays to Sundays. http://godsownjunkyard.co.uk

For different interior décor visit the William Morris Gallery. I talked about his childhood home in last week’s blog. This was his home during his adolescence and it is still standing. It is now a gallery with a huge collection of his work and an exhibition on his life. My favourite room is the reconstruction of his shop in Oxford Street because of the rich colours and the lustre of the pottery and the lighting. Morris packed an enormous amount into his life. He was an artist, designer, writer, he translated Icelandic sagas. He drew cartoons of himself for his children, was known as Topsy by his friends, I love him just for that but there’s more. He was a committed socialist, a friend of Eleanor Marx and George Bernard Shaw. He co-founded the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings with his friend, Philip Webb and some of the rooms up-stairs discuss this part of his life. Café on site with light snacks and a great shop for Morris fans because some of its wares are not available elsewhere. The gallery is in Lloyd Park where there is room to stroll and for children to play. Open Tuesday to Sunday. https://wmgallery.org.uk

Walthamstow is a great for street art. Near the William Morris Gallery is the Bell Pub where you can see work by Shok-1 who specialises in x-ray style images and a tile image by the French artist, Invader. Nearby are works by Dale Grimshaw and Mr Penfold. You can download a map from www.woodstreetwalls.co.uk. or just take a walk and be surprised.

Maybe a good plan for the day is head to Wood Street after the William Morris Gallery and drop in at Gods Own Junkyard on the way. Due to Covid 19 you need to book ahead but entrances are free. The Victoria line from central London will get you there fast and there is a link on London Overground between Walthamstow Central and Wood Street if you don’t want to walk back to the tube station.

About the author: Gail Jones