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Definition: things that are strange; queer; odd; uncommon; unusual; distinctive in nature or character from others; characteristic of; belonging exclusively to an area. Architectural historian, Karen Averby seeks out such things from this corner of London’s rich and varied past

Fancy a little ghost hunting? New Year is traditionally a time of looking forward, but for many it is also a time of reflection and resolution. As we enter 2018 our borough is undergoing transformations in every area of society which will affect us all in some way. Such changes do not happen in isolation, and good or bad, they are part of the area’s past and continuing development. The borough’s rich and diverse heritage is a strong element within this, as looking at the past and its legacies in the present help to foster an understanding of people and places over time. The area’s history and heritage is all around us, encountered every day. It is the family who lived in your house during the 1970s, who chose that interesting wallpaper and marked their children’s heights on the bathroom doorway, the newlyweds who were the first occupants of your flat back in 1902, the elderly brothers who moved in next door last year. It is the old shop sign, the department store converted into flats, the once quiet trackways, now busy roads. It is the places of worship, schools, factories, parks and open spaces, and the people associated with them. Each person, building and place, has a story, and collectively these tell the story of the communities which form what is now Waltham Forest. There are many ways to find out more about these stories:

Read and Research! – Local libraries: local history books walthamforest. gov.uk/servicecategories/ waltham-forestlibraries – Waltham Forest Archives in Vestry House Museum: a huge and diverse range of local history books (including architecture, sport, former residents- from George Monoux to David Beckham). There is a wealth of unique sources (historic maps, photographs, newspapers, 26

street directories, rate books, and fascinating ephemera), invaluable for researching the history of your local area, street, house, businesses, family, much of which cannot be found online. walthamforest.gov.uk/content/walthamforest-archives-and-local-studies-library – Vestry House Museum: some photographs are now online boroughphotos.org/ walthamforest but many more can be viewed by appointment.

Join and participate! The borough’s historical societies have varied events programmes, usually walks and talks, and there are several independent groups and individuals. – Chingford Historical Society: chingfordhistory.org.uk/4436.html – Leyton and Leytonsone Historical Society: leytonhistorysociety.org.uk – Walthamstow Historical Society: walthamstowhistoricalsociety.org.uk – Waltham Forest Oral History Workshop: wforalhistory.org.uk/ – Westminster Walks: Historical walks in the borough by Chingford resident Joanna Moncrieff westminsterwalks.london/walks – Waltham Forest, Antigua & Barbuda and Dominica Twinning Association: ‘promotes the preservation, learning and sharing of culture and heritage’ wftwinningassociation.org

Browse online! There are several fascinating websites concerned with aspects of local history (some can also be followed on Facebook and Twitter) – Queens Road Stories: ‘A patch of Walthamstow through time’ queensroadstories.org – Walthamstow Memories: ‘Memories of those who were born, arrived, lived, worked or died in Walthamstow’ walthamstowmemories.net/home.html

Waltham Forest, Antigua & Barbuda and Dominica Twinning Association

– Ex-Warner Project: ‘Social history of the Warner Estate’ exwarnerproject.co.uk

Visit! – Vestry House Museum: walthamforest.gov. uk/service-categories/vestry-house-museum – William Morris Gallery: wmgallery.org.uk – Pumphouse Musem: e17pumphouse.org.uk – Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge: cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/greenspaces/epping-forest/visitor-information/ Pages/queen-elizabeths-hunting-lodge.aspx – Churchyards and cemeteries. Perhaps not the most obvious of places, but different styles of headstone and tombs (some are listed), and names and dates provide a fascinating glimpse of social history. – Pubs, shops, eateries, residences, places of worship: Every one has a history, even newer buildings. Look at architectural details: windows, blocked-up windows, doorways, fireplaces, decorative stonework. www.archangelheritage.co.uk

House Histories Have you ever wondered who used to live in your house, or how it has changed over time?

Packages telling the story of your house available to suit all budgets. For a FREE consultation email Karen Averby info@archangelheritage.co.uk www.archangelheritage.co.uk/house-histories

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