E11: All a bit of a Blur

E11 is Leytonstone. This is a distinct and separate place from Leyton which is E10. Today most people see Leytonstone (if they see it at all) as a bit of a blur as they go along the new A12 road.

We start our walk at the Post Office at 21 Church Lane, Leytonstone, E11 1HG. Turn right out of the Post Office and walk towards the High Road. Our first stop is on the left.

Stop 1: St John the Baptist church

This church dates from 1832 and is by Edward Blore. It replaced a chapel of ease and was an indication of how Leytonstone was growing even before the arrival of the railway in the 1850s.

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It was partly financed by William Cotton of Wallwood House, which used to be one of the big houses locally. And if you go into the churchyard almost the first thing you see is the family plot of the Cottons.

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The church authorities have put up a number of little plaques, some of which give historical information; others about the plants and wildlife.

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If you keep walking round on the far side of the churchyard you will find the family plot of another prominent local family, the Buxtons, which includes Thomas Fowell Buxton social reformer and anti-slavery campaigner, whose blue plaque we saw in E1, by the Truman brewery.

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The Churchyard lost many graves in a Second World War bombing raid and one information board describes the war damage and casualties in Leytonstone.

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Now go out of the churchyard, turning left into Church Lane and then left into the High Road. Our next stop is immediately to the left.

Stop 2: Site of Bearman’s Department Store

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Today there is a Matalan store but once this was an independent local department store called Bearman’s, as noted on the Waltham Forest blue plaque.

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This is another example of how once thriving suburban centres are now shadows of their former selves.

The store had been started in 1898 by Frank Bearman, a 27-year-old draper.  By 1906 the store had expanded into a nearby furniture shop, and in 1910 opened an arcade. It was known as “The store with the personal touch”.

Frank Bearman had died in 1956, and in 1962 the business was sold to the London Co-operative Society. The Co-operative closed the store in 1982, hardly surprising because at the time the High Road was the main road out of London to get to East Anglia, so not an attractive place to shop..

The building was demolished and replaced by this rather dull modern store.

Here is a link to a local newspaper story about Bearman’s: http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/localhistory/10112446.Bearman_s_department_store_remembered/?action=complain&cid=11070983

Just here was also the site of a cinema, originally called the Rink but later the Granada. As the name suggests it started life as a roller skating rink. But after a couple of years it was converted to a cinema in 1911.

According to the wonderful Cinema Treasures site, it had two entrances, one on the High Road which was adjacent to Bearman’s Department Store that was reached by a long arcade, with an entrance at the rear on Kirkdale Road. It was rebuilt and reopened in 1927 as the Rialto. Although run for most of its time by Granada, it only got renamed in 1967.

The Granada closed in 1972 and was soon demolished. The site was used as a car park for Bearman’s Department Store which was later built over.

Now keep walking along the High Road. Our next stop is on the other side of the road

Stop 3: Numbers 694a – 698a High Road

Just behind the Natwest Bank, off Aylmer Road, is an odd survival of an older Leytonstone.

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This late 18th century terrace was built for wealthy merchants and businessmen. Their extensive grounds were largely developed in the 19th and early 20th century. But interestingly the original houses were far enough back from the main road for a whole row of new buildings to be inserted in between. Number 694a once the home of Benjamin Cotton, whose family plot we saw in the churchyard.

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Return to the High Road and keep going. Just a little way along the High Road, at the junction with Grove Road is a curious art work called “Leaf Memory” by Stephen Duncan dating from 2001.

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I do not know much more about this except to say this use of leaf is a signature feature of this sculptor. When I first saw this I thought it was a depiction of a Green Man which would be fitting here, as just up the way is (or rather was) the Green Man pub – which gave it name to a road junction and subsequently the intersection on the A12. The pub is now a branch of the Irish pub chain, O’Neill’s.

Retrace your steps along High Road and back along Church Lane. Our next stop is right ahead.

Stop 4: Leytonstone station

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The original station was opened by the Eastern Counties Railway in August 1856 on the same branch line to Loughton as Leyton. Just before the Second World War, work had begun to incorporate this line into the Central Line.

As part of the works, the station here was reconstructed as a junction with a new branch heading off towards Newbury Park, mostly in tunnel under the Eastern Avenue. The level crossing at Church Lane was replaced by an underbridge.

Work stopped in May 1940 due to wartime priorities; further delays were caused by the station buildings being hit by a German bomb in January 1944.

The station was first served by the Central Line on 5 May 1947. Initially it was a temporary terminus of the line from central London, with passengers changing on to a steam shuttle onwards to Epping. With the opening of Underground services on the new branch towards Newbury Park in December 1947, it became a through station again.

This station lacks the presence of the stations that had been built in the 1920s and 1930s, an indication I guess of post war economies. But it does have nice tiled walls in the subway entrance and an interesting survival of a couple of old advertisements one of which is for Bearman’s store.

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It also has a sequence of mosaic murals to commemorate local boy made good, film director, Alfred Hitchcock.

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They were commissioned the London Borough of Waltham Forest apparently to honour the centenary of the birth of Alfred Hitchcock on 13 August 1899 in Leytonstone. Work was started in June 2000. The mosaics were unveiled 3 May 2001, so they were a bit late!.

This is my favourite one – Psycho

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And just by the entrance to the station ticket hall is this one of Hitchcock directing.

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At this point it is perhaps worth a quick peek at the station platforms.

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Like the entrance buildings these are less than inspiring – not a patch on what London Transport had been building before the war.

Go under the railway. On the other side there is a bus turn round.

Here you will find another artwork. This is called Time Terminus by Lodewykin Pretor. It is made of brick and features various forms of transport.

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What is not immediately apparent is that you are actually standing above the A12 road here. We saw this newish road in E10 also. This was a really controversial road scheme in the late 1990s. However I do think this was a necessary evil. The alternative is that all traffic for East Anglia would be trundling along Leytonstone High Road.

And the fact it runs for a long way along side the Central Line and is below the local ground level for much of the way makes it a lot less obtrusive that say Westway. But you do hear the traffic noise.

As a nod to what was here before, the artist apparently inserted a kitchen sink and a roll of wallpaper into his piece. They were taken from the site of one of the houses demolished in order to make way for the new road.

There is nice planting and some bollards which spell out the name Leytonstone, just here.

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Cross over the road. Ahead, you will see Fairlop Road. Go down that. Our next stop is on the right just before Wallwood Road.

Stop 5: Site of Apthorp, Fairlop Road

Today there is a block of flats called Fairwood Court but once this was the site of a house called Apthorp.

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This was the birthplace and childhood home of Phyllis Nan Sortain Pechey (1909 – 1994), better known as Fanny Cradock.

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Note the mis-spelling of her name.

She was a restaurant critic, television cook and writer who mostly worked with her partner Johnnie Cradock. She was married four times but she was unable to marry Johnnie as her husband at the time refused a divorce as he was a catholic. So she changed her name to Cradock, but eventually she was able to marry Johnnie in 1977.

Fanny Cradock became a household name in the post-war years, trying to inspire the average housewife with an exotic approach to cooking, even if it did involve dying food with green colouring or having purple piping as a decoration. She is said to have popularised pizza in England and is also credited as the originator of the Prawn Cocktail.

She and Johnny worked together on a touring cookery show, sponsored by the Gas Council, to show how gas could be used easily in the kitchen. This show transferred to television, where she enjoyed 20 years of success.

Her television career came to a sad end in 1976 on a show called The Big Time where her put downs of a contestant caused great offence. The BBC terminated her contract and she never presented a cookery programme for them again.

Continue along Fairlop Road. At the end do a right into Hainault Road then a left into Essex Road South. Our next stop is soon on the right.

Stop 6: Number 2 Essex Road South

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This was the birthplace of actor and director Sir Derek Jacobi (1938 – ). The Notable Abodes site says he spent his entire childhood here only leaving when he went to Cambridge University in 1956. He attended Leyton County School for Boys. Maybe one day this will get a plaque of some kind.

Retrace your steps to Hainault Road and do a right.

Stop 7: Meridian Marks

If you look outside number 84 Hainault Road, you will see this – a ghost of a marker, which indicates the location of the Greenwich meridian.

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This is one of over 60 similar marks which were placed along the length of the borough of Waltham Forest as part of the millennium celebrations. They were in the form of compass roses which were on preformed thermoplastic sheets.

They were originally intended to remain in place for the millennium year only, but were never formally removed. Their current condition varies considerably from mark to mark. Indeed there is supposed to be one in the next street Bulwer Road, outside number 5. But that seems to have gone.

But if you carry on down Hainault Road and turn into Cavendish Drive, you will find one in better condition outside number 111.

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There is a website where you can check out the locations (or in some cases former locations) of these markers.

http://www.thegreenwichmeridian.org/tgm/location.php?i_latitude=51.568300&i_type=|%20Pavement%20(compass%20rose)%20|

Continue along Cavendish Drive. At the end turn left into Grove Green Road, then left into Drayton Road and then right into Fillebrook Road.

Stop 8: Number 21 Fillebrook Road

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This was the childhood home of Damon Albarn (1968 – ) a musician and singer-songwriter who is frontman of the Britpop band Blur as well as co-founder of the virtual band Gorillaz. He lived here until 1977. It is marked by a Waltham Forest blue plaque.

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Continue to the end of Fillebrook Road. At the end turn right and continue until the pedestrian crossing.

Stop 9: Bridge over the A12

The A12 is well hidden here behind a brick wall but you can hear it.

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You will see a path and cycleway across the road which leads you to a bridge over the road and also the Central line. Go down here.

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From this bridge you can see Canary Wharf towards the left.

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And if you look to the right you can see the City. The view is not straight on but to the right of the road which somehow seems wrong. I guess the road is heading more south than west here.

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Go down the steps at the end of the footbridge. Turn left and then go right along Vernon Road. At the end of Vernon Road you will find yourself at the High Road. turn right here. You will see the railway bridge going over the road. Go under that and take the first turning on the right.

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Stop 10: Leytonstone High Road Station

Leytonstone High Road station is on the modern day Gospel Oak to Barking Line, between Leyton Midland Road and Wanstead Park. Like the other stations on this line it has lost its old buildings and has little more than a metal shelters on the platforms.

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Although the railway crosses over the London Underground’s Central line almost immediately north west of the station, there is no direct interchange – Leytonstone tube station is about a 10-minute walk away. But this is another of those “out of station” interchanges recognised by the Oyster system so you are charged for a single journey even though you leave one station, walk down the street and go in another. I somehow doubt many people would make this particular change.

I should have mentioned the odd history of this line when we were in E10. The station opened on 9 July 1894 as part of the Tottenham & Forest Gate Railway and was built as joint venture between the Midland Railway and the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway.

The line was authorised at the request of Sir Courtenay Warner (1857 – 1934) who was an MP and a property developer who owned land in Walthamstow. He later became the first mayor of the Municipal Borough of Walthamstow after its incorporation in 1929.

The route crossed many existing roads and already developed areas, so the line was built on top of a long brick viaduct. Many houses were demolished to make way for it and there was considerable local opposition to the railway.

But of course the usefulness of this line was somewhat limited by the fact it was an orbital route rather than a line that went into central London. It proved more useful for freight than passengers.

Until recently it also had rickety old diesel trains that only ran every half hour. However TfL has transformed the line with new trains and increased frequency to a train every 15 minutes. And now there is more investment in the form of a long overdue electrification which is why there is a temporary closure.

Retrace your steps to the High Road and turn right. Our next stop is a little way along the High Road on the right.

 Stop 11: Former State cinema 615 High Road

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Surviving as a banqueting hall, this was a cinema which started out life in June 1910 as the Premier Electric Theatre.

Noted cinema architect George Coles was employed to reconstruct in the modern Art Deco style, and it re-opened in December 1938. At some point it was renamed the State.

The State Cinema closed in July 1961 and it was converted to a bingo club. In 1979 it became a snooker club which lasted until early 2006. It was unused for time but found a new use in 2008 as a banqueting hall, now known as Imperial Venue.

Continue walking along the High Road.

Stop 12: Site of Number 517 High Road, Leytonstone

Number 517 High Road was the birthplace of film director Alfred Hitchcock (1899 – 1980). The house no longer stands but his connection to here is remembered in this Waltham Forest heritage plaque.

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But just before at the corner of Lynn Road is this rather wonderful decoration on Numbers 527 – 529 High Road – a nod to his 1963 film “The Birds”.

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We saw his “proper” blue plaque when we were in Cromwell Road SW5 where he lived from 1926 to 1939. And of course there are the mosaics at the tube station here in E11.

Well that brings us to the end of our E11 walk. It is a place that perhaps is somewhat better for having the long distance road traffic taken off its High Road. And we found some interesting connections from film director Alfred Hitchcock to pop star Damian Albarn via actor Derek Jacobi and cookery writer and broadcaster Fanny Cradock. Plus the site of an old Department store and a couple of old cinemas.

For onward travel you can get a bus along the High Road back to Leytonstone or on to Stratford.

But as a postscript I should just mention we are round the corner from the childhood home for footballer David Beckham (1975 – ). According to the Notable Abodes site, this was Number 155 Norman Road, E11. If you go back along the High Road and turn left down Southwell Court Road. Go to the end and turn right into Mayville Road and right into Norman Road.

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David Beckham has retired from playing professional football but he has played for Manchester United, Preston North End, Real Madrid, A.C. Milan and Los Angeles Galaxy, as well as the England national team. He is of course married to former Spice Girl Victoria.

So that really does bring us to the end of E11. If you do not want to retrace your steps to the High Road, you can take a little footpath which is just along Norman Road. This takes you over the Central Line and the A12 and gets you to Grove Green Road where you can pick up local buses.

 

 

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E10: Not Eton

E10 is Leyton.

It seems Leyton was mentioned in the 1086 Doomsday Book. According to a sign I came across near the station, “In the Doomsday Book Leyton is entered as Leintun at which time the population was numbered at 43.” What an odd turn of phrase to use.

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Anyhow, we start out walk at Leyton Post Office which is at 244 High Road, Leyton. Turn left out of the shop and walk along the High Road. Soon on the right you will see some warehouse style out-of-town shops and then there is a bridge. This crosses the near motorway now called A12. Built as the Hackney – M11 link, originally it was going to be the southern end of the M11 (which is why the M11 starts at Junction 4!)

You can see the city skyline from here. Plus you can just see the distinctive roofline of the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park

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Our first stop is just on the left after we have crossed the bridge over the road.

Stop 1: Leyton Underground station

Although the Underground only arrived here in the late 1940s, there has been a station here since 1856.

It was opened by the Eastern Counties Railway. Originally called “Low Leyton”, it was an intermediate station on a branch line that ran to Loughton. It was renamed Leyton in 1868 by which time it was operated by the Great Eastern Railway. The station was rebuilt in 1879 when the original level crossing replaced by a bridge.

If you walk a little over the bridge and look back, you will see a road way at the level of the railway.

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There was apparently a ticket hall on the northern side which was added in 1901 but removed when the M11 link road was built in the 1990s. You can see how the buildings have been altered if you look from the bridge.

Stand to the left of the station building on the bridge and you can see the backs of the buildings on the eastbound platform or in some places the lack of buildings

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The line became the eastern end of the Central line in May 1947.

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It is worth popping down to see the platforms, which were designed with full size trains in mind but are now served by the smaller tube trains.

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But look at the eastbound platform near the stairs and you will see windows to a building that is no longer there, the back of which we saw earlier.

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And if you look along the platforms under the bridge you get a view of the link road and the Aquatic Centre.

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Return to the street, turn right out of the station and head back towards where you came from.

Our next stop is ahead on the left on the corner of Ruckholt Road.

Stop 2: Leyton Library and former Town Hall

Here we have a pair of civic building which are much larger and grander than the rest of the High Road here. First comes the Library.

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This was built in 1883 as offices of the Leyton Local Board, established in 1873 it was a forerunner of the Borough Council. The area became an Urban District Council on 1894.

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And it was during this time it became clear this building was too small, so they built a rather grander Town Hall next door which was completed in 1896.

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Architectural bible, Pevsner describes this as “Fussy but enjoyable, in an eclectic and enriched Italianate style.”

The Urban District Council  became a Municipal Borough in 1926 and lost its independence in 1965 when the area became part of London Borough of Waltham Forest.

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Continue walking along the High Road and soon on the left you will see our next stop.

Stop 3: Coronation Gardens

This was laid out in 1902, and was named in commemoration of the coronation of King Edward VII.

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The first thing you see from the road is a triple decker fountain. This looks old but in fact only dates back to 2000 – though it is a replica of one that was here in the 1920s.

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Not looking too good either with the weed dangling off it.

Just nearby there is a sign as a reminder of the old borough.

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It looks old but may be isn’t. By the way the motto of the old borough council was “Ministandi Dignitas” which translates ad “Dignity in Service”

Leyton Council clearly had ambition as it also had its own trams. This started in June 1905 when the then Urban District Council took over ownership of the Lea Bridge, Leyton and Walthamstow Tramways Company lines which were within the council’s area. Then in June the following year they took over the North Metropolitan Tramways services within the boundary of the council.

In June 1921 an arrangement was reached with the London County Council that they would work and manage the urban district council’s trams. But Leyton Council retained responsibility for overhead equipment and the trams continued to be branded Leyton.  I guess this was because Leyton was at the time in Essex and so outside the boundary of the County of London.

When Leyton became a borough in 1926, the undertaking was renamed Leyton Corporation Tramways and the borough’s coat of arms was applied to the tramcars. This lasted until 1933 when London Transport was formed and took over all the tramways in what we now think of as Greater London.

Walk into the gardens and ahead you will see a real old item – a bandstand which although renovated dates from the early years of the gardens.

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Now take the exit to the right of the bandstand as you approached it. This leads you opposite Brisbane Road. Our next stop is ahead on the left, a football ground tucked away in a suburban back street.

Stop 4: Leyton Orient Football Ground

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Note the sticker on the street name plate!

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The ground itself cannot be seen from the street and in fact the whole thing looks like an ugly industrial shed.

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The team play in League Two, the fourth tier of the English football league system, and are known to their fans as the O’s. Even though they are not in the top flight, this must get pretty busy on match days. It seems kind of crazy to have a football ground like this in a residential area.

Now here’s a funny thing. Julian Lloyd Webber, the rather less famous brother of composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber, is a fan of Leyton Orient. In the late 1970s, the two brothers had a bet on a Leyton Orient match. Andrew lost and so was forced to write a cello work for his brother. Andrew chose the theme of Paganini’s 24th caprice and added 23 variations for cello and rock band. This became the album, Variations. And the introduction is the tune that was used to open the television arts programme, the South Bank Show.

Continue down Brisbane Road, turn right into Windsor Road and left into the High Road. Our next stop is opposite the junction of Grange Park Road

Stop 5: Former Co-Op shop

Right at this corner, is an old stop dating from 1909.

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Look up and you can see the date and also a relief of a beehive.

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The use of the beehive has a long history in the Co-operative Movement. The symbolism of the Beehive is that one bee cannot survive alone, but a hive full of them (and co-operating) thrives. And of course the beehive is often seen as a symbol of industriousness.

Lower down, there are two panels to show this was a branch of the Stratford Co-Operative and Industrial Society.

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This was formed in 1862 and so was well established by the time this shop was built.

The Stratford Society merged with the Edmonton Co-operative Society in 1920 to form the London Co-Operative Society which went on to be the dominant Co-Operative Society in London north of the river.

Although there seems to be a large number of Co-Op food stores still around today, the Co-Op used to be much more important in terms of other retailing. There even used to be department stores but none of these are left.

Now head down Grange Park Road and at the cross roads turn left. Our next stop is just a little way along on the left.

Stop 6: Number 28 Church Road

According to the Notable Abodes site, the writer and broadcaster Frank Muir (1920 – 1998) lived at Number 28 as a child.

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Although he was born and spent his early years in Ramsgate Kent, he lived in Leyton as a child and went to Leyton County High School for Boys.

Despite that, he did always sound a bit posh and when he became a broadcaster, people used to assume that he had been to a public school. Muir had a great response to this. He would say: “I was educated in E10, not Eton”.

That was very much his style as a comedy writer, radio and television personality, and raconteur. He had a writing and performing partnership with Denis Norden which last most of their careers. He was also well known on television as a team captain on the long-running BBC2 series Call My Bluff. And his distinctive tones were heard in voice-overs for advertisements.

Retrace your steps and keep going along Church Road until you reach the High Road, where you will turn left. Keep walking along the High Road. Our next stop is on the left, starting at the corner of Crawley Road.

Stop 7: Leyton Sports Ground

Today Leyton Sport Ground is used by local schools and community groups.

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But it was once the home of Essex County Cricket Club. The club purchased Leyton Cricket Ground in 1886 and it became their headquarters. In 1921, the ground was sold relieving the club of a £10,000 mortgage  But the headquarters remained until the expiry of their lease in 1933. They returned to play matches in 1957 and continued to play here until 1977. The rather lovely pavilion is Grade II listed.

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Stop 8: site of “The Great House” (544/546 High Road)

Now about halfway along the side of the Sports Ground on the other side of the High Road, I spotted a little plaque on a terrace of houses.

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Look closely and what it says it a bit unexpected.

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It says:

“The site of The Great House erected by Sir Fisher Tench Bart.circa 1700. Thomas Oliver lived there 1758 – 1803. Erected by L.U.D.R.A 1909”

My research tells me that Fisher Tench was a City of London financier and also a Member of Parliament. His father Nathaniel passed property at Leyton to Fisher and his wife Elizabeth in 1697. He inherited the rest of his father’s estate in 1710, and probably soon after began to build the Great House at Leyton. According to Wikipedia (which cites “A History of the County of Essex: Volume 6 (1973)” as its source) ,

“It was a large mansion of two storeys, basement, and attics, built in the ‘Wren’ style of the period. The walls were of dark red brick with dressings of lighter brickwork and stone. The entrance front faced the high road and consisted of a central block flanked by lower and slightly recessed side wings. The main block had full-height Corinthian pilasters and a central pediment, while the wings had rusticated stone quoins. The whole façade, of thirteen bays, was surmounted by a modillion cornice, a panelled parapet, and hipped roofs with dormer-windows; six large stone vases broke the line of the parapet. The garden front was of similar size and character. The cupola from the house (demolished in 1905) is now on the tower of St. Mary’s church.”

The House had passed out of the Tench family and on to the Olivers in the mid 18th century. But why mention Thomas Oliver. Well there is a whole lot more information about the Great House in “The Survey of London Monograph 4, the Great House, Leyton. Originally published by Guild & School of Handicraft, London, 1903.” which I found on British History Online: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/bk4/pp11-22

Thomas Oliver seems to have been a part the campaign to get the proceedings of Parliament published, if one follows the rather convoluted story from the Survey of London Monograph. I have not been able to establish who or what was L. U. D. R. A.

So here is a little reminder of Leyton before it was built over by terraces of working class housing.

Continue walking along the High Road. Ahead you will see a bridge over the road, which is by our next stop

Stop 9: Leyton Midland Road station

This station opened on 9 July 1894 as part of the Tottenham & Forest Gate Railway and was originally just called Leyton.

Fascinating fact (according to Wikipedia). On 17 August 1915, three explosive bombs from the German Zeppelin L.10 landed on or near the station, destroying the ticket office, a billiard hall in the arches under the platform and damaging several houses nearby; four people were killed.

The station got its current name on  1 May 1949. It has lost all its buildings but at least now TfL are in charge of the station, it looks bright and clean.

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Today it is served by trains on the Gospel Oak – Barking line, although at present there are no trains here because the line is being upgraded and electrified.

Now go under the bridge and turn right down Midland Road and take the first left. Our next stop is a ahead on the right.

Stop 10: Number 14 Wesley Road

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Number 14 was the birthplace of Harry Beck, who designed the iconic diagrammatic London Underground Map. We came across him in N2 where there is a plaque put up by The Finchley Society and mention of him at Finchley Central Station. But this one is a “proper” English Heritage plaque.

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Note the type face is slightly different from the usual. That is because like the Frank Pick plaque in NW11 and the Edward Johnston one in W6, they use a Johnston type face. This of course is the distinctive typeface used by the Underground and then London Transport and its successors.

Retrace your steps to the High Road and turn right. Continue along the High Road past the bus garage. Our next stop is on the right.

Stop 11: Former ABC cinema, Number 806 High Road

So here at Number 806, High Road there is a building that looks very much like an old cinema.

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And it was. It was built as the Ritz Cinema by Associated British Cinemas (ABC) and opened in July 1938. The street facade hid the fact that there was quite a large cinema auditorium behind seating over 2,400 people (1,532 in the stalls and 886 in the circle, according the wonderful Cinema Treasures site)

It seems to have had an uneventful life. It was renamed the ABC in October 1962. It was taken over by an independent operator and re-named Crown Cinema in December 1978. This lasted a year or so and then it closed completely. The auditorium was converted into a B&Q DIY store, which later became a KwikSave supermarket, using the stalls area only. The circle level was sealed off by a false ceiling.

Today a Ladbrokes betting office operates from the foyer, with the remainder of the building converted into offices, according to Cinema Treasures. One does wonder what kind of offices they might be given, there do not seem to be any obvious windows, on much of the building!

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And just along the way at Number 832 – 836 High Road was another former cinema. Originally built as the King’s Hall in 1910, it was taken over by the Granada circuit in 1949. It was rebuilt and reopened as the Century Cinema in January 1952. It finally closed in July 1963 and was replaced by a Tesco supermarket. That later moved to larger premises across the street and today there is a Poundstretcher store here. It does have that rather distinctive 1960s look on the upper floors.

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Continue walking along the High Road and our next stop is at the cross roads where the High Road meets Lea Bridge Road.

Stop 12: the former Bakers Arms

We are at the Bakers Arms, a local landmark.

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But sadly the Bakers Arms is no longer a pub. It is a betting shop. How depressing, when you feel it could have been a welcoming focal point to the area.

But the name lives on as a destination for buses, although weirdly the buses seem to carry on past the Bakers Arms. They go along Lea Bridge Road and then round the corner  into the High Road and actually rest up by the bus garage, which is a fair distance from the corner where the Bakers Arms stands.

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Almost opposite the Bakers Arms here on Lea Bridge Road you will see a former Woolworth’s building, which dates from the late 1930s. This is symbolic of how this area has declined as a shopping destination but at least this is still a working shop.

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Our final stop is just along from here on Lea Bridge Road on the right. And why this area has a connection with Bakers. This is the London Master Bakers’ Benevolent Institution completed in 1866.

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Pevsner describes the style as “debased rustic Italianate crammed full of quirky details”

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This was housing connected to the Bakers Company, one of the City Livery Company. The Bakers claim to be one of the oldest recorded companies. The first known records of the existence of the Bakers’ Guild are contained in the great ‘Pipe Rolls’ of Henry II which listed the yearly ‘farm’ paid to the Crown. This indicates that the Bakers of London paid a Mark of gold to the King’s Exchequer for their Guild from 1155 onwards.

But the Baker connection site ended in the late 1960s when the Greater London Council purchased the site for a road widening scheme. The Bakers moved their housing provision to Epping where it continues today. But the road scheme did not happen. Eventually the site ended up in the hands of Waltham Forest Borough Council and today remains in residential use.

We are now at the end of our E10 walk. As ever an area that does look that promising on paper throws up some interesting nuggets from stations and old cinemas to indications of municipal ambition via connections with well known people.

For onward travel there are lots of buses. Closest tube is Walthamstow Central (which is up along Hoe Street – the continuation of the High Road).