Lea Valley Viaduct

Walthamstow and the Lea Valley

(from a walk on 3 May 2014)

At nine miles, this was one of the longer walks of the circle that I’d completed to date – I began at Wood Street and walked via Walthamstow and the Lea Valley to Lower Edmonton and Edmonton Green Shopping Centre. I enjoyed coming back to Wood Street – it feels like a proper high street with independent shops and a market. It’s bit quirky and has some rough edges. At the top end is this mural by Vic Lee.

Vic Lee mural and We Are Wood Street sign
Vic Lee mural and We Are Wood Street sign
Wood Street shop parade
Wood Street shop parade

Opposite the Corner Coffee Shop is Willow House, an ex-council office block now closed and scheduled for demolition and re-development to provide a mix of residential, commercial and social uses.

Willow House (scheduled for demolition)
Willow House (scheduled for demolition)

Along Forest Road I pass the William Morris pub (named after the Victorian poet and designer born in Walthamstow) and come to the very grand Waltham Forest Civic Centre, comprising Town Hall, Assembly Hall and Magistrates’ Court.

Waltham Forest Town Hall
Waltham Forest Town Hall

The Town Hall and Assembly Hall were both designed by Philip Dalton Hepworth in the simplified classicism style with art deco details. They were completed in 1941.

Waltham Forest Magistrates’ Court
Waltham Forest Magistrates’ Court

To the left of the Town Hall is The Magistrates’ Court. This was built later – in the 1970’s by the GLC Special Works Department and makes use of Portland Stone, not commonly seen in brutalist architecture. The building was saved from potential closurein 2010.

Back on the North Circular Road I reached the Crooked Billet Roundabout – famous for its tailbacks. In the subways beneath the roundabout are some great examples of what I presume to be 1970s tiling and above ground on the Chingford Road is the architecturally modernist ‘Catholic Church of Christ The King’.

The Crooked Billet Roundabout
The Crooked Billet Roundabout

Just up the road from the Crooked Billet is Walthamstow Stadium. A Greyhound, Speedway and Stock Car racing venue that opened in 1933 and closed 75 years later in 2008.

Walthamstow Stadium from the footbridge over the NCR
Walthamstow Stadium from the footbridge over the NCR
The famous Walthamstow Stadium frontage
The famous Walthamstow Stadium frontage

The front and back album cover of Blur’s Parklife were shot at Walthamstow Stadium. And now, despite considerable local protest, the site is being re-developed by L&Q to provide homes and local amenities. The plans include the retention of the grade II listed facade.

On the other side of the footbridge – and the North Circular Road – is this urban meadow, complete with trees, shrubs and grazing horses and bordered by light industrial units.

Urban Meadow – Lea Valley Park
Urban Meadow – Lea Valley Park

Looking back from the footbridge I’m struck by the juxtaposition of the Ford Kuga Billboard, the wasteground, terraced housing and greenery beyond.

Outdoor Advertising Juxtaposition
Outdoor Advertising Juxtaposition

From here I walk past the Banbury Reservoir and up towards the River Ching, River Lea, and the industrial landscape of Harbet Road and the Hastingwood Trading Estate.

Upper Lea Valley
Industrial Landscape, Harbet Road, N18
Demolition on the Hastingwood Trading Estate
Demolition on the Hastingwood Trading Estate
Hastingwood Trading Estate
Hastingwood Trading Estate

Whilst parts of the Hastingwood Trading Estate appear to be in the process of being demolished the estate is also, I discover, home to the Warehouse LDN nightclub.

Lea Valley Business Centre (demolition)
Lea Valley Business Centre (demolition)

From here I cross underneath the Lea Valley Viaduct and walk on the tow path alongside the River Lea Navigation towards Edmonton.

Lea Valley Viaduct
Beneath the Lea Valley Viaduct
Cyclists on the tow path of the River Lea Navigation
Cyclists on the tow path of the River Lea Navigation
Pylons on the River Lea Navigation
Pylons on the River Lea Navigation
View from the bridge on Picketts Lock Lane
View from the bridge on Picketts Lock Lane
Matalan seaside billboard in front of Walbrook House
Matalan seaside billboard in front of Walbrook House
Edmonton Baptist Church – The Church on the Green.
Edmonton Baptist Church – The Church on the Green.

The Lower Edmonton skyline is dominated by the three tower blocks (Grampian, Pennine and Mendip Houses) of the Edmonton Green Estate, but there is also The Cresent – A terrace of twenty five Georgian houses on Hertford Road, built between 1826 and 1851.

The Crescent, Edmonton
The Crescent, Edmonton
The Edmonton Green Estate
The Edmonton Green Estate
Hertford Road, The Cresent and Edmonton Baptist Church
Hertford Road, The Cresent and Edmonton Baptist Church

The Edmonton Green Shopping Centre is bustling. There are the usual shops plus a large indoor market. The branch of Tesco is sporting the old-school signage – quite unusual in 2014.

Old-School Tesco supermarket signage
Old-School Tesco supermarket signage
Edmonton Green Market
Edmonton Green Market
Edmonton Green Market
Edmonton Green Market
Edmonton Green Shopping Centre and Estate
Edmonton Green Shopping Centre and Estate

1 Comment

Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Southgate to East Finchley (without Octopus) | Chris Guy – Urban Photographyreply
29th March 2017 at 4:42 pm

[…] Walthamstow and the Lea Valley […]

Leave a reply