Who We Are

We welcome new people, so get in touch if you’d like to see your events, or news, listed on our website and social media. Or, if you’re interested in networking with history and heritage organisations / people in Waltham Forest we’d love to hear from you.

We are a group of individuals and organisations, working together to share our passion for the history and heritage of Waltham Forest. This is particularly important during 2019, when Waltham Forest is the first London Borough of Culture. 

We aim to show during this year, and in following years, the fascination of our area’s past, and the value of those buildings which have survived from earlier centuries, or are high quality twentieth century design. 

We want to keep exploring the different facets of our past, including that within living memory. As times and outlooks change, and the population of the borough changes, so we should re-examine local history and describe it in new ways, without forgetting the ideals and achievements of earlier generations. 

The Network is open to everyone and every group who take an active interest in the history and built heritage of Waltham Forest. It is committed to improving communication and co-operation between these groups and individuals.  It offers contacts and resources for organisations and individuals who can make use of our collective expertise and enthusiasm.

Local Members of Parliament, Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee.

Waltham Forest has its fair share of history and historic buildings, of innovators and the innovative. Waltham Forest has produced the courageous and the talented.  The strong character of notable people from our area is an inspiration for the way we behave now.  The handsome dignity of our surviving old buildings, suggests a quality standard for new development.

Finding out about the exceptional, is one aspect of local history.  Ordinary and everyday life in the past, provides another way of seeing local history. The twists and turns of side streets now, might be explained from the shapes of fields in which crops were grown and animals grazed. 

As people research their family history, they help uncover what life meant for previous generations.  As they research the property in which they are living, or the street, public open space or neighbourhood, they make similar discoveries, which will interest others. 

The Beatles at the Walthamstow Granada Cinema

Taking an interest in local history can be a rewarding kind of self-examination. Are the children of today worse behaved than youngsters of the 1960s and earlier, who have now become today’s oldies? In what ways is life today worse than before, and in what ways is it better? Are we wiser than our ancestors?

Looking at the results of national government policies at the local level, can expose failure, deception, dishonesty and hypocrisy, or the misconceived. 

There are many, many questions that can be asked.  Definite answers may not be possible, but the thought process is invigorating. 

by David Boote

Homepage Header Photo Credits

Thanks very much for the use of their photos in our homepage header collage to:

Lindsay Collier, Mike Seaborne and Walthamstow Pumphouse Museum

Chrina Jarvis, Sandeep Christian and the Highams Park Society

Mervin Caesar-John and the Waltham Forest, Antigua & Barbuda and Dominica Twinning Association.

David Boote and Leyton and Leytonstone Historical Society

Waltham Forest Family History Society

Waltham Forest Oral History Workshop