Walthamstow, for those Londoners who don’t venture further than zone two, is a little haven right at the end of the Victoria Line. It’s home to Europe’s longest outdoor street market, cracking places to eat, drink and admire neon art on (or near) Orford Road, and Waltham Forest (the wider borough) was recently named the best place in the UK to raise a family.
’Stow’s history is pretty cool too – from its beginnings as an Anglo-Saxon settlement to a bustling family neighbourhood, there sure is plenty to learn about. And all that is wrapped up in Vestry House museum, which is a marvellous little shrine to the area’s local history and heritage.
If you now fancy visiting the Vestry, however, you’ve sadly only got two weeks to do so. That’s because it’s due some renovations and will be closing for the next two years.
The Grade II-listed building, which dates way back to 1730, was built as the parish workhouse, but has since dabbled as a police station, armoury, builder’s merchants and a private home. It opened as a public museum in 1931.
Now, though, the tired little place is in need of a makeover. The revitalisation is being funded by £4.5 million from the borough’s Levelling Up Fund (including £800,000 from Waltham Forest Council), and it will help build new creative workspaces and a cafe, as well as significantly improve the building’s accessibility.
Items not on display will be moved to a different storage location, so those rooms will be let out for rent and hire, meaning a little bit of extra pocket money for the museum. The borough’s archives will move to Walthamstow Library, while other items from the displays will go on temporary loans.
The museum building will close on Saturday December 23, and the gardens will follow suit on February 18, 2024. It’s thought they won’t reopen until early 2026.
Did you see that the Queen’s Galleries are getting a very predictable name change?
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