A History of the County of Essex: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1973.
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Growth, p. 241. Domestic Buildings before 1840, p. 245. Transport and Postal Services, p. 250. Worthies and Social Life, p. 251. Manors, p. 253. Economic History, p. 263. Marshes, p. 273. Forest, p. 274. Local Government and Poor-Relief to 1836, p. 275. Local Government after 1836, p. 279. Public Services, p. 282. Parliamentary Representation, p. 285. Churches, p. 285. Roman Catholicism, p. 294. Protestant Nonconformity, p. 294. Judaism, p. 304. Education, p. 304. Charities for the Poor, p. 312.
Walthamstow lies 6½ miles north-east of the City of London, between the river Lea and Epping Forest. It is part of the London borough of Waltham Forest. (fn. 1) Until the mid 19th century it was a country parish, noted for its woodland and its fine view across the marshes to London. (fn. 2) It then became a dormitory town in which industry played an increasing part. The urban landscape is, however, relieved by the forest and by spacious parks, sports grounds, and reservoirs.
The ancient parish, comprising 4,472 a., was 2½ miles long from north to south. Its boundary marched with Chingford to the north (fn. 3) and with Woodford and Wanstead to the east. The long straight southern boundary with Leyton is discussed elsewhere. (fn. 4) The ancient course of the Lea formed the west boundary with Hackney, Tottenham, and Edmonton (Mdx.), except at Higham Hill ferry where a piece of the west bank lay in Walthamstow. (fn. 5) Most of the west boundary now runs through the reservoirs.
The Walthamstow Slip (98 a.), a detached part of the parish locally situated in Leyton, was merged in Leyton sanitary district in 1873 and in Leyton civil parish in 1878. (fn. 6) Another detached part (18 a.), in south-west Chingford, was merged in Chingford in 1882. (fn. 7)
Walthamstow became an urban sanitary district in 1873 and a municipal borough in 1929. In 1961 the borough comprised 4,342 a. (fn. 8) In 1965 it was combined with Chingford and Leyton as the London borough of Waltham Forest. Unless otherwise stated that year is the terminal point of this article.
The land rises from the Lea to over 200 ft. on the east. The steep mound of Higham Hill is 75 ft. high and Church Hill is 125 ft. Gravel terraces border the marshland alluvium, while farther east is mixed gravel and London clay. (fn. 9)
The river Ching, called the Bourne in 1332, (fn. 10) entered the parish at Chingford Hatch and flowed west via Salisbury Hall to join the Lea at Hanger's Bourne, now under Banbury reservoir. The Fleet river, known at different periods as Papermill, Coppermill, or Waterworks river, branched from the Lea at Fleetmouth, (fn. 11) now under Lockwood reservoir, and rejoined it south of Walthamstow mill. Higham Hill sewer flowed from Chapel End across Blackhorse Lane to Dagenham brook. (fn. 12) The brook flowed south to Leyton, joined by Moor ditch from Markhouse common. Most of Moor ditch was piped in the 1880s. (fn. 13) Parts of the Higham Hill sewer, Dagenham brook, and Blackmarsh sewer west of the brook, (fn. 14) were diverted or filled in when the flood relief channel was built in 1950–60. (fn. 15) West of Wood Street, flowing south to Leyton, was the watercourse which gave its name to Shernhall ('filth stream') Street, (fn. 16) which it used to flood near Tinker's bridge (Raglan Corner). In Leyton it was called the Phillebrook. It now runs underground. (fn. 17)
THE GROWTH OF WALTHAMSTOW.
The recorded population in 1086 was 82. (fn. 20) In 1523–4 99 persons were assessed to the subsidy. (fn. 21) There were 189 dwellings in the parish in 1670, (fn. 22) 301 in 1762, and 386 in 1796. (fn. 23) In 1801 the population was 3,006. (fn. 24) It rose to 4,959 in 1851 and then more rapidly to 11,092 in 1871. After 1871 it doubled in each decade reaching 95,131 in 1901. During the 1890s Walthamstow was growing faster than any other town of its size except East Ham. (fn. 25) By 1911, when the population was 124,580, growth was nearly complete, though the census peak of 132,972 was not reached until 1931. Numbers had begun to decline by 1938, (fn. 26) and the trend continued after the Second World War, to 121,135 in 1951 and 108,845 in 1961.
In 1086 most of the population lived south of Higham Hill and Hale End. (fn. 27) Later settlement took place in scattered hamlets and along the busier roads. (fn. 28) Inhabitants of The Hale (1285) or northeast 'corner' of the parish lived at Hale End (1498) or Woodend (1477). (fn. 29) Higham Hill (1501) in the northwest was a hamlet near Higham Bensted manorhouse. (fn. 30) Chapel End (1528) lay near St. Edward's chapel and Salisbury Hall, while Church End (fn. 31) was beside St. Mary's church. King's End (c. 1760, now Leyton Green) was the village part of the Slip. In 1699 most of the buildings south of Chapel End were in Marsh Street, Church End, Shernhall Street, Clay Street (Forest Road), and Hoe Street. At that period settlement seems to have been increasing in Marsh Street. (fn. 32) The population of Higham Hill had declined by 1756. (fn. 33) In the early 19th century most habitation in the north was at Chapel End, and in the south in Marsh Street, Church End, Shernhall Street, and Wood Street.
Walthamstow's roads evolved on a gridiron plan. Three east-west routes intersected three northsouth routes. The chief north-south road ran from Waltham Holy Cross to Stratford, by Salisbury Hall and bridge (1502), (fn. 34) Chapel End, (fn. 35) Greenleaf Lane (renamed Hoe Street North in 1887), (fn. 36) and Hoe Street to Leyton. Hoe ('ridge') Street is recorded in 1513. Nearer the Lea Amberland (Folly) Lane, mentioned in 1274, led from Chingford Hall to Higham Hill, (fn. 37) where it joined Blackhouse (1742), later Blackhorse Lane leading south across Marsh Street into Markhouse Lane to Leyton. Blackhorse Lane was a 'coach lane' by 1690, (fn. 38) and Markhouse Lane was widened in 1773. (fn. 39) But Amberland Lane, which was a horseway in c. 1527, was never improved. (fn. 40) In the late 16th century it was the scene of disputes over the Amberland Gate, the common way or 'folly' which crossed it into Broadmead and gave it the name, Folly Lane. (fn. 41) It was still a narrow tree-lined lane in 1971. The third and most easterly north-south route was close to the forest. From Chingford, Green Lane (1368), (fn. 42) later Jack's or Inks Green Lane (Larkshall Road and Hale End Road), led past Jack's farm to Hale End, whence the way continued to Wood Street (1513) and Whipps Cross.
The chief east-west route came from Epping and beyond through Walthamstow to Tottenham (Mdx.). It emerged from the forest as Hangerstrete (1519), later Hagger Lane, leading into Clay Street (1437), (fn. 43) called in part Priorstrete (1532), and on by Mill Lane to the Lea. (fn. 44) Mill Lane was described as a 'continual way' for the parish in 1595, and in 1626 was said to have been much used by King James. (fn. 45) Hagger Lane, called a market way in 1647, (fn. 46) was no doubt used by Walthamstow traders travelling to Epping market. (fn. 47) The journey to Epping was improved in 1828–30 when Woodford New Road was built. (fn. 48) Clay Street and Hagger Lane, which led into the new road, were renamed Forest Road in 1886, when Mill Lane became Ferry Lane. (fn. 49) North of Clay Street Higham Hill Street or Moons Lane (Billet Road) led from Higham Hill to Chapel End, whence Blind Lane (Wadham Road) went on to Hale End. (fn. 50) South of Clay Street Marsh Street (1434) led westward from Hoe Street to the common marsh and Walthamstow mill, and was linked with Wood Street to the east by Church Hill, Back Lane (Prospect Hill), and Wyatts Lane. Marsh Street was renamed High Street in 1882, (fn. 51) and continues westwards as Coppermill Lane.
Around Church End a network of lanes, alleys, and footpaths led from Hoe Street, Clay Street, Wood Street, and the south of the parish to the church, rectory, vicarage, and Church common field. It included Parson's or Green Hill Lane, also called Cutthroat Lane (Aubrey Road), (fn. 52) the 'church way' across the common (Orford Road), Shernhall (Shornwell, 1433) Street, (fn. 53) Hog Lane (1688, probably Pig Alley, now Beulah Path), (fn. 54) and Vinegar Alley. (fn. 55)
There was apparently a bridge over the Lea at Higham Hill in 1594, (fn. 56) but it is not recorded later. There was a ferry there by 1687, called Boulton's in the 18th century and Games's in the late 19th century. The ferry-house, which belonged to Salisbury Hall manor, stood on the west bank and was rebuilt about 1836. The East London Waterworks Co. bought the ferry about 1870, and it ceased soon after 1897 when Banbury reservoir was built and the channel diverted westward. A footpath and footbridge to Wild marsh, Tottenham (Mdx.), at the south-west corner of the reservoir preserves the crossing. (fn. 57)
The most important Lea crossing was to Tottenham (Mdx.) in Mill (Ferry) Lane. It required two bridges in Walthamstow, over the Fleet and the Lea. In 1277 Ralph de Tony was required to make two bridges in Horseholme and Smethemerse, (fn. 58) probably for that Tottenham crossing, where several 'holms' or islets were situated. In 1594 'Mill Bridge' was one of the most useful over the Lea. (fn. 59) The countess of Rutland was presented at quarter sessions in 1595 for a broken bridge on the way to Tottenham mill. (fn. 60) A ferry beside the main bridge, mentioned in 1722, (fn. 61) also belonged to Walthamstow Tony manor. The ferry-house, which was probably rebuilt soon after 1738, (fn. 62) became the Ferry Boat inn. In 1760 Sir William Maynard rebuilt the main bridge as a private toll-bridge for horses and carriages. Constructed of timber with iron abutments, it was called Ferry Bridge or Hillyer's Turnpike from Sacheverell Hillyer, the ferryman and landlord of the inn. (fn. 63) The parishioners, however, claimed the right to ford the river without toll. (fn. 64)
Viscount Maynard repaired Ferry Bridge in 1820. Iron trestles replaced the timber ones in 1854. (fn. 65) In 1868 the East London Waterworks Co. bought the inn and tolls, (fn. 66) and in 1877 the bridge was freed of tolls after the corporation of London bought the rights. The old bridge was demolished in 1915 when the present Ferry Lane bridge was built a little downstream. (fn. 67) A new bridge over the Waterworks (Fleet) river in Ferry Lane was built by the district council in 1904. (fn. 68) The Ferry Boat inn still survived in 1971. (fn. 69)
Water Lane led south from Marsh Street across the marshes to Lockbridge in Leyton. An account of that early crossing place from Walthamstow and Leyton to Clapton (Mdx.) is given elsewhere. (fn. 70) By 1742 a ferry called Morris's, later High Hill (1868) ferry, was operating from Hackney (Mdx.) across to Walthamstow common marshes. It still existed in 1947. (fn. 71)
By the 17th century Walthamstow was an area of large houses mainly occupied by London merchants, bankers, and public officials. Their well-tended gardens and parks were set in a landscape of farmland, forest, and marsh. The village centre developed around St. Mary's church at Church End, where were built in succession the alms-houses (1527 and 1795), workhouse (1730), and schools (1819 and 1828). All those buildings survive and in 1968 Church End was designated a conservation area. (fn. 72)
The character of Walthamstow began to change after the railway reached Lea Bridge in 1840 (fn. 73) and the common fields were broken up in 1850. (fn. 74) The inclosure award set out new public carriage roads. At Higham Hill Blackhorse Lane and Common Lane (Higham Hill Road) became public roads, and another (St. Andrew's Road) was made to link them from west to east. In the south of the parish the present Boundary Road and Queens Road were built to link Markhouse Road and Hoe Street. Common Lane between Hoe Street and Church Lane became a carriage road (Orford Road) and the footpath over Church common was diverted, later to become the present Vestry Road. (fn. 75) Within this enlarged road framework modern Walthamstow developed, from the south northwards, its old hamlets gradually merging as rows of brick houses covered the intervening farms and private pleasure grounds. (fn. 76)
Speculative land societies which laid out the streets and plots determined the pattern of growth. Among them were the National, City of London, Tower Hamlets, and St. Pancras and District societies. Speculative builders who bought the plots in blocks set the styles of domestic building. The house purchasers and tenants were mainly Londoners. Building societies were active in Walthamstow by 1844. (fn. 77) Development began before 1850 in South Grove near St. James's chapel, the district closest to Lea Bridge station. (fn. 78) After 1850 the development of Markhouse and Church commons began, together with that of the Grosvenor Park estate between Hoe Street and Church common, which was sold to the National society in 1850. (fn. 79) Union and Prospect Roads were laid out on Markhouse common, and the elm avenue in Grosvenor park was replaced by Grosvenor Park Road. The houses between East Avenue and Avenue Road (West Avenue) replaced the avenue of trees leading from Church common to Church Hill, and Beulah, Eden, Pembroke, and other roads were laid out in the vicinity of Church common. Most of the Church common plots cost from £12 to £19; larger plots cost up to £32, and a few corner plots up to £135. (fn. 80) Farther north the Tower Hamlets society was developing the area north of Milton Road, between Greenleaf Lane (Hoe Street) and Cutthroat Lane (Aubrey Road). The plots there are said to have cost £7. (fn. 81) Between 1851 and 1861 the societies sold 98 a. on which 584 houses were built, most of them in 1855–9. (fn. 82) Cottages and middle-class villas which survive from those years in some of the roads named may be distinguished from those built later by the variety of their styles; some of them retain the Regency proportions of the early 19th century.
By 1861 the gentry were moving out. (fn. 83) Delays in extending the railway into Walthamstow halted growth in the 1860s, but the opening of the line to Shernhall Street, the introduction of cheap workmen's fares, and completion of the line to Hale End and Chingford in 1870–3 stimulated new building. (fn. 84) Development was still most vigorous in the south; of 36 new street names put up in 1878 none was north of Clay Street. (fn. 85) By 1876, however, the development of Higham Hill common had begun. (fn. 86) In 1877 the Walthamstow Building Society was founded (fn. 87) and a branch of the London and Provincial bank was opened in Orford Road in 1880. (fn. 88)
In the 1880s T. C. T. Warner, one of the largest landowners in Walthamstow, (fn. 89) began to develop the Clock House (Pretoria Avenue) estate. The Warner Estate Co. Ltd. (registered 1891) formed its own building department, the Law Land Building Department Ltd. (1897) now called Courtenay Building Ltd. (fn. 90) By 1900 the company had built up most of Blackhorse Lane between Edward Road and Pretoria Avenue and completed a substantial terraced business development of shops and offices at the west end of High Street. In the 1890s many of the Shernhall Street and Wood Street mansions were sold for development and also the rectory manor estate (22 a.) between Church Hill and Forest Road. (fn. 91) Some 60 a. of Highams Park, 'ripe for building', was offered for sale in 1893. (fn. 92) The opening of Blackhorse Road railway station in 1894 began to attract industry to the area north of Ferry Lane. The Warner company bought the Winns estate (86 a.) in 1898 to develop the area west of Lloyd Park; the Belle Vue estate (60 a.) came on the market in 1899 and Salisbury Hall farm in 1904. (fn. 93)
The most usual type of domestic building of 1870–1914 was the long terrace of two-storey houses, slate-roofed, of yellow brick sometimes varied with red dressings. Bay-windows and doorways with plaster ornament were a common feature, seen at its most typical in Lansdowne Road (1894–7). But the terraces built by the Warner company, which often bear the mark 'W', are notable for the quality of their workmanship and are in distinctive styles, often in bold red brick, with gables, recessed porches, and tiled roofs. Terraces of c. 1899–1908 at Highams Park, between Winchester and Chingford Roads, are characterized by fanciful ornament picked out in white plaster on a rough-cast background.
Most houses south of Forest Road, including many designed for two families as flats, were for the working classes, but middle-class terraces were also built, for example on the rectory manor estate between Howard Road and the Drive. In the north-east of the parish near the forest middle-class houses, often semi-detached, predominated. In Montalt Road the Warner company in 1898 completed an impressive row of three-storeyed, sixbedroomed, semi-detached 'Lodges', designed by John Dunn in brown and red brick, overlooking the golf links and Highams Park. (fn. 94)
In 1912 the Warner company undertook to co-operate in the urban district council's town planning scheme. (fn. 95) That agreement produced in the north and north-east of the town an informal pattern of growth in contrast to the rigid lines of earlier development in the south. The first-fruits of the agreement was an estate of some 300 houses laid out on garden-city lines and built by the company in 1912–14 between Billet Road and Pennant Terrace. (fn. 96)
As the houses spread schools and churches followed. A town hall was established in Orford Road near Church End in 1876, but the town centre was tending to move to High Street, with the growth of its street market, the building there of the new Monoux school (1889), and the opening of the public library (1894) and baths (1900). From c. 1890 industry was competing for sites (fn. 97) and after the First World War council housing also, with estates built at Higham Hill (Millfield Avenue), off Forest Road (William Morris Close), and at Hale End (The Hale). (fn. 98) The Warner company continued the Billet Road development from Ardleigh Road to Penrhyn Crescent in 1927–8 after purchasing Moons farm (11 a.). (fn. 99)
In 1925, 1,689 a. of undeveloped land remained in the district, besides marshland and forest. (fn. 100) By 1927 this was reduced to about 987 a., lying mainly in the north where much of it comprised sports grounds owned by London companies. (fn. 101) Most of the remaining building land was developed in the 1930s, with middle-class houses like those in The Risings and The Charter Road, and the council's Essex Hall estate at Higham Hill.
In 1927–30 the North Circular Road was extended from Edmonton through Walthamstow to Woodford via the Crooked Billet and the waterworks in Forest Road. (fn. 102) It was diverted in 1970–1 north of Waterworks Corner to a roundabout at Grove Road, Woodford. (fn. 103)
Walthamstow was severely damaged by bombing in the Second World War, (fn. 104) and after the war its appearance was much altered by the scale and variety of municipal housing schemes, such as Priory Court (1946–59), Oak Hill Court (1950), the Drive (1955–64), and Park Court, Grosvenor Park Road (1962). (fn. 105) From the late 1960s tower blocks of council flats began to dominate the landscape. (fn. 106) Walthamstow's business centres were also transformed. Hoe Street Central Parade, completed in 1958–64, comprises flats, shops, lecture hall, and a clock-tower blazoned with local coats of arms. Opposite the parade were built a tall office block on Church Hill and a shopping arcade under maisonettes and offices in High Street. (fn. 107) A modern shopping development was in progress in Wood Street also in 1971.
Since the 1930s a new civic centre has been formed in Forest Road by the siting there of the technical college (1938), town hall(1941), assembly hall(1943), and court house (1971). Facing them the tall Y.M.C.A. hostel (1969) designed by Kenneth Lindy completes an impressive group of contemporary buildings. (fn. 108)
Although Walthamstow in 1971 was densely built up, the disposition of the reservoirs on the west (fn. 109) and the surviving forest on the east (fn. 110) still distinguished it from similar urbanized areas.
DOMESTIC BUILDINGS BEFORE 1840.
By the 17th century Walthamstow's popularity as a residential suburb of London was shown by the number of large houses there. In 1670 32 per cent of the houses in the parish had 5 or more hearths and 6 per cent had 10 or more. (fn. 111) Few of them survived in 1971, (fn. 112) none in private occupation. Unlike similar properties in more remote areas, the Walthamstow houses tended to change hands at fairly frequent intervals, their successive owners having both the desire and the means to carry out improvements. Thus the tall square houses of the earlier 18th century were often given additional wings, bow-windows, or new fronts. The favourite building materials were then dark red or brown brick with bright red brick dressings, giving way in the late 18th century to lighter brown or yellow stock brick. Stone was not readily available and was seldom used, even for dressings. There are few elegant stucco villas of the early 19th century, although existing houses were sometimes faced with stucco at that period. Even before extensive redevelopment began in the middle of the century, Walthamstow appears to have been losing its appeal as an area for new residences.
At the village centre, Church End, which is now a conservation area, a variety of early buildings survives. (fn. 113) The Ancient House (nos. 2–8 Church Lane), once called White House, which faces the churchyard, is the oldest domestic building in the neighbourhood. It has been traced from 1668 when it was held copyhold of the manor of Walthamstow Tony. (fn. 114) It is a timber-framed building of late medieval date consisting of a formerly singlestoreyed hall, flanked by two-storeyed jettied and gabled cross-wings to the north and south. The arch-braced tie-beam truss with crown-post, which divided the two bays of the open roof to the hall, is still in position. The house was sympathetically restored in 1934 when the close-studded external timbering of the hall and the upper storey of the north wing were exposed, the latter with quadrant braces to the bottom panels. (fn. 115) A small doublefronted house (no. 10 Church Lane) of 1830 (fn. 116) with a Doric porch adjoins the Ancient House on one side. The Nag's Head inn, so named by 1675, stood on the other side until 1859, when the present Nag's Head was built in Orford Road. (fn. 117) The Chestnuts, (fn. 118) Church Lane, a three-storey building of the earlier 19th century with wings and a projecting ground floor of rusticated stucco, now stands among the modern houses of Bishops Close which were built in its garden. It appears to have been designed as two self-contained units, and may have been built by the Revd. J. F. Roberts, headmaster of the Monoux school 1820–36, to serve both as a boys' boarding-house and a dwelling-house for himself. (fn. 119)
Orford House in Orford Road dates from the earlier 19th century. (fn. 120) It is a large two-storey stucco building with twin pediments and a recessed central porch with Doric columns. In 1971 it was occupied as a social club. All the other older houses in Orford Road were built after the inclosure of Church common in 1850.
In Shernhall Street, by 1840, there were several mansions, (fn. 121) of which only Walthamstow House (fn. 122) survived in 1971. It was built c. 1772 and from 1782 to 1842 was the home of the Wigrams. (fn. 123) The three-storey entrance front of 9 bays has central steps leading to a Doric porch, flanked by bay-windowed projections rising to the full height of the building. It has enriched ceilings within and an 18th-century staircase. Other 18th century or earlier buildings in Shernhall Street were Winchester House (demolished 1960), (fn. 124) Shern Lodge (demolished since 1966), and Brookfield (demolished in the 1890s), the home of the Collards, moneyers of the royal mint. (fn. 125)
On Parsonage Hill (Church Hill) the rectory (fn. 126) was the only large building until Church Hill House was built on the opposite side of the road in 1784–5. (fn. 127) It was a typical gentleman's residence of the period with a three-storey five-bay front and a central pediment. When it was pulled down in 1932 the doorcase was removed to the Vestry House museum. (fn. 128)
Many of Walthamstow's oldest and finest buildings were in Marsh (High) Street, where the Old and New meeting-houses (fn. 129) and the dwellings of gentry, merchants, physicians, craftsmen, and paupers, shared the street frontage. (fn. 130) A group of houses on the north side belonged in 1699 to the merchant, William Coward. They stood on the site of Butler's Place, a large house which existed in 1605. (fn. 131) Of those nos. 273 and 275, with carved wood modillioned cornice, were pulled down in 1965, (fn. 132) and Clevelands, no. 263, in 1960. (fn. 133) Clevelands may have been the house which Sir John Soane altered and enlarged for James Neave in 1781–3. It had a panelled interior and well staircase of c. 1700. (fn. 134) Northcott House, no. 115 High Street, was a mid18th-century house demolished in 1964. It had an elaborate pedimented doorcase with Ionic columns and a radiating fan-light. (fn. 135) Clock House (now in Pretoria Avenue) was built in 1813 for Thomas Courtenay Warner. It is said to have occupied the site of the earlier Black House from which Blackhouse (Blackhorse) Lane was named. Clock House, which has been occupied since the 1920s by the London Co-operative Society, is of white Suffolk brick, much altered. (fn. 136) At the bottom of Marsh Street in Coppermill Lane was the Elms, a 17th-century house demolished in 1968. (fn. 137) The Cock and the Chequers inns in Marsh Street existed in the 18th century, if not earlier, as did the Coach and Horses, off Marsh Street in the lane (St. James Street) leading to Markhouse Lane, (fn. 138) but all three have been rebuilt. West of Markhouse Lane stood Low Hall and Mark manor-houses. (fn. 139)
Much of Hoe Street south of Marsh Street belonged in 1699 to the Conyers family. (fn. 140) On the west side, facing east, was the house, later called Grosvenor House, built c. 1600 by Tristram Conyers (d. 1619). An avenue of elms on the opposite side of the street led from the house to Church common. In the later 18th century the house passed to the Grosvenors, who about 1789 rebuilt it in white Suffolk brick. (fn. 141) The new house was refronted before 1796 by William Selwyn. It was gutted by fire in 1945 and demolished in 1956. (fn. 142) South of Grosvenor House the Chestnuts survives as the finest and least altered of Walthamstow's earlier 18th-century mansions. (fn. 143) It is a three-storeyed building of 7 bays with the dates 1745 and 1747 on the rainwater heads, a staircase with twisted balusters, heavily enriched plasterwork to the stair-well, and other contemporary fittings.
On the east side of Hoe Street stands Cleveland House, a tall narrow building of the early 18th century with a full-height staircase and original panelling. Single-storey wings were built on somewhat later and two storeys were added to the south wing in 1871. The whole front appears to have been remodelled at some time. In the 18th century the gardens of Cleveland House were cultivated by the brothers Thomas, Benjamin, and Edward Forster. (fn. 144) An improbable tradition associates the house with Barbara Villiers, duchess of Cleveland. (fn. 145) It was occupied in 1971 by Waltham Forest health department. Court House, no. 317 Hoe Street, was an elegant five-bay house of c. 1700 damaged by bombing in the Second World War and demolished in 1952. (fn. 146)
Clay Street (Forest Road) in 1840 was bordered by mansions set in ample parks. Among them was Water House, previously called Winns, Cricklewood, or Hawks Capps, and now the William Morris Gallery. That house occupied an ancient moated site. It was the home of Sir Thomas Merry (d. 1654) and of William Pierce, bishop of Bath and Wells (d. 1670). In the middle of the 18th century it was rebuilt as a square three-storeyed house, and has a contemporary staircase and internal fittings. The main façade is of 9 bays with two full-height bows and a Corinthian doorcase. (fn. 147) Brookscroft, built between 1554 and 1568, belonged to the Bonnells from 1686 until the mid 18th century. It is said to have been rebuilt c. 1748 as a crenellated mansion, (fn. 148) but the house called Brookscroft which survives has no crenellations and appears to be a typical late18th-century residence of brown brick with a fivebay front and a central pediment. Thorpe Combe, originally a three-storey house of a similar type with lower flanking wings, became a maternity hospital in the 1930s and is now dwarfed by extensions of that period. (fn. 149) There were no early inns in Clay Street but beyond it at the end of Mill Lane was the Ferry Boat, now an irregularly-shaped building with stuccoed walls, sash windows, and roofs of old tiles. The core, represented by a central twostoreyed range with dormer-windows, may date from c. 1738. (fn. 150)
There were few large houses in north-west Walthamstow. High Hall, (fn. 151) Higham Hill, (fn. 152) and Salisbury Hall (fn. 153) manor-houses have all gone. Moons, near Chapel End, was named from George Monoux, who bought it in 1513. It was described in 1756 as having once been a large moated building, by then greatly reduced in size, and seems to have been rebuilt in the 17th century as a timber-framed farmhouse. It was demolished in 1927. (fn. 154) The site is marked by Monoux Grove. Higham Hill Lodge in Blackhorse Lane, now part of the premises of Baird & Tatlock Ltd., (fn. 155) still has its Doric doorcase with semi-circular fan-light and 18th-century iron railings and gates. (fn. 156) The Crooked Billet inn at Chapel End, which gave its name to Billet Road, existed in the 18th century, if not earlier, (fn. 157) but has since been rebuilt.
Although the attractions of the forest drew residents to the north-east of the parish by the 16th century, the only early buildings remaining at Woodford Side and Hale End are Highams (fn. 158) and St. Margaret's. The latter, originally a small doublefronted house of plum-coloured brick dating from the late 17th or early 18th century, has been converted by many extensions of various periods into the present substantial house. There were other 18th-century or earlier houses in that part of the parish, (fn. 159) but all have disappeared. So has Belle Vue House or Cooke's Folly, built c. 1803 in Hale Brinks Woods for Charles Cooke, to the design of Edward Gyfford. It was an elegant Regency villa with a semi-circular Ionic portico on the west front; the landscaped grounds included an artificial lake. The estate was broken up in 1899, but the house survived to 1937. (fn. 160) At Hale End green stood a group of the weatherboarded and often tarred cottages with red pantiled roofs which were typical of the humbler dwellings of the parish. (fn. 161) None has survived there.
In 1840 the upper end of Wood Street was crowded with mainly timber cottages and shops. Its insanitary alleys housed some of the parish's poorest inhabitants. (fn. 162) Only two timber buildings survived in 1971: a single-storeyed butcher's shop and slaughter-house claiming establishment in 1750 and a cottage by the Duke's Head inn. The inn itself existed in 1752 (fn. 163) but has since been rebuilt. At the lower end of Wood Street were large houses whose rich occupants preferred to use the address 'Whipps Cross'. (fn. 164) Clock House on the west side was built by a Dutch merchant, Sir Jacob Jacobson (d. 1735). (fn. 165) Its grounds spread over the east side, where he planted an avenue and made a lake, 'Sir Jacob's Water', part of which still exists. Clock House, which was bought by the borough council in 1938 for conversion into flats, is a square three-storey brick building of 5 bays with oak panelling and a fine carved staircase of c. 1700. The front, with its central pediment, was evidently rebuilt in the later 18th century. At the same time a bowed projection was added at the rear, which was embellished in the mid 19th century by an elaborate canopied balcony supported at basement level on stucco-faced arcading. Two Adam-style marble chimneypieces from the house are in Vestry House museum. (fn. 166) East of the Clock House lake at Forest Rise stood John Salter's houses, built in 1726. (fn. 167) They comprised a single five-bay house with hipped roof and dormers, then called Forest Hall and demolished c. 1935, and a semi-detached pair with wings crowned with shaped gables. (fn. 168) Those have also gone.
Farther east on the edge of the forest stands a row of mainly Georgian buildings set back behind early19th-century cast iron railings with two sets of gateway piers. All form part of Forest School. (fn. 169) The oldest building at the centre of the group dates from c. 1760 and was presumably the house owned by Du Boulay in which he started the school in 1834. (fn. 170) It is of dark red brick with a two-storey front of 5 bays and a Tuscan porch. There are additions on both sides of various dates from the early 19th century onwards. Other school buildings include the chapel of 1867, which has stained glass of 1875–80 by William Morris. The library contains medieval glass brought from elsewhere. (fn. 171) A detached late-18th-century house farther east is also now part of the school.