A History of the County of Essex: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1973.
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Walthamstow remained an agricultural parish until the open arable fields were inclosed and the railway was built in the mid 19th century. In 1086 the two manors contained 15 hides. (fn. 1) The arable was being cultivated by 30 ploughs (4 on the demesne and 26 belonging to the tenants), compared with 23 in 1066 (4 demesne and 19 tenants). There were 98 a. of meadow, woodland for 600 swine, pasture worth 8s., a mill, and a single fishery remaining from the 9 which existed in 1066. Earl Waltheof's livestock comprised a rouncey, 8 beasts, 35 swine, 60 sheep, and 20 goats. The stock of Peter de Valognes had increased from a single ox to a rouncey, 15 beasts, 37 swine, and 2 hives of bees. The value of both manors had risen, Walthamstow from 15 in 1066 to 28 and 2 oz. of gold in 1086, Higham from 3 to 4 10s. The recorded population had increased from 44 (33 villeins, 3 bordars, 8 serfs) to 82 (46, 28, 8).
The increased value of Higham manor, where Peter de Valognes found only an ox and 1 a. sown when he received it, may be attributed to the livestock acquired afterwards. The Walthamstow manor figures suggest improvement arising from extension of both the area settled and the acreage cultivated. The recorded population on this manor had grown disproportionately, the number of villeins increasing from 25 to 36, and, more significantly, the number of bordars from one to 25. At the same time the number of ploughs owned by the tenants had increased by seven. The most likely explanation of these developments, as at West Ham, (fn. 2) is forest clearance.
The woodland in 1086 was equally divided between the two manors. In 13234 17 presentments were made at the forest court for sowing corn land in small inclosures: (fn. 3) no doubt those were assarts. From the late 14th century the recurrence of the element 'braec' (fn. 4) in local field-names, particularly those bordering the forest, show the spread of cultivation eastward in both manors as woodland was cleared and fresh ground broken for tillage. In 1368 in Higham Bensted 'Brache' contained 62 a. and 'Shepecote Brache' 12 a. These clearances lay north of the Ching, between Jack's farm and Chingford Hatch. (fn. 5) Farther south, in Tony manor, 2 fields called 'the breaches' (12 a.) east of Hale End Lane, and 5 more side by side south of Hagger Lane, also called 'the breaches' (20 a.) are identified on a map of 1699. (fn. 6) Similar clearings in the Rectory manor, including 'Prioures Braches', lay between Hoe Street and Parsonage Hill, and others occur elsewhere in the parish. (fn. 7) Walthamstow was one of the forest parishes from whose landowners Charles I exacted payment in 1621 in return for a general grant of forest land assarted for cultivation in the past and inclosed, and by then usually unidentifiable. (fn. 8)
Westward of the remaining forest isolated groves survived among the fields, notably Rowden (11 a.), Thorncroft (6 a.), Twelve-acre, and Longdown (8 a.) groves, Salters woods (10 a.), and Great and Little Halebrains or Hale Brinks with 40 a. and 4 a. respectively. Those were progressively reduced in the 17th and 18th centuries by licences to fell timber of full growth. (fn. 9) By 1843, apart from the forest, Highams Park, (fn. 10) the Hale Brinks woods, and the pleasure grounds of Belle Vue House, (fn. 11) only 13 a. of woodland remained. (fn. 12)
Newly-cleared land appears to have been farmed in severalty: for example, 'a close called Brache' (1491) (fn. 13) and '6 closes called Brauches containing 50 a.' (1622). (fn. 14) But elsewhere in the parish a common agriculture was practised, and three open arable fields, which in 1699 contained some 215 a., (fn. 15) survived to the mid 19th century. Mill field or Higham Hill common (104 a.), mentioned in 1478, (fn. 16) lay in the north-west of the parish. Buryfield (1369) or Church common (27 a.) lay south of the church, and Markdown (1369), later known as Broomfield or Markhouse common (84 a.), lay east of Markhouse Lane on the Leyton boundary. (fn. 17)
In 17657 it was customary for each of the three common arable fields to lie fallow in turn. (fn. 18) They were divided into individually owned strips: an estate sold in 1795 included 27 a. of arable land in 16 parcels in the three common fields. (fn. 19) But the whole parish had the right to pasture horses, cows, and sheep all the year round on the fallow field. (fn. 20) In 1800 all three fields were cropped by parish resolution because of the scarcity of corn. (fn. 21) In later years the Higham Hill and Church commons were usually thrown open together, alternating with Markhouse common. (fn. 22) In 1837 the view was expressed that the value of the common field strips belonging to Low Hall farm would be increased by inclosure, but that they were useful for growing turnips and other green crops. (fn. 23) The three common fields comprised in 1843 some 111 strips, two-thirds of them about 1 a. in size. (fn. 24) When they were finally inclosed by an award of 1850 they were estimated as 198 a. (fn. 25)
Common rights were also enjoyed on the marshes and in the forest. In the north of the parish the tenants of Higham Bensted claimed in 1586 to have customary rights of after-pasture in Great Broadmead, west of Amberland or Folly Lane, and now under Banbury reservoir. (fn. 26) The holdings in Great Broadmead lay in both Higham Bensted and Salisbury Hall manors. In 158791 there were violent disputes between the two manors, when Thomas Rampston of Salisbury Hall tried to close the Amberland or Broadmead gate against William Rowe of Higham Bensted and his tenants, denying them passage either to bring out the hay from their holdings or to drive their cattle in to the after-pasture. (fn. 27) No evidence has been found of common rights surviving in Broadmead after the 16th century, but the tenants of both manors still intercommoned on some of the roadside wastes in the early 19th century. (fn. 28)
In the south-west of the parish, however, lammas rights survived to the 1930s. The 'great meadow' or common marsh, divided by a ditch into the Inner and Outer meads, comprised in 1699 some 143 a.; it lay south of the mill-stream or Fleet, bounded on the west by the river Lea and on the east by the common sewer which flowed southward from the mill to Leyton. (fn. 29) In 1747 it was assessed by the commissioners of sewers as 149 a. held in 133 plots, of which 122 were of one acre or less. (fn. 30) One of the plots in the Outer mead was the Longgrass acre which formed part of the vicarial glebe. (fn. 31) Another was the Churchwardens' or Vicar's acre in the Inner mead, held of Low Hall manor, and devised to the churchwardens by the vicar, William Hyll, in 1487 for an anniversary. (fn. 32) The hay crop belonged to the several occupiers of the plots, but once it was gathered, from Lammas Day to Lady Day the marsh was thrown open to pasture horses and cows but not sheep, without limit. After 1752 the commoners continued to observe the old seasonal Lammas and Lady days, turning out the cattle from 13 August to 6 April. (fn. 33) In the 19th century there was some doubt whether all the inhabitants of the parish, or ratepayers only, were entitled to turn out their beasts. (fn. 34) The marsh bailiff or hayward (fn. 35) marked the beasts, and manorial by-laws regulated the marsh. One by-law promulgated between 1677 and 1684 forbade the pasturing of all 'dry' Welsh beasts except those which had wintered in the preceding winter. (fn. 36) This may have been intended to preserve the meads from use as a temporary pasture for beasts being driven to the London market from other places. In 1869 the manorial jury protested at a growing practice of putting bullocks on the lammas lands. (fn. 37) The Walthamstow and Leyton marshes were originally regarded as common to both parishes. (fn. 38) This was still the position in 1861, but by 1873 a fence had apparently been erected on the parish boundary. (fn. 39)
In 1841 the lammas rights were extinguished over 25 a. in the common marsh because the land was needed by the Northern and Eastern Railway Co., (fn. 40) and in 1854 over a further 17 a. needed by the East London Waterworks Co. (fn. 41) The lammas lands were thus reduced to 100 a. (fn. 42) which were bought by the borough council in 1938 and preserved as an open space. The lammas rights which by then none claimed were extinguished. (fn. 43)
Common of pasture in the forest was claimed in the 17th century and later for every manor in Walthamstow except apparently Salisbury Hall. (fn. 44) Claims were also widely made to estovers, pollards, gravel, turf, and pannage. (fn. 45) The forest was commonable for eleven months of the year. (fn. 46) The beasts turned out were marked by the parish reeve. (fn. 47) In 1790 he was ordered to mark two cows or a horse for every 4 of annual rent, with special provision for the poor. (fn. 48) This was still the practice in 1871. (fn. 49) The forest pasture rights, which were highly prized, were increasingly threatened by late-18th-century and 19th-century inclosures. (fn. 50) In 1817 a meeting of commoners, convened to protest against inclosure proposals, declared that the benefit they derived from the right of commonage more than compensated for any injury they might sustain from the free range of the deer. (fn. 51) But by 1865 the influx of people from London was said to harass the cattle and make many commoners neglect their rights. (fn. 52) Complaint was made, too, in the early 1870s, that inclosures and graveldigging had ruined the grazing. (fn. 53) Another cause of bitterness was the inclosure of the cattle drinking ponds at Whipps Cross. (fn. 54) Further deterioration was prevented by the Epping Forest Act of 1878, which preserved both the forest and the commoners' right to pasture on it. (fn. 55)
Copyhold tenements in Walthamstow descended by the custom of Borough English. (fn. 56) Labour services are mentioned on the manor of Higham Comyn in 1253 and 1265, (fn. 57) of Higham Balliol in 1265, (fn. 58) and of Walthamstow Tony in 12645, 1309, and 1337. (fn. 59) On the last-named manor in 1437 there were four classes of customary tenant: 25 tenants held 8-acrelands, 25 16-acrelands, four 20-acrelands, and three 24-acrelands. (fn. 60) Those tenures suggest local adherence to a 16-acre virgate. (fn. 61) In general twice as many works were required of the 16-acreland as of the 8-acreland and so in proportion for all tenants. By 1437 1,325 out of 1,687 labour services had been commuted, harrowing, weeding, haymaking, and works at the mill at d. each, harvesting, carrying, mowing, and binding corn at 1d., reaping at 4d., and ploughing at 8d. (fn. 62)
In 1253 an acre of meadow at Higham was worth 18d., compared with 12d. for pasture and 4d. for arable. (fn. 63) In 1337 in Walthamstow Tony 100 a. of meadow was nearly twice as valuable as 240 a. of arable. (fn. 64) Other evidence of 1264, 1265, and 1315 emphasizes the importance of meadow land. (fn. 65) In 1437 in Walthamstow Tony manor a third of the year's income was derived from the sale of hay which realized more than any other single item of receipt and almost as much as the farm of land and pastures and rents of assize combined. (fn. 66) In Walthamstow Tony in 12645 more than half the demesne arable lay in the marsh. (fn. 67) This suggests that cultivation was more concentrated on the west side of the manor, near the river Lea, much of it of inclosed marsh, until forest clearance, as already described, spread it eastward.
From the 16th century grassland appears generally to have predominated in the parish, and to have been carefully preserved. (fn. 68) A lease of Salisbury Hall in 1658 provided for payment of an additional 3 rent for every acre of meadow broken up for tillage, and also for every acre over 60 a. in any one year ploughed or kept in tillage. (fn. 69) There were estimated to be only 425 a. of arable in the parish in 1794. (fn. 70) Under pressure of wartime scarcity the acreage under cultivation was increased to 602 a. in 1795, and was 829 a. in 1801, though the average sown was then said to be 700 a. (fn. 71) The main crops in 1801 were wheat and oats (585 a.), with small crops of peas (80 a.), barley (63 a.), potatoes (61 a.), rye (24 a.), beans (14 a.), and turnips or rape (2 a.). (fn. 72) In 1815 the highest rated land was still inclosed meadow, assessed at 50s. an acre, compared with the best arable at 35s. an acre. (fn. 73)
In 1843 there were 2,628 a. of meadow and pasture and 915 a. of arable. (fn. 74) Robert Wragg, the coachmaster, (fn. 75) was farming the largest area, some 312 a., including Clay Street and the Elms farms. Salisbury Hall farm comprised 224 a., and Low Hall, farmed by Charles Burrell, the cattle-dealer, (fn. 76) 228 a. About a dozen other farms varied from 45 a. to 130 a. (fn. 77) The local board, which bought Low Hall in 18757 for sewage disposal, (fn. 78) and later the district council, farmed it profitably for many years, mainly with cash crops. But as the area required for filtration grew, by 1907 only 36 a. remained for cropping. (fn. 79) The last 141 a. of Salisbury Hall were sold for building in 1904. (fn. 80) Building development and reservoir construction reduced agricultural land by 1905 to 853 a. of permanent grass and 265 a. of arable. (fn. 81) Two of the last of the larger farms to be broken up were Chestnuts (previously Clay Street) farm (67 a.) and Wadham Lodge farm (66 a.). Chestnuts farm was sold to the district council in 1919. (fn. 82) Wadham Lodge, devised to Wadham College, Oxford, by John Goodridge in 1652, and sold by the college in 1894 and 1898 to John Hitchman, was sold as a sports ground and for building in 1919 and the years following. (fn. 83)
Hops were being grown at Moons in the late 16th century. (fn. 84) Two hopgrounds formed part of the Rectory manor estate in 1686, 1705, and 1732. (fn. 85) There were hopfields near Boundary Road up to the late 19th century. (fn. 86) An account of the osier grounds near Great Broadmead belonging to Salisbury Hall is given with that of its fishery below. (fn. 87) There were also osier grounds farther south in Walthamstow Tony. (fn. 88) Grapevines were grown in Sir William Batten's garden in the late 17th century, and according to Samuel Pepys the wine he bottled was acclaimed by his guests as good as any foreign wine. (fn. 89) Watercress beds were cultivated at Low Hall and in Higham Street in the late 19th century. (fn. 90)
Market- and nursery-gardening developed in the 19th century to meet the needs of London. In 1839 three nurserymen and gardeners were listed. (fn. 91) The acreage cultivated as nursery ground in 1843 was, however, probably under 10 a. (fn. 92) In 1863 there were 13 gardeners and 5 nurserymen and florists in business, but by 1906 only 1 market-gardener and 2 nurserymen were listed. (fn. 93) James Pamplin of Whipps Cross, who also had a nursery in Leyton, (fn. 94) was in business by 1839. (fn. 95) He appears to have taken over John Gollop's nursery on the east side of Wood Street about 1860. (fn. 96) Orange trees were grown at the nursery, which closed about 1893. (fn. 97)
Much of Walthamstow's grass supported stock for the London meat market. In 1437 William Honte, a London butcher, paid 26s. 8d. a year to lease the pasture called Oxleas, (fn. 98) which lay between the mill-stream and the Lea and is now under Maynard and Lockwood reservoirs. (fn. 99) The number of cases of sheep-stealing adjudicated in the late 16th and 17th centuries, some of them involving butchers, suggest that ample flocks of sheep, as well as beef cattle, were being reared. (fn. 100) Low Hall, then a farm of 220 a., was tenanted from at least 1837 until 1863 by Charles Burrell, a cattle and sheep salesman supplying Smithfield market, who equipped it with bullock house, cattle yards, pounds for sorting sheep and stock, and a slaughterhouse. The agent of Samuel Bosanquet, the landlord, considered that the farm's proximity to London increased its value to Burrell by 50 per cent, and that his rent of 2 10s. an acre could not possibly have been met from common farm produce. (fn. 101)
Only one cowkeeper was listed in Walthamstow from 1839 to 1859. (fn. 102) A dairyman was first listed in 1866. (fn. 103) By 1906 some 46 dairymen were listed, three of them being cowkeepers. (fn. 104) One of the three was John Hitchman, who came to Chapel End in 1867. He leased and later bought Wadham Lodge farm, and from 1886 also leased Clay Street or Chestnuts farm. (fn. 105) Hitchman began retailing milk in the 1880s. In 1918 the firm of John Hitchman and Sons, dairymen and cowkeepers, was bought out by D. A. Davies, a partner in the firm of Davies and Williams, dairymen in Walthamstow since the early years of the century. The firms were amalgamated as Hitchman's Dairies Ltd., based on Green Pond farm, Higham Hill Road, where cows were still being kept in 1926. In 1938 a large modern dairy for processing milk was opened on Walthamstow Avenue. (fn. 106) In 1968 Hitchman's, a member of the Unigate group, had branch dairies in South Chingford, Walthamstow, and Leytonstone. (fn. 107)
There were six fisheries in Walthamstow manor in 1066, reduced to one by 1086. (fn. 108) A fishery is mentioned in 1264, (fn. 109) and is called 'Pappiswer' in 1355. (fn. 110) In 1437 two fisheries are mentioned, 'Le Milhouse' and 'Pappeswere'. (fn. 111) The manor's free fishery in the Lea is described in 1636 and 1719 as extending from France meadow (Fleetmouth) to Smithy marsh. (fn. 112) In the 19th century it was known as the Walthamstow Ferry fishery or Day's Water, its headquarters being at the Ferry Boat inn. A 15-lb. salmon killed there in 1833 may have been the last to be recorded in the river Lea. (fn. 113) At Higham there was no fishery in 1086 although there had been 3 in 1066. (fn. 114) In 1355 and 1557 Salisbury Hall held a weir or fishery on the Lea. (fn. 115) When the manor was granted to Robert Symonds in 1590 it included the fishery and the profits of osiers from Longers Lane (Hangers Bourne) to Fleetmouth. (fn. 116) When the fishery was sold with the manor in 1778 it extended to more than two miles and included a weir and 9 osier grounds. (fn. 117) It was known as the Blue House fishery in 1848, when it was let to subscribers, (fn. 118) and as Game's Water in the 1890s. Shortly afterwards it disappeared with the building of the Banbury reservoir. (fn. 119)
Walthamstow mill in Coppermill Lane has been used for a variety of industries. A mill existed in Walthamstow manor in 1066 and 1086, (fn. 120) and is mentioned again in 1264, (fn. 121) 1265, (fn. 122) 1355, (fn. 123) and 1437. (fn. 124) In 1611 four mills are mentioned in association with the manor. (fn. 125) That and later references probably imply that at times the mill-stream powered more than one wheel on the same site. (fn. 126) The name Powder Mill marsh given to the marsh adjoining the mill in 1699 (fn. 127) may be a survival from the years before the Civil War, when a number of gunpowder mills were established on the Lea. (fn. 128) In 1659 the mill was separated from the manor when Charles Maynard conveyed it to John Samyne of Bromley near Bow (Mdx.). (fn. 129) It is mentioned as a paper mill from 1653 to 1703, and the mill-stream was called the Paper Mill river to 1703. (fn. 130) In 1703 Pierre Montier a skin-dresser, is first named as the miller; leather mills are recorded on the site in 1710, 1712, and 1718. (fn. 131) Montier was followed in turn by Peter Lefevre (Lefebure) in 1711, and Daniel Lefevre in 1713, who was still the operator in 1723. (fn. 132) By the early 1740s, when a Mr. Kemp was the operator, linseed was being crushed to produce oil. (fn. 133) That business continued until 1806, when the oil mills, recently rebuilt, were put up for sale. The British Copper Co. bought them in 1808 to roll copper. From c. 180910 to 1814 the company issued 1d. and d. copper tokens, which were probably struck at the mill, as the buildings included a mint. The business was sold in 1824 to Henry Bath & Co. and in 1832 to Williams, Foster & Co., but the name British Copper Co. was retained. (fn. 134) The mill, which employed 30 hands in 1848, ceased rolling copper in 1857. (fn. 135) In 1860 it was bought by the East London Waterworks company for a pumping station. The Metropolitan water board was still using the mill in 1970, as a store and workshop. It is of stock brick with pantiled roof. (fn. 136) An Italianate tower with an open arcade to the upper storey was added on the west side by the water company in 1864. (fn. 137) The mill-house was demolished in 1941. (fn. 138)
Walthamstow windmill and cottage stood on the site of the present Oakhill Gardens and were built by John Hawkes, a Whitechapel millwright, about 1676. (fn. 139) The mill, which was a post mill, is shown on maps of 1699 and c. 1700. The latter map distinguishes it from Woodford manor windmill, with which it has often been confused. (fn. 140) It stood close to the boundary with Woodford, from which it was approached by Windmill Lane (now Fullers Road). (fn. 141) The miller, who was illegally selling beer at the mill in 17457, was licensed to do so in 1750. (fn. 142) The mill was blown down in 1800 (fn. 143) and not rebuilt. The thatched mill cottage was demolished c. 1890. (fn. 144) The name Mill field at Higham Hill (1478 and later) suggests the existence of a mill there, but there is no direct record of one. (fn. 145)
Bricks and tiles were being made in the 17th century, mainly on the manorial forest waste at Higham Bushes, near the Bridle Path. (fn. 146) John Russell built a cottage and brick-kiln there about 1607, and was said in 1621 to be licensed to dig clay on 3 a. adjoining. (fn. 147) His son, George, who carried on his father's trade, (fn. 148) obtained a long lease from William Rowe in 1654/5 extending his rights over a further 36 a. The lease required that a brick and tile house of at least six rooms should be built on the site. (fn. 149) George Russell was still making tiles in 1684, (fn. 150) but how long his family continued to exploit the concession, which is said to have expired in 1796, is not known. (fn. 151) About 1814 the site lay waste, and the ancient brick house called Tile Kiln House was untenanted. (fn. 152) The house was pulled down by 1820. (fn. 153) In 1768 and 1772 Anthony Bacon granted Andrew Leverton, bricklayer, of Woodford, brother of Thomas Leverton, (fn. 154) long-term leases of brick- and tile-making rights over some 11 a. near the Russell workings. But William Hornby bought back the remainder of the leases in 1787, with the stock of bricks and all kilns and equipment, (fn. 155) probably to remove a nuisance from the neighbourhood of Higham House and park. The pits formed by those early diggings, now overgrown, are a feature of the forest on either side of the Bridle Path.
Brickmaking revived in the late 19th century. One brickmaker was listed in 1861 and two in 1878, (fn. 156) and in the 1880s several new brickworks were established to meet an increasing local demand. Most of the new brickfields were in the north-west of the parish, notably Wilson's in Billet Road, Stotter's in Folly Lane, and Barltrop's at Chapel End near the Avelings. (fn. 157) All those brickworks had apparently closed by 1910. (fn. 158)
The local gravel was dug for profit as well as for road repair. In 1702 tenants of Walthamstow Tony were digging gravel and turf on the forest for sale outside the manor. (fn. 159) Excessive gravel-digging in the 19th century was an almost universal complaint of the forest commoners. (fn. 160) In 1812 the manorial bailiff was publicly selling gravel dug from a 6-acre pit (fn. 161) and from 1851 to 1872 increasingly large quantities of gravel, with sand, turf, and loam, were sold by the lord of the manor's agent from the Walthamstow Tony forest waste. (fn. 162)
Potteries were set up in Folly Lane, Higham Hill, in 1868 by William Pettit & Son, who produced unglazed pots, saucers, and chimney pots. When the tomato industry developed in the Lea valley production was switched to flower pots. The business closed about 1944. (fn. 163)
There were said to be 7 alehousekeepers and victuallers in 1631 (fn. 164) and in 1670 8 licensed alehousekeepers and 4 unlicensed. (fn. 165) In 1769 there were 11 licensed houses; three of those had closed by 1801, and 8 were regularly licensed in 180128. (fn. 166) In 1848 there were 8 inns and 7 beerhouses, but by 1863 17 inns and taverns and 12 beerhouses, (fn. 167) or one public house to 246 persons in the parish. In 1911 there was one public house to 3,114 persons. (fn. 168)
A brewer was listed in 1848. (fn. 169) In 1859 there were two, one of them being William Hawes, who built the steam-powered Walthamstow Brewery in St. James Street. (fn. 170) The Essex Brewery Co. Ltd. was formed in 1871 to buy Hawes's brewery, (fn. 171) but apparently failed to attract subscribers, for the brewery was acquired by Collier Bros., who operated it as the Essex Brewery, until 1922. It was then sold to Tollemache's Breweries Ltd., to whom it still belonged in 1968. (fn. 172)
In the late 16th and 17th centuries Walthamstow traders were buying butter, cheese, eggs, and poultry, at Brentwood, Romford, Epping, and Waltham Abbey markets, to sell later by retail. (fn. 173) There was no market in Walthamstow until the early 1880s, when costermongers began to set up stalls in Marsh (now High) Street. The local board was at first unfriendly to them, (fn. 174) but by 1891 they had gained the support of local shopkeepers, and in 1892 the board tacitly accepted their presence by adopting regulations for stallholders. (fn. 175) Statutory powers to regulate street trading were first obtained by the borough council in 1932. (fn. 176)
An unusual early industry in Walthamstow was the minting of coins by contract for the royal mint. There are repeated references to moneyers from the late 16th century. (fn. 177) In 1664 30 hearths in moneyers' houses were exempted from tax. (fn. 178) Four consecutive members of the Collard family were appointed master moneyers between 1684 and 1791 when the last of them, James Collard, died. (fn. 179)
Many of the inhabitants found employment with the gentry. In 1831 no less than 10.7 per cent of the population was in domestic service. (fn. 182) The families of the well-to-do supported a variety of luxury trades. Directories issued between 1823 and 1863 included lace-menders, hairdressers and perfumers, straw hat-, stay-, and umbrella-makers, china and toy dealers, and music teachers and piano tuners. (fn. 183)
Between the 1860s and 1890s the most important industrial growth was in the building trade. The number of builders listed in directories increased from 5 in 1866 to 37 in 1890. (fn. 184) Many small handicrafts were also springing up, most noticeably from c. 1874, such as the manufacture of fancy boxes, venetian blinds, 'toy paper cap fireworks', (fn. 185) picture frames, umbrellas, baskets, looking glasses, and organs. Small firms making mechanical toys, furniture, surgical instruments, and ginger beer, were the forerunners of important industries which became established later.
In the 1890s manufacturing industry on a larger scale began to move into Walthamstow. The new population provided plenty of labour, and the opening of the Tottenham & Forest Gate railway in 1894 improved communications. (fn. 186) The most striking growth before 1918 was in electrical engineering, and in the manufacture of motor vehicles, scientific and photographic instruments and apparatus, and celluloid and casein compositions. (fn. 187) At the same time the variety of craft industries continued to grow, and included by 1905 such products as pattern cards, tinware, brushes, dolls' houses, billiard tables, pianos, lamps, scales, and baby carriages. Clothing firms, many of them employing outworkers, were mainly engaged in the collar, shirt, blouse, and neckwear trades. In 1910 23 cycle manufacturers were listed, representing about 16 per cent of those in Essex, though doubtless many of them were small works merely assembling components. (fn. 188) A pioneer but precarious venture launched before the First World War was the production of motion pictures. Glass and rubber goods, typewriter equipment, briar pipes, false teeth, and screws, all became significant local products before 1918.
The present large factory sites at Hale End and in Fulbourne Road, and the broad factory complex in Blackhorse Lane, originated in this early stage of Walthamstow's industrial growth. Other firms were dispersed mainly in Forest Road, High Street, Hoe Street, and Shernhall Street. In 1897 96 factories and workshops were registered for inspection. By 1912 the figure was 110 factories, 138 workshops, 458 workplaces, and 1,069 outworkers. (fn. 189) About a dozen firms were by then employing from 300 to 1,000 persons. (fn. 190)
In 1921, although Walthamstow, after West Ham, had the most highly developed industry in south-west Essex, over 58 per cent of the occupied population still depended on employment outside the district. (fn. 191) Between the two world wars, however, industrial growth accelerated, particularly in the north-west of the town, where communications were further improved by the opening of the new Ferry Lane bridge in 1915, and completion of the North Circular Road in 192530. (fn. 192) After 1934 industrial settlement was encouraged in the south-west of the borough also by the council's promotion of the Lea Bridge factory estate at Low Hall. (fn. 193) New industries introduced in 191839 included the manufacture of security systems, luggage, paper and paper products, batteries, and ice cream.
During the Second World War the premises of several firms were damaged by bombing, but there were also firms which moved to Walthamstow when their premises were destroyed elsewhere, and after the war industry recovered rapidly. In 1951 it was estimated that although 53.6 per cent of the working population still travelled daily to work outside the borough, probably more workers than at any time found employment in local industries. (fn. 194) In 1954 the approximate numbers employed in the main productive industries were: general, electrical, and constructional engineering, 4,800; clothing, including footwear, 4,100; plastics goods, 3,000; furniture, including radio cabinets, 3,400; rubber goods, 2,100; mica goods, 1,600; metal goods, 1,500; scientific instruments and photographic equipment, 1,400; batteries, 1,100. (fn. 195)
Engineering, and the manufacture of plastic, rubber, and mica goods, and of furniture, continued to expand, but by 1961 there was a reduction in the numbers employed in the clothing trade. (fn. 196) Walthamstow was still, however, an important centre of the specialized trade of necktie-making. Outworking played a significant part in the impressive output achieved by small necktie firms. (fn. 197) In 1969 out of 79 necktie manufacturers listed in the London area 14 were settled in Walthamstow. Although several factories ceased in the 1950s and 1960s, new industries took their place, and in 19645 the Walthamstow council built a second factory estate at Brunner Road. (fn. 198) In 1967 the Waltham Forest council planned to enlarge the Lea Bridge factory estate alongside Staffa Road and Argall Avenue. The factory estates were designed to resite firms displaced by redevelopment. (fn. 199) In 1969 the main concentrations of industry were at Hale End, in Fulbourne Road, in Walthamstow Avenue and Billet Road, in Blackhorse Lane, and on the two council-owned industrial estates.
Most of the firms described below have been included for their long life, their size, or their unusual nature. They have been grouped according to the Standard Industrial Classification. Unless otherwise stated they were all still in production in 19689.
Food and drink manufacturers were among the earliest firms to become established. A. H. Simpkins, Ltd., mineral waters, was founded in 1887 at Forest Gate, moved to Grosvenor Park Road in 1889, and later to Hoe Street. The business ceased at some date after 1939. (fn. 200) Gillard & Co. Ltd., pickles and other foods, was founded by 1892 in High Street at the Chestnuts, which was renamed the Vintry Works. The present factory in Westbury Road was built in 1931. (fn. 201) Shales & Co. Ltd., ice cream, moved from Southend to Shernhall Street in 1934. Its premises were damaged by bombing during the Second World War. (fn. 202) The business ceased about 1959.
The manufacture of chemicals gained little foothold in Walthamstow. A branch plant of A. Boake, Roberts & Co. Ltd. of West Ham, since 1966 Bush, Boake, Allen Ltd., perfumery and flavour chemicals, was established in Blackhorse Lane about 1956. (fn. 203) Pharmaceutical preparations, however, have been represented for many years by Leslie's Ltd., medical dressings. Originally druggists' sundrymen of Leicester and Warwick, Leslie's, which moved to High Street in 1900, was one of the first two firms in Britain to develop self-adhesive plasters. The present factory in Higham Hill Road was built in 1937. It was damaged by bombing in the Second World War, and by fire in 1967. (fn. 204)
Engineering and the manufacture of electrical goods have dominated Walthamstow's industry. Peter Hooker Ltd., printers' engineers, commemorated in Hookers Road, was one of the earlier firms to settle in Blackhorse Lane, c. 1901. It ceased c. 1921. H.T.B. Ltd., engineers of printers' sheet-feeding machines, was founded in 1923 in Blackhorse Lane. About 400 workers were employed in 1949. In 1968 the company was a member of the Baird & Tatlock group. (fn. 205) W. B. Bawn & Co. Ltd., agricultural tractors, boilers, and road waggon tanks, moved to Blackhorse Lane in 1940 after being bombed out of Poplar. In 1945 its new premises were also damaged by bombing. The firm moved to Bury St. Edmund's (Suff.) in 1970, taking with them a conspicuous local feature: the life-size figure of a 17th-century naval helmsman, salvaged from the old premises at Poplar and re-erected over the Blackhorse Lane entrance. (fn. 206)
Two important firms specialized in scientific instruments and apparatus. Baird & Tatlock (London) Ltd., originally a Glasgow firm, then of Hatton Garden (Lond.), moved to Blackhorse Lane in 1902, taking over Higham Hill Lodge. In 1959 the company became a division of the Derbyshire Stone group, which came in turn to be associated with Tarmac Derby Ltd. In 1969 Tarmac Derby sold its interest in Baird & Tatlock, which became an associate of G. D. Searle & Co. Ltd. of U.S.A. There were some 600 employees in 1970. (fn. 207) Short & Mason Ltd., also previously of Hatton Garden (Lond.), moved to Macdonald Road in 1910. The firm supplied scientific instruments for the Scott and Shackleton polar expeditions and for Everest climbers. The business moved to Wood Street about 1958, and left Walthamstow about 1969 after merger in Taylor Instrument Companies (Europe) Ltd., Leighton Buzzard (Beds.), a subsidiary of Sybron Corp., U.S.A. (fn. 208)
Barnet Ensign Ross Ltd., photographic apparatus, originated in 1908, when Spratt Bros. of Hackney (Mdx.), a branch of Houghtons Ltd., established the Ensign Works in Fulbourne Road. Known later successively as the Houghton-Butcher Manufacturing Co. Ltd., Ensign Ltd., and, after union with Elliott & Sons Ltd. of Barnet, as Barnet Ensign Ltd., in 1948 the company amalgamated with Ross Ltd. as Barnet Ensign Ross Ltd. In 1949 the company had about 800 employees. In 1954 the business moved to a sister works at Clapham and its premises were acquired in the following year by Fuller Electric. (fn. 209)
Sainsbury Bros. Ltd., the Clock Factory, Blackhorse Road, specialized in church and turret clocks. The firm was in business c. 18821908. (fn. 210)
Asea (Great Britain) Ltd. and Fuller Electric Ltd. manufacture electric motors and transformers. The joint business originated in 1905, when the Fuller-Wenstrom Electrical Manufacturing Co., which assembled and distributed electric motors manufactured in Sweden, moved from West London to Blackhorse Lane. In 1906 the name of the company was changed to Fuller Electrical and Manufacturing Co., and in 1910 a second company was formed, Allmnna Svenska Electric Co. Ltd. The English and Swedish interests remained associated through all subsequent reorganizations. A new factory was built in Fulbourne Road in 1915, where the manufacture of transformers began in 1919. The factory, which was enlarged in 1923 and 19359, was damaged by bombing in 1944. The empty factory of Barnet Ensign Ross on the opposite side of Fulbourne Road was bought in 1955 and renamed the West Works. Branch factories at Poplar, Birmingham, and Leyton were then closed and their work transferred to Walthamstow, where some 1,000 workers were employed. In 1957 Fuller Electric was acquired by the Brush group, which in turn merged with the Hawker Siddeley group. By agreement with Asea (Great Britain) Ltd., a subsidiary of Allmnna Svenska Elektriska Atkiebolaget of Sweden, the company continued under licence to manufacture the Swedish type of motor and transformer. (fn. 211)
The Micanite & Insulators Co. Ltd., insulating materials, originated as the Mica Insulator Co. Ltd. formed in 1901 at Stansted Mountfitchet, and removed to Blackhorse Lane in 1902. The firm, which employed large numbers of women and girls, built a larger factory in 1907. It was extended again in 19289, when associations were formed with Associated Electrical Industries Ltd. and English Electric Co. Ltd. In 1939 a subsidiary, British Tego Gluefilm Ltd., went into production. The number of employees rose from about 600 during the First World War to about 1,700 in 1955. In 1958 the company became an associate of the A.E.I. group, which was a subsidiary in 1969 of the General Electric and English Electric Companies Ltd. (fn. 212)
Philips Records Ltd. bought a factory in Walthamstow Avenue in 1958, which became one of the most modern pressing plants in Europe. (fn. 213) The Ever Ready Co. (Great Britain) Ltd., batteries, built a factory in Forest Road in 19312, which replaced a number of smaller plants. (fn. 214) Associated Fire Alarms Ltd., originally a Bethnal Green firm, took over premises in Sutherland Road in 1920. In the 1950s the works were moved to Claremont Road. In 1960 the company became associated with a burglar alarm group, Auto-Call, and in 1961 the Billet Road premises of King's Laundries were bought. There were over 300 employees at the two factories in 1965. (fn. 215)
The vehicle industry was one of the earliest to develop in Walthamstow, mainly in Blackhorse Lane. The Central Cycle & Motor Works and the Relyante Motor Works Ltd. were established there by 1905, the Vanguard Motor Omnibus Co. in 1906, and the Motor Omnibus Construction Co. by 1907. In 1908 the London General Omnibus Co. took over Vanguard, and in 1911 formed the Associated Equipment Co. Ltd. (A.E.C.), which manufactured omnibuses in Walthamstow until 19267, when the firm moved to Southall (Mdx.). (fn. 216) An employee at one of the motor vehicle works near the Standard public house in Blackhorse Lane in 1910 later published an account of working conditions there. (fn. 217)
The Bremer Engineering Co., Grosvenor Park Road, listed 191226, was apparently a motor cycle business. But its founder, Frederick Bremer (18721941), had built in 18924 the first British car with an internal combustion engine. The Bremer car was run by its designer on the Woodford New Road, preceded by a red flag, but was never put into production. The prototype, however, survived. It was given by Bremer to the Vestry House museum in 1933, was restored in 19623, and completed the veteran car run to Brighton in 1965. (fn. 218) In 1947 the Ford Motor Co. established a subsidiary engineering plant in Blackhorse Lane, which ceased about 1967. (fn. 219)
The aircraft pioneer, A. V. Roe (18771958), in 1909 achieved on the marshes the first powered flight of a British aircraft, the Triplane, built under the railway arches. (fn. 220)
Metal goods manufactured in Walthamstow varied widely. H. C. Jones & Sons (Walthamstow) Ltd., Tower Hamlets Road, were established as sheet metalworkers in Walthamstow before 1901. (fn. 221) By 1957 the firm was specializing in dustbins. About 19645 it moved to Barking. Collinson's Precision Screw Co. Ltd. was founded in 1916 in Macdonald Road. The present factory in Forest Road was built in 1933 and enlarged in 1939. (fn. 222) Hobbs, Hart & Co. Ltd., strong-room doors, locks, and safes, was one of the first firms to settle on the Lea Bridge factory estate, where extensive works built in Staffa Road were in production by 1935. About 1965 the company became a subsidiary of Chubb & Son Ltd. (fn. 223)
The outstanding business in leather goods is S. Noton, Ltd., manufacturer of 'Crown' luggage. The company, founded in 1928, went into production in Blackhorse Lane in 1929. In 1949 there were 450 employees. In 1968 the company was the largest manufacturer in Europe of moulded luggage for air travel. (fn. 224)
Among clothing manufacturers probably the oldest is Hookways Ltd., previously Hookway, Sons & Cook. Founded in Aldersgate Street (Lond.), Hookways moved to Hoe Street in 1899 and built its present factory in Forest Road in 18991900. The firm, which originally made collars, braces, and umbrellas, by 1949 was specializing in high-grade poplin shirts. (fn. 225) E. Garner Ltd., dresses and suits, originated in 1904 as a small private dressmaking business in Elmsdale Road. In 1911 a factory, mainly for blouses, was opened in High Street, where a larger factory was built in 1929, soon after the firm started to make dresses. (fn. 226) L. S. & J. Sussman Ltd., shirt-makers, settled in Forest Road in 1940 after being bombed out of Bishopsgate (Lond.), (fn. 227) and remained until c. 1955, when the firm moved to Leyton. Rael-Brook Ltd., shirts, moved its head office to Forest Road, where it already had one of its factories, in 1964. The firm was owned in 1969 by English Calico Ltd. (fn. 228)
Among manufacturers of weatherproof clothing, the Express Rubber Co. Ltd., makers of Telemac and Mattamac, moved to Forest Road from Leyton about 1935 (fn. 229) and remained until about 1956. Aquascutum rainwear was manufactured in Forest Road for a few years in the 1950s. (fn. 230)
Duroglass Ltd., laboratory glassware, built a factory in Blackhorse Lane during the First World War. It closed in 1926, but reopened in 1932 to produce lighting glassware and, later, television components. (fn. 231) The firm ceased about 1965, when the premises were taken over by Industrial Glass Co. Ltd., which itself ceased by 1968.
Furniture of all kinds has always featured among Walthamstow's products. Libraco Ltd., library furniture, is listed in directories from 1912 to 1926. F. Wrighton & Sons Ltd., high-class domestic furniture, previously at Brampton Road, Hackney (Mdx.) and briefly, 192932, in Leyton, built the Brampton Works on a six-acre site in Billet Road in 1933. In 1949 the firm had two subsidiaries, GlobeWernicke Ltd., bookcases, and Wrighton Aircraft Ltd. The former was discontinued about 1967. (fn. 232)
Several important firms manufactured paper and paper and board products. T. J. Wright & Sons, Ltd., pattern card makers, were established in Blackhorse Lane by 1902. The business appears to have ceased about 1954. A. E. Bangham & Co. Ltd., paper hats and novelties, was founded in 1925 in Grove Road, with six workers. The firm moved to Borwick Avenue in 1936. Its premises were damaged by bombing in 1940 and 1944 but were rebuilt in 1945. In 1949 100 workers and 100 outworkers were employed. Later the firm moved to the old motion picture studio in Wood Street. A new factory was built on the site when the studio was burned down in 1959. (fn. 233) St. Andrew Mills Ltd., makers of paper and paper goods such as tissues, opened in 1932 in St. Andrew Road. A factory was built near the mills in 1949. In 1955, when the mills were taken over by Bowater-Scott Corporation Ltd., there were 400 employees. (fn. 234)
Printing, and publishing of newspapers, are two of Walthamstow's oldest industries. The printing firm of James Phelp, Beulah Road, was founded in 1862. In 1870 Phelp assisted in printing Walthamstow's first weekly newspaper, the Walthamstow Chronicle and Leyton Intelligence, owned and edited by another printer, Joseph Shillinglaw. Phelp also produced a paper of his own, the Gazette, in 1870 and 1880. As J. C. Phelp & Son his firm continued until c. 1955. (fn. 235) The Walthamstow Press Ltd. was formed about 1923 to print the Walthamstow Guardian, founded in 1876 and previously printed in London. It bought the premises and plant of W. H. Everett, a High Street printer then recently deceased. In 1935 it moved to Guardian House in Forest Road, where a new foundry and rotary plant were installed. In 1937 the Press took over another local firm of printers, Buck Brothers & Harding Ltd., a partnership formed in 1912 by two older firms. (fn. 236)
Among other miscellaneous industries the Stepney Tyre & Rubber Co. Ltd., established in Blackhorse Lane by 1919, (fn. 237) ceased about 1958. R. A. Rooney & Sons Ltd., brush manufacturer, moved from London to its present premises in Higham Hill Road in 1901 and enlarged them in 1920. Many outworkers were employed in this trade. (fn. 238) The Crusader Manufacturing Co. Ltd., typewriter supplies, was founded about 1914 in Berwick Road. It moved in 1968 to the new Brunner Road industrial estate. Hollebrand Brothers, Farnborough Avenue, makers of briar pipes, was founded about 1914. Another briar pipe manufacturer, Hardcastle Pipes Ltd., moved in 1936 from Camden Town to Coronation Works in Forest Road. (fn. 239) The business ceased about 1968.
Toys have been manufactured on a large scale in Walthamstow for many years. A. Wells & Co. Ltd., later known as Wells-Brimtoy Distributors Ltd., mechanical toys, was established about 1920 in Somers Road. Between the World Wars it captured a large part of the German trade. The factory was moved some time after 1938 to Stirling Road, where there were about 700 employees in 1949. The works closed about 1965. (fn. 240) Britains Ltd., metal toys including authentically designed model soldiers, built a factory in Sutherland Road in 1951. In 1966 the firm adopted plastic in place of metal. The factory was transferred in 1968 to a new four-acre site in Blackhorse Lane. (fn. 241)
The plastics industry developed very early in Walthamstow. In 1896 British Xylonite, the first large outside company to move into Walthamstow, bought Jack's Farm (50 a.) at Hale End and opened a factory built there in 1897. The company pioneered the manufacture of celluloid in Britain and in 1921 began to produce lactoid, a non-inflammable substitute for it. In 1939 the Xylonite group was formed in association with the Distillers Co. Ltd. The Hale End works, under the name of Halex Ltd., became the centre of production of the group's plastics goods, such as combs and toothbrushes, with virtually a monopoly of table-tennis balls. In 1949 there were some 1,000 employees. A new factory was opened in 1960. In 1969 Halex Ltd. and British Xylonite Co. Ltd. were owned by Bakelite Xylonite Ltd. (fn. 242) National Plastics Ltd., plastics building components, moved to Walthamstow Avenue from Birmingham about 1953. In 1963 Celanese Building Components Ltd., a member of the Courtauld's group, joined them there to market their products. (fn. 243)
An unusual industry at Walthamstow was the production of motion pictures. (fn. 244) The Precision Film Co. built a studio at Whipps Cross in 1910. It ceased production in 1915. The British & Colonial Kinematograph Co. took over a roller skating rink in Hoe Street as studios in 1913. The company employed such actors as Jack Buchanan and Lilian Braithwaite, and produced When London Sleeps (1914) and The Battle of the Somme (1916). It was dissolved in 1924. The Cunard Film Co. Ltd. built a studio in Wood Street in 191314. Among its 'stars' were Gladys Cooper and Owen Nares. The company, which ceased in 1915, included The Call of the Drum (1914) among its productions. The Broadwest Film Co. took over the Wood Street studio in 1916 and specialized in filming novels and stage plays. Among its actors were Matheson Lang and Ronald Colman. The company went bankrupt in 1924 and its studio was taken over by British Filmcraft Ltd. in 1926. Its productions included a series on Dick Turpin filmed on location in Epping Forest. The industry was, however, struggling unsuccessfully against competition from Hollywood. The Wood Street studio was still in use in 19312 by Metropolitan Films Ltd., and in 1932 by Audible Filmcraft Ltd., but after 1933 it was occupied as a factory. It was burned down in 1959. The factory of A. E. Bangham & Co. Ltd. (fn. 245) occupies the site.
Walthamstow was one of the levels under the jurisdiction of the Havering and Dagenham commissioners of sewers. (fn. 246) It was not included in a survey of their levels in 1563, (fn. 247) but was rated in 1604 and 1613, and regularly from 1633. (fn. 248) The level extended from Fleetmouth to the Leyton boundary, and comprised the marshland lying between the river Lea and Dagenham brook, together with the meadows bordering the east bank of the brook. In 1747 it was measured as 809 a., of which 149 a. were open and 660 a. inclosed. There was little change for over 100 years; in 1850 144 a. were still open.
A marsh bailiff and a treasurer were appointed for the level, responsible to the commissioners, and a marsh jury to present defects. The bailiff saw that the orders of the court of sewers were carried out; he had no connexion with the manorial marsh bailiff, whose duties were associated with the agricultural use of the marshland and common rights of the inhabitants, which are described elsewhere. (fn. 249) The commissioners' concern was to maintain the drainage system of the level. To this end they levied an acreage rate on the owners and occupiers of lands in the level. Walthamstow was usually the lowest rated level under the commissioners' jurisdiction, assessed at a few pence only, having no problem from tidal flooding like the Thames-side levels, and no walls against the Lea to maintain. The court's orders related mainly to dragging and scouring ditches and sewers, cutting back willows, maintaining the banks of the Fleet or mill-stream, and preventing the occupant of the mill from penning up so much water that it overflowed them. The court also supervised foot-bridges laid across the common sewers.
From the mid 19th century the commissioners' responsibilities were increased by the construction of the railway and water companies' works on the marshland, requiring modification from time to time of the elaborate marsh drainage system. From the 1870s the commissioners waged an unremitting and successful campaign against a new threat, pollution of the watercourses by domestic sewage. (fn. 250) The recurring flood risk, however, remained their chief preoccupation. (fn. 251)
In 1934, under the Land Drainage Act, 1930, the Lee conservancy catchment board took over responsibility for the Walthamstow marshes from the commissioners of sewers. (fn. 252) Parliamentary sanction was given in 1938 to the construction of a flood relief channel from Tottenham through Walthamstow, eastward of the reservoirs, to an outfall in Leyton. Work on the channel, delayed by the Second World War, began in 1950. (fn. 253) The scheme involved building bridges to carry both railway lines and Forest Road over the new channel, and the diversion and filling in of parts of the Dagenham brook, Higham Hill sewer, and Blackmarsh sewer. The work was completed in 1960. (fn. 254)
Walthamstow lay wholly in the royal forest of Waltham. (fn. 255) In the Middle Ages it was in the bailiwick of Becontree hundred. (fn. 256) When the forest was reorganized in smaller 'walks' in the 16th century, a Walthamstow walk was formed. (fn. 257)
The chief forester or master keeper of the Walthamstow walk was appointed by the lord warden, usually for life, with a yearly fee of 12 paid by the exchequer and an allowance of 20 loads of dead logwood and a buck and doe annually. (fn. 258) The salary seems to have ceased by 1711. (fn. 259) W. T. Copeland, master keeper in 1857, stated in 1863 that his office was then virtually in abeyance. There were two underforesters for the walk in 1630, but only one by 1711, paid 20 a year by the Crown. (fn. 260) The lords of the manors of Walthamstow Tony and Higham Bensted both claimed in the 17th century to appoint their own woodwards. (fn. 261) The Walthamstow forest reeve, first mentioned in 1489, (fn. 262) was appointed by the vestry and sworn at the court of attachments. (fn. 263) He had charge of the key of the pound and the parish marking iron, the Walthamstow mark being the letter 'O' surmounted by a crown. (fn. 264) After 1878 the reeve was appointed by the forest conservators. (fn. 265)
By 1721 the stock of deer in the forest was diminishing, and to conserve them a ban on killing them in the walk, including fee deer, was imposed for 3 years. (fn. 266) Further restraints were imposed in 1744, 1748, 1754, and 1770. (fn. 267) By 1844 there were said to be only 3 or 4 brace in the walk and in 1848 3 brace. (fn. 268) In 1863 Copeland stated that he had only had a buck as fee deer once in his life. (fn. 269)
The numbers of deer went on dwindling in spite of official restraint because the depredations of poachers, (fn. 270) in particular the theft of fawns, (fn. 271) and the progressive destruction of their feeding grounds and cover, (fn. 272) continued. The widespread clearance of woodland and its inclosure for cultivation which took place in the Middle Ages has been described elsewhere. (fn. 273) By the 17th century the deer depended for survival mainly on the belt of open forest which remained on the east side of the parish between Whipps Cross and Chingford Hatch, then estimated as 442 a. in Walthamstow Tony manor (fn. 274) and 400 a. in Higham Bushes alias The Sale in Higham Bensted manor. (fn. 275)
During the next two hundred years the exploitation of Higham Bushes by the lords of the manor of Higham progressively shut out the deer or reduced their means of support in the north-east of the parish. The commoners' rights, described elsewhere, (fn. 276) were also eroded. The break-up of Higham Bushes was apparently begun in the mid 17th century by Sir William Rowe, who is said to have sold the timber on the inner 150 a. and fenced it, (fn. 277) and to have granted to the Russell family extensive long-term rights to dig gravel and brickearth, and to lop timber, outside the fence. (fn. 278) The fenced area was usually known as The Sale and the area outside it as Higham Bushes or Allens Lops. When Higham House was built in 1768 on The Sale's boundary with Woodford (fn. 279) Anthony Bacon, followed by his successors, William Hornby and John Harman, sought to convert The Sale into a private park. (fn. 280) After the forest verderers had declared in 1787 that Hornby's inclosure plans, if carried out, would ruin the deer and virtually disafforest that part of the walk, much recently erected paling was taken down, and customary roads and ridings through The Sale were reopened. (fn. 281) But when John Harman called in Humphry Repton to replan the grounds in 1793, Repton's plans included a sunk pale to exclude the deer from part of the park. (fn. 282) Development of Repton's plans led to further objections from the court of attachments in 17945. The court accepted the creation of the lake formed by widening the brook, because the water would benefit the deer, but only licensed the inclosure of Great and Little Sale Woods on the flanks of the park on condition that the deer were still free to pass in and out. (fn. 283) In 1820 the deer still had pasturage over 250 a. of the 323 a. which comprised the Higham House estate. (fn. 284) But in the following year Jeremiah Harman bought the Crown's forest rights in the manor wastes of Higham Hills, estimated at some 300 a., for 1,232, paying the lord warden 352 as compensation for the loss of his rights. (fn. 285) From 1821, therefore, the deer could be excluded from the Higham manor wastes at will.
Inclosure in Walthamstow Tony manor was by contrast negligible: 76 grants of waste made between 1700 and 1877 totalled only 10 a. (fn. 286) One of these grants, made in 1725, gave John Salter the 1 a. site at Forest Rise on which 'Salter's Buildings', including Forest Hall, were erected. (fn. 287)
By 1843 there was some 262 a. of open forest left in Walthamstow Tony manor (including Gilberts Slade and part of the Slip), but only about 157 a. to the north in Higham manor. (fn. 288) Between 1851 and 1866 a further 96 a. was inclosed in Higham Bushes, by then usually known as Higham Hills. (fn. 289) In 1877 about 240 a. of open forest remained in Walthamstow Tony, still subject to Crown rights, but the open manor waste of Higham Hills, between Chingford Hatch and Oak Hill, was reduced to 13 a. (fn. 290)
The forest in Walthamstow was by then a popular resort, visited by thousands in the summer months. (fn. 291) The movement to preserve the forest for the public was supported by the Epping Forest Fund Committee, formed in 1871, of which Septimus Morris of Walthamstow was an active member. (fn. 292) In 1876 the corporation of London bought from the Warner trustees some 122 a. of the manor waste of Higham Hills, with the forest rights. This purchase lay partly north-east of Highams Park, where the golf course was later laid out, and partly south of the park, as far as Oak Hill, and was to be held as open space for ever. (fn. 293) Following this, under the Epping Forest Act, 1878, about 300 a. of forest in Walthamstow was dedicated to the public. In 1891 a further 30 a. on the west of Highams Park, comprising a long narrow slip which was the last remnant of The Sale, and included the lake, was bought by the corporation of London as forest conservators from (Sir) Courtenay Warner; contributions towards the purchase were made by the local boards of Walthamstow and Woodford, and public subscription. (fn. 294) This addition linked the isolated portion of the forest bordering Chingford Lane with the rest of the forest to the south, at Hale End, so that once more Walthamstow's forest formed a continuous belt from Chingford Hatch to Whipps Cross, comprising in 1963 some 360 a. (fn. 295)