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What's it really like to live in walthamstow?

(171 Posts)
MrsN11 Mon 01-Oct-12 19:27:37


I'm looking for some advice from fellow 'stow MNers who live in the area.

I put up a post ages ago asking for suggestions about where DH and I should live. We currently live in Stokey and have approx 450k to spend on our next property. I work east & DH works west! We love Stokey, but realise that Walthamstow would offer us more space for our budget.

So what is 'stow really like to live in? Dodgy? Safe? Fun etc? We've visited the area & the "village" is pretty but also tiny - does it feel claustrophobic being there? Queen's park is another option (need to be close to tube) but some parts look tired. But first impressions can be wrong!

Everyone says it's up-and-coming, but has much changed there in the last 5 years?

Be great to hear your thoughts! Thank you.

lalalonglegs Mon 01-Oct-12 19:37:36

I walked through there for first time in years on Friday - there are tonnes of cake shops. I know that's not very helpful but I wondered if anyone who lives there could explain why.

ecuse Tue 02-Oct-12 11:44:38

Hopeful bump as we're in similar position. Currently in Stokey, looking at N15 for ease of transport and good schools (in specific areas) but also considering broadening our horizons to Walthamstow as there's so little on the market at the moment.

elportodelgato Tue 02-Oct-12 11:52:01

Stealthy plug for own area...

Have you looked in Clapton? We lived in Stokey for ages but when we had to move and buy a bigger place we ended up in Clapton and found it was much more affordable while still being in Hackney. It's not so murder-mile-y as it used to be, in fact some quite alarming encouraging signs of gentrification going on (Clapton Hart, Sodo, Chatsworth Rd market etc). Schools pretty good too, marshes nearby and train is 15 mins to Liv St.

EdMcDunnough Tue 02-Oct-12 12:00:03

My sister lives there since a few years ago and she loves it. She says there is a lot of history, a lot of culture, also a lot of demonstrations and so on grin

But she likes the city and likes people and bustle and noise...I couldn't bear it myself...but she really likes it.

Also their house is apparently lovely, I haven't seen it yet but very nice victorian place. She hasn't ever said she felt unsafe even during the riots.

EdMcDunnough Tue 02-Oct-12 12:00:44

If there is cake then that explains why she is happy grin

bakingaddict Tue 02-Oct-12 12:09:42

Lloyds park is nice with the William Morris musuem and has recently been done up

The village is pretty and quaint but lots of the houses there are over-priced

Henry Maynard school gets outstanding by Ofsted but the secondary schools apart from Walthamstow school for girls are dire

Bit too many pound shops and Halal butchers down the high street, makes it look cheap but lots of variation though, Oriental supermarkets, Afro-Carribean, Turkish etc. I think there is a lot of cake shops because the area has a pretty big muslim population. Lots of the teenagers seem to hang out at the ice-cream parlours and lots of men socialising in the coffee/cake shops

TheCokeMachine Tue 02-Oct-12 20:36:44

I lived there for 14 years and only moved out in August. I have a real affection for the place, but there is good and bad.

The Village is way overpriced, the roads are narrow, parking is a nightmare, primary school catchment is about 0.2 miles (and if you don't get into your local school the council can ship you out anywhere in the borough) and secondary education is one of the worst in the UK. All things child related are way over subscribed.

There are some lovely things, the Nags Head cat wall always makes me want to adopt some cats, The Queens is a proper East End boozer in the middle of the Village, the Art Trail is fab and Walthamstow (unofficial) Tourist Board on Facebook is classic. Lloyds Park is great and Epping Forest is on the doorstep. The Victoria Line is super fast into Kings Cross and the overground rail is fast to Liverpool Steet.

I never felt unsafe when living there, and I've staggered home from the last tube a fair few times. You know where is safe and where you should avoid, it is obvious - just don't walk into a tower block estate! Crime doesn't seem to overspill from bad areas into other places.

Personally we left the area because of the houses of multiple occupancy, lack of school places, the councils continual building of social housing on any patch of grass they could find and the real lack of money/investment in the area.

The thing with the Stow is that there are middle class people moving in (there always have been - we did it!), but they are people who have been priced out of Islington, not cash rich banker types - it's brought a steady influx of new people but they don't seem to be bringing money to the High Street - they are probably too busy paying their mortgages and frequenting the few shops in Orford Road (yes I find the Village claustrophobic too!).

Everywhere else it's the same old Pound Shop/Halal Butcher/Bowl of fruit for £1 stuff that has always been there. It will be a long time before the general demographic changes, I was told it was 'Up and Coming' when I moved there in 1998 and I didn't really see that happen.

Gosh I've just gone on a bit! Hope that helps.

BemusedIsuream Wed 03-Oct-12 21:18:24

We moved to the Stow a few years ago from Stokey and haven't looked back! And I know quite a few other people who've done the same. We're on what they call 'Village Borders' and we absolutely love it. We know all our neighbours and of all the places I've lived in London it is the first where I've felt part of a community. So, it has it's rough bits - doesn't any part of London? - but it's definitely an area on the up. There are lots of good primary schools and I would counter the opinion that the secondary schools are a disaster. I've neighbours who are very happy with their kids being at Frederick Bremer or Leytonstone. I disagree with what Cokemachine says about the area not changing at all. But then again I also don't have a problem with houses with multiple occupancy housing or areas with much needed social housing! The new William Morris gallery and Lloyd Park have recently reopened and are just great and there's apparently a lot of money being poured into regenerating the high streets, schools, parks and leisure centres.
PLUS you're on the Vic Line and 10 mins from 12 miles of beautiful forest. And you can't beat the sound of the geese flying over at the beginning and end of the day. Come and have a look around, you may well be very surprised!

herbaceous Thu 04-Oct-12 10:09:09

We moved from Hackney to Walthamstow six years ago, to be able to afford a house, and love it here. Amusingly, when we moved, the road was described as 'village borders', but is now called 'heart of the village'!

I love it too. Hoe Street can be a bit grim and noisy, but no more than any main drag in London, and at least the council's been pretty avant-garde in banning the creation of any more fast-food places.

There is a real community feel round here. Maybe it's because I'm around in the day, rather than working as I did in Hackney, but I say hello to people in the streets all the time, and know both our neighbours really well.

As it's quite cheap still it's quite arty, with lots of teachers, museum curators, etc reiki healers living here, and its fair share of crafty, vintagey, bloggy stuffy going on.

Primary schools all seem to be 'good' or 'outstanding', though catchment areas are indeed quite small, something I'm annoyed I didn't consider when buying the house, as our three-year-old will be going next September.

I was brought up in a small town in Hertfordshire, and am far happier here than I ever was there.

Woodlands Thu 04-Oct-12 10:15:12

I absolutely love it. I echo what everyone else has said - there's a real community feeling and while it's shabby, there's always stuff going on. For £450k you'll be able to get a really nice house (did anyone see it on Location Location Location last week?).

Never noticed the tons of cake shops - where?

Merrow Fri 05-Oct-12 15:43:48

I moved to the village a couple of months ago and love it! It actually has made me like London – after years of merely tolerating it as useful. Fantastic transport links, and enough going on locally that you don't feel you need to leave. Think the village would be frustrating if you had a car though.

hellymelly Fri 05-Oct-12 15:47:46

My brother lived in the village bit for years, he had a very pretty little cottage. He loved Walthamstow and I found it a friendly place. I have friends who have been there for years and have a lovely house, there is a lot of attractive family property, and it has a good community feel. I prefer it to Stokey meself.

herbaceous Fri 05-Oct-12 16:41:58

I wonder who you all are! I bet our paths have crossed in a park, music group, etc...

Woodlands - I did see it on Lx3 last week. One of the women they interviewed on the street cuts my son's hair!

I think the cake shops are mainly on the top bit of Hoe Street - Delice, etc.

MrsN11 Fri 05-Oct-12 17:12:16


Thanks everyone for your feedback - really useful to hear your perspectives. We did take a wander round 'Stow and (bar the village) my first impressions weren't that great (bumped into a police and a riot van following a shooting in the Queens area!).....but I think I've been spoilt having been born and brought up in Edinburgh where there are soooo many nice areas, that I'm still trying to get used to London living and how small London properties are. And often my first impressions can be wrong as I didn't like Hackney when I first arrived here from Edinburgh, but I've now come to love it!

What does sound good about Walthamstow is the community vibe. But what CokeMachine says about the area not really changing much over a length of time does worry me. I'll probably sound really snobby, but I do love the whole organic cafe/ farmers market/ nice restaurant thing...

Elportodelgato - I thought Clapton was too expensive for us? Be nice if it's not!

I see there's another thread under this section (moving from Stoke Newington/Crouch end) which I probably should follow too!

herbaceous Fri 05-Oct-12 17:36:36

Clapton is nice, but only in parts, and has blardy awful transport links compared to the Stow.

E17 does have its rough spots, but in six years I've never seen a riot van so I think you were very unlucky!

I'd love to live in an area chockablock with organic coffee shops and cheese tasting trattorias, but in the absence of a massive inheritance, it's not going to happen. And for the price, Walthamstow's a lot better than places of equivalent cheapness, such as Leyton, Tottenham, etc. IMVHO, of course!

herbaceous Fri 05-Oct-12 17:36:58

Oh and we do have a farmer's market every Sunday!

Windowbasket Fri 05-Oct-12 23:20:18

I lived in Walthamstow for years, I rented a house with friends and eventually bought my first property there in the Blackhorse Road area. I have good memories - but for me it was a happy day when I moved away. I have two young children and would not want to bring them up there, it's just not for me. The day before I was due to exchange contracts on the house, a young man was found dead - murdered - in his car, which had been left outside his mother's house. When I was renting, one of my friends was mugged twice in our road. Maybe things have improved , that was 8 years ago.

rubyslipper Sat 06-Oct-12 21:58:38

Seriously all you Stokey people, please stay there. Some awful and ignorant comments on here. The village is only overpriced because of all the Stokey nobs who move out here and are stupid enough to pay that much.

MoreBeta Sat 06-Oct-12 22:01:15

Do they still have 'Walthamstow Dogs'?

Rosebud05 Sat 06-Oct-12 22:18:25

NO! The iconic dog racing stadium closed a few years ago, I believe.

Lozislovely Sun 07-Oct-12 00:33:55

Moved away a few years ago. Good neighbours and friends but burglary, knife pulled on hubby and half hearted schooling made our minds up to move as far away as possible.

The 'village' is nice but over priced.

Might have changed in the last few years but still not the sort of place I'd want to bring my kids up.

herbaceous Sun 07-Oct-12 08:52:48

Out of interest, all you people who moved away, where did you go?

Lozislovely Sun 07-Oct-12 21:53:10

I moved to to Leicestershire, best decision I've made so far.

Windowbasket Mon 08-Oct-12 07:43:36

Herbaceous - we moved to West Sussex and love it here.

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