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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.

psimonk Mon 17-Dec-12 09:33:18

abooton - really sorry to hear of your bad experiences in Walthamstow, but I must stress that they're not the norm at all. And I also think your attitude to the entire area is just weird. You call Warner flats "pokey" but most people I know who live in them love them. You ask where you can send kids to school in the village, but there's the outstanding Ofsted-rated and really good Henry Maynard in the village. And you bemoan a lack of "genuine sense of community", something that just about most people on this board have highlighted the area as having. Then, of course, you top it off with: "They'll struggle to have any real education as one of a minority speaking English as a first language"...

Yeah, we know some parents like this. Personally, I'd term this most charitably as uninformed parent panic. And less charitably as a closeted form of racism.

My daughter goes to a school with a very high proportion of kids w. English as a 2nd language. And you know what? They all seem to speak English just fine, be fairly well behaved and get on well together.

sally321 Mon 24-Dec-12 07:31:16

Hi. W e are about to buy a house in Walthamstow and we would really appreciate some advice from people with knowledge of different parts of Walthamstow. We've looked at house prices all around Walthamstow and it seems more affordable in Highams Hill area. Is there any reason for that? Someone told us it is not a good area, but what does it exactly mean? Would you advice us agains buying there (aroudn billet road)?
We've also looked at area close to wood street station, such as greenway avenue. Any advice /comments as to this part of Walthamstow?
And finally the upper walthamstow such as hillside, pentire rd, carnanton, grantock, etc. Anyone could tell us what life is like there?
We are looking for a 3 bed house with ideally a big garden and it seems like these are the areas where we could find what we are looking for. But we definitely would like somewhere safe, as we have 3 small kids and we wouldn't like them to grow up in a bad neighbourhood. Please please please share your knowledge and experiences.
Thank you!

Hattie1234 Wed 23-Jan-13 09:31:16

We moved to 'stow' after living in 'stokey' for three lovely years. Bump came along and we wanted somewhere bigger. Its not so great for mummy and baby lunches but it's got a really groovy vibe. We live on village borders where we're soon opening our own halal butchers. Still looking to meet new friends in the area

Hattie1234 Thu 24-Jan-13 10:05:51

DH and I found it hard to move out of 'stokey' mostly because as well as 'groovy' cafes and shops we loved being able to say 'stokey' a lot with like minded 'stokey' friends. When we realised we couldn't afford 'stokey' DH and I were so relieved when we discovered 'stow', it's not quite as satisfying on the tongue but it sounds having lived in 'stow' awhile now and using the name lots with our like minded friends were really getting to love it.

Hattie1234 Thu 24-Jan-13 10:07:29

Does anyone know any other twee names for places near 'stokey' and 'stow'?DH and I would really appreciate some suggestions.

Fuchi Thu 24-Jan-13 14:06:16

I used to live there. I am a Londoner from not the nicest area, and even so I didn't get on with W'stow. The village is nice but as all have said, overpriced. I lived a long way from Tube, which didn't help. I'm sure there are nice places to buy, but I think there is better. I'd think about Clapton / North Finchley if still wanting to be vaguely in the same part of town. Sorry not to be more positive, just my experience.

MrsDukemore Thu 31-Jan-13 10:03:55

Sally321, I've lived in the Higham Hill area of Walthamstow with my husband for nearly 9 years. He grew up in Walthamstow and his family have lived here for over 30 years on the "Village Boarders". The thing about Walthamstow, is it's great, not because it's "up and coming" but because its always been great! The culture is vibrent, there is a strong sense of community between all ethnicities (not just the middle classers in the Village) and the transport links are fantastic and yes, the entire are is currently undergoing regeneration which is an added bonus. In any case, The Higham Hill area is generally pretty quiet. It is a 15 minute walk to Blackhorse Road tube station in the morning and a 25 minute brisk walk to Walthamstow Central which is nice to do on a Sunday morning for the local Farmers Market. Lloyds Park and the William Morris Gallery are a 10 minute walk away. The Primary Schools in the area are all brilliant. There are 3 really good ones within walking distance from Higham Hill Road. It isn't the prettiest are of Walthamstow but a regeneration consultation has begun with Waltham Forest Council. More information can be found here:
It is a perfectly fine area of Walthmstow to live in and as so many others have said before me, there is life outside of the Village!! Good luck and happy hunting!

Ladybird16 Sun 03-Feb-13 11:56:39

Hi Sally321, I live within the Upper Walthamstow area that you defined. I've lived here approx 6 years having previously lived in West and South London. I really like it here. We know most of our neighbours within around a 4 house distance and they were all really welcoming and helpful when we moved here. All are either retired or professional couples with children. For leisure we have Walthamstow/Epping Forest a few streets away and we go for lovely walks there when the weather is good. There is a boating lake near Whipps Cross Hospital; the recently refurbished William Morris Gallery and Lloyds Park a short bus ride away. We can walk to the village - we like walking, so the 30 min walk is ok with us - which has great restaurants and pubs. You've got the standard shops not too far away and Stratford Westfield a short drive away. I've also been keeping up with progress on the "Hall Farm Curve" which would restore a section of rail track connecting Walthamstow to Stratford, this could potentially go through Wood Street so it would be good investment-wise if it does happen, although this is unlikely for quite a few more years. Walthamstow Central itself is getting a lot of investment and the Arcade Site will be developed into a 9 screen Empire cinema with restaurants and some residential units. Back to this part of Upper Walthamstow: 3 bed houses are approx £275-£290, and they can normally be extended to 4 bed with the loft extended. The only issue with this area is I have just started looking at schools and we're not in the catchment area for any of the outstanding ones (as although they are nearby they have tiny catchment areas), fortunately we are CofE and there is a good CofE school nearby which is a possibility. All in all I would recommend the area but just review the schools issue first if it will affect you. Good luck!

redandblacks Sun 03-Feb-13 14:12:46

Just wanted to add my tuppence worth. I have lived in Upper Walthamstow for several years due to my DHs employment. I would not recommend it if you do not fit one of the two local stereotypes - MC ex-Stokey lefties (some of whom have posted on here and do not venture beyond the Village on foot) and Asian (mainly Pakistani) people ... it is extremely ethnically diverse but these are generally marginalised groups with high turnover rates. Btw the mc lefties stick within their cliques and rarely crossover to make friends with the Pakistanis and vice versa, though they are basically minimally polite to one another.
The Local Authority is dreadful, basically, as bad as it gets. If you ever have the misfortune of having to deal with them, a half an hour job will take six months to resolve with a lot of time and money frittered away in the process.
The education is patchy - most primary schools are now rated outstanding because the high EAL/SN quotas push up their ratings and they are very good at excluding additional needs kids from the school stats - often by stealth as the parents are none the wiser in some cases and unfortunately, don't actually understand what is (or isn't!) being done to help their child at school. If your children are normal and well-adjusted all the way through primary you would be fine. Let's just say that there are a great many unhappy parents who have found themselves outside of that category. It is not an area where it is particularly acceptable to question how things are run. You are either happy or you leave.
The best school is probably Greenleaf in Walthamstow Central. A lot of the MC lefties talk up their local primary school in the village. My daughter went there for a few years, it was awful (and we were certainly not the only ones unhappy with it!). It is run by a bunch of dishonest, aggressive control freaks who will do anything and everything to ensure that they come up smelling of roses if there is a problem - they are such experts at it that the grateful exStokeys who regard it as a social hub within their enclave would not believe how dreadful it can actually get. She is now at the Cof E primary and really thriving as are my other two.
As an area, there is increasingly greater range of places to eat out, the parks and green spaces are fine by local standards and neighbours have all been fine.

redandblacks Sun 03-Feb-13 14:22:11

The village has recently become a good place to come to rip off the newer residents who have been used to paying high prices in other parts of London. Take for instance, cupcakes at almost three pounds each along Orford Road or a new Kids Saturday film club showing home DVDs in a church hall for five pounds a child - given that the big screen cinemas are around a pound per child at the weekends and buses are free, why on earth would you charge that much? The fact that locals would pay it to maintain a standard is very telling.

NCT sale is decent though (although NCT itself v much geared to Village types) and tennis club is highly recommended

Ladybird16 Sun 03-Feb-13 20:51:13

I thought that I'd better just make it clear that I am neither of the 2 stereotypes that RedandBlacks described. I can partially see where the stereotypes have come from but it doesn't describe my street, not sure which part of Upper Walthamstow they are referring to. I have 2 retired couples, a few families that have lived in the area for decades - these are all English/Irish, an Asian family recently moved in and 3 Afro-Caribbean professional families as my neighbours. A pretty mixed bunch. I've not had much dealings with the Council so can't comment. I'm not originally from this area so I've gradually discovered the local places I now enjoy and I most definitely venture past the village by foot, car, bike......

HiMyNameIs Mon 04-Feb-13 20:51:17

Hi all - anyone have any advice/opinions/first hand experience of residing on any streets east of Chingford Rd, south of Billet Road in Walthamstow? Looking to buy a house and have had a few purchases fall through in the Lloyd Park area, so opening search a little wider...but really don't know this part of Walthamstow yet... I'm a keen walker, so not opposed to a stroll to public transport and have a bub on the way - any tips and insights appreciated!

Nomad2408 Tue 05-Feb-13 10:05:17

Hi Walthamstow mums. We wanted to ask all of you your opinion. We are especially interested to hear from people that have migrated from Stokey to walthamstow and the village. We are looking to open a really lovely artisan coffee shop within the village, we wanted to know if this would be something you would welcome? For those of you that know Stokey we are aiming for something a lot like Fred & Frans. We will do Barista prepared coffees, along with a wide selection of baked goods and pasties from E5 Bakery in Hackney. We want the place to be a welcome addition to the village and a hub for people to meet up and relax. All opinions welcome... Thanks!

redandblacks Wed 06-Feb-13 09:19:14

Hi Nomad - that sounds lovely but you must bear in mind that there is already an established Italian coffee shop as well as other cafe-restaurant type places such as Eat 17 offering coffee along Orford Road which are established meet-up places for mums. The Spar does loads of artisan bread and cakes and would be your main competitor (unless you would be doing it cheaper which I doubt). I think that the gastro-pub type places offer afternoon teas (though I don't go in them v often). A large gap in the market has been bridged by the North African coffee shops dotted along the main roads surrounding the village. Whilst they lack in atmosphere, the coffee and patisserie cannot really be bettered and is usually a lot cheaper. Further afield is Costa, La Cafeteria and the William Morris Gallery cafe which does excellent cakes. Other places such as Hornbeam and the two Rio's are also very popular. So the short answer is I dunno. Personally, I would like somewhere that is louder and less self-conscious than what is currently available along Orford Road. The problem with village cafes is that they are eerily quiet at certain times of the day and you almost feel as though you are interrupting the staff from socialising just by being there. It is very different to central London where you could pitch down with a tablet for a few hours. However, if you offered free Wifi I would probably come regardless of anything I have written above. wink

BemusedIsuream Thu 07-Feb-13 09:59:41

Nomad - I'm not sure why you're only asking people who came from Stoke Newington. There are lots of people here who don't come from Stoke Newington, come from other parts of London or indeed have lived here for years. I expect they also like coffee. This is an incredibly diverse area and although I don't agree with what Redandblacks says about there being only 2 groups of people here (my name will tell you how I feel about that!), I do agree with her about the lack of a necessity for a new coffee shop. Orford Rd already has 3 coffee shops and in the middle of a week day I think you'll find them pretty deserted - I'm pretty sure that Eat17 doesn't open until midday because of this. The Deli clears up the post school drop off nicely and the only gripe I'd have about it is the lack of toilet. What I'd really like to see on Orford Rd is a useful shop (a decent grocer/deli), rather than another coffee shop (or estate agent that I see is now opening). I hope this doesn't put you off entirely but I wonder if you should be looking at another area of E17 - have you looked up near the Bell corner? Interesting drag of shops, nr William Morris, tube etc. Or even Bakers Arms or Lea Bridge? There is life outside Walthamstow Village!

MrsDeVere Thu 07-Feb-13 10:16:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

redandblacks Thu 07-Feb-13 17:11:19

Actually, I would advise you to focus on Highams Park Village instead as it would benefit from your idea

MrsDeVere Thu 07-Feb-13 17:58:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Nomad2408 Sat 09-Feb-13 20:06:50

Hi. Thank you everyone for yours considered feedback, has made for an interesting read and some valid points made. Certainly we are not only aimed at people from Stokie! Apologies if that's how it read. It's more that I wanted to give an example of the type of establishment we are experienced at running. Today we viewed a great property on Beulah Road which is the old Beulah Village salon. We are considering having a deli/grocer section but it would only be fairly small. But I will take all points on board and we are looking at other areas within E17. We live in central E17 ourselves so maybe will look at empty shops this way. Any more feed back most welcome. Thanks again for all who replied.

RhubarbandCust Sat 23-Feb-13 13:46:54

Hi Nomad - I think that type of place would be lovely! But have you found that most people are against this idea? I hope not.

itsmummynotmum Mon 25-Feb-13 13:56:11

I moved out to Epping then to Suffolk from Walthamstow. Lived there 10 years. Got Burgled. Left. Simple as that!
In the time that we were there saw the area change - as it became more desirable so undesirables also moved in... v sad as full of character & history as a prev. post said.
We lived on the edge of the Village in a beautiful house btw

Rickeee Tue 05-Mar-13 11:35:26

I have been living in Walthamstow since January 2003. I would not recommend it.

Yes the ‘village’ is not bad, but it's also overpriced and hyped (it’s not that good either!). The rest of Walthamstow is grimy and drab. It’s one of the most densely populated areas of London and has a very high population churn, primarily of lower socio-economic groups and recent immigrants. There are no decent shops or restaurants (with the exception of a handful of establishments), there is no cinema, theatre or night life to speak of and religion is pretty much in your face. The endless rows of two-ups-two downs with tiny front gardens full of rubbish, dumped mattresses and eyesores of al descriptions can get to you eventually, although if you drive all the time and do not walk, you are unlikely to notice them. I didn’t think so at the beginning but after ten years I have come to the conclusion that Walthamstow is 99 per cent a dump.

If I had 450K to spend I would look elsewhere.

Ladybird16 Tue 12-Mar-13 22:35:35

Ok, I'm not on the tourist board for Walthamstow but I would say that Rickeee's views seem biased and are probably based on central Walthamstow. You would do well to seek out some of the nicer parts - which do exist, just as they do in most London boroughs, despite them being over-populated. If I felt that way about where I lived I would have moved by now, not stay 10 years.

I realise everyone has a right to their own opinion but I get quite sick and tired of people making negative blanket statements like this about an area. I get it a lot from people who live outside of London and have a narrow minded view of London in general. Either I'm living in a parallel universe or Walthamstows not half bad.

Gisla73 Thu 14-Mar-13 14:28:53

Hi MrsN11,
I don’t know if you have read the three ‘property’ articles in the Guardian, The Standard and Metro in the last three months: they paint a rosy picture Walthamstow. Unfortunately, ‘the Stow’ is not a great place to live. If you are looking for fast transport links to central London because that’s where your work and social life are, that’s fine. Equally, if you are looking for a relatively cheap area (not just property wise, but for grocery and non-grocery shopping) that’s also fine. Other than that, there is not an awful lot to be said for this place. Some days I call it cheap and cheerful, but if I were to be honest with myself, it’s mostly cheap and nasty. I moved here in 2006 where the expression up-and-coming was already being used: sadly there have been no improvements. The Council lacks vision and imagination: we are still waiting for a cinema and there is a gaping hole in Central Walthamstow which has been designated for ‘development’ for over a decade. The streets are dirty and the housing stock is poor. The market (frequently described as the longest market in Europe), and all the surrounding areas, from Walthamstow Central to St James Street tube/train stations are shabby, dirty and uncared for. Standards and expectations are poor wherever you go: from the public library to the local dry-cleaner, from your corner shop to the small post-office around the corner, from the Council services to the tatty old shops on Hoe Street and Market Street.

Rickeee Fri 15-Mar-13 10:52:27

Ladybird16, I assume that you mean ‘biased’ in the statistical sense of the word: as in an influence that disturb an analysis, since you go on to say that my views may be based on central Walthamstow. They are not. I don’t drive and I regularly walk the length and width of E17. The picture is pretty consistent and it’s not a very nice one. Of course there are areas of normality and decency in Walthamstow. The problem is that such areas are tiny islands in a sea of shabbiness occasionally bordering on squalor (have you noticed the homeless sleeping in tents on Selbourne Road?). It should be the other way around: there should be statistically insignificant ‘bad’ dots in an area of normality.

As for your statement ‘If I felt that way about where I lived I would have moved by now, not stay 10 years’…you’ve knocked me over with a feather. According to Zoopla, a grand total of 12 proprerties were sold within my postcode in the last 7 (seven) years, 1.7 sales per year. As soon as the housing market shows more of a pulse, I am will leave this depressing place.

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