David Bailey’s East End Faces is currently on display at the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow. As a Walthamstow resident-to-be – I thought it prudent to check out the weekend vibes in my new area, as well support the art scene and learn a bit about William Morris: local 19th Century hero.
The gallery is based in a listed Georgian house, once home to William Morris and his family, in Lloyd Park, and was refurbished in August 2012. There’s now a glass box cafe out the back – blindingly bright, in the best possible way – looking out over the gardens.
Bailey’s contribution was a little disappointing – one small room of photographs – but they give you a real taste of 1960s east end London:
I didn’t know he was also a printer, poet, socialist, fashion designer…
The first floor of the house-cum-gallery is dedicated to Morris: his work, ideals, achievements. He believed that art should be inclusive and accessible to everyone (the gallery is free), and started socialist rallies promoting his communist ideals.
There are quotes lining the walls, from Conran – amongst other designers, artists, writers and makers – all paying homage to Morris’ work and ethics.
After a lovely lunch in the gallery, we walked to (what Walthamstow claims to be) the longest market in Europe and had a wander through – past colourful African textiles, stalls blaring reggae, fruit & veg – and then made our way to The Village. The so-called village is actually one road: Orford Road, with a handful of restaurants, pubs and cafes – but the surrounding residential area does have a village-feel to it.
Walthamstow is rather quaint and – though the market was rammed, and there were lots of families and couples wandering around the village – peaceful.
We had a cup of tea and a slice of lemon drizzle cake then walked to Hoe Street, where I hopped on a 48 bus to Clapton and Mum got on the (very convenient) Victoria Line to Finsbury Park. We were both home in about 15 minutes.
Looking forward to moving to Walthamstow and uncovering more of the hidden gems I’ve been reading about: the Mill, theatre and poetry at the Rose and Crown, a couple of newly-taken over pubs…