Walthamstow, London, UK

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A district of East London, semi-notable for a variety of reasons, though none of them very compelling. Cosmopolitan yet somewhat grotty, grotty yet somewhat cosmopolitan, it manages to successfully disguise from casual visitors the fact that it is quite a nice place to live.

Walthamstow has made two major contributions to world culture.

  • William Morris, late socialist philosopher and designer of foliage-bedecked wallpapers. He left his house behind him,1 and it remains just about the only official "sight" in the borough. When he lived in Walthamstow, it was still a village in Essex, so at least the place has made some progress since then.
  • East 17, not-very-good boy band of the early nineties. Named after the Walthamstow postcode, and even released an album called Walthamstow, but after a brief moment in the spotlight, they eventually sank into obscurity.

It has also made one minor contribution to world culture, namely donating its "Wal" to the fictional borough of Walford in "Eastenders".

Good points of living in the 'Stow, as some residents call it, are cheap rent, access to all the fun of the Victoria Line2, and that superior feeling one gets when mocking the denizens of lesser London areas (i.e. Chingford and Leytonstone).

Things to do in Walthamstow

  • Go down the market and marvel at the unparalleled range of exotic vegetables on sale. These include yams, eddoes, plantains, kamalas, yams, christophenes, yams, chips and yams. Marvel also at the unparalleled range of cheap rubbish on sale, and the almost unparalleled range of things-that-dropped-off-the-back-of-a-lorry on very-quick-sale-before-the-old-Bill-catch-us.
  • Visit Doobry's bagel shop and eat a warm bagel.
  • Admire the wide selection of cod-medieval tat that adorns the walls of Ye Olde Rose and Crown pub. This salubrious drinking establishment was formerly known as "just" the Rose and Crown, but sometime in 1998 passed the official historical age beyond which it is allowed to call itself "ye olde" (probably about 6 years). Other acceptable public houses include the Village, the Bell and the Lord Palmerston, but they lose points for not having any dead animal heads hanging off the walls.
  • Sit in Lloyd Park and watch the squirrels.
  • Go to the dogs, quite literally. Down at Walthamstow dog track, you can watch skinny mutts run round and round chasing after a fake bunny rabbit, and bet on which one will fail to catch it first. Somehow they never realise it's not real...
  • Thank your lucky stars you don't live in Leytonstone. (See Appendix A.)

Appendix A: Things to do in Leytonstone

  • Leave while you still can.

1Well, you can't take it with you, you know.2Just so long as you're not sitting next to Mr Scratchy

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