History of the Walthamstow Stadium Area
This page is still under construction but already contains some interesting details. Anyone with knowledge of the history of this area is welcome to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with information and photographs or articles that can be included
In the meantime please enjoy the information we have compiled so far and the links we have located.
2016 February 17th Jack Chandler whose grandfather was responsible for Walthamstow Stadium's existence died today. He worked at the stadium for 48 years.
2016 February 10th With the restoration to the clock, neon lights and the greyhound completed and having undergone testing, the historical stadium frontage was lit up for the first time in many years. This video gives a glimpse into the restoration https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=014gvzfEF-I
Walthamstow Stadium was iconicised on the front cover of the band Blur's 1994 album called Parklife.
ANCIENT HISTORY OR RUMOUR?
The land where Walthamstow Stadium stands according to a board erected in Wood Street was used for bear baiting, hen racing and tiger racing. Apparently the tiger racing was stopped as they took a fancy to some of the bookmakers and ate them during one race.
It is believed it was a waste disposal site at one time.
There is an artesian well on Walthamstow Stadium
MYRTLE GROVE SPORTS GROUND
The rear part of the Walthamstow Stadium site was an athletic ground called the Myrtle Grove Sports Ground. The athletic ground appears on plans up to 1919.
WALTHAMSTOW GRANGE FOOTBALL CLUB & INSTITUTE
As far back as 1908 Walthamstow Grange Football Club and Institute which was renown in its day stood on the Walthamstow Stadium main site.
In 1908 Walthamstow Grange Football club joined the Spartan League Eastern Division and was runner up having lost the title on goal average. At some point they built a stadium.
William Oliver (born September 1892, date of death unknown) was an English professional footballer who played for Walthamstow Grange and Tottenham Hotspur. William Oliver began his career at Tottenham Hotspur before joining Walthamstow Grange. He re-joined Tottenham Hotspur in 1913.
When Bill Chandler bought the site, there was already a football stadium with two spectator stands in situ.
Here are the FA cup overall statistics for Walthamstow Grange
1908/09 - First qualifying round
1909/10 - Preliminary round
1910/11 - First qualifying round
1911/12 - Preliminary Round
1912/13 - First qualifying round
1913/14 - Fourth qualifying round
1914/15 - Fifth qualifying round
No statistics between 1915 to 1919 due to World War 1 which began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918
1919/20 - First qualifying round
1920/21 - First qualifying round
1921/22 - Second qualifying round
1922/23 - First qualifying round
1923/24 - First qualifying round
1925/26 - Preliminary round
1926/27 - Preliminary round
1927/28 - First qualifying round
1928/29 - First qualifying round
1929/30 - Preliminary round
1930/31 - First qualifying round
WALTHAMSTOW GREYHOUND STADIUM - THE STOW
Walthamstow Stadium was bought by William Chandler known as Bill Chandler for the sum of £24,000 and he first built on it in 1931 with works completing in 1933. In fact the frontage of the stadium is still the original from 1931. The concrete south stand, although altered, was built in 1938.
It is quite ironic that in those days Lt Colonel S S Mallison urged the Council to do something about the “injustice” saying dog racing had never been desired by residents with one resident stating property values had gone down by 50%. Now in 2012 residents are fighting to prevent overbuilding on the same site.
Walthamstow Stadium was officially opened by Amy Johnson a famous female aviator - the first woman to fly solo across the atlantic. She flew solo from Britain to Australia in 1930 and to Cape Town in 1932.
Between 1931 and 1943 Bill Chandler rebuilt the stadium 3 times until he was satisfied with the design and build.
The stadium has been used extensively for filming including Murphys Law-James Nesbit, The Long Firm - a BBC Thriller, Colour me Kubrick a French/English comedy and used for series such as The Bill.
In July 1945 Sir Winston Churchill delivered the final election campaign speech to a crowd of around 20,000 people at Walthamstow Stadium.
A Carnival Ball was held at Walthamstow Stadium on Thursday 21st October 1954 in aid of King George Fund for Sailors whose patron was Queen Elizabeth II.
More recent celebrity visitors included David Beckham, Blur, Lana Turner, Brad Pitt, Craig Charles (red dwarf) and John McCririck and Teddy Sheringham.
GREYHOUND RACING AT THE STADIUM
Officially opened by Amy Johnson Greyhound, the first ever greyhound race at Walthamstow Stadium took place on 15 April 1931
It had a larger attendance and income from gambling than any other dog racing track in the whole of the United Kingdom with a large spectator capacity. There were numerous major "open race" events, including the Arc, Stewards Cup, Puppy Stakes, Grand Prix and the Racing Post Festival.
The original track length was 306 yards or 279.81 metres. In 1949 the track was shortened to 282 yards or 257.86 metres.
The final race was held on Saturday 16 August 2008 at 23:00, the winner being No. 2 'Mountjoy Diamond'
MOTORCYCLING RACING AT THE STOW
Motorcycle speedway racing was staged at the Walthamstow Greyhound Stadium in Chingford Road in 1934 and again between 1949 and 1951. The home team was called Walthamstow Wolves and known as "The Wolves".
Walthamstow Speedway came into being when the Lea Bridge licence was revoked, with the Lea Bridge track closing on Friday 27 July 1934. The "Lea Bridge Riders" transferred to Walthamstow Stadium where the new Team The Walthamstow Wolves was formed.
Initally the Walthamstow Wolves rode in Red racing jackets with white numbers It is rumoured they later adopted a black racing jacket with a white star however records and photos show black racing jackets sporting a two tone black and white shield with three wolves.
Their first home match was held on Thursday 16 August 1934 at Walthamstow Stadium and, according to the Walthamstow Guardian was attended by 11,000 people. The opening ceremony was carried out by Australian Pioneer Victor Nelson Huxley "Vic Huxley" winner of the Starriders Championship in 1930.
The speedway side of things at Walthamstow Stadium was managed by Dicky Maybrook and the first ever Walthamstow Wolves Team included Dicky "Dusty" Haigh, Cyril "Squib" Burton and Arthur George "Bluey" Wilkinson.
There are some great pictures on the links below including some which show the shield with the three wolves which became their logo.
Motorcycle racing stopped in the 1950s due to a decline in attendance and complaints of noise from local residents. The track itself was covered in tarmac for easier maintenance of the dog track but still exists below the tarmac which could still be seen at the time the stadium closed.
CAR RACING AT THE STOW 1962-1974
Between 1962 and 1968 Walthamstow Stadium was home to BriSCA "Senior" F1 and "Junior" F2 stock cars, raced by Londoners such as Rod Dore, Vic Ferriday, Maxie Bacon, Barry Brew, and more.
From 29th March 1968 to the end of the 1974 racing season Spedeworth promotion had responsibility for the running of car racing at Walthamstow with their Superstox, Stock Car, Hot Rod, Banger and Midget Racing. It is believed that the car racing ended due to complaints relating to noise from residents in the Chingford Mount area..
CHARLIE CHAN’S NIGHTCLUB 1984 to 2007
Charlie Chan’s Nightclub was opened within the foundations of the clock tower in 1984 It closed permanently in November 2007.
WALTHAMSTOW STADIUM CAR PARK SITE,
SALISBURY HALL & SALISBURY HALL MANOR
Salisbury Hall also known as Walthamstow Sarum was one of five local Manor Estates in the area. It was a large estate with the Manor House being sited on the Walthamstow Stadium Car Park Site
The manor on Salisbury Hall is mentioned as far back as 1303.
In 1442 the manor of Salisbury Hall was the property of Sir William Tirwhit. It descended to Sir Thomas Tirwhit, who held it under Margaret Countess of Salisbury, and died in 1522 . In 1558, Queen Mary granted this manor (described as formerly parcel of the possessions of Robert Tirwhit, and leased by Henry VIII to Richard Johnson) to Sir Thomas White and others.
The land reverted to the crown during Henry VIII’s reign
Sir Roger Ascham became tutor to Princess Elizabeth in 1548. When she came to the throne in 1558 Queen Elizabeth I Roger Ascham moved to Walthamstow, taking up residence in Salisbury Hall Manor. The grand house cost Ascham £20 a year in rent to the Queen, which even back then was considered a bit of a bargain.
In 1568, at the age of 52, he died of an unidentified illness. On hearing the news Queen Elizabeth was said to remark: “I would rather have cast ten thousand pounds in the sea than [be] parted from my Ascham."
The Archery Club Ascham Bowmen is based at the nearby Forest School and was founded in 1942. This club trains and submits the LBWF Archery Team for the London Youth Games the latest one being held in 2011.
It was granted by Queen Elizabeth I to Robert Symons in 1590 and he resided there from 1590 to 1623 when it passed to his son Thomas Symons.
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. There were estimated to be only 425 acres of arable in the parish in 1794.
In 1667 it was owned by Richard Edge and subsequently passed to his son James Edge who left it to Merchant, Richard Sheldon. It passed to Richard Fellowe whose will dated 1761 left it to his cousin George Dickerdine, a minor who assumed the name Rice Fellowe
In 1777 on the Chapman and Andre map Salisbury Hall is shown as a cluster of 4 buildings surrounding a formal garden
In 1778 Rice Fellowe sold the manor to William Cooke. On his death it passed to his sister Mrs Hannah Cooke. The site was known as Walthamstow Sarum.
“Common of pasture in the forest “was claimed in the 17th century and later for every manor in Walthamstow except apparently Salisbury Hall.
In 1786 it had an open ended North Courtyard with a range of buildings to the south.
In 1843 Salisbury Hall farm comprised 224 acres. The last 141 acres of Salisbury Hall were sold for building in 1904.
By 1939 there had been considerable demolition of the buildings on the Stadium Car Park area.
Walthamstow suffered heavily with bombings during the second world war and in 1952 Salisbury Hall itself was demolished. The actual hall itself was first mentioned in 1499 lying south of the Ching on the West side of Chingford Road. A timber framed house built there in the 16th century was subsequently demolished by the local council in 1952. During the demolition & subsequent excavation the medieval foundations were revealed.
The 1955 ordinance survey map shows two large buildings survived.
The Car Park area was sold to the Chandler family and became a car park for the Main Walthamstow Stadium site.
Walthamstow Antiquary Society carried out excavations in 1953-1955 on the car park site.
SALISBURY HALL PLAYING FIELDS
Part of the original Salisbury Hall land, the Playing fields opened here in the early 20th Century by Hackney based Major Charles Villiers for Hoxton Manor boys club. The land had previously been a dairy farm on the site of Salisbury Hall.
ALLOTMENTS - SALISBURY HALL
Known as Hoxton Manor Allotments. The allotment site was set up in 1957 on what had been council run playing fields which were originally part of the Salisbury Hall land. The allotments were set up for plot holders who had lost sites at Eton Manor allotments due to Ruckholt Road being constructed.
GRASS AREA FRONTING WALTHAMSTOW STADIUM
The grassed area in front of the stadium is part of Epping Forest.
WADHAM LODGE and WADHAM LODGE FARM
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.
In 1906 John Hitchman was one of only 3 cow keepers locally. He came to Chapel End in 1867, leased and later bought Wadham Lodge farm, and from 1886 also leased Clay Street or Chestnuts farm. 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. In 1968 Hitchman's, a member of the Unigate group, had branch dairies in South Chingford, Walthamstow, and Leytonstone.
The building Wadham Lodge Farm was sited (looking from Wadham Road down Wadham Avenue) to the immediate right of Wadham Avenue according to a circa 1940s map.
In 1938 a large modern dairy for processing milk was opened on Walthamstow Avenue. In 1968 Hitchman's, a member of the Unigate group, had branch dairies in South Chingford, Walthamstow, and Leytonstone.
In 1969 the main concentrations of industry were at Hale End, in Fulbourne Road, in Walthamstow Avenue and Billet Road, and on the two council-owned industrial estates in Blackhorse Lane.
Philips Records Ltd. bought a factory in Walthamstow Avenue in 1958, which became one of the most modern record pressing plants in Europe.
The Holiday Inn Express Hotel in Walthamstow Avenue was partly built on the dairy site.
THE RIVER CHING
River Ching was previously known as “the Bourne”
In 1332 The river Ching, called the Bourne, entered the parish at Chingford Hatch and flowed west via Salisbury Hall to join the Lea at Hanger's Bourne, now under Banbury reservoir
HALE END SPORTS GROUND
This was previously known as the London Hospital Athletic Ground and had tennis courts on the small triangular piece of land between Grove Park Avenue and Wadham Road. It is now owned by Arsenal.
CHRIST THE KING CHURCH
This is built on the site of a chapel which was attached to Salisbury Hall Manor and where the name Chapel End originates from.
Christ the King Church was originally built in 1932 and used by Roman Catholics.
It was demolished in 1995-6 and rebuilt built in 1996 by Scott Tallon Walker, replacing It is a landmark on the North Circular Road in Brown brick with a triangular bell-tower. Inside are furnishings by Herbert Read of St Sidwell's Artworks, Tiverton. There is a small Blessed Sacrament chapel, with an engraved metal tabernacle and abstract stained glass by Sarianne Durie, 1998.
PARMINTERS SCHOOL SPORTS GROUNDS
Situated in Nelson Road the sports ground used to be far bigger than it is now.
It was named after Thomas Parminter who died in 1682. He was a silk Merchant who directed that on the death of his wife his property should be given to trustees who were to build six almshouses and a free school in Bethnal Green. Parminters School was subsequently built and based in Bethnal Green, but moved out of London in 1981 and is now in Watford. In 1920 land was purchased in Highams Park to provide a sports ground. The school obtained its own sports centre in Watford and sold their land here to the local authority who facilitated use by the Old Boys Association which continued for a while after the sale.
The sports ground is still used by local teams but used to be far bigger than it is now. It was the home of Parmiters WFC and is now home to Woodhurst Football Club formed in 1987 but I cannot find any records online after 2006.
ROWDEN PARK GARDENS
Rowden Park used to front Chingford Road but was replaced by houses locally including Rowden Park Gardens
EMPRESS AVENUE & GROVE PARK AVENUE
These two roads contain the oldest houses in the immediate area. The houses were built before the Great War (World War I) with the River Ching providing the North Boundary. Grove Park Avenue was part of Jack's Farm.
In the 1940s all the roads within our association apart from Salisbury Hall Gardens were sited within Highams Park
Houses on Salisbury Hall Gardens being the newest built in the association area.
Was the other side of the Billet Roundabout in the Brookscroft Road area.
more details and photos to follow
With thanks to Vestry House Museum and everyone who has uploaded articles on the worldwide web.