Highams Park Forum
A group of local people all interested in the betterment of life in their area.

Seen locally (2011 - 2008)

Following the planned closure of the Forum at the end of 2019 this website is now mothballed. It will not be updated further but remains as an interesting archive and can be browsed as normal. All Forum functions have transferred to the Highams Park Planning Group. Click here for details

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Seen locally (2011 - 2008)

For more recent "Seen locally" items, click here: "Seen locally (2013 - 2012)"
For "Seen locally" archive, click here: "Seen locally" archive

23rd July 2011 - Tesco's site - demolition proceeds apace

Tesco's site demolition proceeds apace as the buildings close to Larkshall Road are being demolished. It will soon be possible for an uninterrupted view of Larkshall Road to be seen from Selwyn Avenue houses.

Recent road works for the new housing development on the other side of Larkshall road has caused much congestion, in the area, possibly a foretaste of the traffic problems foreseen once the Tesco's development opens in 2012.

Tesco's site demolition close to Larkshall Road

18th July 2011 - Rain Water Pipes?

The Waltham Forest Pipe Band marched in torrential rain from Highams Park station to Vincent Green to open Highams Park Day 2011 on Saturday (16th July). A group of hardy locals with umbrellas marched along with them to give support.

As they reached the green they received a big round of applause for battling through the elements.

Also made of stern stuff were the stallholders. Virtually everyone who had booked a space turned up as planned and the green was full of activity, making it the biggest Highams Park Day to-date. (I'll post a photo if I can find a camera that didn't float away).

Roger Torode braved the elements (and risked getting a rusty camera) to capture the scene.

Waltham Forest Pipe Band march down Vincent Road

9th June 2011 - Water Lilies on the Lake

As June begins, some spectacular Water Lilies appear on Highams Park Lake.

Water Lilies on Highams Park Lake

25th March 2011 - Sunrise & Sunset over Highams Park

Impressive colours in the sky at sunrise and sunset. People often photograph sunrises and sunsets when they are on holiday in exotic countries. However, this pair of photos proves we can sometimes be treated to a stunning show closer to home.

(above) Sunrise - Looking east towards Woodford County High school for Girls (formally the "Highams" manor house)
(above) Sunset - Looking southwest across the old Truman's Playing fields.

8th December 2010 - Father Christmas at the station

Father Christmas visited the Xmas Fayre that was held in Highams Park Station car park on Sunday (5th Dec). There were no reindeer in sight so we assume he uses the train whilst in London.

08DEC10: Father Christmas comes by train?

4th December 2010 - Battle of Britain on Ice?

At first sight the title looks like it might refer to some kind of surreal event worthy of the film "The Producers". In reality it refers to the two photos below, taken on the same day a week ago and sent in by "Mr Teatime".

The first is an interesting reflection of the blue sky in the ice on a fishpond. The second is a rather strange set of vapour trails. To quote the sender: "I would have expected to see nice straight vapour-trails, but it looks like there was some Mad Local Weather going on that day. Looks like what I imagine the Essex Sky might have looked like during the Battle of Britain."

26NOV10: Reflection of blue sky in ice + unusual vapour trails

6th November 2010 - Blue Sky Thinking

Prompted by the rainbow picture further down this page, "Mr Teatime" sent in a photo of a rainbow over Highams Park taken in the summer. And just to prove that it's not always raining here, he accompanied it with a photo of a stunning blue sky taken at the same location at the end of October.

This second picture is looking straight up and highlights an interesting point: How do you photograph blue sky without the photo being just a blue rectangle? Answer: You deliberately get your head in the way. [So..... useful photographic tips too. Very educational this website?]

Rainbow 18AUG10 and Blue Sky 24OCT10

14th October 2010 - Development rises at last

The development on the corner of Handsworth Avenue and Church Avenue is starting to make itself visible. This was the site of the Methodist Church and Hall. There was initially a long delay before work started and then a lot of the initial work was below ground. When planning permission was sought by the developer, the Forum commented to the planning committee that it felt the proposal was too high and would dominate the location. The developer felt that the slope of the road would compensate. We shall soon see.

Development rises at last

17th September 2010 - Rainbow and new generation Bus

David Shepherd snapped this pair of photos with his phone. The first is of a rather nice rainbow over Highams Park during the heavy rain on the 7th September. The second is of a new style double decker bus which has been recently introduced on route 212 (seen here in Winchester Road on its way to Chingford Station). Apparently its called an "SD series" bus. So now you can impress your friends with your encyclopedic knowledge!

Rainbow and SD Series Bus

6th September 2010 - Stargate in The Avenue?

If you've not seen the film or TV series, you'll be puzzled by the picture's title. They've been pretty clever disguising the portal as a coil of gas pipe.

Stargate in The Avenue?

6th June 2010 - New tube trains at Walthamstow Central

David Shepherd snapped a picture of a new design tube train at Walthamstow Central.

David writes: "I was at travelling home the other day and was delighted get on to one of the new tube trains at Finsbury Park. It looks as if we can travel into London using shorter journey times when the entire stock of the 40 year old trains are replaced.

The Victoria Line at Walthamstow Central Station provides an essential link to Central London for residents in Highams Park. Originally intended to reach as far as Wood Street it never made it, as did proposals to join the Central Line at South Woodford or Woodford.

Now the rolling stock is being updated (see pictures of the latest and the original tube trains below) we can expect faster journeys into town.

The Highams Park Forum continues to support the aim to link Chingford to Stratford via the Hall Farm Curve (to be seen on the left of the line as the overground line leaves St James Street). When (or is it if ?) this link is re-opened we will have really good links to The City, The West End, and Stratford, enabling residents to get quickly to the job opportunities that will arise over the coming years."

A new tube train at Walthamstow Central
An original tube train at Walthamstow Central

24th May 2010 - Old photo of the prefabs in The Highams Park

Observant visitors to the park next to Highams Park Lake (confusingly named "The Highams Park") might be puzzled by a few of its strange looking features:

- The tarmac paths: Why are they so wide?
- The drains: Aren't they unnecessarily large?
- And, what are those odd "giant banjo" shapes indented into the grass?

The answer to all these puzzles lies in a bit of local history. After the second world war the desperate need for housing meant that the park became the site for an estate of single story prefabricated buildings ("prefabs"). 176 families were housed in the estate until 1960 when the buildings were removed and the grounds were returned to parkland. The wide paths, drains, and banjo shaped roads hidden beneath the ground, are reminders of what was once here.

We recently noticed that The Highams Resident's Association has an interesting photo of the park on their website, taken when the prefabs were still there. Click the link below to open the Association's website and navigate to the photos. Then scroll down to find the photo "Prefabs in the Highams Park". Click on the photo to see it full size.

Link : HRA Website. [Update: Unfortunately a change to the Association's website means you now need a Flickr logon to view these photos. An alternative place to view photos of the prefabs is here: www.highamsparkprefabs.co.uk]

28th March 2010 - Aerial photos taken 2008/9

We stumbled across some interesting aerial photos of the area on the website of Highams Park School. The photos were taken by a helicopter which had been commissioned to record the building of the new sports hall and teaching block but they also show much of the surrounding area too.

Click the link that follows to visit the page. There are three large pictures on the page but if you scroll to the bottom of the page there are icons for 10 further pictures covering a wider area (click them to enlarge).

Link : Aerial photos on Highams Park School website

30th January 2010 - Hale End Cottages circa 1905

The picture below is from the rear of a postcard which is postmarked 27th October 1905. It was kindly sent to us by a reader of this website in South Australia who found it when having a clear out. The original photo was in black and white but was obviously hand tinted to add the colour before being printed as a postcard. The exact date of the photo is unknown but is presumably just a little before the 1905 postmark. The photo shows the familiar triangular junction where Hale End Road is joined by Oak Hill (the current location of The Royal Oak Pub).

Postcard of Hale End Cottages circa 1905

30th October 2009 - Demonstration against proposed Tesco development

Around 130 people assembled at lunchtime in Jubilee Avenue on Friday 30th October 2009 to demonstrate against the proposed Tesco development at that location. Tesco's plans for a large store plus dense housing was narrowly approved by LBWF planning committee on 13th October. The proposal now needs the approval of London Mayor Boris Johnson and the Government office for London. MP Iain Duncan Smith attended and addressed the demonstrators. He explained that he too was against the development and was doing all he could to lobby the decision makers.

Demonstrators with MP Iain Duncan Smith in Jubilee Avenue

Then and Now - Highams Park Station in 1948 and 2009

Highams Park Station featured in the 1948 film "The Winslow Boy". Malcolm Shykles captured a still from that film and then photographed the modern station from the same position. The two photos are below. When looking at them, try to ignore the footbridge which was rebuilt further down the platform sometime in the intervening years.

Malcolm says: Notice that the bridge started at the servery. I wondered why the track was so dark then I remembered that in the days of steam, this is how they were. Mine was an evening shot as against the morning shot for the film. The station roof was better illuminated from below in the film, due to the sun shining onto the platform but shadows are missing from the canopy supports. I think whitewash and floodlighting were used. It would be a challenge to make a theatrical setting there nowadays.

Highams Park Station in the 1948 Film The Winslow Boy
Highams Park Station in 2009

26th July 2009 - The Mulberry Tree damaged by wind

Back in July 2008, an eagle-eyed contributor spotted this unusual Mulberry Tree growing on the land where the new Tesco is proposed to be built. Given its size it must have been there for many years but most residents were surprised by its existence. In the latest version of the plans for the Tesco development, Tesco have included a square named after it ("Mulberry Green") and propose moving the tree to that green.

Unfortunately, in July 2009 the tree, laden with fruit, has suffered some wind damage (see pictures below). People have been taking the opportunity to sample the fruit. Apparently it is nice and sweet, similar to blackberry but leaves a woody after taste.

The Mulberry Tree (as it was in July 2008)

The Mulberry Tree, laden with fruit, damaged by wind in July 2009

Then and Now - The Level Crossing in 1911 and 2009

Here are two pictures taken from (almost) the same location nearly 100 years apart. Malcolm Shykles sought to create a modern view of the historic 1911 photo. Malcolm took his picture from upstairs in the Signal Box. The Signal Box was not built until 1925 so the original photo must have been taken from an upstairs window above one of the shops in Hale End Road (probably number 507). In 1911 a (smaller) Signal Box was in use, located next to the station, and this can been seen in the older photo. It's close to the current location of The Village Florist flower shop.

The level crossing in 1911
The level crossing in 2009

June 2009 - The Level Crossing in the late evening - Without Cars!

Here are two dramatic pictures of the level crossing taken on a late June evening by Malcolm Shykles. Due to some local road works he was able to capture the scene without any vehicles. To create the panorama effect, each scene actually comprises two photos joined together using Panorama Maker 3.

Looking East across the level crossing
Looking West across the level crossing

16 June 2009 - Storm rains uproot trees and test the bridge

The very heavy rains during the evening of 15th June 2009 temporarily raised the level of the River Ching beside the lake and uprooted trees. This was the scene the afternoon of the day after. Broken boughs have been swept against the bridge over the river (next to the lake). Looking at the "tide mark" it suggests that at one point the river level was over the bridge floor. It's surprising it wasn't washed away. Full credit to its builders for "screwing it down" so well.

Uprooted trees swept against the bridge over the River Ching by the lake

24 April 2009 - Piling has started on the Handsworth Ave/Church Ave site

Development (of a block of luxury flats) has now commenced on the site of the former Methodist Church. The tall yellow piling derrick is visible from much of Highams Park.

Piling at Handsworth Avenue/Church Avenue

24 April 2009 - Handsworth Avenue looking down towards Hale End Road

20mph limit needed here?

Handsworth Avenue

Final crowds at Walthamstow Stadium

This picture was taken Saturday 26th July 2008. With the closure of the Stadium imminent it appears large numbers of residents turned out for a final flutter.

Crowds at Walthamstow Stadium - Saturday 26th July 2008

What's this growing in the garden?

A contributor found this growing in his garden. Apparently it's called The Apple of Peru and is a close relative of Henbane, the plant Crippin used to poison his wife!

According to Wikipedia: In 2008 celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson recommended Henbane as a "tasty addition to salads" in the August 2008 issue of Healthy and Organic Living magazine. He subsequently said he made an error, confusing the herb with Fat Hen. He apologised, and the magazine sent subscribers an urgent message stating that Henbane "is a very toxic plant and should never be eaten".

The Apple of Peru

For "Seen locally" archive, click here: "Seen locally" archive

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