Higham Hill

Higham Hill, Waltham Forest

The disadvantaged north-western part of Walthamstow

geograph-4655840-by-Marathon - Mayfield Road - Higham Hill

Sax­ons made a clear­ing in the for­est here and the manor of High­am is record­ed in Domes­day Book. The orig­i­nal High­am House was locat­ed here, near present-day Sut­ton Road. The house was sub­se­quent­ly rebuilt in the far east of the manor, fac­ing Wood­ford Green.

The manor went through sev­er­al sub­di­vi­sions and reuni­fi­ca­tions and this part was lat­er called High­am Ben­stead. It was in the hands of the Heron fam­i­ly for many years but was at one point seized by the crown because of a mar­riage to the daugh­ter of the ‘trai­tor­ous’ Sir Thomas More. The hill itself was com­mon land with graz­ing rights per­mit­ted to local parish­ioners.

A bridge across the Riv­er Lea was said to have been in exis­tence in 1594, when a mod­er­ate­ly large ham­let had evolved. The pop­u­la­tion then went into a decline until the enclo­sure of the com­mon in 1850, which led to some ten­ta­tive sub­ur­ban devel­op­ment in the 1870s.

A block of flats at Pri­o­ry Court

By the end of the 19th cen­tu­ry parts of High­am Hill had been dense­ly built up, and some of the hous­ing became over­crowd­ed.

Waltham­stow coun­cil began the first of its many slum clear­ance and rebuild­ing projects here after the First World War, in Mill­field Avenue. Among the oth­er schemes were the High­am Hill estate of 1920 and Pri­o­ry Court, begun in 1946 and sub­se­quent­ly rebuilt.

Suc­ces­sive phas­es of rede­vel­op­ment brought tow­er blocks in the 1960s and 1970s and large sums were spent on neigh­bour­hood renew­al pro­grammes in the peri­od before aus­ter­i­ty.

Unem­ploy­ment lev­els are rel­a­tive­ly high, while the largest pro­por­tion of men and women work in whole­sale, retail and car repair activ­i­ties. Around half of res­i­dents rent their homes, most from the coun­cil. Islam is the sec­ond most pre­dom­i­nant faith after Chris­tian­i­ty.

According to the website/blog London Street Gangs, Higham Hill is known locally as Grimehill and its dominant youth gang has for some while been the Priory Court Boys (or some renamed incarnation of the same outfit).

Postal district: E17
Population: 13,194 (2011 census)
* The picture of Mayfield Road at the top of this article is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Marathon, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse of the image is hereby freely permitted under the terms of that licence.