Walthamstow Queens Road

Walthamstow Queens Road, Waltham Forest

A station, street and cemetery in south-central Walthamstow, named after Queen Victoria

Hidden London: Masjid-e-Umer, Walthamstow, by Bill Boaden

Waltham­stow bur­ial board opened an 11-acre, non-denom­i­na­tion­al ceme­tery here in 1872, accom­pa­nied by two chapels, an entrance lodge and (less typ­i­cal­ly) a neigh­bour­ing coro­ner’s court, which still oper­ates, con­duct­ing inves­ti­ga­tions into unnat­ur­al or unex­plained deaths on behalf of five east Lon­don bor­oughs.

To coin­cide with the open­ing of the ceme­tery, Queens Road (orig­i­nal­ly with an apos­tro­phe) was cre­at­ed to pro­vide a route to Hoe Street. Anoth­er link ran west­ward from the ceme­tery to Mark­house Road but only lat­er was this stretch also named Queens Road.

In 1894 the Mid­land Rail­way Com­pa­ny built the Tot­ten­ham and For­est Gate Rail­way (assist­ed by a small con­tri­bu­tion from the Lon­don, Tilbury and Southend Rail­way Com­pa­ny) and Queens Road sta­tion opened with the line. Despite its name, the sta­tion is not on Queens Road but at the north­ern end of Edin­burgh Road. The line is now part of the Lon­don Over­ground net­work and Queens Road sta­tion has recent­ly ben­e­fit­ed from the cre­ation of a new entrance and a direct pedes­tri­an route to Waltham­stow Cen­tral, via the Edi­son Close estate.

The arrival of the rail­way accel­er­at­ed the rate of house­build­ing in the area, and this part of Waltham­stow soon lost its remain­ing fields, plum orchards and water­cress beds.

Halfway between Queens Road and the local­i­ty’s oth­er main east-west con­nec­tion, Bound­ary Road, the church of St Barn­abas was built in 1902–3 by William Dou­glas Caröe, who was also respon­si­ble for the neigh­bour­ing vic­arage and parish hall. The church is kept locked when not in use for wor­ship or some oth­er event, which is regret­table but under­stand­able in view of the excep­tion­al qual­i­ty of its fit­tings.

Ley­ton and Waltham­stow syn­a­gogue opened at 79 Queens Road in 1937, and was con­vert­ed into a mosque in 1981. Unable to accom­mo­date the grow­ing num­ber of wor­ship­pers, the build­ing was demol­ished and replaced with the present green-domed Masjid e Umer in 2002. The mosque is shown in the pho­to­graph above.*

Walthamstow Cemetery and chapel
Waltham­stow (Queens Road) ceme­tery

Waltham­stow ceme­tery is now full, except for the reopen­ing of fam­i­ly plots. Many graves have been neglect­ed for years and there has been a great deal of sub­si­dence here, with the result that most of the head­stones and memo­ri­als are lean­ing at pre­car­i­ous angles and oth­ers have fall­en over.

The coun­cil envis­ages that, sub­ject to legal require­ments, numer­ous memo­ri­als will be removed to allow the improve­ment of the ceme­tery. Hid­den Lon­don would like the enhance­ments to include more grass and less grav­el. The ceme­tery is open every day and tends to be very qui­et.

At the south-west­ern end of Queens Road, Waltham­stow leisure cen­tre (for­mer­ly Kelm­scott leisure cen­tre) has indoor facil­i­ties and an out­door rub­ber-crumb pitch for foot­ball and net­ball.

The Queens Road neigh­bour­hood is pop­u­lar with fam­i­lies with young chil­dren and there are sev­er­al schools in close prox­im­i­ty to one anoth­er, includ­ing Edin­burgh pri­ma­ry, which moved to an impres­sive new build­ing on Queens Road in 2011. The school’s old build­ing has since become the ‘south cam­pus’ of Mis­sion Grove pri­ma­ry school.

Accord­ing to Ofst­ed, Edin­burgh pri­ma­ry school’s pupils come from many social and eth­nic back­grounds, the largest being Pak­istani, Indi­an and Caribbean, fol­lowed by British and oth­er white back­grounds. Almost three quar­ters are learn­ing Eng­lish as an addi­tion­al lan­guage.

Many residents have participated in a local history project that has placed blue plaques in front windows showing who was living in their houses a century ago.

Postal district: E17
Station: London Overground (Gospel Oak to Barking line, zone 3)
Website: Queens Boundary Community


* The picture of Masjid e Umer at the top of this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Bill Boaden, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is hereby freely permitted under the terms of that licence.