Walthamstow Queens Road, Waltham Forest
A station, street and cemetery in south-central Walthamstow, named after Queen Victoria
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 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