Workshop concerned over Vestry House Museum

WFOHW has issued a press release expressing concern over plans for Walthamstow’s Vestry House Museum.

If you are concerned too, make your views known to your local councillors.



OCTOBER 14 2022


Waltham Forest Oral History Workshop (WFOHW) fears that big changes are planned for Walthamstow’s Vestry House Museum.

At its meeting on Tuesday the leading history group heard about the current consultation on the museum, and that no-one outside the council knows the consultants’ terms of reference. Concern is mounting that further decline is on the agenda, as councillors have consistently failed to back and support the museum over many years.

Nick Hayes, for WFOHW, said: “We just don’t know what’s on the table. The Workshop has been collecting spoken histories for 40 years and we have seen a continuous decline in what the museum has done. There used to be a programme of new exhibitions, professional curators and a real sense of purpose – bringing our cultural heritage to life. Now it’s a pale shadow of what it was.”

“Most worringly, there seems to be no backing or support from councillors. It’s as if they just don’t want it to be there.”

WFOHW is very concerned about the future of the archives which are crucial for anyone doing research into Waltham Forest’s rich and vibrant history; also vital is professional help for people to use the archive.

The museum is an important resource for all the borough’s schools, but it is unclear whether schools have been consulted about the museum’s future at all.

Nick Hayes added: “If we have learned anything in our 40 years, it’s that the past can be brought to life in exciting ways, to illuminate our shared cultural history and inform the present. Vestry House should be doing that. If you don’t know what’s happened in the past, how can you look forward?”

Everyone is urged to express their support for Vestry House:

  • to all their local councillors here or via the council’s website, or by letter to the Town Hall
  • to the council’s consultants Assemble at
  • at the consultation event at Vestry House on Sunday October 16, 1100-1500, especially 1400-1500.