You have just a couple of weeks to visit Walthamsow’s Vestry House Museum before it closes for two years of renovation works.

Situated in Walthamstow Village, the building, now Grade II listed, was constructed in 1730 to house the parish workhouse and was later used as a police station, an armoury, a builders’ merchants and a private home. In 1931, the building opened to the public as a local history museum, which has been its use ever since.

Vestry House Museum (c) ianVisits

The revitalisation project will transform the local history museum, including an enhanced heritage and community offer, improved access, new creative workspaces and a café. Currently, the building doesn’t have a lift, and the plans will look at how one can be added to the listed building to make it accessible. To create more space, they plan to move the items currently kept in storage to an external location, and then they can offer workrooms to rent and spaces to hire, all bringing in revenues to fund the museum’s operations.

The revitalisation of Vestry House Museum is being supported by £4.5m from the borough’s Levelling Up Fund (including £800k match funding from Waltham Forest Council).

The museum will close on Saturday 23rd December 2023, and is expected to remain closed until early 2026.

The garden will remain open until 18th February 2024, after which, the whole site will be closed until the renovation project is completed.

During the closure, the borough’s archives and local studies library search room will be relocated to Walthamstow Library and will remain open to use. Some of the objects in the museum collection will also go on temporary loan during the closure so they can still be seen, and some may remain on long-term loan in local locations if some are found.

The renovation project is being delivered by Studio Weave Architects.


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  1. NG says:

    I wonder where the local Ward residents will vote for the next two years?
    { They moved the polling station to Vestry Ho , from a nearby infant’s school }
    Incidentally, I do hope it’s an actual improvement, because I’ve been going in there for 65+ years …

  2. Vida says:

    Just sounds like it will turn into one large hiring space rather than an actual museum. The character has already been stripped out of that building and this will be the final nail in the coffin. A cafe was already in operation from two years ago. A waste of money and the end of a treasured museum.

  3. Jackie Power says:

    I am not very hopeful, many museums have been hollowed out and set up for exclusive venue hire. The Garden Museum in Lambeth is a case in point. Dug up the garden and moved listed graves to build a hideous extension as a high priced restaurant. I hope the same kind of fate does not await the Vestry House. As a private space for hire it would raise a lot of funds. I used to visit as a child and loved it.

    • Reaper says:

      There is a much cheaper alternative than the over hyped and over priced Garden Museum Restaurant in the grounds and that is the small floating cafe over the road which has a fascinating end on view of the London Eye. Failing that there is always the cafe under St Johns Smith Square just over the bridge.
      Used both last week when we visited the current display of winter flower arrangements which we enjoyed

  4. John Tetlow says:

    I think the spelling Walthamstow is preferred to Walthamsow…

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