3 Aug 2012

Vestry House Museum

This grade II listed building lies at the heart of the delightful Walthamstow village, built in 1730
It's original function was as a workhouse for upto 30 paupers. The caveat above the door is moving: "If any would not work, neither should he eat" 
A garden has recently been added to the back of the building displaying plants known to be grown there by the workhouse inmates in the 18th century
Before the police,  a "Watch" operated from the house.The outline of the "Cage", which housed prisoners overnight, can still be seen on the side of the building. Later the police inhabited the building for 30 years and you can enter one of the original cells!
Upstairs, you can explore life during past and present Waltham Forest through fascinating displays on domestic life, local history, fashion, toys and games. The collection of washing paraphenelia includes the "dolly" that was used before wshing machines existed
Tongs to create frills on clothes
A speecial iron for collars
I'd only seen trivets for pans before - but they existed for irons too!
A candle box
A collection of humorous postcards capturing the hard lives of servants
There is a reconstructed 1940s room in the house. This wedding dress is 70 years old and was made on the sewing machine during the black-out
3 brides wore the dress which was made out of material bought from the local market with clothing coupons
Girls in the workhouse were taught to sew from an early age
A garment sewn by a young girl
A collection of tea caddies, cheese jars (including one from my favourite cheese shop, Paxton & Whitfield!) and bottles
A reconstruction of a Victorian parlour
This is a delightful museum - a hidden gem in the middle of Walthamstow village!