The Local

I like being at home on winter evenings, curled up on the sofa with the blinds closed to the cold dark outside the window. There is something very comforting about being inside in the warm when it’s cold outside. I’m the first to admit that sometimes I get a bit carried away with being on the sofa, the suggestion of going out in to the dark is often met with a blank face. There is one thing though that will never fail to crow bar me off the sofa, and encourage me to throw on my coat and head out of the door. What is it that persuades me to forsake the living room and venture in to the night? five simple but magic words “Meet me in the pub”. My other half sent me a text on Wednesday that contained those magic words, I made a feeble attempt not to meet him. I replied with “we shouldn’t really, come home and I’ll cook”. He replied with the same message he sent before “meet me in the pub” I read that second message and my will power crumbled, I put my shoes on and left home before I could talk my self out it.


Thankfully Walthamstow has no shortage of good pubs, each one offers something slightly different. We often head out for pub walks, perhaps starting at the Dukes Head on Wood Street and heading for the Bell via the Flower Pot and William Morris. The marsh pub walk is also a favorite, start at the Princess of Wales in Clapton then head down to the Anchor & Hope and finish up at the Coppermill. More often than not though, we usually end up in what has become our local, the Chequers, and that’s exactly where we went on Wednesday evening. These days I’ve developed a taste for real ale are there are some fantastic, Summer Lighting, Jack of Clubs, Winter Meltdown and Hackney Hopster to name just a few. On Wednesday I went for something I’ve never tried before, Ramshackle by Late Knights Brewery, a fine pint indeed. When the beer was poured we headed to one of my favorite seats in the window, near the wall of telephones,  and watched the as the last remaining market stalls were packed away.

One of the things I like about the Chequers is its history, it’s an old building that has looked out on to an ever-changing Walthamstow for a long time. In the past people may have stopped off at the Chequers before visiting the long vanished Palace Theatre which stood further up the high street. Perhaps others called in for some medicinal brandy after visiting one of the dentists that worked late in to the night on the market.  The red brick building directly opposite the pub is another reminder of Walthamstow past, this building used to be the fire station. I wonder if customers would sit in the Chequers watching the chaos on the market as the fire crews struggled through the crowds to head off to an emergency. It’s good to know that throughout all the change the High Street has seen, this grand old pub is just that, still a pub, because let’s be honest, there really is nothing finer than enjoying a pint or two in your local pub.


      1. Feel free to use it.

        If you look at the ‘Walthamstow Memories’ site at:: and go to the personal stories section you will see a lot of individual memories of Walthamstow and a number of history pieces that I have written that, I hope, will be of interest.

        Bill Bayliss

  1. Just had 3 dinners in the new “William Morris Pub” on Forest Road in Walthamstow. Sensational food – the hot stone platters arrive at your table in the centre of a large tray with Sweet Potatoes Chips on one side and Mango Salad on the other. The lumps of meat we ordered (Steak, Tuna and Lamb) are barely cooked. The idea is that you cut your meat on a separate plate and put in on the sizzling stone platter (heated from beneath) – it cooks your large chuck of meat to exactly how you like it. As you take it off the platter – it’s perfectly hot (unlike something that comes from the kitchen) and as the rest cooks on the platter as you wish (turning it over every now and then). The chunks just get tastier. He also uses French Mustard which is lighter and tastier than the heavier English as well as Ketchup and other relishes. The effect is delicious. My wife had the Tuna Steak and my son the Lamb and all three were exceptional. There’s also light music most every night – tonight we had a piano player plinking out soulful instrumental renditions of “Imagine” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” – it’s a perfect backdrop. The whole lot including two halves cost us £36 which I thought was amazing for the quality. Well done and a bit of a discovery!

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