56 St James Street

It probably started with smoke signals or lighting beacons on hill tops, now we have phones, emails and text messages. What ever form it takes, humans have always found ways of communicating news. In Walthamstow,  twitter seems to be the communication channel of choice for many residents. I for one keep up with much of what is happening locally using it, in fact the reason I joined twitter was to make local connections.  On twitter, news travels much faster than using smoke signals, the arrival of the new cafe at 56 St James Street is a perfect example of how twitter can work. I knew the cafe was coming but on Wednesday evening I saw a tweet announcing it would be opening on Thursday. Sure enough this morning I could see people I follow had already been for a visit, before long photos of the inside of the shop and  snaps of cakes and drinks started popping in to my time line. I had decided to hold off on visiting as I had already made plans to go along on Friday, but by mid afternoon curiosity got the better of me.

Located on the corner of Station Road, opposite the old Coach & Horses pub, the building had previously been used as an office, the front door still has the words ” Office Hours” etched on the glass. The interior is simple,  stripped floor boards, miss-matched chairs nestling  around tables topped with chunky slabs of ply wood, and a counter at the back of the shop. I particularly like the wall that is clad floor to ceiling in tongue and groove board with one single shelf in the middle. The unbroken row of yellow books on the shelf providing an eye catching splash of colour.  The large windows at the front of the shop look out on to the hustle and bustle of St James Street, but despite its location on a busy junction, the atmosphere is relaxed and cosy. The warm lighting and friendly talkative staff really help to make this a fantastic little cafe.

Having taken in the interior we placed an order,  then perched on the bar stools that run along the window facing Station Road. As soon as I sat down I noticed the old mosaic style tiles that run along either side of the front door, a nice bit of the original interior that has thankfully been left in place. We didn’t try the food on this visit but the cakes displayed on the counter looked great. Although we didn’t eat I can vouch for the quality of the tea, and my other half tells me the coffee was very good. I’m more than a little excited that this new coffee shop has opened. Often when shops become available they are re born as a chicken shop or betting shop, sometimes they  get swallowed up by a major chain, I’m glad this didn’t happen to number 56. This new comer is a most welcome addition to the St James Street area of E17, I’ll definitely be paying it another visit.


  1. You don’t hang about Bill! Me and Mum Guthrie also went along today and I can vouch for the quality of the cakes, both the chocolate cake and the cup cakes were scrumptious!

  2. I visited this excellent cafe with my wife and 3 year old daughter today and was extremely impressed by the friendliness of the staff, the quality of the coffee & sandwiches and the attitude towards children. This, combined with a beautiful simplicity to the decor and overall feel, resulted in a thoroughly enjoyable experience which I thought was very good value.
    I will be returning here again!

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