It’s that time of year again when Walthamstow residents get creative, throw open their doors and invite people in to their homes. The Art Trail is now in its 11th year and has grown to gigantic proportions. All kinds of artists, exhibitions and events form part of the 2015 trail, but one of them caught my eye as soon as I saw it listed in the guide. Where In Wally was created by local group Architects E17, a group of Architects who live and sometimes work in Walthamstow. The idea behind the project; people tell the Where In Wally team about their treasured E17 places and the reasons theses places are special. The team then add these places to an online map and tag them in the real world with a yellow Where In Wally tag. The map and tags create a treasure hunt and trail of storys about the corners of Walthamstow we love.
I told Wally about one of my favourite buildings in E17, the Lighthouse Church. I was pretty excited when I was walking to work one morning and saw my yellow tag had been attached to the lamp post outside. As soon as I spotted this first tag I got a little obsessed and wanted to find more tags, wanted to read why places were special to others. So on Saturday we went on a pretty epic Where In Wally wander, hunting down the yellow tags and wearing a hole in my trainers along the way. The first tag found was near the rabbit hole, the low bridge at the bottom of Coppermill Lane leading to the marsh. Flapping proudly in the breeze, the tag is attached to a post on the marsh side of the bridge. I’m not going to tell you what the story is on this one, you can go and find it for your self. But this tale of Walthamstow life made for a good start on the Where In Wally Trail.
I felt a little like Anneka Rice as we searched for the tags (all be it a bald male Anneka Rice). Meandering around the streets of Walthamstow following the Where in Wally Map, searching lamp posts and fences for the all important flash of yellow. Sadly some of the yellow cards have been removed already, such as the one outside the EMD cinema. The story tells of love found during the campaign to save the EMD, although the tag is gone, the story can still be read on the Where In Wally site. Our walk took us in to the new cinema, St Marys Church Yard, and to the very edges of Walthamstow. We read about a couple sitting on a bench in the gardens at Vestry House the day before their wedding, a greek amphitheatre and a story about walks with a late beloved dog in Walthamstow Forest.
All kinds of places and buildings have been tagged. Pubs, grave yards, passage ways and reservoirs all form part of the Where In Wally trail. Reading all these memories, some of which are very personal, made for a fascinating if slightly exhausting day. I bang on about what I love about Walthamstow all the time, so it was really nice to read what other people like and have liked about E17. It’s too late to get a place tagged, but you can still submit to the online map. The tags will remain up for another week with a closing party at Wildcard Brewery on the 14th June. Keep an eye out for the yellow tags or better still go on a Where In Wally wander, you won’t be disappointed. The online map and more information on the project can be found here.