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Vestry House Museum

Discover the story of Waltham Forest as told through many fascinating household objects and displays.

Last updated: 20 January 2023

Next review: 25 October 2023

Open: Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm, FREE entry

Vestry House Museum tells the story of Waltham Forest through its collection of over 100,000 historical objects and themed displays. It gives a fascinating glimpse into how people lived, and how the borough has changed over time. Highlights include the famous Bremer Car, a Victorian parlour, extensive toy collections, and a beautiful volunteer-run garden.

It also hosts Waltham Forest Archives and Local Studies Library. You can research family history, the history of a house, street or area, or subjects for school / academic projects.

Visits are by appointment on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Email: wfa.enquiries@walthamforest.gov.uk

See: Archives and Local Studies Library – Vestry House Museum

Address:

Vestry House Museum
Vestry Road
Walthamstow
London E17 9NH

Call: 020 8496 4391

Find out more about: Vestry House Museum

Vestry House Revitalisation Project

Waltham Forest Council is working to revitalise Vestry House, a well-loved cultural and heritage site in Walthamstow Village. Working with design collective Assemble, a report has now been produced, outlining a set of options for how the Council can improve the site for the benefit of all residents.

Everyone with an interest in Vestry House is invited to review and comment on the options at an online Public Consultation meeting on Thursday 16 February 2023 at 6.30pm.

All those registering for this event will receive a link to the Assemble report and an online feedback form prior to the consultation event.

Register for the online Public Consultation meeting

Vestry House Revitalisation Project FAQs: updated January 2023 

  1. What is the Vestry House revitalisation project?
    Vestry House is a well-loved cultural and heritage site. However, it is currently underused, with accessibility issues and a museum collection which does not reflect the diversity of our communities in Waltham Forest. The building itself is also in need of improvement to increase accessibility, resolve storage issues, and improve environmental performance.
  2. Will the project provide a long-term future for Vestry House?
    Yes. Securing a long-term, stable future for this important place is central to our aims. Financial sustainability is one of the key considerations for the project. Vestry House will remain open and owned by the council. It will not be closed or sold to new owners.
  3. Has a decision already been made on the future direction?
    No. The council is working with Assemble to explore a range of possibilities and ideas. These will be shared with residents in the new year prior to any decisions being made.
  4. Why are you working with Assemble on the project?
    In May 2022, following a competitive process, Waltham Forest Council appointed a multi-disciplinary team, led by Assemble Design, to carry out a research project to learn more about how the museum serves our community. The brief encompasses exploring new cultural, community and heritage ideas for Vestry House, the potential for improvements to the building and how best to improve Vestry House for residents and local enterprise.
  5. Will accessibility to Vestry House be improved?
    Currently, Vestry House is not fully accessible, with no lift access. This project sets out to improve accessibility for all and at the same time maintain the unique character of the Grade II listed building.
  6. Can I still access the archive?
    Yes, the museum and archives will remain open during this process. An important part of the project is to ensure the archives are fully accessible, both digitally and in person.
  7. How will this project respond to the climate emergency and the current challenges around energy costs?
    Part of the project will examine how the building’s environmental performance can be improved while at the same time maintaining the unique character of the Grade II listed building.
  8. Why are you looking for partner organisations?
    As part of this process, to better meet the needs of our communities and expand the offer at Vestry House, we are now looking for potential partnerships with cultural and community organisations, to bring new perspectives, networks and expertise to realise the ambitions for Vestry House.
  9. How can I get involved?
    As part of the project, Assemble has spoken with a wide range of stakeholders and individuals. Please send any questions and feedback on Vestry House by emailing vhm.enquiries@walthamforest.gov.uk. We will be holding three consultations in 2023 to share emerging recommendations. Dates, locations and times will be confirmed and shared with the community.
  10. How will I find out about the public consultations on the future of Vestry House?
    Assemble has now produced a report outlining a set of options for how the Council can improve the site for the benefit of all residents. Everyone with an interest in Vestry House is invited to review and comment on the options at an online Public Consultation meeting on Thursday 16 February 2023. All those registering for this event will receive a link to the Assemble report and an online feedback form prior to the consultation event. Register for the Zoom event on Thursday 16 February.
  11. What is the proposed timeline for the project?
    After the consultation period in February 2023, a decision on the next steps is scheduled to be taken by Waltham Forest Council’s cabinet in April 2023. Dependent on the chosen outcomes, it may take between 12-24 months to implement the plans.