Sunday, 13 April 2014

History of a house

Our house was built sometime around 1905, I think I got this from the Homebuyer's Survey - it certainly doesn't appear on maps before 1911. Here is my living room lampshade made from a reproduction map of Upper Clapton from 1911 (map purchased here; lampshade kit here).

Using the UK census records on, I did some (enjoyably nerdy) detective work and pieced together the following:

Our house wasn't built at the time of the 1901 census but was owned in 1911 by Mr George Hall, Mr Hall was born in Ludlow, in Shropshire and, in 1911, was a concert hall steward. I'm guessing this might mean music hall as there were a couple in Walthamstow: the Palace Theatre on the High St - which opened in 1903 with a Fred Karno show and hosted performances by stars such as Marie Lloyd - and the Victoria Hall on Hoe Street, which later became the site of the Granada, frequented by local boy Alfred Hitchcock, which itself became the EMD Cinema, subject of the “Save Walthamstow Cinema” campaign. Mr Hall lived here with his wife Elizabeth (a Londoner, born in Cockfosters) and two sons, one of whom was a polisher in a furniture works and the other was an engineer in a fitters’ workshop. The youngest was born in "The Grapes" in Bermondsey in 1893: in the 1901 census, George Hall is described as an "unemployed publican" so maybe he had been the landlord or barman of a public house called something like The Grapes, but a trawl through Pub History turned up no results.

A lovely reminder that we “own” houses only in a temporary sense, holding them in trust for future generations.

St James Street, Walthamstow, c1912 | via postcardsthenandnow

One other cool bit of local history geekery: a friend unearthed in her back garden a fragment of enamelled metal reading "E AMBER ALE" and "BROTHERS", and some hasty Googling suggests it must have come from the Collier Brothers brewery which was a steam-powered brewery next to St James Street station, known for it's "Pale Amber Ale". The brewery changed its name to Essex Brewery around 1871, so the sign must pre-date that. (Source material here.)

Thank goodness for the interwebs and nice people sharing their meticulous research!

Right, I'm off to see what talks are on at the Walthamstow History Society ...

Friday, 28 February 2014

Colour: pink, blue

1. Window, Lille
2. Rugby St, Bloomsbury
3. 'Le Repos', Lille
4. Shutters, Spitalfields

Satisfying on this dreary February day.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Pink and gold

Playing with air dry clay. I would definitely do this again, but I would use Rustoleum Craft Enamel (used here for the pink) for all colours next time: the black was meant to be chalky grey but was a sticky gloss black.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Shedding a little light

A very satisfying weekend of making.

I used leftover scraps from one of the Boy's upholstery projects - the lovely Sanderson dandelion clocks in 'slate' - and this easy peasy lampshade kit to make a drum shade for the spare room pendant. I did something similar for the front room but using a 1911 map of Lower Walthamstow - when it were nobbut fields (well, market gardens) round our street.

See just how easy here:

I defy you not to get addicted and remake every light in your place ...

Bring a little hygge to February !

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Experiments in slow cooking

When the Boy is working evenings, I find it difficult to get inspired cooking for one. In an attempt to wean myself off my lazy nursery food habits - fish fingers and mash, beans on toast, soup and a baked potato - I invested in a slow cooker.

The plan was to cook up a storm one night a week and fill the freezer with delicious home cooked "ready" meals. Unlike most resolutions of this type, it seems to be working so far.

I started timidly with a couple of recipes designed specifically (or perhaps just marketed?) at slow cooker owners. With limited success... Bland mostly, with overly sweet gloopy or watery sauces.

So I've mostly been adapting regular stew and soup style recipes. The key seems to be browning the meat and shaking it in flour to get a decent gravy, chucking softer ingredients in halfway through the cooking time, and running it off a timer switch (Mine is a pretty basic model that doesn't have an inbuilt timed off switch).

Tagines work really well, this one is adapted from BBC Food.

Chicken and apricot tagine

Adapted for slow cooker from

1. Marinate chicken in harissa.
2. Fry chicken until colour changes, shake in seasoned plain flour. Put to one side.
3. Fry onion and garlic.
4. Chuck everything into the slow cooker with stock, apricots and tomatoes EXCEPT chickpeas. Cook on high for five hours. After two hours add the chickpeas and give a quick stir.
5. Go and get on with your life.
6. Eat with couscous.

Having said that, though, the most delicious thing so far was a melt-in-the-mouth bolognaise sauce: pancetta fried off, browned mince seasoned with basil, oregano, thyme and black pepper (did you read about this recipe book boo-boo? Awkward! ), simmered in passata and stock for five hours. So good!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Shed's dead, baby, shed's dead

We've killed the monster shed. 

When I say "we", obviously I mean The Boy. And when I say "killed", I mean smashed to smithereens with a massive sledgehammer. And when I say "monster", I mean 15ft by 9ft. I exaggerate not.

Feels so good. I can see the back fence now. Can't wait to get planting, but that's a way off still. Next spring.

Elephant grey

I'm back! Been a while, no?

Here's a nice remake I am pretty pleased with:

£20 charity shop seventies raffia chair, spray painted elephant grey (I heart spray paint) with a graphic print cushion, fabric from the lovely Ray Stitch on Essex Road (N1).

More to come...


Blog Widget by LinkWithin