'Guerilla decorators' spruce up Walthamstow Christmas tree

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Extra tinsel has been added to Walthamstow's 'wonky' Christmas tree. Extra tinsel has been added to Walthamstow's 'wonky' Christmas tree.

RESIDENTS have begun adding their own decorations to Walthamstow Town Centre's Christmas tree following complaints it did not look festive enough.

The tongue-in-cheek "guerilla" additions include tinsel and stars added to the metal barriers which surround the council's tree on the Arcade Site by Hoe Street.

The idea came about following a discussion among  users of social media website Twitter, who are now urging other residents to join in and add their own decorations.

It comes after several years of affectionate mocking of the tree for being "wonky" and being surrounded by distinctly un-festive security barriers.

Walthamstow-based artist 'Warpdog' has even capitalised on its reputation this year by selling her own Christmas cards featuring a photograph of the leaning tree.

She sells several types of festive cards featuring jokey scenes of Walthamstow - including shots of discarded mattresses - but says the tree version is by far the most popular.

According to some Twitter users residents plan to put further decorations on the tree and the barriers over the next few days.

A spokesman for Waltham Forest Council said: “The tree looks beautiful with just the lights.

"The council isn’t convinced that adding more decorations will make it look any more ‘festive’ and wouldn’t encourage people to hang further decorations on the tree, but obviously everyone is entitled to their opinion.”

Comments (33)

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6:21pm Thu 29 Nov 12

fabster says...

"The council isn’t convinced that adding more decorations will make it look any more ‘festive’"

Missing the point, I fear.

People making and bringing their own decorations to add to the tree fosters a sense of ownership and participation.

There's a lesson here about community engagement, involving no money whatsoever but plenty of imagination and fun!
"The council isn’t convinced that adding more decorations will make it look any more ‘festive’" Missing the point, I fear. People making and bringing their own decorations to add to the tree fosters a sense of ownership and participation. There's a lesson here about community engagement, involving no money whatsoever but plenty of imagination and fun! fabster
  • Score: 0

8:31pm Thu 29 Nov 12

Cornbeefur says...

Has anyone ever thought that it may be wonky as LBWF as usual have been sold a substandard pup?

EduCation, Kier and so on come to mind.

Meanwhile who pays? Yes, the Council taxpayers, get seconds for their dosh.
Has anyone ever thought that it may be wonky as LBWF as usual have been sold a substandard pup? EduCation, Kier and so on come to mind. Meanwhile who pays? Yes, the Council taxpayers, get seconds for their dosh. Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

9:09pm Thu 29 Nov 12

Nairn says...

yes Fabster the council really has missed the point.

The whole point is that many people in the community have come together - young, old and in-between - and made or bought decorations to add to the tree.

The council presumably put it there for the community to 'enjoy' and the community is enjoying coming together to add their personal touch to it. It's not about it looking more festive (although it certainly does now) but about fun!

I think it's a brilliant idea and people I have spoken to in other boroughs think it is too.

Christmas Bah Humbug LBWF council?
yes Fabster the council really has missed the point. The whole point is that many people in the community have come together - young, old and in-between - and made or bought decorations to add to the tree. The council presumably put it there for the community to 'enjoy' and the community is enjoying coming together to add their personal touch to it. It's not about it looking more festive (although it certainly does now) but about fun! I think it's a brilliant idea and people I have spoken to in other boroughs think it is too. Christmas Bah Humbug LBWF council? Nairn
  • Score: 0

11:00pm Thu 29 Nov 12

leytonoldboy2 says...

Der... I don't get this - how come the tree is wonky every year? Is it the same tree each Christmas? And where is it the rest of the year?
Der... I don't get this - how come the tree is wonky every year? Is it the same tree each Christmas? And where is it the rest of the year? leytonoldboy2
  • Score: 0

11:03pm Thu 29 Nov 12

Jeremy_Griffiths says...

The tree being wonky seems a good metaphor for our Council, eh! Mind you if the lights represented our Councillors, many of the bulbs would have to be a lot dimmer ;-)
The tree being wonky seems a good metaphor for our Council, eh! Mind you if the lights represented our Councillors, many of the bulbs would have to be a lot dimmer ;-) Jeremy_Griffiths
  • Score: 0

6:07am Fri 30 Nov 12

Sharlott says...

Well it is the public's tree, after all we all pay for it! So if people want to add to it why not. that goes for everything else WE pay for!
Well it is the public's tree, after all we all pay for it! So if people want to add to it why not. that goes for everything else WE pay for! Sharlott
  • Score: 0

9:10am Fri 30 Nov 12

leytonoldboy2 says...

Well - I realise that the reason most people write on here is to make digs at the council and I fully support that but could someone tell me why the tree is wonky each year - it's a genuine question.
Well - I realise that the reason most people write on here is to make digs at the council and I fully support that but could someone tell me why the tree is wonky each year - it's a genuine question. leytonoldboy2
  • Score: 0

9:57am Fri 30 Nov 12

RichieA70 says...

It seems we can send man to the moon but the simple task of putting up a non-wonky Xmas tree on that spot is beyond human endeavor.

At least it did start off straight this year and shows political neutrality by leaning both to the left and the right depending on which side it's viewed.
It seems we can send man to the moon but the simple task of putting up a non-wonky Xmas tree on that spot is beyond human endeavor. At least it did start off straight this year and shows political neutrality by leaning both to the left and the right depending on which side it's viewed. RichieA70
  • Score: 0

10:28am Fri 30 Nov 12

EastEndLass says...

I have to say, when it first went up, it wasn't wonky at all - I was almost disappointed.

however, a couple of nights later, I was walkign past wehn it was really windy, and I was shocked by how much it was being blown by the wind coming up the market...and that's the way it always leans, so I am assuming that's what wonks it!!
I have to say, when it first went up, it wasn't wonky at all - I was almost disappointed. however, a couple of nights later, I was walkign past wehn it was really windy, and I was shocked by how much it was being blown by the wind coming up the market...and that's the way it always leans, so I am assuming that's what wonks it!! EastEndLass
  • Score: 0

10:40am Fri 30 Nov 12

Techno3 says...

The council's spokesman doesn't get named even when discussing a Christmas tree.
The council's spokesman doesn't get named even when discussing a Christmas tree. Techno3
  • Score: 0

10:41am Fri 30 Nov 12

leytonoldboy2 says...

Oh, okay. Thanks.
Oh, okay. Thanks. leytonoldboy2
  • Score: 0

11:29am Fri 30 Nov 12

NorthcoterE17 says...

More people are adding their decorations today, some did yesterday too. It really is lovely to see how people want to contribute and make it that little bit better!
More people are adding their decorations today, some did yesterday too. It really is lovely to see how people want to contribute and make it that little bit better! NorthcoterE17
  • Score: 0

11:43am Fri 30 Nov 12

Nairn says...

NorthcoterE17 wrote:
More people are adding their decorations today, some did yesterday too. It really is lovely to see how people want to contribute and make it that little bit better!
Yes it is lovely isn't it?

Maybe the council spokesperson decided not to encourage people to decorate it because the council hadn't thought of such a community spirited thing! Obviously we are only allowed to enjoy events organised by the council eg Big6!!!
[quote][p][bold]NorthcoterE17[/bold] wrote: More people are adding their decorations today, some did yesterday too. It really is lovely to see how people want to contribute and make it that little bit better![/p][/quote]Yes it is lovely isn't it? Maybe the council spokesperson decided not to encourage people to decorate it because the council hadn't thought of such a community spirited thing! Obviously we are only allowed to enjoy events organised by the council eg Big6!!! Nairn
  • Score: 0

12:45pm Fri 30 Nov 12

RichieA70 says...

When everyone's finished sprucing it up, will the council wrap a self-congratulatory banner round the base saying 'Better shops...better leisure....better trees' ?
When everyone's finished sprucing it up, will the council wrap a self-congratulatory banner round the base saying 'Better shops...better leisure....better trees' ? RichieA70
  • Score: 0

12:58pm Fri 30 Nov 12

dlon says...

Once upon a time, in a land far far away there was a kingdom, The kingdom of Walthamstow. The Residents of Walthamstow went about there daily lives, under the crumbling ruins of the past and unimpressive agriculture of the future.. how they longed for a little cheer in their lives… but no, the rulers who lived in the oppressive Stalin-esque Council Castle ingnoring the crys of the people and continued to provide stark and metallic housing, uncomfortable street furniture and drab decoration .

But then hope came into the hearts of the people as that magical time of year was upon us, Christmas, The local residents looked forward to glowing and wondrous festive makeover but for all their wishing the evil King of Walthamstow fat and rosey nosed had spent all the kingdoms money Waste contracts and invisible housing. The final few coppers were given to blonde shaggy haired travelling merchant on a heavy bike in exchange for a bag of beans and the last little Christmas tree unwanted by other Kingdoms small and malformed.

When the tree was unveiled , oh how sad the local residents were , the misshaped and bland little tree stood unimpressive and imprisoned alone with barely an once of festive cheer to give. How this little tree wished to be like his tall and shining brothers in Oxford street, Westfield or even Reading. The little tree’s sadness made him lean to one side and he would get call Walthamstow’s Wonky Tree.

Then one day a little girl took pity on the tree and put a little silver star on his cage, before long the little girls act of kindness and compassion towards the substandard arboreal decoration spread to the local residents and they in turn put stars and tinsel and all number of wondrous things onto the tree, and every item made the tree happier and cheer and happiness with the true spirit of “Christmas” (or “community” for the atheists/non Christians ) were abundant again in the Kingdom of Walthamstow…. And in the little Wonky Christmas Tree that could!
Once upon a time, in a land far far away there was a kingdom, The kingdom of Walthamstow. The Residents of Walthamstow went about there daily lives, under the crumbling ruins of the past and unimpressive agriculture of the future.. how they longed for a little cheer in their lives… but no, the rulers who lived in the oppressive Stalin-esque Council Castle ingnoring the crys of the people and continued to provide stark and metallic housing, uncomfortable street furniture and drab decoration . But then hope came into the hearts of the people as that magical time of year was upon us, Christmas, The local residents looked forward to glowing and wondrous festive makeover but for all their wishing the evil King of Walthamstow fat and rosey nosed had spent all the kingdoms money Waste contracts and invisible housing. The final few coppers were given to blonde shaggy haired travelling merchant on a heavy bike in exchange for a bag of beans and the last little Christmas tree unwanted by other Kingdoms small and malformed. When the tree was unveiled , oh how sad the local residents were , the misshaped and bland little tree stood unimpressive and imprisoned alone with barely an once of festive cheer to give. How this little tree wished to be like his tall and shining brothers in Oxford street, Westfield or even Reading. The little tree’s sadness made him lean to one side and he would get call Walthamstow’s Wonky Tree. Then one day a little girl took pity on the tree and put a little silver star on his cage, before long the little girls act of kindness and compassion towards the substandard arboreal decoration spread to the local residents and they in turn put stars and tinsel and all number of wondrous things onto the tree, and every item made the tree happier and cheer and happiness with the true spirit of “Christmas” (or “community” for the atheists/non Christians ) were abundant again in the Kingdom of Walthamstow…. And in the little Wonky Christmas Tree that could! dlon
  • Score: 0

2:57pm Fri 30 Nov 12

warpdog says...

EastEndLass wrote:
I have to say, when it first went up, it wasn't wonky at all - I was almost disappointed.

however, a couple of nights later, I was walkign past wehn it was really windy, and I was shocked by how much it was being blown by the wind coming up the market...and that's the way it always leans, so I am assuming that's what wonks it!!
haha sounds like a health hazard!

This thing could wonk all the way over at any moment.

Be careful folks.
[quote][p][bold]EastEndLass[/bold] wrote: I have to say, when it first went up, it wasn't wonky at all - I was almost disappointed. however, a couple of nights later, I was walkign past wehn it was really windy, and I was shocked by how much it was being blown by the wind coming up the market...and that's the way it always leans, so I am assuming that's what wonks it!![/p][/quote]haha sounds like a health hazard! This thing could wonk all the way over at any moment. Be careful folks. warpdog
  • Score: 0

2:59pm Fri 30 Nov 12

VillageIdiot69 says...

I think we should all gather round it in a few weeks and start singing carols, obviously we have to start with Little Wonky.
I think we should all gather round it in a few weeks and start singing carols, obviously we have to start with Little Wonky. VillageIdiot69
  • Score: 0

3:00pm Fri 30 Nov 12

EastEndLass says...

And Good King Wonkceclas? Awonk in Manger?
And Good King Wonkceclas? Awonk in Manger? EastEndLass
  • Score: 0

3:00pm Fri 30 Nov 12

warpdog says...

Perhaps the 'decorating' of the Walthamstow Wonk should be an annual event. The last Saturday of every November? I'll add it to the calendar...
Perhaps the 'decorating' of the Walthamstow Wonk should be an annual event. The last Saturday of every November? I'll add it to the calendar... warpdog
  • Score: 0

3:04pm Fri 30 Nov 12

warpdog says...

EastEndLass wrote:
And Good King Wonkceclas? Awonk in Manger?
Haha!

How about I'm Dreaming of a Wonk Christmas? Or that Cliff classic Mistletoe and Wonk?
[quote][p][bold]EastEndLass[/bold] wrote: And Good King Wonkceclas? Awonk in Manger?[/p][/quote]Haha! How about I'm Dreaming of a Wonk Christmas? Or that Cliff classic Mistletoe and Wonk? warpdog
  • Score: 0

5:55pm Fri 30 Nov 12

Nairn says...

Went past the tree at about 1pm today and it really looks lovely. Had some friends with me from another borough and they thought it was a great idea and that it looked really festive.

So there council spokesperson-without
-a-name, people from other boroughs think the additions Walthamstow folk have made to the tree barriers HAS made it more festive. So what does it take for the council to be convinced that with a teeny weeny bit of community effort, it can look more festive?

@Warpdog - it's not THAT wonky that it will fall down but maybe that's why the barriers are there - so that if it did fall down the council wouldn't get sued by anyone hurt by it.
Went past the tree at about 1pm today and it really looks lovely. Had some friends with me from another borough and they thought it was a great idea and that it looked really festive. So there council spokesperson-without -a-name, people from other boroughs think the additions Walthamstow folk have made to the tree barriers HAS made it more festive. So what does it take for the council to be convinced that with a teeny weeny bit of community effort, it can look more festive? @Warpdog - it's not THAT wonky that it will fall down but maybe that's why the barriers are there - so that if it did fall down the council wouldn't get sued by anyone hurt by it. Nairn
  • Score: 0

5:58pm Fri 30 Nov 12

EastEndLass says...

Personally, I think the lights are looking really good this year. they seem far more abundant than last year, and I like the twinkly ones.

It could do with a nice big star at the top tho!
Personally, I think the lights are looking really good this year. they seem far more abundant than last year, and I like the twinkly ones. It could do with a nice big star at the top tho! EastEndLass
  • Score: 0

6:01pm Fri 30 Nov 12

Isaythat says...

Dlon, loved the story :-). Think you should write it, laminate it and hang it on the railing.

Who says Walthamstow doesn't have a community?
Dlon, loved the story :-). Think you should write it, laminate it and hang it on the railing. Who says Walthamstow doesn't have a community? Isaythat
  • Score: 0

6:03pm Fri 30 Nov 12

EastEndLass says...

The idea of a nice big star at the top isn't a dare btw*

*honest
The idea of a nice big star at the top isn't a dare btw* *honest EastEndLass
  • Score: 0

10:33pm Fri 30 Nov 12

JamesPBWF says...

I presume the council spokesperson as a policy wonk ;-)
I presume the council spokesperson as a policy wonk ;-) JamesPBWF
  • Score: 0

10:42pm Fri 30 Nov 12

EdRyanE17 says...

I think most people are not getting the point. It's not about the tree, it's bout the ugly security barriers.
I think most people are not getting the point. It's not about the tree, it's bout the ugly security barriers. EdRyanE17
  • Score: 0

7:27am Sat 1 Dec 12

MonawerFarooq says...

I never noticed it being wonky.

It could use more gold and red decorations.
I never noticed it being wonky. It could use more gold and red decorations. MonawerFarooq
  • Score: 0

8:49am Sat 1 Dec 12

Jeremy_Griffiths says...

It's not as if those barriers are going to keep people off it, anyway. If you get a bunch of beered-up lads on their way home, who decide to climb it or some such high jinks, do you think they'll espy the barriers and say 'cor blimey guv, look at that! No way we can get through them!'

I think even the average 2 year old wouldn't have a problem negotiating the barriers. No, the barriers would be better used elsewhere, for instance, we could melt them down and make them into a statue of our glorious leader, Chris Robbins!
It's not as if those barriers are going to keep people off it, anyway. If you get a bunch of beered-up lads on their way home, who decide to climb it or some such high jinks, do you think they'll espy the barriers and say 'cor blimey guv, look at that! No way we can get through them!' I think even the average 2 year old wouldn't have a problem negotiating the barriers. No, the barriers would be better used elsewhere, for instance, we could melt them down and make them into a statue of our glorious leader, Chris Robbins! Jeremy_Griffiths
  • Score: 0

1:16pm Sat 1 Dec 12

Helen, Walthamstow says...

I've just seen the tree on a visit to the High Street. Possibly it will look slightly better at night time when you can actually see the lights that the council spokesman thinks make it look "beautiful". During the day, it is as dull as ditchwater, so I suppose the bits and pieces around the railings at least hint at the season.

Generally speaking, though, I'd say it was a waste of space unless you take account of the fact that the space has been wasted anyway for so long.

Thank you to those posters with their "wonk" suggestions! They gave us all a laugh.
I've just seen the tree on a visit to the High Street. Possibly it will look slightly better at night time when you can actually see the lights that the council spokesman thinks make it look "beautiful". During the day, it is as dull as ditchwater, so I suppose the bits and pieces around the railings at least hint at the season. Generally speaking, though, I'd say it was a waste of space unless you take account of the fact that the space has been wasted anyway for so long. Thank you to those posters with their "wonk" suggestions! They gave us all a laugh. Helen, Walthamstow
  • Score: 0

3:24pm Sat 1 Dec 12

mdj says...

' the simple task of putting up a non-wonky Xmas tree on that spot is beyond human endeavor. '

I believe the irreversible lean derives from a well-intentioned attempt to place Cllr Pye on the top dressed as a fairy, to boost the Christmas cheer. When people started turning up to help with bales of firewood, torches and pitchforks, it was realised that a regrettable misunderstanding had taken place.
' the simple task of putting up a non-wonky Xmas tree on that spot is beyond human endeavor. ' I believe the irreversible lean derives from a well-intentioned attempt to place Cllr Pye on the top dressed as a fairy, to boost the Christmas cheer. When people started turning up to help with bales of firewood, torches and pitchforks, it was realised that a regrettable misunderstanding had taken place. mdj
  • Score: 0

12:32am Mon 3 Dec 12

SXH says...

They should make it an event day each year putting the tree up (straight) in each area, with either pupils from schools around the borough or parents with children, each one adding their own piece on the tree.. but maybe that's asking a bit too much from our leader to make it a communty joint event !!!
They should make it an event day each year putting the tree up (straight) in each area, with either pupils from schools around the borough or parents with children, each one adding their own piece on the tree.. but maybe that's asking a bit too much from our leader to make it a communty joint event !!! SXH
  • Score: 0

9:42am Mon 3 Dec 12

Isaythat says...

SXH. What a great idea! We don't need anyone to organise that other than ourselves. Whoever on here finds out first when the tree is to be erected, can suggest a time and date for everyone who would like to join in. Maybe this local Guardian will advertise the chosen date. It all helps to promote a community spirit and just the positive attitude we need.
SXH. What a great idea! We don't need anyone to organise that other than ourselves. Whoever on here finds out first when the tree is to be erected, can suggest a time and date for everyone who would like to join in. Maybe this local Guardian will advertise the chosen date. It all helps to promote a community spirit and just the positive attitude we need. Isaythat
  • Score: 0

3:05pm Tue 4 Dec 12

Down With This Sort Of Thing says...

Jeremy_Griffiths wrote:
It's not as if those barriers are going to keep people off it, anyway. If you get a bunch of beered-up lads on their way home, who decide to climb it or some such high jinks, do you think they'll espy the barriers and say 'cor blimey guv, look at that! No way we can get through them!'

I think even the average 2 year old wouldn't have a problem negotiating the barriers. No, the barriers would be better used elsewhere, for instance, we could melt them down and make them into a statue of our glorious leader, Chris Robbins!
The barriers aren't there to keep people out, they're to keep the tree in.

Fear the wonky tree!
[quote][p][bold]Jeremy_Griffiths[/bold] wrote: It's not as if those barriers are going to keep people off it, anyway. If you get a bunch of beered-up lads on their way home, who decide to climb it or some such high jinks, do you think they'll espy the barriers and say 'cor blimey guv, look at that! No way we can get through them!' I think even the average 2 year old wouldn't have a problem negotiating the barriers. No, the barriers would be better used elsewhere, for instance, we could melt them down and make them into a statue of our glorious leader, Chris Robbins![/p][/quote]The barriers aren't there to keep people out, they're to keep the tree in. Fear the wonky tree! Down With This Sort Of Thing
  • Score: 0

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