A historic gallery has experienced a sharp increase in visitor numbers since a £5million refurbishment.

Four times more people have visited the William Morris Gallery in Forest Road, Walthamstow, since August, compared to the same period last year.

The museum, which is based in the childhood home of the 19th century designer, socialist and writer, now includes new exhibitions, classroom space and a tea room.

A total of 42,386 people visited between September and December last year.

The museum's souvenir shop has also proved popular, with more than 3,000 William Morris textile design umbrellas and 2,000 t-shirts being sold.

The success of the revamped gallery comes following years of uncertainty over its future.

In 2007 Waltham Forest Council slashed its budget and laid off long-serving staff, including curator and crafts movement expert Peter Cormach, prompting angry protests from campaigners.

But in 2010 new plans were drawn up and given a boost later that year by a £1.5million grant from the Heritage Lottery Project, which was matched by Waltham Forest Council.

A further £1million was raised by the Friends of William Morris Gallery group, with a shortfall of £800,000 underwritten by the council.