Marion Cunningham, born and raised in Walthamstow, has written a book about her grandparent's experience of spending 50 years int he area

Marion Cunningham with her new self-published book.

Marion Cunningham with her new self-published book.

First published in News
Last updated
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A woman who published a historical account of Walthamstow this week claims the area has lost its magic.

Marion Cunningham, 71, was raised in Walthamstow after being born in Thorpe Coombe Hospital in Forest Road in 1942.

Now living on Canvey Island, Essex, she lived in Walthamstow for 20 years before moving but returned regularly to see family and friends.

This week she has released self-published book chronicling the lives of her grandparents Jesse Frederick Ware, a First World War soldier, French polisher, cabinet maker and upholsterer, and Amelia who lived in the area for over 50 years during the early 20th century.

Her first book, (He Took the King’s Shilling) For His Love of Amelia, provides an insight into the way life was for many people of Walthamstow during those times, Mrs Cunningham said.

Outdoor toilets, no electricity and hardship during both world wars are some of the issues the pair faced.

But Mrs Cunningham added that since then the area has changed drastically over the years, sometimes for the worse.

“The best thing about Walthamstow now is Manze’s pie and mash shop,” she added.

“But even that’s changed. It just isn’t the same place anymore. I’ve got memories of the High Street from when you couldn’t get a stall unless it was passed down through the family.

“There was just something magical about it then.”

She said she occasionally visits the High Street now but prefers to recall fonder memories when there was a stronger sense of family and community between residents

For His Love of Amelia is available from www.fortheloveofamelia.co.uk and will soon be available on Amazon.

Comments (12)

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4:47pm Mon 10 Mar 14

NDevoto says...

What a load of vague and dubious assertions. Manze's "isn't the same" yet has been preserved with an English heritage Grade 2 listed status. Did she expect the same staff to be attending forever? Also she bemoans the loss of nepotism in acquiring market stalls, if that were the case there would probably be hardly any left. The Market has certainly declined but not for the non reasons she is quoted for.
What a load of vague and dubious assertions. Manze's "isn't the same" yet has been preserved with an English heritage Grade 2 listed status. Did she expect the same staff to be attending forever? Also she bemoans the loss of nepotism in acquiring market stalls, if that were the case there would probably be hardly any left. The Market has certainly declined but not for the non reasons she is quoted for. NDevoto
  • Score: 19

5:52pm Mon 10 Mar 14

Helen, Walthamstow says...

Words failed me when I read Mrs Cunningham's views - which is perhaps just as well.

May I suggest that next time she ventures into Walthamstow, she bypasses the market and takes a short walk down to the magic William Morris Gallery.
Words failed me when I read Mrs Cunningham's views - which is perhaps just as well. May I suggest that next time she ventures into Walthamstow, she bypasses the market and takes a short walk down to the magic William Morris Gallery. Helen, Walthamstow
  • Score: 5

6:02pm Mon 10 Mar 14

Dave mp says...

How right she is about Walthamstow. In the sixties Walthamstow was a great place to live, now it's not even a shadow of its former self. A great pity.
How right she is about Walthamstow. In the sixties Walthamstow was a great place to live, now it's not even a shadow of its former self. A great pity. Dave mp
  • Score: 16

6:24pm Mon 10 Mar 14

Techno3 says...

Dave mp wrote:
How right she is about Walthamstow. In the sixties Walthamstow was a great place to live, now it's not even a shadow of its former self. A great pity.
Walthamstow hasn't been the same since the time Samuel Pepys got drunk and tried to have his way with all the women in the household at Admiral Sir William Penn's gaff.

There are just no characters any more, just sad people who think that a fond memory of a good night out is a soggy old pie, some mash potatoes finished off with a trip to an outdoor privy.
[quote][p][bold]Dave mp[/bold] wrote: How right she is about Walthamstow. In the sixties Walthamstow was a great place to live, now it's not even a shadow of its former self. A great pity.[/p][/quote]Walthamstow hasn't been the same since the time Samuel Pepys got drunk and tried to have his way with all the women in the household at Admiral Sir William Penn's gaff. There are just no characters any more, just sad people who think that a fond memory of a good night out is a soggy old pie, some mash potatoes finished off with a trip to an outdoor privy. Techno3
  • Score: 26

9:24am Tue 11 Mar 14

hargwyne says...

I am quite simply stunned that one of the major publishing houses hasn't yet snapped up the publishing rights to this story. Penguin, WHERE ARE YOU? And, Warner Bros, there is an EPIC movie in this.

Aren't policemen looking young these days?
I am quite simply stunned that one of the major publishing houses hasn't yet snapped up the publishing rights to this story. Penguin, WHERE ARE YOU? And, Warner Bros, there is an EPIC movie in this. Aren't policemen looking young these days? hargwyne
  • Score: 4

9:32am Tue 11 Mar 14

markhouse24 says...

I bet she hardly ever comes back, sounds like she's lived on Canvey Island for years
I bet she hardly ever comes back, sounds like she's lived on Canvey Island for years markhouse24
  • Score: 6

10:22am Tue 11 Mar 14

Debbie2312 says...

Dave mp wrote:
How right she is about Walthamstow. In the sixties Walthamstow was a great place to live, now it's not even a shadow of its former self. A great pity.
You are so right. Walthamstow is a shadow of the place it used to be. Those of us that can remember know how bad it has got here. People that have moved in to the area after the down turn cannot possibly appreciate the change in this area. It is very sad to see
[quote][p][bold]Dave mp[/bold] wrote: How right she is about Walthamstow. In the sixties Walthamstow was a great place to live, now it's not even a shadow of its former self. A great pity.[/p][/quote]You are so right. Walthamstow is a shadow of the place it used to be. Those of us that can remember know how bad it has got here. People that have moved in to the area after the down turn cannot possibly appreciate the change in this area. It is very sad to see Debbie2312
  • Score: -1

3:16pm Tue 11 Mar 14

Leytonstonia says...

Cor Blimey. I remember Canvey Island before it filled up with moaning ex-Londoners.
Cor Blimey. I remember Canvey Island before it filled up with moaning ex-Londoners. Leytonstonia
  • Score: 18

4:49pm Tue 11 Mar 14

rodddy says...

Canvey Island is a dump
Canvey Island is a dump rodddy
  • Score: 16

9:55pm Tue 11 Mar 14

Techno3 says...

EppingRes1dent wrote:
I took white flight from Walthamstow some time ago and no longer have any reason to return there to visit friends and family as they, too, have now departed. I am relieved that I no longer have to look at what it has become. I prefer to remember it as it was.

Those that remain are either too blind to see what has happened to the place or are too stubborn to do what is for the best.
I like it here. The food is great, transport links are good (when they are working), I get on with my neighbours and there is usually something interesting going on.

If you are left and are happy about that, I am happy for you. I wonder, though, if you are really as happy with your choice as your claim. Why would you feel the need to read the local paper and comment on local Walthamstow affairs if the life you are now leading is as fulfillling as you imply.
[quote][p][bold]EppingRes1dent[/bold] wrote: I took white flight from Walthamstow some time ago and no longer have any reason to return there to visit friends and family as they, too, have now departed. I am relieved that I no longer have to look at what it has become. I prefer to remember it as it was. Those that remain are either too blind to see what has happened to the place or are too stubborn to do what is for the best.[/p][/quote]I like it here. The food is great, transport links are good (when they are working), I get on with my neighbours and there is usually something interesting going on. If you are left and are happy about that, I am happy for you. I wonder, though, if you are really as happy with your choice as your claim. Why would you feel the need to read the local paper and comment on local Walthamstow affairs if the life you are now leading is as fulfillling as you imply. Techno3
  • Score: 11

11:53pm Tue 11 Mar 14

fed up man says...

i moved out 7 years ago to gants hill!! she is talking rubbish!! house prices in walthamstow have shot through the roof!! beats canvey island any day!! still a good place to live!! every place in london has bad sides!! its the foreigners who have revived the market otherwise left to people likeher it would be derelict!!!
i moved out 7 years ago to gants hill!! she is talking rubbish!! house prices in walthamstow have shot through the roof!! beats canvey island any day!! still a good place to live!! every place in london has bad sides!! its the foreigners who have revived the market otherwise left to people likeher it would be derelict!!! fed up man
  • Score: 0

2:43pm Fri 14 Mar 14

Diridonda says...

"There was just something magical about it then.”
Of course it was. She was young then. Now she's a sad old girl living in the past. Happy Canvey Island!
"There was just something magical about it then.” Of course it was. She was young then. Now she's a sad old girl living in the past. Happy Canvey Island! Diridonda
  • Score: 1

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