The Walthamstow Arms

Not a pub, but Walthamstow’s very own coat of arms.

Until 1965 there was a Borough of Walthamstow, created in 1895 and officially granted a coat of arms in 1929. Different elements were selected to represent various aspects of Walthamstow’s history dating back centuries.

The red sleeve (maunch) at the lower half of the shield was an emblem of the Toni family, Lords of the Manor of Walthamstow from the 11th century until 1309.

The anchors and the upper bird derive from the arms of the Monoux family, perhaps the most renowned being Sir George Monoux, city merchant, Lord Mayor of London, and Lord of Walthamstow in 1514. He was also a generous local benefactor whose works included the founding of Monoux School.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

The background colour used on the arms is red rather than the Monoux blue, however, perhaps a nod to the Maynard family, whose stag and talbot (the dog.) flank either side of the arms. The Maynards have been linked with Walthamstow since the 17th century, particularly Henry Maynard, who made generous bequests to the church, schools and the poor.

The oak twig and wreaths may allude to Epping Forest, part of which lay within the Borough of Walthamstow, but there is no obvious royal link tying the crown to Walthamstow’s history; its inclusion here probably merely alludes to civic government.

Perhaps more recognisable is the motto ‘Fellowship is Life,’ the words of former William Morris resident from A Dream of John Bull (1888). He was born in Elm House on Forest Road (demolished 1898, and stood opposite Walthamstow Fire Station) and his childhood home was William Morris Gallery on Forest Road (also formerly known as The Winns and Water House).

When Walthamstow was incorporated into the new Borough of Waltham Forest in 1965, the arms were superseded by the rather more austere Borough arms, seen at various locations in the Borough, including the foundation stone of the Town Hall on Forest Road.

The arms of the Borough of Walthamstow are clearly visible on the Hoe Street facing side of Central Parade at the busy junction of Church Hill and Hoe Street, opposite High Street.

Karen Averby is a seaside-loving Historian and Research Consultant specialising in researching histories and stories of buildings, people and places. She researches house histories for private clients and collaborates in community heritage projects (

She is also Director of Archangel Heritage Ltd, an historical research consultancy providing research services for the commercial heritage sector ( Also found on Twitter @karenaverby and @archaheritage