Many of Walthamstow’s pubs were built in the later 19th century or later, to serve the area’s growing population. Sadly many have since closed, but with a keen eye, we can spot the former hostelries that still stand, even when they have been converted to other uses.

One of the area’s popular pubs was the Lorne Arms, at 64 Queen’s Road. It closed in 2005, after more than a century of being at the heart of its community, and is now commercial premises.

It was originally a beerhouse, opened in 1882 by William Sharplin, but within just a few years an application was made for the premises to operate as a fully licensed public house, with the necessary enlargement and alterations that this would entail. Not unsurprisingly, this decision was met with local opposition from rival establishments, and the licensee of The Tower (now The Goose) and Commongate public houses lodged an official objection.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

The pub occupied a prominent corner in Queen's Road

Despite this the Lorne Arms, sometimes referred to as Ye Lorne Arms, was granted a licence and it operated as a fully fledged pub from the 1880s. It was initially supplied by the Savill Brothers Brewery, based in Stratford, although later became a Charringtons pub. As well as being used by the regular local crowd, it was also a local meeting place for the Ancient Order of Britons, and also served as a venue for inquests, presided over by the coroner; inquests into the deaths of several local residents were heard here, including murder and suicides.

The pub was home to a succession of landlords and their families over the years. One of the early licensees was Jesse Sawyer, who in 1893 was one of many landlords deceived by serial swindler George Augustus Sydenham, who visited many pubs in East London and surrounding areas posing as an insurance broker to obtain funds. In the early 20th century the pub was home to Canadian William Silcock and several members of staff, including potman Harry Edwards, barmaid Lilian Thomas and general maid Isabel Smith, none of whom hailed from Walthamstow, but were from Tottenham, Islington, and East London.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Advertisement for the Lorne Arms

In the early 20th century the building was altered several times, to accommodate various changes expected of a local pub, including changes in seating areas, and forms of entertainment. The pub had billiard tables, forbidden to be played on Sundays, but it was not uncommon for this to be ignored in certain establishments: in 1952 landlord Israel Milller was cautioned for serving after-hours alcohol and for permitting Sunday billiard playing, and he was by no means the only landlord to do so.

By the 1980s the pub was known for its two bars, the larger for discos and live music, and the smaller for more traditional pursuits such as darts and pool. The pub remained a popular local venue and drinking establishment, but by the beginning of the 21st century the decision was made by its then owners to close it. The rear of the premises were demolished and an application was made to convert the building into retail units with accommodation above.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

The former pub is now commercial premises

Although the building has lost its signage and other public house paraphernalia, it is today still recognisable as a former public house, occupying a prominent corner in Queen's Road.

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