A street with art deco buildings dating back almost a century was unveiled after being brought back to its former glory five years ago this week.

A stretch of a busy high street that was blighted by ageing shopfronts has been transformed by a multi-million pound renovation scheme.

St James Street and the western end of Walthamstow High Street enjoyed a £2.9million facelift to return it to its former glory.

Despite being just a stone’s throw away from Walthamstow Market, businesses were struggling to survive in the area full of dilapidated buildings.

The heritage-led investment means St James Street is now open for business and compliments the other improvements in the area which include new homes and business spaces.

The renovations were made possible by a grant of £1.46m from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £1.36m from the council. Freeholders and leaseholders also contributed £90,000 and volunteers gave their time to the scheme which equated to £8,000.

The street, which has art deco buildings dating back to 1929, saw over 50 of its properties improved and their historic features restored.

Paving, new lighting and a shared pedestrian and cyclist crossing were installed and 36 businesses were given training in visual merchandising, promotion and marketing.

Waltham Forest Council leader Cllr Clare Coghill officially unveiled the transformation at the launch party which included live music and a DJ.

“This heritage led scheme has brought the buildings and the local area back to its former glory,” she said.

“There is so much heritage here, it was important that it should gain a new lease of life and be made available for people and businesses to benefit and enjoy.

“This investment will also attract new businesses to the area as it is so well-placed next to the longest market in Europe and being the gateway to the Walthamstow Wetlands.

“This could not have happened though without the HLF and the hard work of local businesses and volunteers. This is community-based regeneration at its best.”

Schoolchildren turned up to lend a helping hand at the launch party.

The renovation scheme saw 90 primary schools get on board for heritage awareness activities.