WE: The Ex-Warner Estate in Waltham Forest

Artists Lucy Harrison and Katherine Green have collaborated on a project that surveys the former Warner Estate in the suburbs of East London.

Exhibition: 29 October 2016 – 19 February 2017, Vestry House Museum, London

Press coverage: The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, BBC Radio London and BBC London News (scroll down to see video).

The Warner Estate in Waltham Forest consists of three distinct areas of housing development, spanning 1880s until the 1950s. Built for the working classes, these well-designed and well-built flats and houses are a distinct character within the area and have helped shape a community. Generations of families have rented these properties and Lucy and Katherine have sought to capture their history.

The project is in two parts. The first, in 2014 was funded by an Arts Development grant from Waltham Forest Council along with sponsorship from the Stow Brothers Estate Agents, and included an exhibition in the former Warner rent office for Lloyd Park, the publication of a book, a series of community events and the collection of archive material, much of which is available on this website.

The first stage was in collaboration with local writer Kirstin Sibley and Walthamstow Historical Society. It documented the current diversity of owners and tenants of the properties. During the course of this project, many older residents came forward – many of who had lived in these properties their entire lives and were second of third generation tenants. It became apparent that there was a need to develop a second phase to the project where the artists focused on collecting the memories of these older residents.

The second part of this project, 2016, is funded by Arts Council England and Heritage Lottery Fund. The artists have engaged volunteers to help with the work of gathering hundreds of memories, documents and photographs from these older residents.

The exhibition at Vestry House Museum, was accompanied by walks, talks and an updated second edition of the accompanying publication WE. In February 2017, a new walking tour app was launched with guided walks, oral histories and archive material, it can be downloaded free from the App Store or Google Play, just search for ‘Ex Warner Project’.

The exhibition mixed a large number of newly collected family photographs dating back to 1903 as well as contemporary photographs of current residents, historical documents and oral histories.

See the project website for details.

Archive photos courtesy of Susan Cave, Judy Smith, Brenda Jackson, Molly Middleton & Bedford Lemere & Co.