“This train will be terminating at Walthamstow. Please, Mind The Gap”
With years of listening to Victoria Underground line announcers call out this village name, and never quite having a good reason to stay on all the way to the end of the track (even by accident, which is a genuine London miracle) one day this Christmas break we found ourselves whistling out to Walthamstow with a spare afternoon and a hankering for something slightly different.
Turning out of the station and passing the historic buildings of old Walthamstow village (thanks to Jaime’s recommendations we already want to revisit and explore a little more) we began to wander as all intrepid explorers armed with the internet do.
Intrigued (and with me beginning to wonder where my friend was guiding me to) we followed the GPS along residential streets until we turned into the Ravenswood Industrial Estate where an explosion of colour hides away behind plain warehouse walls.
Not only is Gods Own Junkyard the largest collection of neon signs outside of the US…
…but Chris Bracey’s family have had the sign-making workshop in Walthamstow since the 1950’s and Chris himself was making signs for almost 40 years, including all the original Soho peep-show signs, fairground lighting, movie props and shop fronts.
Akin to waking up in a Baz Luhrman film – and shades of the real Moulin Rouge – it is simply impossible to taken in everything in one look. So, after settling in a corner of the Rolling Scone Cafe with a hot chocolate and tea respectively (we called it warding off the winter cold, but really any excuse will do) before another wander to two around the incredible space (and a visit around to the corner pub for a table full of fries accompanied by feline hosts.)
Well, contrary to the sky blue hue of London Underground maps, I’ve decided that the Victoria Line should be rainbow coloured, with Gods Own Junkyard the neon Leprechaun pot of genius chaos at the end. Just make sure you check the opening hours and their social media before visiting to ward off disappointment.
Have you been?