Features Walthamstow

A champion of local history

Well-regarded local historian Malcolm Doolin has died aged 68, writes Graham Millington Malcolm Doolin was a local historian and author of The Boys of […]By Waltham Forest Echo

Well-regarded local historian Malcolm Doolin has died aged 68, writes Graham Millington

Malcolm Doolin

Malcolm Doolin was a local historian and author of The Boys of Blackhorse Road: The story of an elementary school war memorial. The book paid tribute to the 52 pupils and three teachers of the former Walthamstow School who fought and died in the First World War. A reviewer enthused that the well-researched book provided: “An excellent background to the school, to the London they lived in, to the men themselves.”

Malcolm was born in Dover to a family of seafarers – indeed his father was a sailor in the Second World War. After attending a Roman Catholic primary school he joined Dover Grammar School for Boys and went on to Worcester College to train as a teacher of history and English.

However, from age 15 he made up for what he believed to be a limited education by pursuing his many interests and these included regularly catching a train to visit and explore London. He also loved cricket but had a real passion for the theatre and he saw many of the great actors of the period.

After leaving college in 1973, Malcolm began his teaching career in London and after displaying high levels of commitment and enterprise, he was appointed head of year at Brampton Manor School in Newham. During his time in schools Malcolm demonstrated a real concern to enhance the school experience of children, particularly those who were vulnerable and challenging, and he developed an excellent vocational and life skills programme. He became known for his efficiency and commitment and as his seniority grew his efforts in the realms of staff development led to Brampton becoming one of the first training schools in the country.


This story is published by Waltham Forest Echo, Waltham Forest's free monthly newspaper and free news website. We are a not-for-profit publication, published by a small social enterprise. We have no rich backers and rely on the support of our readers. Donate or become a supporter.


Malcolm stayed at the school until the early 2000s when he decided to go self-employed as an educational consultant, instead of pursuing a headship. Consequently he created Astra Education, a venture which proved very successful, and Malcolm became highly regarded in the education sector.

In 2004 Malcolm married his long-time partner Eve whom he had met when both were helping in school drama productions. Eventually they produced shows together of such quality that two of them were transferred to the Theatre Royal, Stratford.

Malcolm was greatly interested in the First World War and in 2013 he completed a master’s degree in war studies. At this time Malcolm became an invaluable member of the Walthamstow branch of the Western Front Association (WFA) and as usual demonstrated his customary drive and innovation, becoming engaged in numerous local and national projects commemorating those tragic war years.

Malcolm was very well regarded by all those who worked with him. He was energetic, committed, wholly approachable, and humane. These qualities he brought to the world of education and to history and with his passing, both have lost a true champion.


No news is bad news 

Independent news outlets like ours – reporting for the community without rich backers – are under threat of closure, turning British towns into news deserts. 

The audiences they serve know less, understand less, and can do less. 

In celebration of Indie News Week, Public Interest News Foundation's Indie News Fund will match fund all donations, including new annual supporter subscriptions for the month of June.

If our coverage has helped you understand our community a little bit better, please consider supporting us with a monthly, yearly or one-off donation. 

Choose the news. Don’t lose the news.

Monthly direct debit 

Annual direct debit

£5 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else, £10 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else and a print copy posted to them each month.  £50 annual supporters get a digital copy of each month's paper before anyone else.

Donate now with Pay Pal

More information on supporting us monthly or annually 

More Information about donations