Waltham Forest Echo

Waltham Forest Echo

Walthamstow 18th century mansion facing regeneration

The council wrote in 2020 that they hope to see it become a "residential and workspace hub"

Hero for Walthamstow 18th century mansion facing regeneration
Chestnut House in Hoe Street
By Nadoya Reid 26 May 2022

An 18th century mansion in the centre of Walthamstow has been earmarked for “regeneration” by Waltham Forest Council.An 18th century mansion in the centre of Walthamstow has been earmarked for “regeneration” by Waltham Forest Council.

Over hundreds of years, Chestnut House in Hoe Street, which is Grade 2 listed, has served as a home for notables, a women’s asylum, a girls’ school and an adult learning centre.Over hundreds of years, Chestnut House in Hoe Street, which is Grade 2 listed, has served as a home for notables, a women’s asylum, a girls’ school and an adult learning centre.

More recently, the building has fallen into disrepair and was occupied for years by property guardians, one of whom previously wrote for the Echo about their home.More recently, the building has fallen into disrepair and was occupied for years by property guardians, one of whom previously wrote for the Echo about their home.

The building’s latest guardians, however, have been evicted from the property after the council put it on the market last December.The building’s latest guardians, however, have been evicted from the property after the council put it on the market last December.

It is possible they were less than happy about thisIt is possible they were less than happy about this

In a brochure seeking an “innovative development partner”, published in early 2020, the council wrote that they hope to see the house become “a high quality residential and workspace hub”. In a brochure seeking an “innovative development partner”, published in early 2020, the council wrote that they hope to see the house become “a high quality residential and workspace hub”. 

They wrote: “The opportunity to generate ‘good growth’ in Walthamstow is significant – and we invite you to be a part of the positive changes sweeping through the area, while paying respect to the history and heritage of its listed buildings.”They wrote: “The opportunity to generate ‘good growth’ in Walthamstow is significant – and we invite you to be a part of the positive changes sweeping through the area, while paying respect to the history and heritage of its listed buildings.”

At a recent meeting of the Walthamstow Historical Society, member Neil Houghton concluded a history of the building by outlining a number of barriers to any future redevelopment.At a recent meeting of the Walthamstow Historical Society, member Neil Houghton concluded a history of the building by outlining a number of barriers to any future redevelopment.

The large house only has three bedrooms and is located next to a primary school and on a main road, which he suggested could make it less attractive to investors.The large house only has three bedrooms and is located next to a primary school and on a main road, which he suggested could make it less attractive to investors.

Furthermore, he noted anyone hoping to live inside would likely want to make adjustments like fitting central heating, which would damage the structure of the listed property.Furthermore, he noted anyone hoping to live inside would likely want to make adjustments like fitting central heating, which would damage the structure of the listed property.

However, he nonetheless raved about the beauty of its interior, claiming it has “one of the finest staircases in London of this perceived time”, with barely twisted bannisters that are “the test of a master joiner”. However, he nonetheless raved about the beauty of its interior, claiming it has “one of the finest staircases in London of this perceived time”, with barely twisted bannisters that are “the test of a master joiner”. 

Asked to comment on plans for the building, a council spokesperson said: “The council received a number of proposals for Chestnuts House. We are in the process of assessing those proposals and will be taking any decision through our formal governance over the next few months.”Asked to comment on plans for the building, a council spokesperson said: “The council received a number of proposals for Chestnuts House. We are in the process of assessing those proposals and will be taking any decision through our formal governance over the next few months.”

Speaking before their recent eviction, one property guardian living in the building told the Echo: “The house is beautiful. I hope whatever it becomes next makes use of its beauty and history.”Speaking before their recent eviction, one property guardian living in the building told the Echo: “The house is beautiful. I hope whatever it becomes next makes use of its beauty and history.”