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August 08, 2006

Closing, re-branding, and a 1,000 faces in Walthamstow

Yesterday was my first real mooch around the centre of Walthamstow since I started my visit to the UK. I immediately got some bad news with the notice that the book shop in Selbourne Walk The Mall was closing as Ottakers on Tuesday 8th, and re-opening on the 10th as a branch of Waterstones. As a book-shop Ottakers put on a huge number of events, and I hope that will continue under the new management. And I all hope they'll keep the wall-sized mural of the front cover of Tintin and King Ottakar's Sceptre. However, I guess with the two day closure being to re-brand from Ottakers to Waterstones, that may be wishful thinking on my part.


In the town centre for this week until the 13th of August there is a temporary exhibition on called 1,000 Faces of Walthamstow. It does what it says on the tin - displaying 1,000 photographic portraits of the faces of people from Waltham Forest. I have to confess I was a little let down by it - I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it somehow seemed less than the sum of its 1,000 parts. Apart from shouting out the rather obvious fact that Waltham Forest has an ethnically diverse population make-up and that some people are babies and some people are very old, it didn't really seem to convey any other message than "Here are lots of pictures of people". I guess it would be more interesting if today's 1,000 faces could be seen next to the faces from twenty or fifty or a hundred years ago.



Walthamstow's central library is undergoing a re-development. My first reaction was "again?". However, on further thought it occurred to me that the main thing I can remember about the last re-development was the children's library moving into temporary accommodation, and not knowing where the Doctor Who books were anymore. Which was a long time ago - honest ;-)



Some things hadn't changed much though - the top of the market is still a wasteland. The old sixties era arcade were I used to go to "Derek's Records" and get my hair cut as a young child was demolished well over a year ago, but there is still no sign of anything replacing it.


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I went back in Waterstones/Ottakers today, and it seems that the giant Tintin has survived for now. Rubbish selection of computer books though...

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