Newly uncovered photos show London’s disappearing working class housing

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WE: The Ex-Warner Estate in Waltham Forest looks at a disappearing community and the distinctive Warner homes in Walthamstow and Leyton from the start of the 20th century, using a combination of photographs from residents, new photography, archive images and oral histories.Newly uncovered photos show London’s disappearing working class housing

An east London arts project has uncovered a wealth of historic images that show life in what is widely thought of as the country’s most successful privately-built-and-owned ‘social housing’.
WE: The Ex-Warner Estate in Waltham Forest looks at a disappearing community and the distinctive Warner homes in Walthamstow and Leyton from the start of the 20th century, using a combination of photographs from residents, new photography, archive images and oral histories.

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These evocative unseen photographs and archive materials are on show in an exhibition at London’s Vestry House Museum, illustrating how radically working class family life has changed in London. The Warner homes saw generations of families renting and living close to each other. But the newest generations of these families have been forced out of the area or of London altogether, as homes are sold off and London gentrifies. A two-bedroom Warner flat currently sells for around £450,000.

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Artists Lucy Harrison and Katherine Green have collected hundreds of images from as far afield as America and Australia, as well as oral histories from those who have lived in these distinctive properties for 20 years or more, to create an exhibition that shows how resident lived in the properties throughout the 20th century and into the 21st.

WE: The Ex-Warner Estate in Waltham Forest on until –19th February 2017
Vestry House Museum, Vestry Road, London E17 9NH Open 10am-5pm, Wednesday – Sunday. Admission free.
www.facebook.com/VestryHouse

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Lucy Harrison works on collaborative projects in the public realm, examining our complicated relationships with places. She has recently worked on commissions for Tate Modern, The Legacy List and Hackney Museum. In 2013, she developed the project Carnaby Echoes, which examined the hidden musical history of the Carnaby estate in central London, culminating in an exhibition, book, and series of short films.
www.lucy-harrison.co.uk

Katherine Green is a social documentary photographer, who has recently exhibited at Kettle’s Yard, National Portrait Gallery and The Lowry. Her work seeks to capture and celebrate the lives of local people through both photography and oral history, focusing on what makes and bonds communities. www.katherinegreen.co.uk

The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England.

About Mark Westall

Mark Westall is the founder and editor of FAD magazine, a curation of the world’s most interesting culture, and Creative Director of FAD Agency, a digital creative agency: www.fad.agency