James Paul Andre’s Sketches

James Paul Andre the Younger was a London based artist, active between the years 1823 and 1867. He painted landscapes of many English counties in oil. His work was exhibited at the Royal Academy, Suffolk Street Gallery and the British Institution. Among some of his listed works are views of Woodford Bridge, Loughton Church and Hainault Forest.

Below is a selection of images from an album of works by Andre in the museum’s collection.

The Windmill at Chigwell Row

Windmill at Chigwell RowThis Windmill stood about 270 yards south-east from the south side of Lambourne Road opposite the junction with Vicarage Lane. The first mill here was erected in about 1610. The mill was struck by lightning in 1842 and burned down.

The James-Paul André album of watercolours shows four views of the windmill, three of the mill and its immediate surrounding area, and a fourth from a distance, possibly painted from near the top of Manor Road at the junction of Hainault Road and Fencepiece Road.

Hainault Forest

Hainault Forest

For over six hundred years Hainault Forest was part of Waltham Forest. All this changed in 1851 when an Act of Parliament was passed for the disafforestation of Hainault Forest, and this led to the destruction of 100,000 oak, hornbeam and other trees. The cleared land was sold for farms. A little woodland remained to the north of the King’s Wood, mostly in Chigwell and Lambourne parishes. However, by 1900 the bulk of the remaining woodland was in the private ownership of the Lockwood family of Bishops Hall, at Lambourne. Edward North Buxton, who had played a key part in the fight to save Epping Forest in the 1870s, could see the need to secure the last remnants of Hainault Forest as an open space for the public. In 1902 he persuaded the London County Council to purchase 801 acres of land formerly Hainault Forest in Lambourne and Chigwell and Foxburrows Farm. The ‘new’ Hainault Forest which exists today was formally dedicated as a public open space in July 1906.

Snaresbrook

snaresbrook-early-moonlight

The Eagle Pond at Snaresbrook is an ancient pond that is shown on maps surveyed in 1773 (Chapman & André) and 1745 (Rocque). It was formed in the early eighteenth century by damming the valley of the ‘Snares Brook’ and was at that time called ‘Snares Pond’. It adjoins the Snaresbrook Road that runs west from the Eagle Hotel, once a coaching inn on the main Woodford Road from London to Newmarket until 1829.

The watercolour painted by James Paul André in 1839, shows the pond from the west end. In the distance can be seen the Eagle Inn. Today the east end of the pond is shrouded with trees but the Inn can still be seen directly opposite the end of the Snaresbrook Road. The Royal Infant Orphanage was yet to be built at the time the picture was painted.

‘Near Loughton’

Near LoughtonThe picture shows the head of a lane, descending into a valley, and in the distance a substantial mansion with a red-tiled roof. The most likely location from which André painted this picture is at Rolls Corner on the Chigwell to Abridge Road, looking down Chigwell Lane. The house in the picture may be the artist’s impression of Loughton Hall which had been burned down in 1836, and which was not replaced until 1876.

New Touring Exhibition: Mythical Creatures

From the dawn of human history, stories have been filled with tales of strange and mysterious beasts. The product of fantasy, dreams and imagination, these mythical creatures are often invented to explain strange events and can take the form of gods, omens or heroes. Taking you on a journey from the ocean’s depths to the mountain’s peaks, Epping Forest District Museum’s new exhibition, Mythical Creatures, explores the provenance of mythical creatures from around the world, delving into the fantastical stories that explain their existence.

The exhibition is divided onto four main sections, Earth, Wind, Water and Fire, as, according to the Swiss Alchemist Paracelsus, mythical beings draw their spirit from these four universal elements. Using Paracelsus’ theory of the elementals as building blocks, the exhibition weaves the tales of new and old together to create a rich tapestry of mythical beasts.

Although produced by Epping Forest District Museum, Mythical Creatures has been curated by Art students from Epping Forest College as part of the museum’s Young Curators Programme. Inspired by the stories and legends, these students have crafted a series of original artworks that feature their own interpretations of mythical creatures. Visitors can marvel at these artworks that range from a giant origami Nidhogg Dragon to chilling photographs of a modern medusa.

The exhibition launches at Epping Forest College on the 13th April 2015 and in the lead up to the opening, we will be posting fun facts on our social media outlets to see just how much you know about the enchanting world of mythical creatures. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to discover the link between a narwhal whale and Elizabeth I or what rhyme you must recite to vanquish a suspected changeling fairy from your home.

Its time to suspend your disbelief as in here, they do exist…

Mythical Creatures launches on 13th April 2015 and runs until 8th May at Epping Forest College, Loughton, Essex.

If you would like to be added to our Private View Invitation list please get in touch by:
Email – museum@eppingforestdc.gov.uk
Telephone – 01992 716882

EFDM Mythical Creatures Exhibition Poster

Epping Forest District Museum – History of a Tudor House

As you already know work is underway on a Heritage Lottery Fund redevelopment project to improve Epping Forest District Museum. As well as improving the services with a community room, lift and the collections at the heart of the museum, the team will also be working to preserve and interpret the history of the house that the museum lives in.

So we thought we would share a little history about the building with you.

The first recorded references to Sun Street are seen in a rental of Waltham c.1320 and two deeds of c.1321-2. Here Sun Street is referred to in its former name, East Street.

The building that the museum is now housed in (no 41) started life in the 16th century as a two storey timber framed house.

model of 41 sun street as it could have looked in 1520

In the early 17th century the roof was raised to add an extra storey to the building.

Prior to 1730 41 Sun Street was owned by Henry Woollasten. Woollasten was a leading figure in Waltham Abbey, he was the son of a draper. He was prominent in church and local affairs and in 1642 he was given a commission from King Charles I to repair the keepers’ lodges in Epping Forest.

The houses and the wider estates it was a part of stayed in the Woollasten family before parts were sold to James Dobson a draper from Covent Garden. The property then stayed in the Dobson family for 200 years.

fireplace lintel initals

Within the house the fireplace lintel in one of the downstairs rooms reveals some history about one of the tenants. It bears the initials “TCT.” It is likely these refer to Thomas Taylor and his wife Constance. Their 6 children were baptised in Waltham Abbey church between 1671 and 1680.

Other occupiers included Richard Watkins from c.1731 and the Harvey family who seemed to have been occupiers between c.1742/3 and the early 1790s.

c. 1761/2 39 and 41 Sun Street were given their common roof. This was at the same time as number 39 was built. Number 39 is also a timbered framed structure.

The previously mentioned Harveys were the occupiers when a fire broke out in August 1786 which could have destroyed 39 and 41 Sun Street but was averted because of a change in wind direction.

1870 Ordance Survey map of Sun Street

Another notable occupant was John Bently and his son who were occupiers of 39 and 41 Sun Street by 1890. Bently had a lot of importance in the area as a builder, contractor and undertaker. He was involved in the building of St George’s Church, Enfield Highway, Waltham Abbey Town Hall and Woodredon House as well as the rebuilding of the upper part of the Abbey Church tower in the early 1900s.

He largely reconstructed 39 Sun Street himself and was responsible for the mock Tudor timbered front on the two houses.

scale drawing of the sun street facade of 39 and 41 sun street

For a large part of the 1900s 41 Sun Street was occupied by various doctors including Dr Percy Streatfield, DR R H Carter, Dr Bell Smith and lastly Dr Parkinson who lived and practiced at no. 41 until 1973. Parkinson extended the property by the addition of a purpose built surgery and waiting room.

The last owner-occupier was Rowland Blake, wheelwright, who owned the property from 1958 to 1972. It was then bought by Waltham Holy Cross Urban District Council in connection with the town centre redevelopment. It was then used under Epping Forest District Council as a residence before being empty in 1979. It was in this same year that vandals entered and set fire to the property. Luckily this happened during the day so a lot of damage was prevented.

Historical Society Museum

In 1974 No. 41 was listed as of “special architectural or historic interest” (Grade II) before being upgrading to Grade II* and in 1975 the Waltham Abbey Historical Society were granted a tenancy-at-will to use the ground floor as a museum. When they took over the building they had to remove the ceiling as it was falling down – when the material was sifted they had some interesting finds. Amongst the finds was an Elizabethan silver sixpence dated 1562, it was in mint condition and could have been lost shortly after it was made.

elizabeth I coin found in 1975 at 41 sun street

Finally in November 1981 the District Museum was opened in both 39 and 41 after a conversion project in the previous year.
Museum Opening