How The National Lottery transformed London’s first Borough of Culture

Illuminated heart artwork
John Sitwell/PA Wire
The National Lottery Heritage Fund has invested more than £20million into Waltham Forest, helping it to become the Mayor of London’s first ever London Borough of Culture.

It’s an exciting time for Waltham Forest. Throughout 2019, thousands of people will take part in a packed programme of events to celebrate the character and culture of the borough. It’s after the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, named Waltham Forest his first ever London Borough of Culture 2019, as part of his programme to increase the level of participation in the arts across the city.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded the programme £250,000, taking its investment in Waltham Forest to over £20m since 1994.

That funding has been crucial in transforming it into a destination for heritage, arts and culture, including funding for many of the places set to host this year’s events.

A tree lit up at night
Epping Forest is to host the GIANT climbing concert this October

Epping Forest to William Morris

Here are six more amazing things the National Lottery has made possible in Waltham Forest:

  1. A wealth of projects have taken place in Epping Forest, including the restoration of St Peter in the Forest Church.
  2. Regeneration of St James Street and Walthamstow Market.
  3. Walthamstow Wetlands is now a haven for wildlife and a green oasis - the largest urban wetland in Europe!
  4. Lloyd Park received a new skate park, natural play area and vital community space.
  5. Many community stories have been uncovered including the emergence of grime music and the history of toy making.
  6. The William Morris Gallery was completely refurbished, revealing the Georgian features of the Grade II* listed building.
Volunteers in Walthamstow
Legends of the Forest volunteers

Year of culture 2019

The programme is a collaboration by local artists and creatives, businesses and residents and a team of volunteers called Legends of the Forest.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Discover the history of metalworking and manufacturing at the Atomic 50: Time Travels in Tin immersive workshop in April.
  • Enjoy London’s largest free contemporary art festival, Art Night, when it comes to Walthamstow Market on 22 June.
  • Celebrate May Day, and the invention of the bike by Walthamstow born-and-raised John Kemp Starley, at Chingford Plain on 4 May.
  • From June to December, join Walthamstow Wetlands and William Morris Gallery in marking a century of Bauhaus – the 20th century’s most iconic architecture and design movement.

Find out more

Take a look at the Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture website and follow the hashtag #wfculture19.