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'Meet the Man' tour, William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow

                              Meet the Man Tour, William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow Tuesday 11th April 2019

Twenty two members of the Aldersgate Ward Club enjoyed at two course lunch with wine at The Bell in Walthamstow before proceeding a short distance to the William Morris Gallery and what an exceptional time we had!

The Gallery, now owned by Waltham Forest Council, was originally the house in which the Morris family had downsized after the death of William’s father who had been a successful business man in the City. It was in this house that William spent his teenage years before going up to Oxford to read classics.

The Master arranged a tour of the Gallery, led by Ainsley who was excellent. He clearly loved his subject matter and kept us enthralled with both detail and interesting snippets of information about the life and work of William Morris, enabling us to get behind this fascinating man who was a leading light of the Arts and Crafts movement. Morris being a writer, translator and social reformer had a great desire for everyone to experience things of beauty which life in crowded cities in poor living conditions during the industrial revolution did not always permit. It was through his association and friendships with Rossetti, Burne Jones and William Webb whom he met when training to be an architect that he was able to interact and inspire others to establish a business to bring about his desire to make household décor beautiful and exciting.

The permanent exhibitions at The Gallery gave us all an excellent insight into Morris’ enthusiasm for the artistry of that period. Whether it was the designs of the textiles, the elegance of the tiles and  silverware, being able to handle the facsimile of the Book of Chaucer alongside the original, hearing the intriguing stories behind Morris or finding a gentleman exercising his love bird in Lloyd Park which used to be the garden of the house and now open to the community, I heard many members say, ‘Wonderful. I must come back again’.

Master thank you. We couldn’t have had a better day.

Jan Yerbury

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