Iconic neon lights of 1930s Art Deco Walthamstow Stadium restored and illuminated

The iconic neon lights of the 1930s Art Deco Walthamstow Stadium, London, have been restored and illuminated, as part of a major redevelopment of the site designed by international architectural practice Conran and Partners

The familiar lights, which have been switched off for more than 8 years, were a memorable sight for millions of motorists on the North circular Road and appeared in pop videos, films, posters from what was known as ‘Las Vegas at the end of the Victoria Line’. The neon was restored by local craftsman Andy Cook, of Linton Signs, at his workshop in Chingford, Essex, just a few miles from the stadium. Andy first worked on repairs to the Walthamstow Stadium neon 20 years ago as an apprentice.

 The revival of the sign now forms a dramatic entrance to the former Greyhound Stadium and is just one example of how the development is being sensitively redeveloped and remembered for what it once was. The tote board on the reverse of the facade which was used to display information about races has also been restored. And the kennels at the back of the site have been retained to be used as sheds for onsite ‘pocket allotments’.

This full signage restoration takes the colours and shapes back to how they would have looked when it was first switched on in 1951.

Please click here for a full press release and photography

I think to have it restored is far better than having it made new because you would have lost the history of it. It kind of tells you a little story, how those days everything was lead coated afterwards to to give it longevity. It’s that first day where you suddenly look at it and because it’s such a huge building you have to blinker yourself and look at each individual letter as an individual sign. That way I could break it down and take in small little chunks rather than just looking up from the car park and going ‘blimey that’s big
— Andy Cook

There are no readymade tools for neon crafting so nearly every tool is made by the craftsmen from scrap bits of metal. Andy doesn’t use protective wear, as it’s cumbersome and he has to “hold and feel” the glass as consequence he has no hair on his hands! He says it can take 15 years for a glass bender to perfect bending an exact 90 degree angle. Walthamstow has a history of connection with neon, being home to the internationally recognised neon gallery God’s Own Junkyard (www.godsownjunkyard.co.uk)

Conran and Partners' concept and vision will create 294 much needed homes for local people together with a
community-run sports centre, a preschool nursery, pocket allotments, play areas, a newsagent and a cafe. The
development achieved planning permission in 2012 and is currently being realised by L&Q, with their architects
HTA. The first collection of homes are due to launch in the Spring and will include 99 shared ownership properties, including maisonettes, houses and five wheelchair accessible homes.

The retention and restoration of the historic listed aspects of the former stadium is at the heart of our vision. We look forward to seeing our designs and masterplans come to life amid the completion of the first homes later this year.
— Lee Davies, Project Architect, Conran and Partners
The preservation of this iconic building was central to our design vision and we are thrilled to see that it will feature on the site for future generations
— Victoria Whenray, Project Director, Conran and Partners
The whole thing is an amazing art deco piece. We don’t have that much art deco architecture represented in England and this one is of the finest quality. It’s a wonderful piece of construction that is very much valued locally and nationally.
— Historic Buildings and Areas Inspector Claire Brady, Historic England
This development will ensure more high quality housing is made available to our residents in line with our ambition to see 12,000 new homes built in the borough by 2020.
— Councillor Khevyn Limbajee, Waltham Forest Council Cabinet Member for Housing
I’m delighted we have been able to restore this iconic facade to its full glory. It will now be an outstanding local landmark for everyone who comes to live in this exciting new development, as well as to people throughout the country who remember its powerful image from the past.
— Jerome Geoghegan, L&Q’s Group Director, Development and Sales

Notes to Editors

Conran and Partners have been improving the built environment by producing thoughtful and inspired
architecture and interiors for more than 30 years. Based in London and Brighton they have a wealth of local,
national and international experience in Masterplanning and Urban Regeneration, including projects such as
the revitalisation of Green Man Lane, Ealing and the conversion of the landmark Centre Point tower from
office to residential use.

L&Q is a leading residential developer in London and the South East. For over 50 years L&Q has been driven
by its mission to create places where people want to live, and it plays a key part in helping to shape one of the
world’s most exciting, diverse and dynamic capitals.

Andy Cook has over 20 years experience in producing neon signs, using the highest quality materials as well
as tried and tested traditional glass blowing techniques.

For more information please contact Joe Pundek
+44(0)20 7706 6254