William Morris

William Morris (1834-1896) was born in Walthamstow. A famous quote sums up his Humanist outlook:

London Borough of Waltham Forest coat of arms bears William Morris’s motto

‘Fellowship is Life, and lack of fellowship is death. And the deeds that ye do upon the earth, it is for fellowship’s sake that ye do them.’

The William Morris Gallery, which celebrates his life, is set in the family home in Lloyd Park where he lived  from 1848-1856.

Morris was one of the most significant cultural figures of the Victorian era. He was a novelist, poet, publisher and a close associate of the Pre-Raphaelites. He is also well known as a designer and manufacturer who played a key role in the Arts and Crafts movement. He founded the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.

The William Morris Gallery, 531 Forest Road, E17 4PP

Although not so well known now for his political activity, in his later years Morris was engaged almost full time speaking at  meetings around the country, including many in East London. On one notable occasion in September 1885 he was arrested at Thames Magistrates Court after shouting out ‘shame’ during the trial of eight protestors. His prominence was such that up to 50,000 people are reported to have turned up to the  lecture he gave the following week.