Words by Jessica Peace
THE GREEN MARXIST
You might be more familiar with this bloke for his wallpaper but William Morris spent a ton of his time fighting for the environment; so much so that he was given the name the ‘Green Marxist’ – right on!
Mr Morris painted, stitched, printed and stained glass with floral patterns and when he wasn’t doing that he was out fighting for the rights of workers and the planet.
Morris was big on gardens and approached his gardening with his famous philosophy – things should be either ‘beautiful’ or useful’ – or get rid. Morris favoured native plants, herbs and fruit trees – all easy on the eyes and productive.
Oh, and did I mention he wrote a Utopian novel where we all wore Medieval dress and spent most of our time playing in the fields? That’s my kind of utopia. Busy, busy guy and total plant hero, they say Morris died of just ‘being William Morris’.
One of Morris’s biggest legacies to Londoners was being part of the movement which saved Epping Forest (Check out our guide here). Cheers mate – Comrade!
GALLERY AND GARDEN
The permanent Morris collection is crammed with beautiful stuff: books, fabrics, furniture, paintings...
There is a patch of garden at the back of the gallery filled with classic ‘Morris’ plants. Even at the arse end of winter his rusty beech hedges and massive ornamental artichokes look totally rad – and all to the back drop of Lloyd Park, a G&T fave spot to feed the ducks...
NEW EXHIBITION AT THE MORRIS GALLERY: THE PEOPLE’S FOREST
Taking the lead from our man Morris, Gayle Chong Kwan’s radical exhibition The People’s Forest, at the Morris Gallery next month focuses on protest at Epping Forest.
Chong Kwan spent two years researching Epping Forest and meeting the people that conserve it, love it, claim it their own and generally stomp all over it. The exhibition combines photography and sculpture showing the forest, its fighters and its friends.
Free as a daisy
HOW DO I GET THERE?
About 15 minutes’ walk from Walthamstow Central. The gallery has space to park your bike.
LET ME IN?
Check your days – only open Wednesday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm.