Note: this is a very short history of our club. Contact us for a full version.
The history of our great club is not what you’d call straightforward. Having reformed on at least three occasions, we’ve played under seven different names, but can lay claim to being the second-oldest club in London, and one of the oldest in the country.
The initial Leyton FC was formed in 1868 when The Reverent Morgan Lloyd obtained a pitch behind The Lion & Key public house. The first Leyton played mainly friendlies, but did take part in the FA Cup, before folding in 1880 when they lost their ground.
Seven years later, the members of Matlock Cricket Club, based on Hoe Street established a football club named after the Matlock Villas, which overlooked the club’s pitch. In 1894, Swifts moved out of Leyton, to a new ground in Blackhorse Road, Walthamstow. This lasted just a season though, as the club moved back to Leyton and changed their name to Leyton FC in the process.
The club won the Essex Senior Cup on no fewer than five occasions, and the London Senior Cup, as well as the South Essex League four times.
Leyton turned professional in 1904, joining the London League. The following year, Leyton moved to Osborne Road, which would later become Leyton Orient’s Brisbane Road.
In April 1912 a loan by a donor was called-in, and without any hope of paying it, the club disbanded for a second time.
Only a year later a third Leyton was formed, but this incarnation was extremely short-lived. The outbreak of war meant there was essentially no one to watch or play for the club, and it was suspended.
The fourth Leyton was established in 1919, and it would be arguably the most successful period for the club, now back at the Hare and Hounds. Leyton won the FA Amateur Cup (now FA Trophy) twice, and were runners-up on four more occasions. They also reached the first round of the FA Cup four times and the second round three times.
After a successful 1950s and 60s, things dried up for Leyton, and by the 1970s they could not carry on, so a merger was completed with Wingate from north London.
The pinnacle of this club was winning the Athenian League in 1982, but by the early 90s with most of the former ‘Wingate’ committee now either deceased or having had left, the newly-merged Wingate & Finchley requested Leyton drop the ‘Wingate’ title from their name.
By 1995, the Hare & Hounds was really beginning to show its age, and with Leyton not having the funds to bring it up to standard, a merger was completed with Walthamstow Pennant, with the new club being Leyton Pennant and playing at Wadham Lodge.
This club spent most of its life in Divisions One and Two of the Isthmian League, with no notable success, save for two London Challenge Cup final appearances. It’s first season in 1995 saw the club finish 4th in Division One, but it was mostly mid-table obscurity after that.
In 2003 the club changed names to Waltham Forest, and were bankrolled heavily with aspirations of playing in the Football League. Sadly, these never came to fruition and an Essex Senior Cup was the only thing to show for it.
Disputes with the then-management at Wadham Lodge in 2008 saw the club exiled for five seasons, playing in Ilford. The first season back at Wadham Lodge, in 2013 ended in relegation to the Essex Senior League for the first time in the club’s history.
In 2018, the club changed names once more to Walthamstow FC. We hope this new change kick-starts success both on and off the field, and enables the club to form part of the local community which deserves a thriving non-league club.