“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'," said Andy.
Andy doesn’t wear protective clothes, as it’s cumbersome and he likes to “hold and feel” the glass - though it does mean he’s lost all the hair on his hands.
There are no readymade tools for neon crafting, so Andy makes nearly every one for himself.
“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 give it longevity,” said Andy, who used 320 pieces of glass to restore the sign.
The tote board on the reverse of the sign – which used to display information about races – has also been restored.
“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,” said Clare Brady of Historic England.
Walthamstow stadium is being converted into 294 homes along with a sports centre, nursery and play areas by Conran and Partners. The old kennels will be used as ‘pocket allotments’ for future residents.