Can you help?

The following enquiries are from members of the public. If you are able to answer their queries or assist in any way with their requests please let us know via our Contact page. We’re happy to post all information as answers emerge, so you can follow the unravelling stories.

We never pass on names and contact details without the consent of the original author.


The Bamboo Cafe, George Lane, South Woodford – in the 1960’s. — Added October 2015

Roger writes to ask “Hi..can anyone tell me the address of the bamboo cafe in George lane in the 60s…my uncle would love to revisit the spot as he and his friends had lots of fun there on scooters in the 60s..thanks

Does anyone have any memories of the Bamboo? – The photo may prompt you.

The Bamboo in George Lane, South Woodford. (1960's)
The Bamboo in George Lane, South Woodford. (1960’s)


Dick Walker remembers the Bamboo and writes as follows:

The Bamboo

I used to go to go to the Bamboo with my friends in the 1950s when “froffy coffee” cost 9d (4p). It was at No 17 Electric Parade at the top of George Lane, which is now the Purple Thai restaurant. It was next door but one to Marshall’s chemist, now Allen’s pharmacy. On the inside right wall as you went in, was the painting of the back view of a girl, naked to the waist, wearing a grass skirt. She was leaning against the door of a bamboo hut and gazeing out on the sea. It had been painted by my friend John Ridgewell, an architect and amateur painter, who was killed later in about 1966 in a boating accident. Tony Robinson (Time Team), who was a Woodford lad, remembered the Bamboo in a talk he gave at the Ilford Library. I seem to remember it had been an ordinary café when I was a boy in the 1940s, but I am not sure.


Land Girls in Essex (and Bryant and May Sports and Social Club, Ray Park) – posted April 2014 — Updated September 2015

Ronald Price writes (September 2015)
I classify myself as an amateur sports historian. I give greater emphasis to Met Essex (birthplace) and the two other places I lived/ live in. In particular I try to build up ‘timelines’. Tracking defunct sports grounds and early sports clubs (the question of continuity arises) can be very rewarding but is often frustrating. Could David Bambridge or any other member who knew Ray Park be aware of the total period that Bryant and May’s Sports and Social Club used it?

Brymay sold their interest in Osborne Road sports ground, Leyton c 1927 (now the Leyton Orient FC stadium). The next Brymay reference I have is for cricket in a 1968 Handbook showing a 1958 formation. In 1968 they were using council provision in Valentines Park.

David Bambridge replied within hours: Bryant & Mays bought the land in 1924 and it was sold to Wanstead & Woodford Borough Council in 1958. (10th September 2015)

Dee Gordon is researching Essex Land Girls and has seen a reference to land girls working in Ray Park, Snakes Lane during WW2 (though I am researching both wars. Dee asks if anyone in your society know any more about this or about other land girl (or timber corps) stories attached to this area.Can you help?

David Bambridge contributed to this thread/query and his reply was posted in April 2015.

LAND GIRLS IN ESSEX – Dee Gordon – April 2014.There were definitely Land Army women working in Ray Park (then Bryant & Mays Sports Ground)until about 1950. Two of our neighbours in Avenue Road, Mrs.Pillay & her daughter Mrs. Baker of 30 Avenue Road were two of these ladies. My grandparents owned two houses, set in quite large gardens (67 & 69 Avenue Road, now the site of Ray Court) and their garden bordered Bryant & Mays. Mrs. Pillay & Mrs. Baker used to take a short cut each morning through my Gran’s garden into Bryant & Mays, via a railing that could be swung to one side. One day, the Land Army ladies gave me a ride on their tractor – I was a toddler at the time & my mother was horrified and came racing after the tractor to rescue me!


Mrs Gladstone’s Convalescent Home in Woodford October 2014 Info added March 2015

John Ainsworth asks about Mrs Gladstone’s Convalescent Home in Woodford. My Great Grandfather, Harry Ainsworth, worked at Mrs Gladstone’s Convalescent Home in Woodford. I have a letter that says he was “in charge” of the convalescent home in 1882. I would like to know whether there is any record of his employment there and what his qualifications were for such a job. I think he was a Hospital Sergeant in the British Army (King’s Own Regiment) for some years in the 1870s, and I wondered whether this sort of information was available in any records of the hospital. Although I live in New Zealand, so email is the best means of communication, I have a daughter in London who would be happy to come and view hardcopy records if that was the best way to get information.

John Lovell added the following on 6th March 2015:

Jones Directory of 1896 for Woodford, Buckhurst Hill, Wanstead and Chingford contains the following entry for Ms Gadstone’s Convalescent Home.

Mrs Gladstone’s Free Convalescent Home for the poor, more especially of the East End of London, was opened in the year 1866, at Clapton, during the cholera epidemic at the East End of London. In March, 1867, it was incorporated with that of Mrs Charlesworth, at Snaresbrook, and was finally transferred in 1869, to Woodford Hall. The object for which this Home as established is the reception of of necessitous persons recovering from illness, who require, for complete restoration of health, only change of air, good food, rest, and kindly treatment, and who, during their stay, are maintained free of all expense to themselves. This Home is supported by voluntary contributions, and is doing a good and useful work.

Hon Chaplains: Rev A Hughes and the Rev A Garthwaite.

Lady Superintendent: Miss Simmons

Hon Sec:lieut Col E Neville


The end of Conservation in Redbridge? During the last 10 days we have received a number of enquiries about Conservation in the Borough – are the posts of Conservation Officer and Tree Officers to be lost as part of the “Big Conversation”? The enquiries all appear to be very individual and not geographically linked.

Do you know anything about this or have any views? Let us know.


Clay pits and the Co-op fields, Broadmead Road. Can you help? Posted October 2014. An answer was added in December 2014.

Trevor Heathcote writes: As a lad in the mid 1950`s my pals and I used to crawl through a gap in the fence that divided what we called the `Co-op fields` at the bottom of Broadmead Road and what I think was a brick-making site which we called the `clay pits`.
When they had exhausted digging the clay in one area they moved to a different site and the holes eventually became ponds.
Each summer we netted frog/toad spawn/tadpoles and various species of newts to take home in jam jars with string handles to re-stock our garden ponds(which invariably was an old butler sink)eventually escaping to surrounding gardens.
The clay pits would nowadays be a `Nature protected site` and a proposed Broadmead Estate would never receive planning permission.
On summer days I remember going to fetes held on the Co-op fields and traction engines were always present.
The point of all this is that I have searched various internet sites for any ones relevant `photos and memories` of the clay pits and the Co-op fields and fishing the River Roding in the 50`s but found none.
Can you help?

WHS Member Vera Richards, replies (Dec 2014)

I do not know if I can be of any help regarding clay pits. I am talking about the 1930’s. The field behind the Broadmead Estate was a playing field belonging to the Cooperative Society. I remember going to sports days there as my Uncle worked for the co-op. There was a brickfield between the allotment site on Chigwell Road and the Co-op field. Wandsford Road and Grandville Gardens now occupy the site. My Father had the top allotment and I often use to play in the brick field. There was also a very small pond on the allotment site and I have also raised frogs from frogspawn from that pond. I feel then the river the other side was much nearer the road (where the Baptist Church now is) and was moved back due to flooding. I may be wrong but I seem to remember a small foot bridge across the river there and a sports ground called Parkdale . Cowslip Road Junior School (now Oakdale) held their sports days there when I was a child.

On the site of the old Roundabout Pub they certainly dug clay for bricks. I think the clay was called marm. This was Gales Brickfield and stretched right up to Crescent Road. George Gale lived in one of the two houses bordering the site and Chigwell Road. His bricks were used to build the houses in Essex Road and Rose Avenue. The whole area is now an industrial estate.

On the other side of the Southend Road was machinery for the bricks. I remember chain belt which could be climbed and a round metal container which was sunk into the ground with a paddle which contained a white liquid chalk? I do not ever remember seeing this machinery working. Here too were small ponds which contained newts and frogs .It was a wonderful playground with the added danger of being caught by the watch man.


Sweets manufacture/factory. Can you help? Posted October 2014. Answers posted Feb 2015

Claire King writes: Hello I was wondering if you know of any sweet shops or sweet factories in South Woodford or near to this area in the 1940’s? My grandmother was a sweet packer in 1944 but I do not know the area at all or where to start finding the history of such buildings. If you know of any confectionary buildings of that time would you have any idea if records still exist and where I could try to find them please? My grandmother lived in Grove Road South Woodford at the time if that helps. Can you help by giving any information did you work at Trebor’s factory?

My immediate response was to point Claire in the direction of Trebor who had premises on the Woodford Avenue close to the Tesco store/Charlie Brown’s Roundabout.


WHS Member Nigel Pitt writes in response (February 2015)

Sweets manufacture/factory. Can you help? Posted October 2014.

Three confectionary manufacturers come to mind where she might have worked.


Robertson & Woodcock Ltd. Opened in Forest Gate in a small factory in 1907. The new factory opened in 1937 and still stands in Shaftesbury Road and is now converted to apartments. The factory on Woodford Avenue opened in 1956. It is often said that Trebor stands for Robert backwards, after founding partner Robert Robertson. In fact the original factory was on Trebor Terrace, named after the builder, Robert Cooper.


Clarke, Nicholls & Coombs (“Clarnico”) were based in Hackney Wick from 1879. Said to be the largest confectionery company in Britain just after WWII. Some of their buildings survive around King’s Yard, Carpenters Road. When the Olympic Park was being built, hard campaigning by the Victorian Society resulted in one factory being saved and incorporated into the Energy Building. It is the only original building on the whole OIympics site. This can be seen from the London Overground as it crosses the Lee Navigation and still retains its name painted on the wall. Trebor purchased the company in 1969.

Bonds of London

Had a factory on Lea Bridge Road.

Both Clarnico and Bonds would have been easily accessible by public transport from South Woodford.

WHS Member Joe Branson (Feb 2015) recalls Trebor and Clarnico

On the entrance door to the grand stable block (formerly part of the Monkhams Estate) was a notice which read ‘Monkhams Residential Garages. The garages and whole site were owned by a Mr Coombes of Clark Nichols Coombes ie “Clarnico” the well known London sweet makers…. she also told us that all the buildings were the remains of the local mansion known as “Monkhams” and now demolished.

Read the full story of the garages in the Autumn edition of the Society’s newsletter (not yet published).


Where is/was Grove Hall?Item posted to site in March 2015

Rodger Green writes:I used to live in Woodford from 1947 until 1974 in Springfield Gardens off Broadmead Road (opposite the brickfields).

I have an interest in railways and have some correspondance dated 1st October 1943 addressed from

The Goods Manager London North Eastern Railway,Grove Hall, South Woodford, Essex

Does anyone know where this is/was please?

John Lovell replied on 14th March 2015:

I do not know where you have already searched and what you have found out (or, just as importantly, what you could not find), nor what you hope will be revealed.

I would suggest that you might contact The North Eastern Railway Association [NERA] which was formed in 1961 to cater for all enthusiasts interested in the railways of north eastern England, the North Eastern Railway, the Hull & Barnsley Railway, from their successors, and also the smaller independent and industrial railways that operated alongside the main line system.

Interests cover all aspects of operations – locomotives, rolling stock, train services, stations, signalling, shipping, road vehicles, etc. – both for the general enthusiast and the model maker.

Meetings are held throughout the year at centres such as York, Darlington, Hull and London. A supporting programme of outdoor visits, walks and tours is also arranged.


Cafe called The Pantry c1950/5 – near The Castle

Andy Imms asks: Does anyone remember a little cafe opposite the pond and just along from the Castle, called the Pantry.

Sometime between the years 1950 to 1955, when I was at St Aubyn’s School I was forced to eat a bowl of cold tapioca one lunchtime, which is probably the most disgusting thing I have ever had to do!

My Dad was so cross that from that day on he gave me dinner money and I used to go to the Pantry, on my own, for my lunch. I would have been between seven and eleven and looking back, it seems a strange thing for a youngster to do, especially as I was not particularly confident.

I cannot remember what I would have ordered to eat but I still remember The Pantry with fondness, so if anyone else does too, I would love to hear their comments.

WHS member NIGEL PITT replies (Feb 2015)Cafe called The Pantry c1950/5 near The Castle

I remember my grandmother meeting her friends there for afternoon tea. I was taken there on ‘special occasions’ only. There was also a cheaper option ‘The Coffee Bean’ which was over a shop in Johnstone Road, probably popular with the postmen from the nearby sorting office.

WHS MEMBER DICK WALKER WROTE IN DECEMBER TO SAY THAT HIS WIFE HAD EATEN AT THE PANTRY. HE HAS NOW WRITTEN (FEB 2015) TO SAY THAT “I remember going there with my mother as a boy in the late 1940s. Very genteel and pleasant. My wife remembers going there in the late 1970s. It became the Bel Sit Italian Pizzeria around 1981 and later they took over the shop next door as well. The owners are from Sardinia and the same family run the Adriatico restaurant nearby.”


Cazelet’s villa garden in 1787 – Posted February 2015

Can you help Kristof Fatsar who is Professor of Garden History and Conservation at Corvinus University of Budapest. He has published both books and papers which you can easily access on the Internet.

Professor Fatsar is particularly interested in the Cazalet family’s possible Woodford villa and garden. A Hungarian aristocrat, Count Ferenc Széchényi, visited Cazelet’s villa garden in 1787, and Professor Fatsar thought that it could have been there as they had property in Woodford. Can anybody help him in identifying their house and its site, please?

s200_kristof.fatsarProfessor Fatsar (pictured left) is working on accounts of garden tourists from all around Europe at the end of the 18th and first half of the 19th centuries. He is putting particular emphasis on Hungarian aristocrats visiting Britain during that period. Baron Miklós Vay was one of the earliest among them, visiting the British Isles between 1786 and 1788. His life was researched by a colleague of Professor Fatsar, Dr Orsolya Szakály, who kindly sent him details about Vay’s visit to Woodford.

Baron Vay went to Wanstead House in the morning of August 27 in 1786. Since it lies on the way to Woodford he continued his journey to go to Cazalet’s garden. Vay wrote into his diary that the house is quite large and well built. There was a garden attached to it with a glasshouse, plus a large lawn. (His diary is kept in the Manuscript Collection of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.)

Pierre Peter Cazelet was a merchant in Austin Friars but also styled himself as ‘of Woodford’. He died in 1788 and he was the occupier of the site, which he rented. He was Baron Vay’s host because Vay writes about the ‘old Master’ of the house and garden. Cazalet’s son, Peter Cazalet, was a banker, married into the Langston banking house where he became a partner around 1799 until his death in 1811.

You can find the Cazelet family tree online at

(CAZALET Family Tree and Genealogy – by David & Sylvain Cazalet), father and son are 25th and 40th in it, respectively

Professor Fatsar is currently on research leave, away from my home institution, and living in Manchester. However, his colleague who works on the travel journal of Baron Vay, is at SOAS of the University of London thus having access to London collections. Professor Fatsar wrote: “I would be grateful if you could share this information with your fellow members of the Society in the hope that somebody knows about this site.


Seeking my 5 x grandfather buried at St Mary’s Woodford in 1833 Posted in January 2015

Robin Greenaway asks:

I am unsure if your wonderful Society pages are appropriate to ask for help in relation to a Woodford inhabitant 1800-1833. Namely a James Ashdown born 1761 who owned property in Tottenham and Whitechapel and rented or owned a property probably on what is called Woodford Row or nearby.

He was married to an Esther Ashdown(nee Ferguson)and died and was buried at Woodford St Mary’s 1833. I have his will which states that he was a resident of Woodford.

I am trying to locate the property he owned or rented in Woodford 1800-1833 and critically the place of birth/baptism.

His grave is no longer seen at St Mary’s and must have been lost during the changes that have taken place since his burial. Georgina Green has very kindly provided some possible leads which I am following up. He is first recorded on the IGI as ‘of St Michael Paternoster, London’ in 1761 although I have been unable to locate his baptism record. His burial entry on the St Mary’s register states he was aged 71 when buried in 1833. His wife Esther was buried with or near him in 1835.

I am posting this message in the hope that perhaps one or your members or readers might have read or researched Woodford inhabitants of that time and might have come across a James Ashdown described as a ‘Gent’ and a man of property and investments. I would be grateful for your help.

Many thanks. Robin Greenaway (I was born and brought up in Woodford 1947-1969).


Looking for Paul Ailey Posted in January 2015

Megan Ailey asks:

I was just reading through your page and saw that on the cover of an anniversary book ( was a picture of Fareys Row.)

(John Lovell adds: See Website/Newsletters/Publications — Woodford 80 Years of Memories 1932 – 2012was published in 2012 (115 illustrated black and white pages in A4 format) to mark the 80thAnniversary of Woodford Historical Society. Contributions from members of the Society and local community cover aspects of life in Woodford including memories of schooling, local organisations, wartime, shopping areas, business etc. and, of course, stories of our local MP Sir Winston Churchill. Priced at 9.99 + 2.20 postage if required, copies are available from John Lovell, Chairman of Woodford Historical Society. Click on contact us or phone 020 8505 3640.

The reply stated there was a photo of Paul Ayley (Ailey). He is a relative of mine. The reply stated the person knew Paul. I would just love to know more as I am doing my family history! Megan Ailey.

Response from John Lovell: We have written to Paul Ailey who has provided us with a very interesting collection of B&W photos taken in the early 1980s. It is now up to Paul as to whether he wishes to contact Megan. We have also referred Megan to the East of London Family History Society (see links page for details). WE NEVER PASS ON CONTACT DETAILS WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF BOTH PARTIES.


Woodside Nursing Home. Posted in November 2014.

Andy Imms writes: I was brought up in Loughton until I left in 1965 but my birth certificate says that I was born in the Woodside Nursing Home, Woodford in 1943.I think it may have been at Woodford Wells.

Has anyone any information about the nursing home, or even a picture perhaps?

I moved from Loughton in 1965, when I got married and have lived in Hampshire, just north of Basingstoke, since then.

Thank you.

John Lovell writes:A very quick web search certainly confirms that there was a Woodside Nursing Home in Woodford Wells which was active at the time that you were born – the number of Birth Notices in the press confirm this.Hopefully someone will be able to help you further.


Link between Churchfields and Gordon Road. Posted November 2014.

Malcolm Spinks asks: I wonder if you can help? (two linked questions)

1. I used to live in number 63 Churchfields, E18. The house was demolished in around 1972 to make way for developers. Can anyone let me have a picture of my house or the lower end of Churchfields?

2. In addition, the footbridge crossing the railway line (linking Churchfields to Gordon Rd) was replaced some time after my moving away from the area. For what reason I do not know. I remember the old bridge had simple steps up each side, this was replaced by one having longer ramps to the top. As far as I am aware the old bridge was built in the Victorian era and was of perfectly sound construction. I was surprised upon visiting the area again some years later, to see that It had disappeared. Do you have any idea when this was replaced and why?


Nicola Mussett replies: Malcolm Spinks wants to know what happened to the old footbridge between Churchfields and Gordon Road. I am trying to find out exactly when it went but presumably it was replaced because of the need for a ramped bridge. However, it was not destroyed – it is currently being installed at North Weald Station which is being restored slowly. I think this is taking some time because they have to raise sufficient funds to finish the installation. We used to live at 34 Churchfields (demolished around 1975 and replaced by a block of flats) and I remember when we were able to have our first sighting of Concord from the top of that footbridge. Nicola Mussett


Restaurant next to Harvey Hudson????? Woodford Wells ????? – Posted November 2014

Shannyn Downey has some old photos of Woodford, from WWll taken by her grandfather. Shannyn believes that they show Harvey Hudson on the High Road, and a restaurant that used to be beside it. Can anyone let Shannyn have any information about the restaurant?

STOP PRESS 28/11/14 The Tea Room has now been identified as being in Aldershot!!!!!!!!!

STOP PRESS 29/11/14 – the identification of the Tea Room as being in Aldershot has been disproved so the search is back on!!!

NEW MEMBER PETER BURLEY (DECEMBER 2015) recalls that Harvey Hudson’s in 1965 could be found in Marlborough Road, off George Lane, South Woodford.

20120405102641_00409A 20120405102641_00343A


Two very interesting photos….

The large photo, taken about 1938/39 shows Woodford Wells.

The car is emerging from Barclay Oval.

The large building is Barclay Halls Restaurant and Wedding Function Rooms.

You then notice the three shops which pre-war were green grocer, chemist, newsagent.

Then the tall original houses before you came to a cafe and then Turks the art shop.

To the left of the photo appears the ” red herring” ie Harvey Hudson with a Shell and a National Benzole pump and a small ” clock ” tower and this was their garage.

At that time Hills owned the row of ancient cottages between the Horse and Well and the Harvey Hudson building which was garage/ filling station.

Hills used to hire out and repair horse carriages and later cars and fuel. Their main workshop was the other side of the road just past the Police Station where they sold fuel and owned a very large workshop which stored cars throughout the war.

What I did not know was that it was Harvey Hudson who owned the original filling station. They had a garage/ workshop somewhere down George Lane and then acquired the land to build their modern car showrooms …not garage.

It was well known that the original Hills family were ” horse traders” of dubious practices.

Immediately after the war they were prosecuted for petrol fiddles.

I am not surprised that Harvey Hudson consolidated in S. Woodford.

If you refer to ” Woodford Then and Now” look at the 1920s map on Page 24 …you will notice Barclay Oval and the block building which must have been H&H ….you will also note the cottages with enormous front gardens that were owned by Hills family.

On pages 36/37 you will see the site of the Harvey Hudson showroom and the road bears no resemblance to Woodford Wells.

With regard to the other photo ….I do not recognise this location at all but pretty sure not at Woodford Wells but I maybe wrong….why so many soldiers I wonder…could be anywhere.

I will be most interested to hear what else you find.

Note of caution received from Joe Branson in a subsequent email

Please be careful… I could have some facts wrong about Harvey Hudson…but I am convinced re. the location.

Is there a connection with Canada? CanI assume somebody’s family relatives were stationed in UK ??

In my opinion the ” Officer” is not wearing RAF insignia on his cap and could be a Canadian on leave.

Secondly on the second photo the ” objects ” of the photo are two servicemen being photographed by a colleague ….those two are very relaxed ie hands In pockets for one and the other wearing a wristwatch ….very rare indeed .

The regular soldiers are dressed in normal ” walking out ” British Army uniform with boots and gaiters…and no belts….

Also the British soldier, second from left is elderly and could almost be Home Guard…

In my opinion this photo was taken in WWII by an overseas soldier, could be Canadian, outside a cafe in the UK in the early stages of the war….

Location is still hard to establish as I do not know of any local Canadian connection in WWII

I await other opinions

Gordon Brown responds to Joe Branson:

Canadian could be correct for June tells of a friend who went out with one such during the war when she was living in Ilford. The romance ended but they remained friends post war.


Woodford Green and Woodford Wells Conservation Areas. URGENT — POSTED NOVEMBER 2014

Mike Brown, Principal Planner (Built Conservation), Planning & Regeneration, London Borough of Redbridge has written: You will be pleased to note that I am currently tasked with up-dating the Character Appraisals for Woodford Green and Woodford Wells Conservation Areas this time as two stand-alone documents. I wonder if you might help with a little local knowledge?…

The previous Character Appraisal divides Woodford Green into various sub-regions, the better to describe them. It consequently makes comment on the two substantial greens along the High Road variously described as the Lower Green (being that south of Broadmead Road and ending at Bunces Lane) and the Upper Green (being that north of Johnston Road as far as Inmans Road). Confusingly, they are also named in the document as the south green (sometimes as a proper title: the South Green) and the north green (again, sometimes as a proper title: the North Green). The Council copies of the Ordnance Survey arent particularly enlightening, calling them both Woodford Green and Ponds. The Character Appraisal would be much easier to understand if it used consistent nomenclature in this regard and I wonder if you and your colleagues in the Society have a view as to what would be correct (or at least be what locals call them?). Many thanks for any assistance in this matter.


Millers Cafe, George Lane – Posted November 2014

Steve Hills asks:Hello does anyone remember Millers Cafe in George Lane South Woodford. Millers was situated in the lower part of George Lane next to Crossleys Greengrocers.The date that interests me is from 1950 till 1960.


F Harris, Butcher — Posted May 2014

Lisa Mechell writes: My friend was 50 this year and I have found some photos of her families butchers (F.Harris). Unfortunately she no longer has any older relatives who could tell her the history of the shop. I would love to be able to give her some information on the shop from the very beginning.

Would be lovely if you could help me in this matter.


‘Woodford Working Men’s Club’ — Geoffrey Griffiths – posted November 2014

Do we know when the ‘Woodford Working Men’s Club’ was built? Who used it in WW1 and do they have an Archive?


GG asks about Woodford Green Airfield – Posted Jan 2014 — Updated November 2014

I have a simple question – where was the Woodford Green Airfield used by the RFC during the First World War? It was used by 37 Squadron from 15 to 29 September 1916; they then moved to Woodham Mortimer. It was also used by 39 Squadron from 30 June 1916 until 9 December 1917 when all activity moved to North Weald. The Airfield was one of a number in South East Essex used by 39 Squadron. But where was it? They used many different aircraft including BE12, BE2e, SE 5, Sopwith Camel and the Bristol Fighter. I have lived in Woodford since 1934 and my background is Aircraft Engineering, my father flew briefly in the RFC.

My initial response:I have no knowledge of any airfield in Woodford Green and suspect that you may be referring to another WWI airfield such as Fairlop or North Weald. If you want to check on the postings of the squadrons to which you refer, you might like to check the RAF Museum or possibly the Imperial War Museum. I hope that this assists but please get back to me if you have further information or when you discover the answer! The Royal Air Force Museum London, commonly called the RAF Museum, is located on the former Hendon Aerodrome, with five major buildings and hangars dedicated to the history of aviation and the Royal Air Force. Address:Grahame Park Way, London NW9 5LL Hours:Wednesday 10:00 am – 6:00 pmPhone:020 8205 2266 The Imperial War Museum,Lambeth Road, London, SE1 6HZ Telephone: +44 (0)20 7416 5000 Fax: +44 (0)20 7416 5374 The main London Museum is shut until July 2014 for a major transformation. The research facilitiesremain open.

GG wrote further:

Thank you again. My first ‘Email’ came via your Website Enquiry Form so that I have no copy of it, however I think just about all of it came from ‘RAF Squadrons’ by Wing Commander Jefford who was then head of RAF Air Historical Branch. This lists for every squadron – in date order (from 1912) – ‘Where they were based and what Aircraft they flew’. There are also various sections Cross-referencing this information. In this I just happened to see in the list of Airfields – Woodford Green and Squadrons 37 and 39.
37 Squadron was formed on 15 April 1916 at Norwich, it then went to Orfordness and was disbanded and absorbed by Experimental Establishment; then on 15 Sept 1916 reformed at Woodford Green with a nucleus from 39 Squadron. On 29 Sept 1916 it went ro Woodham Mortimer with detachments at Goldhanger, Stow Maries and Rochford.
39 Squadron started life at Hounslow on 15 April 1916 with detachments at Suttons Farm (Hornchurch) and Hainault Farm. On 30 June 1916 it came to Woodford Green with additional detachments at North Weald Basset, Gosport and Biggin Hill. On 9 December it went to North Weald. Maybe I should now try Air Historical Branch.
My second Email was prompted by a paragraph in ‘The SOWREYS’ the story of one family’s distinguished RAF Service. Three brothers served in the RFC and later the RAF, then three of the next generation served in WW2 and threreafter. I quote – (Airship raids on London were a problem) – “On 1st Feb 1916 the War Office instructed that the 20 BE2c aircraft dispersed in pairs at 10 landing grounds around London be placed under the command of the Officer Commanding 19 Reserve Squadron at Hounslow. This resulted in the formation of 39 Squadron. As above.
“In June the Squadron HQ moved to Woodford Green.”
The RAF Museum said this was at Selway House (Salway?).

Below are two maps of the ‘Flugplatz’ from German Luftwaffe Archives.

Abridge-overlayed Abridge1

Alan Simpson wrote re enquiry about Woodford Green ‘airfield’ posted November 2014

There never was an airfield at Woodford Green, but during WW1 No 39 Squadron’s headquarters were in Woodford Green (from 1916, I believe). The squadron’s aircraft were spread widely, based at Hainault Farm, Suttons Farm and North Weald airfields. The HQ at Woodford Green was at Salway Lodge, originally the home of Richard Salway, an eighteenth-century merchant and, from 1900 to about 1910, the home of Joseph Malaby Dent (1849-1926), publisher of the Everymans Library, a large collection of the great books of the world in a handsome affordable edition.


War Memorial at St Mary’s —posted November 2014

Howard Andersonwonders if anyone can help with the Great War Memorial at St. Mary’s, South Woodford?

On the outside of the northern wall of St. Mary’s is a memorial to 73 people of Woodford. See list below. It reads

“In thankful remembrance of those who worshipped in the church and gave their lives in the Great War for King and Country 1914 -1918”

I have the details of 69 of these people obtained from various sources but unfortunately have no details for G Davies, W Finch, H Lowe, RH Lowe. There are records of the deaths for all who served but the difficulty is linking them with Woodford, e. g. there are 227 people on the CWGC list named G Davies, many of those records show no address so it is not possible to tell who is who without corroboration with other sources.

TCF Taylor is in the list below but with no known connection with Woodford, I have found only one soldier with those initials. G Hammond is assumed to be William George Hammond, the only soldier found of that surname with a Woodford connection. P Corby is assumed to be  Benjamin Percy Corby, although no direct Woodford connection was found, he is buried in Chingford and no other Corby was found.

EB Arnison, R Aspden, G Baker, EF Bellingham, LG Black, W Black, FRC Bradford, G Brewster, AJ Carter, EC Challoner, L Champ, TA Champ, SE Clark, G Compton, R Compton, P Corby, C Cracknell, G Davies, TE Davis, CG Eastgate, BA Edlin, W Finch, FC Fleming, SJ Forfar, R Godbehear, CG Gough, G Hammond, HCH Hawksworth, LC Heyward, FL Kimberley, S King, F Kipping, R Kipping, AH Lilley, H Lovesy, H Lowe, RH Lowe, W Lynch, I Morris, N Mosscrop, J Muddiman, C Nightingale, F Nightingale, J Nightingale, W Nightingale, JE Osborn, F Page, H Palmby, WS Peppiatt, HS Phillips, C Powell, GE Pratten, WJ Prince, A Quellhorst, GT Radford, GE Randall, E Rashbrooke, WF Rayner, JC Richardson, FA Riggenbach, TH Roper, H Searle, G Shuttle, HP Tavener, TCF (or TGF) Taylor, AH Thompson, T Tomblin, FC Walker, RR Walker, A Wild, CR Willingale, W Witherick, MH Wood.

The last on the list is Maurice Herbert Wood who died on 13th April 1917. He was a Lieutenant in the 59th Sqdn, Royal Flying Corps and was shot down by Manfred von Richthofen (‘The Red Baron’).

I am hoping to find out about all of these people and to make the results available to a wider audience. Editor’s note – This not a commercial project.


Laings Estate/Parkland Road pre-War — October 2014

Shirley Harrison (nee Williamson) asks for help. “I was brought up in Parkland Road, Woodford (born 1935), went to the “Red School” and Woodford High where Miss Margery Smith enthused me with a love of history. I left school to
join The local Guardian and eventually became a non fiction author. This has been my raison d’etre ever since.
Now my four “children” and six great grandchildren are pressing me to write the story of my life which has been quite eventful. I have many memories of life as a little girl in Parkland Road but am hoping that as I start working you may be able to furnish me along the way with some factual material to support my childish recollections.
For instance, was there a controversy over the building of Laings Estate? When was it developed? Even as a very little girl I recall a sense of snobbishness among those who lived where we lived … the new house cost £800 in 1935, which my parents could not afford and were helped out by my grandparents. Residents in Parkland road I seem to recall believed they were superior to those on the Estate!
Do you think you may be able to help me along the way I am nearly 80
now. Many thanks.

Dick Walker replies Nov 2014):

My grandfather had a house built to his own requirements by Laings in Abbotsford Gardens. He moved in on 21 September 1932. My parents were already living near the top of Forest Approach having moved in in 1931 (and helped by my grandfather). The prices ranged from £779 for 3 bedrooms no car run to £990 for 4 bedrooms with car run. I have lived in Woodford since birth in 1933 and on the Laing’s Estate all but 12 0f those years. I have never heard of any controversy about the building of the estate.


Clippie & Polish Airman. Question of Parentage. Can you help? — September 14

Annette Edis writes from Australia that she is helping her husband to try and find his father who was a Polish Air Force man stationed at Woodford during WW2, possibly in a training centre at the airport there. His mother met this man, possibly in the Woodford Library. If anyone has information on the library or a church hall where tea and biscuits were served and also dancing took place in the Woodford area it would be greatly appreciated. His mother worked on the buses at Woodford selling tickets, she lived in Ponders End.

Her maiden name was Gipps, Peggy Dorothy Gipps, and she lived at 10 Curzen Avenue Ponders End

I replied that: “There seems to be no easy solution but two/three suggestions:

It was a matter of some surprise that your mother in law remembered some details but forgot even the first name of the man she had a fairly long term affair with.  You might try asking her again.

Fact and fiction often get mixed up and ‘wishes’ become reality.  Do you have anything (an old hairbrush ……. ) that might yield a DNA sample for comparison with that of your husband – was his unwitting adoptive father his real father?

Do blood groups rule out your husband’s ‘adoptive’ father?

What sort of music did she dance to?  Get some contemporary music (Glen Miller, Bennie Goodman, swing, jitterbug …) and see whether it evokes any reminiscences – you could just Google World war 2 dance music an select items before you visit your mother in law.”

Mrs Edis replied: “Thanks for your email.  We are thinking of trying to get her hypnotised to try and get some answers.  We are going back to Sydney later in the year and will see her to try and find out some more details.

26 years ago she told my husband of the affair and since then he has had his doubts as to who was his real father. 2 years ago the man he had always thought was his father died and that then gave him the opportunity to find out if he was his real father.  My husband had DNA tests done with his sister and they revealed that they were half brother and sister.  Eventually his mother confessed, after 70 years of lies and deception, and said that the Polish man was his father and he knew it at the time, he was at the hospital when my husband was born.  Then my husband rang a friend in Sydney who had been a family friend, and he told my husband that he had known for 65 years that the polish man was indeed his father.  So as you can see it is a real mess. Can you help?


Lady Somerset and C F A Voysey. Can you help? Posted Summer 2014.

Richard Hollis writes: I am a committee member of the C.F.A.Voysey Society. In 1904 Lady Henry Somerset commissioned full plans for a new house at Higham from the well known arts and crafts architect C.F.A. Voysey. It is known that they fell out and the generally accepted perspective is that the house went ahead but fairly radically altered from the original drawings, without Voysey’s supervision. This is not surprising as both parties were very strong and single minded personalities. However, there is no listing for the house and almost all Voysey houses are listed. Yet again, Lady Somerset shortly afterwards developed a purpose built arts and crafts village in Surrey. I therefore wonder if indeed a new house was constructed at all. Can you help?

Response by Chris Pond who is the Chairman of Loughton Historical Society. “The house is in Walthamstow parish but on the very border of Woodford, which is its postal address.

The house is in the 2005 Pevsner revision by Bridget Cherry. There is also a Voysey gate lodge. Both dwellings have been altered, the main house after arson some 30 yrs ago. I visited it when Sir Stuart Mallinson, the Methodist timber magnate, lived there, and thought it magnificent.
I’m not surprised at all the two are unlisted. Waltham Forest LBC owned the house from c1974 and are quite likely to have wanted it kept unlisted…..”. It is the children’s hospice and although considerably altered from the Voysey drawings — it does have vestigial design familiarity. There is also a lodge and this is much more likely to be closer to the original drawings as owners often did not bother to impose their perspective on secondary dwellings. This is in itself very interesting as this is a building not previously known about. Both are also exactly where one would have expected them to be – namely next to the original estate house – now the girl’s school. To see the RIBA drawings for the original Voysey design – navigate as follows. Go first to See index pages for site. Click Information Resources. Click on the first entry to the excellent german archive. Scroll down to the 1904 entries where are excellent copies of the drawings held by the V and A on behalf of the RIBA collection.”


Jas Perrin & Son, Bootmaker (Posted 2 August 2014)

The image below is titled “Premises of Jas Perrin & Son, Bootmaker. Established in 1700 and situated between The Memorial Hall and The White Hart, South Woodford. Later a cafe until 1950’s. Now demolished.”  There is no indication of the date of the picture.

The name “White Hart” projects forward and is clearly visible in the picture.

Someone seems to recall that it was later used by Dorothy King as her ‘photographic studio.’

Do you know anything about the businesses that used these premises, the cafe etc?

Jas Perrin & Son, Bootmakers Est 1700 between White Hart & Mem Hall - later a cafe until 1950's




October 2014. A member has sent me this photograph which purports to have been taken in Woodford, during the 1920’s.  Although I have been told where it was taken, I am sceptical.  Can you identify where the picture was taken and add why you believe that your location is correct?

Taken in 1920's in 'smog'


Historic Street sign in Green Walk, Woodford Bridge (posted 7/14)

Scott Wilding is the project manager for a scheme that is looking to renovate the old road sign in Green Walk in Woodford Bridge, opposite the White Hart pub. It used to have 3 arms on the post. One remains and says Ilford 4 ¼ . Does anyone know what the other 2 arms had written on them? Scott would be grateful for any information as the Highways Dept. in Redbridge Council is hoping to restore this sign this year. Can you help?


Signpost at Woodford Bridge 1994

Peter Lawrence former Chairman of the Society pictured by the sign in 1994


Peter Lawrence comments:  “The top is new (a relative term), aluminium. No other arms to my knowledge but the distance shown predates the Woodford Avenue when the route to Ilford went via Woodford Bridge Road (PDSA).


Church in Snakes Lane East.  Can you help?

Mr Glyn Lloyd wrote (July 2014), “Hi can anyone help I live at Church Court, 154 Snakes Lane East, corner of Ray Lodge Road before it was built in 1985 there was a church here.  Does anyone know the name of the church as I would like to get some photos of it. Many thanks Reply: Thank you for your question. The Church was Ray Lodge Church and its passing was recorded in a poem  featured in our publication commemorating 80 years of the Society.


MEMORIAL – RAY LODGE CHURCH, WOODFORD GREEN (DEMOLISHED 1985)                  by Hazel Dongworth 

It stood for years behind green palings islanded in weeds windows holed.
Demolition day
bulldozed its sanctity
exposed its beams
like a wrecked galleon,
tossed its windows
into a sea of bricks and rubble lapped by saplings and dog-roses.
Thrown against a splintered trunk its noticeboard kept faith:
‘Come and worship
At your family church’.

I wish you well with your ongoing research.   John Lovell


Parkmore School

Anne Howard asks about Parkmore School (posted June 2014).  I am looking for photos and information about Parkmore School which I attended from 1968 to 1976. The school was a Catholic prep school and was the junior end to St. Mary’s in Mornington Road which amalgamated with St Pauls Secondary Modern in the mid 1970s to become Trinity Catholic High School. Parkmore was run by the nuns of the Holy Family Convent and was situated in Sidney Road. For the last year or so of my education, the school relocated to rooms in the Friary beside St. Thomas of Canterbury Church in Woodford High Road. The building was closed and suffered a fire I believe before being knocked down to make way for the flats that are there currently. By way of colouring in, I would imagine that Parkmore house was early Victorian  – my memory is very sketchy about it externally but I remember it well internally.  It would have been a reasonably grand house as it had a ballroom, split into two for class rooms and a billiard room which we used as a music room. There was also a tower and a fair amount of land with it, gardens and bigger areas with netball courts and tennis courts.  I did once know the name of the family that owned it before it became a school but that information has long since left my memory. I lived in Woodford Green from 1965 to 1990, I was brought up there and after St. Mary’s Parkmore went to the Ursuline High School in Ilford. My parents, sadly passed away now, were both involved in Catholic education, my father was a lecturer and College Vice Principal at a College in Kensington and my mother was a primary school teacher. I would imagine that the best/only source of photographs of the school would be from former pupils unless I am very lucky.  When the school closed, the remaining top two years of which I was in one, were given rooms at the Friary around the corner at St. Thomas of Canterbury and whilst the building was empty, it was subject to an arson attack so that could possibly have been reported in the local papers of the time, it would have been around 1975/1976. I would love some photos of the house as it was and also any information about it. Can you help?


Alf Boyling’s toy shop/Cinema/Roding flats

John Perring asks (July 2014) …  I remember the orchard opposite Alf Boyling’s toy shop with a sign saying that a cinema was to be build there, but the Roding flats arrived instead.  Do you know anything about this?


Do you know if Albert George Clarke appears on any local (Great War) memorials? (April 2014)

Kirsten Ash,  the archivist for Hanslope District and Historical Society, is researching WW1 for Hanslope.  She has found that “one of our soldiers born in Hanslope lived in your area (Woodford) when he enlisted. He died in 1917, his name was Albert George Clarke. I wondered if he is on any of your war memorials? Also, do you have any other information about him or his family, whether they still live in the area? His wife’s name was Ada. Our website (that of Hanslope District and Historical Society) is quite extensive! We transcribe and upload many documents! The website address is:  please visit us! I look forward to your response and any news!” Can you help?

I have suggested that Kirsten contacts the East of London Family History Society (link on our website) and The Royal British Legion in this area. *********************


South Sea Bubble Book (April 2014)

Dr Daniel Menning from the Seminar für Neuere Geschichte at the Universität Tübingen is currently working on a book about the South Sea Bubble in 1720.  He writes: ”A footnote has guided me to a book published by the Woodford Historical Society in 1987 by E.J. Erith: “The True and Lamentable History of Robert Knight, Esquire and the South Sea Bubble”. However, I have not found any means of obtaining that book in Germany or buying it. Do you still have copies for purchase or could send me a digitalized version?”

With Georgina Green’s assistance, the publication has been identified as WHS Transaction XVI : Robert Knight and Luxborough (1987).  The publication has been photocopied and sent to Dr Menning together with a note about the Hatchments in St Mary’s Church, High Road, Chigwell.


Polish Navy Billet (1945) – can you help Anna Halina Lenkiewicz (nee Turkowska)?  – Posted January 2014

Anna Halina Turkowska, now an 87-year-old, entered the country in 1945 with the Polish Navy. Her first abiding memories of England are of the navy girls being billeted in a large property in Woodford Green.  She recalls that about 50 Polish WRENS were billeted in this building/house and that they used to turn right when coming out of the entrance and walk for ‘about ten minutes’ to a Catholic Church. Anna Turkowska has never been back to Woodford since being demobbed but now, as her memories of those years are returning more strongly, she has asked if she could be taken there. Her family could easily drive her but, not knowing Woodford Green, have no idea where to start looking. She is not strong enough to be able to do a lot of walking in search of a familiar building. Could you possibly help me to locate the building?

INITIAL RESPONSE:    There are not many buildings that could accommodate 50 girls.  The most likely billet that suggests itself would seem to be the former Convent in Mornington Road.  Which also broadly fits the description of ‘turn right and walk for about 10 minutes to a Catholic Church’ (St Thomas of Canterbury). An influx of 50 worshippers would have made an impression on the parishioners at Church who might know something of the group. The current Convent in Monkhams Lane has been visited but could offer no assistance. Father Brian at St Thomas of Canterbury has lived in Woodford throughout his life except for the war years (Father Brian was a Bevan Boy in Newcastle).  He has offered to talk to some of the older parishioners to see if they can help. Photographs of the Church and the building that was formerly the Convent have been provided (see the Woodford Wells Gallery on our website). Can you help by providing some more definitive information?


Can you help Susan Brodie who wants to know more about the lady in black/white?  Posted January 2014

Susan Brodie asks: Who was the lady dressed in a black cloak with a hood up and with a chalk face, she stood in the doorway of the chemist (I think it was called Broom’s) on the crossing at night in the 1950’s? Does anyone else remember her? Can you help?

My initial response:   There are many versions of the story of the ‘lady in white’ but in essence they are all the same and all locations are within 50 yards of each other.  Most people refer to the ‘lady in white’ but a few refer to the ‘lady in black’ and I am certain that this was because on occasion she wore a black cloak over the wedding dress. The following account sums up the ‘stories’:      “One vivid memory is even to this day a very sad one. It’s of the “Lady in White” who walked every single day, irrespective of the weather condition, in her bridal dress, from Snaresbrook to Woodford Green, High Road where she would wait till late in the afternoon then walk all the way back to her flat in Snaresbrook. According to my gran she had been making this trip from a period after the First World War, she was certainly making it into the late fifties. I had cause to work in her flat in, I believe, 1956 and was shocked and saddened  to see the terrible state she was in, her face was covered in white powder and rouge, her wedding dress was filthy and the bottom torn and frayed from years of dragging across the ground. I was always led to believe that her attire and her pilgrimage related to a lost loved one during WW1.”   I have no more definitive account.

Maura Clayton writes (28th April 2014).   I lived at 98 Snakes Lane (Cramphorns as was) from approximately 1951 to 1956. I was aged 8 when we left. I have often thought about an elderly lady I used to see waiting in the doorway of the drapers shop a few doors along from us, she had a chalk white face with pink cheeks and wore an old fashioned long dress of maroon velvet with a raised pattern of velvet flowers and some kind of black/dark coat or cloak over it. I think her head was covered but not sure what with. She waited there on Sundays as far as I remember, I know it was always when the shop was closed. I was told she was waiting for her son who did not come back from the war but they didn’t say which war. Don’t know how accurate that info is. Made me sad to see her waiting there.

John Perring writes (July 2014):    As a schoolboy in the 1950’s I walked up Snakes Lane every morning to Woodford Station to get the train to Buckhurst Hill and every day saw the woman with the white face. She wore a long floor length dress which dragged in the wet and her face was completely powdered in white as if covered in flour. She was well known locally and the story was that she went to the station every day to wait for the return of a loved one killed in the War. Which war I do not know. I think she survived into the sixties. I went in the M.N. in 1957 and do not remember her being there after my return in 1963. Further to my previous message re this question, the white faced lady at Woodford station lived in West Grove or Prospect Road fairly close to the station. People said that apart from her bizarre appearance she appeared quite normal if spoken to.

David Bambridge contributed to this thread/query and his reply was posted in April 2015.THE LADY WITH THE WHITE FACE – John Perring – July 2014

The lady was called Mrs. Ross & I’m pretty sure she lived in West Grove.


Enquiry about H Turk Picture Framer  received from Julia Theobald on 5th June 2013

“I am trying to find out about a H Turk who had a picture framer and gilder’s shop in High Road Woodfod Wells opposite the Catholic Church sometime, I think, prior to 1945. I wonder if anyone there can provide me with any information.”

Initial response from John Lovell I will see what I can find out. Until it closed “recently” (probably two/three years or more), the picture and photo framer (plus artists materials and paintings) located at 512-514 High Road, Woodford Green, IG8 0PN was Phil J Simmonds and Sons. I know that the earliest receipt that I can trace from the shop was in the early 70’s and they were well  established by that time. Picture of Simmonds shop subsequently provided.  JL  

Kathleen Peters wrote re:   Art Shop – Phil J Simmonds Just to say that this wonderful, but small shop was going in the early 1950’s when I used to pass it daily to and from school. We used to buy poster paints there and it always had a wonderful selection of Lakeland colouring pencils on display.  Next door were Hickey’s the furrier (you’d never see that kind of shop nowadays!)and also a sweet/tuck shop.

Michael Worsfold has added a further piece of information re Phil J Simmonds Art Shop. Information received on 1st May 2014. Just to complete the picture re the art shop in high road Woodford Wells. I lived in the house which was 49 High Road next to Hickeys the furrier. Phil Simmonds was an apprentice to Mr Turk and took over the business when Mr Turk retired. My family were good friends with Phil and Jackie Simmonds and I went to school with Roger and Hugh the two sons. We also were friends with the Hickeys. Before it was a Furriers a doctor lived there. The Simmonds family lived in the flat over the shop. Later they moved to a house in Barclay Oval. Phil Simmonds was a very good artist. Sadly Phil and Jackie have now passed away, but the two sons are still alive.


Length and area conversion

Richard Thomas has told me that a member asked him a question at the end of our September meeting.  He was unable to answer it at the time but, having consulted my 1859 edition of ‘Weights and Measures of all Nations’ I can give you the answer but first I must give you the question. How do you convert measures of length and surface from poles, links, roods, chains etc. into measurements that are more readily understood? Bear in mind that my book was published in 1859, before metrication. Rods, roods, poles, perches……..

Conversion of measures of length and surface - 1859
Conversion of measures of length and surface – 1859


This picture was found in a packet labelled “Taken in Woodford.  If that note is correct, the slope suggests George Lane or …..   do you know where and when this was taken?

This picture is alleged to have been taken in Woodford. If that credit is correct, the slope suggests George Lane or ..... do you know where and when this was taken?

Picture of International Stores on website

Many thanks are due to ‘Super Sleuth’ Nigel Pitt who solved the mystery. The shop pictured was at 24 Queens Road, Buckhurst Hill – the bottom end of Queens Road opposite Waitrose. Nigel expressed thanks to Chris Pond of Loughton HS who kindly looked up his copies of Kellys Directories for me to save me having to go to Essex RO, no copies in local libraries apparently. I can just make out the number on the door to the flats which I think is 5a, this dates it prior to WWI when, I am told by Chris Pond, the road was re-numbered and it became 24.  I guess this is an Edwardian picture. In 1910 the manager was J. Northmore.  Nigel’s guess is that one of the occupants of the house is in this picture.  Perhaps the 1911 census might reveal who it was. Nigel took a photo of the shop as it is today.  Not as smart now (although Queens Road has become very smart in recent years).   Nigel does not remember 5a/24 Queen’s Road as being International Stores (or even a grocers); they did have a branch at the top of Queens Road which traded as T. Liddle & Sons (also at High Road, South Woodford) so maybe they closed 24 when they acquired Liddles.



Nigel checked Kellys Directory for 1900 and 1903 and International Stores was not listed in Woodford or South Woodford. If you look at the reflection in the shop window you will see Victorian sash windows.  That does not fit either George Lane (and Woodford Broadway) which were built later. There is a stone jar from Liddles in the Redbridge Museum and they traded for 200 years, said to be the oldest established grocers in Essex.  Liddles moved to Electric Parade in the double shop that is now Laura Ashley. The only branch of International Stores that Nigel remembers in South Woodford was T. Liddle & Sons on the High Road, near the cinema. It is the double-fronted Georgian shop and the frontage survives. It was owned by International Stores for years but traded as Liddles until the late 1960s when they re-branded their shops.   It was counter-service and when the old manager (and most of his staff) retired they took over Edwards Provision Merchants on Electric Parade, which was self-service.

Nicola Mussett wrote (29 July 2014): “I remember that my mother used to shop at the “International Stores”, which I think later changed its name and its venue. I first remember it being West of the Majestic Cinema and the George pub (same side) on the High Road – a little towards Snaresbrook but just a few doors along from what was the Majestic Cinema. This was in the early 1960s. It then moved, not long afterwards, to Electric Parade at the top of George Lane and I think it had a name change then. I can remember it as being very old-fashioned, with a bacon slicing machine and heavy wooden counters. The last time I remember having really good cheese was the cheese my mother bought from them, long before everything was wrapped in plastic.

Nigel Pitt came back with further information:

The shop the lady refers to was on the High Road, South Woodford. I referred to it in my article ‘Woodford Shopping’ for the Woodford Historical Societies anniversary publication (still available through the Society’s website) –

“My mother had a weekly delivery of groceries from T. Liddle & Sons who were in the High Road, South Woodford (also at Buckhurst Hill). They were part of the International Stores group but still traded under their long established local name.” It was as the lady describes with wooden counters running down the length of the shop. There was a wonderful mix of smells from roasting coffee beans and the bacon slicer. When we lived at that end of Woodford my mother visited the shop, sat at a desk, and gave her weekly order to the (male) assistant. It was delivered the next day. She told me that she used to cycle there and park her bike propped against the kerb, as one did then. When we moved near to The Broadway, Liddles phoned every Monday for the order. My mother liked the bacon cut to a particular thickness, which of course they knew without having to be told. They continued to trade as Liddles until International Stores eventually re-branded the shop in the 1960s. It was still counter-service and conversion to self-service would have been impossible due to its size. When the manager and most of the staff retired they acquired the premises of Edwards & Co. (Provision Merchants) Ltd. on Electric Parade. Where Laura Ashley now is. I am not sure when they closed down. In the local museum at Ilford Library is a stone jar and bill from Liddles. I took a picture of this for another recent enquiry from the website. It is the shop on the left with the bow front. It was re-built behind as offices, not sure how much of the frontage is original. There is a line drawing in one of the Pictures of Old Woodford books.


Liddles WP_000815

Edwards was a local East London grocers, along with those of F.J. Wallis and Caters. The three families were friends and it has been said that they had an unwritten agreement not to poach on each others territory. This research was from the 1911 census for my road, it may be of interest – Edward Frank Cater was one of five sons of Henry John Cater, “cheesemonger & pork man”, in 1887 living above the shop in Roman Road, Bow. By 1911 Henry had moved to Grove Park, Wanstead and later to a large house in Gerrards Cross, Bucks. By WWII Cater Brothers had around 30 shops throughout East London, with forays into North and South London. They also had a wholesale business which Edward would presumably have worked in as a Commercial Traveller. His brother Erastus was Chairman first, followed by brother Sidney. His nephew Leslie became Chairman in 1956 on the death of Sidney and he led the company into the supermarket age. They were early innovators in self-service shops, the first, in Bromley opened in 1958. One early self-service branch was in Church Lane, Leytonstone. They opened roughly one store a year until 1972. In that year Leslie Cater was tragically killed in a light aircraft crash along with friend, Francis Wallis of F.J.Wallis Supermarkets. The Cater family sold the business the following year to Debenhams who promptly replaced all the Cater family management. They put 40 Caters foodhalls in their stores but the business went into rapid decline in their hands and was sold to Allied Suppliers (Prestos) in 1979, the Cater name then disappearing from the high street. Had Lesley still been at the helm it is conceivable that Caters would have grown into a sizeable food retailer that could have been a serious rival to the likes of Tescos and Sainsburys. F.J. Wallis was acquired by International Stores in 1977. I think that the widow of Francis Wallis later married Mr. Edwards but don’t quote me!



House in South Woodford – close to the station

Martin Perry who now lives in South Woodham Ferrers wrote: “I was born at number 1 Primrose Road, South Woodford in 1954, and I lived there until 1965.  Next to the house once stood an imposing old property (a large mansion house or hall), which I believe was Victorian or earlier.  It stood at the junction of Primrose Road and Maybank Road, and directly opposite the George Lane Flyover, but it was demolished in the mid 60s to make way for a car park, which is still there to this day.

House formerly in South Woodford - please look at Can You Help to find out more.
House formerly in South Woodford – please look at Can You Help to find out more?

I have been researching the history of the area as I want to find out more about my place of birth, and I really want to know the name of the property because I knew the last occupants and want to find out more about them.  I have looked through a number of local history books, and some census records, but most of my research has been on the internet. I have bought several old maps of the area, and some old books including J.Elsden-Tufts ‘The Story of Wanstead & Woodford’, but the house is not mentioned. I discovered a photo on the internet yesterday (see attached) which was taken in 1955.  The house I speak of is prominent in the picture, immediately behind Mr Bower’s Tuck Shop, and the Co-Op store which were on the corner of Primrose & Maybank Roads.  Primrose Road forks to the left and there are 2 large trees in the picture which were in the grounds of the old house.  My parent’s car is the light coloured one 4th from the right, which is almost parked outside my house no. 1 Primrose, which is obscured by the trees. Note that the house has a viewing gallery at the top, from which I was often allowed to visit to look out across towards Wanstead. The photo is included both here on the can you help page and in the South Woodford Gallery.” Can you help Martin Perry?



—  Please note that this article by Margery M Smith was originally written and published in 1982.  The article first appeared in Woodford & District Historical Society’s Transactions Part XIV: 1982 The house was built in the second half of the 18th century on the south side of George Lane.  The grounds stretched from the yards of the George Inn to the line of the modern (remember that this article was originally written and published in 1982) Marlborough Road. Early in the 19th Century Peter Cloves lived at Frithmans and he still owned the property when he moved across George Lane to the Rookery, where he died in 1849.  As a child William Morris went to Elizabeth Arundale’s school at Frithmans from his parents’ home in Woodford Hall. In 1851 Mrs Mackenzie, a widow with several young children, moved from Leytonstone and set up another school at Frithmans.  One of her sons became Sir Morrell Mackenzie, the noted Victorian surgeon, who died in 1892.  The Leytonstone house, on the corner of Browning Road and the High Road, still survives and bears a plaque commemorating Sir Morrell, who was involved, at one stage in his career, in the arguments about the treatment of Queen Victoria’s son-in-law, the Crown Prince and later King of Prussia. From about 1920 Mr W F Fox lived at Frithmans.  Then the house was taken by Sylvia Pankhurst for her work among refugee children, being known locally at this time as ‘the crèche’.  Later Miss Pankhurst moved to a house in Charteris Road, and then to the Red Cottage at Woodford Wells, facing the Horse and Well. The western part of the original estate had been sold off much earlier, and contained an assortment of buildings, the most notable being the Congregational Church and the South Woodford Cinema.  When in 1932, the house was pulled down, the old cinema was enlarged and modernised and renamed the Plaza, and a row of shops was built down to Cleveland Road.  In 1977 the cinema, which had been empty for some time and had suffered a fire, so that it was no longer viable as a cinema and was unfit for conversion to any other use, was boarded up and eventually demolished to make way for Sainsbury’s and other shops. Photo taken from Fifty Pictures of Old Woodford compiled by Courtey Jones in 1935

Illustration and narrative taken from Courtney S Jones ‘Fifty Pictures of Old Woodford’ published in 1935

Further pictures have subsequently been provided to Martin Perry.


Woodford Military Band (1903) – posted May 2013

The photograph below appeared on a 1903 postcard and depicts the Woodford Military Band.  Can you help with any information about the Band or its members?

Woodford Military Band 1903
Woodford Military Band 1903


See WHS Spring 2014 newsletter for the story of the Band, a link (relating to the Band) to Argentina and full answer.


Guides in Woodford – posted April 2013

Two photographs of Guides/Rangers in Woodford have been sent to us.  Can you help to identify where these pictures were taken, were they both taken at the same time and when were they taken?

Woodford Guides 1 Woodford Guides 2

The top picture appears to include Lopping Hall, Loughton.




Edward North Buxton – Query raised in April 2013

Peter Pagnamenta writes: I hope you can help me – I am writing a book (about early conservation) in which Edward North Buxton plays a part. I am trying to locate the house that the family lived in, in the 1870’s and 80’s, during the time that he was a Verderer of Epping Forest, and gave additional land for the enlargement of the forest. Does the house (which is just referred to as “Knighton, Buckhurst Hill” still stand and are there photographs of it in that period?

John Lovell’s initial response raised questions:  Clearly research is the basis of your writing.  Therefore I do not want to teach you to suck eggs but, before I undertake any research, I need to know what you have done to find the information. For example, have you looked at Census Returns and the Enumerator’s pages of description? Have you tried the London Metropolitan Archives (not necessarily in London) to look at the Corporations Records? – certainly they will hold records of past Verderers.  Have you looked at contemporary OS maps?

Peter’s reply:  Many thanks for your reply. I live in Dorset.  No,  I haven’t done any of those things yet, because I hoped  you might provide a short cut,  and that what I was looking for might be common knowledge in your area. There might be a large 18th or 19th century house still standing (it was a considerable estate) which would immediately come to the mind of a local person,  or your group might have knowledge of the Buxton family. But it sounds as if this is not the case.  So, please do not do any special research on my behalf, I can look at the censuses and maps myself.  Thanks again, best wishes, Peter Pagnamenta

John Lovell wrote again in May – By sheer chance, I came across an illustration of Knighton Mansion in a set of photographs that were compiled in 1935 – the year that the house was demolished. Peter replied:  Very many thanks for that – very useful to know the correct address and the demolition date and to see what it looked like.  Buxton was an interesting man, a liberal millionaire brewer involved in many worthy causes. Thanks again for spotting this, Peter


WWII.  Did you ever see any evidence of mobile guns on rolling stock around Woodford? – posted on 24th February 2013 John Hayward writes: The Spring Newsletter contains several most interesting reads. None more so than Keith Wells “A Boys Memories of WW2” Within he comments on Ach-Ach guns mounted-on-rolling stock, in what is now the Central Line, being used in our defence. I was twelve in 1941 and for a time also believed this, in addition to the use of mobile guns at the end of the road – so loud was their hollow, metallic crack and vibration when they opened fire. Our father was a Heavy Rescue Squad Leader and our next door neighbour the Local Bobby and both rejected my excited comments, as a product of an over active mind. They insisted it came from the battery at Buckhurst Hill – adjacent the school and Balloon Barrage Station. less than 2 miles away. Or may be the Wanstead Site, which was at least 4. In spite of any doubts I may have had, I was never able to refute their comments – for I never did find anyone who had “actually” seen them. So to Keith, or any other reader. May I ask – did you actually see these mobile guns? For in my life time of obsessive interest in this historical period, I have never seen any supporting comments in print, or met a person who, in truth, had seen them. Of course with the passage of time history often gets distorted – even by the best of historians. So we are not alone and, if able, we should correct them.

Keith Wells replies to John Hayward:

Regarding John Hayward’s comments I most certainly saw the  Mobile Ack Ack gun which travelled up & down the railway line a couple of hundred yards from where I lived, No 95, Gordon Road. One could hear it firing a little further away and increasing as it neared the bridge and after which the noise decreased as it moved further away. The find of a Shell Nose fuse was like finding Gold when it came to swapping Shrapnel  with other friends ! ( most mornings it was still hot when collected ).

David Bambridge contributed to this thread/query and his reply was posted in April 2015.    I recall my mother saying that there used to be a gun mounted on a lorry that went up & down the central driveway in Bryant & Mays (now Ray Park).


Milton Lodge, Grove Road — posted on 1st February 2013

Does anyone know anything about Milton Lodge, Grove Road, Woodford, please? My great grand aunt, Sarah Lee Wood, was principal of a school there in 1880s and I would be grateful for any information about the place. I suspect it may have been demolished to make way for the new Southend Road.


Redbridge Museum is mounting a new exhibition in the 1st Floor Exhibition Area, Redbridge Central Library. Clements Road, Ilford, Essex IG1 1EA.  The Exhibition is called ‘Great Gardens’ and runs from 5 March – 22 June 2013.  — Posted on 31 January 2013


Although much of the content may be familiar, it’s the first time that the different elements have been put together to look at the subject as a whole. The exhibition covers:

  1. 1. The Country House – Wanstead, Harts, Valentines
  2. 2. The Farm
  3. 3. The Forest; Fairlop Fair; William Morris
  4. 4. The Asylum – Harts, Barnardo’s, Claybury
  5. 5. The Suburban Garden
  6. 6. The Wartime Garden
  7. 7. The Park
  8. 8. The Allotment

They are still looking for old garden or farm equipment for the display if any of your members could help?  If you can help, please contact Gerard Greene – email:  This is NOT a link from our pages.


Cowslip Road, South Woodford – posted on 20th January 2013 – REMOVED FROM SITE 9/2/13


COVER PICTURE ON BOOK  –  posted on 17 February 2013

Several people have asked where the picture on the cover of our Anniversary book was taken. Reply:  I am reliably informed that the picture on the cover of the book shows Fareys Row.  It was subsequently bought by compulsory purchase and is now flats behind Mill Lane /The Square, Woodford Green.  The boys in picture are Peter Burgess (older boy) and Paul Ayley (younger boy). The cat is believed to be called Pipkin.  Peter Lawrence adds: I can just remember them as there was a nice sweet/grocers shop nearby which used to be a source of treats for me when going for walks with Mum and Dad across Woodford Golf course.


Women Who Worked In Munitions Factories   —– Posted in December 2012

A London based freelance journalist and non fiction author is in the process of researching a book on the women who worked in munitions factories in World War 2.  She is seeking to interview at least one woman who worked in munitions factories, in the London or suburban area, who is happy to talk about her memories of those times and wonders if we can point her in the right direction? The book is due to be published in 2013.  She has suitable interviewees in Scotland, Wales and the north — but nothing yet in the London/suburbs area. She ends by saying: “Your society certainly does a wonderful job of keeping the history of your area alive.  It’s a long shot but if you have any useful ideas, I’d be very grateful.”  Can you help?


Ray Lodge Primary School want to research the history of the School posted 1/12/12

Can you help ewith any information, pictures/ newspaper articles/any information about the school from the past.  Can you help?

Response from Peter Lawrence on 2/12/12 Ray Lodge info can be got from Woodford Village to Suburb and Woodford Then and Now. Bear in mind that Ray Lodge was a smaller house built on the Ray House estate, now Ray Park. Ray Lodge approach drive was Ray Lodge Road.


Maternity Clinic or Hospital in Cleveland Road. Posted 1/12/12  —  UPDATED 28 January 2013  (See foot of this post)

David Lovell (no relative!) writes from Tasmania. I wonder if members of your society could help me. I am attempting to write a family history. My name is David Lovell and I was born on 14th May 1938. My late mother said that she gave birth to me at a Maternity Clinic or Hospital in Cleveland Road. I remember early in my teens, she showed me the establishment which I think was at either 14 or 21 Cleveland Road. My memory is, of course, hazy but I seem to remember a large Victorian residence that had been converted for use as a Health facility. I have searched Google Earth and it would appear that no such building now exists in Cleveland Road. Does your Society have any relevant information such as whether or not such a facility ever existed in and if so when maternity services ceased to be provided from this location? Is the building still there and if not when it was demolished and what replaced it? Are there any photographs? Thanking you in anticipation.

Further email from David Lovell

Thank you for both of the messages you have sent me. I am most grateful to you both for your initial prompt response and for arranging for my question to be placed on the Society’s “Can you help” page of its website. I found the website quite easily and it is, of course very easy to navigate. I visited South Woodford in early June this year when my sister who lives in Sussex came with me. We were able to see our maternal grandparents’ house at 77 Cowslip Road and visited Holy Trinity Hermon Hill where we were both baptised. Unfortunately due to my illness we were unable to walk to Cleveland Road. I have copied my sister Joy Redman into this exchange of messages. I am making arrangements to send you an electronic copy of the family tree we so far have of the Lovell side of our family in the hope that maybe there will be a connection.

UPDATE: Having photographed the current buildings and sent them with various pieces of information, it now transpires that the maternity home was at 57 Cleveland Road.  The hunt is on again! ************************


EDWIN HEATH posted November 2012

I am trying to trace an Edwin Heath (born abt 1889 in Walthamstow, Essex) who was a photographer and lived with his family at:
1891 – 3 Fairholt Villas, Grove Road, Woodford
1901 – 1 Beech Villas, Walpole Road, Woodford St Mary, Woodford
1911 – The Calton, Peel Road, Woodford Essex
His parents were Loveden Heath (born 10 March 1849 in St Luke, Clerkenwell, London) and Louisa Maria née Davies (born 4 July 1856 in High Beech, Waltham Abby, Essex – Death in Woodford, Essex). His father is shown as a Friendly Society’s Clerk.
I wondered if the Society may have any information or can give me any leads.
BOB (Robert Gray, Researching Early East London Photographers)

SILVANUS GROVE/GROVE HOUSE – posted November 2012

Good afternoon. I am a post-graduate in New Jersey, US and I am working on a biography of a Woodford, Essex resident, Silvanus Grove.
It has been suggested that his house on High Road in South Woodford was designed by Joel Johnson in 1771, yet I can find no evidence to support this. I contacted the Waltham Forest Archives, which contains the Joel Johnson transcribed memoir, but they were unable to verify that the memoir shows proof of the fact that Johnson designed the house, or any other information about this. I am hoping that either you can be of assistance or know of someone who may have information about the house, now called Elmhurst. I have amassed quite a collection of information about this very successful merchant who made his fortune in the colonies, and would very much like to add some information about his Georgian country estate. I truly appreciate any assistance you can provide. Thank you very much.
Further email, following the provision of some information by WHS:
I want to thank you so much for all the pictures and information you sent. They are just incredible. I am left with the same thought I have had for some time…what a coincidence that Silvanus Grove, whose family was from Southwark in London, whose father stayed in London and whose uncles relocated to Barbados, ended up in a place where there was a Grove House, a Grove Lodge, and a Grove Hall.
It seems unbelievable, but I have found no connection of Silvanus to Woodford, other than Woodford being near to his sister’s family in Ilford and his wife’s family in Edmonton. In his will, he does not name the house, only describes it as his “mansion house at Woodford.” (He also lists his housekeeper, Charlotte Hogsflesh, which I think is a wonderful name.)
In 1807, Grove’s son and heir, John, who also becomes heir to Edward Hillersdon, changes his surname to Hillersdon, at which point he had relocated to Surrey. (He was a director of the London Assurance Co., and his father, Silvanus, was a sub-governor). It would seem that Grove’s house was sold after his death in 1799 and at some time before 1822, when the document you attached to a later email shows that a Mr. Stewart resided there. Interestingly, this states that on the 1822 map it is called Grove House. It seems the more information I get, the more questions I have.