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Woodford Green Redbridge

Summary

Woodford Green is in two distinct sections, with a third and smaller green on the west side of High Road at High Elms. The southern section has perimeter horse chestnuts on its west side, with a poplar alley running through it. Settled since Saxon times, in the C17th Woodford attracted the rich, professional classes as a pleasant place to live at a convenient distance from London. The village character persisted until the arrival of the railway in the 1850s encouraged new housing development, bringing an influx of people and a more suburban aspect. The main village pond remains and cricket has been played on the Green for centuries. A statue of Sir Winston Churchill, who was MP for Wanstead and Woodford from 1924-1964 was unveiled on 31 October 1959.

Basic Details

Site location:
High Road/Broomhill Road, Woodford Green, Essex

Postcode:
IG8

Type of site:
Public Open Land

Date(s):
C18th

Designer(s):

Listed structures:
LBII*: No 1 Broomhill Walk (Hurst House/ 'The Naked Beauty'). LBII: Obelisk; South Lodge of Harts Hospital; All Saints Church; No 8 Johnston Road. Local list: Winston Churchill statue; various buildings overlooking the Green including 2-11 The Terrace, 1 Inmans Road, Johnston Road, Broomhill Road

Borough:
Redbridge

Site ownership:
City of London Corporation

Site management:
Epping Forest Conservators & Vision Redbridge Culture and Leisure Ltd (small part); Woodford Green Amenity Group; Woodford Green Cricket Club

Open to public?
Yes

Opening times:
unrestricted

Special conditions:

Facilities:
Cricket pitch (Woodford Green Cricket Club)

Events:
Various events on the Green

Public transport:
Tube: Woodford; South Woodford (Central) then bus. Bus: 179, 201, 275, W13

Citymapper
Citymapper

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/08/2010
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk; www.redbridge.gov.uk

Further Information

Grid ref:
TQ401920

Size in hectares:

Green Flag:
No

On EH National Register :
No

EH grade:
None

Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
No

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:
No

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:
No

Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
No

In Conservation Area:
Yes

Conservation Area name:
Woodford Green

Tree Preservation Order:
No

Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Borough Importance II

Green Belt:
Yes

Metropolitan Open Land:
No

Special Policy Area:
No

Other LA designation:
Heritage Land; SSSI (small part on west boundary)

Fuller information

Woodford Green is a long village green in two distinct main sections, divided by Broadmead and Snakes Lane West. A third and smaller green is on the west side of High Road at High Elms. The southern section has perimeter horse chestnuts planted c.1930-40 on its west side, with a poplar alley running through it planted in the late 1950s. An avenue of poplars was first planted c.1887 for Queen Victoria's Jubilee on the eastern boundary of the green, later realigned on Winston Churchill's statue in the late 1960s; the avenue now alternates poplars with planes. A line of notable horse chestnuts can be seen in Broadmead, which formerly marked the northern boundary of the cricket pitch. This roadway in front of The Terrace was made into a short dual carriageway in 1964 and has a green central reservation on which the horse chestnuts are now stranded.

Settled since Saxon times, in the C17th Woodford attracted the rich, professional classes as a pleasant place to live at a convenient distance from London, who built large houses and estates here. Wells were found in Woodford in the C18th but, their healing properties presumably over-rated, the little spa vanished almost as soon as it was advertised. The village character of the place persisted until the arrival of the railway in the 1850s, which encouraged new housing development, bringing an influx of people and a more suburban aspect. However, Woodford Green maintains its village atmosphere to some extent, and some of the grand houses remain. In the northern section, the gates to Hart House (q.v.) front the Green and Warner's Path, a footpath marking an ancient path, runs along this eastern edge and is named after its C18th occupant, Richard Warner. The area behind Hart House is now largely private housing, developed into a series of streets. Overlooking the south end of the Green is Hurst House, a Georgian house built in 1714 for Henry Raine, a wealthy East London brewer who founded Raine's Foundation Schools in the East End. His house became known as 'The Naked Beauty', perhaps because of its exposed position; damaged by fire in 1936, it was later carefully restored. In front of the house in an area of the Green known as The Sweep, is an obelisk surrounded by four spherical finials, which was renovated in 1977 by the Civic Trust and Woodford Green Amenity Group to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Nearby is a bronze figure by David McFall, R.A, of Sir Winston Churchill, who was MP for Wanstead and Woodford from 1924 to 1964. The statue was unveiled on 31 October 1959 by Field Marshall Viscount Montgomery in the presence of Sir Winston and Lady Churchill. An oak tree was planted near the statue in 1995 for VE Day.

Cricket has been played on the Green for centuries and Woodford Green Cricket Club was established here c.1735; it is reputedly the second-oldest cricket ground in the country. The first cricket pavilion was built in 1959, permission having been granted to build on Epping Forest land, and has been extended since then. In the summer, the cricket green was fenced against grazing cattle.

Grazing by cattle on the common land continued until the 1998 BSE crisis. There were a number of ponds in the past but one main village pond remains, although the pump that is shown in early C20th photographs is no longer present. It was variously named Johnston Pond, Potato Pond or Kendon's Pond after a local butcher's shop that faced it. The small detached area of green on the west side of High Elms, which has lost its connection with the main green as a result, also retains an old pond, Firs Pond. Woodford Green Amenity Group provided a new hand-carved sign with village history on it in 2003. Adjacent to Woodford Green and forming the roundabout for the busy junction of Woodford New Road and High Road is a tree-planted piece of land with a red granite drinking fountain under a rustic shelter erected by the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association, now publicly inaccessible due to busy roads.

Sources consulted:

LB Redbridge Conservation Area Appraisal (1970) and enhancement proposals (1984); I Dowling and N Harris, Images of London: Wanstead and Woodford, Tempus Publishing, 2003; P Lawrence and G Green, Woodford, a Pictorial History, Phillimore, 1996; Winston G Ramsey (ed) 'Epping Forest Then and Now' (After the Battle, 2nd ed, 1986; Fowkes, 'Woodford - Then and Now', 1981; Arthur Lindfield & Bill Naismith, 'Cricket on the Green' (Woodford Green Cricket Club, 1999); Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993); Guy Williams 'London in the Country, The Growth of Suburbia' Hamish Hamilton, London 1975; Edward Walford, 'Village London, the Story of Greater London, Part 2 - North and East', first published 1883/4 (1985 ed., The Alderman Press); The Parks Agency 'Commons, Heaths and Greens in Greater London. A short report for English Heritage', 2005

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