Infobox UK place
official_name= Ilford
map_type= Greater London
region= London
country= England
london_borough= Redbridge
constituency_westminster= Ilford North
constituency_westminster1= Ilford South
post_town= ILFORD
postcode_area= IG
postcode_district= IG1
dial_code= 020
os_grid_reference= TQ445865
latitude= 51.558807
longitude= 0.085459

Ilford is a district of the London Borough of Redbridge.Redbridge London Borough Council, [ Ilford objectives] . 12 Feb 2007.] It is a suburban development situated convert|9.1|mi|km|1|lk=on east north-east of Charing Cross and one the major metropolitan centres identified in the London Plan. [ [ The London Plan] - East London Sub Regional Development Framework (PDF)]

Ilford was historically known as Great Ilford to differentiate it from nearby Little Ilford, in the London Borough of Newham.Mills, A., "Oxford Dictionary of London Place Names", (2001)] It is bounded in the west by the North Circular Road and the River Roding and is contiguous with Barking to the south, Gants Hill to the north and Seven Kings to the east.

History of Ilford


The name is first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Ilefort" and means "ford over the Hyle"; an old name for the River Roding that means "trickling stream". Little Ilford shares the etymology.

Civic history and administration

Ilford was a village and later ward in the ancient Barking parish [ 'The borough of Ilford', A History of the County of Essex: Volume 5 (1966), pp. 249-66] accessed: 25 May 2007] , in the Becontree hundred of Essex.Vision of Britain - [ Ilford parish history] ( [ historic map] )] Ilford formed a civil parish from 1888, with a local board created in 1890, and it became an urban district of Essex from 1894. The council offices were at first in rooms above a shop in Cranbrook Road and, from 1898, council meetings were held in a hired schoolroom in Ilford Hall, High Road, but in 1901 a large town hall, also in the High Road, was completed at a cost of about £30,000. This was designed by B. Woollard in an ornate Renaissance style; it was enlarged in 1927 and 1933. Successive acts provided the council with increased powers and they used these to embark on an expansion of public services, providing sewerage, public baths, an isolation hospital, a fire station, an electricity and tramway undertaking, [Reed, J., "London Tramways", (1997)] and several public parks – including "Valentine's Park", opened as "Central Park" in 1898. In 1904, the council also took over the responsibilities of the school board.

In 1926, Ilford was incorporated as the Municipal Borough of Ilford. In the succeeding years, Ilford Corporation made several failed attempts to gain county borough status, [Fifth attempt to raise status, "The Times", June 9, 1954] which would have given independence from Essex County Council. In 1965 the municipal borough was abolished [London Government Act 1963] and its former area was transferred to Greater London to form part of the London Borough of Redbridge.Vision of Britain - [ Ilford UD/MB] ( [ historic map] )]

In 1914, the parish of Barking was transferred from the Diocese of St Albans to a new Diocese of Chelmsford, reflecting the increase in population to the east of London.


The only complete skull of a Mammoth discovered in the United Kingdom was unearthed in 1860 at the site where Boots the Chemist now stands in the High Road; the skull can now be seen in the Natural History Museum.

Redevelopment has destroyed much of the evidence for early Ilford, but the oldest evidence for human occupation is the 1st and 2nd century BC Iron Age earthwork known as "Uphall Camp". This was situated between the Roding and Ilford Lane and is recorded in 18th century plans. Roman finds have also been made in the vicinity [ 'The ancient parish of Barking: Introduction', A History of the County of Essex: Volume 5 (1966), pp. 184-90] accessed: 26 May 2007] . A nearby mound called "Lavender Mount" existed into the 1960s, when it was removed during building work at "Howards chemical works". Excavation has shown that the latter may have been a 16th century 'beacon-mound'.

Ilford straddled the important road from London to Colchester, again likely to be of Roman origin, and also (in historic times) was the main crossing point of the marshes, providing the only land access from London to Barking and Tilbury. Barking was the site of Barking Abbey, an important Christian centre from 666AD, and a major fishing port from the Middle Ages. Tilbury achieved importance in the Tudor era as a fort, and later as a port. The "Middlesex and Essex Turnpike Trust" controlled and maintained this road from 1721. The River Roding was also made navigable for barges as far as Ilford Bridge from 1737.


By 1653, Ilford was a compact village of 50 houses, mostly sited north and south of the current Broadway and the area was distinctly rural.In 1801 the population of Ilford was 1,724 and by 1841 it had grown to 3,742. In 1839, a railway station was opened on the Great Eastern Main Line and the following year, Ilford was included in the Metropolitan Police District [Metropolitan Police Act 1839] . It had a population of 41,244 in 1901 and occupied an area of convert|8496|acre|km2|0.Vision of Britain - Ilford [ population] and [ area] ] 2,500 houses of the vast Becontree Estate, built by the London County Council from 1921, were within the boundaries of Ilford; the addition caused a rise in population of 11,600 by 1926. The Central Line service of the London Underground began in 1947 [Rose, D., "The London Underground: A diagrammatic history", (1999)] and the population peaked in 1951 at 184,706. In 1961 the population was 178,024.

Ilford has a large population of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs numbering some 30,000. The South Asian community in Ilford speak a variety of languages, including Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu. [] []

Notable events

Kensington Gardens was the location of the 1922 murder of Percy Thompson by Edith Thompson and Frederick Bywaters.


Ilford was largely rural until its expansion in the 19th century. This expansion brought about brickworks, cement works and coal yards to service the new buildings, largely centred on the River Roding. These businesses gave way to new industries, such as paper making (commemorated in "Mill Lane") and services such as steam laundries and collar making to provide for the new commuting class created by the railway.

Ilford photographic

A number of major businesses have been founded in the town, including the eponymous photographic film and chemicals manufacturer Ilford Photo. [cite web | title=Ilford History and Chronology | url= | accessdate=2007-07-27] This was founded in 1879 by Alfred H. Harman, a photographer from Peckham, who established the business in a house in Cranbook Road making gelatino-bromide 'dry' plates. The business soon outgrew these premises, and their headquarters moved to a site at Roden Street which was demolished during the early 1980s to make way for a new one way traffic system to help with the town's traffic problem. A supermarket now stands on the former site.


A major employer in Ilford was the radio, electronics and telecommunications company Plessey. [ [ Freshwater] - History of Plessey] Founded in 1917 in Marylebone, it moved to Cottenham Road in Ilford early in 1919 then to Vicarage Lane where it remained, becoming one of the largest manufacturers in this field.

During World War II, the factory was heavily damaged by bombing and the company carried out much of its manufacture, with 2000 workers servicing a production line, located in the underground railway tunnel between Wanstead and Gants Hill.

In 1955, the company employed 15,000 workers, in sites throughout Ilford and neighbouring areas, with an extensive research department. Plessey were partners in the development of the Atlas Computer in 1962, and later applied this expertise in developing the System X for the Post Office. The company merged with GEC in 1988, and was acquired by Siemens in 1989, but the site was closed nine years later when the company was reorganised, as part of Marconi plc.


Ilford is represented in the House of Commons by MPs Lee Scott (Conservative, Ilford North) and Mike Gapes (Labour, Ilford South). It is part of the Havering and Redbridge London Assembly constituency.


The local football team is Ilford F.C., which has existed in two separate guises, and now play at Cricklefield Stadium, a venue that was used for some of the football events during the 1948 Summer Olympics.


Ilford is a hub on the London Buses network. [Transport for London - [ Buses from Ilford] ] Its main rail service is from Ilford railway station and there is also a station at Seven Kings.

Nearest places

* Little Ilford
* Gants Hill
* Seven Kings
* Manor Park
* Goodmayes
* Chadwell Heath
* Barkingside
* Redbridge
* Newbury Park

Famous births

"See also:"
* Nina Bawden, author
* Raymond Baxter, TV presenter
* Nigel Benn, former boxer
* Jet Black (Real name Brian Duffy), drummer with The Stranglers
* John Boardman, classical art historian, "Britain's most distinguished historian of ancient Greek art." [ [ Interview with Diana Scarisbrick, "Apollo Magazine", May 2006] ]
* Ken Campbell, comedian and actor
* The Dooleys (1970s pop act) were born and lived in the Seven Kings area of Ilford
* Noel Edmonds, TV entertainer and presenter
* Bill Fraser, TV actor, (especially the Army Game) who ran a sweet shop in Ilford Lane between bookings
* Jon Hare, computer game designer and co-founder of Sensible Software
* John Carmel Heenan, (Cardinal Heenan)
* Nasser Hussain, former England cricket team captain. Although born in India Nasser grew up and went to school in Ilford. His father Joe Hussain still owns and runs Ilford Cricket School for youngsters situated off Beehive Lane.
* Ronald Hutton, revered historian of Stuart England and witchcraft in the British Isles (attended Ilford County High School)
* Paul Ince, footballer, currently managers Blackburn Rovers FC
* Kathy Kirby, 1960s singer
* Jane Leeves, actress most known for her role as Daphne Moon in Frasier
* Richard Littlejohn, right-wing journalist with "The Sun" and "The Daily Mail"
* Denise Levertov, poet
* Sir Raymond Lygo, admiral
* Victor Maddern, actor
* Sean Maguire, singer and actor
* Harry John Blagdon Mansfield, owner of Mansfield's Dairies, established in 1868.
* Kevin Maher, footballer, currently plays for Southend United
* Helen Mirren, actress
* Ruth Pitter, poet
* Jenny Powell, TV presenter
* Kathleen Raine, poet and critic
* Ian Ridpath, astronomy writer and broadcaster.
* Dame Maggie Smith, actress
* Kieran Toms, musician and poet with seminal punk act Joy-Rides, now radio personality.
* Louise Wener, musician and novelist (attended Beal High School near Gants Hill)
* Chris Willsher, writer, performer and singer with cabaret punk band Bus Station Loonies


Further reading

*Ian Dowling "Valentines Park, Ilford: A Century of History" (1999) ISBN 0901616255
*J E Oxley "Barking and Ilford: An Extract from the Victoria History of the County of Essex vol 5" (1987)

External links

*London Borough of Redbridge -
** [ Ilford objectives]
** [ Progressive Ilford] " (PDF)
* [ Ilford (photographic)]
* []

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