Main Births etc
Coordinates: 51°33′32″N 0°05′08″E / 51.558807, 0.085459
Ilford Redbridge Town Hall.JPG
Redbridge Town Hall on Ilford High Road

Ilford is located in Greater London

 Ilford shown within Greater London
OS grid reference TQ445865
    - Charing Cross 9.1 mi (14.6 km)  WSW
London borough Redbridge
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town ILFORD
Postcode district IG1
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament Ilford North
Ilford South
London Assembly Havering and Redbridge
List of places: UK • England • London

Ilford is a large cosmopolitan town in east London, England[1] and the administrative headquarters of the London Borough of Redbridge. It is located 9.1 miles (14.6 km) northeast of Charing Cross and is one of the major metropolitan centres identified in the London Plan.[2] It forms a significant commercial and retail centre surrounded by extensive residential development. Ilford was historically a small rural settlement in the county of Essex and its strategic position on the River Roding and the London to Colchester road caused it to develop as a coaching town.[3] The arrival of the railway in 1839 eventually accelerated that growth and as part of the suburban growth of London in the 20th century, Ilford significantly expanded and increased in population, becoming a municipal borough in 1926 and has formed part of Greater London since 1965.[4] The town has since made attempts to raise its profile, and due to its proximity to the Olympic Park in nearby Stratford, Ilford was announced as the fastest-growing tourist destination in Europe in 2011.[5]


Ilford (parish) population
1891 10,913
1901 41,234
1911 78,188
1921 85,194
1931 131,061
1941 war #
1951 184,706
1961 178,024
# no census was held due to war
source: UK census[6]


Ilford was historically known as Great Ilford to differentiate it from nearby Little Ilford, in the London Borough of Newham.[7] Ilford belongs to the North-East London sub-region. 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 origin.[7]


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.[3] Roman finds have also been made in the vicinity.[8] 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'.

Economic development[]

Ilford straddled the important road from London to Colchester. The Middlesex and Essex Turnpike Trust controlled and maintained the road from 1721. The River Roding was made navigable for barges as far as Ilford Bridge from 1737.[8] Ilford remained largely rural until its expansion in the 19th century. This brought about brickworks, cement works and coal yards to service the new buildings, largely centred on the River Roding. In 1839, a railway station was opened on the line from Romford to Mile End. The early businesses gave way to new industries, such as paper making and services such as steam laundries and collar making, to provide for the new commuting class created by the railway. A number of major businesses have been founded in the town, including the eponymous photographic film and chemicals manufacturer Ilford Photo.[9] 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.[3] The business soon outgrew these premises, and its headquarters moved to a site at Roden Street. The radio, electronics and telecommunications company Plessey, founded in 1917 in Marylebone, moved to Cottenham Road in Ilford early in 1919 and then to Vicarage Lane where became one of the largest manufacturers in its field. During World War II, the factory was heavily damaged by bombing and the company carried out much of its manufacture, with 2,000 workers servicing a production line, located in the underground railway tunnel between Wanstead and Gants Hill.[3] In 1955, the company employed 15,000 workers, in sites throughout Ilford and neighbouring areas, with an extensive research department.[3] BAL-AMi Jukeboxes were manufactured at 290-296 High Road, Ilford, during the 1950s, which also served as the headquarters of the Balfour (Marine) Engineering company.[10]

Local government[]

Central Library and Museum, Clements Road

Ilford formed a ward in the large ancient parish of Barking, in the Becontree hundred of Essex. The parish authorities gradually lost responsibility for a variety of functions during the 19th century; from 1836, for the administration of poor relief, Ilford came within the Romford Poor Law Union and in 1840 the Metropolitan Police District was extended to cover the area. In 1875 the Romford rural sanitary district was created, covering a wide area including Ilford. In 1888 Ilford and the neighbouring ward of Chadwell to east were split from Barking and together formed a separate Ilford civil parish. In 1890 a local board of health was set up for the parish, replacing the rural sanitary authority, and in 1894 a reform of local government reconstituted it as an urban district. It formed part of the London Traffic Area from 1924 and the London Passenger Transport Area from 1933.[11] It was incorporated as the Municipal Borough of Ilford in 1926.[12] The suburban expansion of London caused a significant increase in population and the borough became one of the largest in England not to gain county borough status. In 1965 the municipal borough was abolished and its former area was combined with that of Wanstead and Woodford, the northern extremity of Dagenham and a small part Chigwell Urban District around Hainault; it was removed from Essex and since then has formed the greater part of the London Borough of Redbridge in Greater London.

Suburban expansion[]

By 1653, Ilford was a compact village of 50 houses, mostly sited north and south of the current Broadway[3] and the area was distinctly rural. In 1801 the population of Ilford was 1,724 and by 1841 it had grown to 3,742.[3] It had a population of 41,244 in 1901 and occupied an area of 8,496 acres (34 km2). 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.[3] The Central Line service of the London Underground to new and former main-line stations in the area began in 1947[13] and the population peaked in 1951 at 184,706. In 1961 the population was 178,024.

Notable events[]

Kensington Gardens was the location of the 1922 murder of Percy Thompson by Edith Thompson and Frederick Bywaters.[14]

John Logie Baird, who invented the television, moved to Ilford in the mid/late 1920s to work on his new invention. He worked in a workshop on the roof of the Plessey premises in Ley Street which has long been demolished to make way for new housing.


Ilford is divided between the UK Parliament constituencies of Ilford North and Ilford South. Ilford North consists of the Redbridge wards of Aldborough, Barkingside, Redbridge, Clayhall, Fairlop, Fullwell, Hainault and Roding. The MP is Lee Scott of the Conservative Party. Ilford South corresponds to the Redbridge wards of Chadwell, Clementswood, Cranbrook, Goodmayes, Loxford, Mayfield, Newbury, Seven Kings, and Valentines.[15] The MP is Mike Gapes of the Labour Party.[15] Ilford forms part of the Havering and Redbridge London Assembly constituency and the London European Parliament constituency.


Ilford 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. Climate data for Ilford is taken from the nearest weather station at Greenwich, around 6 miles (9.7 km) south south west of the railway station: Template:Greenwich weatherbox


Ilford has a very large ethnic-minority population, with Ilford North having the 4th highest Jewish proportion of residents in the 2001 census.[16] The Hindu, Muslim and Sikh population number some 30,000.[17] The South Asian community in Ilford speak a variety of languages, including Tamil, Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu.[18]

There is a sizable Irish and Polish community in and around Seven Kings / Goodmayes.

According to the 2001 census, Ilford North and Ilford South consisted of the following demographs:

Ilford North Ilford South
Total Population 89,806 106,608
White 75.6% 45.1%
Black 5.2% 11.4%
Asian 15.5% 39.3%
Mixed 2.2% 2.8%
Other 1.5% 1.4%
Christian 55.1% 42.5%
Hindu 6.7% 10.5%
Jewish 10.3% 7.9%
Muslim 6.4% 19.6%
Sikh 2.7% 9.4%



Ilford railway station

The town is served by Ilford railway station on the Great Eastern Main Line in Travelcard Zone 4.[20] Trains calling at the station are of the high-frequency Liverpool Street-Shenfield service operated by Greater Anglia.[21] Gants Hill tube station is located in the north of Ilford and is served by the Central line of the London Underground.[20] It is planned that the Liverpool Street-Shenfield service will become part of Crossrail.[22] The first stage of the East London Transit begins at Ilford.[23]


Ilford is a hub of the London Buses network with services to central London and various suburbs.[24] London Bus routes 147, W19, EL1, EL2, School Bus routes 667, 679 and Night routes N86. and also:

Route Number Route Via Operator Operation
25 Handicapped/disabled access Ilford Hainault Street to Oxford CircusLondon Underground Holborn London Underground, Aldgate London Underground, Stratford London UndergroundLondon OvergroundDocklands Light Railway First London 24 Hours. London Buses service. Times
86 Handicapped/disabled access Stratford Bus StationLondon UndergroundLondon OvergroundDocklands Light Railway to Romford Station National Rail Manor Park, Ilford National Rail, Seven Kings National Rail Stagecoach London Daily. London Buses service. Times
123 Handicapped/disabled access Ilford Hainault Street to Wood Green Bus Station Gants Hill London Underground, Walthamstow, Tottenham, Turnpike Lane London Underground Arriva London Daily. London Buses service. Times
128Handicapped/disabled access Claybury Broadway to Romford Station National Rail Barkingside, Gants Hill London Underground, IlfordNational Rail Arriva London 24 Hours. London Buses service. Times
145Handicapped/disabled access LeytonstoneLondon Underground to Dagenham Asda Redbridge London Underground, IlfordNational Rail, BecontreeLondon Underground East London Daily. London Buses service. Times
147Handicapped/disabled access Canning TownLondon UndergroundDocklands Light Railway to Ilford Hainault Street Little Ilford, East Ham London Underground, Prince Regent Docklands Light Railway, Custom House Docklands Light Railway Stagecoach London Daily. London Buses service. Times
150 Handicapped/disabled access Chigwell Row to Becontree Heath Bus Station Hainault London Underground Barkingside, Gants Hill London Underground, Ilford National Rail Stagecoach London Daily. London Buses service. Times
167 Handicapped/disabled access Debden London Underground to Ilford Hainault Street Loughton London Underground, Barkingside, Gants Hill London Underground Docklands Buses Daily. London Buses service. Times
169 Handicapped/disabled access Barking Town Center National RailLondon UndergroundLondon Overground to Clayhall The Glade Ilford National Rail, Newbury Park, Barkingside London Underground Stagecoach London Daily. London Buses service. Times
179 Handicapped/disabled access Chingford National Rail to Ilford Hainault Street Woodford Green, South Woodford London Underground, Gants Hill London Underground First London Daily. London Buses service. Times
296 Handicapped/disabled access Ilford Sainbury's to Romford Station National Rail Gants Hill London Underground, Newbury ParkLondon Underground, Rose Lane East London Daily. London Buses service. Times
366 Handicapped/disabled access Redbridge Falmouth Gardens to Beckton Station Docklands Light Railway Redbridge London Underground, IlfordNational Rail, Barking National RailLondon UndergroundLondon Overground Stagecoach London Daily. London Buses service. Times
396 Handicapped/disabled access Ilford Sainbury's to King George Hospital Gants Hill London Underground, Newbury ParkLondon Underground, Little Heath East London Daily. London Buses service. Times
462 Handicapped/disabled access Hainault The Lowe to Ilford Hainault Street Grange Hill London Underground, Barkingside, Gants Hill London Underground Arriva London Daily. London Buses service. Times


Ilford was the location of the JKB Designs Art Gallery at 193-207 High Road for 18 months: three times longer than originally planned for this location; and the Kenneth More Theatre. The local newspaper, covering the town and the borough, is the Ilford Recorder.


Ilford has two Non-League football clubs Ilford F.C. and Waltham Forest F.C. who both play at the Cricklefield Stadium. Ilford Cricket Club plays home games at Valentines Park.

See also[]

  • List of people from Redbridge
  • List of schools in Redbridge


  1. ^ Mayor of London (February 2008). "North East London sub region". Greater London Authority. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  2. ^ Mayor of London (February 2008). "London Plan (Consolidated with Alterations since 2004)". Greater London Authority. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Powell, W.R. (Edr.) (1966). The borough of Ilford, A History of the County of Essex: Volume 5. Victoria County History. British History Online. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  4. ^ Young, K. & Garside, P., (1982). Metropolitan London: Politics and Urban Change 1837-1981. 
  5. ^ The Daily Telegraph (December 2011). "TripAdvisor: Ilford is Europe's fastest growing tourist destination". The Daily Telegraph. 
  6. ^ Vision of Britain - Ilford parish population. Retrieved on 2009-08-28.
  7. ^ a b Mills, A.D. (2001). Dictionary of London Place Names. Oxford. 
  8. ^ a b Powell, W.R. (Edr.) (1966). The ancient parish of Barking: Introduction, A History of the County of Essex: Volume 5. Victoria County History. British History Online. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  9. ^ "Ilford History and Chronology". Retrieved 2007-07-27. 
  10. ^ "BAL-AMi Jukeboxes". 
  11. ^ Robson, William (1939). The Government and Mis-government of London. London: Allen & Unwin. 
  12. ^ Vision of Britain - Ilford UD/MB (historic map). Retrieved on 2009-08-28.
  13. ^ Rose, D (1999). The London Underground: A diagrammatic history. 
  14. ^ Edith Thompson (1893-1923) (Brookwood Cemetery Society) accessed 12 January 2010
  15. ^ a b Mike Gapes. "Ilford South - a profile". Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  16. ^ a b
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ a b Transport for London (March 2009). "High frequency services". Greater London Authority. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  21. ^ National Express East Anglia (May 2009). "Table 6". National Express Group. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  22. ^ "Crossrail maps: Route map". Crossrail. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  23. ^ Transport for London. "East London Transit". Greater London Authority. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  24. ^ Transport for London (September 2007). "Buses from Ilford". Greater London Authority. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 

Further reading[]

  • Ian Dowling Valentines Park, Ilford: A Century of History (1999) ISBN 0-901616-25-5
  • J E Oxley Barking and Ilford: An Extract from the Victoria History of the County of Essex vol 5 (1987)

Template:LB Redbridge

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