Whatever happened to Chadwell Street? Notes on the history of an Ilford high road settlement

This study explores the history of Chadwell Street (sometimes simply Chadwell), a community alongside the Essex high road near Ilford in Essex.

The name largely disappeared in the early twentieth century, but the location can still be traced. Of its three surviving features, Chadwell primary school opened in 1897 and carries on the name. The Greyhound public house can be traced as far back as 1656, although the present building is said to date from 1923. On the north side of the A118 High Road, a terrace of twenty houses was erected around 1890.

Chadwell Ward and Chadwell Heath At the outset, Chadwell Street should be distinguished from Chadwell Ward, in the parish of Barking, and Chadwell Heath, in the parish of Dagenham. A huge parish, Barking was divided into four wards by 1497, and almost certainly much earlier than that. It was bounded to the south by Longbridge Road, and by a small stream at Seven Kings to the west. It also stretched away to the north, including other insignificant hamlets such as Padnall Corner and Little Heath – largely unconnected settlements scattered over a considerable area (2,298 acres – the size of many Essex parishes).[1] It is not always clear whether court records refer to the hamlet or to the ward, and the two were sometimes confused in other sources.[2]

Chadwell Heath was an area of common land in the northern extremity of the parish of Dagenham, although about eight acres fell within Barking. Until the early seventeenth century, as discussed below, it was known as Blackheath. Thirty years after its enclosure in 1867, the heath was remembered as "rough, boggy pasture, with an abundance of gorse and furzy bushes."[3] Fires in gorse and furze would explain its name. However, around 1609, it acquired the additional name of Chaldwell Heath, and it seems likely that its new name was transferred from its neighbour across the Barking boundary, where P.H. Reaney, the authority on Essex place-names, traced it back to 1254. Some of Reaney's examples may include the wider area of Chadwell Ward, but Chadwellestrete in 1456 definitely refers to the high road settlement.[4]

Around the fringes of the heath, there developed a population who drew "a precarious livelihood" from its communal resources, "a poor, thriftless set of people, who lived in small log cabins, thatched, one story [sic] high, much after the style of the Irish peasantry of to-day." This was the picture communicated to the first vicar of Chadwell Heath, J.P. Shawcross, who arrived three decades after the enclosure. (Shawcross, as will be seen, held stereotypical views of the Irish.)[5] Unlike Chadwell Street, Chadwell Heath never developed an inn that specialised in serving the coaching traffic. In 1675, the mapmaker John Ogilby published an innovative strip map for travellers through Essex, versions of which continued to appear for half a century. This simply focused on the high road, identifying highway settlements, landmarks and side turnings. It marked Chadwell Street, but ignored the heath, lighting next upon "ye Whale Bone", an exotic marker placed there around 1640, possibly to indicate the distance of ten miles from Whitechapel.[6]

Chadwell Heath's long-term advantage as a local centre of population lay in the fact that it possessed superior north-south communications, and these may be assumed to explain why it became the location for a new railway station in 1864.[7] The heath, long regarded as a dangerous place for travellers, was enclosed soon after, in 1867. This followed the uprooting, in 1851, of Hainault Forest, further to the north, a woodland area which was also seen as an incentive to lawlessness. It had been home to an apparently gypsy colony, from whom – according to Shawcross in a remarkable comment on his own parishioners –"the plebeian inhabitants of Chadwell Heath" were descended, their "dark eyes, tawny complexion, and short, curly, black hair" indicating "foreign descent."[8] With social control assured and modern communications provided, Chadwell Heath began a very gradual process of population growth, which would exceed that of Chadwell Street and ultimately engulf its identity.[9]

Name The earliest recorded spellings indicate that the name was pronounced to rhyme with "haul" or "horde". A Barking Abbey rental of 1456 has two references to "Chaldwelle".[10] Between 1571 and 1590 the Dagenham parish registers use the spelling "Chawdwell". At least one of these refers to the parish of Barking: "A poore man who dyed in Chardwell ward" who was buried in 1576.[11] John Norden's 1594 map of Essex names Chawdwell.[12] Reaney had no doubt that the name meant "cold well", a derivation that also holds good for a village of south-east Essex, Chadwell St Mary.

In the seventeenth century, the modern spelling of Chadwell Heath – and later, of Chadwell Street – seem to have taken hold, indicating a transition in pronunciation to a short vowel. However, there may for some time have been some distinction in naming between the two settlements. In 1634, William Pechey, a brickmaker, was prosecuted for digging brick earth from a field alongside the highway, "by which the footpath between Chalwell and Chadwell Heath is greatly annoyed". Dagenham parish registers note the burial in October 1666 of "The wife of Meekin the smyth of Chardwell in Barking parish". Four days later, there was a baptism: "Elizabeth daughter of --- Meekins ye Smyth, of Chardwell, in Barking parish".[13] At the same time, according to extracts given by Shawcross, Dagenham parish registers were using the modern form, Chadwell Heath, for their own northerly extension. The distinction probably represented a mere timelag: Ogilby and Morgan's 1678 map of Essex indicated that the shorter vowel had arrived at "Chadwel Street".[14]

The coinage of the new name for Chadwell Heath, and the change in pronunciation from Chawdwell to Chadwell may both have their explanation in the remarkable growth of London in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Population figures for the city are naturally a subject of much debate, both because the available records are not always reliable, and the rapid expansion makes it difficult to determine the boundaries of urban area. In 1998, the historian Francis Sheppard estimated that the capital's population of 75,000 in 1550 had risen to 200,000 in 1600, roughly doubling again by 1650, and reaching 575,000 by 1700. Also in 1998, , Stephen Inwood cited research suggesting that there were 85,000 Londoners in 1565, 200,000 by 1605, and 550,000 by 1665.[15] The statistics may lack refined precision, but the general picture is clear enough. The continuous explosion of London forms an underlying theme in British history so basic that textbooks usually manage to overlook it altogether. It is the missing explanatory element in many aspects of the national story, from the flowering of theatre in Shakespeare's time – London provided the paying customers – to the failure of Charles I to win the Civil War – London was solid and implacable for Parliament.[16]

Specifically, for communities along the Essex high road, the capital's growth meant a considerable expansion in the carriage of goods and the movement of people. As far back as 1935, the economic historian F.J. Fisher demonstrated the importance of the development of the London food market in the century after 1540.[17] Although Fisher supplied relatively few examples from Essex, it is clear that Romford Market was a major source of supply for Londoners of cattle, pigs, sheep and poultry, as well as grain and other farm produce. Vast numbers of animals were driven along the high road to be slaughtered in the city.[18] The commercial needs of London also meant that there were streams of travellers in and out of the capital: in 1579, a Romford innkeeper left money to provide a dinner in his memory for the London butchers who were his patrons on market day each week.[19] Wealthy Londoners also began to invest in Essex land, establishing country retreats within easy distance of their business interests. The process began in the late fifteenth century, when the merchant Thomas Coke established the Gidea Hall estate at Romford, and the lawyer Thomas Urswick settled at Marks near Collier Row. The dissolution of the monasteries opened new opportunities, bringing Sir Anthony Browne to South Weald and Sir William Petre to Ingatestone. The process of suburban gentrification picked up speed in Elizabethan times, in parallel with the growth of London's population and the increased risk of plague: Sir James Harvey, who died in 1583, had purchased the strangely named Wangey, a mansion whose site now lies under Chadwell Heath Station car park, putting together a property portfolio which included the Greyhound in Chadwell Street.[20] The introduction of the wheeled coach at this time made private travel for the wealthy possible, if perhaps not particularly comfortable. At the other extreme of society, London ate people. In every year from the 1670s to the 1780s, burials exceeded baptisms. Statistics are less easy to reconstruct in earlier times, but as London suffered major epidemics of bubonic plague – 1665 was the last major outbreak – in crisis years the gap between births and deaths must have been awesome. One estimate is that the city needed 7,000 in-migrants every year to maintain its size, and London (as noted above) was also growing at breakneck speed. Many of the newcomers came from the country districts close to the capital, trudging on foot or perching on goods waggons, hoping for a better life and all-too-often experiencing disappointment and early death.[21]

By 1600, London asserted its influence over nearby areas through a sophisticated commercial network. From a metropolitan point of view, to have a Blackheath on the high road through Essex simply risked unnecessary confusion. What Londoners would come to call Chadwell Heath was a small open space, covering little more than forty acres.[22] By contrast, Blackheath in Kent was a massive common, which flowed into Greenwich Park, alongside one of the principal royal residences of Tudor England. Whole armies had gathered there – the peasants in revolt in 1381, Jack Cade's insurgents in 1450, the Cornish rebels – skirting London to get there – in 1497. It was crossed by the Dover road, which led to Canterbury and the Continent. There was only room in the London universe for one Blackheath. It is no surprise that the relatively insignificant stretch of common land beyond Chaldwell should have become known as Chaldwell Common. Similarly, the substitution of the shorter vowel sound, the shift in pronunciation that changed Chawdwell or Chardwell to Chadwell, can probably be explained by the mushroom growth of the London riverside enclave of Shadwell, where 700 houses were built between 1630 and 1650 in a community which achieved independent parish status in 1669.[23] Nowadays, Shadwell is overshadowed by its neighbour Wapping, but in the seventeenth century it was London's boom district. The fact that the change in vowel sound apparently affected Chadwell Heath before Chadwell Street may perhaps be explained that the former was a name invented by outsiders, whereas locals probably retained their own version of the older name.[24] However, in the end metropolitan cultural hegemony could not be resisted. Londoners were sophisticated and they were wealthy. If they wanted to call the place Chadwell, then the short vowel would eventually win the day. In 1935 Reaney noted the local pronunciation was "chaddle".

The legend of St Chad The shortening of the first syllable opened the way to a silly but resilient legend that associated the area with St Chad. There was an enduring tradition, derived from Bede's Ecclesiastical History of England, that the East Saxons had been converted to Christianity in the seventh century by a missionary from Northumbria, St Cedd, after an earlier attempt from Canterbury had failed. Cedd was said to have been the brother of St Chad, the first bishop of Lichfield, an ecclesiastic entirely associated with the Midland kingdom of Mercia. This "brace of brethren", as Thomas Fuller roguishly termed them in his 1655 Church History of Britain, were "so like in name, they are oft mistaken in authors one for another." Unfortunately, John Stow, in his 1598 Survey of London, had termed him "a holy man termed Cedde, or Chadde", and this telescoping became not only endemic but convenient. In vain was Fuller's quaint and quirky witticism, "though it be 'pleasant for brethren to dwell together in unity', yet it is not fit, by error, that they should be jumbled together in confusion."[25]

The result was inappropriate attribution of the various Chadwells to a saint who almost certainly never set foot in Essex, indeed a veneration which a recent historian has described as a "cult in which etymological errors have played a large part".[26] Much of the responsibility for this may be laid upon Philip Morant, in 1768 author of the first major history of Essex. Morant was too good a scholar to swallow uncritically the claim that St Chad gave his name to Chadwell St Mary (the village took its byname from the dedication of the parish church). He was also dubious about the origin of Chafford Hundred, an administrative division stretching from Brentwood to the Thames which was assumed to have taken its name from a small open space in the parish of Upminster, Chafford Heath.[27] Lest his toponymic agnosticism might shock his readers, he conceded saintly inspiration to the two settlements on the Essex highroad. "In the parish of Berking [sic], there is Chadwell-street and Chadwell-Heath, undoubtedly so called from St. Cead, or as is vulgarly styled, Chad: that Bishop having been in great repute, and sainted, for bringing the Inhabitants of these parts again to Christianity, after their apostasy."[28]

Morant's ingenuity effectively elided Cedd with Chad; his authority was sufficient to attach the name even where he had indicated doubts. Thus D.W. Coller, in his 1861 People's History of Essex, asserted that both Chadwell St Mary and Chafford Hundred were "believed to have been derived from Bishop Cidd – or, as the vulgar pronounce the name, Chad".[29] In 1862, Chad was wheeled out to prove the prior claims of the Church of Rome upon the county of Essex. Protestant zealots had just erected a memorial at Brentwood in honour of William Hunter, the teenage martyr roasted to death in 1555. A Catholic partisan sneered at the heretical attempt to venerate "the illiterate Hunter", insisting that the true believers of Essex could claim superior local saints. "Saint Chad was a native of the county: one of its divisions is still called Chadwell [sic] Hundred, and there are two or three villages of the name."[30] Cedd may perhaps have been born in London, which made him an East Saxon, but not an Essex man; Chad was definitely a Northumbrian. Twenty years later, T.L. Wilson, historian of Upminster, insisted that Chafford Heath was "a corruption of Cedd's ford or Chad's ford Heath." Wilson called him "Cedd, Cedda or Chad" and made him bishop of both the East Saxons and the Mercians, adding that "Chadwell Heath on the London road" also preserved his memory.[31]

In 1884, the foundation stone was set for a new church at Chadwell Heath, intended also to serve Chadwell Street. It was opened for worship in 1886 but not consecrated until 1895. Not surprisingly, the dedication was to St Chad. The Reverend J.P. Shawcross, who arrived late in 1893, enthusiastically embraced the reputed connection, no doubt because Chad provided a unifying myth for a newly-created parish which spanned both Chadwell Heath and Chadwell Street. In his history of Dagenham, he glossed over its internal contradictions in a paragraph of masterly obfuscation, in which St Cedd managed to be both himself and his brother.[32]  Given that the Dictionary of National Biography had disentangled the two in 1887, Shawcross could fairly be accused of allowing his piety to shoulder aside his undoubted skill as a historian.[33] It is hard not to sympathise with the Venerable Percy Bayne, Archdeacon of Southend, who in 1929 described Cedd as "a man who had never had his rights in Essex. He had a brother whose name was Chad. Everyone seemed to know Chad, but not Cedd. ... It should not be Chad, but Cedd."[34]

One way of entrenching the St Chad myths was to designate some local spring as the scene of his activities and then, by a splendidly circular process, declare that its existence proved the derivation of the place-name. Thus in the north Essex parish of Birdbrook, a farm had made an identical place-name transition from cold-well to Chadwell. By 1836, a well on the property was "dedicated to St Chad" and, accordingly, the proclaimed origin of the name.[35] When the Reverend William Palin described Chadwell St Mary in 1871, he called it "holy ground". Its "ancient well" had "more the appearance of a tank, wide and shallow, large enough to walk into, just as the apostolic Chad might be thought to choose for the baptism of his East Saxon converts, after the manner of Jordan". Palin did not explicitly associate the well with the saint, but the six-inch Ordnance Survey map, printed two years later, identified it in antique type as "St Chad's Well".[36]

At Chadwell Street, this amiable device was stretched to its limits. The designated holy well was in Billett Lane (now Billet Road) near Little Heath. The spring which fed it was one of a number in a roughly west-east line across south Essex which emerged at the base of gravel beds from a Thames terrace deposited on the underlying clay. The underlying geology explained why several of them contained mineral deposits, which were regarded locally as possessing curative properties. Miller Christy, the Essex polymath, tested a sample from the Little Heath well in 1907, and pronounced it to be lacking in any medicinal value.[37] The sleight of hand with which George Tasker presented this information in his 1901 history of Ilford merits careful analysis and quotation at some length. Tasker began with the tale of "Cedde" and his conversion of the East Saxons. Almost casually, he threw in Cedde's pious brother, Chad, noting that he "became the patron saint of wells and medicinal springs". This tendentious claim lacked any canonical basis, although it was widely believed, probably because St Chad's Well in Lichfield – a city that could claim a plausible association with Cedd's brother – had been a popular place of pilgrimage. However imaginary, it gave Tasker the launching pad for a confident fantasy. "Now it so happens that there is a reputed medicinal well in Billett Lane, near Little Heath". It was "possible" that it had existed in the seventh century, when missionaries used to baptise their converts "at some well or spring which happened to be handy", incidentally giving their names to the location. He was now poised to go into orbit: "it is said that Cedde held a baptism at this spot, and because of the healing qualities of the water, and in memory of his brother Chad, whose fame had spread all over the country, it became known to future generations as St Chad's Well." No evidence was offered for the association with St Cedd, while his elision with his popular brother was impressively brash. Even Tasker seemed to appreciate that he had ventured beyond the realms of evidence, and could only cover himself through assertion. "Be that as it may, the well in Billett Lane has existed a long time, and there is very little doubt that it gave its name to the two hamlets of Chadwell Street and Chadwell Heath."[38] The attribution that had begun with Morant's "undoubtedly" had come full circle. Shawcross went even further than Tasker. "The spring was held in great veneration, partly because St Chad was supposed to have baptized his Saxon converts to Christianity there, and partly because the water was believed to possess medicinal properties."[39] Neither claim was valid, and there is certainly no evidence that the Billett Lane spring had ever been a place of pilgrimage.

The reality of the well was less romantic. It was protected by a brick arch, which supported a hinged flap, presumably to prevent the dumping of rubbish in the water. About four feet high, its strange shape was said to frighten horses passing by at dusk. Christy reckoned that the brickwork was eighteenth-century: comparison of his photograph with one published by Tasker shows that it was reconstructed around 1900. It was locally called the Bricken Well, an archaic adjective that tends to support the case for an eighteenth-century structure.[40] Notably, the local people who drew their water from the well did not associate it with St Chad. Nor is it likely that they would, given that the short –a– pronunciation of Chadwell Street only evolved a century after the Reformation, when the cult of saints had been stamped out by Protestants and Puritans. Perhaps the most obvious and incontestable objection to the whole manufactured story was that the Billett Road well is located about a mile from both the two hamlets it was supposed to have named, well beyond convenient bucket-dragging distance.[41]

Location Chadwell Street is located on the main road from London to Romford, Chelmsford and Colchester.[42] This was the principal Essex highway until the twentieth century: it was superseded by a new highway to the north, Eastern Avenue (A12), opened in 1925. The straight line of the high road indicates that it was constructed by the Romans, possibly following closely on existing trackways. There is archaeological evidence of human occupation from the Iron Age and Roman times in the Barking-Ilford area, and the fact that there is no documentary evidence of Chadwell Street until the fifteenth century does not mean that people had not lived there earlier. The settlement is exactly nine miles from Whitechapel church, the baseline distance marker for Essex highways: the interval was marked by a milestone in 1777, which was replaced by a milepost during the nineteenth century, still in place when the 25-inch Ordnance Survey map was re-surveyed in 1938.[43] The distance was of some significance: when horses were driven hard, as they were by the fastest stagecoaches, teams had to be changed at intervals of about nine miles.[44] Highway towns – such as Ilford, Romford, Brentwood and Chelmsford – were appropriate locations for major inns, specialised in providing accommodation and stabling, but there was room for smaller places to cater for travellers. Chadwell Street was half way between Romford and Ilford, and it is noticeable that two other highway hamlets that supported inns both had "Street" names: Hare Street near Romford, and Brook Street, strategically located at the foot of the steep and uninviting Brentwood Hill.[45] Chadwell Street was definitely oriented towards serving main-road traffic: a smithy is mentioned in 1456, and the Greyhound was sufficiently important to be the subject of a legal dispute two centuries later. By contrast, north-south communications were sketchy. Cat Lane (around 1900 unimaginatively renamed Grove Road) was a meandering minor road to the north: Chapman and André's atlas of 1777 even shows it petering out short of the high road. Nineteenth-century Ordnance Survey maps show a footpath to the south, leading to Green Lane. This link was sufficiently well established to compel the Eastern Counties Railway to supply a footbridge when it cut through the fields to the south in 1839, but it never developed into a road.[46]

The other determining feature – if that is not too exaggerated a word – in the location of Chadwell Street was the small stream that crossed the high road, rising at Padnal Gate, about a mile to the north – probably from springs along the same geological frontier between gravel and clay that produced the Billett Lane well. In its lower stretches, towards its confluence with the Roding at Barking Creek, it became known as Mayes Brook, probably recalling Richard le May, who lived locally at the time of the battle of Bannockburn. Ordnance Survey mapmakers held to the tidy notion that streams should have a single name from source to mouth, and accordingly extended Mayes Brook back through Chadwell Street. However, country people everywhere simply referred to their local brook or bourne, seeing no need for a single identifier for a stream too insignificant to carry boats.

An alternative possible name for Chadwell Street's Street in its middle reaches has been suggested through field names about a third of a mile to the south, near Green Lane. These are Hevywater mede in 1440, and Hevywater feild in 1609. The history of the name, Hevywaters, is complicated by its transfer during the nineteenth century to a house some distance to the east, on the boundary with the parish of Dagenham. The most recent review of Dagenham place-names concludes that Heavywaters was the name of the stream at this point.[47] The name is a mystery. It appears to have no parallel anywhere in the East Saxon territories. It seems a particularly inappropriate name for a humble rivulet, although it might perhaps have applied to an adjoining field that was difficult to drain.

In fact, there is a clue to the name given to the stream at the point where it crossed Chadwell Street. To comprehend, we need to make an excursion of about two thirds of a mile, with a further diversion into the mythical world imagined from Saxon England. The point where the next stream to the west crossed the high road was marked on the nineteenth-century one-inch Ordnance Survey map as "Seven Kings Watering Stoop". The Stoop (or Stoup), a marker post, may be disregarded, but the multiple monarchs provide a key to another legend. At the time of Domesday Book, in 1086, the map of Essex (and elsewhere) was dotted in places that ended in "ingas" (or "ingaham"). The suffix indicated "the people of", and followed a word indicating either a location or a leader. Thus the Berchingas were (probably) dwellers among beech trees, whereas the Haueringas were followers of a forgotten chieftain called Haefer. During the twelfth century, in a little-noted fit of bureaucratic impatience, administrators evidently became dissatisfied at recording individual places with multiple-sounding names. By 1200, scribes had largely eliminated the false plurals, producing the Barking and Havering of today. However, in 1285, a new example emerged. Probably a remote backwoods community, Sevekyngges was neither manorial nor parochial and, hence, had escaped being written down before. Reaney decodes the name as "the settlement of the people of Seofeca", a forgotten local potentate but a plausibly Saxon name. Unfortunately, the meaning was by now forgotten. Once again, imaginative locals delved into the shadows of history for a satisfying explanation. By 1456, the place was known as Sevyn Kynges.[48] The legend grew that the rulers of the Heptarchy had held a summit conference nearby and, as Tasker put it in 1901, all seven had allowed their horses to drink from "the cool, clear rivulet".[49] In fact, Tasker appears to have been the first historian to describe this momentous event, which somehow had escaped the reporters of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Even Morant, who liked a good story, had contented himself with mentioning a farmhouse that stood "near the King's Waterings", and subsequent county historians had passed over the tale in silence.[50]

The Oxford English Dictionary is grudging in its recognition of one of the meanings of "watering" as a noun. "A place by a river, lake, etc., where animals are able to drink; esp[ecially] one where cattle and horses are taken to drink." The usage is not actually dismissed as archaic, but it is branded: "Now rare." It was not always so. In the late fourteenth century, Chaucer's pilgrims gathered at "the Wateryng of Seint Thomas" to determine who would tell the first story as they left London to ride towards Canterbury. The term was well understood in the seventeenth century: "vij Kinges Wateringes" can be traced back to 1609.[51] Nor was it unique in Essex. At the Chelmsford hamlet of Moulsham, Trappes Watering on the road to Great Baddow was the subject of complaint six times in the century from 1597. Eighteenth-century Kelvedon had a Watering Farm: it was last mentioned in 1897. Writtle's twenty-first century Cow Watering Lane can be traced back to 1755.[52] It is therefore not surprising that Chadwell Street also had its watering. In 1681, local man John Darton was threatened with prosecution for failing to scour his ditches on both sides of the highway from "the Watering by Chadwell towne to Chadwell Heath." The report is also of interest as apparently the sole example of Chadwell Street being described as a town, although the less urban term "township", referring to the ward as a whole, was probably intended. The idea of a watering made sense in terms of Chadwell Street's west-east alignment: High road travellers were not interested in the brook's origins among the coots and herns of Padnall Corner, they simply wanted to use the accessible stretches of water adjoining the road to quench the thirst of their horses and cattle.

While there are frequent complaints in county records about the state of the high road in Chadwell ward, there seem to be no references to a bridge at Chadwell Street.[53] It is likely that, until at least the seventeenth century, the stream crossed the road through a watersplash, wide enough to cope with occasional floods. Wheeled traffic and travellers on horseback would have had no problem negotiating such a small rivulet. A plank bridge or perhaps driven wooden piles (Essex did not run to stepping stones) would have serviced pedestrians. (The Rom at Rush Green – Roneo Corner – crossed the main Ilford-Hornchurch road in such a fashion even in the early twentieth century.) The fact that Chadwell Street's two inns and its smithy were located about one hundred yards west of the stream suggests that occasional flash flooding was expected.[54] Chapman and André's map suggest that by 1777, a bridge or causeway had been constructed along the crown of the road, no doubt wide enough to take stagecoaches, but probably allowing the stream still to flow across the highway on the north and south sides. As already noted, cattle purchased in Romford Market were driven to the capital. It made no sense to have expensive infrastructure damaged by the enormous number of beasts needed to feed the capital, and it may be assumed that they were left to ford the stream alongside the bridge. The causeway was probably the work of the Middlesex and Essex Turnpike Trust, which took control of the high road as far as Shenfield in 1721, and considerably improved its quality.[55]

High road Prior to becoming a turnpike (toll road) in 1721, Chadwell Ward was responsible for maintaining its stretch of the high road. This was hardly an ideal situation: a scattered population, a long stretch of highway, and no doubt the irksome complication of labour that was largely for the benefit of strangers. The inhabitants of the parish of Barking (the responsibility would be devolved to Chadwell Ward) were threatened with prosecution in 1627 for failing to repair the highway from Chadwell Heath to "the Seaven Kings waterings", which formed the western boundary of the ward. A year later, the roadway was "in great decay and ought to be repaired at their charge". Major repairs were required again in 1647. Individuals were also guilty of making the highway hazardous to passers-by, such as Ralph Corrill, a husbandman (probably a small farmer) from Dagenham, who failed to clean out 55 yards of roadside ditches in Chadwell Ward in 1666, making the road between Chadwell Heath and Ilford "very dangerous". (John Darton, a similar backslider, has already been mentioned for failing to cleanse ditches in a more narrowly defined stretch between Chadwell Street and Chadwell Heath in 1681).

The high road long had a reputation as dangerous for travellers. This may have been exaggerated, although the proximity of Hainault Forest no doubt offered a haven for the lawless. Conjuring a long-lost "air of romance" for the neighbourhood, Shawcross imagined "the exact spot where some noted highwayman had done some daring deed of robbery" being pointed out to awe-struck wayfarers. But even he had to acknowledge that there were very few records of prosecutions for serious crime in the Chadwell Street area – although he attributed this to "the obvious reason that the culprits were never caught".[56] Much of the time, the high road was probably too busy to give many opportunities for thieves to waylay honest travellers, although the straight line of the Roman road made it easy to check whether victims were likely to be rescued by passers-by. In 1643, Chadwell Ward seems to have accepted responsibility for maintaining "a stronge watch neere the Whaleboane in the great roade neere Romford by reason of sundry greate robberies there lately committed". Complaint was made to the Essex county authorities that the watchmen were risking their health through exposure to storms and tempests. Arrangements were made to erect a shelter. This crime wave was probably a by-product of the instability let loose by the English Civil War: in 1645, two thieves (described as "gents" in court records) were hanged at Chelmsford for their part in robberies committed at Chadwell and Shenfield.[57]

Some misfortunes may have been self-inflicted. Richard Golty, the rector of Hutton, near Brentwood, rode to London in 1672, carrying £16 10s in a cloth bag. Somewhere between Chadwell Street and Ilford, he managed to lose the bag, as well as his purse, which contained a further five shillings. Since the high road was not always well maintained, it may be that Golty's horse stumbled, threw him and then bolted in panic. By the time he had caught up with his steed and calmed the animal, he probably could not identify the spot on the featureless road where he had taken his tumble, especially if it was dark. In fact, his lost property was quickly spotted by Thomas Allen, citizen and poulterer of London, who was travelling with two women from Whitechapel, Joan Blakesley, wife of a victualler, and Ann Stocken. They decided to apply the principle of 'finders, keepers', but one of them must have bragged of their good fortune. The case came before the Essex courts, but it is not recorded whether Golty recovered his cash.

Instances of outright violence seem to have been relatively rare. A curious case was apparently an attempted gang rape in 1766. A husband and wife returning home from the White Hart inn at Chadwell Street were attacked by four men, two on horseback and two on foot, who attempted to abduct the woman and carry her off in the direction of Romford. Her husband was knocked out in the fight. A murder in 1794 became a national sensation. Two King's Messengers (government couriers) were carrying a box of gold coins to finance British diplomatic missions in Italy: war with revolutionary France forced them to take a circuitous route through Harwich. With ludicrously minimal security precautions, they lashed the box to the back of a light carriage, which was ambushed by "footpads ... near the Stoup", a marker post at the crossroads with Barley Lane and Goodmayes Lane, about half a mile west of Chadwell Street. There was an exchange of shots, in which one of the Messengers, James Martin, was hit by a ball that shattered his thigh. The assailants cut free the box and made their escape. The carriage was driven at high speed to Romford, the nearest likely place to supply medical aid, but Martin died in agony and was buried in the graveyard of St Edward's church.[58]

Travellers Perhaps one of the most intriguing – and frustrating – aspects of the history of Chadwell Street lies in the reflection that hundreds of interesting people, many of them prominent, must have passed through the settlement – and even stopped at its inns – but no information survives of their impression of the place, or of the inhabitants' reaction to their arrival.[59] It is likely that most English monarchs at least from William the Conqueror to Charles I used the high road to visit the royal palace at Havering-atte-Bower.[60] Unfortunately, it is difficult to be certain of the routes followed by the famous Progresses of Elizabeth I, as she tended to travel across country as she battened upon one courtier after another. Her minister, Sir William Petre, almost certainly travelled through Chadwell Street. Having taken the surrender of Barking Abbey in 1539, he managed to gain control of its property at Ingatestone, where he built himself a country house. In 1559, he became the owner of one of England's first coaches, a fragile luxury that almost certainly could only be entrusted to travel on the high road.[61] The jester Will Kemp passed through in 1599 on his celebrated nine-day Morris dance from London to Norwich, England's first media stunt. No doubt he was pleased to see Chadwell Street, since he had just escaped from an attempt by the townsfolk of Ilford to make him roaring drunk, but he did not mention the place. "From Ilford, by Moone-shine, I set forward, dauncing within a quarter of a myle of Romford". There his way was barred by two women fighting.[62]

More sombre was the march of exhausted Royalists from Stratford to Romford, harassed by Roundheads on their way to Colchester, where they were holed up in a famous siege in 1648: "the Enemy coming after us, so obstructed our march, by alarming us in the Rear, that the whole Body could not get up [to Romford] till the next Morning".[63] Chadwell Street's inns were almost certainly plundered by the troops of both sides: that was how civil wars were fought. Samuel Pepys probably passed through in 1665, on his way to Dagnams, a mansion near Romford, having ferried his coach across the Thames at Greenwich. His task was to escort an awkward young man called Philip Carteret and help him woo his pre-arranged bride. Pepys used the journey to coach his companion on "love-matters", but Carteret's total innocence resulted in a "silly discourse". The diarist was too engrossed in sex education to notice his route.[64]

A century later, one summer day in 1763, Samuel Johnson boarded the early morning coach to Harwich, escorting his friend James Bosworth on the first leg of the younger man's journey to the Netherlands. The great Doctor was in sparkling form, discoursing about poetry and playfully defending the Inquisition to wind up a fellow passenger, a "fat elderly gentlewoman" with strongly anti-Catholic views. That night, at dinner in Colchester, he coined one of his notable aphorisms: "he who does not mind [take care of] his belly will hardly mind anything else." In his rare intervals of silence, Johnson dipped into a book on ancient geography, but took no notice of the contemporary Essex landscape.[65] In 1786, John Adams, the first United States diplomat in London, made a similar early start, travelling in a private carriage to visit the Ingatestone mansion of Thomas Brand Hollis, one of the few British politicians who welcomed the representative of the upstart republic. "We breakfasted at Rumford," Adams noted in his diary, "and turned out of the Way to see the Seat of Lord Petre at Thorndon."[66] The implication was that they had thus far travelled the direct route along the high road. Unfortunately, Adams had no reason to notice Chadwell Street, and Chadwell Street could not know that he would rise to become second President of the United States.

In 1821, Chadwell Street found itself in the front line of one of the largest and most moving political demonstrations in British history. On becoming king the previous year, George IV had attempted to divorce his estranged wife, Caroline of Brunswick. The injured Queen received a massive wave of public support in revulsion against one of Britain's most loathsome monarchs, and the necessary parliamentary legislation failed to pass. Caroline's unexpected death in August 1821 became the focus for a dignified protest as her body was returned to her native Germany. After violent scenes on the streets of London, the cortege with its military escort headed in pouring rain along the Essex high road towards Harwich. "The wide public road all along from Stratford to Ilford was literally crowded to excess". As the procession reached Ilford at about 6.15 in the evening, rain gave way to sunshine. The town's public houses were "filled from top to bottom" by "thousands of well dressed persons, anxious to procure refreshment after having been completely drenched with rain". The crowd, many of them "ladies dressed in deep mourning", had waited all day, sheltering in doorways "or any other place where they could obtain a little rest." "The cavalcade then moved on towards Romford, but at a rather slower pace than it had kept since it left Mile-end." Beyond Chadwell Heath, it was met by a deputation from Romford, "attired in black mourning, each individual bearing a black wand, covered at the top with crape [sic]."[67] We may reasonably imagine equally respectable crowds gathering at Chadwell Street's two inns, craning forward to catch a glimpse of the coffin while maintaining a prudent distance from the hussars, who had already killed two protesters in the City.

There were good reasons why Chadwell Street made no impact upon those who passed through. Even for those who stopped, the place functioned like a modern motorway services area – facilities that are rarely celebrated – with an additional touch of a motor-racing pit stop.

The "cheerful horn" celebrated by Shawcross as part of the folklore of England before the railway age was no mere statement of confident jollity. It was a forewarning to innkeepers to be ready to provide a fresh relay of horses as well as basic services for passengers.[68] It was a tribute to the efficiency of these operations that travellers barely noticed the bustling chambermaids and the proffered chamber pots. Indeed, it took a tragedy to give us even a glimpse of a stagecoach stop. In March 1802, an unnamed naval officer boarded the Yarmouth coach to travel to London. As the vehicle rattled across Suffolk and Essex, he "conversed very cheerfully with the other passengers". When the coach pulled in to the White Hart at Chadwell Street – presumably the last stop before its destination – "he alighted and went to the back part of the premises", obviously seeking a latrine. It was part of the unspoken courtesy of long-distance travel that travellers should not delay departure, but time passed and there was no sign of the Navy man. "The coachman waited some time, but at last grew impatient, and sent a boy to let him know that he was ready." Finding the privy door fastened, the youngster called the man's name – and then spotted blood trickling under the door. Inn staff forced the privy door open to discover that the "unfortunate man" had violently slashed his own throat with a pen-knife.[69]

Two years later, another traveller passed through in happier circumstances, although the jaunty, jolting verse in which Susan Nichols described her journey tells us more about the reasons why Chadwell Street made little impact than about the place itself. Her father, John Nichols, was an upmarket printer who had published the first modern edition of Domesday Book. In 1804, he took two of his daughters on a tour of Essex and Suffolk, and was so charmed by his Susan's rhyming journal that he put it into a limited edition. Like John Adams, she had planned to recover from an early start by fortifying herself at the first market town on the route:

At Romford some breakfast I hop'd to obtain,
But all my fond wishes, alas! were in vain.
At Ingatestone, thanks to a good-natured host,
We had plenty of tea, bread and butter, and toast.

Eight enjoyable days later, their return journey was driven by her father's anxiety to get back to work:

We left Chelmsford, and Ing'stone, and Brentwood in haste,
For my father said, "Susan, we've no time to waste!"
And at Brookstreet I saw, far across a wide field,
A beautiful village and church, call'd South Weald.
Then we rapidly jolted through Harestreet to Romford,
Where sick passengers often apply for some comfort.
Passing Chadwell, and Ilford, and Stratford, and Bow,
All places of which I but little can know
....[70]

It is unfortunate that her father was such a hurry to get home that Susan Nichols was unable to give us even a doggerel glimpse of Chadwell Street.

A highway community High road traffic was likely to require running repairs. It made sense that a smithy should be located close to the inns, to provide urgent repairs to horseshoes and cartwheels. Anvils and a forge are heavy installations to relocate: the smithy leased by Geoffrey Wynter in 1456 may well be the same enterprise that appears on the 1862 Ordnance Survey map, on the south side of the high road and just to the west of the Greyhound inn.[71] Robert Feild, described as an innholder in 1642 and as a smith ten years later, may have operated both businesses simultaneously. In 1642, he stood surety for William Noades, a Chadwell "warrener", promising that Noades would appear in court to answer an unusual charge. It had been alleged that another local man, John Hayward, was responsible for making Joan Scarbroke pregnant. Inspired no doubt by the freedom of the great Essex high road, Noades had advised Hayward to abscond, leaving the parishioners of Barking to pay for his unplanned venture into parenthood.

The first mention of the Greyhound by name dates from 1656,[72] when it formed part of the estate of the strangely named Wangey House.[73] Although Wangey was located across the Dagenham parish boundary, it stood only a few fields from Chadwell Street. It was purchased in Elizabethan times by a lord mayor of London, Sir James Harvey, who bequeathed his holdings "in the village of Wangey and Chadwell and thereabouts" to his son in 1583. The lord mayor's great-grandson, another James Harvey, inherited Wangey in 1656.[74] One of his first acts was to take control of "the Grayehound", using two Dagenham men to evict the landlady, Elizabeth Neale, a widow who indignantly objected that she held an unexpired lease. Two years later, she was still pleading with the courts for readmission.[75]

Tapping into local tradition half a century after the close of the stagecoach era, Shawcross was told of a high road busy with seventy coaches a day running between London and Colchester, and of the "excitement" caused by their arrival at the Greyhound.[76] This may have been an exaggeration. A traffic census taken at the Shenfield tollgate, near Brentwood, on a March day in 1838, reported seventeen stagecoaches heading for London, and fifteen making the return run. Some, like the Yarmouth Star and Norwich Phenomena, ran well beyond Colchester.[77] It is unlikely that they all stopped at Chadwell Street, although privately-owned vehicles, such as post-chaises, like those that carried John Adams and James Martin, would have provided additional business.

The Greyhound was certainly a stopping point, as revealed in a court case of 1832. Robert Clark, a Barking resident, had taken a business trip to Braintree. When the elite Norwich Times stagecoach rattled into town, he saw a chance to get home before nightfall, and begged the coachman to take him aboard, negotiating a fare of six shillings to be dropped at the Greyhound. Unfortunately, the coach was already full. Holding out the prospect of a regular seat when other customers disembarked, the coachman told him to crawl under the luggage box at the rear of the vehicle. Unfortunately, nobody got off, Clark suffered a wretched journey, and the episode concluded with a prosecution for exceeding the legal passenger limit.[78] However, Shawcross may have been misled in stating that the Greyhound monopolised the high road traffic. Successive editions of Cary's New Itinerary, a guide to the highways of Britain for travellers, published between 1802 and 1828 duly listed Chadwell Street at nine miles from Whitechapel church, but recommended the White Hart (already mentioned in 1766 and 1802) as the place to call. Indeed, it seems to have been a major landmark along the whole length of the road to Norwich. The frequently published highways guide Paterson's Roads listed "Chadwell, White Hart" in large type, the only inn so singled out between London and Ipswich.[79] A reported assault on an ostler at the White Hart in 1837 confirms that it was still serving stagecoach traffic on the eve of the railway age.[80]

Unfortunately, the establishment did not long survive the opening of the railway to Romford in 1839, and its extension to Brentwood a year later. When the local justices met in licensing session during the summer of 1842, they received a petition from local man Samuel Webb, seeking permission to open a public house in Green Street, the route from Ilford to Hornchurch that ran roughly parallel to the high road and half a mile to the south. Samuel Webb argued "that there was no licensed house within a mile, except the Greyhound and White Hart, at Chadwell; that since the opening of the Eastern Counties Railway the traffic on the high road had considerably decreased, and that one licensed house at Chadwell would be quite sufficient for the accommodation of travellers and the public generally." The licensees of the White Hart, the Misses Eliza and Sarah Webb – probably the petitioner's aunts – had agreed not to apply for renewal of permission to operate, and the owner of the inn had no objection to its closure. Samuel Webb's petition was endorsed by an impressive array of local inhabitants. In effect, the licence was transferred to a new public house across the fields in Green Lane (also called the White Hart), which functioned until the early twenty-first century.[81]

In fact, the transfer of the licence to Samuel Webb's new venture was an even more curious and complex procedure than the basic narrative suggests. It happened that the landlord of the rival Greyhound in 1842 was Thomas Webb, and the surname was no coincidence. The 1851 census revealed that he was still running the Greyhound, as a 64 year-old widower, but with the help of his two daughters – 28 year-old Sarah and 21 year-old Elizabeth, both of whom had been born in Chadwell. They could hardly have been the two licence-holders at the White Hart nine years earlier, since both would have been minors – Elizabeth, for instance, would have been just twelve years of age – at that time. This suggests that that the Eliza and the Sarah of 1842 were aunts or cousins, after whom the Greyhound girls had been named. The 1861 census introduces a fresh element of mystery. The Greyhound had now passed to James Webb, son of Thomas. He shared the premises with three women, all described as his sisters. Sarah, now Mrs Perry and a widow, and Elizabeth were still both at home, and their ages match with the previous census, but also living at the Greyhound was 44 year-old Eliza Webb. She would have been 23 when the White Hart closed in 1842.[82] If this middle-aged Eliza was in reality a cousin, then we should have to deduce that two brothers Webb had run both Chadwell Street's inns at the climax of its coaching era. One of them had died, leaving the White Hart to two daughters in their twenties, who found themselves trying to operate the establishment at just the moment when its staple trade had been swept away by the railway. How Samuel Webb, the landlord of the migrated White Hart, fits into this picture is not clear: directories reveal that he did run the new hostelry for very long. The most that can be said is that, even if the Webb saga was, to borrow a cliché, tangled, relations within the various branches of the family were evidently cordial and mutually supportive.

No contemporary map appears to have marked the White Hart, but a later property sale listed on Seax provides a convincing clue. The sale of the nearby Grove Farm in 1893 included White Hart Cottages, numbers 1-4. Comparison with the later 25-inch Ordnance Survey map suggests that the inn was located on the north side of the high road, opposite the Greyhound.[83] The building was either converted into cottages – a range possibly representing former stables still ran along the west side of Cat Lane (later Grove Road) – or was replaced by purpose-built housing, the latter perhaps explaining why the owner of the freehold had not objected to the closure of the hostelry. It seems likely that legends about the White Hart's coaching trade were transferred to the Greyhound.[84]

While the railway destroyed the upmarket stagecoach traffic, the high road did not become totally deserted. In its early years, the Eastern Counties Railway had a dismal safety record, and a horse-drawn omnibus made a twice-daily return journey between Romford and London: in 1851, the driver, William Pettingell, a veteran of stagecoach days, died suddenly as the vehicle passed through Chadwell Street.[85] In 1909, the octogenarian William "Billy" Manning described the service, which he had joined about 1859, working first as conductor and later as driver. Omnibus passengers were mainly older people, "them as didn't like going in the train". The omnibus carried twelve passengers inside, paying an eighteen-pence fare for the full journey, with a further sixteen who paid a shilling to perch on the top. "The railway was running, but we were patronised all right." The omnibus service ran through to St Paul's churchyard, in the heart of the City, whereas until 1874 the railway terminated at Shoreditch, inconveniently far from central London. There were no intermediate stations between Romford and Ilford, but the omnibus could pick up passengers at various intervening spots: as a result of its frequent stops, it rarely managed to achieve its timetabled run of ninety minutes, generally taking around two hours. On one occasion, a "black fog" – later known as smog, caused by London's coal fires – forced Billy Manning to lead the horses all the way to Romford.[86] Train services gradually became safer and more reliable, especially after 1862 when the company was absorbed into the larger Great Eastern Railway. In 1874, the London end of the line battered its way into a new and impressively modern terminus at Liverpool Street. The opening of Manor Park station in 1873 and Chadwell Heath the following year improved access to the trains. The omnibus ceased to operate around 1880.

Giving evidence to a parliamentary enquiry in 1839, shortly before the opening of the Eastern Counties Railway, the secretary of the Middlesex and Essex Turnpike, was relaxed about the new form of competition. He predicted that "there will be a decrease of the stage-coach and light traffic, but it is not anticipated that in the heavy traffic, agricultural produce, and such like, there will be any falling off."[87] His optimism was broadly justified. Slow-moving heavy waggons for less urgent goods continued to operate for some decades. White's Essex Directory of 1848 lists sixteen carrier services in each direction between London and Chelmsford, Romford and Billericay: these must have passed through Chadwell Street. Some originated from further afield, places such as Coggeshall and Colchester in Essex and Cavendish and Clare in Suffolk. Pigot's 1839 Directory of Suffolk indicates that other towns, such as Bury and Ipswich, were linked to London by regular waggon services that passed through Chelmsford and Romford. By 1869, these long-distance Suffolk services seem to have ceased operation.[88] The 1886 edition of Kelly's Directory showed that some waggons were still running across Essex, but that most services had regrouped around the railway stations, radiating out to serve surrounding villages. Romford retained three carriers – one of them William Manning in a new career – who were able to go up and down to London within the day, six times a week. By contrast, Chelmsford's sole operator made three return journeys a week, with overnight stops, setting out for London at 6 p.m., hardly a sociable hour to call at Chadwell Street. The Brentwood and Coggeshall waggons were each still making three return journeys a week, Bocking had two return services while Billericay's carrier contented himself with going up on Friday evenings and coming down on Saturdays. Further afield, even a town as large as Colchester now relied entirely upon the railway (and some coastal shipping) for freight services to and from London.[89]

The decline in long-distance freight and passenger services was balanced by greatly increased traffic generated by market gardening. Waggons laden with vegetables travelled to the London markets, mostly travelling overnight to cash in the best prices for fresh produce at Covent Garden and Spitalfields. Even in 1839, the secretary of the Middlesex and Essex Turnpike Trust could report that "half of the traffic on my roads passes between six at night and six in the morning, as much by night as by day". Asked to describe it, he replied: "Chiefly heavy traffic, agricultural produce for the London markets, and manure carried back again."[90] In the early nineteenth century, London drew its fresh vegetables from a zone of intensive farming within a ten-mile radius. But as these areas fell, to borrow Betjeman's phrase, under soot and stone, so the market-gardening zone retreated before the oncoming tsunami of brick. In 1901, Tasker commented on "the endless procession of farm waggons on their way to or from one or other of the London markets" that passed along Ilford High Street. The first tramcars that ran along the high road through Chadwell Street were "somewhat impeded" by "heavy market gardening traffic".[91] At harvest time, farm labourers often worked continuous shifts for days at a stretch, and drivers were notorious for sleeping at the reins, relying upon their experienced horses to find the way to market. Some teams were probably programmed to stop at the Greyhound.

Heavily laden waggons naturally moved slowly, but there are indications that some could be reckless on their return journeys, their drivers keen to get home and rest. One November day in 1835 – in fact, well after harvest time – a horseman on the high road between Chadwell Street and Ilford encountered a waggon drawn by three horses, travelling "in a very furious manner ... on the wrong side of the road". The rider was forced to spur his horse into the ditch to avoid being crushed. The waggoner was unlucky in his choice of victim, a superintendent of the Bow Street horse patrol, a distant forerunner of the Flying Squad which pursued highwaymen in the environs of the capital.[92]

Nineteenth-century Chadwell Street occasionally witnessed a few more eccentric forms of transport. Despite the work of Stratford inventor Walter Hancock between 1824 and 1836, steam-powered carriages never caught on. However, traction engines, originally designed for ploughing, were applied to highway travel. Around 1873, Ind Coope's Romford brewery used one to haul sixteen tons of beer to Stratford. Two traction engines belonging to C.H. Binney, the Ilford contractor, damaged a bridge at Chelmsford in 1884: it was not simply their combined weight that caused the problem, but the force of their piston-driven vibrations.[93] In 1846, an even more exotic vehicle appeared. From the early eighteenth century, Fairlop Fair had been an annual Cockney celebration. It was especially favoured by shipwrights by Wapping, who were carried thither in a huge boat, mounted on wheels and hauled by horses. By the mid-nineteenth century, there were several of these land-boats taking part in the various processions to the Fair, which passed either through Woodford or Ilford. In 1846, one of them made a lengthy detour, which was versified by Charles Clark, the Great Totham poet and printer:

Then first to Ilford we do steer,
And, when we have had breakfast there.
Then to Romford do repair;
From thence to Hornchurch go;
Thence back again we go to dine,
Where we booze on punch and wine.
Singing, dancing,
Life enhancing,
For pleasure all on tip-toe.
... Then to Fairlop Fair we steer,
With carriages in front and rear.
Our skins quite brimful with good cheer.
...[94]

This rambling excursion can only be regarded as a rare example of an overland booze-cruise.

The high road seems to have become safer as the nineteenth century progressed. Modern policing was probably a contributing factor, along with the elimination of nearby Hainault Forest that had provided sanctuary for the lawless. The end of the stagecoach economy meant that the wealthiest potential victims now travelled by train. As Billy Manning the omnibus man pointedly put it, "nobody ever tried to rob us." The most gruesome crime committed in the Chadwell Street area almost certainly resulted from a tragic case of mental illness. Incidentally, it threw light on the prehistory of commuter travel. A resident of nearby Chadwell Heath, Thomas Toller was variously described as a respectable and inoffensive man, who barely supported a wife and five children – one of them deaf and dumb – by working as a commission agent in London. He walked most days from his home along three miles of high road to Ilford station to catch a train to town, from which it may be deduced that he was both fit and weatherproof. On a February morning in 1853, he encountered a vagrant called Charles Saunders near the junction with Barley Lane, half a mile west of Chadwell Street. Several witnesses saw Saunders attack Toller with a heavy stick, and then slash his neck with a blade, killing him instantly. The body was removed to the Greyhound inn, which was the scene of a harrowing inquest. Saunders had a bad reputation in the district as an aggressive beggar. He appeared to have believed he had a particular grievance against Toller, who, in some reports, had refused to give him money and, in others, had intervened to protect an intended victim. Saunders, "a most forbidding, morose-looking man", was unable to afford counsel in his defence, but his interests were protected in court by a rising young barrister, William Campbell Sleigh. Frankly admitting that "it would be idle for him to attempt to struggle against the proof that the prisoner had destroyed the unfortunate deceased gentleman in the barbarous manner that had been established by the evidence", Sleigh advanced the defence in mitigation that Saunders was obviously insane. The judge in his summing-up and jury in their verdict both disagreed, although Saunders rather proved Sleigh's argument by responding to sentence of death with the defiant protest: "I am innocent; I only did it in my own defence." His execution was briefly delayed to allow an investigation of his mental health, but the legal definition of insanity was very restrictive. Saunders was publicly hanged outside Chelmsford prison on 31 March 1853, protesting to the end that Toller had attacked him first. "His struggles were but of short duration."[95] The killing was an appalling tragedy, but its unusual nature means that it cannot be taken as proof that the Chadwell Street area was particularly dangerous.

Chadwell Street described Chadwell Street was always a small settlement: George Tasker quoted an unidentified source stating that thirteen houses were rated for the window tax in 1762.[96] Chapman and André's Essex atlas gives a snapshot of the place a decade later: published in 1777, it was surveyed between 1772 and 1774.[97] The atlas seems to indicate ten buildings, although as some were perhaps terraces of cottages, this does not necessarily conflict with the reported window tax assessment. Although no building is named, both the Greyhound and the White Hart are indicated, while slightly to the north-east stood Grove Farm, which for part of the nineteenth century would bear the slightly optimistic name of Chadwell Hall. Perhaps too much importance can be projected into Chapman and André's not-always-accurate portrayal of detail. First, Cat Lane – later Grove Road – is shown petering out a short distance to the north of the high road. Perhaps the cartographers lacked space to cram its junction into the crowded hamlet, but its broken depiction tends to confirm that it was not a major route, and perhaps only functioned as a footpath at its Chadwell Street end. The second oddity is the apparent depiction of a narrow roadside green in front of the Greyhound, although this may have been caused more by the encroachment of buildings to the west – probably including the smithy – on to the high road. It would be tempting to associate this roadside strip with the holding for which John Noleth the younger contributed "iii daywerkes" annually to the Abbess of Barking in 1456. Three dayworks – three days of unpaid labour collecting the Abbey's harvest – does not sound very large. Noleth's land was located "at Chaldewelle by the highway near the buttes there."[98] Possibly the Greyhound's roadside strip had once been the location for archery practice, but this tentative connection can be advanced only with the greatest hesitation. The miniature green does not appear on the more detailed and accurate nineteenth-century Ordnance Survey maps. If it had indeed existed in the 1770s, it was presumably appropriated during the glory years of the coaching era for use as a forecourt.

In 1789, The Times advertised a property portfolio, "situated at Chadwell in Essex, bounded principally by the high road from London to Romford, and adjoining the 9 mile stone from White Chapel Church". The chief attraction was "an eligible Farm, with a convenient Farm House, Barn, Stabling, and suitable Out-buildings, Yard, Garden, and sundry inclosures of rich Meadow and Arable Land", 36 acres in all, and let to a tenant. Comparison with the six-inch Ordnance Survey map of 1862[99] suggests that this was the future Grove Farm (then briefly called Chadwell Hall). A second farm, of 41 acres, also well-equipped and including an orchard, is harder to identify.[100]

The italicisation of "Arable" and the relatively small size of the farms suggest that they were primarily used for market gardening, a labour-intensive form of agriculture. In his 1813 study of Essex farming, the agricultural expert Arthur Young included a note compiled during a visit Ilford in 1784, which described "the cultivation of potatoes, for which that neighbourhood is so famous". Land was ploughed in the autumn, covered with dung in the spring at a rate of fourteen cartloads to the acre, and then ploughed again. "Immediately after the plough, a man dibbles across the land, followed by a woman who drops the sets [seed potatoes]", using up to eighteen hundredweight per acre. The crop was then twice hoed, before the mature potatoes were carefully lifted by fork and cleaned by hand, producing anything between eight and fifteen tons to the acre. Harvesting required a great deal of labour, not least because potatoes fetched their best market prices when fresh.[101] Potato growers also took a second crop off their land each year, either of wheat or turnip, with some growing clover which was ploughed in to fertilise the soil. The need for a rich and reliable supply of manure probably explains why farmers around Chadwell Street experimented with oxen for their plough teams, instead of the more usual draught horses. Tasker, who evidently knew little about farming, commented that they caused "much amusement to travellers", but added: "This practice was not confined to Chadwell, but was in vogue at Ilford itself."[102]

Returning to the 1789 advertisement, it is possible to discern a second element in Chadwell Street farming. Three fields, totalling about 22 acres, were let to "Mr Messue". This was probably John Massu, a wealthy merchant from a Huguenot background, who in 1797 purchased the Hornchurch mansion Langtons. As the prospectus emphasised, the farms were "advantageously situated for the London or Romford Markets", and Romford in particular was noted for its cattle trade. The roadside fields – presumably grass since no details were supplied – were useful to supply temporary grazing for animals on their way to the metropolis.

The 1789 sale also included two properties in downtown Chadwell Street itself. The "Messuage" with outbuildings and four acres of land in two pieces was almost certainly the White Hart, and further research might confirm that the leaseholder, John Marsh, was the innkeeper at the time. However, it is curious that the property was not so named, since the White Hart (along with the Greyhound) was one of the local hostelries where intended purchasers were invited to inspect more detailed particulars. The final property was "an established blacksmith's shop", with a garden, an orchard and an acre of land. The 1862 Ordnance Survey map shows the orchard behind the building later identified as the smithy, to the west of the Greyhound.[103]

A further sale, advertised in 1822, offered ten houses "abutting upon the high road, in the pleasant village of Chadwell, near Ilford" – the only description to use the term "village", let alone "pleasant". Six of the houses were "respectable cottages", two were shops and two defied even the most imaginative description. The commercial premises were a grocer's shop and a bakery, "with oven, stable, and shed". The population of the "pleasant village" itself was hardly enough to support two retail outlets, and the stable suggests that the baker delivered fresh bread to a wider area. The houses, "pleasantly located near the Greyhound", were presumably located along the south side of the high road. Some may have been situated on either side of a track that later became the short entrance section of the suburban Essex Road. Others perhaps flanked the smithy. They offered a good investment, since the ten buildings paid an annual ground rent of one shilling and fourpence to the manor of Barking, but their leases generated £82 a year for their landlord.[104]

There are few glimpses of Chadwell Street in the half century after the collapse of the stagecoach trade. Some idea of changes to the place, mainly from the 1880s, can be obtained by comparing the six-inch map of 1862[105] with the 25-inch map of 1914.[106] Unfortunately, descriptions offered by directories unhelpfully telescope Chadwell Street and the much wider area of Chadwell Ward. Thus White's Directory of 1848 refers to "a range of scattered houses, called Chadwell Street, on and near the high road, from 1 to 3 miles E. of Ilford, [which] includes 758 inhabitants, several fertile farms, and a portion of the Heath." The reported population, as well as the nine farms and six beerhouses listed, obviously cover the larger area.[107] The Post Office Directory of 1855 was more specific in defining Chadwell Street as "a hamlet, situate on the turnpike road", two miles from Great Ilford and three miles from Romford. However, it attributed to this tiny spot no fewer than thirteen farmers, so that it is impossible to be confident that the blacksmith (Thomas Isbell) and the grocer (Robert Etherton) were actually based in the settlement.[108] Chadwell Street was still surrounded by fields. In 1834, a London draper called Wigg accidentally shot himself climbing over a fence during "a shooting excursion to Chadwell, near Barking." Thomas Webb kept sheep in a paddock behind the Greyhound: in 1843, one of them was stolen, in fact slaughtered on the spot, the thieves probably making their getaway with the carcass along the footpath to Green Lane. Almost four decades later, his successor at the Greyhound, Christopher Pfleger, won prizes in a national show at the Crystal Palace for his ducks and pigeons.[109] After its brief fling in the guise of Chadwell Hall, the hamlet's chief farm came into the possession of Thomas Hearn, who doubled as farmer and timber merchant. He destroyed much of the woodland that had stood in 1862, leaving only a grove which gave his farm its name. The copse ran at right angles from the high road, roughly along the line of the modern Burns Road, alongside the car park of today's Grove Farm Retail Park.[110]

Shawcross offers one further intriguing but unreliable cameo, gleaned from the recollections of his parishioners. He describes Chadwell Street at some indeterminate date as "a cluster of some thirty cottages, which were inhabited by a colony of poor Irish, who were a terror to wayfarers. Several of the older inhabitants of the district remember quite well this annoyance, and how they were accustomed to make a détour in order to avoid them, on their way to and from Ilford."[111] It has already been noted that Shawcross took an unfavourable view of Ireland and its people. There seems to be no independent evidence that Chadwell Street was a Hibernian enclave; an exploration of the 1881 census reveal no distinctively Irish surnames and almost nobody born in Ireland for some distance around. Irish migrant workers were a well-established feature of East Ham's potato fields well before the end of the eighteenth century. Some settled on the fringes of London, although probably not so far out as Ilford. By 1820, Stratford had a Catholic congregation of 1200 people, mostly of Irish origin. In the early nineteenth century, Leyton had an Irish Lane and there was an Irish Row on the high road at Forest Gate – the latter apparently notorious for feral children who tried to climb aboard passing waggons, a prank that killed one of them in 1854. It was swept away by urban regeneration around 1880, and may have been the indirect source of the Shawcross story. Further from London, Irish labour remained an important seasonal resource: in 1841, when unusually the census was conducted in mid-summer, the population of Wennington, a tiny parish near Rainham, was swollen by 160 Irish migrant workers, temporarily outnumbereding the permanent residents. Communal friction was certainly possible in such circumstances, but I have traced no court cases relating to Chadwell Street.[112] Some further light may be thrown upon the Shawcross story by the 1881 census entry for the Greyhound, which reported (in addition to the landlord and his family) five lodgers, a carpenter and four bricklayers' labourers, from Hackney, Leytonstone and West Ham. Five adult males would surely have strained the capacity of the Greyhound, and it is possible that the stables, no longer needed for stagecoach traffic, were used as barrack accommodation. This may explain why, in 1892, Ilford's first elected council condemned the "filthy and dangerous condition" of one of the Greyhound's outbuildings, possibly the same structure that burned down three years later – with a local journalist dutifully reporting that it was insured.[113] The Shawcross story probably refers to some incident involving itinerant potato pickers, filtered through other tales of Irish communities near to London, and magnified by his own prejudices. The notion that a tiny portion of the Emerald Isle floated out of the sky to transform Chadwell Street into an outpost of Hibernian hostility cannot be sustained.

The presence of five building workers as lodgers at the Greyhound in 1881 was a harbinger of change. By 1886, two suburban roads had been added to Chadwell Street: the plebeian Essex Road, extending a short track to the south towards the railway, and the residential Chadwell Avenue, several hundred yards away to the north-west. The latter probably explains why Tasker found that its long-time inhabitants had come to dislike the name Chadwell Street, and preferred plain Chadwell.[114] Yet Essex Road (and its short offshoots) and Chadwell Avenue were side streets, peripheral to Chadwell Street's core settlement. A more intrusive – and, as it would prove, long-lasting – development was the work of Thomas Hearn of Grove Farm, who branched out into speculative building during the 1880s. Sometime around 1890, he began to build Farm Terrace, a row of twenty houses, two of them designed as shops, along the north side of the high road, adjoining Grove Farm and facing Essex Road. Census night, 5 April 1891, gives a lucky glimpse of the terrace under construction. Numbers 1 to 8 were occupied. In the margin next to the last of them, there is a lightly scratched note, "9-12" and "13-16". It seems likely that the next eight cottages were on the point of occupation, and the enumerator made a note with the intention of checking whether the incoming residents should be included.[115] All twenty homes were completed by May 1892, when the lifespan of Farm Terrace was almost cut short by a major fire that swept through Hearn's timber yard. Breaking out at night, it caused a glare visible from as far away as Brentwood. At one point, it seemed likely that both the farmhouse and the adjoining terrace were at risk: "the cottagers moved their goods into the road, frightened women and children, who had hastily left their beds, sitting among the heaps of furniture."[116] But Farm Terrace survived the fire, and (although it has long since lost its rural name) remains in 2020 one of the few tangible survivals of the Chadwell Street past.

Tasker's 1901 verdict that the "long straggling hamlet" was "gradually becoming modernised" owed much to the energies of Ilford's local board, which became an urban district council in 1894, the year in which two street lamps were erected on the high road. Essex Road and its offshoots were reported to have been "paved, drained and made up" in 1895.[117] A sewer was approved for Cat Lane in 1897, where Ilford built its Isolation Hospital in 1898. Residential housing appeared there at about the same time. Tasker still referred to it as Cat Lane in 1901, but, soon after 1900, this pleasant name disappeared, to be replaced by the anonymous and far from unique Grove Road.[118]

A glimpse of Chadwell Street on the cusp between the rural and urban worlds is provided by the tangled financial affairs of William Lewsey, who succeeded Hearn as the tenant of Grove Farm, but was driven into bankruptcy in 1900. He described himself as a contractor, who rented six carts to Ilford Council, probably for road maintenance. This meant that he maintained six horses, but he complained that he had lost no fewer than 24 more in the previous two years. "I took a wet place and they all got bad colds."[119] His wife Florence "had a milk business of her own", which required her to make three rounds a day to supply her 70 customers. This suggests that she was tending a couple of dozen cows – certainly enough to manage, since she also had a four-month old child to look after. The Official Receiver's male chauvinist curiosity was aroused: "Who did the housework, then?" It emerged that her mother was living them and undertook the necessary chores. Lewsey's problems seem to have stemmed from the fact that he was illiterate, and had not understood some of the business agreements he had entered into. However, he was smart enough to pay his wife £1 a week to keep his accounts, and "she used to sit up half the night" trying to keep the books straight.[120]

It was Ilford's energetic school board that successfully established the institution that would – almost alone – carry the name throughout the twentieth century and beyond. As already noted, the development of nearby Chadwell Avenue in the 1880s had led residents of "the street", as they were dismissively known in Ilford, to prefer the more dignified abbreviation of Chadwell.

The name was given to a school established between 1894 and 1897, still called Chadwell Primary School in 2020. Initially premises were rented to open a school for infants. Previously children from a wide area of still-rural Chadwell Ward had been sent to an Anglican school in Chadwell Heath, part of a Dagenham parish endowment. It would be pleasant to report that the community welcomed improved access to schooling, but co-operation with the teaching profession does not seem to have been universal. In January 1897, the headmistress, Miss Cook, felt obliged to appeal to the Ilford authorities "for assistance in dealing with troublesome parents. She had found it necessary to detain one or two children, and this had made the parents angry and troublesome." Deplorable, no doubt, but with pupils drawn from a wide area, it may be understandable that parents objected to five- and six-year-olds having to make their way home in hours of darkness.[121]

During the 1890s, Ilford was one of the fastest growing urban areas in Britain. However, most of the development was in the west of the administrative district, near the town of Ilford itself. It was to the credit of its local representatives that they demanded a school to serve the still semi-rural eastern fringe of the parish. Unfortunately, the responsible government department, the Board of Education, disagreed. In 1895, Ilford's School Board marshalled updated population estimates and projections, arguing that a new school at Chadwell would relieve pressure on educational facilities in the growing suburban districts. While at least one councillor objected that the statistical information was inaccurate, the onslaught forced the bureaucrats to back down. In January 1896, the chairman of School Board, W.H. Wiskar (whose riotous facial hair splendidly matched his name) was able to announce that "in view of the statistics relating to the growth of population", Whitehall "did not propose to raise any objections to immediate erection of the new Chadwell school". "That's a good way of climbing down", joked one councillor, while another triumphantly chorused, "How are the mighty fallen."[122]

Designs had already been approved, allowing the Ilford School Board to move quickly to put the contract out to tender. The project was awarded to Hammond and Son, a Romford building firm, who undertook to erect the school building for £1149. Warning lights might have flashed here: their price was less than half the estimates of rival bidders. By late September 1896, when the school had been due for completion, work was well behind schedule. Claiming they had been delayed by wet weather, Hammond and Son promised to aim for completion by the end of November, but the architect was strongly critical "at the want of progress in the school, and the inferior timber used". There were angry words spoken at the School Board, which decided to enforce penalty clauses in the contract. Hammond and Son responded with menacing formal demands for individual apologies from their critics, which were equally robustly rejected. As one member out it, the work had been "neglected", rain was coming through the incomplete roof "in torrents" and there was little prospect of the school opening before Christmas. The new school duly opened in January 1897.[123] Perhaps the criticisms were exaggerated. A Chelmsford journalist, no doubt ignorant of the controversies surrounding its construction, congratulated the Ilford School Board on producing a building that cost an economical £7, five shillings and sixpence per child: "We sometimes read of schools costing double this amount."[124] A century and a quarter later, it still stands.

Chadwell School's folksy design seems to have been deliberately imagined for a village rather than a suburban setting. Two parallel classroom blocks adjoined a central assembly hall, which also provided a neighbourhood meeting place. It was the no-doubt-fitting venue in May 1898 for a "most enjoyable" performance by the "prettily dressed" children of a fairy tale called "The Enchanted Palace", complete with piano accompaniment.[125] However, compared with three schools in Ilford's urban portion – which each catered for between 1400 and 1800 youngsters – Chadwell's 450 enrolment was relatively insignificant. In 1902, a couple – Mr and Mrs Edward Benning – were appointed as joint school caretakers, at a combined salary of £60 a year. One councillor criticised this as "beggarly", but the chairman of the committee replied "it was only a small school and the man could do other work as well." "The population of the 'street' is beginning to increase," Tasker had observed, "and in the course of time the present buildings will either have to be enlarged or new schools built on another site."[126] In fact, Chadwell School had to wait until 1933 to acquire a new building.[127] The key event in the four years after the opening of the new school had nothing to do with any increase in the number of people living around Chadwell Street. Rather, it was the explosion of two new residential areas, massive and sudden even for the dynamic growth of Ilford. Seven Kings and Goodmayes would transform the town, and the latter bordered on Barley Lane, barely half a mile from the 'street'. In July 1901, the School Board purchased a site on which to build a primary school for Goodmayes.[128] Had the bureaucracy stalled for a few years longer, it is likely that Chadwell School would never have been built, and the separate identity of Chadwell Street, already under challenge, would have vanished altogether.

The eclipse of the Chadwell Street identity Indeed, Chadwell Street as a distinct name on the map was already threatened with oblivion. In 1848, the baker William Cornell had also operated Chadwell Street's post office, with letters despatched four times a day. But by 1855, the post office had been switched to John Whenn's grocery at nearby Chadwell Heath.[129] Thus even before the opening of its station, Chadwell Heath had acquired the local postal services. Since their mail was delivered through Chadwell Heath, local businesses adopted it as their postal address: Thomas Hearn so described Grove Farm as early as 1884. In 1872, the telegraph was installed at Chadwell Heath. A century ago, post offices played a larger role in community life than they do today, not least because their money order and savings facilities provided basic banking services for ordinary people. All of this was centred on Chadwell Heath.

Chadwell Street as a name did disappear from one important map. In 1894, the Ordnance Survey revised its six-inch map, publishing the new edition four years later. Chadwell Street had been named in the previous edition, surveyed in 1862 and published in 1875. Now it was deleted. The new semi-suburban streets, Chadwell Avenue and Essex Road, had been inscribed, Cat Lane was shown winding away to the north, Grove Farm was named, and the new infant school marked. The suburb and railway station of Goodmayes had yet to materialise. The settlement itself was still a distinct unit, surrounded by fields – yet its name had gone. Perhaps the Ordnance Survey became aware of local feeling that Chadwell was no longer a Street, and took the opportunity to excise it altogether. But it was noteworthy that nearby Chadwell Heath had been promoted to bold type.[130]

Even though it showed gradual signs of overtaking its neighbour, Shawcross noted that the "general primitive character of Chadwell Heath remained unaltered until the latter part of the nineteenth century." The opening of the railway station in 1864 had given only "a slight impetus to building operations". Belatedly, the pace of change began to accelerate in the 1880s, further drawing Chadwell Street into its orbit.[131] There was a police station by 1874, and a handsome new building was opened in 1892, enabling a force of two sergeants and around twenty constables, some of them mounted, to patrol a wide area.[132] Coincidentally, it was located on the boundary between the parishes of Dagenham and Ilford, but it was very definitely a Chadwell Heath institution. St Chad's church was built between 1884 and 1886, although it was not consecrated until a sufficient endowment had been raised to support a vicar in 1895. A new parish was carved out of Dagenham and Ilford, including Chadwell Street.[133] This may seem a minor adjustment, although it was a sign of modern thinking that new churches were breaking out of the straitjacket of medieval parish boundaries. However, in our secular age, it is difficult to grasp the extent to which any community needed to possess its own Anglican church to achieve the nebulous status of a recognised village. Of Ilford's outer hamlets, Barkingside had gained its own church in 1841. Aldborough Hatch had followed in 1863, local tradition claiming that the contractor used stone from the recently replaced Westminster Bridge. Even obscure Little Heath acquired a place of Anglican worship: local resident Major G.E. Ibbetson built a private chapel in 1862 which acquired an indeterminate status as a district church.[134] By contrast, Chadwell Street was now subsumed for ecclesiastical purposes under St Chad's, Chadwell Heath. The same story could be told of other denominations. Baptists had been active at Chadwell Heath since the mid-nineteenth century: in 1905, they erected a new building on the High Road, giving it what architectural historians have called "a fancy mask to a utilitarian hall". The Plymouth Brethren established a meeting house in 1844. One indication of the incipient gentrification of the area was the arrival of the more middle-class Congregationalists in the 1880s: they opened a permanent church in 1911. In the other direction, sects of all kinds proliferated in Ilford. Roman Catholics, very much a minority group locally, acquired a temporary church in 1895, which was replaced four years later.[135] Perhaps its pioneer priest, Father Palmer, catered for Chadwell Street's mythical community of wild Irish.

"During the last four years," Shawcross reported in 1904, "Chadwell Heath has finally shaken off some of its rural features". A visiting journalist had breathlessly concurred the previous year. "Those who knew Chadwell Heath less than a decade ago will marvel at the change which has come over the then sleepy village." Part of the explanation lay in improved transport facilities. The replacement of the "primitive and comfortless railway-station" in 1901 had been followed by the arrival in 1903 of Ilford's municipal tramway system.[136] But the improvements in transport came partly because Chadwell Heath was growing and made them financially worthwhile: cause and effect were intertwined. Increasingly, as Chadwell Heath expanded, so the more static community of Chadwell Street faded in its shadow. In the 1886 edition of Kelly's Directory of Essex, Chadwell Street's commercial enterprises occupied 8 column centimetres, with Chadwell Heath businesses taking up 15.4 column centimetres. By 1908, the figures were 12.2 and 48.2 centimetres. In fact, the disparity was far greater, since Kelly's listed under Chadwell Street farmers and business enterprises from a much wider area.[137] Even so, the ratio between the two communities had doubled in two decades.

If Chadwell Heath was a slowly growing rival to the east, an even more dramatic explosion of residential growth was about to encroach from the west. When Chadwell School opened in 1897, the settlement retained a protective curtain of about two miles of fields along the high road before the suburban streets of Ilford were encountered. That cordon sanitaire was about to swept away.

To call Archibald Cameron Corbett a builder might imply that he shared qualities with Thomas Hearn, who protected his cash flow by erecting a terrace four cottages at a time, or with Hammond and Son, who could not handle a simple deadline on a small primary school. The reality was that Corbett was an operator on a gigantic scale who changed the face of Ilford. As Tasker admiringly trilled, "look what money and enterprise will do!"[138] He was also a major force in Scottish politics, especially in his home city of Glasgow. The two sides of the Corbett story have rarely been put together, but his skill as a political manager throws light upon his massive and determined construction enterprises. Corbett was a radical Liberal, especially resolute in fighting the drink trade: public houses were banned from his housing projects. In 1885, with a redistribution which had allocated Glasgow seven MPs, he helped his party make a clean sweep of the city's constituencies, sending a triumphant telegram to the party leader, W.E. Gladstone, that announced: "We are seven!" However, the following year, Gladstone introduced his Irish Home Rule Bill: Corbett left the party in protest and threw his support behind the breakaway Liberal Unionists, now in alliance with their former Tory foes. At the general election of 1900, thanks in part to Corbett's organisational skills, Glasgow entirely reversed its verdict of fifteen years before, allowing him to reissue his gloating flourish, "We are seven!", on behalf of the victorious Unionist alliance.[139] He had already built at Manor Park and around Ilford's Cranbrook Road when he acquired the Downshall estate in 1896, evicting a tenant farmer who had tilled the lands for 33 years. Within two years, he had driven half a dozen featureless roads across the fields and filled them with largely identical houses. With a fondness for marketing his projects under romantic names, he happily bought into the Saxon legend and changed Downshall to Seven Kings – after all, the number seven had talismanic significance for him in his role as a Glasgow political boss. The first residents were not impressed. In 1898, North America's last major gold rush was under way in Canada's far north-west. Remote from the well-lit streets of Ilford town, and coping with roads that were dustbowls in summer and quagmires in winter, they nicknamed the new suburb "Klondyke". Access improved with the opening of Seven Kings Station in March 1899, and infrastructure gradually caught up: Cameron presented Seven Kings Park to the community in 1900. Tasker in 1901 estimated that Seven Kings would grow to a population of 10,000. The built-up area was soon extended – Ladysmith Avenue is one of four streets with Boer War names – and a spokesman for the developer reported that Seven Kings would eventually comprise 3,000 houses. The comparison with tiny Chadwell Street was awesome. For centuries it had never been more than hamlet, its sole description as a "pleasant village" coming in an auctioneer's beguiling advertisement. By contrast, as Tasker put it, the "mushroom" suburb of Seven Kings "became a town without going through the preliminary stages of hamlet and village."[140]

Of even greater practical impact upon Chadwell Street was Corbett's smaller follow-up project, the Mayfield estate on the west side of Barley Lane. This, too, was to have its own train service: in September 1899, Corbett reached an outline agreement with the Great Eastern Railway for a passenger station at "Stoop Lane in the parish of Ilford".[141] The estate was also to be given its own rustic and distinctive name – Mayfield was pleasant but hardly specific – and Corbett fastened on a nearby farm called Goodmayes. When the station opened, early in 1901, the choice of name was queried by W.W. Glenny, an antiquarian interested in the Barking district. Although it was "a fine house of red brick", Goodmayes stood at "some distance from the site of the station". Since it "was not a manor house, but only a farmhouse", it had no particular history, "but perhaps the developer, the individual who cuts up fair fields, waving with golden grain, to cover them with bricks and mortar, prefers the sound of Goodmayes."[142]

A more pertinent criticism might have pointed to the fact that Goodmayes Farm lay not only south of the railway, but beyond Green Lane as well. Appropriating the name for a housing estate north of the high road spread the new suburb of Goodmayes over a generously wide area, further overshadowing the tiny settlement of Chadwell Street. Not surprisingly, there was a transitional phase during which the incomers made use of Chadwell School. In 1903, following the laying of the foundation stone for St Paul's church in Barley Lane, afternoon tea was served to the guest of honour, Lady Florence Cecil, daughter-in-law of the leading Ilford landowner the Marquess of Salisbury, who had recently retired from the office of prime minister.[143] The Goodmayes Dramatic Society also used the school hall, but the suburb was "growing vigorously" and would soon have communal facilities of its own.[144] Its mushroom identity quickly overshadowed that of Chadwell Street: when a three-acre block of building land in Grove Road was sold in 1906, it was described as "near Goodmayes".[145] By 1908, as revealed in Kelly's Directory of Essex, Goodmayes was not simply well populated, but lavishly endowed with shops and businesses as well. Bulk operations, such as coal merchants and builders' suppliers, were concentrated near the station. Green Lane to the south was the focus for medical practices and luxury goods emporia selling china and glassware, and wine and spirits. Most notable of all was the retail and services centre that had sprung up along Goodmayes High Road. Here the shopper could choose among two dozen enterprises, purchasing foodstuffs from a baker and a dairy, butchers and grocers (including Sainsbury's), as well as clothing and footwear from two drapers, a tailor, a ladies' outfitter and a shoemaker. Other services were provided by a bank, chemist, hairdresser, house agent, ironmonger, refreshment rooms, solicitor and tobacconist.[146] All of this was within a mile of Chadwell Street. It is hardly surprising that the historic hamlet was losing its distinct identity.

Over half a century after the collapse of the stagecoach trade, four new forms of transportation – trams, bicycles, cars and motor buses – began to impinge upon Chadwell Street. None of them would give the settlement either a specific function or a new lease of life.

In 1898, Ilford Council decided to introduce electric lighting into the urban district. Since this involved building a local generating station, the creation of a tramway system was a logical, if ambitious, extension to the project.[147] One of the three routes would run "along the High Road to the boundary at Chadwell Street, thus establishing an all-tram connection between Chadwell and Aldgate".[148] Implicit in this grand design was the point that "the boundary at Chadwell Street" in fact ran through the growing urban area of Chadwell Heath. Ilford's statutory powers to lay tramlines could not extend beyond the urban district's own borders, but at the eastern extremity there was no need. The first tramcar carried a bevy of civic dignitaries on the afternoon of 14 March 1903. It left the depot in the torrential rain of a violent thunderstorm, amidst vivid flashes of lightning which can only have alarmed those passengers who were unfamiliar with the new medium of electricity. As already mentioned, delays were caused by lumbering waggons heading to the London markets, "but a good pace was made where the lines were clear." As a Chadwell Heath resident, Shawcross welcomed the opportunity of "a quick and agreeable ride" to Ilford in place of the previous "solitary, dreary trudge".[149] I have located no timetable, but it may be taken for granted that the tramcars stopped at Chadwell Street. Unfortunately, so rapid and smooth was the service that there was little or no incentive for anyone to alight there. A journalist described the run, mentioning the market gardens, the Goodmayes railway yards and the Ilford suburbs. "The electric car at first glides between fields of runner beans and juicy rhubarb, but very soon the busy ballast sidings have been passed, and the route lies between almost interminable lines of bricks and mortar."[150] Chadwell Street had become invisible.

After an investigatory visit to Glasgow – surely the result of Corbett's good offices – Ilford's local legislators had decided to adopt an overhead trolley system to power their tramcars. This involved erecting standards down the centre of the high road: critics who complained of the unsightly intrusion were placated by the assurance that they could double as lampposts.[151] But cyclists complained that the standards "dangerously interfere with the road as far as Chadwell Heath." Although the Romford road, as it was called, was "popular" with cyclists as a means of getting into rural Essex, it was not much loved. A guide for "wheelmen" (and, presumably, wheelwomen) condemned the high road as "exceedingly towny" and "unattractive and tiring". It was badly paved, its alternate sections of stone and wood varied by "lumpy macadam". The tramways only added to the unpleasantness.[152] Cyclists were recommended to seek out quieter secondary routes to the north, which led to open country around Collier Row. Tasker reckoned that the Dick Turpin, the humble beerhouse at Aldborough Hatch, was only kept in business by its Sunday cycling clientele.[153] The Haw Bush at Little Heath was also a recommended stop for cyclists, although they were warned that the settlement retained "few traces of its former rurality". An alternative was to follow Green Lane, parallel to the high road and to the south, which led eventually to the quaint village of Hornchurch.[154] Bicycles were of course not simply a leisure accessory but a basic means of transport. By 1908, both Chadwell Heath and Goodmayes had cycle shops. The ubiquitous bicycle had no doubt improved the mobility of Chadwell Street residents, but if they could more easily get out of the place, cycling as a recreational hobby brought few additional customers into the high road community.

The first decade of the twentieth century saw the arrival of motor cars in growing numbers. The first distinguished personage to pass through Chadwell Street by car was 'General' William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, who made a triumphal progress from Chelmsford in 1905. As with so many celebrated travellers, we have to deduce his transient presence: civic dignitaries greeted him at the Chadwell Heath boundary, and followed his vehicle in two tramcars to Ilford town, where he was cheered by welcoming crowds.[155] Unfortunately, motor cars and tramlines did not easily coexist. A pedestrian trying to cross the high road was killed in 1909 near the junction with Aldborough Road when a car skidded on the tramlines while taking evasive action. Since the driver had twice sounded his horn and was progressing at less than ten miles per hour, the coroner attributed no blame and gave a verdict of accidental death. More controversial was the experience of Dr S.J. Cullum, a local medical practitioner, who was "driving in a motor car along the high road at Chadwell" one day in 1910 when it overturned. Arguing that either the tramlines had sunk or the stone setts had risen – possible if they had been inexpertly laid – he sued Ilford Council for failing effectively to maintain the roadway, and claimed damages for repairs and disruption to his practice. The Council's surveyor swore that there were no problems with the camber, and their lawyers alleged – apparently without calling any witnesses – that Cullum had been driving too fast. Ilford ratepayers were no doubt relieved when the case was dismissed, but it does seem irregular that the Council's surveyor was allowed to mark his own homework.[156]

Initially, at least, the internal combustion engine would not have appeared to offer Chadwell Street a belated substitute for the stagecoach. Only wealthy professionals could afford a motor car, and the new toy simply made it easier for them to travel faster: when a five-year old boy was tragically killed running out into the high road at Chadwell Heath, the driver was exonerated because he had slowed to fifteen miles per hour.[157] But, around 1908, another new machine began to appear: the motor bus. The launching in February 1908 of a direct service from Seven Kings to the City rang alarm bells with Ilford Council, which had invested heavily in its tramways.[158] Motor buses also added a new element of danger to the high road. There were collisions with trams in Ilford High Street in 1908, and at Chadwell Heath in 1912, the latter incident injuring several people.[159] In 1912, Father Palmer, the Catholic parish priest, was "severely bruised and shaken" when a motor bus knocked him off his bicycle near Seven Kings. A few months later, a little girl was hurt when steering gear failed on Ilford High Road, causing a bus to swerve into a garden wall.[160] Worse still, the following year a young woman was killed at Manor Park while crossing the road to catch a tram. A coroner's jury bleakly concluded that "the drivers of motor 'buses do not exercise sufficient care in passing tramcars when standing still".[161]

For Ilford Council, the motor buses represented not so much a danger to life and limb as a threat to the profits from their tramway system. Tram fares were slashed in August 1912 to undermine the competition. In October of that year, Ilford Council convened an ambitious conference of local authorities from the London area, with the aim of creating a common front to pressure government into forcing bus operators to contribute to the cost of highway maintenance.[162] However, the motor buses had come to stay, and were developing more ambitious routes. In September 1912, the London General Omnibus Company applied to Romford's urban district council for a licence to operate a service from London on Saturday afternoons and Sundays.[163] Although one councillor objected that Sunday buses "would tend to spoil the quietness of the town", others welcomed the competition they would create for the railway, and believed they would be good "for the trade of the town". Indeed, so positive was the majority response that Romford Council resolved that a licence "would only be granted for a full seven days' service". The bus company promptly complied. Within a few months, there were rumours that another motor bus service would was planned that would operate thirty services a day on a half-hourly basis between London and Southend, calling at Romford. Early in 1914, motor buses began to run three days a week between London and Brentwood, where the steep slope of Brook Street Hill had previously been assumed to make bus services impossible.[164] On the eve of the First World War, the foundations of a network of middle-distance motor bus services had been established along the Essex high road. Ironically, this partial revival of the stagecoach routes would reinforce the effacement of the Chadwell Street identity.

Of course, the motor bus promoters were not solely responsible for the final eclipse of the Chadwell Street identity. The Ordnance Survey revised its 25-inch map in 1914, republishing the sheet in 1920. Grove Farm was still there, and for the first time the Greyhound was named, the initials P.H. describing its function. There were still fields surrounding Chadwell Street, giving every reason to identify the hamlet and plenty of space to squeeze in its name. Nonetheless, its separate identity had been excised.[165] This contrasts sharply with another high road community, Hare Street near Romford. By 1938, it was firmly embedded in the suburb of Gidea Park, yet the revision of the 25-inch map that year found space to preserve Hare Street, even though bus timetables were gradually switching to the name of one of its prominent public houses, The Unicorn.[166] When motor bus services resumed, on a larger scale, after the First World War, they were similarly neglectful. The London General Omnibus Company route 26 from Stratford Broadway to Brentwood stopped all along the high road. Since the 26 competed with the train, its crowded indicator board listed every railway suburb out to Romford, plus Hare Street and Brook Street beyond. With intending passengers assured that they could reach Chadwell Heath, it evidently made no sense to squeeze in the near-duplication of Chadwell.[167] (The 1937 edition maintained an entry Kelly's Directory of Essex, but had digested the point that residents no longer thought of themselves as a "Street".) But to say that motor buses did not recognise the name is not to suggest that they failed to stop there. By 1931, the rival Green Line was operating its limited stop Service B from the Embankment at Charing Cross to Brentwood. Like the stagecoaches of old, it pulled in at Chadwell Street, but its timetable listed "Chadwell Heath (The Greyhound)".[168] The settlement that had risen to prominence meeting the needs of stagecoaches had vanished in the columns of a bus timetable.

Ilford continued to grow throughout the interwar period, no longer with the ruthless grandeur of Corbett's schemes, but as a patchwork of individual streets that lapped around Chadwell Street from both west and east. The settlement that had flourished through centuries of horse-drawn transport as a service point on the high road to London was finally engulfed by the conurbation. The Greyhound was rebuilt in 1923, with the aim of providing a social centre for the local community. As population grew, Chadwell Primary School acquired an additional building in 1933. By now, it was almost alone in keeping the old name alive. Enclaves of light industry had no commercial reason to identify themselves by the ancient name. Around 1921, what the Ordnance Survey called a Confectionary Works – in plain English, a sweet factory – began operations a few yards along Grove Road, very definitely within the Chadwell Street orbit. It registered a shorthand telegraphic address: "Lollipop, Chadwell Heath".[169]

Even so, traces of Chadwell Street's identity linger to the present day. There is a Chadwell Ward for Redbridge Council elections (although, of course, the boundaries of not those of centuries ago). Farm Terrace is now 953 to 993 High Road, but one of its two shops still operates and keeps the name alive. Most important of all is the school: it is surely impossible for Chadwell Primary to educate a thousand students a decade without their families acquiring some identification some awareness of, and association with, the area's original name.[170] Without doubt, there is a great deal more about Chadwell Street's past that awaits discovery, additional information that will not merely throw light upon this small settlement, but add its own dimension to the history of Britain in recent centuries.[171]

ENDNOTES         All websites were consulted in March and April 2020. 

[1] J.E. Oxley, Barking Vestry Minutes … (Colchester, 1955), 9 (and map on facing page). The other wards were Barking Town, Ripple and Ilford. Chadwell Ward (including Chadwell Street) was transferred to the new civil parish of Ilford in 1888. There is extensive coverage of the local administration of Barking and Ilford in Victoria County History of Essex, volume v (London, 1966). The volume also includes Dagenham and Chadwell Heath. No specific endnote reference is made to information that obviously comes from this source.

[2] Except where specific references are supplied, information regarding breaches of the law, property transactions and complaints about highway maintenance comes from the Essex Record Office Seax website, which is a calendar (summary) of documents held. (https://www.essexarchivesonline.co.uk/) Entries are easily searchable by key words and dates.

[3] J.P. Shawcross, A History of Dagenham in the County of Essex (London, 1904), 262 [cited as Shawcross]. The author became the first Vicar of Chadwell Heath in 1895.

[4] P.H. Reaney, The Place-Names of Essex (Cambridge, 1935), 91. There are additional examples in J.G. O'Leary, Dagenham Place Names (Dagenham, 1958), 16-17. Blackheath was occasionally mentioned as an alternative name in legal documents down to 1802, but the predominant references indicate that Chadwell Heath had replaced it in ordinary use. It is unusual for a district name to cross parish boundaries in Essex. It may be worth noting that Dagenham did not appear separately in Domesday Book, and is assumed to have been reported under Barking. Dagenham presumably emerged as a distinct parish sometime around 1200, when the ecclesiastical map of England was firmed up, and this suggests that the name may have been shared earlier, and may also explain the "Chawdwell" entries in 16th-century Dagenham parish registers referred to below.

[5] Shawcross, 262. There is a useful history of Chadwell Heath by Tony Clifford, in Old Ordnance Survey Maps: Chadwell Heath 1914 (South Shields, 1993). See also D. Hewson, Chadwell Heath & the Road to Romford Market (Cheltenham, 2009).

[6] https://www.antiquemaps.com/roadmaps/ogilby1/. The whalebone (the jaw of a Greenland whale) was described as "lately placed" there in 1641. O'Leary, Dagenham Place Names, 96.

[7] Along the north side of the heath, on what was by south Essex standards gently rising ground, stood three windmills, a major local landmark. Between 1893 and 1904, these were replaced by a single steam-powered mill.

[8] Shawcross, 288.

[9] As late as 1887, Durrant's Handbook for Essex (Chelmsford, 1887, 62) could refer to Chadwell Heath as "a station only".

[10] Essex Review, xxxii (1923), 126. The first is to "Chaldwell estrete", which I suspect is the result of poor typesetting. The second is to "Chaldwelle by the highway".

[11] Shawcross, 134, 147.

[12] As might be expected, Norden's map is not very accurate, but the relationship between Chawdwell and "Valens" (Valence House in Dagenham) seems to indicate Chadwell Street.

[13] Shawcross, 125, 151. This was probably death in childbirth. Burial may have been arranged at Dagenham because Barking town was suffering from the plague that ravaged Essex in the year after the great outbreak in London. In 1652, Robert Mweakings [sic] husbandman and Rob. Feild smith, both of Chadwell (in Barking) had stood surety for a local accused.

[14] Ogilby and Morgan omitted Chadwell Heath, identifying instead "Whalebone" as a highway landmark.

[15] F. Sheppard, London: a History (Oxford, 1998), 126-7; S. Inwood, A History of London (London, 1998), 157-9.

[16] The extraordinary demographic dominance of London also points to the essential stability of modern British history. Paris, the home of one French person in every forty, convulsed France in and after 1789, and went on to trigger three further revolutions in the next eighty years. London's share of the population of England and Wales grew from one-ninth in 1801 to one-fifth in 1911, but Britain managed to contain pressure for change into political reform. Ged Martin, Past Futures: the Impossible Necessity of History (Toronto, 2004), 218-22.

[17] F.J. Fisher, "The development of the London food market, 1540-1640", reprinted in E.M. Carus-Wilson, ed., Essays in Economic History... (3 vols, London, 1954-62), i, 135-51.

[18] M.K. McIntosh, A Community Transformed ... Havering, 1500-1620 (Cambridge, 1991), 144-55. As with so much of the high road's past, these massive animal movements were hardly ever described. In 1804, an "inhuman wretch" who had purchased a cow at Romford Market drove the animal so hard along the 12-mile route towards London that it collapsed in exhaustion. He set a dog on the animal, then scorched it with lighted straw, shocking passers-by. Cruelty to animals in that era had to be serious indeed for anybody to object. The cow was so badly hurt that it had to be killed on the spot. The Times, 20 July 1804.

[19] McIntosh, A Community Transformed ... Havering, 1500-1620, 150.

[20] Victoria County History of Essex, v, 267-81.

[21] J. Landers, Death and the Metropolis… (Cambridge, 1993), xx; Sheppard, London: a History, 128.

[22] Both Shawcross and O'Leary, Dagenham Place Names, reproduce a copy of a map of 1653. The area of the heath is not stated, but may be estimated by comparison with fields for which the surveyor did supply acreages.

[23] R. Porter, London: a Social History (London, 2000, cf. first ed. 1994), 113-14.

[24] Reaney identified two references to Chadwell St Mary as "Shadwell" in 1665-6. Reaney, The Place-Names of Essex, 150. For instances of confusion, see the examples on Seax of "Shadwell Ward in the parish of Dagenham" from 1656, and a "Shadwell Ward, Barking" in 1833.

[25] T. Fuller, The Church History of Britain ... (3 vols, London, 1837, cf. first ed. 1655), i, 127. For Stow's Survey of London, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/survey-of-london-stow/1603/pp124-138.

[26] J. Rattue, The Living Stream: Holy Wells in Historical Context (Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1995), 85.

[27] Morant was right to query the derivation of Chafford. Reaney suggested that it meant "calves' enclosure", the final syllable eventually changing from 'worth' (a forgotten term) to 'ford', although this made no sense of the location. No forms including a letter d were traced. Reaney, The Place-Names of Essex, 133.

[28] P. Morant, The History and Antiquities of the County of Essex (2 vols, London, 1768), i, 76. Chadwell Street was briefly mentioned at i, 7. Chadwell Heath was not part of the parish of Barking.

[29] D.W. Coller, The People's History of Essex... (Chelmsford, 1861), 339.

[30] Chelmsford Chronicle, 28 March 1862. The slur upon Hunter was unfair: he had fallen foul of the authorities for reading the Bible.

[31] T.L. Wilson, History and Topography of Upminster... (Romford, 1881), 156.

[32] Shawcross, 266-7.

[33] Dictionary of National Biography, ix (1887), 391-3, 413-14. The entry on Cedd was an early publication by the great medievalist T.F. Tout.

[34] Chelmsford Chronicle, 22 February 1929. Bayne had been rector of Little Ilford (Manor Park) from 1894 to 1913: he knew the area.

[35] T. Wright, History and Topography of the County of Essex… (2 vols, London, 1836), i, 617. Wright's account does not make clear whether "dedicated" implied a religious ceremony or merely a popular naming.

[36] W. Palin, Stifford and its Neighbourhood (privately printed, 1871), 89.

[37] M. Christy and M. Thresh, with W.H. Dalton, A History of the Mineral Waters and Medicinal Springs of the County of Essex (Stratford, 1910), 51-3.

[38] G.E. Tasker, Ilford Past and Present (Ilford, [1901]), 108-9 [cited as Tasker].

[39] Shawcross, 266-7.

[40] Tasker, 109. The spring, of course, may well have existed before the 7th century. It was also known as the Wooden Well, perhaps an allusion to its hinged flap.

[41] The Bricken Well was destroyed by twentieth-century road-widening. In 1951, to commemorate the Festival of Britain, Ilford Council marked the site with a plaque, which stated that the well gave its name to Chadwell Heath. The trite and totally unfounded nonsense about St Chad obliterated a far more interesting saintly association. In 1451, a stretch of woodland north of Chadwell Heath was granted to St Anthony's Hospital in London, which maintained a notable school teaching Latin grammar. This did not survive the dissolution of the monasteries, and the estate passed to the Dean and Canons of Windsor. However, the name survived locally, in various forms as Tantony or Tantonies Grove. (The additional first letter resulted from the same process that coined the adjective 'tawdry' from cheap goods associated with the cult of St Audrey.) The name survived until 1770, and the grove was grubbed out sometime afterwards. In 1928, the land was added to a local park, unimaginatively called St Chad's Recreation Ground. J.G. O'Leary, The Book of Dagenham: a History (3rd ed., Dagenham, 1964, cf. 1st ed., 1937), 50-1, 91; O'Leary, Dagenham Place Names, 91.

[42] Curiously, the boundary of the Forest of Essex ran along the middle of the High Road, so the north side of the road was subject to Forest law but the south side was not. Despite an attempt by Charles I to revive Forest law, a money-grabbing move that won him no friends in Essex, this does not seem to have had any practical implications in the locality.

[43] The milestone appears to have been located in front of the Greyhound inn on the south side of the high road. The milepost was on the north side, a few yards east of the junction with Cat Lane / Grove Road.

[44] J, Larkin (ed. P.C .R. Linnecar), Fireside Talks about Brentwood 1906 … (Brentwood 1989), 79. In the mid-18th century, some stagecoaches evidently aimed at lower speeds. In 1754, the Chelmsford Machine Fly left at 7 a.m., 6 days a week, on a 33-mile journey to Gracechurch Street in the City of London, a journey that took 5 hours (i.e. about 6 and a half m.p.h.), returning the same day. "Passengers will be detained no longer than to take fresh horses at Rumford [i.e. stages of 18 and 15 miles]." The entrepreneur was female and appropriately devout: "Perform'd, if God permit, by Deborah Gooding." A.F.J. Brown, English History from Essex Sources 1750-1900 (Chelmsford, 1952), 61.

[45] The Hare Street economy was not totally dependent upon its three inns. There were four very wealthy tanners in 1524: a surviving timbered public house, the Ship, may perhaps have been built as one of their residences, since there is no sign of the courtyard or stables that would have been expected of a purpose-built coaching inn. Around 1550, the Hare Street area was also noted for commercial orchards. The Hare Street comparison underlines the dependence of Chadwell Street upon high road traffic. M.K. McIntosh, A Community Transformed ... Havering, 1500-1620 (Cambridge, 1991), 130, 123.

[46] It survives as a public footpath, although its access to the high road has been shifted to the west of the Greyhound inn.

[47] See www.essex.ac.uk/history/esah/essexplacenames for the multi-authored The Place-Names of Dagenham (2nd ed, 2011), appendix, 3. J.G. O'Leary, Dagenham Place Names, 49, included Heavywaters, although acknowledging that it was in Barking parish, because it was associated with the Valence estate. His examples include Hevywater Mede (1440), at Hevywater (1456), Hevywater (1540) and Hevy water field (1609). Only Land adjoining Heavy Waters (1651) seems to suggest a stream rather than a piece of land. O'Leary associated the name with the otherwise unidentified "le Hevedland" (1339), but his suggestion of "Headland Waters" does not seem convincing. The Old English "heafod" usually appears in place-names as a suffix. Ekwall explained Heavitree in Devon as "Hefa's tree", but it is hard to see how water would be named after an individual, and Devon is a long way to go for a parallel. E. Ekwall, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names (4th ed., 1960, cf. 1st ed., 1936), 230. It might be thought that a phrase that we take for granted, "heavy rain", is intrinsically odd, since raindrops are very light. Shakespeare did not use the phrase, which can be traced only 4 times between 1633 and 1697 in Early English Books Online. As sometimes happens with place-names, Heavywaters may represent an otherwise unrecorded early instance of a rare figure of speech. On balance, it would seem to apply to a field (probably one that was difficult to drain) and not to a stream, let alone a very small rivulet.

[48] Reaney, The Place-Names of Essex, 99.

[49] Tasker, 103.

[50] Morant, The History and Antiquities of the County of Essex, i, 7. Ogborne (1814), Wright (1836) and Coller (1861) all omit the story.

[51] Reaney, The Place-Names of Essex, 99.

[52] The lane, which took its name from Cow-watering pastures, now gives access to part of the campus of Writtle University College, one of Britain's premier agricultural training schools.

[53] Essex bridges took a hammering both from heavy traffic and from flooding, as may be seen from the history of Passingford Bridge on the Roding: https://www.gedmartin.net/martinalia-mainmenu-3/300-pissingford-an-embarrassing-essex-place-name-2.

[54] Spot heights on either side of Chadwell Street indicate that it was situated at 51 feet above sea level, but there was a slight dip where the stream crossed the high road. The rivulet is now piped underground, but its course north of the highway is marked by a diagonal access road into a light industrial zone. South of the highway, it followed the south-eastern wall of the Greyhound car park.

[55] In 1761, a German visitor, Count Kielmansegge, praised the high road between Harwich and London. "The roads are always kept in good order with coarse or fine gravel or sand, and the slightest unevenness is mended at once". Indeed, Kielmansegge regarded the high road as practically self-maintaining: ruts cut in the gravel by the narrow wheels of coaches were rolled flat by carts, which ran on wheels nine inches wide. F. Kielmansegge (translated Countess Kielmansegg), Diary of a Journey to England in the Years 1761-1762 (London, 1902), 19. By 1839, the Middlesex and Essex Turnpike operated 36 miles of highway, including spur routes to Epping and Woodford. Its secretary reckoned that repairs were needed somewhere in the network "every day in the year". Surfaces were repaired with broken granite "and Hudson's Bay stone" (presumably ballast brought back by trading ships supplying the fur trade in Hudson's Bay). British Parliamentary Papers, 1839, ix, Select Committee on Effect of Formation of Railroads on Turnpike Roads and Trusts, evidence of George Dacre, 6 May 1839, 53-6.

[56] Shawcross, 265-6.

[57] O'Leary, The Book of Dagenham: a History, 119. It is not obvious why Chadwell Ward should have accepted responsibility for a stretch of high road near the Whalebone, which was in the parish of Dagenham, but the location was probably approximate. Chadwell Ward is specified in A.C. Edwards, English History from Essex Sources, 1500-1750 (Chelmsford, 1952), 40.

[58] The Times, 12, 18 December 1794; G. Terry, Memories of Old Romford.... London, 1880), 258. A map of 1747 reported on Seax calls the crossroads Chadwell Stoup.

[59] Shawcross, 263-4 attempted a list of famous transients. It is impossible to be certain that every traveller who set out from London to Romford or beyond passed along the high road. In 1663, a widow called Anne Kidderminster decided to visit Chelmsford where she believed (and eventually proved) that her husband had been murdered. Accompanied by a male protector, she could only afford to travel "afoot". The pair reached Stratford, but "a little beyond that Town they lost their Way, turning to the Left Hand of the Road". This diversion along Leytonstone High Road took them "four Miles out of the Way", and they were "very weary" when they eventually reached Romford at night-time. Whether they had retraced their steps to the high road, or found some route across country, is not recorded. A True Relation of the Horrid Murder Committed upon the Person of Thomas Kidderminster (London, 1688), 7-8.

[60] Henry VIII had also had a palace at New Hall (Beaulieu) near Boreham. For royal visits to Havering, H. Smith, A History of the Parish of Havering-atte-Bower, Essex (Colchester, 1925), 5-52. Smith documented visits from King John in 1203 to Charles I in 1638. Incidental preparations for royal visits, such as the supply of 9 casks of wine from London in 1214, may have been arranged by the river Thames to Rainham. But the cart which carried a siege catapult from Colchester to London in 1209 probably followed the high road.

[61] F.G. Emmison, Tudor Secretary: Sir William Petre at Court and Home (London, 1961), 17, 23-6, 235.

[62] A. Dyce, ed., Kemps Nine Daies Wonder: Performed in a Daunce from London to Norwich (London, 1840, cf. 1st ed. 1599), 5.

[63] M. Carter, A Most True and Exact Relation of that Honourable tho' Unfortunate Expedition of Kent, Essex, and Colchester, in 1648 (Colchester, n.d.), 124.

[64] R. Latham and W. Matthews, eds, The Diary of Samuel Pepys, vi (London, 1972), 158-9.

[65] J. Boswell, The Life of Dr Samuel Johnson, LL.D (Ware, Herts, 1999 ed., with introduction by A. Calder; cf. 1st ed., 1791), 236-7.

[66] John Adams diary 45, 24 - 28 July 1786 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society. http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/ (24 July 1786).

[67] J. Nightingale, The Last Days of Queen Caroline (London, 1822), 244-6.

[68] Not much seems to be known about the detailed operation of these very efficient services. It seems likely that inns were unofficially linked, e.g. the Saracen's Head at Chelmsford and the White Hart at Brentwood, thereby enabling the eventual return of post horses to their home base. Larkin, Fireside Chats, 83-4. Competition between stagecoaches could be fierce. A dangerous driving case in 1816 arose out of "a violent opposition" between the Eclipse and the Times on the London to Colchester route. The court was told that "incredible as it might appear ... one of these coaches had performed the journey of 51 miles in the short space of 3 hours and 58 minutes" [i.e 12.75 m.p.h]. The Times, 21 December 1816. Rivalry continued: in 1823, 2 Colchester coaches were fined for "going at the extraordinary rate of from 14 to 15 miles an Hour." Brown, English History from Essex Sources 1750-1900, 62.

[69] The Times, 13 March 1802.

[70] [A.S. Nichols], Journal of a Very Young Lady's Tour from Canonbury to Aldborough ... (London, 1804), 6, 15. Romford was usually pronounced as "Rumford", but rhyming it with "comfort" seems a crime against English poetry. It was not the first offence. A note in the West Thurrock parish register in 1698 recorded: "Old Dance is gone to Rumford / May a good dinner be his Comford [sic]". L. Thompson, The Story of the Land that Fanns… (Chelmsford, 1957), 102. Once every 106 years seems just about pardonable.

[71] Essex Review, xxxii (1923), 126. In 2019, apartments were being built on the site.

[72] Seax has earlier references to Chadwell alehouses, but these could have been located anywhere in the Ward: 6 were licensed in 1606; White's Directory of 1848 lists 7 for Chadwell Ward. Disorderly alehouses, especially on the Sabbath, are mentioned in 1602 and 1625. Earlier references to a Greyhound inn in local parish registers probably refer to a hostelry in Barking town.

[73] Wangey is a mystery place-name: its earliest manifestation, in 1254, as Wanghou, even sounds oddly Chinese. Reaney despaired of finding a "satisfactory etymology", beyond noting that the second element was originally the Old English "hoh", meaning a hill (or ridge). Reaney, The Place-Names of Essex, 100. Amateur enthusiasts intrude at their peril. One possibility is that Wangey hides a forgotten –ingas– name, as discussed above for Seven Kings. O'Leary, Dagenham Place Names, 94-5 listed additional forms, including Wanynges Downe (1440) and Wanyng Medde (1540). This might point to "the hill of the people of [?]", but would still leave the name, or location, a mystery: most potentially appropriate Anglo-Saxon personal names form place-names beginning with "Wal-". Ekwall, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names, 496 derives Wangford, near Southwold in Suffolk (Wangeford, 1238) from an Old English word "wang", meaning open field. However, Essex place-names have rarely been linked to Suffolk examples, probably because Suffolk was an Anglian not a Saxon culture, but also because toponymic studies in Suffolk developed relatively late. It does not help that the traditional pronunciation does not seem to have been recorded: early examples might equally have been pronounced like anger or angel. What remained of the mansion was demolished in 1937.

[74] Victoria County History of Essex, v, 267-81.

[75] Seax notes the nuncupative Will of Lancelot Weekes, innkeeper, of Chadwell, Barking, in March 1667. A nuncupative Will was a document compiled from the orally-expressed wishes of a testator and validated by witnesses. The procedure was used when a dying person was in isolation to prevent the spread of the disease from which they were suffering. Weekes may have been Elizabeth Neale's successor.

[76] Shawcross, 266. Not every stagecoach arrived safely. In 1801, a London newspaper reported that "the Billericay Coach was overturned this side of Romford, owing to the giving way of a part of the iron-work." All 7 passengers were badly injured. The cause was apparently a broken axle. The Times, 26 August 1801.

[77] Brown, English History from Essex Sources 1750-1900, 63. The Phenomena was the creation of an entrepreneur ignorant of classical Greek plurals. A Brentwood joke held that two hundred coaches ran through the town every day – services from Dengie Hundred and Rochford Hundred provided the punch line. Larkin, Fireside Talks, 79. A "commodious mansion" at South Weald, near Brentwood [probably Rochetts], was advertised for rent in 1831, with the attraction that "coaches to and from London pass within half a mile of the house every hour, between 6 in the morning and 8 in the evening [i.e. about 30 a day]." The Times, 17 November 1831.

[78] Chelmsford Chronicle, 23 June 1832 (date and summary in Shawcross, 273, are inaccurate).

[79] E.g. E. Mogg, Paterson's Roads... (17th ed., London, 1824), 327.

[80] Chelmsford Chronicle, 1 December 1837.

[81] Chelmsford Chronicle, 2 September 1842.

[82] https://pubwiki.co.uk/EssexPubs/Ilford/greyhound.shtml.

[83] In 2020, it was the site of the Metropolitan Police Operations Centre.

[84] Shawcross, 23. In 1832, a directory reported that coaches passed through the village of Ilford every half hour. Victoria County History of Essex, v, 188.

[85] Chelmsford Chronicle, 18 September 1851. Pettingell was 45 and unmarried.

[86] Chelmsford Chronicle, 15 January 1909. The Eastern Counties line was not famous for speed. In 1856, a Bethnal Green man offered to race his 15-year-old donkey against a train.

[87] British Parliamentary Papers, 1839, ix, Select Committee on Effect of Formation of Railroads on Turnpike Roads and Trusts, evidence of George Dacre, 6 May 1839, 53-6. Dacre reckoned there would be a counter-balancing "saving in the expense of the repair of the roads".

[88] In 1829, there was even a "stage-waggon" operating between London and the small and distant Suffolk town of Halesworth. One day in January 1829, as the waggon approached the tollgate at Romford from the east, it found itself in a queue behind several hay carts. The owner of the service, Henry Smith, jumped down to investigate, and ordered his driver to overtake the carts, "as by doing so he would save at least 20 minutes at the Romford turnpike." The waggoner cracked his whip at just the moment when Smith attempted to climb back on to the shafts, which were slippery with frost. He fell under the wheels and was badly injured. The Times, 14 January 1829.

[89] There were also services from Rochford, which probably joined the Essex high road at Shenfield and came on by way of Chadwell Street.

[90] British Parliamentary Papers, 1839, ix, Select Committee on Effect of Formation of Railroads on Turnpike Roads and Trusts, evidence of George Dacre, 6 May 1839, 53-6.

[91] Shawcross, 266; Tasker, Ilford Past and Present, 38; Chelmsford Chronicle, 20 March 1903. There was a useful correspondence about the vegetable waggon trade to London in the Essex Countryside, Spring 1956, 112, Summer 1956, 156-7, Autumn 1956, 37, and Spring 1957, 110. Of particular interest was the letter from F.G. Clarke (Spring 1957, 110), who worked 100 to 120-hour shifts on waggons from Corbets Tey at Upminster to Covent Garden from 1902.

[92] Essex Standard, 25 November 1835. Prosecuted but not named, the driver was described as an employee of John Hanson, solicitor to Lord Byron, who owned an estate at South Weald. Dagenham local historian J.G. O'Leary was told by a veteran that on their return journeys, waggons collected loads of horse manure from stables around Whitechapel for use as fertiliser on the vegetable fields. The cargo would have increased the incentive to get home fast: O'Leary, The Book of Dagenham: a History, 34.  For the Bow Street Mounted Patrol, see H.H. Lockwood, "The Bow Street Mounted Patrol on Essex Highways", in K. Neale, ed. Essex: 'full of profitable thinges', Oxford, 1996, 311-30. Officers were known as 'Patroles'. In 1811, one of them, John Fowler, based in Romford, sought legal sanction against Thomas Ingram of Chadwell who had threatened him. By the mid-1830s, the Mounted Patrol had a station in Ilford High Road, almost opposite the junction with Green Lane. Patroles routinely called to the Greyhound at Chadwell Street. In 1830, a waggoner carrying a valuable consignment of silk on an overnight journey to Colchester stopped to check his cargo at the Greyhound at around 8.30 p.m. When he halted again at Brentwood three hours later, he discovered that one bale was missing. Empty bags were found the following morning east of Hare Street, in modern Gidea Park. The Patroles reckoned that the thieves would return to London, and guessed that a fast, light vehicle would have been involved, to get ahead of the target between the Greyhound and Hare Street. A suspicious pair were spotted in a gig near Chadwell Street the following night. After a chase, the two were arrested on Wanstead Flats, and the gig was found to contain most of the stolen silk.

[93] J. Booker, Essex and the Industrial Revolution (Chelmsford, 1994), 41, 133. A Miss Kate Robinson described the tremor of the 1884 earthquake at her lodgings in Romford High Street. "I felt a trembling, such as would be caused by a traction engine passing, during which a small picture … rattled against the wainscot." Essex Field Club Special Memoirs, i (1885), Report on the East Anglian Earthquake, 110: http://www.essexfieldclub.org.uk/portal/p/Archive/s/047/o/0110.

[94] [C. Clark],Fairlop and its Founder; or, Facts and fun for the Forest Frolickers ([Great] Totham, 1847). The Fair went into decline after the deforestation of Hainault in 1851, and ceased to operate after about 1900. It has a modern successor.

[95] Chelmsford Chronicle, 11 February, 23 March; The Times, 9 February, 4 March 1853. A public appeal sought financial support for Toller's widow and children, left "altogether destitute" by the loss of his "scanty pittance". Three of the signatories represented bookshops, including the celebrated Hatchards of Piccadilly, the veteran radical Effingham Wilson and James Nisbet of the Plymouth Brethren. The exact nature of Toller's commission agent business is not clear. Two of Toller's sons were admitted to the Orphan Asylum at Wanstead shortly afterwards. Essex Standard, 10 June 1853.

[96] Tasker, 108.

[97] A digital version, with a zoom facility, may be consulted (as of April 2020) via https://map-of-essex.uk/.

[98] Essex Review, xxxii (1923), 126.

[99] https://maps.nls.uk/view/102342017.

[100] The Times, 16 February 1789.

[101] Arthur Young, General View of the Agriculture of the County of Essex.... (2 vols, London, 1813), i, 382-4.

[102] Tasker, 110. The wording suggests that Ilford was regarded as the standard of metropolitan sophistication.

[103] The smith was named as John Moss. Seax notes the death in 1872 of a John Moss, saddler and harness maker of Ilford, perhaps a grandson.

[104] The Times, 25 October 1822.

[105] https://maps.nls.uk/view/102342017.

[106] https://maps.nls.uk/view/104194356. This map may also be viewed in side-by-side georeferencing, which makes it possible to identify any historical location with an exact spot on a modern satellite image. See the "seamless zoomable layer (1890s-1920s) side-by-side" option (no. 3) on https://maps.nls.uk/os/25inch-england-and-wales/.

[107] W. White, History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Essex… (Sheffield, 1848), 223-5 (Great Ilford). The Shacklady family, for instance, were well established at Little Heath.

[108] Post Office Directory of Essex, Herts, Kent ..., 1855 (London, 1855), 30. In the 19th century, "situate" was used for the modern "situated".

[109] Morning Chronicle, 6 September 1834; Chelmsford Chronicle, 24 February 1843, 28 November 1879. In 1819, a sawyer called Boulton and a bricklayer called Hardingham fell out over a game called four corners, which is a children's game like musical chairs (but without the music). Their disagreement led to a bare-knuckle fight in a field "near Ilford". Hardingham died after the 70th round. The Times, 10 September 1819.

[110] Hearn's own preference was to call the property Broom-grove Farm. In 1884, his 26 year-old son Arthur was courting a domestic servant in the St Pancras area of London. When Arthur failed to keep an appointment one evening, she went out to search for him, and found him lying dead in the street. He had suffered a bizarre accident, and died from a broken spine. Lloyd's Illustrated Newspaper, 10 February 1884. Hearn himself died in 1892, shortly after a devastating fire in his timber yard. Chelmsford Chronicle, 20 May, 16 September 1892.

[111] Shawcross, 266.

[112] Victoria County History of Essex, v, 16, 31, 124, 200; vii, 180-90. For Irish Row, see the note by local historian Peter Williams: http://www.e7-nowandthen.org/2015/10/the-street-where-you-live-2-ebor.html.

[113] Chelmsford Chronicle, 12 August 1892; 29 November 1895. Two of the bricklayers of 1881 were called Hennessey. Although locally born, perhaps they contributed to the legend of the aggressive Irish.

[114] Kelly's Directory of Essex [1886] (London, 1886), 67. Tasker, 110.

[115] Census information kindly supplied by Gail Wood. The enumerator's handwriting is not easy to decipher, but it seems that the original heads of families included four railway workers, two men employed in retail, a police constable and a general labourer. Britain's agricultural workforce had declined considerably since c. 1850 as mechanization replaced farmhands. Market gardening relied upon seasonal and migrant labour. Hence the Farm Terrace population was urban in character from the outset. The 1901 census reported that one of the two shops (a grocery) was in operation, the other being empty and awaiting a tenant. Of the 18 (male) heads of households, 7 worked for the railway, 4 were police constables and 3 were carters. The remainder were a scaffolder, labourer, retired greengrocer and a "potato salesman's clerk". Only three women were working: one wife was a school caretaker, and two daughters were domestic servants. 5 teenagers were working for the railway (2 as booking clerks, one as "signal box boy"), 1 was a market gardener, 1 helped his mother the caretaker and 1 was an office boy. The 4 policemen were probably stationed at Chadwell Heath, 1 of the 3 carters was definitely employed by William Lewsey's failing contractor business at Grove Farm, and maybe the others were as well. It was a working class community and, as in 1891, predominantly urban rather than agricultural in employment.

[116] Chelmsford Chronicle, 20 May 1892. The fire was fought by two units from Romford, one from Ind Coope's brewery, and the other consisting of volunteers. The creation of an Ilford fire station in 1894 may have been a by-product of the disaster. For Thomas Hearn, who had been in poor health for some time, the fire was a serious blow, the more so as he was not fully covered by insurance. He died four months later. Chelmsford Chronicle, 16 September 1892. The March 1893 sale catalogue for Grove Farm on Seax established the connection with Farm Terrace.

[117] Chelmsford Chronicle, 9 January 1894; Report of the Sanitary Condition & Health of the Urban District of Ilford [1895], 7 (from https://wellcomelibrary.org/).

[118] Chelmsford Chronicle, 17 December 1897; Tasker, 44. I have traced Grove Road in the Chelmsford Chronicle of 27 July 1906, but the change was probably made earlier. The old name (Cattes Lane in 1609) is thought to have referred to a local family associated with Nicholas le Cat in 1285, and Geoffrey Catte in 1540. The surname was almost certainly derived from a nickname, and it is sad that it disappeared from the map. Reaney, The Place-Names of Essex, 100-1, O'Leary, Dagenham Place-Names, 15. O'Leary associated the surname with a Cat Field about two miles away, an example of how inexact surname attributions can be in place-name studies. The isolation hospital was renamed Chadwell Heath Hospital in 1960, and closed in 2001.

[119] Lady Bracknell's comment on the distinction between misfortune and carelessness would seem to apply here.

[120] Florence Lewsey also claimed that she owned the household furniture, to place it beyond her husband's creditors. Chelmsford Chronicle, 9 November 1900. J.P. Sheldon's 1880 manual Dairy Farming ... reported (of British conditions) that "many cows give less than 400 gallons of milk" in a year, although some would yield as much as 700 gallons. 400 gallons would equal 8.76 pints a day. If Florence Lewsey's 70 customers purchased one pint three times a day (defensive spending in days before homes had refrigerators), she would have needed a herd of 24 cows. Sheldon estimated that not more than fifty head of cattle and horses would be kept on a 250-acre farm. Grove Farm had contained 19 acres when offered for sale in 1893. Lewsey had perhaps rented additional land, but over-stocking may have explained the mortality rate among his horses. However, urban cows were stall fed, which obviously added to operating costs. P. Sheldon, Dairy Farming ... (London, 1880), 2, 90; Seax. A later academic study of the London milk trade suggested that most customers purchased twice a day, in amounts from 1 to 4 pints. It is likely that, by 1900, Florence Lewsey's small-scale delivery business was antiquated. E. H. Whetham, "The London Milk Trade, 1860-1900", Economic History Review, n.s., xvii (1964), 369-380, esp. 371.

[121] Chelmsford Chronicle, 26 January, 3 March, 21 April 1894, 8 January 1897. The first schoolroom was rented (with a view to purchase) from the Bishop of St Albans' Fund, an Anglican project to bring religion to the new suburbs, known as London-over-the-Border. At that time, Essex formed part of the diocese of St Albans. I have not found any more information on this Church project in Chadwell Street.

[122] Chelmsford Chronicle, 24 January 1896.

[123] Chelmsford Chronicle, 2, 9 October 1896; Tasker, 110.

[124] Chelmsford Chronicle,, 22 January 1897, quoting Essex Herald, undated.

[125] Chelmsford Chronicle, 13 May 1898.

[126] Chelmsford Chronicle, 14 February 1902; Tasker, 76. In 1902, Chadwell School had accommodation for 512 children, but an average attendance of only 367. The annual government grant was £362.15.6. British Parliamentary Papers, 1902, lxxix (i), 1297, Board of Education Lists of Schools 1901-2. In 2019-20, attendance rates were around 96%.

[127] Victoria County History of Essex, v, 265. In 2020, Chadwell Primary School provided places for over 600 children.

[128] Chelmsford Chronicle, 12 July 1901.

[129] White, History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Essex, 223-4; Post Office Directory of Essex, Herts, Kent ..., 1855. [Part 1], 30. When John Whenn traded up to specialise in wine and spirits, the post office was transferred to a local butcher.

[130] https://maps.nls.uk/view/101456030. Grove Farm had been named Chadwell Hall on the previous 1862 / 1875 edition.

[131] Shawcross, 267-8. In 1896, it was claimed that "within the last twenty years Chadwell Heath has increased fourfold." Chelmsford Chronicle, 24 April 1896.

[132] Tasker, 111-12. In 2020, the building was the Eva Hart public house.

[133] Shawcross, 267-8; London Gazette, 20 August 1895, 4720-1.

[134] Tasker, 116, 122-5. Successive county directories described Ibbetson's Little Heath church as if it 'belonged' to Chadwell Street. It was demolished in 1933. Victoria County History of Essex, v, 258-9.

[135] B. Cherry et al., The Buildings of England: London, 5, East, New Haven 2005, 147, 338; Tasker, 71; Shawcross, 269; Victoria County History of Essex, v, 298 . The 1938 edition of the 25-inch Ordnance Survey map marks a Mission Hall in Essex Road (now the Oasis Church). It is not mentioned in the 1937 edition of Kelly's Directory of Essex, and its pleasant red-brick design seems to confirm that it was recently built. It was not noticed in the Victoria County History of Essex, v, and I have been unable to find any information about its history.

[136] Shawcross, 270; Chelmsford Chronicle, 24 August 1903.

[137] The Post Office Directory for 1876, 49, supplied more information about addresses. Of 22 commercial entries attributed to Chadwell Street, 16 were elsewhere in the Ward, places such as Little Heath, Padnall Corner and even Seven Kings (which was in Ilford Ward). Only two, Thomas Hearn of Grove Farm and Henry Smith of the Greyhound, were definitely from Chadwell Street. Four more are likely but would need to be searched in census records to establish their precise identity. They were Thomas Archer, shoeing smith (highly probable), Mrs Mary Arthur, shopkeeper, Robert John Lee, carpenter and Paul Pfennig, cabinet maker.

[138] Tasker, 41.

[139] Strangely, Corbett does not have an entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, but his political career may be traced in C. Burness, 'Strange Associations'... (East Linton, 2003), esp. 157. Remaining faithful to the Temperance cause, Corbett rejoined the Liberals in 1908, and was rewarded three years later with elevation to the House of Lords as Baron Rowallan. In 1945, his son became Chief Scout. It was an era in which the pompous gave themselves ersatz double-barrelled surnames: thus the Criccieth solicitor Mr George became the statesman David Lloyd George. Ilford's developer projected himself as A. Cameron Corbett. I have not followed him in this.

[140] Tasker, 41, 60, 105-6; Chelmsford Chronicle, 14 June 1901. The Boer War streets were Glencoe Avenue (the first major battle, fought in October 1899, a British victory at great cost), Colenso Avenue (a British defeat in Black Week, December 1899), while Kimberley Avenue and Ladysmith Avenue were inglorious sieges, from which British forces had to be rescued in February 1900.   Corbett's patriotism seems to have exceeded his military judgement: for a Scot to name a road "Glencoe" (scene of a notorious Clan massacre in 1692) was remarkable.

[141] The agreement, dated 25 September 1899, is calendared on Seax. From the point of view of the railway company, a station in what became Goodmayes Lane was a good idea, since there were already extensive sidings to the east. Seven Kings Station was well located to provide passenger services for the Downshall estate, but had little space for goods deliveries. Corbett guaranteed the company against any operating loss.

[142] Essex Review, x (April 1901), 116. Unhelpfully, the nearest farm to the new station was called Ravenings.

[143] Chelmsford Chronicle, 30 January 1903. Daughter of the Earl of Lathom, Lady Florence, known as "Fluffy", was married to Lord William [Gascoyne]-Cecil, a clergyman noted for his eccentricity and indecision, known as "Fish" in his family and "Love in a Mist" to his baffled associates. His appointment in 1916 as Bishop of Exeter was an adventurous choice. Three of their four sons were killed in the First World War; the fourth was twice wounded. The couple visited China, in 1907 and 1909, tried to found a Christian university there, and wrote a book about the country.

[144] Chelmsford Chronicle, 22 May, 24 July 1903. In 1908, E.J.S. Lay, a prolific author of history textbooks, delivered a historical lecture at Chadwell School "under the auspices of the Ilford Unionist Club", attractively illustrated with cartoons from Punch. The event presumably drew an attendance from a wider area, with much of the audience using the Ilford tram service.

[145] Chelmsford Chronicle, 27 July 1906.

[146] The Goodmayes High Road shopping centre may be identified with two parades of shops between Barley Lane and Wellwood Avenue, which are still in operation. Numbering of premises along the High Road was changed between 1908 and 1937, making precise identifications impossible.

[147] The electricity project was driven by Councillor Ben Bailey. When the new lighting system was switched on in 1901, he ebulliently predicted that Ilford would soon have a Lord Mayor, and that local rates would become unnecessary. Indeed, the Council would accept a duty "to send any inhabitant who looked ill to the seaside for a change, all charges to be paid for out of the profits of the electricity supply undertaking." The Council's engineer more soberly added, "provided that the users of the current promptly paid their quarterly accounts." The generating station was in Ley Street. Chelmsford Chronicle, 31 May 1901.

[148] Tasker, 46. Through passengers could switch to the East Ham tram network at Ilford Bridge. The journey from Chadwell Heath to Aldgate could be made in 1 hour and 40 minutes, slightly slower than Billy Manning's horse-drawn omnibus. The Chelmsford Chronicle, 24 July 1903, described how the class and ethnicity of the passengers altered as the journey progressed.

[149] Chelmsford Chronicle, 20 March 1903; Shawcross, 270.

[150] Chelmsford Chronicle, 24 July 1903.

[151] Tasker, 45-6.

[152] A.C. Armstrong and H.R.G. Inglis, Short Spins Round London (North of the Thames) (London, 1906), 178-80.

[153] Tasker, 124. The Dick Turpin was still operating in 1944, when the landlord was killed by a V2. The cottages in which it was located were destroyed by fire in 1966. A local restaurant has since revived the name.

[154] The Green Lane route passed through Becontree Heath ("shorn of all claims to the picturesque by an untidy fringe of houses") and Rush Green ("an uninteresting hamlet"). The general advice seems to have been to get through the Ilford and Dagenham area as fast as possible. Armstrong and Inglis, Short Spins Round London, 176, 183, 285.

[155] Chelmsford Chronicle, 15 September 1905.

[156] Chelmsford Chronicle, 12 May 1911.

[157] Chelmsford Chronicle, 10 September 1909.

[158] Chelmsford Chronicle, 7, 14 February 1908.

[159] Chelmsford Chronicle, 13 August 1908, 23 November 1913.

[160] Chelmsford Chronicle, 12 July, 23 November 1912.

[161] Chelmsford Chronicle, 21 March 1913.

[162] Chelmsford Chronicle, 30 August, 1 November 1912.

[163] Where local authorities operated a hackney (taxi) service, bus companies had to secure a licence to operate. This applied in Ilford and Romford, but not at Brentwood.

[164] Essex Newsman, 7 September 1912; Chelmsford Chronicle, 13 September 1912, 13 January 1913, 5 March 1914. The fare structure approved by Romford Council suggests that the service ran non-stop from Chadwell Heath to Bow Road Station, where passengers could transfer to the District Line.

[165] https://maps.nls.uk/view/104194356.

[166] https://maps.nls.uk/view/104194344.

[167] Photograph in D. Hewson, Britain in Old Photographs: Brentwood... (Stround, 1997), 78-9.

[168] Timetable in illustration 66b in B. Evans, Romford, Collier Row & Gidea Park (Chichester, 1994), unpaginated. Similarly, a motor cycle accident in 1930 was reported as happening in "Grove Road, Chadwell Heath", Chelmsford Chronicle, 22 August 1930.

[169] Kelly's Directory of Essex, 1937, 104.

[170] The point may be reinforced by consulting Chadwell Primary School's lively website. In 2019 the school was rated "Good" by Ofsted. Its motto, "Everyone a Learner", seems appropriate to this study.

[171] This essay has been written from my study in County Waterford, Ireland. I have not the slightest doubt that locally-based students and researchers would find much useful material through Redbridge Libraries and Redbridge Museum. I hope the story of Chadwell Street will be taken further.

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