Walford, Walford

A stereotypical east London district, situated in the borough of the same name

The Queen Victoria public house and a corner of Albert Square gardens

Little of Walford’s history is known prior to 1985. Its name may be connected with the 19th-century London historian Edward Walford or perhaps indicates early settlement of the area by Celts, as is also likely in the cases of Walworth and Wallington, (the Old English word ‘wala’ has the same root as ‘Wales’). The ford could have crossed one of the tribu­taries of the River Lea, but Walford’s precise location is difficult to pin down.

The archi­tecture of the surpris­ingly busy Albert Square appears to date from around the 1880s and bears a close resemb­lance to part of Fassett Square, on the Hackney/​Dalston border. However, aerial views have centred on Poplar and Canning Town, while Walford East tube station seems to lie to the east of Bow Road on the tube map.

Unlike many east London quarters, the population is still primarily white working class, although various ethnic minor­ities manifest a presence. Living standards seem relat­ively acceptable, though there are charac­ter­istics that would normally be indic­ators of deprivation. The best oppor­tunity for exercise seems to be a walk in the park or ‘on the marshes’. There are no high street names among the shops, no Tesco Metro, not even a Budgens. No bank or building society. The post office was replaced by a massage parlour when it closed in 2009.

In January 2014 plans were unveiled to expand and rejuvenate the most visible part of Walford, including a new high street with shops and businesses that will reflect a “greater sense of the modern east end of London”. The project is due for completion in 2018.

Postal district: E20 (which now also includes the Olympic Park)
Station: Hammersmith & City and District Lines (Walford East, zones 2 and 3)
Further reading: Ed Cobham, The Ultimate Unofficial Eastenders Quiz Book, Summersdale, 2010