Despite accusations of ‘chav’ characteristics, Barkingside is an unobjectionable interwar suburb situated at the south-western corner of Fairlop Plain
Barkingside’s name was first recorded in 1538 and derives from its location on the Barking side of Hainault Forest, at the boundary of the old parish.
By 1840 Barkingside and its neighbouring hamlets and mansions had grown sufficiently populous to warrant the building of Holy Trinity Church at Mossford Green but in 1876 James Thorne found that the settlement was “merely a gathering of a few small houses along a crossroad, and a few others by a scrubby green; the inhabitants are chiefly engaged in agriculture.”
Soon after Thorne made his observations Dr Thomas Barnardo established his village home for girls at Mossford Green, with its own church and hospital. It is said that Barkingside station, which opened on the Great Eastern Railway in 1903, owes its ornate style to the frequent royal visits to the girls’ home, which is now designated a conservation area.
The construction of the Eastern Avenue in 1925 encouraged southward expansion towards Gants Hill and the absorption of Mossford Green and Fullwell, where new facilities were added after the Second World War.
Green-belt legislation prevented post-war expansion east of the railway, which became part of the Central line in 1948. New Anglican and Roman Catholic churches were built in the mid-1950s. Jews held services in Barnardo’s church until the conversion of a former primary school to a synagogue at Newbury Park in 1981.
Barkingside’s focal High Street distinguishes the suburb from the neighbouring sprawl of ‘greater’ Ilford but the predominance of independent retailers and fast-food outlets reflects its declining importance as a shopping area.
Barkingside ward is the largest in the borough in area, but no longer in population since the 2011 census. The ward includes most of Gants Hill and boasts wide religious diversity, with significant numbers of Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs.