Elm Park

Elm Park, Havering

A ‘wonder-town of homes’, according to its developers, situated on the south-west side of Hornchurch

Elm Park shops
Elm Park is one of the small­est of Haver­ing’s town cen­tres, and many of its for­mer shops have closed, includ­ing the Wool­worth’s in this pho­to

With finan­cial sup­port from the Hal­i­fax build­ing soci­ety, Liv­er­pool-based Richard Costain and Sons began build­ing here in 1934, part­ly on the site of Elm Park farm. It is claimed that the lay­out was influ­enced by the gar­den city move­ment, but this is hard to detect.

Costain part-fund­ed the build­ing of Elm Park’s Dis­trict line sta­tion in 1935, after 500 homes had already been com­plet­ed. It was the last sta­tion to open on the line.

A 1937 adver­tise­ment promised “space to breathe the clear air of open Essex. Com­pare these wide, clean avenues with the nar­row, dust-laden streets in which many fam­i­lies unnec­es­sar­i­ly remain when they could so eas­i­ly live health­i­er, fuller lives at Elm Park.” By the out­break of war the estate was three-quar­ters com­plete.

When hos­til­i­ties ceased the coun­cil took on the remain­ing phase of devel­op­ment – but a planned cin­e­ma was nev­er built. More shops were added in the 1950s, and lat­er still came fur­ther house­build­ing to the south, on part of the for­mer Hornchurch air­field.

St Nicholas church was built in 1955–6, to the south of a tem­po­rary church that had been erect­ed in 1936 and was demol­ished in 1994. For the full his­to­ry of the church, please click here.

Two local schools, Ayloff and Dun­ning­ford, merged in 2009 to become Elm Park pri­ma­ry school. The may­or of Lon­don opened the school’s impres­sive new build­ing on South End Road in Sep­tem­ber 2011, say­ing, “Elm Park pri­ma­ry school is an inspi­ra­tion to all of us and what a fan­tas­tic place to teach and learn.” Since then, Ofst­ed has con­sis­tent­ly placed the school in the ‘requires improve­ment’ cat­e­go­ry.

The local­i­ty’s old­est and largest pub, the Elm Park Hotel, closed in 2013 and its south-west wing became a Sains­bury’s Local.

Future devel­op­ments in Elm Park may include high­er den­si­ty hous­ing, but Hornchurch Res­i­dents’ Asso­ci­a­tion has expressed reser­va­tions about such pro­pos­als, pre­fer­ring the neigh­bour­hood to retain its tra­di­tion­al­ly sub­ur­ban char­ac­ter.

Elm Park is a pre­dom­i­nant­ly white area, with just a few res­i­dents from eth­nic minori­ties. At the last cen­sus the two largest eth­nic minori­ties here were of African and Indi­an ori­gin or descent, account­ing for just four and two per cent of the pop­u­la­tion respec­tive­ly.

Postcode area: Hornchurch, RM12
Population: 12,466 (2011 census)
Station: District line (zone 6)
Website: Elm Park Regeneration Partnership (not much to report)


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