A multiracial satellite of eastern Ilford, separated from the Becontree estate by Goodmayes Park
Conventional wisdom has it that the name derives from John Godemay, a 14th-century landowner. However, local historian Peter Foley argues that Godemay took his name from the place, not the other way around. Citing another local place name, Mayfield, Foley suggests a link to the herbaceous dye-plant madder (Rubia tinctorum).
Like neighbouring Seven Kings, this was empty farmland until the end of the 19th century when local developer Cameron Corbett (later Baron Rowallen) laid out the Mayfield estate south of the railway line. Corbett’s Scottish origin shows in the names of many of the streets. To ensure the success of his project, he pressed for a railway station to serve the area and this opened in 1901. Shopping parades followed, on the High Road and Goodmayes Road.
In 1909 Anglican services began to be held in what is now All Saints church hall. The present brown-brick church was consecrated in 1913.
Tesco opened a superstore in 1987 on land formerly occupied by railway sidings. Other than that and a handful of compact blocks of flats, there have been few notable changes to Goodmayes’ primarily Edwardian streetscape.
Shown in the photograph above,* a stumpy clock tower was erected at the junction of Green Lane and Goodmayes Lane to commemorate the millennium. As the cross that surmounts it may suggest, its construction was funded by a Christian group.
In 2012 the Eman Foundation was granted planning permission for a new mosque on Ashgrove Road. However, it may be some while before the necessary funds can be raised in order for it to be built.
In a relatively recent transformation, only a quarter of Goodmayes’s population is now white and the next largest ethnic minority is of Indian origin. Islam, Christianity, Sikhism and Hinduism are the main religious faiths, in that order at the last census. Three-quarters of homes are owner-occupied.
Shiraz Bailey Wood lives in Goodmayes. She is the protagonist of Grace Dent’s popular ‘Diaries of a Chav’ series of books for teens.