Harold Park, Havering
The north-eastern part of Harold Wood, mostly occupying an isthmus of land between the A12 and the Ingrebourne River
In 1868 a wealthy Brentwood solicitor built himself a mansion to the south of the river and railway line, named Harold Court. After the owner’s bankruptcy the house served as a children’s home, then a lunatic asylum and then a sanatorium. In 1959 it became a teacher training college and has since been converted into private flats. Harold Court is shown in the photo above.*
Horse Block Farm lay to the north-east of Harold Court Road. After the First World War the Essex builders Iles and Company laid out a bungalow estate here that it called Sunnytown. The company also created Sunnymede at Billericay.
When Harold Court primary school opened in 1929 the area still retained a rural character, but this was slowly eroded as further development plugged the gaps, including a riverside industrial estate that was created after the Second World War on the site of a brickworks that had operated intermittently from 1878 to 1933.
A service station on the A12 and the little Baptist church at the corner of Harold Court Road and Ingreway are among the few institutions around here to actually use the name ‘Harold Park’ rather than ‘Harold Court’ or ‘Harold Wood’.
At the Forestry Commission’s Harold Court Woods over 40,000 saplings have been planted to supplement belts of mature trees, including an Apostles’ Circle – where a ring of horse chestnuts surround a central tree to represent Christ and his disciples.