Little Ilford

Little Ilford, Newham

A lost village and parish situated on the opposite side of the River Roding (and the North Circular Road) from Ilford itself

Hidden London: Little Ilford Park

Domes­day Book iden­ti­fies this as the orig­i­nal loca­tion of Ilford, when the manor had a pop­u­la­tion of ten. There had been a wood­en church here since Sax­on times and it was rebuilt in stone in the twelfth cen­tu­ry and ded­i­cat­ed to St Mary the Vir­gin. The brick-built Lethieul­li­er chapel was added in the 18th cen­tu­ry and this is nowa­days used as the church’s vestry.

Over the years, Lit­tle Ilford’s iden­ti­ty has been erod­ed, with Alder­s­brook and the City of Lon­don ceme­tery tak­ing over its north­ern part and the name ‘Manor Park’ being giv­en to the hous­ing that cov­ered its south­ern fields in the 1880s and 90s.

Lit­tle Ilford manor house, lat­er Manor House farm, stood near the present junc­tion of Der­s­ing­ham Avenue and Church Road. The house had been demol­ished by 1901.

The Catholic church of St Stephen was estab­lished in 1918, across Church Road from St Mary’s.

Lit­tle Ilford school is locat­ed imme­di­ate­ly to the south-west of the church­es. More than half the school’s pupils are eli­gi­ble for free school meals and over four-fifths speak Eng­lish as an addi­tion­al lan­guage. The school was rat­ed out­stand­ing in Ofst­ed’s 2012 report, which found that stu­dents enter the school with lev­els of attain­ment that are sig­nif­i­cant­ly low­er than oth­ers nation­al­ly, yet go on to achieve broad­ly aver­age results here.

Across Brown­ing Road from Lit­tle Ilford school, the Lon­don Sri Muru­gan tem­ple is a major cen­tre of wor­ship for east London’s Hin­dus.

Between Rom­ford Road and the rail­way line (right at the top of the map below, on Lugg Approach), the Tun­nelling and Under­ground Con­struc­tion Acad­e­my is a pur­pose-built facil­i­ty ded­i­cat­ed to edu­ca­tion in soft-ground tun­nelling tech­niques, and owes its exis­tence to the Eliz­a­beth line (Cross­rail) project.

The ward of Lit­tle Ilford has prob­lems of social depri­va­tion and is very eth­ni­cal­ly mixed. The largest minori­ties are of Bangladeshi, Indi­an, Pak­istani and black African descent, in that order, fol­lowed by white British. At the 2011 cen­sus almost 45 per cent of res­i­dents were Mus­lims – up from a third in 2001.

Jack Cornwell Street and its community centre commemorate a 16-year-old boy from Alverstone Road who was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his gallantry at the Battle of Jutland in 1916.

Little Ilford Park is often said to have inspired the Small Faces’ song ‘Itchycoo Park’ – but the same claim is made for other parks nearby. No unequivocal conclusion is ever likely to be reached because members of the band made so many conflicting statements on the subject over the years.

Postal district: E12
Population: 16,633 (2011 census)


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* The picture of Little Ilford Park on this page is modified from an original photograph, copyright David Anstiss, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is freely permitted under the terms of that licence.