Maryland, Newham

A disadvantaged neighbourhood that is known only to most commuters as the last station before Stratford on the line into Liverpool Street

Hidden London: Leytonstone Road, Maryland

In 1638 the Ilford-based mer­chant Richard Lee migrat­ed to Amer­i­ca, where he acquired an estate at Mary­land Point on the Potomac Riv­er. After 20 years he returned to Ilford and bought land at Strat­ford, where he built a house that he called Mary­land Point. The house was assessed for nine hearths in 1662, indi­cat­ing that it was a build­ing of sub­stan­tial pro­por­tions. It was sold in 1678 and its sub­se­quent fate is not known.

Mary­land Point first appeared as a place name on a map of 1696 and Daniel Defoe men­tioned the exis­tence of a ‘new’ set­tle­ment here in 1722.

With the growth of Strat­ford in the mid-19th cen­tu­ry the vicin­i­ty was built up as Strat­ford New Town and Mary­land gained a pros­per­ous shop­ping thor­ough­fare. Mary­land sta­tion opened in 1874.

Fol­low­ing steady decline over the course of the fol­low­ing cen­tu­ry the area took on a low-rent aspect. The 23-storey Hen­niker Point was erect­ed in 1969.

Pri­vate apart­ment blocks have been built near the sta­tion in recent years and the Strat­ford Time Spi­ral was relo­cat­ed to the north­ern end of Mary­land traf­fic island in 2011. The sculp­ture is vis­i­ble in the pho­to­graph above.*

In 2016 the Lon­don Bor­ough of Newham chose Mary­land’s Chatsworth Road as the site for six new homes, the first in 30 years to be built direct­ly by the coun­cil.

Mary­land sta­tion’s facil­i­ties were upgrad­ed in advance of the inau­gu­ra­tion of Eliz­a­beth line (Cross­rail) ser­vices, present­ly sched­uled – per­haps opti­misti­cal­ly – for autumn 2019.

Despite a sprin­kling of gen­tri­fi­ca­tion, there are sig­nif­i­cant lev­els of social need among the local pop­u­la­tion, which includes a high pro­por­tion of immi­grants, both black and white, the lat­ter main­ly from east­ern Europe.

At Mary­land pri­ma­ry school, Ofst­ed’s 2010 inspec­tion report found that 53 nation­al­i­ties and 47 lan­guages were rep­re­sent­ed. Sim­i­lar but less pro­nounced diver­si­ty exists at St Fran­cis’ RC and Cole­grave pri­ma­ry schools. The lat­ter was rat­ed out­stand­ing by Ofst­ed in 2017; con­se­quent­ly it prob­a­bly won’t be inspect­ed again for a very long time.

On the death of Maryland’s Richard Lee in 1664, his family returned to America, apparently in fulfilment of the conditions of his will. Lee’s grandson Thomas established a plantation in Virginia in the late 1730s, which he named Stratford Hall, and this was the birthplace in 1807 of Thomas’s grandson Robert E Lee, the most successful general of the Confederate forces during the American Civil War.

Postal district: E15
Station: TfL Rail (zone 3)
* The picture of Leytonstone Road, Maryland, on this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Stephen McKay, 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.