North Chingford

North Chingford, Waltham Forest

The far north-eastern corner of Chingford – and of the borough of Waltham Forest – not separately named on most maps but well signposted and known locally as ‘the village’

Hidden London: Butler's Retreat, North Chingford

Ching­ford sta­tion is here, incon­ve­nient­ly locat­ed for most of the dis­trict, but ide­al for access to Epping For­est, although the clos­est part of the for­est has more open space (and golf course) than wood­land.

The Great East­ern Railway’s branch line orig­i­nal­ly ter­mi­nat­ed near­er Ching­ford Green and its con­struc­tion was beset by finan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties and wran­gling between inter­est­ed par­ties. It ini­tial­ly failed to bring sig­nif­i­cant sub­ur­ban devel­op­ment but the rail­way com­pa­ny became con­vinced of its poten­tial and extend­ed the tracks 500 yards north­wards, replac­ing the orig­i­nal sta­tion with the larg­er build­ing that sur­vives today.

In the same year as the new sta­tion opened, the Epping For­est Act of 1878 put paid to the company’s hopes of extend­ing the line fur­ther and pre­vent­ed exten­sive devel­op­ment to the north and east.

Hidden London: Forest View, North Chingford
A local res­i­dent prowls For­est View short­ly before sun­set

How­ev­er, the trains instead became pop­u­lar with day-trip­pers, who thronged to vis­it the for­est at week­ends and espe­cial­ly on pub­lic hol­i­days.

Var­i­ous ameni­ties were pro­vid­ed for the vis­i­tors, of which the most impres­sive was the Roy­al For­est Hotel on Rangers Road. Opened in 1890, it was rebuilt in trun­cat­ed form after a fire in 1912. The hotel is said to be haunt­ed by a vic­tim of the fire.

Queen Eliz­a­beth’s Hunt­ing Lodge stands to the east of the hotel. See the page on Ching­ford for more on this. Beyond that is the But­ler’s Retreat, which is now a Larder venue, shown in the pho­to at the top.

Postal district: E4
Station: London Overground (Chingford, zone 5)
* The superb picture of Butler’s Retreat at the top of this page is cropped and slightly modified from an original photograph, copyright Julian Osley, 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.