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’
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.
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.