Rush Green

Rush Green, Barking & Dagenham/Havering

A predominantly white working-class neighbourhood situated south-west of Romford

Hidden London: The rear of the Rush Green Gardens flats by Glyn Baker

The ham­let, with its green where the rush­es grew, was first record­ed in 1651 and retained a con­cen­tra­tion of small farms until the late 19th cen­tu­ry. In 1871 the Rom­ford bur­ial board opened a ceme­tery on Crow Lane to replace the for­mer parochial grave­yard. The first res­i­den­tial devel­op­ment was the Birk­beck estate of 1885, con­sist­ing of West Road, Wolse­ley Road, Grosvenor Road and Birk­beck Road.

Rush Green hos­pi­tal opened in 1900 as an iso­la­tion unit for Rom­ford, Dagen­ham and Hornchurch and was enlarged to become a gen­er­al hos­pi­tal after the cre­ation of the Becon­tree estate.

Rom­ford coun­cil built some of its ear­li­est hous­es in Rush Green in the 1920s. A mis­sion hall was pro­vid­ed at Rush Green in 1946 and the brown-brick St Augustine’s church was built on Birk­beck Road in 1958, lat­er gain­ing its own parish made up of cor­ners of Rom­ford, Dagen­ham and Hornchurch.

Rush Green Col­lege was estab­lished in 1961 and has since expand­ed to become the main cam­pus of the voca­tion­al­ly ori­ent­ed Bark­ing & Dagen­ham Col­lege.

The area has seen sig­nif­i­cant hous­ing asso­ci­a­tion build­ing in recent times, and there has been a small increase in the size of its eth­nic minor­i­ty pop­u­la­tion. Rush Green hos­pi­tal closed in 1995 and its site has now been cov­ered by hous­es arranged in a series of cul-de-sacs with flow­ery names.

Despite the open spaces that flank it on most sides, Rush Green feels like an untidy part of east London’s periph­er­al sprawl. The fact that it strad­dles two bor­oughs may have con­tributed to the local­i­ty’s unfo­cused form. (Click here to see the bor­ough bound­ary on Streetmap.)

The entertainer Max Bygraves lived on Thornton’s Farm Avenue after the Second World War and performed in local pubs.

Postcode area: Romford RM7
* The picture of Rush Green Gardens on this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Glyn Baker, 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.