An elegant and well-preserved residential locality in north-west Wanstead, seven miles from central London
Snaresbrook’s name was first recorded in its present form in 1599; its first part is of uncertain origin, although it could be connected with the use of snares for trapping animals or birds in Epping Forest. The stream that gave the village its name is no longer visible above ground.
Snaresbrook evolved as a coaching halt on the road to Epping in the late 17th century, when horses were changed at the Spread Eagle. Shown in the photograph above,* the present Eagle Hotel is of early-18th-century origin and is the oldest inn in Wanstead. Tragically, it’s now a Toby Carvery.
A detached portion of Epping Forest survives near Eagle Pond, formerly Snares Pond.
Most of Snaresbrook’s Georgian houses were built along the east side of Hollybush Hill, which still has its hollies. In 1843 Leopold I, King of the Belgians, opened the infant orphan asylum, which subsequently became the Royal Wanstead School and is now Snaresbrook Crown Court.
Snaresbrook station opened in 1856 on the Loughton branch of the Eastern Counties Railway.
The Merchant Seamen’s Orphan Asylum was built in 1862 and later served as a convent and then a hospital.
The New Wanstead estate was laid out south of the station and the remainder of the area filled out during the rest of the century, culminating with the Drive estate, which was begun in 1896.
The railway line was electrified in 1947, when it became part of the Central line.
A conservation area stretches all the way along Hollybush Hill and Woodford Road into South Woodford.
Snaresbrook has relatively few young families. Pensioner households outnumber those with dependent children, a reversal of the national norm.