Snaresbrook, Redbridge

An elegant and well-preserved residential locality in north-west Wanstead, seven miles from central London

Eagle Hotel, Ewan Munro

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.

Hidden London: Eagle Pond, Snaresbrook
Eagle Pond

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.

Postal district: E11
Population: 11,865 (2011 census)
Station: Central line (zone 4)
The picture of the Eagle on this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Ewan Munro, at Flickr, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is freely permitted under the terms of that licence.