Walford, Walford

A stereotypical east London district, situated in the borough of the same name

The Queen Victoria public house and a corner of Albert Square gardens

Lit­tle of Walford’s his­to­ry is known pri­or to 1985. Its name may be con­nect­ed with the 19th-cen­tu­ry Lon­don his­to­ri­an Edward Wal­ford or per­haps indi­cates ear­ly set­tle­ment of the area by Celts, as is also like­ly in the cas­es of Wal­worth and Walling­ton, (the Old Eng­lish word ‘wala’ has the same root as ‘Wales’). The ford could have crossed one of the trib­u­taries of the Riv­er Lea, but Walford’s pre­cise loca­tion is dif­fi­cult to pin down.

The archi­tec­ture of the sur­pris­ing­ly busy Albert Square appears to date from around the 1880s and bears a close resem­blance to part of Fas­sett Square, on the Hackney/Dal­ston bor­der. How­ev­er, aer­i­al views have cen­tred on Poplar and Can­ning Town, while Wal­ford East tube sta­tion seems to lie to the east of Bow Road on the tube map.

Unlike many east Lon­don quar­ters, the pop­u­la­tion is still pri­mar­i­ly white work­ing class, although var­i­ous eth­nic minori­ties man­i­fest a pres­ence. Liv­ing stan­dards seem rel­a­tive­ly accept­able, though there are char­ac­ter­is­tics that would nor­mal­ly be indi­ca­tors of depri­va­tion. The best oppor­tu­ni­ty for exer­cise seems to be a walk in the park or ‘on the marsh­es’. There are no high street names among the shops, no Tesco Metro, not even a Bud­gens. No bank or build­ing soci­ety. The post office was replaced by a mas­sage par­lour when it closed in 2009.

In Jan­u­ary 2014 plans were unveiled to expand and reju­ve­nate the most vis­i­ble part of Wal­ford, includ­ing a new high street with shops and busi­ness­es that will reflect a “greater sense of the mod­ern east end of Lon­don”. The project is due for com­ple­tion in 2018.

Postal district: E20 (which now also includes the Olympic Park)
Station: Hammersmith & City and District Lines (Walford East, zones 2 and 3)
Further reading: Ed Cobham, The Ultimate Unofficial Eastenders Quiz Book, Summersdale, 2010