Whipps Cross

Whipps Cross, Waltham Forest

A road junction and its vicinity, separating the eastern edge of Walthamstow from the northern tip of Leytonstone

Hollow Pond(s), Whipps Cross

It is said that per­sons found steal­ing sheep or deer from adja­cent parts of Epping For­est were whipped all the way from here to Waltham­stow, but a more like­ly expla­na­tion of the name is that it is a cor­rup­tion of Phippe’s Cross, after late-14th-cen­tu­ry res­i­dent John Phippe.

For­est House was built in 1683 for a Huguenot banker and stood here for almost three cen­turies. Sev­er­al Geor­gian prop­er­ties, built around 1767, sur­vive along Whipps Cross Road, which is now a con­ser­va­tion area. Res­i­den­tial devel­op­ment began in earnest dur­ing the 1850s after the enclo­sure of com­mon land to the west. A ter­race of four large Vic­to­ri­an hous­es has been con­vert­ed into the Sir Alfred Hitch­cock Hotel.

The state­ly Whipps Cross Hos­pi­tal (orig­i­nal­ly the West Ham Union Infir­mary) was built in the grounds of For­est House in 1903. Four years lat­er, the Whipps Cross Lido was dug with­out mechan­i­cal assis­tance as a win­ter unem­ploy­ment relief scheme.

In com­mon with neigh­bour­ing parts of Waltham­stow, Whipps Cross had a film stu­dio in the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry: the Pre­ci­sion Film Com­pa­ny oper­at­ed here from 1910 to 1915.

Whipps Cross Lido was closed and filled in by the Cor­po­ra­tion of Lon­don in the ear­ly 1980s but a near­by series of water­logged grav­el pits sur­vive as the Hol­low Ponds – or Hol­low Pond, as they all join into one. The pond (shown in the pho­to above in mid­win­ter) is des­ig­nat­ed a site of spe­cial sci­en­tif­ic inter­est and serves as a boat­ing lake in sum­mer.

David Beckham was born at Whipps Cross Hospital maternity unit.

Postal districts: E11 and E17
Further reading: Alwin Dormer, Whipps Cross University Hospital: A View of its History, Forest Medical Society, 2002