Saturday, October 31, 2015


This is the 6th station that I have visited on the Central line as I continue on my quest to research Above the Underground.The Central line used to be nicknamed the 'Twopenny Tube' as it introduced the first flat fare when it opened in 1900. This lasted until 1907 when the cost increased to three pence for travelling to 8 stations or more but the nickname lasted for much longer.

There is a kiosk on the Eastbound platform selling hot and cold drinks and snacks.

Although the line continues on from Woodford for some of the trains this is the terminus.

I exited on the South side of the station.

Once the railway arrived here in 1856, the population soon increased from 4,609 in the 1871 census to 13,798 in 1901. Woodford was first mentioned in the  Doomsday book ( a record of the settlements in England and part of Wales completed in 1086 )  as Wdefort. The name is Old English and means 'ford in or by a wood'. The ford refers to a crossing of the River Roding.
Walking to the end of Snakes Lane East I found the crossing to which the name refers.

This is known as Woodford Bridge. The Roding river still runs beneath the bridge although there was not much water flowing through today. Looking in the other direction is a view of Roding Valley Park.

Above the bridge is this large roundabout with the motorway M11 thundering over the road. The ancient parish of Woodford consisted of 4 villages: Church End (now South Woodford), Woodford Green, Woodford Wells and the original settlement at Woodford Bridge situated beside the important river crossing of the Saxon London to Newmarket Highway.

 Walking under the motorway I came across the sign for the village of Woodford Bridge.

This Victorian water pump was saved when the 1771 bridge was replaced in 1962 and has been returned to the site of the ancient river crossing.

Walking back towards the station I passed a large green park with many mature trees which makes you aware  that we are still close to Epping Forest.

Close to the station I walked passed this pub. I think this is the third pub called The Railway Tavern that I have seen close to a Central Line station!

There is a subway taking you beneath the railway lines to the other side of the station.

This side of the station looks greener. In fact just across the road from the station is Pankhurst Green, named after Sylvia Pankhurst (1882-1960), the suffragette. She came to live in Woodford in 1924 - 1956. She was the second daughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, the founder of the Suffragette movement.

Across the road from the Green is The Broadway with its reataurants, shops and cafes.

 Snakes Lane connects Woodford Bridge to the South of the station and Woodford Green on the North.

At the end of Snakes Lane West you come onto The High Road with more shops, banks, restaurants and pubs. It used to just be a forest track linking London with Epping Heath and was such until the 17th cent. By the end of the 16th cent large houses were being built. There are three significant surviving buildings in Woodford Green: Hurst House, Highams and Harts House.

Hurst House was known originally as The Naked Beauty and is probably the oldest surviving building in the area. It is believed the name referred to a statue in the garden of the house. The central core of the building was built around 1714 by a brewer, Henry Raine. The house was lived in by wealthy city merchants until the late 19th cent when it became Woodford House School. Before the first World War the house became a private residence again.


This is Highams, designed by William Newton and was erected in 1768 by Anthony Bacon MP and was for many years the Walthamstowe Manor House of Higham Bensted. The building was used as a temporary hospital during the First World War before becoming Woodford County High School.

The third significant building is Hart's House. In 1617 Sir Humphrey Handforth, Master of the Wardrobe to James I, built a mansion called Harts on this site. It was rebuilt in 1816 and is used today as a nursing home.

This was once the gatehouse at the entrance of Harts House. This Grade II listed building is now a private residence with lots of car memorabilia in the garden.

Close to the Hart's estate is a large, modern fire station built in 1992

Back on the High Road is the Castle Hotel, a former posting house which has been here for 200 years. The third storey and ornate cast iron balcony are late 19th cent and were probably added when the building was enlarged to cater for the huge number of day trippers visiting the forest nearby.

This large building dominates the corner of the High Road and Snakes Lane West. Once a bank, it is now a Greek restaurant. The High Road has quite a mixture of buildings interspersed with green areas and ponds.

Shops across the road from one of the ponds on the High Road

This building was once Woodford Green Working Men's Club. Originally built as a chapel for independent Wesleyans in 1869. A replacement church was built elsewhere and in 1904 was bought by Sir J Roberts who presented it for public use. In 2005 it was converted to residential accommodation.

Elm Terrace built in 1873

This is a view of All Saints church in Woodford Wells which is one of the original four  villages that make up Woodford.

At the other end of the Green stands a bronze statue of Sir Winston Churchill, who was the Member of Parliament for Woodford from 1924-1964.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Buckhurst Hill

This is the 5th station on the Central Line when travelling westwards. A railway station opened here in 1856 followed by a rapid expansion in the population. By 1871 six hundred new houses had been built using land from the Epping Forest. This practice of building on Forest land was stopped by The Epping Forest Act 1878.

The station was transferred to the London Underground during the 1935-40 when the line was electrified and became part of the Central line, although due to WW2 this didn't happen until  November 1948.
The station continues to change as on the day I visited it was the last day that you could buy a ticket from a staffed ticket office, from now on it will have to be done by card. It wasn't made clear though if a member of staff would be on hand if there was a problem with the barriers recognising your ticket!

This pub was built shortly after the railway arrived in Buckhurst Hill in 1856. Local records show that up to 20,000 visitors would arrive from London each Sunday to visit tea rooms and a local pleasure garden but I'm sure many would have called in here.
It is a very short walk from the station to the village High Street. This building is now called The Olde Bakehouse. No longer a bakery or shop of any description but a place of residence.

As you can see from the sign and date above the building, this is a Victorian village with names to match - Queen's Road, Alfred Road, Palmerston Road, Gladstone Road, Victoria Road and so on.
It was obvious from the type of shops on the street that this is an affluent area. I saw no charity shops or pound shops and only one betting shop. Instead there were numerous eating places and independent shops.

Restaurant ?-No, it's an award winning hair salon.

The tower of the old St James' church still remains and is attached to a block of flats.
The remains of a grotesque on the wall of the tower.

Not far from the top of the High Street you are made aware of how close you are to Epping Forest.This is the oldest part of Buckhurst hill with The Green and St John's Pond

Surrounding the pond are these Victorian houses.

Across the road from the pond is St John's Church which you enter via the memorial gate. Built in 1837 as a chapel of Ease ( a church building that is not the parish church).

A selection of interesting gravestones found in the churchyard.

A little further along the High Road is this Pub which used to be known as 'The Bald Faced Stag' and was first recorded in 1725 but is likely to be much older than that. In 1752 it was here that John Swan and Elizabeth Jeffery were hanged for shooting Elizabeth Jeffery's uncle.

Walking back towards the station I saw many large houses.

Amongst the streets of large houses I stumbled across this terrace of small Victorian cottages.

 Just across the road is a large area used for allotments.The trees in the background are part of Epping Forest.

It is not a large village and is surrounded by forest and fields.

Returning to the station I walked through part of the Forest