Thursday, February 4, 2016

Newbury Park

This is the 14th station out of 49 that I have visited as I travel East to West on the Central Line. It is still part of the 6.5 mile loop of the line.
As I walked up the stairs(no escalators or lifts here) I was thinking about the two award winning buildings that I wanted to find, a bus shelter and a synagogue. I couldn't understand why a bus shelter had been awarded Grade II status. In my head I had an image of the small bus shelters I see everywhere. I couldn't have been more wrong.

In fact, as I left the station wondering which direction I should go first to find the shelter, I suddenly realised I was standing beneath the bus shelter.

I had to walk a distance from it to obtain a decent photo of this massive, barrel-shaped vaulted structure. Now I could see why it had won an award! Designed by Oliver Hill in 1937 it couldn't be built until many years later, after WW2 in 1949. Built from concrete, the roof is covered with copper and the original plan was to rebuild the Underground station as well but that had to be called off due to post war financial restrictions.

At the side of the structure is this plaque from 1951 when it was given  the Festival of Britain Award for Merit.

A short walk from the station along the very busy A12 you come to the Ilford War Memorial in a small park. The land for the memorial was purchased in the 1920s after a public appeal to build a memorial for those local men who lost their lives in WW1. It was decided in a referendum that most of the money raised should go to building a hospital ward for children and a memorial hall to hold all the names of the service men and women who lost their lives. The memorial Hall would then become the entrance to the hospital. (This memorial commemorates the local service men who lost their lives in both World Wars.)

It was another five years before the  Hall and the children's ward were completed. The Hall was never used as an entrance and in 1993 when the hospital closed not many people knew the historical significance of this small building. However in 1995 a case was successfully made for it to become a Grade II listed building and it is now used each year during the Remembrance day services.

This old primary school was converted to a synagogue in 1981. Before that services were held in Barnardo's Church (see Barkingside post).

Walking away from the busy roads and station I once again found lots of green space with a playground for the children and beyond that, agricultural land.

Until the 1850s this was part of Hainault Forest and the trees came down to this area known as Aldborough Hatch. In 1851, an act of Parliament allowed 100,000 trees to be felled and farm land was laid out, as well as roads and housing,  for labourers.

Aldborough Hatch Farm House was built between 1855 and 1857 after the clearing of the Forest. There was a hatch (gate) leading into the forest.

This was originally an 18th cent building attached to a large farmhouse. However when the farm house was demolished in the early 1800s the chapel was left as it was the only place for local people to worship. Once St Peter's church was built a short distance away the chapel was no longer used and fell into disrepair. New owners restored the property including the chapel. As a private residence it is no longer open to the public.

I continued walking along the path enjoying the large skies on my left.

At the end of the footpath I came across St Peter's Church. I had read that the Portland stone from the first Westminster Bridge was used to build this church. The first Westminster Bridge was replaced in 1862 by the same contractor who had been commissioned to build St Peter's so it made sense to reuse the stone. As I was photographing the church a couple directed me inside saying that it would be closing in a couple of minutes. I hadn't realised that it was open to visitors for 2 hours on a Mon and Wed  morning. So for once I was in the right place at the right time.

I quickly entered and introduced myself to Ron Jeffries who was there to show visitors round and answer any questions they might have. Ron has been a member of the church since 1944  at the age of 11. As a child he had a terrible stutter but this would disappear when he sang so he was desperate to join the choir. It was here he met his wife who  joined the choir a few years later much to the annoyance of the boys.

Ron told me much about the history of the church which he has documented but unfortunately for me the pamphlet is out of print. Ron was the font of all knowledge when it came to the church and spent  quite some time taking me round. I'm only sorry I can't remember all the details.

Looking towards the altar and the hanging cross which caused much controversy when it was first hung in the church.
This beautiful organ was given to the church by Charles and Bessie Painter in 1893 in memory of their son who died aged 6 months.

The organ has been used in a painting by Sir Frank Dicksee called 'Harmony' which is now in the Tate Britain Gallery.

This beautiful statue is titled 'And other sheep I have' by Anthony Foster (1909-1957)

Leaving the church by the lych gate, I walked a little further along Aldborough North Road as far as

Aldborough Hall Farm, rebuilt in 1857, part of the estate of Aldborough Hatch

 which was divided in 1668 and part sold to the Crown in 1828. The estate was passed to Ilford Borough Council in the 1930s. Looking over into the farmyard I was surprised to see a peacock looking like the king of the castle.

Next door to the farm is the Dick Turpin pub which started off as a beer house in a cottage on the farm. This present building dates from 1912 although it suffered damage in 1944 when it was hit by a V2 rocket but parts of the original structure still remain.

On the way back to the station I found the other award winning building I was looking for, the South West Essex Reform Synagogue. It has a circular prayer hall lit by small circular windows set into the wall.

Then back to the station and home.


  1. Just checked out the last two posts, never cesses to amaze me there are parts of London that are so rural. Do like that church and the organ is something else

  2. A nice post, the concrete busstation is looks very modern for those times it was built, reminds me a bit of Amsterdam Central indeed:).

  3. How lucky you were to find the church open and someone knowledgeable to show you around. I have to keep reminding myself that these stations are in London as the photos seem so rural.

  4. Lots of interesting stuff about this town. The Church is a beauty and what luck to catch it open. I don't think much of the award winning synagog.

  5. That's an area I have never been ! The shelter is very impressive ! It looks so modern although the idea stems from 1937 ! I wished I could be with you on these excursions how interesting !

  6. The fact that people know the pub was hit by a V2 is remarkable - people have very long memories about some things.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  7. Wow, you really were in the right place at the right time. What an interesting gentleman to walk you around this beautiful place. And the station is worthy of the award, for sure. I'm glad they were also able to get the entrance building listed ; those memories and those brave men/boys definitely shouldn't be forgotten

  8. Somehow I missed reading this entry. Another fascinating walk about.


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