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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.