Facts about Ilford
Ilford straddled the important road from London to Colchester. The Middlesex and Essex Turnpike Trust controlled and maintained the road from 1721. The River Roding was made navigable for barges as far as Ilford Bridge from 1737. Ilford remained largely rural until its expansion in the 19th century.
This brought about brickworks, cement works and coal yards to service the new buildings, largely centred on the River Roding. In 1839, a railway station was opened on the line from Romford to Mile End. The early businesses gave way to new industries, such as papermaking and services such as steam laundries and collar making, to provide for the new commuting class created by the railway.
Ilford is a large town in East London, situated in the London Borough of Redbridge. Identified as a metropolitan centre in the London Plan, Ilford is classed as a significant commercial and retail centre for the wider south-east of England. It had a population of 168,168 in 2011, compared to 303,858 for the entire borough.
Ilford’s commercial and retail centre is surrounded by extensive residential development. Historically a small rural settlement in southwest Essex, its strategic position on the River Roding and the London to Colchester road made it a coaching town. The arrival of the railway in 1839 accelerated its growth, and in the 20th century, Ilford significantly expanded and increased in population.