Facts about West Ham
West Ham History
A settlement in the area named Ham is first recorded as Hamme in an Anglo-Saxon charter of 958 and then in the 1086 Domesday Book as Hame. It is formed from Old English ‘hamm’ and means ‘a dry area of land between rivers or marshland’, referring to the location of the settlement within boundaries formed by the rivers Lea, Thames, and Roding and their marshes.
The earliest recorded use of West Ham, as distinct from East Ham, is in 1186 as Westhamma. The creation of Stratford Langthorne Abbey and the building of Bow Bridge over the Lea will have increased the prosperity of the area. The boundary between West and East Ham was drawn from the now lost Hamfrith Waste and Hamfrith Wood in the north, along Green Street down to the small, similarly lost, natural harbor known as Ham Creek.
West Ham is a district in East London, located 6.1 mi east of Charing Cross in the west of the modern London Borough of Newham. The West Ham electoral ward covers part of the central area of that borough. The area, which lies immediately to the north of the River Thames and east of the River Lea, was originally a manor in the county of Essex, then an ancient parish, and ultimately a county borough.
It had become apparent that local government in the parish of West Ham was not adequate to meet the needs of the area which was divided between the parish vestry, highway board, and the Havering and Dagenham Commissioners of Sewers. Problems centered on the provision of adequate paving, water supply, fire fighting, and control of development. In 1853 a group of ratepayers initiated moves to improve local administration.