St Chad's Church
Chadwell Heath shown within Greater London
|OS grid reference|
|- Charing Cross||12 mi (19 km) SW|
|London borough||Barking & Dagenham|
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|UK Parliament||Dagenham and Rainham|
|London Assembly||City and East|
|Havering and Redbridge|
Chadwell Heath is a suburban area of East London, England. It straddles the boundary of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and the London Borough of Redbridge, and it is located 12 miles (19 km) northeast of Charing Cross. The small agrarian hamlet of Chadwell Heath in the parish of Dagenham, Essex, developed on the London to Colchester road. It became a coaching stop and absorbed the neighbouring hamlet of Chadwell Street in the parish of Barking. Chadwell Heath station opened in 1864, connecting it to central London by rail. After the First World War the area developed as a residential suburb and formed the northern limit of the Becontree estate, causing an increase in population density. It has formed part of Greater London since 1965. Chadwell Heath is within the Romford post town and the London 020 telephone area code. It was the final residence of Eva Hart, survivor of the RMS Titanic, and a local pub is named after her.
The name 'Chadwell' is first recorded in 1254 as Chaudewell and means 'the cold spring'. The name was first applied to a settlement on the Barking side of the ancient Barking/Dagenham boundary and it was also known as Chadwell Street; 'Street' having the older meaning of a hamlet. In the 17th century the Blackheath Common in Dagenham parish was renamed Chadwell Heath. As the settlements merged the Chadwell Street name was lost in favour of Chadwell Heath.
The railway was constructed through the area from Romford and Ilford and in 1864 Chadwell Heath railway station was opened. It was the 'end of the line' for both the London tram system and later the electric trolley bus service from Aldgate. The trolley buses turned around at Station Road and Wangey Road.
Chadwell Heath formed a hamlet in the ancient parish of Dagenham, Essex. As Chadwell Heath grew it absorbed the neighbouring hamlet of Chadwell Street in the Chadwell ward of the parish of Barking. The Barking section of Chadwell Heath became part of the new parish of Ilford in 1888. This became Ilford Urban District in 1894. The Dagenham section became part of Romford Rural District in 1894. The parish was removed from the rural district and became Dagenham Urban District in 1926. During the 1920s and 1930s the local government arrangements of the area came under review and various proposals would have merged the two sections of Chadwell Heath into a single district, however this was not acted upon. Ilford was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1926 and Dagenham was incorporated in 1938. The arrangements of the area were reviewed again in the 1950s and 1960s. The whole area was considered to form part of the Greater London conurbation and in 1957 formed part of the review area of the Royal Commission on Local Government in Greater London. Following the review, in 1965 the London Government Act 1963 abolished the municipal boroughs of Dagenham and Ilford, and transferred their former area from Essex to Greater London, to form part of the new London Borough of Barking and the London Borough of Redbridge.
The London to Colchester Roman road caused some early 'ribbon' development while much of the rest of the area remained rural. Suburban growth commenced in 1900 and proceeded rapidly until World War I; increasing after the war.
The area suffered several bomb hits during World War Two. A large parachute mine also exploded causing extensive residential damage in Bennett Road destroying the school while a second failed to explode and its parachute became entangled in horse-chestnut trees near Chadwell Heath station. It didn't explode because it was cradled in very soft soil as the result of digging near Hemmings Bakery. It was found by Walter Wiffen, a train guard from Cedar Park Gardens on his way to work at the station early the next morning. He reported it at the police station which is now the Eva Hart pub and oversaw the evacuation of Cedar Park Gardens to bomb shelter at the corner of Wangey Road and the High Road. A V2 rocket landed on Blackbush Avenue killing several people and blowing out windows for half a mile around. Later, the local council replaced the windows with much more modern frames and the results provided an incongruous look to the older house designs. A heavy anti-aircraft battery was located east of Whalebone Lane North and traces of the concrete emplacements remain today. A VII Rocket destroyed two houses in Woodlands Avenue and damaged the houses that had been repaired after the landmine had that and destroyed the Whalebone Junior school in Bennett Road
Chadwell Heath is split between the Chadwell Heath and Whalebone wards in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and the Chadwell and Goodmayes wards in the London Borough of Redbridge, electing councillors to Barking and Dagenham London Borough Council and Redbridge London Borough Council.
The London Borough of Havering is to the east. Many major buildings, such as the local school and former police station (now the popular pub, the Eva Hart) actually lie in the London Borough of Redbridge. Royal Mail includes Chadwell Heath as part of a postcode district (RM6) of the Romford post town, however the town of Romford is in Havering.
The area has three allotments. One adjacent to St Chad's Park on Alexandra Road, another on Chadwell Heath Lane and also a plot in Little Heath next to the Eastern Avenue / A12 (next to the Hargreaves Scout centre).
Hemmings once had an enormous bakery building on land just north of Chadwell Heath station. This building was derelict by the 1970s and was later demolished for housing. For many years Bergermaster Paints maintained a large factory in Freshwater Road. Grove Road was also an industrial area with Wiggins Teape and Morganite Carbons Ltd among companies based there. These sites were sold in the 1990s and have also been redeveloped for housing. A teddy bear factory in the same area was the site of the alleged murder of Terry 'Teddy Bear' Eve and others in the 1970s. The esoteric publishing company founded by phrenologist L.N. Fowler had a shop and offices in the High Road in the 1970s and 1980s. This is now a fish and chip shop. Dairy Crest have an enormous creamery/dairy on Selinas Lane, which supplies all of London. Sunlight laundry are also a major employer as are Sainsbury's, Nicholls and Clarke, Tesco, local shops and central London.
Chadwell heath is served by London Buses services and National Rail from Chadwell Heath railway station which is currently being upgraded as part of the Crossrail Project. It has easy rail access to Liverpool Street Station in the City of London. London Buses routes that serve Chadwell Heath are the 62 from Marks Gate 'Billet Road' to Barking 'Gascoigne Estate'; 86 from Romford Station to Stratford Station; 173 from King George Hospital 'Goodmayes' to Beckton Station; 362 from King George Hospital 'Goodmayes' to Grange Hill Station; 368 from Chadwell Heath 'Police Station' to Barking 'Harts Lane' and night bus N86 from Stratford Station to Harold Hill 'Dagnam Park Square'.
Culture and community
Chadwell Heath was known for a strong community spirit, with a thriving white working class community, that consisted of English and Irish residents; many of whom worked for the number of factories that were in the area in the 1970/80s - located, roughly where Smyth's toyshop and Halfords now are. Many Dagenham residents moved to Chadwell Heath to become owner occupiers.
The Hinds Head pub on the corner of Station Road / Burnside Road closed in 2009. According to CAMRA, pubs are closing due to changing demographics, the smoking ban, supermarket subsidised alcohol and direct taxation on beers and spirits.
The area enjoys a number of gastro and general pubs. The Harvester Greyhound, the Moby Dick, the Rendezvous (formerly 'Chadwell Arms'), the Eva Hart (named after a survivor of the RMS Titanic), the Coopers Arms, the White Horse, and the Tolgate.
There are two working men's / private members clubs in the area. One on Grove Road (the 'Grove Social Club'), and adjacent to Sainsbury's there is the 'Cedar Club'.
There are two libraries in Chadwell Heath. One in the LB of Barking and Dagenham local authority boundary, called 'Robert Jeyes Library' on the High Road and one in the LB of Redbridge local authority 'The Keith Axon Centre' on Grove Road.
Archant, a leading local newspaper group covers the area in its 'Ilford Recorder', 'Romford Recorder' and 'Barking & Dagenham Post' newspapers. Because of Chadwell Heath's bizarre political position (across two 'London Boroughs' and three local authority 'Wards') there are often stories pertaining to the area in each of the three newspapers. As well as a local radio station Time 107.5, that covers Havering, Barking & Dagenham and Redbridge.
St Chad's Church (Church of England) stands on St Chad's Road, next to the White Horse public House. The Roman Catholic Church, St Bede's, is on Bishops Avenue, RM6 5RS, and forms part of the overall site of St Bede's Roman Catholic primary school (main entrance on Canon Avenue). Chadwell Heath has two baptist churches; one is found in the town centre on the High Road opposite Sainsbury's; the other in East Road at its junction with Havering Gardens. Other churches include the United Reformed Church (URC), and the Brethren Assembly in Wangey Road.
West Ham United's training ground is located in the area. Similar to many parts of East London and Essex, the area has a large "Hammers" following, and is also home to a number of supporters of Dagenham and Redbridge.
A number of famous sports people hail from the area. Former England rugby union legend Jason Leonard is from Chadwell Heath, and attended the town's Warren Comprehensive School. Former England and West Ham United player Tony Cottee and former WBO world boxing champion Colin MacMillan also attended Warren Comprehensive School. Portsmouth defender Nicky Shorey also went to the Chadwell Heath Foundation School. Boxer Frank Bruno, Cricketer Graham Gooch and Darts player Bobby George lived here, as well as footballer Mark Lazaridos (Leyton Orient). Former F1 driver Keith Jack Oliver was born here in 14 August 1942. Jim Peters, the marathon runner who gained worldwide fame when he collapsed and was unable to finish the marathon in the 1954 Empire Games in Vancouver, Canada, lived in Chadwell Heath during the 1950s.
There are two lawn bowls clubs in the area, 'Barley Bowls' and 'St Chad's Bowls Club'.
The area is home to a private lawn tennis club 'Mike Ellames' on the corner of the A12 and Hainault Road.
Adjacent to Warren Comprenhensive on Whalebone Lane there is a golf driving range which is popular among longer term residents.
Mary Wollstonecraft (born 1759), mother of 'Frankenstein' author Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly, lived briefly at a farm near Whalebone Lane until the family moved to Barking. Mary Wollstonecraft senior wrote 'Vindication of the Rights of Women' in 1792 and was a notable critic of the Whig MP Edmund Burke, a number of photographs of Mary can be seen in the Eva Hart.
Artist Henry Gillard Glindoni (1852–1913) moved to Chadwell Heath around 1891 and lived in a new villa on the corner of Mill Lane and Whalebone Lane North. This building is still there and his north-facing studio adjacent to the house is now a small shop. He painted local scenes and some of his work can still be seen in Valence House Museum.
A survivor of the RMS Titanic, Miss Eva Hart MBE, was a resident of Japan Road, Chadwell Heath, for many years until her death in 1996. Miss Hart had been a magistrate who dealt with alcohol licence applications. When the former police station was converted into a public house by Wetherspoon's it was named after her and remains so today. It contains several photographs of young Eva and her family. Immediately following the tragedy Miss Hart and her mother lived with her grandmother in Whalebone Grove. Apart from a short stay in Australia she was a lifelong Chadwell Heath resident and her funeral at St. Chad's church was packed because she was well known in the area.
Actress and singer Millicent Martin was born in Mill Lane in 1934 and went to school in Romford. She became famous for appearances in 'That Was The Week That Was' and 'Sunday Night at the London Palladium' on UK TV in the 1960s. Most recently she has played Daphne's mum in the US series 'Frasier'.
Comedian, actor and musician Dudley Moore used to refer to his mother's Baron Road home as 'Chadwell Heath' in television interviews but technically it was in Dagenham. He and his red Ferrari car were familiar sights in the area during the 1970s. He returned for his mother's funeral in 1981.
Author Michael J Merry, lived in Hall Road between 1940 and 1958. He attended Chadwell Primary School 1945/51 and Romford Royal Liberty School 1951/56. Singer and actor David Essex lived on the Marks Gate estate for 15 years. David Lane, better known as David Ian the theatre impresario lived in Brian Road and attended Chadwell Primary School from 1968 to 1972 and The legendary King Brothers Ian and Barry resided in Hickman Road before the locally famous Potters Office incident of 1976.
Actress Michelle Dockery, a 2nd generation Irish woman, was educated at the Chadwell Heath Foundation School. She is best known for stage appearances and for roles in Downton Abbey and The Hogfather.
Fishmonger Eric Ruffell formerly ran a shop in High Road, Chadwell Heath. For many years he held the Royal Warrant as supplier to HM The Queen by appointment. He also continued to price his fish in pounds shilling s and pence for some time after decimalization and became a local cause celebre through his appearance on the TV programme Nationwide. The shop was demolished during commercial redevelopment in the 1980s.
Chadwell Heath is often said to be the birthplace and hometown of British singer-songwriter, Jessie J (born Jessica Ellen Cornish) who made international success in 2011 with her single "Price Tag". However according to her autobiography, she was born and grew up in Seven Kings.
- Mills, A.D. (2001). Dictionary of London Place Names. Oxford.
- W.R. Powell (1966). "Dagenham: Introduction and manors, A History of the County of Essex: Volume 5".
- 'London Gazetteer', Russ Willey, (2006), Harrap Publishers
- Barking & Dagenham London Borough Council - Borough, Chadwell Heath ward and Chadwell ward maps
- Royal Mail, Address Management Guide, (2004)
- Transport for London - Buses from Chadwell Heath