Fairlop is a district of Ilford in the London Borough of Redbridge, just north of Barkingside. It mainly consists of fields, forestry and open land providing space for sport/ activity centres (Redbridge Sport Centre), a few houses, farmland and watersport/ fishing lakes (Fairlop Waters). It also has a tube station. A children's play center, Al's Adventure House, was part of the Fairlop Waters complex until its closure in the late 2000s.
History and origins of the name
The Fairlop Oak
The district took its name from an old oak tree, the Fairlop Oak, that stood in Hainault Forest when much of the area was covered in trees. The oak is said to have had a trunk sixty-six feet in circumference, from which seventeen branches issued, most of them measuring not less than twelve feet in girth. In the eighteenth century, a pump and block maker from Wapping, Daniel Day, would take his employees on an annual fair in the forest, using the oak as their rendezvous. The fair took place on the first Friday of July.
The Fairlop Fair
By the middle of the eighteenth century, the annual excursion to Fairlop had become one of London's most popular entertainments, and as many as a hundred thousand people being drawn through Ilford to the fair in the forest. As a result, the area became known as "Fair" (after the fair) followed by "lop" referring to the tree flourishing after part of it was used to make Daniel Day's coffin after he died in 1767. A Society of Archers - The Hainault Foresters - under the patronage of the Earl Tylney of Wanstead House met under the Fairlop Oak.
A legend has it that Queen Anne visited Fairlop during the fair. One of the songs sung at the fair was called "Come, come, my boys", in which one verse states:
|“||To Hainault Forest Queen Anne did ride,
And saw the old oak standing by her side,
And as she looked at it from bottom to top,
She said to her Court, it should be at Fairlop.
In June 1805, the oak tree caught fire, and by 1820 it was finally blown down. Its site is marked roughly at the boat house by the lake at Fairlop Waters. In nearby Fullwell Cross is a pub called the New Fairlop Oak.
In 1851, the local people complained so bitterly about the depredations caused by the local deer that the trees which had surrounded the great oak were all felled and the adjoining parts of the forest were converted into farmland.
In 1903 a station at Fairlop was opened on a new loop line that formed part of the Great Eastern Railway. In 1947 the line was taken over by the London Underground as part of the eastward extension of the Central line, and the station became Fairlop tube station.
Fairlop is only served by the Underground. No buses run along Forest Road at the momet, the area's main road. London Bus Route 462 is planned to run along Forest Road in spring 2015. The nearest buses are the 128, 150, 167, 169, 247, 275 and 462, all of which serve nearby Fullwell Cross.
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