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Havering road names inspired by heroes of the past

PUBLISHED: 12:00 20 August 2016

Flight lieutenant Eric Lock, top-scoring ace of the Battle of Britain with Hornchurch's No.41 Squadron.

Flight lieutenant Eric Lock, top-scoring ace of the Battle of Britain with Hornchurch's No.41 Squadron.

Richard C. Smith/Hornchurch Streets of Heroes

They say every street has a story to tell and a rich, proud, fascinating and sometimes moving history lies behind some of those situated across the borough.

The lives of the founder of a famous American state, a scientist, heroes of the First and Second World Wars have inspired some of the name choices.

Brian Evans, director and volunteer of Havering Museum, High Street, Romford, along with members of the museum’s reference library, was given the honour of suggesting some titles.

He said: “When new developments were built we were asked for suggestions on names by the planning department for Havering Council.

“Years ago, behind the bus station, there was a night club called Hollywood’s, They [the council] wanted to call the road Hollywood Boulevard but we wanted to retain some connection to Havering.”

Staff at the reference library suggested Atlanta Boulevard instead, after James Oglethorpe a British general who founded the colony of Georgia, USA during the early part of the 18th century.

“He wasn’t born in the borough but came to live his last years in Cranham Hall,” added Mr Evans.

A memorial honouring the general is placed at All Saints’ church, The Chase, Cranham.

Derham Gardens, Upminster, built in 1926, pays homage to William Derham, the main rector of Upminster in the 17th century who made one of the most important scientific discoveries.

Mr Evans said: “He calculated the speed of sound from the top of the Saint Laurence’s church in Upminster.

“He watched a gun being fired a couple of miles away, saw the flash of the gun and worked out how long it took him to hear the sound.”

William, was in fact the first person to produce the earliest, reasonably accurate estimate of the speed of sound.

The amateur scientist also wrote to people from other parts of the country, such as Lancashire, to compare rainfall with that in Upminster.

Other parts borough can also lay claim to rich histories.

Yevele Way, Hornchurch, is named after Henry Yevele, the most prolific and successful master mason in late medieval England.

Born in 1320, Henry lived until the age of 80.

Between March 1357 and September 1359 he remodelled the Kennington manor of Edward, the Prince of Wales who was also known as the Black Prince.

Most famously, Henry was hired as “disposer” of the royal works at the Palace of Westminster and the Tower of London.

Mr Evans added: “He owned land in Wennington next to Rainham and in Averley.”

A two-bed flat in Tolbut Court, Lennox Close, Romford, can sell for as much as £200,000 but the history behind the name of the block is pricesless.

It is named after Edward Tolbut, the first station master of Romford Station.

Nearly 50 roads in Hornchurch are named after heroes who served out of RAF Hornchurch in the First and Second World Wars.

“After the airfield closed in 1962 the airfield was knocked down,” said Richard C. Smith, author of Hornchurch Streets of Heroes.

“A new housing estate was built and some of the roads were named after famous pilots.”

Richard Hillary, a Second World War airman, flew Spitfires against enemy aircrafts and even survived a crash landing himself, going on to write wartime bestseller The Last Enemy.

He inspired the choice behind Hilary Close, Hornchurch, but the sign is actually misspelt without the extra “l”.

Hornchurch can also proudly boast that one of its fighter pilots - Eric Lock - became the top scoring ace during the Battle of Britain.

Eric was the choice behind Locke Close also mispelt with an “e”.

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