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The work of a Victorian artist and historian who played a role in setting up Havering’s local history collection has gone on display this week.

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The exhibition at Central Library shows the prints, paintings and sketches of Havering by Alfred Bennett Bamford, from Romford.

The sketches he left to the library include the Golden Lion in Romford from 1889; Bower House in Havering-atte-Bower from 1889; St Andrew Church in Hornchurch from 1876; and Bretons House in South Hornchurch from 1889.

Alfred worked as an artist and art teacher at Camden School of Art. He was also a keen local historian and lectured on Havering’s history.

In 1903 he wrote a letter to Romford Urban District Council (which later became Havering Council) saying that “as old Romford was disappearing, bit by bit,” the council should start collecting views, portraits and maps of the town. A committee was set up to organise this collection.

In 1930 he donated a number of his own original watercolour paintings and sketches to Romford’s first library at its opening, and in 1934 he donated books to it.

Cllr Andrew Curtin, cabinet member for culture, towns and communities, officially unveiled the new permanent wall display.

He said: “Bamford gives us a window on life in Havering during the late 19th and early 20th centuries - a time of great change in the area with rapid population growth, urbanisation and the decline of old agricultural estates.

“I hope many people enjoy this exhibition. Bamford’s work is a useful resource for historians and art-lovers, and is very enjoyable to look at.”

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