Search

History: Election caused real stink in Romford town

12:00 18 May 2014

Ludwigshafen Place; once the Loam Pond

Ludwigshafen Place; once the Loam Pond

Archant

Romford’s first elected local body took office in 1851.Called the Local Board of Health, its remit was to clean up the growing town.

Romford people were said to enjoy “the far off scented river Rom flowing through their town in the shape of an open sewer.”Romford people were said to enjoy “the far off scented river Rom flowing through their town in the shape of an open sewer.”

Driving forces behind its work were the vicar of St Edward’s, Archdeacon Grant, and High Street solicitor, North Surridge.

Surridge was Romford-born and a local patriot who wanted to tackle the town’s problems.

The arrival of the railway in 1839 had underlined Romford’s position as the local growth centre.

Off South Street, Eastern and Western roads were laid out by 1854. Houses were being built in Junction Road. Development of Victoria Road started about 1856.

More people meant more sewage. Unfortunately, Romford was short of sewers, and had nowhere for them to discharge – except the Rom.

The town already had problems. At the top of the market, the Loam Pond – now the site of Ludwigshafen Place – badly needed a clean-up.

In 1853, the Local Board of Health tried to divert drainage away from the pond so that it could provide clean drinking water. Eventually, the Loam Pond was filled in, about 1874.

Off the Market Place, narrow alleys were packed with people, living among overflowing drains, rotten vegetables and stinking garbage.

Did the town cheer on board members as they spearheaded the clean-up?Well, no. In 1853, four of the 12 board members were up for re-election.

Critics targeted two outgoing members, North Surridge, and his ally, Noah Dunnett, landlord of the Golden Lion.

Opponents, headed by North Street miller Edward Collier, issued a manifesto promising “to save public money, and not squander it away in new-fangled and extravagant notions”.

By “new-fangled and extravagant notions” they meant clean water and drains.

One of Collier’s team was P. Taylor, a London Road gardener. He probably had his own ideas about the disposal of sewage.

Surridge formed a rival ticket, whose manifesto was curt in dismissing the malcontents.

Promising they would “fearlessly support the true interest of the inhabitants”, Surridge’s team pledged to “carry out, with the strictest economy, those measures which were absolutely necessary for the health of the town”.

A lively election followed which, “to the regret of the more intelligent inhabitants”, resulted in a narrow victory for Collier’s candidates.

As one angry observer wrote, Romford people enjoyed the “privilege” of living “with overflowing cesspools at their doors” and “the far off scented river Rom flowing through their town in the shape of an open sewer”.

With Collier as chairman, Romford’s Board of Health continued to serve the people.

The next year, 1854, the rate collector was dismissed for embezzlement, and three more officials were sacked for misconduct during the 1870s. A sewage works opened at Oldchurch in 1861 but never worked efficiently.

In 1868, a resident of Havering Well – today’s Roneo Corner – sued the board over the stench from the Rom. This forced action. In 1869 the Local Board of Health bought Bretons, in South Hornchurch, for use as a sewage farm.

Bretons sewage works lasted exactly 100 years. Overloaded by suburban growth, it was closed in 1969. The site, now Bretons Outdoor Centre, still belongs to Havering Council, the Local Board of Health’s eventual successor.

Latest Romford News Stories

14:41
A taxi driver died after crashing into the bus stop in Station Lane, Hornchurch

A taxi driver has died and two passengers were injured after a car crashed into a bus stop.

Lisa Wright will be performing at the Havering Show this year.

As excitement builds for this year’s Havering Show two more performers have been announced.

10:00
A127 Ardleigh Green Bridge

Road users and nearby residents are preparing for 10 months of travel “chaos” as part of the A127 is set to become a single carriageway.

Yesterday, 10:08
Members of the Habbit Factory

A friendly and inclusive drama group are inviting children of all abilities to join.

Fri, 19:51
Travellers who set up camp in the closed park in OldChurch Road, Romford.

One man was arrested on suspicion of fly tipping and criminal damage as travellers were moved on from Oldchurch Park early this morning (Friday)

Fri, 18:29
Tony Cottee celebrates a goal for West Ham

West Ham “legend” Tony Cottee, will be visiting The Liberty Shopping Centre tomorrow for the opening of a betting shop.

Fri, 14:14
Officers line South Street as they prepare for revellers to leave Fiction nightclub

Sat in a police van, officers switch their gaze up and down Romford town centre watching for any disorder.

Fri, 13:59
Walthamstow Coroner's Court

A father-of-three whose body was found in a tree at a Romford school had a history of depression, an inquest has heard.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

News from your area

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Competitions

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All entrants can get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now