North Street began life as a quiet Romford backwater

PUBLISHED: 16:59 22 April 2017

A busy corner by the Golden Lion in 1906. Picture: A Century of Romford by Brian Evans

A busy corner by the Golden Lion in 1906. Picture: A Century of Romford by Brian Evans


Hundreds of people walk up and down it every day know little of its history. Prof Ged Martin looks at the story of North Street

North Street Romford is not Britain’s finest streetscape, but it has some interesting history.

The building of the ring road in 1970 cut the old North Street in two. The southern end is now part of the pedestrian area.

In 1880, a local historian claimed it had once been called Woolford Street, but this can’t be confirmed.

Until the 19th century North Street was Collier Row Lane, still the name for its extension across Eastern Avenue, which was built in the 1920s.

Compared with High Street and the market, it was a quiet backwater.

Just behind the Golden Lion, the vicarage stood in shady gardens. The vicar moved out in 1909.

On the west side, now under the ring road roundabout, stood Roger Reede’s almshouses. Founded in 1482 for five poor men, they were built in a field called Joyes Mead, alias Hoo Croft. In 1959, they were relocated to nearby Church Lane, where there are now 38 units.

At the opposite edge of the roundabout was the Congregational church. Critics of the Anglican Church founded a chapel here in 1717 – on the edge of town.

In 1823, the Congregationalists erected a handsome building, with a classical facade. They moved to a larger church in South Street in 1877. In 1909, the old building became the first home of the Romford Recorder. It was demolished around 1934.

Tall trees along the east side of North Street screened Marshalls, one of Romford’s country mansions.

Ornate gates opened on a driveway, now The Avenue. The house was replaced by a school in 1959, but the area had been developed from 1924, with comfortable streets like Havering Drive.

There was still enough spare ground to build Romford’s 12,000-square metre bus station in 1953. One of the district’s earliest – and best – examples of modern architecture, it demonstrates North Street’s role as a local transport hub.

There are stories to three turnings off the west side of North Street. Como Street began in Victorian times as a short cul-de-sac. Sometime around 1900, it was extended to Mawney Road, with impressive terraces along an elegantly wide road.

A glimpse of old Romford, Brooklands Lane led to Stickleback Bridge, a plank footbridge over the Rom.

Opposite the bus garage, Brooklands Approach once gave access to a football and speedway stadium, home of Romford football club (“the Boro”).

One of England’s leading non-League sides, the ambitious Boro invested in a stadium with room for 25,000 spectators as part of a drive to join the Football League.

Automatic promotion into Division 4 (now League 2) only started in 1986. Sadly, the Boro had run into financial trouble a decade earlier, and Brooklands was sold.

You can still see the concrete boundary walls among the light industry.

At a 1953 cup tie, 18,000 fans had streamed along Brooklands Approach – Romford’s Wembley Way!

Boutiques and restaurants avoided North Street, because the Rom was liable to flood.

In 1975, buses ploughed through water a foot deep.

Remedial work has eased the flow, but as the Rom runs through culverts in the town centre, there’s still a danger of flooding upstream during heavy rain.

Once a country lane leading to Collier Row, nowadays North Street is the link between downtown Romford and the A12.

Related articles


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Romford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Romford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Romford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Romford News Stories


A top cop has vowed not to take his foot off the gas in a battle against burglaries after declaring a recent crime wave “under control”.

Yesterday, 18:10

Sky customers in Romford have been warned that they will be without internet for eight hours tonight.

Yesterday, 17:55

Hot tempreatures of 24 degrees didn’t deter these Havering London Marathon runners who took on the 26.2 mile challenge in record heat.

Yesterday, 16:06

A secondary school in Upminster has been placed in special measures by Ofsted.

Yesterday, 15:00

A Romford firm that has seen a £104million profit turnover in the last year has placed in the top 20 of a league table that ranks Britain’s private companies.

Yesterday, 13:38

Hundreds of patriotic residents flocked to Romford Market at the weekend to celebrate St George’s Day.

Yesterday, 13:00

Nearly a third of people in the borough don’t manage thirty minutes of exercise a week, a national sport survey has shown.

Yesterday, 11:13

A man has been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm after it is believed that he assaulted a 30-year-old man before the victim was hit by a bus.


There are many reasons people decide to join a gym. Some want to pack on muscle for strength, train for endurance, or lose weight. But did you know it also does wonders for your mental health? Two members at Romford’s Better Gym in the Market Place talk about their personal fitness journey and the importance of replacing bad habits with good ones.

Sean Watson, director at the family-run St Michaels Homes which runs Howard Lodge and Dudbrook Hall, answers the common questions people have about care homes.

NC Construction Services Ltd, based in Hornchurch, Essex, is branching out into residential home improvements and refurbishments after many years working in the commercial sector, in direct response to potential clients looking to add space and value to their property.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

News from your area


Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now