Nostalgia: Havering streets named after real people

Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their family. Victoria Road and Albert Road in Romford owe their n

Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their family. Victoria Road and Albert Road in Romford owe their names to them. Picture: The Royal Collection - Credit: Archant

The builders who made modern Havering liked to name streets after family members.

Prof Ged Martin

Prof Ged Martin - Credit: Archant

We’ll probably never know the real people behind Frederick Road in South Hornchurch, Percy Road, Romford, Gidea Park’s Eugene Close, Patricia Drive in Hornchurch, David Drive in Harold Park, Helen Road and Michael Gardens in Ardleigh Green – or Martin Road in Rainham.

When Elm Park streets were laid out in the 1930s, whoever named Brian Close could not have foreseen an England cricket captain called – Brian Close.

But some names can be decoded. Romford’s Albert Road must commemorate Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, who died suddenly in December 1861. Clues? Well, it’s off Victoria Road, and one of the older properties bears the date “1862”.

Alfred Douglas Hamilton was a distant cousin of the Scottish grandee, the Duke of Hamilton. Around 1900, he created two streets at Harold Wood – Douglas Avenue and Hamilton Drive.

Samuel and Edward Jutsum were listed among local farmers in 1848. Their unusual surname comes from Devon. They did not stay in the area for long, but Jutsums Lane, on Romford’s western fringe, remembers them.

John Heaton of Bedfords is recalled in Heaton Avenue, Straight Road. An experimental farmer, he was hailed by a breathless admirer in 1816 as the first man in Havering to grow mangelwurzels (a type of root vegetable). Everybody has to be famous for something.

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By contrast, Squirrels Heath Road at Harold Wood was known as Ropers Hill until the 1920s, after the Roper family who farmed on the site of Redden Court School. The name did not survive.

Around the former Hornchurch aerodrome, fighter pilots from the two world wars are remembered – Robinson, Sowrey and Tempest from 1914-18, Mungo Park, Deere, Malan, Bader and Tuck among the heroes of the Battle of Britain – along with the head of Fighter Command, “Stuffy” Dowding.

One technique used by developers building near a stately mansion was to borrow the names of former owners, the more aristocratic the better.

Ex-owners of Hare Hall (now Royal Liberty School) gave swish-sounding names to Gidea Park streets – Wallenger, Pemberton, Castellan, Severn.

When building began in Upminster in 1909, developers used names like Deyncourt, Engayne and Branfill to add cachet to their new homes.

But for 99 years from 1543, Upminster Hall had belonged to a family called Latham. That didn’t sound aristocratic, and so “Latham” was scratched off the map and replaced with the much posher “Waldegrave”. The famous Victorian Society hostess, Lady Waldegrave, had lived at Navestock, but Navestock is not Upminster.

The Lathams eventually got posthumous revenge, in the modern gated development, Latham Place, where houses sell for over a million pounds.