“Undiscovered Hornchurch” revealed in new documentary film

Grey Towers was one of the most important buildings in the history of Hornchurch, according to film maker Mike Jones.

The large country mansion is just one of the many buildings in Hornchurch that is explored in Mike’s latest documentary film called Undiscovered Hornchurch.

Mike said: “For me Grey Towers was one of the most interesting things that I found out during the making of the film.

“I didn’t realise it, and I don’t think many people do know about the important role that it played in the area.”

During World War One, the mansion was used as the Battalion Headquarters of the 23rd Royal Fusiliers, who were the first unit to be made up of sportsmen.

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In January 1916 Grey Towers was selected to be the first Command Depot for the New Zealand Contingent in England.

The 70 minute film also takes viewers from St Andrew’s Church on the hill down to the town centre and then up North Street and along to the old Hornchurch country houses of Langtons and Fairgytes.

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The film looks at the history of the Queen’s Theatre and Towers Cinema and Emerson Park,

Mike said: “I am really pleased with it.

“The only problem I had was that we ran out of space on the DVD and we could only do it in 70 minutes, I have not been able to touch on Elm Park.”

Mike decided to turn his camera to Hornchurch shortly after completing his film called Undiscovered Upminster a year ago.

The project saw him working with historians Tony Benton and Richard Moorey and he also had help from members of the public who provided him with old photographs of Hornchurch.

But the film wasn’t without its problems.

Mike said: “I started planning in early January but everytime I went to film it would rain and then I didn’t want to film when the roadworks were going on in Hornchurch so I had to wait for a while.”

Undiscovered Hornchurch is available at the Swan Bookshop in Corbets Tey Road, Upminster or online www.undiscoveredhornchurch.com

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