Coventry Road Ilford Essex

Coventry Road is a street in Ilford, Essex, that was part of the Clements estate, a large area of land that was developed for housing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Clements estate was one of the factors that contributed to the rapid growth of Ilford as a suburban town.

The History of Coventry Road Cranbrook Park Estate Ilford

Coventry Road is one of the oldest streets in Ilford, dating back to the 18th century. It was originally part of a country lane that connected Ilford with Barking and Dagenham. The name Coventry Road comes from the Coventry family, who owned a large estate in the area called Cranbrook Park.

Cranbrook Park was a grand mansion surrounded by gardens and parkland. It was built in 1720 by Sir John Eyles, a wealthy merchant and politician. He bought the land from Sir Thomas Skipwith, who had inherited it from his uncle William Coventry. The Coventrys were prominent figures in the court of Charles II and James II.

Coventry Road Ilford Essex
Coventry Road Ilford Essex

Here are a couple of images from the house I grew up in. Most of Ilford in Essex was built up around the late 1800s, during the Victorian style of architecture.

The Eyles family lived in Cranbrook Park until 1789, when they sold it to John Calvert, another rich merchant and politician. He enlarged and improved the house and grounds, adding a lake, an icehouse, a grotto and a temple. He also built several cottages along Coventry Road for his workers and tenants.

In 1819, Calvert died and left Cranbrook Park to his son Charles Calvert. He was an eccentric and reclusive man who rarely left his estate. He spent most of his time collecting books, paintings and curiosities. He also had a passion for astronomy and built an observatory on top of his house.

Charles Calvert died in 1852 without any heirs. His estate was put up for auction and bought by Samuel Gurney, a banker and philanthropist. He demolished most of the old buildings on the site and built a new mansion called Valentines House. He also renamed the estate Valentines Park.

Gurney lived in Valentines House until his death in 1882. His widow Catherine Gurney continued to live there until 1899, when she sold it to the local council for £36,000. The council opened Valentines Park to the public as a recreational space.

Meanwhile, Coventry Road underwent significant changes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As Ilford grew into a suburban town, many new houses were built along the road to accommodate the increasing population. Some of these houses were part of Cranbrook Park Estate, a development project that aimed to create a modern residential area with spacious gardens and amenities.

Cranbrook Park Estate was launched in 1901 by George Sherrin, an architect who designed many buildings in Ilford. He bought several plots of land along Coventry Road from various owners and divided them into smaller lots for sale. He also laid out new streets such as Cranbrook Road, Wellesley Road and St Albans Road.

Sherrin designed some of the houses himself but also allowed other architects to contribute their own styles. As a result, Cranbrook Park Estate has a diverse range of architectural features such as bay windows, gables, porches and turrets.

The Clements Estate

The Clements estate was owned by Sir Edward Henry Pearce Edgcumbe (1824-1899), who inherited it from his uncle John Edgcumbe (1774-1851), a wealthy banker and politician. The estate covered about 500 acres of land south of the High Road, between Ilford Lane and Green Lane. It included several farms, such as Clements Farm, Uphall Farm, Loxford Farm and Mayfield Farm.

In 1879, Sir Edward decided to sell most of his estate for building purposes. He retained some land around his mansion, Ilford Hall, which stood near Ilford Lane until it was demolished in 1923. The rest of the estate was bought by various developers, such as Aaron Withers and A. Cameron Corbett.

Coventry Road was built mainly between 1880 and 1910. It consists of terraced houses that reflect the Victorian style of architecture. The houses have red brick facades with white stone dressings, bay windows and tiled roofs. They also have tiled front paths and outside toilets at the back.

Some notable buildings on Coventry Road include:

  • No. 2: The Ilford and Valentines Park Synagogue, founded in 1927 by Jewish residents who moved to Ilford from East London.
  • No. 18: The former home of William Morris (1834-1896), a famous poet, artist and socialist who lived here briefly in 1848.
  • No. 32: The former home of John Logie Baird (1888-1946), a Scottish inventor who pioneered television technology and made his first public demonstration here in 1925.

Coventry Road Today

Coventry Road is still a residential street that retains much of its original character and charm. It is part of the Valentines Park Conservation Area, which protects its historic features from unsympathetic alterations or demolition.

The History of Commonwealth Estate Ilford

Commonwealth estate Ilford is a residential area in East London, within the borough of Redbridge. It is located near Gants Hill, a suburb that has a central roundabout where five roads meet. The name Commonwealth estate comes from the fact that the roads in the area are named after cities of former British colonies, such as Aden, Colombo, Auckland, Toronto, Quebec, Melbourne and Perth.

I can remember I used to talk to my friend who lived next door through our bedroom walls.

Long before soundproofing and cavity insulation was thought of. Also every house had a lovely tiled front path, I always remembered that.

How did Commonwealth estate Ilford come to be?

The origins of Commonwealth estate Ilford can be traced back to the 19th century, when Gants Hill was a rural hamlet on the edge of Hainault Forest. The name Gants Hill probably derived from the le Gant family, who were stewards of Barking Abbey in medieval times. Alternatively, it may have come from gnats, which were abundant in the area.

Coventry Road Ilford Essex. The History of Commonwealth Estate Ilford.
Coventry Road Ilford Essex

The second image clearly shows the outside toilet each house had, just adjacent to the kitchen door. Cold in the winter and not for those who don’t like spiders!

In 1880, Gants Hill Cottage was built on Perth Road by Mark Gibbard, a builder who had leased land from Ilford Hospital. He also developed Spittel Field as a brickfield and built houses along Ilford Lane and Green Lane. These were some of the first developments that transformed Gants Hill from a rural to an urban area.

In 1903, the Central line was extended to Newbury Park and later to Hainault. This made Gants Hill more accessible and attractive for commuters and residents. In 1921-22, Aaron Withers and A. Cameron Corbett bought parts of the Clements estate south of High Road and built more houses there. They named some of the roads after places they had visited or invested in overseas.

In 1933-34, another part of the Clements estate north of High Road was bought by J.W. Hobbs and developed as Cranbrook Park Estate. He also named some of his roads after foreign cities or countries.

Today, Coventry Road is still one of the most attractive streets in Ilford, offering a glimpse into its rich history and heritage.

11 thoughts on “Coventry Road Ilford Essex”

  1. I grew up a bit further east on the other side of the tracks in Lynford Gardens – we moved away back in the early 1970’s but the family who bought our old house still have it (as in 2018) and have not changed it a bit since my Dad decorated it all those years ago..

  2. And the estate is no where near as well kept as it used to be. Strange, as we are orders of magnitude wealthier

  3. They I believe are actually Edwardian, our in Toronto Rd Is 1911. There are fascinating restrictive covenants – no fairground equipment. Originally Empire estate, renamed to Commonwealth at some point. V2 exploded in Brisbane Road near Wellesley

    • I know my infants / junior school, Christchurch was built in 1898 as the weather vane proudly displayed that. So certainly that end of Ilford was developed in Victoria’s reign.

    • Hello Pauline, the houses are all Victorian, I went to Christchurch infants and junior school and that was built in 1898 (so the weather vane stated!) So anytime around then, 1898. I lived at number 128.

    • I come from Canning Town, but about 30 years ago my now husband, Ulf, came from Germany to work at Mattessons in West Ham. He rented a room in a house in Coventry Road.

  4. Not quite as ‘posh’ as Ilford, I lived in Colchester Ave, Manor Park (No.7) and yes, remember the outside lav and having to lag all the pipes with sacking in the winter with an icicle hanging off the roof right over the door. So huge that when it finally fell, it blocked the door to the lav and I dreaded it thinking if I was in there when it came down, I’d never be dug out. Also recall all the beautiful tiled front steps and paths – be worth a fortune these days! Think there were only 3 houses built without a bathroom – yes, No.7 was one. So, zinc bath, cleanest in first and dirtiest last! Always thought the roads in Ilford looked so grand compared to ours.

    • I lived in ‘posh’ Ilford![Ilford Lane,]and worked in Ilford Hill,’Balance Foundations’ Not far from Manor Park. Some of my relatives lived in Dersingham Avenue,and Grantham Road,Herbert Road, lots of them are in the cemetery nearby. we didn’t have a bathroom either! Ilford wasn’t THAT posh. My brother in law owned the Forest Gate Garage. I would love to hear more from you Marion.

  5. I used to buy my jeans from your shop back in 1981/82 !!! LOL and they were defo a tight-fit! ( remeber the make bull’)Strange thing was my son came home from a spphoing trip with his cousin and had bought 3 pairs of jeans from a small shop in Iford .yes it’s yours and it made me thinkback to the really lovely guy who owned the shop and spent so long making sure allwere happy with their jeans!Great Memories


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