The success of From Havering Village to Harold Wood put this historically neglected north-east corner of the London Borough of Havering on the map and inspired the residents of the area to contribute their own photographs and memories to the authors' original collection. The result, after 13 intervening years, is this second selection.
It follows the tour of the region encompassed in the first book, descending from Havering-atte-Bower, with its royal associations, to the vast post-war council estate of Harold Hill, before crossing the old Roman road into the Victorian settlement of Harold Wood. Included for the first time is the once tiny hamlet of Ardleigh Green, linked since medieval times to the old manorial lands of Redden Court.
This new collection captures the remnants of the quiet rural atmosphere of a centuries-old agricultural community, presided over by a village squire, and the stirrings of an urban society responding to the changes initiated by the industrial revolution and accelerated by the First World War. It witnesses the beginning of a universal education system, the expansion of railway and road networks to serve rapidly expanding suburbs, and the emergence of a new class of wealthy entrepreneur. Later, it documents the establishment of a secondary tier of education and the longer-term effects of the Second World War, a tragedy which gave rise to the development of the Harold Wood emergency hospital and the creation of a community where those dispossessed by the brutality of wartime could live and work. Both they and their descendants will find this fascinating assortment of photographs and memories an absorbing look back at times past, and will appreciate the strong sense of local identity that has made this second selection possible.