The Woodford Historical Society


The Origins of The Society
John Galey traces the origins of the Woodford Historical Society “Between August 1931 and June 1933.
The Woodford Historical Society

Anniversary Celebrations
On 19th March 2007 we celebrated our Society’s 75th anniversary. We’ve come a long way since the first meeting at the Wilfrid Lawson Temperance Hotel in March 1932, when the talk at that meeting was entitled quite simply “Woodford”.

We celebrated this anniversary with a special exhibition of the Society’s archive collection. We were joined by the Mayor of Redbridge and other dignitaries. On sale, at a token cost of £1 to members, was an updated reprint of our most successful publication “Woodford – Village to Suburb”, first printed in 1982.

Peter Lawrence

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The Origins of The Society
John Galey traces the origins of the Woodford Historical Society “Between August 1931 and June 1933. The Woodford Times published each week, usually on its front page, old photos of Woodford. Sometimes these were accompanied by contemporary photos to show changes that had occurred. The interest these pictures and the accompanying articles aroused led to the formation of the Woodford Antiquarian Society, later called the Woodford Historical Society, in 1932.”

The Woodford Times April 8th, 1932 provides a detailed account of the inaugural  meeting convened by Mr. T. Edwards, ECC of Woodford Green and Cr. Walter Robins of South Woodford. Mr.Roebuck of the Walthamstow Antiquarian Society was invited to provide advice and guidance in the form of an address. He stressed the importance of such a society in the light of rapid social change in the area. Claiming that “Local customs are worth perpetuating at least in memory”, Mr. Roebuck also noted that by recording “the story of men and happenings of note” we can also establish links between local and global forces by keeping “a record in which we find the marks of those larger happenings without. Thus a place can be proud of its people and its local peculiarities.”

There was “unanimous agreement” that there should be a society and Mr. Roebuck suggested that the aims should be:

* “to publish from the outset”
* “for those members who preferred to hear rather than to read the local story, a sessional programme of well-chosen lectures should be arranged”
* “the organization of visits to places of antiquarian interest.”

It can be safely said that the society has fulfilled these objectives over the years, surpassing them in one important respect, namely the development of the archive collection currently housed at the Central Library Ilford under the care of Tudor Allen and his dedicated staff. We wish to thank these latter for the preservation of our documents and artefacts and the helpful service they provide.

The society recovered from a difficult period of low membership in the late 1940’s to become the active organisation that we now have to-day. Hopefully this will continue for a long time to come.


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Future Plans
We produce a Newsletter twice a year. In order to reduce postage costs the society is planning to deliver the Newsletter by email for those who wish to receive a full colour version. We are also developing our own website. In addition to our publications we are now producing a series of historical photographs and prints of Woodford through the ages.

To contact the SocetyTreasurer: Mike Ford. Email:  Tel: 020 8504 1375