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The History of Hornchurch in the Essex, East of London.

What has changed in the last 45 years?

I moved to Hornchurch in the mid 1970s, all the way from Romford! There was an Odeon cinema then, later a Bingo Hall, and now a LIDL in 2018. Sainsburys did not exist, the Queens Theatre was an old building in Station Lane. The old Hornchurch airfield was still not built upon, and the St Leonards Children's Homes (Shoreditch) still existed. The last two are now massive housing developments.

All the Pubs have taken on modern names, and various new bars have opened, eg J D Wetherspoon; and Hornchurch Town centre is now full of restaurants, making it a better place for evening entertainment. It lacks the daytime shopping value, though, with local supermarkets stealing the trade from all of the local shops, leaving many as charity shops.

The area around Roneo Corner, which historically was known as Havering Well, is now a rather large Tescos & B & Q, shame about that.

Emerson Park, a haven of very large expensive houses is slowly being replaced with slightly smaller expensive houses. I believe they call this infill.

Lastly, the new traffic operation system in Hornchurch is now so well tuned, that pedestrians can cross the road safely, when the traffic does stop at 'red lights', but the town is now a painfully slow area to drive through. Actually, it is a better pedestrian experience.

As an aside, Hornchurch is a really nice part of Essex / London to live. It is just inside of the M25 motorway, and therefore has good transport links, it is served by several local rail stations either British rail, or on the London underground; and has a generally good history for school attainment. But, it is still one of the cheaper areas of London to live, in comparison to other areas of London. I highly recommend the area.

There is also a welcome to be had at the large parish church of St Andrews, or any of the smaller daughter churches of St Matthews, Suttons Farm & St Georges, plus a whole range of other non-Church of England churches.

Sainsbury store in Hornchurch is quite an attraction, even though the old 'Fire Station' was burnt to the ground during conversion, as it was a listed building in the way of the car park. The car park has just changed to a two hour maximum stay, which is fair enough during the day. If you now wish to visit Hornchurch in the evening, and you park in an empty Sainsbury car park, again you are limited o two hours stay, and there is no means of topping this up except with an expensive car parking ticket! This should kill off the evening trade in Hornchurch. We definitely do not need two large Tesco superstores in the vicinity and a LIDL, probably a weak point of the local councillors who oversee the planning developments in the area; not that i am suggesting there is corruption in a local council. I am sure it happens everywhere.

The 'new' Queens Theatre, built in 1975? is brilliant. It ranks against the many BIG theatres in London, and has had many successes over the last thirty years. My favourites must be 'Tommy' by the Who, and secondly that of 'Godspell', followed closely by the 'Return from the Forbidden Planet;; but there have been many excellent performances during this period. BUT, see my note about parking in Sainsbury car park in the evenings, ridiculous.

We put on a regular Christmas Panto for the sunday school children of St Andrews parish, which were pretty good (this has now stopped). This has happened for at least the last twelve years, and often clashes with the Queens Theatre. I have to say, the Queens is more professional, but we are not far behind this professionalism. There have also been a few 'Passion Plays', roughly every five years. These put the film ' Passion of Christ' into the B film production, most definitely. The productions, entirely produced and cast amongst the local churches of various denominations, are a brilliant way of getting to know the other churches, e.g Baptist, Methodist and Catholic; but also to share the word of God & the story of Easter with a wider audience.


And Last updated on: Sunday, 22-Nov-2020 13:22:27 GMT