The Road to Cranham – Part 1 South Side

It’s almost half a mile from the main Upminster crossroads eastwards along St Mary’s Lane to the parish boundary with Cranham and although this now forms a continuous stretch of shops and houses, a century ago the stretch of road looked very different and remained a tree-lined country lane with few buildings, much as it had in throughout the Victorian era.  The post is one of two that covers the development road once known as Cranham Lane – now St Mary’s Lane – and looks at the south side. Continue reading

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The hidden history of Harold Court

Where in Upminster parish was a building erected as a gentleman’s house, that became a children’s home, a “lunatic asylum”, TB sanatorium, local hospital, education college and now flats? Give up? It’s Harold Court, close to the northern extremity of the parish by the main Greater Anglia railway line. Continue reading

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Historic Upminster Hill

The stretch of St Mary’s Lane running westwards from the main crossroads towards Hornchurch, running down Upminster Hill to the River Ingrebourne at Upminster Bridge, is an area steeped in history, with the greatest concentration of old and listed buildings in the parish. What follows provides a summary of the history of those buildings that stand or stood on either side of this route. Continue reading

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Upminster’s Victorian Scandal: Rev P M Holden’s life and times

On this day, 19th January, in 1873, now 143 years ago, the congregation assembled as usual to worship at Upminster’s St Laurence Church and to hear the sermon of their Rector, the Reverend Philip Melancthon Holden, whose “fire & brimstone” orations were rarely dull. His sonorous voice and eloquent speech were a marked contrast to his predecessor, his aged uncle John Rose Holden, who had died 11 years before. But when Mr Holden entered the pulpit about 50 of the more influential members of the congregation abruptly arose and left the church. What on earth had prompted this public protest against their clergyman? Continue reading

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A walk down Corbets Tey Road

Earlier articles have looked at the history of the area of Upminster south of St Mary’s Lane, including New Place, High House, Hoppy Hall and Gaynes Park. This piece takes a look at the history of the other properties which stood, or in two cases still stand, along the east side of Corbets Tey Road from south of Byron Parade down to the stream which runs into Gaynes Parkway. Continue reading

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A village at war: Upminster 1914-18

St Laurence Church Hall

St Laurence Church Hall

When the newly completed St Laurence church hall had opened on 17 April 1914, “the result of a year’s labour”, few would have guessed that within four months it would be pressed into emergency service as a hospital as part of the war effort. Within a few days of the outbreak of war on 4 August 1914 a proposal to convert the new premises “into a convalescent home for the care of men discharged from hospital”, initially with twelve beds but with the capacity to expand to 20 beds if so required was put forward. Continue reading

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Going Up The Junction?

To folk of my generation the phrase “Up the Junction” conjures up distant memories of a controversial 1965 BBC play, starring Carol White (later of “Cathy Come Home” & “Poor Cow” fame), made into a film a few years later featuring a host of British stars including a young Dennis Waterman & Maureen Lipman. To a slightly younger generation it’s more evocative of Squeeze’s hit of the same name, which reached No.2 in the charts in 1978. But for future generations of Upminster folk it may well bring back memories of times spent in the former Essex Yeoman pub, which reopened on Wednesday 28th October as the rebranded “The Junction”. Continue reading

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The sorry legacy of Hoppy Hall

P1000385A Royal Mail sorting office, a BP Petrol Station and a car park bearing the name of Hoppy Hall are a sorry legacy for the site of one of Upminster’s oldest houses, whose grounds were graced by one of the majestic cedar trees which grew at many of Upminster’s grandest homes. And as Havering Council appears to have renamed the car park “Corbets Tey Parking Facility” it may be only a matter of time before the historic name Hoppy Hall disappears from Upminster entirely. Continue reading

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Upminster Court – final flourish of the great house

As you travel up Hall Lane, past the golf clubhouse at Upminster Hall on your right, just before you reach the roundabout with Avon Road, on your left stands the grand and recently restored Edwardian mansion of Upminster Court, overlooking the Ingrebourne Valley. Continue reading

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High House and its rich cast of characters

Have you ever wondered how Byron Parade in Corbets Tey Road came to be named after Lord Byron, one of Britain’s most famous poets? Or wanted to know what the site was before this 1930s shopping parade was built or who were the people who lived there?  Wonder no more! Read the rich and varied history of High House, Upminster and its occupiers. Continue reading

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