In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Ilford like this:
ILFORD (GREAT), a small town, a chapelry, and a ward in Barking parish, Essex. The town stands on the river Roding, and on the Eastern Counties railway, near Epping forest, 3½ miles ENE of Stratford; is within the jurisdiction of the central criminal court and the Metropolitan police; and has a station of the name of Ilford on the railway, a post office of the same name under London E, a police station, a reading room, a church, Baptist and Wesleyan chapels, a national school, and an endowed hospital with a chapel. ...
The church is a modern edifice, of white brick, in the lancet style; and has pinnacles at the corners, a large cross over the E window, and a tower with light spire. The hospital was founded, for lepers, in the time of Henry II., by an abbess of Barking; was reconstituted by Queen Elizabeth, for six poor men, and for a town chaplain; is an edifice of the 15th century, much modified by alterations and repairs; forms three sides of a quadrangle, with the chapel on the S side; is under the Marquis of Salisbury, as master and patron; and has an income of £65. The river Roding was made navigable to the town about the year 1738.The chapelry was constituted in 1836; included then BarkingSide, Aldborough-Hatch, Chadwell-Street, and a portion of Hainault Forest; and was reconstituted, to the exclusion of Barking-Side, in 1841. Rated property, inc. of Barking-Side, £24, 200. Pop., in 1861, exc. of Barking-Side, 3, 688. Houses, 750. The property is much subdivided. Fossil remains, comprising very large bones of oxen, horns and bones of stags, a spiral horn, 13 feet long, and the head, teeth, and bones of an elephant different from the elephants of Asia or Africa, were discovered, in 1812, in a field near the river Roding; and other fossil remains, including teeth and tusks of the hippopotamus, were found in a neighbouring field. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of London. Value, £430. Patron, All Souls College, Oxford. The vicarage of Aldborough Hatch is a separate benefice.-The ward is more extensive than the chapelry. Pop. in 1851, 3, 745; in 1861, 4, 523. Houses, 903.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Ilford has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Redbridge. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Ilford and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Ilford, in Redbridge and Essex | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 10th December 2013
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