Street Names E7

Street names in Forest Gate record a wealth of English history: literary figures, politicians and many others. Some roads bear the names of royal residencies or great houses. Still others record place names across the UK. A few recall more ancient local topographical features.

Forest Gate itself derives its name from a gate leading into Epping Forest, erected to prevent cattle straying from the Forest into the High Road. It was located close to the Eagle & Child public House. It never was a toll gate, and was demolished along with the keepers' cottage, in 1881. (A 'forest' is a royal hunting reserve, it will, of course, contain trees; any standing timber should more properly be referred to as a 'wood' or 'woodland').

The list is not exhaustive but it does give an indication of the breadth of street-naming as housing estates were developed in the 19th and early 20th Century. Sometimes a plot of land would be bought and houses built on it - the developer simply naming roads after their own place of origin.

 Literary Figures.

CHAUCER - Geoffrey, "the father of English poetry" and author who held various post under the King (1340?-1400).

COLERIDGE, Samuel Taylor, poet, philosopher and critic (1772-1834).

DUNBAR, William, Scottish poet "unrivalled in Scotland" and Franciscan Friar (c1460-c1520).

GOWER, probably John, poet and contemporary of Chaucer (c1325-1408).

HORACE, Quintus Horatius Flaccus. Roman poet and author of satires and letters (65-8 BC).

SKELTON, John, English poet of Diss, Norfolk (c1460-1529).

Statesmen and Politicians.

DISRAELI, Benjamin, earl of Beaconsfield; Politician and witty novelist. Entered Parliament 1837; was twice Prime Minister; secured half the share sin the Suez Canal project for Britain (1804-1881).

PALMERSTON, Henry John Temple, Viscount; statesman who held various government offices; became Prime Minister in 1855. Prosecuted the Crimean War; died in office (1784-1865).

SHAFTESBURY - Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of, statesman and philanthropist. He held various government offices and brought about much legislation to improve the working conditions of children, the poor, in the mines and factories and those with mental health    problems, and for better education and housing conditions.

WELLINGTON - Arthur Wellesley, 1St Duke of., (1769-1852); statesman and successful general who defeated Napoleon's Army in 1815. See also Waterloo.


CRANMER*, Thomas, Archbishop of Canterbury (1489-1556).

KNOX, John, Scottish ecclesiastic and church reformer (1513-72).

LATIMER*, Hugh, Bishop of Worcester (1487-1555).

RIDLEY*, Nicholas, Bishop of London (1500-1555).

 *These Anglican bishops were burned at the stake under the Marian    persecutions.


BEAUCHAMP, probably after William and Elizabeth and their son Joseph who owned the Manor of Bretts in Plaistow c1719 and held until 1814, when it was sold to the Pelly family. Eventually the estate was broken up and   developed for housing in north Plaistow and "Upton Manor" in 1850s.

BOLEYN, Anne, second wife of Henry VIII, beheaded on a charge of    conspiracy and adultery (1507-1536).

BROOKING, Sir Trevor. Played for West Ham United and made 47     appearances for England at international matches.

CROMWELL, Oliver, Parliamentarian general and Lord Protector of England during the Commonwealth (1599-1658).

CURWEN (a) John (1816-80) Congregational minister, musicologist and publisher; (b) John Spencer, son of the foregoing (1847-1916) founder of the East London Music Festival. Curwen Ave., was one of the last un-adopted roads in Newham.

HALLEY, Edmund, mathematician and astronomer-royal (1656-1742).

GODWIN - either Earl of the West Saxons and powerful nobleman (d.1053) or Francis G~ English ecclesiastic, historian and author (1562-1673).

GROSVENOR - an ancient and powerful family many members of which have distinguished themselves in various theatres of war. Hold large estates in London and elsewhere.

KATHERINE - Fry, daughter of Elizabeth. Her house was at Plashet and Red Post Lane was renamed after her, (asserted by Alfred Stokes).

MOORE, Robert Frederick Chelsea "Bobby", OBE; footballer, captain of West Ham United and England (1941-93).

RUTLAND - (a) The smallest of the former English counties, now part of Leicestershire; (b) An earldom and, later, a dukedom.

SALISBURY - Margaret Pole, Countess of S~ held the Manor of Bretts, Plaistow, from 1512 to 39. She was beheaded by Henry VIII in 1541. Also Cathedral city in Wiltshire.

TYLNEY - Richard Child, Earl Tylney, built Wanstead House & Park. (1680-1750).

VANSITTART, either Nicholas, 1st Baron Bexley, lawyer politician and Chancellor of the Exchequer (1766-1851); or Robert 1st Baron V~, senior diplomat, poet, novelist and playwright (1881-1957).

WOLSELEY - Garnet Joseph, 1st Viscount. Field Marshal distinguished in several theatres of war and severely wounded in the Crimean war (1833-1913).

Royal and other Residences

BALMORAL - Castle, Scottish home of the Royal Family.

CLAREMONT - 18th century Palladian mansion and landscape garden in Esher bought by Queen Victoria for her youngest son, Leopold, Duke of Albany, on his marriage to Princess Helena.

EARLHAM - Hall, near Norwich, seat of the Gurney family; now part of the University of East Anglia.

HAMPTON - Court Palace, Surrey, country home of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey and later, of Henry VIII.

OSBORNE - House, Isle of Wight. Designed by Prince Albert as a seaside home and much loved by Queen Victoria.

RICHMOND - Palace, Surrey. Original palace was built by Henry VII to replace the Palace of Shene; became home of many kings and   queens; after the execution of Charles I it was sold off and demolished for building materials.

SANDRINGHAM - House, Norfolk. The Norfolk retreat of HM The Queen. It is the Queen's private estate and has been the private home of four generations of British monarchs since 1862

WINDSOR - Castle, Slough Berkshire. Built by William the Conqueror. Now the Oldest inhabited castle in the world and The Queen's weekend  residence.

Place Names - British Isles

ATHERTON - possibly town in Lancashire with collieries, iron works and cotton mills.

BARWICK - there are several places in England with this name.

BATH - Somerset, University and Spa town. Bath Abbey is the seat of the Bishop of Bath & Wells.

BRISTOL - City and Port, in the south west.

CAPEL - near Dorking, Surrey.

CHESTER - County Town of Cheshire.

CLIFTON - probably, near Bristol, famous for the suspension bridge   across the Avon.

CLOVA - possibly Glen Clova in the South Grampians and occupies the valley of the River South Esk in Angus.

COLSTON - neighbourhood of Bristol.

DERBY - County town of Derbyshire.

DORSET- County in south of England. (Previously called York Road)

ESSEX - County in south-east England, of which East and West Ham had once formed a part.

IDMISTON - a parish containing three villages near Salisbury (q.v.), Wiltshire.

INGESTRE - possibly a parish IN Staffordshire, on the river Trent.

LANSDOWN - Gloucester /Somerset, site of a Civil War battle.

MARLBOROUGH - Town in Wiltshire.

NORFOLK - County in south east England.

NORWICH - cathedral city and County Town of Norfolk. The Gurney family had their seat at Earlham, near here.

PRESTBURY - possibly after one of two villages; one in Cheshire, the other in Gloucestershire.

ROTHSAY - probably from Ayrshire, Scotland.

ST. GEORGES - possibly after a school for pauper children built in 1851 by St. George's-in-the-East Poor Law Union (Stepney), which stood at the junction of Green Street and Shaftsbury Road; closed about 1927.

SHREWSBURY - County town of Shropshire.

SOUTH ESK - a river in Scotland, see also Clova

SPROWSTON - a large suburb of Norwich (q.v.) See also Earlham.

STAFFORD - County town of Staffordshire.

STUDLEY - Warwickshire. The original Manor of S~ was in the possession of William Beauchamp (q.v.), Lord Abergavenny. In about 1830 a castle was built here in the Norman style by Sir Francis Lyttleton Goodricke,now a hotel.

SUFFOLK - County in south-east England.

YORK - either the County Town and cathedral city of Yorkshire or after Dukes of York, a title often borne by the Sovereigns second son.

TOWER HAMLETS - a small group of hamlets on the east side of the city that came under the jurisdiction of the Lieutenant of the Tower of London - principally Stepney, Poplar, Whitechapel and Mile End.

WESTBURY - town in Wiltshire on the edge of Salisbury Plain with an iron works and important railway junction. Famous for the nearby White Horse hill-carving.

WOODSTOCK - Town in Oxfordshire, famous for Blenheim Palace.

YORK - either the County Town and cathedral city of Yorkshire or after Dukes of York, a title often borne by the Sovereigns second son.

Place names from other countries.

BECTIVE - possibly a Cistercian Abbey in County Meath, Ireland, suppressed by Henry VIII in 1536.

ISMALIA - town in Egypt that was headquarters for the Suez canal       construction project.

ODESSA - in the Ukraine, a city and seaport on the Black Sea. It was  bombarded by British and French naval forces in the Crimean War.

WATERLOO - a small village in Belgium where Wellington (q.v.) defeated Napoleon's Army in 1815.

Other place names.

Names recalling older associations:

FIELD (Road): a lane leading into a field or into open ground.

FOREST (Lane, Street): leading to and from the forest of Epping.

WHITEHALL (Place): Part of the site formerly occupied by a school of this name - replaced by Forest Gate School.

WOODGRANGE (Road): A grange was a barn used for storing grain (often   the grain tithes owed to a monastery); a farmhouse with barns and   other out-buildings; an outlying farm in a forest clearing. The Farm was     probably part of the endowment of Stratford Langthorne Abbey. The Manor of Woodgrange - also called "Ham Frith" - stretched from the lower Forest, (now Wanstead Flats) past the Eagle & Child pub, down   to the Romford Road, and almost as far as High Street North (then called White Post Lane).

Sources (in alphabetical order) consulted in compiling this list:

   A New Encyclopaedia of General Knowledge, Odhams Press, c1938

   Collins Concise Encyclopaedia, 1977

   East Ham from Village to County Borough, Alfred Stokes, 3rd ed., 1933 

   Fifty Years a Borough - The Story of West Ham, Donald McDougall, publ., by the County Borough of West Ham, 1936

   Foxe's Book of Martyrs, W. Grinton Berry, Baker Book House, 1987

   Geographers' London Atlas, ed., 9A

   Victoria Histories of the Counties of England (Vol., 6 - Essex)

   West Ham: Eight Hundred Years, Frank Sainsbury, publ., by the County    Borough of West Ham, 1965

   West Ham 1886-1986, publ., by the London Borough of Newham, 1986





East Ham from Village to County Borough, Alfred Stokes, 3rd ed., 1933