A brief history of Buckhurst Hill
It is thought that the name Buckhurst Hill, originally known as Bucket Hill refers to a hill covered with beech trees. The settlement owes its origin to its being on the road from Loughton to Woodford which is an ancient way. Other old roads are Westbury Lane and Roebuck Lane, which linked the mediaeval farm or hunting lodge of Langfords with the main road. Its proximity to the capital made it a popular retreat for Henry VIII who often stayed at the Langford (also known as Poteles) hunting lodge at Buckhurst Hill with Anne Boleyn. Buckhurst Hill was later a feature of the route to Newmarket in the seventeenth century.
The Epping New Road was put through in 1834 and this encouraged some of the earliest developments in Buckhurst Hill. The area was part of Chigwell parish, but for anyone wishing to attend church at Chigwell the journey was along a difficult footpath as the road to Chigwell was not constructed until 1890. The Church of St John the Baptist Buckhurst Hill was erected in 1837 and subsequently enlarged.
However the main reason for the development of Buckhurst Hill as we know it today was the coming of the railway in 1856. This allowed families to move to the area from the crowded and unhealthy city to live in the country but within commuting distance of London. Large houses were built for many middle class families, the healthiest places being considered as those along the top of the ridge, such as Buckhurst Hill High Road. Smaller cottages were also constructed for railway workers, brick makers and those who worked for the ‘big houses’ as gardeners, washer women and household servants.
Buckhurst Hill developed quickly in the second half of the nineteenth century. The first hospital was set up in 1866 and there was a fire station situated on the High Road. St John’s had a school and there were many private schools in the area. Another church soon became necessary and St Stephen’s was built in 1876. Buckhurst Hill became a separate urban district in 1895.
As the twentieth century progressed the large Victorian villas became uneconomic to run and many disappeared to be replaced by smaller houses and flats.
Queen's Road has always been the centre of the settlement for shopping. The building now housing the library and Parish Office started off as a Baptist church, and later became Buckhurst Hill Hall, used for meetings and public entertainment.
Buckhurst Hill has its own Parish Council, and is a popular place to live, having two London Underground stations, which will soon benefit from 24 hour Friday and Saturday trains, and a range of bus services. There are few places where you can be 10 or 12 miles from the centre of London, with tube stations and the North Circular, M11 and M25 on the doorstep, and also right in the middle of a forest, It is well situated for Stratford Westfield, and has numerous well-regarded schools.
The characteristic streets of suburban Victorian semis, as well as the modern family houses and stylish apartment blocks give a clue to its growing popularity as a place to live and, for many, work. But despite these changes, Buckhurst Hill retains its community spirit.
It has gained notoriety as part of the “Golden Triangle” of Chigwell and Loughton and is often featured in the TV series “The only way is Essex” known as TOWIE.