A corner of Redbridge that will forever be East Ham

I set out bound for Ilford, following Thomas Burke’s dictum that “to go to Ilford is a fool’s act”, but in fact ended up trapped in a curious geographical anachronism. I’ve been fascinated by Aldersbrook ever since moving to Leytonstone – it’s like that beautifully mysterious world behind the garden shed when you’re a kid – a place of dreams but with an uncanny tinge. I dedicated a few pages to it in This Other London when I conned my kids into walking to the far side of Ilford by telling them I was taking them to South Park (which is a beautiful park between Ilford and Loxford as well as a brilliant animated TV show).

aldersbrook map
Somehow I had always managed to bypass Brading Crescent and would have done so again if I hadn’t needed some provisions for the push East and noticed the sign for a ‘Convenient’ Store. Must be good to have so confidently deviated from the standard ‘Convenience’ Store.

East Ham Borough
Straight away you are faced with the fine block of flats that at the time I wasn’t sure if they were 80’s mock baronial or part of the original Edwardian Aldersbrook development. It was in fact built as the Aldersbrook Children’s Home in 1910 by West Ham Board of Guardians with each block named after local notables – Lister, Fry, Morris, Hood, and Buxton. It was transferred to East Ham County Borough in 1929 and in the mid-1950’s converted into flats.

The handsome brick community hall in the grounds bears an inscription recording its opening by County Borough of East Ham in 1931 and today it is still confusingly owned by Newham Council despite sitting inside the London Borough of Redbridge.



The Outer Circle – Rambles in Remote London by Thomas Burke (1921)

100 Years of Suburbia by Kathryn Morrison and Ann Robey (1999)



  1. Paris 'Purple Princess' Bartholomew   •  

    I was very interested in your views about Aldwrsbrook because I lived in that very childrens home in 1979, there were 3 in the area Bradibg Crescent housed one then 2 were along the Aldersbrook Road itself. I have some pictures of 74 Aldersbrook childrens home from when u lived there. It closed down around 1988.

    Fascinating stuff…I always wondered why Redbridge was overlapping with Newham & Waltham Forest. There were horse riding stables there also. The church was my sanctuary when I ran away from the childrens home (which was a regular occurrence.

    Thank you for highlighting its beauty & relevance to local history.

    • JohnR   •     Author

      Thanks so much for sharing that Paris


    Hello Paris I Lived At 74 Aldersbrook Road In The 70s Would Be Interested To See The Photos We May Possibly Know.

    • Paris   •  

      Hi Michael, sorry, I’ve just seen this. I have some pictures I can share with you, please feel free to contact me at parismotivates@gmail.com.
      P.S. If we lived there at the same time, this may not be obvious as I changed my name by deed poll when I was 18.

  3. Clare   •  

    I worked at Aldersbrook Children’s home from approx.1973 to 1975 aged 17.I started as a day release student from West Ham College and went onto work there permanently as a residential care worker. I absolutely loved it and worked with Mary Bincarlar ( not correct spelling) and Doris Dukelow.
    It was run as a lovely home for approx. 14 children of varying ages from 5 to 16, I remember such names as Tony & Patrick and Kelly. I am still in touch with a life long friend that I worked with Lesley Bardell, they are times I shall never forget. The children had holidays away at Clacton and I even won a beauty queen competition which the children loved. Aldersbrook certainly is a special area.

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