Romford history going back in time

romford historyRomford history, with photos and memories, from the extraordinary archives of Francis Frith

Romford has changed dramatically over the last 30 years. The construction of ring roads and the pedestrianisation of South Street and other areas of the town centre, together with the building of huge shopping precincts and superstores, has all but erased the atmosphere of what was essentially a country market town.

But the process of change began earlier in the 1920s and 1930s, and looking back further it is clear that Romford has a history of dramatic changes. This is not surprising because Romford is a ‘thoroughfare town’. It has responded to the needs, and embraced the ideas, of generations of travellers who have passed by on the Essex Great Road from London to East Anglia and the coast.

Wherever there is a hazard or natural obstacle on a highway a town is likely to develop. The River Rom was an obstacle, originally a wide marshy river making its way down to the Thames. The word ‘rom’ is thought to come from a Saxon word meaning wide. Travellers would have welcomed a place to stay and the help of locals before they forded the Rom.

Read full story with old photos @ Francis Frith here