Stratford, Essex

Historical Description

Stratford, a suburb of London, and a ward in the municipal and county borough of West Ham, in Essex, on the Roman road from London to Colchester, about 3 miles from Whitechapel, on the E side of the navigable river Lea, and on the G.E.R. It is an ancient place, and it had a mitred Cistercian abbey, founded in 1135 by W. de Mountfitchet. It was the place where Henry VIII. confined the Countess of Salisbury, and was the birthplace in 1692 of the naturalist George Edwards, who was also buried here in 1773. It is in the Eastern Metropolitan Postal District, and is within the jurisdiction of the Central Criminal Court and Metropolitan Police. There are tramways from the Broadway to Aldgate, and in the opposite direction from the Broadway to Leytonstone, and for a considerable distance along the Romford Road. The G.E.R. has here the most important junction of its system, and from Stratford the Colchester, the Cambridge, the Blackwall, the Woodford, and the Tilbury and Southend lines diverge. It has good services to the whole of the Epping Forest district, and a short branch line extends-towards the N London line at Victoria Park. From its position on the G.E.R. and the Lea river, it has made rapid advances as a seat of manufactures, and it forms now one of the busiest mercantile centres of the metropolis, of which it is a suburb. The Stratford works of the G.E.R. cover an area of about 52 acres, and furnish employment to upwards of 4600 workpeople, exclusive of some 550 engine-drivers and firemen. This huge establishment was founded in 1847, when the celebrated " Railway King," George Hudson, was chairman of the Eastern Counties railway, and the district for a considerable period was known as " Hudson's Town." There are three stations at Stratford on the G.E.R., Stratford Central Station, Stratford Market, and Maryland Point. At Maryland Point special facilities are afforded for dealing with live stock and horses, while at Stratford Market station the G.E.R. have established an important market for vegetables, fruit, roots, and straw. The extensive printing works of the company are also located at Stratford. The industries of Stratford further include brewing on a large scale, large flour-mills, chemical and artificial manufactories, extensive soap and candle works, vesta and match manufactories, jute mills, the manufacture of leather cloth, large distilleries, and the making of the patent Victoria stone. The town-hall, which stands in the Broadway, was erected in 1869, and greatly enlarged in 1886. It is a spacious building of stone and brick in the Italian style, with a large hall capable of holding 1000 persons, a smaller hall or board-room, and several minor apartments. The ecclesiastical parish of St John was formed in 1844 from the mother parish of West Ham. The church stands in the centre of the town where the main road diverges towards Leytonstone and Romford, and is a spacious building of stone and brick in the Early English style. It was built in 1834 at a cost of about £23,000, and it became a parish church in 1859. A handsome Gothic memorial was erected in the churchyard in 1879, by public subscription, to commemorate the deaths of eighteen Protestant martyrs who suffered death by burning in 1556. The ecclesiastical parish of Christ Church was formed in 1852 from the mother parish of West Ham. The church, which stands in the High Street, was erected in 1851, and is a building of stone in the Decorated style. The ecclesiastical parish of St Paul's in Stratford New Town was formed in 1864 from the mother parish of West Ham. The church, which stands in the Maryland Road, is a building of brick in the Decorated style. The living of St John is a vicarage of the net yearly value of £120, in the gift of the Vicar of West Ham. The living of Christ Church is a vicarage of the gross value of £304; and the living of St Paul is a vicarage of the gross yearly value of £400 with residence, all the livings being in the diocese of St Albans. St John's parish contains two district churches,. St Stephen's and Holy Trinity, both in connection with the parish church, the latter being a mission supported by Trinity College, Oxford. There are also five Baptist, two Congregational, and two Primitive Methodist chapels, one United Free Methodist chapel, one Wesleyan chapel, a Presbyterian church, a Reformed church, and a Salvation Army barracks. The Roman Catholich church of St Francis of Assisi is a rectangular building of brick in the Italian style. Population of Stratford Ward, 38,612; of the ecclesiastical parishes of St John, 13,335; of Christ Church, 11,400; of St Paul, 14,378.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient County Essex
Civil parish West Ham
Hundred Becontree
Poor Law union West Ham

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Stratford from the following:


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Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers covering Essex online: