Becontree  Estate

Was it called ‘Becontree’ not ‘Beacontree’ to fit it on to bus blinds?

‘Genteel neo-Georgian’ not conducive to inebriety.  It was impossible to have such a lot of people and not build on urban principles  Built 1921- 1972 by the4 LCC and the largest of all the interwar LCC's out-county estates which at its creation crossed the borders of Barking, Dagenham and Ilford. The LCC recruited Topham Forrest, from Essex County Council, as Chief Architect to draw up and implement the plans and it was finished by his successor, E. P. Wheeler. The idea was to house 120,000 in 24,000 terraced houses on a site which was largely arable land and market gardens with older manor houses, respectfully kept, as council offices, now as a museum. Between 1926-9  4,000 houses per annum were built. It continued after the war designed by the Borough. The 1921 plans were radical, with three areas leading to a central Civic Centre. Cul-de-sacswere a new experiment, referred to by planners as 'banjos' for their shape. This was economic but limited easy passage of residents around the estate. socially mixed development was the ambition but the percentage of private housing was minimal and concentrated in the Barking area. The dictates of speed made for endless repetition of basic types so that different parts of the estate are scarcely distinguishable. at the junctions of streets are semi-detached pairs angled to the street set back behind triangular greens with signs forbidding ball games. Concrete construction was used with traditional brick, and roughcast rendering. Gardens back and front - now paved over - were seen as essential and an encouragement to refrain from the pub. Blocks of flats in mansard- roofed blocks with open arched entrances were introduced in the early 1930s. The biggest omission was the lack of a commercial and civic centre. the Council chose instead to encourage corner shops.  New pubs had to follow strict restrictions set down by the LCC to encourage family space but were scarce and very large. Landscaping was minimal. churches were allocated space in the LCC's plans and Permanent buildings, succeeded temporary ones.

Many people came from Limehouse – and there would have been no employment without Fords.

Becontree Avenue

In 1921 the London County Council started work on the Becontree housing estate. The Ilford portion of this, mostly completed by 1926, comprised only 10 per cent. of the whole, but it was a substantial addition to the town: some 2,500 houses and people, in the Becontree Avenue area.  Private building also went on rapidly between the World Wars

Becontree Synagogue, founded before 1933 in temporary premises in Becontree Avenue, amalgamated in 1949 with that of Barking. In 1954 the Barking and Becontree Synagogue was built on the Becontree Avenue site.

Baptist church.  Hicks promoted the foundation of the Becontree Avenue Baptist  church.The small hall was burnt down in 1952 and replaced by a Nissen hut. A permanent church was opened in 1959.

Salvation Army

Bennet’s Castle Lane,

Old lane, was once called ‘Castle Lane’.  Bennetts Castle Farmhouse was built in 1618, although Castle Field was known as such as early as 1440.

Methodist Church. Becontree Wesleyan central hall, was built in 1925 at a cost of £21,000, of which £10,000 was given by Joseph Rank. It included a main hall seating 1,000, and two smaller halls. It is built of brown brick with red-brick dressings, in a neo-Georgian style. The main hall, surmounted by a cupola, is flanked by lower ancillary buildings. The initial local membership was small but within three months this had increased to 100. In 1940 the hall was transferred from the Ilford circuit to the East Ham Mission.

Bethel Hall

Furze School

Burnside Road

St Thomas Church.  Designed by Arthur C. Blomfield & A.J. Driver, 1926-7 and it was the first permanent church on the estate built with the help of funds from the sale of St. Jude's, ;  Whitechapel..  years.

Vicarage dated 1926. Gable over the door and tile work.

Chitty’s Lane,

Old lane running to Chadwell Heath

Green Lane:

The Royal Oak

Henry Green School

Elim Pentecostal Church, Former Regent Cinema, 1930 by Lewis Solomon & Son. Entrance framed beneath an ebullient faience pediment with gargantuan urns  cormer wldegraver


Waldegrave Road

St Vincent’s Church.  R.C.,  Built in 1932-3 by Geoffrey Raymond of Scales & Raymond.

St. Vincent's Roman Catholic primary Schools..  1929.  extended with an entrance block. Colourful nursery extension by Cottrell Vermeulen, 2000.It was granted Aided status in 1951, and in in 1was re-organized for juniors and infants,

Warrington Road



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