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Forest Gate - Greater London

Postal Town: Forest Gate (E7)

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A unique part of inner London.Forest Gate must be the only part of London with (I think!) only one tower block, the rest being terraces or low-rise housing. It is well served transport-wise (rail, bus and tube) What makes Forest Gate stand out though is it might be the funereal capital of East London. I back on to the Plashet Jewish Cemetery, (closed to the public due to repeated vandalism and racist attacks) and a walk away in Romford Road is Woodgrange Park Cemetery. Near by is Manor Park Cemetery, (entrance in Sebert Road), which has the resting place of John Travers Cornwell, VC, the 16 year-old hero of the Battle of Jutland in 1916. Two main streets (Katherine Road and Green Street) were known prior to 1900, as Red Post Lane and Gipsy Lane respectively down to the border with East Ham. From early maps, much has changed over the past 100 years, and although it has its faults, Forest Gate remains an interesting place to live.

©Joan Hammond

Forest Gate, history and present-day details

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Forest Gate started life in the early Victorian era as a small number of houses around a cattle gate, an entrance to Epping Forest. It was founded mostly from the Ham House Estate of the 1760s, which was later sold on and split into two halves, West Ham and Gurney.

Through the growth and work provided in London at the time, more an more people saw Forest Gate an a desirable location to live. Many of the first houses in the area were built for the more affluent middle classes, although smaller houses were later built for the needs of skilled and semi-skilled workers.

The coming of the railways made Forest Gate attractive due to the ease that those who worked in London could commute home. The first railway wasn't much of a success, but the second attempt was a clear requirement with as many as 350,000 passengers each month using the local station.

As the population grew so too did the need of schools, shops, hospital care, park land and so forth. Today, Forest Gate is a bustling suburb of London.

©Mike Smith

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