|Havering Village to Harold Wood: A Pictorial History; Chris Saltmarsh and Norma Jennings; Hardback; 128 pages; 1995; Phillimore & Co Ltd; ISBN 0-85033-956-1|
Harold Wood's oldest surviving building was demolished in 1954, the same year in which the first national society for the preservation of our vernacular heritage was established. Six years later, the venerable farmhouse of Goosehays at the centre of Harold Hill was pulled down, together with its magnificent thatched and timbered barn. Such wanton destruction was not confined to the 20th century, for vandals of a much earlier age had entirely dismantled the old, abandoned palace at Havering-atte-Bower, plundering it for stone for their homes. Much has disappeared which would have been restored, had it survived to the present, more enlightened time. Fortunately, photographers made a vivid visual record of the area from the mid 19th century onwards, many of them producing commercial picture postcards. Their images have survived, enabling the authors to compile this brilliant and evocative pictorial study.
Their starting point is Havering-atte-Bower, which still retains its rural character by virtue of the Green Belt legislation which halted the relentless advance of housing estates. Descending through the ancient manorial lands of Bedfords, and skirting Romford, the old capital of the Liberty of Havering, the 'tour' crosses the vast council estate of Harold Hill, and alien townscape of brick and concrete superimposed after the Second World War upon historic Harold's Wood, part of the Forest of Essex. At the southern edge of the estate the old Roman road from London to Colchester crosses into present day Harold Wood, a community which developed on the fringe of the royal Saxon forest on manorial lands, whose lord's duty included the supply of fresh reeds to carpet the King's chamber at his palace of Havering.
Photographs document every step in Harold Wood's expansion, from faltering beginnings around the railway station in a remote corner of Hornchurch, to its accelerating growth after the First World War. This well-researched and well-written excursion in words and pictures will surprise and enthral every resident of the area, not least because until now so little has been written about it and so few photographs have been available.1
1 From the dust jacket.