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WOODFORD: History of Woodford unveiled in new exhibition
THE transformation of Woodford from a rural idyll into a London suburb is being explored in a new exhibition.
A History of Woodford uses photographs, films and historical documents to tell the story of the area from the 1800s to the 1930s.
The area was a collection of forest land with small clusters of dwellings dotted about until the railway arrived in 1856.
Connecting Woodford Station to London, the line enabled rich City workers to commute to London from Woodford, bringing construction of huge houses for the wealthy bankers who began to populate the area, bringing with them a new middle class.
Woodford Historical Society chairman John Lovell said: "The railway brough enormous changes to Woodford, in both social and cultural senses. It became a prosperous area and started to grow more suburban because of its London connection, it became less isolated."
Woodford continued to embrace transport, when in June 1883 thousands of people lined the streets to cheer on 600 bizarrely-dressed cyclists.
The Woodford Meet of Bicyclists and Tricyclists continued every year after until the First World War, with people dressed in strange costumes riding their bikes through Woodford to Wanstead before darkness fell, when they would hang Chinese lanterns to their handlebars and find their way home.
Woodford became truly suburban when building work began on Laing's Estate in 1931, one of several estates created in the area in the 1930s.
Mr Lovell said: "Woodford has a fascinating history, it really was transformed by the railway and boasts so many famous figures. It's quite incredible."
The exhibition is on at South Woodford Library, in High Road, South Woodford, until October 27.