Fairlop is a district in the London Borough of Redbridge, in east London, west of Barkingside and Fullwell Cross, north of Aldborough Hatch, south of Hainault and (distantly) west from Marks Gate and Collier Row. The district consists of fields, forestry and open land providing space for sport/ activity centres (Redbridge Sport Centre), some houses, farmland and watersport/fishing lakes (Fairlop Waters). It also has a tube station. The western part of the district forms the eastern edge of Barkingside High Street shopping district, and simultaneously borders Claybury Park, which used to be home to Claybury Hospital.
History and origins of the name
The Fairlop Oak
The district took its name from an old oak tree, the Fairlop Oak, that stood in Hainault Forest when much of the area was covered in trees. The oak is said to have had a trunk sixty-six feet in circumference, from which seventeen branches issued, most of them measuring not less than twelve feet in girth. In the eighteenth century, a pump and block maker from Wapping, Daniel Day, would take his employees on an annual fair in the forest, using the oak as their rendezvous. The fair took place on the first Friday of July. They dined on beans and bacon, and this may be the origin of the English words bean-feast and beano.
The Fairlop Fair
By the middle of the eighteenth century, the annual excursion to Fairlop had become one of London's most popular entertainments, and as many as a hundred thousand people being drawn through Ilford to the fair in the forest. As a result, the area became known as "Fair" (after the fair) followed by "lop" referring to the tree flourishing after part of it was used to make Daniel Day's coffin after he died in 1767. A Society of Archers - The Hainault Foresters - under the patronage of the Earl Tylney of Wanstead House met under the Fairlop Oak.
A legend has it that Queen Anne visited Fairlop during the fair. One of the songs sung at the fair was called "Come, come, my boys", in which one verse states:
|“||To Hainault Forest Queen Anne did ride,
And saw the old oak standing by her side,
And as she looked at it from bottom to top,
She said to her Court, it should be at Fairlop.
In June 1805, the oak tree caught fire, and by 1820 it was finally blown down. Its site is marked roughly at the boat house by the lake at Fairlop Waters. In nearby Fullwell Cross is a pub called the New Fairlop Oak.
In 1851, the local people complained so bitterly about the depredations caused by the local deer that the trees which had surrounded the great oak were all felled and the adjoining parts of the forest were converted into farmland.
In 1903 a station at Fairlop was opened on a new loop line that formed part of the Great Eastern Railway. In 1948 the line was taken over by the London Underground as part of the eastward extension of the Central line and the station became Fairlop Underground station.
Fairlop station was served by the Great Eastern Railway from its opening in 1903 until 1923, by the London and North Eastern Railway from 1923 until 1947 and has been by the London Underground's Central line since 1948. Forest Road, the area's main road, did not have a bus service until route 462 was extended from Hainault to Fairlop in June 2016.
- "Redbridge Ward population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
- Williams, Guy R. (1975). London in the Country. Hamish Hamilton. pp. 62–63.
- "The Fairlop Oak". Hainault Forest. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
- Beauties of England and Wales, Volume 10, Issue 3, Part 1, By Britton, pub. T. Maiden, 1815
- Ayto, John, and Crofton, Ian (2005). Brewer's Great Britain and Ireland. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 412.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)