The Loughton and District Historical Society was formed 50 years ago this year and to mark the anniversary it has collected 150 pictures from its archive which show how some things have changed and some things have stayed the same in the town.

The book, A Century and a Half of Loughton in Pictures, includes photographs from an era when the camera was first coming into popular use and shots from the image-saturated present.

The oldest known photograph dates back to around 1877, when photographic technology was only just becoming widely available.

It features a row of buildings opposite Loughton's first railway station, now the site of Lopping Hall, in 1877.

The buildings still stand, but are now no longer the Holly Bush and Royal Standard pubs featured.

Dr Chris Pond, chair of the society, explains: "At the time of the earliest photographs Loughton was obviously a village.

"But when the camera came into popular use, Loughton was becoming a commuter village.

"People used to take the train and travel to London and then later on it became more urbanised."

Some of the pictures feature former landmarks such as the police station in High Road, which was demolished in 1964.

Dr Pond added: "Looking at the pictures you can learn that most things are always changing."

"Some things have remarkably stayed the same, but the book does chart the changes in the town remarkably well."

"I think people are just keen to see what their area looked like before they were born.

"If you think about the popularity of shows such as Who Do You Think You Are?, it isn’t surprising that people are interested in what places looked like hundreds of years before they were born."

"If people who didn’t know Loughton looked at this book they would get the impression that although near London, Loughton has got a life of its own. It is where people work in London, but value its proximity to the forest and the open countryside – something which hasn’t changed over the last hundred years."

The book is available from Forest Villa in Staples Road, Loughton, and costs £12.50.