MEMORIES of Woodford spanning the last 80 years have been collected to commemorate a historical society’s 80th anniversary, Melanie Attlesey found out more.

The Woodford Historical Society began life in 1932 as the Woodford and District Antiquarian Society at a meeting in what was then the Wilfred Lawrence Temperance Hotel in High Road.

Now the society holds monthly meetings at Trinity Catholic High School, in Sydney Road where over 100 residents of Woodford attend to learn more about the community they live in.

The book ‘Woodford – 80 Years of Memories’ has been written through the eyes of people who remember events or changes in the area since 1932.

The memories were painstakingly collected by members of the society over the past year.

Chairman of the society and member for the last five years, John Lovell, explains: “In terms of memories people would have to be around 85 to contribute over the whole time period, even though we have some contributors who are in their 90s there aren’t very many of them left.

“Memories should always be written down and shared wherever possible.

“Things that have changed most over the past 80 years are the transport links and activities that people participate in such as amateur dramatics.

“When buses came to Woodford people didn’t want them and so they stopped and turned around at the Napier Arms.

“It’s the simple things that people remember, like getting the shopping in brown paper bags with the little fold-down ears from Sainsbury’s and shops such as Ardley’s in the High Road – one mention of the shop just evoked so many memories. It helped maintain the village atmosphere.”

Ardley’s was a household goods store which closed in 1987.

Other memories included in the book were the unveiling of the Winston Churchill statue in 1959 and personal memories about life in Woodford.

Peter Plummer who penned the piece on the unveiling of the statue recalled that Churchill looked glum during the proceedings.

Mr Lovell added: “What was surprising was that people didn’t come forward with more memories of events like the Queen’s coronation in 1952. Apart from one person remembering that dad bought them a TV to watch it on it didn’t feature in people’s memories.”

The society attracts interest from across the world with people wanting to know more about the way Woodford was in the past.

Mr Lovell said: “We have had a query from Tasmania which I thought was a joke because it came from a man called David Lovell.

“He was born in a maternity unit in South Woodford before moving away, but because of ill health he hasn’t returned to see what it looks like now.

“I’m going to take some pictures and send them over to him.”

So far the society has sold 150 copies of their anniversary book, which costs £9.99.

“People have been buying the book and asking for a further six copies to pass onto their grandchildren for Christmas,” Mr Lovell added.

To get hold of a copy phone Mr Lovell on 020 8505 3640 or email