With the 50th anniversary of the founding of the London Borough of Redbridge being celebrated this year, reporter Douglas Patient looks into its origins.

From the Victorian era until 1934, Wanstead was a small district council in Essex. 

The Borough of Wanstead and Woodford was then created in 1937 following a merger with Woodford Council.

Redbridge Museum Assistant Alex Lyons said: “For this occasion, Winston Churchill presented the new borough with a grand ceremonial mace, which bears the borough's crest.

“It is currently on display at Redbridge Museum, along with other mayoral items."

But a major reorganisation of London's boroughs was agreed by the government in 1961 with the 92 boroughs set to be cut to 32.

Traditionally part of Essex, the borough of Wanstead and Woodford, and Ilford, were set to be incorporated into the capital.

Mr Lyons said: “There was considerable discussion how best to create these boroughs.

“Initially, the government wanted Wanstead and Woodford to merge with Walthamstow.

“Many people of Wanstead liked this option, as it was a neighbouring area that had some similarities.”East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

High Street, Wanstead, photographed in the early 1960s.

In February 1962, the Woodford Times newspaper ran a competition to find the new name of the borough.

The article said: "Such flowers of the English language as 'Chiglewanwood' and even – rather daring – 'Wanton', the result of a hybridisation between Wanstead and Leyton.

“Another hybrid name which has a homely sound was 'Wilfred', if the borough was amalgamated with Ilford."

In the end government guidelines, that each borough should have a population of around 300,000, meant Woodford and Wanstead would combine with the Borough of Ilford.

It was to be named 'Redbridge' after the bridge, made of red brick before it was replaced in 1922, which crossed the River Roding and physically linked Wanstead and Woodford with Ilford.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

High Road, Woodford Green, photographed in the early 1960s.

A report of a council meeting in the Woodford Times in March 1962 shows that this decision was initially controversial.

One Wanstead and Woodford councillor expressed fears that Ilford, as the bigger borough, would dominate the new partnership.

He said: "I cannot see we have ever had a great deal to do with Ilford.

“We would be accepted as blisters on the side of what would have been the County Borough of Ilford."

Despite this opposition, in an editorial of our very own Wanstead and Woodford Guardian, was more positive on the first day of the new borough on April 1, 1965.

It said: "Despite fears raised frequently, that Redbridge would be a take-over bid by Ilford, everything points to a contented marriage."

Current leader of the council, Cllr Jas Athwal, said that in the 50 years since its creation, Redbridge has developed its own identity.

He said: “Since it was established in 1965 Redbridge has become a fantastic place with very much its own identity. 

“We have an excellent range of things to do here, a brilliant education system and it’s somewhere I and many others are proud to call home.”