The London Borough of Havering is a London borough in East London, England and forms part of Outer London. The principal town in Havering is Romford and the other main settlements are Hornchurch, Upminster and Rainham. The borough is mainly characterised by suburban development with large areas of protected open space. In contrast, Romford is a major metropolitan retail and night time entertainment centre and to the south the borough extends into the London Riverside redevelopment area of the Thames Gateway. The name Havering is a reference to the Royal Liberty of Havering which occupied the area for several centuries.
In 2007 the borough had a population of 226,200 in 93,200 households over 43 sqmi. There is a high ratio of area per capita as large sections of Havering are parkland and 23 sqmi (more than half the borough) is greenbelt protected land. Those areas of development are extensive but rarely intensive. It has, at 2.6%, the lowest unemployment rate in Greater London and one of the lowest crime rates.
Havering has a significantly higher proportion of residents in white ethnic groups than other outer London boroughs (95.1% – 2001 census). The Indian population is the most significant minority ethnic group in Havering (1.2%). The Upminster ward of the borough is the least ethnically diverse in Greater London, with a Simpson's diversity index of 1.05.
Havering is bordered to the south with the London Borough of Bexley by the River Thames, to the west with the London Borough of Redbridge and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, to the north with Essex and the east with Thurrock.
Industry and commerce
There are over 7,000 businesses based in Havering. Romford is the main commercial hub of the borough with a small district of mainly office development close to the railway station. There is also some industry to the south between Rainham and the River Thames. Light industry elsewhere in the borough has been in decline, with major employers such as the former Star Brewery now closed down.
The main retail district is also located in Romford with several interconnected or nearby shopping arcades to the main Liberty Shopping Centre. Romford Market is located to the north of Romford and is the largest market within the borough and in the surrounding area. Hornchurch and Upminster are the other main retail centres with extensive high street shopping areas.
Romford has a developed night-time economy with one of the highest concentrations of bars and nightclubs anywhere in Greater London outside the West End. Because of this concentration of entertainment facilities in one place and transport options radiating from that district, there are no other significant entertainment zones in the borough.
Havering London Borough Council applied to the Government to allow a 'super-casino' to be built in the south of the borough, however the application was rejected in May 2006.
The London Borough of Havering was created in 1965 by the combined former area of the Municipal Borough of Romford and Hornchurch Urban District which had been transferred to Greater London from Essex by the London Government Act 1963. The name originates from the Royal Liberty of Havering which covered broadly, but not exactly, the same area and had been abolished in 1892.
In 2004 a wind turbine was constructed on the Ford Motors plant grounds, which encroach on the south west of the borough, with another turbine in adjacent Barking and Dagenham.
Modern settlement originated in Anglo-Saxon times when it consisted of Havering Palace and the surrounding lands that belonged to the king. The palace itself is known to have existed since at least the reign of Edward the Confessor when it was one of his primary residences. The area formed a liberty from 1465 which included the parishes of Havering atte Bower, Hornchurch and Romford.
The name Havering appears in documents from around the 12th century. The origins of this name have been debated by historians since the Middle Ages when it was linked to the legend of Edward the Confessor and a mystical ring returned to him by Saint John the Apostle. The event being commemorated in stained glass (from about 1407) in a chapel at Romford, that was dedicated to the king.
Because of London Underground and fast rail connections to central London from transport hubs at Romford and Upminster much of Havering has considerable residential development which has occurred throughout the last century.
The development of the borough came in two distinct phases. The first middle class suburban developments were built in the late Victorian and Edwardian period. The garden suburbs of Upminster, Emerson Park and Gidea Park (also known as Romford Garden Suburb) were spurred on by the building of the railway lines through Havering from Liverpool Street and Fenchurch Street in the late 19th century.
In the 1930s the District Line was electrified and extended to Upminster with new stations at Elm Park and Upminster Bridge. Also at this time new industries near the area such as the Ford Motor Company plant at Dagenham caused a new wave of mostly working class developments along the route of the new Underground line. In addition to this, to the north of the borough, the large housing estates of Harold Hill and Collier Row were constructed to deal with the chronic housing shortages and early slum clearance programmes in central London.
This pattern of 'garden suburb' with inter- and post-war housing development still exists in the borough. Plans to extend existing developments in much of the borough are blocked by the strict Green Belt laws. In contrast, the southern part of Havering adjacent to the Thames is within the London Riverside section of the Thames Gateway redevelopment area. New open spaces and large scale house building to provide an entirely new residential community is planned.
The most built-up areas are the traditional garden suburb districts of Hornchurch, Emerson Park, Gidea Park, Harold Wood, Romford and Upminster. These places have developed over the last hundred years to form a large area of continuous urban sprawl with indistinct boundaries.
Part of the sprawling residential area are the later developments of Ardleigh Green, Chase Cross, Collier Row, Elm Park, Harold Hill, Rainham. In contrast, Havering-atte-Bower, North Ockendon, Noak Hill, and Wennington are less intensively developed outlying districts surrounded by large areas of open land.
The M25 motorway forms part of the borough boundary to the east with North Ockendon the only settlement to fall outside. The A12 (near Romford) and the A13 (near Rainham) are the main trunk radial routes from central London and are located to the north and south of the borough respectively. The A127 trunk route to Southend begins at Gallows Corner; which also forms the eastern end of the A118 local artery from Stratford. The A124 local artery from Canning Town terminates at Upminster.
The District Line of the London Underground runs roughly through the middle of the borough serving Elm Park, Hornchurch, Upminster Bridge and Upminster. There is an extensive network of London Bus routes in the borough, linking all districts to Romford and other places beyond the borough.
The London, Tilbury and Southend Railway (operated by c2c) passes through the borough in two places. The mainline, running adjacent to the District Line serves Upminster while a branch line serves Rainham. The Great Eastern Main Line (operated by National Express East Anglia) passes through the north of the borough serving Romford, Gidea Park and Harold Wood. The Upminster branch of that railway, which is entirely contained within the borough, serves Emerson Park and Upminster.
New transport options, linked to the Thames Gateway project, including further stations on the Rainham branch of the c2c line and the building of the East London Transit are being considered.
List of stations
- Elm Park Station - District Line
- Emerson Park Station - National Express
- Gidea Park Station - National Express
- Harold Wood Station - National Express
- Hornchurch Station - District Line
- Rainham Station - c2c
- Romford Station - National Express
- Upminster Station - District Line, c2c and National Express
- Upminster Bridge Station - District Line
Places of interest
- The Diver
- Liberty Shopping Centre
- Queen's Theatre
- Romford Market
- Gidea Park - 1911 Exhibition Estate, Romford Garden Suburb
- Upminster Windmill
- Upminster Tithe Barn Museum of Nostalgia
London Borough Council
Havering elects 54 councillors from the 18 wards of Brooklands, Cranham, Elm Park, Emerson Park, Gidea Park, Gooshays, Hacton, Harold Wood, Havering Park, Heaton, Hylands, Pettits, Rainham and Wennington, Romford Town, St Andrews, South Hornchurch, Squirrels Heath and Upminster.
The last borough council elections were held in May 2014. The Conservative Party lost their overall majority but continue to form a minority administration. The number of councillors following the election was:
- Conservative Party: 22
- Havering Residents Association: 19
- UKIP: 7
- Independent Residents: 5
- Labour Party: 1
Since May 2004 the Leader of the London Borough of Havering has been Councillor Michael White.
See also List of Mayors of Havering
Havering forms part of the Havering and Redbridge London Assembly constituency.
Currently, the borough is split between the parliamentary constituencies of Hornchurch, Romford and Upminster with the three constituencies entirely within the borough. Before the next election the boundaries of these constituencies will change such that there will be a new Hornchurch and Upminster constituency and Rainham will become part of the new cross-borough Dagenham and Rainham]] constituency.
The Borough is the education authority for the district providing education in a mix of Foundation, community and voluntary aided schools.
The borough website is .
Some information on the founding of the borough here .
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