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A well-preserved Edwardian estate surrounded by open land on the south side of Wanstead. The present name dates from the sixteenth century and refers to alders growing beside a tributary of the River Roding. Before this it was called Nakedhall – an allusion to the exposed position of the manor. The dynasty that owned Wanstead House steadily acquired and altered the farmland of Aldersbrook from 1786 onwards, knocking down its manor house, selling land to the Corporation of London for use as a cemetery and auctioning building plots from 1899. The plots’ conditions of sale included clauses stipulating that the properties be relatively expensive, especially on the edges of the estate where the 500 detached houses had views over Wanstead Park and Flats. These sold to professional persons, while the 300 semis and terraces on the main streets went to lower middle class occupiers, usually renting rather than buying. More than a thousand homes were built by 1910 and the variety of developers, combined with the rapidly changing architectural fashions of the time, resulted in a miscellany of styles. Some properties that were bombed in the Second World War were rebuilt almost indistinguishably from their predecessors. In the 1960s council housing replaced the children’s home and isolation hospital that had stood on Aldersbrook’s western and eastern sides, respectively. On the south side of Aldersbrook Road, Heatherwood Close juts into Wanstead Flats where Aldersbrook Farm used to stand.

click for area map (opens in a new window)
The original porches are intact on these properties, which are especially well preserved

Redbridge council belatedly designated Aldersbrook a conservation area in 2002.

Postal districts: E12 and E11
Further reading: Kathryn Morrison and Ann Robey, One Hundred Years of Suburbia: The Aldersbrook Estate in Wanstead 1899–1999, Royal Commission on Historic Monuments in England, 1999

Brewer's London Phrase & Fable

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