I am a Londoner, born in North Middlesex Hospital, 40 years later I am only living 5 miles away from where I first drew breathe on this earth. I have not strayed far, aside from a 2 year foray to the South coast, I have been London based for 38 years.

South Woodford station – the beginning and end of many of my journeys

I live in South Woodford . It is home.

What does the internet tell me about my home…?
South Woodford is a suburb of Woodford in North East London. South Woodford was part of Essex until 1965. South Woodford’s retail and business area is centred on George Lane — the main high street for the district — and Woodford Green High Road. There are a number of well-known chain store shops, such as Boots and Marks & Spencer, and a good selection of smaller shops, restaurants, cafes, and a post office. There is an Odeon cinema in the High Road, which is one of the oldest buildings in South Woodford and the only cinema in the area. It has a listed building status which protects it as a cinema and does not allow for major internal structural changes. Next door is The George Pub, another one of the oldest buildings in the area, having originally been a stopping point for stage coaches, with several different bars including a saloon bar. This area was also, until 2004, home to the student residences of Queen Mary, University of London, but the tower blocks were demolished in 2007 and replaced with lower-rise privately owned apartments, as well as some council housing, known as Queen Mary’s Gate. There is also the Redbridge Drama Centre, situated next to Churchfields junior school. It provides workshops for young children aged 5 and above right up until 65, it provides education to local schools and brings culture to the surrounding area. It has an in-house theatre company under the name Vital Stages. There are shows at least once a week from touring companies. South Woodford sits at the junction of the North Circular Road with the start of the M11 motorway, which begins at “Charlie Brown’s Roundabout” and is accessible from the “Water Works” roundabout. “Charlie Brown’s roundabout” is named after the pub which was demolished in 1972 when the roundabout was enlarged to accommodate flyover sliproads onto the newly constructed motorway. South Woodford also offers easy access to the A1400, which merges into the A12, as well as access to the A12 from “Green Man’s” roundabout and the A104 which is known as Lea Bridge Road and is a major link to areas of central London via Hackney. George Lane itself is split into two by the Central line rail track with the western part of the road containing the majority of shops and businesses. There was originally a level crossing at this point, but now a flyover (locally referred to as “the Viaduct”) carries traffic between the east and west sides of George Lane. The area is served by South Woodford tube station in Travelcard Zone 4 on the Central line of the London Underground. There are many bus routes which connect South Woodford to other parts of London, including the N55 night bus from central London. All services serve George Lane and South Woodford Station, excluding route 123 which only serves the North Circular stops in South Woodford, and route 549 which only serves South Woodford Station and George Lane South. 

I have lived in this little town since 1982 and have never really wanted to live anywhere else. While I might travel to various parts of the world, this is where I love to come back to, this is where my heart is. Maybe this is because it is familiar, because it is by no means, as pretty as picturesque as other places in the UK. However, it is also easy to reach by car and public transport.  At some point I suppose I will eventually leave. I am married now and my husband’s future work may take us out of London and if not that when we eventually get round to looking at houses to live in, they will certainly not be in London (unless I win the lottery!). I am slowly trying to disengage myself from this place but it is not easy. I am not one that likes change, but I understand that we have to move forward. On the other hand, listen to the radio, read the papers, watch and televisions and I am  acutely aware of the imbalance of the rest of the world, and that now being able to say, that I have lived peacefully in the same place for over 30 years, is a luxury and a privilege.

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