come with me to little ilford.
we will see a medieval church, a hindu temple, the inspiration for a 60s hit record and britain's most profitable penalty charge notice hotspot.
little ilford, as the name suggests, is near ilford.
the pair are separated by the river roding and used to be called little ilford and great ilford.
today little ilford is in newham and ilford is in redbridge.
little ilford is recorded in the domesday book with a population of ten.
the centre of the medieval village lay half a mile south of the london-essex road.
soon it had a church, a manor house and a handful of cottages.
the railways came in the 19th century and then streets of terraced houses.
today you would not guess it was ever old, except...
this is the church of st mary the virgin.
parts of it date back to 1150, but the nave could be even older.
it's built of rubblestone with later brick additions, and topped with a louvred weatherboarded bellturret.
there you are walking down this very ordinary suburban street and suddenly across a stone wall is a grassy churchyard with scattered tombs and higgledy gravestones dated seventeen-something.
it is not what you expect to find in the middle of a housing estate.
as if to prove the point, this is st stephen's across the road.
it's the local roman catholic church.
the current building is of 1950s vintage, but you probably guessed that from the copper spire.
and this is sri murugan temple just round the corner.
it opened in the backyard of a former pub in 1984 with the aim of serving london's tamil community.
the tower is 52 feet high and intricately carved with gods and pillars in traditional style.
inside is a black granite shrine devoted to lord muruga, one of the sons of parvathi and shiva.
further down church road by the shops is where the local manor house used to be.
in the 16th century it became a farmhouse, a large one, with fields spreading down to the river.
its last owner died in 1895 after which its land became the manor house estate.
today the area is generally known as manor park rather than little ilford.
if only the station had been called something else you might have heard of the place.
the houses eventually stop at little ilford park which rubs up against the north circular.
it has a lacklustre shrubbery, a couple of pylons and an awful lot of grass.
it's said to be the inspiration for itchycoo park, the famous small faces song written by steve marriott who grew up nearby, but the same claim is made for several other local open spaces.
little ilford has been in the news this week courtesy of a press release from comparethemarket.
they analysed penalty charge notices issued to drivers nationwide between august 2019 and july 2020 and decided that newham had issued the most.
in total the borough issued as many as 239,000 pcns raising £10,625,600 for council coffers.
and the site in newham which caught out the most drivers was browning road in little ilford.
this is the offending bridge crossing the london overground between woodgrange park and barking.
it has a sign saying no vehicles except buses, taxis and permit holders, plus two different signs warning about cameras.
you'd think it was clearly enough marked.
but no, thousands of people have driven through and been caught out and forced to pay up.
i particularly enjoyed this outburst on a legal forum.
they got short shrift i'm pleased to say.
what's odd about the closure is that browning road is a two-way street but local residents with permits are only allowed to drive through in a southerly direction.
that's because the adjacent roads form a veritable maze of one-way streets and travelling north is vaguely possible elsewhere.
if you walk to the other side of the bridge the sign is different and depicts a no through road.
there's also a separate blue sign just before the bridge saying bikes, buses and taxis only.
it is perhaps not as clear and consistent as it could be.
that's little ilford.
railways cut through it without stopping.
but vehicles can't use it as a cut-through because it's blocked off.
this may explain why little ilford is so little known.