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Loughton ( ) is a town and civil parish in the Epping Forest district of Essex. It is located between 11 and 13 miles (21 km) north east of Charing Crossmarker in Londonmarker, south of the M25marker and west of the M11 motorway and has boundaries with Chingfordmarker, Buckhurst Hillmarker, Theydon Boismarker, Waltham Abbeymarker, and Chigwellmarker. Loughton includes 3 conservation areas and there are 56 listed buildings in the town, together with a further 50 locally listed.

Loughton has a population of 30,340 and covers about , of which over are part of Epping Forestmarker. The ancient parish contained over , but some parts in the south were transferred in 1996 to Buckhurst Hillmarker parish, and small portions to Chigwellmarker and Theydon Boismarker. It is the most populous civil parish in the Epping Forest district. Within Essex it is the second most populous civil parish, after Canvey Islandmarker, and the second largest in area.


Much of the housing in Loughton was built in the Victorian and Edwardian eras, with significant expansion in the 1930s. The Great Eastern Railway Company would not offer workmen's fares to and from Loughton, so development was of a middle-class character. Loughton was a fashionable place for artistic and scientific residents in Victorian and Edwardian times, and a number of prominent residents were also socialists, nonconformists, and social reformers. Debdenmarker is a post-war development intended to ease the chronic housing shortage in London in the 1940s

From 1900 to 1933, Loughton was governed by the Loughton Urban District Council. From 1933 to 1974 together with Buckhurst Hillmarker and Chigwellmarker it formed the Chigwell Urban Districtmarker. Since 1996, Loughton has had its own town council.


Standing on a strategic spur of high ground in Epping Forest is Loughton Campmarker, an Iron Age fort built about 500 BC Loughton Camp is roughly oval, defended by a single earth rampart enclosing about . The Camp, by 1872, was covered by dense undergrowth and entirely forgotten. In that year it was re-discovered by a Mr B.H. Cowper, and excavations ten years later found Iron Age pottery within the ramparts.

Loughton Camp lies close to Ambresbury Banksmarker, another Iron Age fortification (which is in Eppingmarker parish). Though the two forts were once thought to be sequential - Loughton Camp followed by Ambresbury - the current view is that they face each other across a watershed which was an ancient boundary line, later re-used as the boundary between Ongar and Waltham Hundreds. It is now believed that these two forts were in separate - and presumably sometimes hostile - territories, roughly equivalent to the medieval Hundreds of Ongar (Loughton Camp) and Ambresbury (Waltham. The forts may therefore have acted as very visible strategic positions, huge frontier markers, which defined the boundary between two territories.

Roman period

There was significant Roman settlement along the Roding valley, with a minor road from London to the Roman small town at Dunmow following the course of the river. There was a settlement on the Chigwellmarker side of the river at Little London; excavations indicate that this may have been a relay station (mutatio) where official travellers on state business could change horses and rest for the night. Little London may have been the settlement of Durolitum mentioned in the Antonine Itinerary; the name means 'the fort on the ford', which fits the geography, although the archaeological evidence has not revealed any military buildings. There was also a substantial Roman building on the Loughton side of the Roding.


In the fifth century, there was some continuation of Roman-style rule for a time, but Anglo-Saxon invaders quickly carved out new territories. One of these was the Kingdom of Essex. In the Loughton area, rural life was likely unaffected, although the forest may have expanded as the population declined through war and plague. It was in this Saxon period that modern Loughton first began; known as "Lukintune," the place-name is Anglo-Saxon, and means "the farm of Luhha." Settlement was widely scattered; Lukintune was in the area of the later Loughton Hall, and two other hamlets were around Alderton Hall (Aelwartone - the farm of Aethelwaru), and Debden House.

In 1062, Harold Godwinson (later King Harold II), re-founded Waltham Abbeymarker and Edward the Confessor granted various estates to the Abbey, which included Tippedene (Debden) and Alwartune (Alderton Hall, in Loughton). Edward the Confessor's charter of 1062 is the first written evidence of the settlement (Lukinton). Tippedene, which means the valley of Tippa, however, the original meaning had been forgotten and the estate was by then known as Dupedene, or "deep valley." The boundaries of the Tippedene estate survive in an Anglo-Saxon charter. One landscape feature mentioned in the charter is saeteres burh, or "robbers' camp," and this may have been the Anglo-Saxon name for Loughton Camp.


Following the Norman invasion, the Domesday Book, issued in 1087, gives two snapshots of life in the area, first as it was in 1066 under Edward the Confessor, and again in 1086 under William the Conqueror (here it is written as Lochintuna). Domesday assessed the taxability of every estate in the land, so is an extremely useful guide to the taxable population and their taxable resources. Loughton was fragmented into eight separate estates. Five were held by Waltham Abbey itself, including one they had annexed from a free man. Other landowners were Robert Gernon, Peter of Valognes (who had displaced a free Anglo-Saxon named Wulfric), and the king himself. There were a total of 88 heads of households across both Chigwell and Loughton. The land must have been well-wooded as it was said to be capable of supporting 1,870 pigs, a notional measure of the size of forest but a very large number all the same. of meadows on the 10 estates of Chigwell and Loughton may well have consisted mainly of land beside the Roding, which was fertile but liable to seasonal flooding. Livestock comprised 28 cattle, 48 sheep, and 48 pigs, as well as 15 goats. There had been a water-mill at Chigwell in 1066, but this had been abandoned by 1086.


Loughton's growth since Domesday has largely been at the expense of the forest. Expansion towards the Roding was not possible over the marshy meadows, but there were gradual encroachments into the forest to the north and west of the village. Loughton landlords and villagers both saw fit to enclose and build upon forest waste (open spaces and scrub of the forest), but the trickle of forest destruction threatened to turn into a flood in the 19th century, once royalty had lost interest in protecting the woodland as a hunting reserve, and more particularly after the railway arrived in Loughton in 1856. As the forest disappeared, some Loughton villagers defied landowners to practice their ancient right to lop wood, and the intelligentsia began to express alarm at the loss of such a significant natural resource. A series of court cases, one brought by the Loughton labourer, Thomas Willingale, was needed before Epping Forest was finally saved in 1878 for the enjoyment of everyone.

Loughton's High Road in the Middle Ages ran to Woodfordmarker to the south, but to the north, surrounded by Forest, it petered out, with footpaths running down to the Roding from Buckhurst Hillmarker and to Chigwell. However, between 1611-1622, the High Road was extended via what is now Church Hill and Goldings Hill to Eppingmarker, and this quickly became the main coaching route from London to East Angliamarker. However, it remained a difficult route for horse-drawn traffic, because of steep hills, so in 1830-34 the Epping New Road was constructed. As early as 1404 the High Road was mentioned in a court action, when one John Lucteborough was prosecuted for throwing the rubbish from his ditch outside Richard Algor's gate on the King's highway. Richard Algor's house survived in part, concealed by much overbuilding, until 1963 near the junction of Algers Road and High Road.

Mary Tudor was the owner of Loughton Hall two months before she became queen in 1553. In 1578, it passed to the Wroth family, who were prominent in public and court life; they held it until 1738. The original Loughton Hall burnt down in a spectacular fire in 1836, to be replaced by the present building, which the Reverend J. W. Maitland had built in 1878. The Maitland family held the manor for much of the 19th century, and dominated parish life. As major landowners, they were bound up with the controversy over the future of the Forest. In 1944, the house and estate were sold to the London County Council. A London County Council estate was built on the land, which surprisingly was called the Debden estate rather than the Loughton Hall estate, and the house was given over to community use.

Agriculture and forestry were the most important local trades until well into the 20th century. There were other industries however, on a small-scale. As the place-names Tile-Kiln Farm and Potters Close testify, there were brick, tile and pottery manufacturing sites in the area from the 15th century onwards. In Loughton, these were located on Goldings Hill, Englands Lane, Nursery Road, between Albion Hill and Warren Hill, and York Hill.

Loughton's High Road was defined for centuries by the two historic inns at either end, the Crown and the King's Head. There were a few shops in between, and a cottage or two, but the bustling shopping centre we see today has only really come about since 1918. However, the area was attractive to London merchants and business-people from the 17th century onwards as it provided the advantages both of a country retreat together with proximity to London; Loughton is nowhere more than from Charing Crossmarker. But even now, this is not suburbia; the stout fences and high holly hedges of many houses recall a time not so long ago when it was necessary to keep out straying cattle and deer. The Loughton mileposts are measured from the Royal Exchange in the City of Londonmarker.

Dick Turpin (1705-1739), the notorious highwayman, made his mark in the area during his life of crime. In about 1734, during a robbery in which Turpin was involved, the Widow Shelley, living in a farm on Traps Hill, was threatened with being held over her own fire until she confessed to where her money was hidden. In fact, his last spell of 'going straight' before he became a professional thief appears to have been in Buckhurst Hill, where between 1733-4 he was a butcher. The area was no doubt convenient for deer-poaching, another of his 'trades'. Fear of his ruthless style of burglary led householders in Loughton to build 'Turpin traps', heavy wooden flaps let down over the top of the stairs and jammed in place with a pole against the upstairs ceiling. Some of these survived until the middle of the 19th century.

Although in excess of 50 dwellings over 200 years old remain, most of the grand houses built in the 17th and 18th centuries have gone. These were country retreats for wealthy City merchants and courtiers, but the gradual urbanization of the area has left few of them intact. Loughton Hall and Alderton Hall in Loughton survive. A later wave of grand edifices, built by nouveaux riches industrialists and magnates, survives in better order. North Haven and Loughton Lodge are examples Here too though there have been losses, such as Brooklyn in Loughton, the home of the influential Gould family, demolished to make way for Loughton Library. These houses required armies of domestic servants, which in turn attracted more people to the area.


Loughton underground station
In Wright's History of Essex published in 1835, Loughton is described as "distinguished by its numerous genteel houses and beautiful and picturesque scenery."

In 1844, Loughton's mediaeval church was demolished and replaced by a neo-Norman building designed by the renowned architect, Sydney Smirke. A second Anglican church was established in 1872, St Mary's; architect Thomas Henry Watson. Then in 1877, the scant remains of the mediaeval church were replaced by a small, semi-private chapel designed by William Eden Nesfield, this being later opened for public worship.

Like other parts of Essex, Loughton also had a strong tradition of nonconformism, and the area is liberally supplied with chapels and meeting halls of varying Protestant traditions. The Baptists founded their chapel in Loughton from 1813. After a brief false start in Chigwell in 1827, Methodism came late to the area, surprising in a district so well trod by John Wesley. A chapel was established in England's Lane in 1873 by Edward Pope, while after a spell in Forest Road, Loughton, a new site was established in 1886, in High Road opposite Traps Hill. The red-brick Gothic-style church, architect Josiah Gunton, erected 1903, was replaced in 1987 by a strikingly modern building which is quite a Loughton landmark. Congregationalists were active in Chigwell from 1804, and in Loughton shared the Baptist Chapel as a Union Church.

Before the railways, there were regular stagecoaches from Loughton to London, and the turnpike through Loughton was an important stagecoach route through to Cambridgemarker, Norwichmarker, Newmarketmarker, and other East Anglian towns.

Beyond the High Road, the arrival of the railway in 1856 spurred the town’s development. Loughton's growth was essentially infilling and expansion within an ancient village, but it was a slow process. Very roughly, the west side of the High Road being developed from about 1881 up to the First World War, and the east side largely being built up in the Edwardian and inter-war periods

The railway first came to Loughton in 1856, when the Eastern Counties Railway (later the Great Eastern Railway) opened a branch line via Woodford. This was extended in 1865 to Ongar. The loop line from Leytonstonemarker to Woodford which takes in, inter alia, Hainaultmarker, Grange Hillmarker, Chigwellmarker and Roding Valley tube stationsmarker, was opened in 1903. After the Second World War, these services were electrified in stages and handed to London Transport's Central Line. Electrification was completed as far as Loughton on 21 November 1948 (including the loop line), with the section to Epping completed on 26 September 1949. After years of decline, the final section of this line, from Eppingmarker to Ongar, was closed in 1994. The arrival of the railways was undoubtedly a key factor in the growth of the area, and also provided visitors with a convenient and cheap means of reaching Epping Forest, transforming it into the "East Enders' Playground".

The railways brought a tourist boom to the forest, and Loughton's streets rang to the shouts of Cockneys making their way to the forest. The tourist invasion was not universally welcomed; the visitors were condemned by some as insanitary, irreligious, and disruptive, and Loughton was long nick-named 'Lousy Loughton' from the lice and fleas purportedly left behind by East Enders.

The Ragged School Union began organising visits to the Forest by organised parties of poor East Endmarker children in 1891. Shortly afterwords, Loughton became the focus for their operations. Trainloads of children, with metal identity tags and locked into carriages, were brought on special trains in their thousands every summer, to be marched up Station Road and Forest Road to the Shaftesbury Retreat. The trains were paid for by Pearson's Fresh Air Fund, a charity promoted by a publishing magnate. The Retreat offered pony rides, funfair side-shows, a sit-down tea and a romp in the forest. Some local residents regarded the trips, which continued into the 1930s as a nuisance.

Twentieth century

Direct omnibus services linked Loughton to London from 1915. The old No. 10 route from Victoria - Abridge via Loughton survived until 1976 (a modern derivative, paid for by Essex County Council, again numbered 10, linked Loughton and Abridgemarker until 2007), and the No. 20 service from Leyton - Epping survives, though it has terminated in Debden since 1976 and now only runs from Walthamstow to Debden. The No. 167 route runs from Debden to Ilford.

During the First World War, anti-aircraft positions were located in Epping Forest as part of the wider defences of London, but action was minor compared to the Second World War. There are however residents still alive who recall hearing the Silvertown explosionmarker in 1917, when a TNT factory in the Royal Docks blew up killing 73 people. The sound of the blast could be heard from The Wash to Brightonmarker.

On the very first day of the Blitz, 7 September 1940 ("Black Saturday"), a Hurricane from 303 Sqn crashed onto an air-raid shelter in Roding Road, killing three occupants. The Polish pilot bailed out, and was promptly arrested as he could speak virtually no English. Also killed by "friendly fire" was PC Albert Hinds, blown up outside Loughton Police Station by a shell from an anti-aircraft battery in Nursery Road. PC Jordan, father of the pianist Mrs Mills was injured in this incident. Two A.R.P. men nearby died later from their injuries. A memorial plaque placed on the police station in 2005 commemorates all Loughton's civilian war dead; it is one of very few UK civilian war memorials. Even before the Blitz had begun, there was sporadic German bombing; two people were killed in The Drive on 26 July 1940, the first fatalities of the war in the London Civil Defence Region. In a 1941 raid, farms were damaged in Loughton and Debden, while a gun battery at Loughton Hall was hit, killing a soldier. At Staples Road Schools, the white-painted air-raid shelter directions are still clearly visible: CASUALTY ENTRANCE - THROUGH AIRLOCK BY SANDBAGS (although the lettering has been repainted in recent years). Staples Road school had until 2006 the unique distinction of having amongst its alumni both the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, and the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Mike Gapes.

There has been much post-war rebuilding and infilling; the church of St. Edmund of Canterbury, in Traps Hill, is an example of modern church architecture, built in 1958 following a disastrous fire in an earlier building. Another notable modern church is Loughton Methodist Church, opened in 1987. The Victorian St Mary's Church has had (2008) a foyer and modern hall attached and all the pews removed. The police station was rebuilt in 1963/64. There has also been some post-war rebuilding of High Road shops, notably Centric Parade, which dates from 1983, but is effectively a new facade built on to the former London Cooperative Society supermarket, one of the largest in the UK when opened in 1962, with roof-top car park. The M11 motorway linking London to Cambridge passes very close to Loughton's eastern boundary; this part of the motorway was opened in 1977. Light industrial units proliferated along the Roding valley between 1975-2000, notably in Langston Road.

Twenty-first century

The headquarters of Higgins Group PLC in Langston Road was added to the townscape in 2005. in 2008, Amstrad announced their intention to move the group HQ to Loughton from Brentwoodmarker.


There are several distinctive neighbourhoods in Loughton:
  • Debden Estatemarker occupies about 650 acres/250 hectares to the east of Loughton High Road; it was built by the London County Council between 1947 and 1952 as an out-county estate, with the intention of rehousing people from Londonmarker whose homes had been destroyed or damaged during the Second World War.
  • Debden Green is a hamlet set around an ancient green in the north-east corner of the parish. Debden House is an adult learning and conference centre in Debden Green run by the London Borough of Newhammarker; the grounds include a campsite.
  • Great Woodcote Park is a modern estate at the northern end of Loughton.
  • Little Cornwall is a hilly area of north-west Loughton closest to Epping Forest characterised by steep hills, weatherboarded houses, narrow lanes and high holly hedges.
  • Roding Estate or South Loughton is an area south-east of the London Underground Central Line and was mostly built up between the First World War and Second World War

From 1839 to 2000, Loughton was in the Metropolitan Police District, but on 1 April 2000, it was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Essex Police. Telephone numbers in the town, anomalously, have the London (020) area code. This anomaly is shared with Ewellmarker in Surrey.


Loughton was an Urban District Council from 1900-1933, when it became part of Chigwell Urban Districtmarker until 1974, when Epping Forest was created. Loughton Town Council was established in 1996. The Town Council consists of 22 councillors representing 7 wards, elected for a four-year term.

At district council level, Loughton is represented by two councillors from each of the 7 wards, elected for a four-year term. At county council level, Loughton is split between three divisions, Buckhurst Hill & Loughton South, Chigwell & Loughton Broadway, and Loughton Central, each returning one councillor elected for a four-year term.

Loughton forms part of the Epping Forest parliamentary constituencymarker

The Arts


Loughton is home to the East 15 Acting Schoolmarker. East 15 grew from the work of Joan Littlewood's famed Theatre Workshop. Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop was based in Stratfordmarker, Londonmarker, whose postal district is E15. The School, which became part of the University of Essexmarker in 2000, includes the Corbett Theatre in its campus. Regular productions are staged at the theatre, which was named after Harry H. Corbett (1925-1982), himself a Theatre Workshop member and benefactor of East 15. The theatre building is actually a converted medieval flint barn from Ditchlingmarker, Sussex which was dismantled and rebuilt in Loughton.

The character actor Jack Watling (1923-2001) lived for many years in Alderton Hall, Loughton. His son, Giles (1953-), also an actor, was born there. Actor and playwright Ken Campbell (1941- 2008 ), nicknamed ‘The Elf of Epping Forest’, lived in Baldwins Hill, Loughton. Comedy-drama actor Alan Davies (1966- ) grew up in Loughton, and attended Staples Road school. Actress Jane Carr, most noted for her role a "Louise Mercer" in the American sitcom "Dear John" (1988) was born in Loughton.

Amateur drama is performed mainly at Lopping Hall. Performances from Loughton Amateur Dramatic Society, founded in 1924, alternate with those from the West Essex Repertory Company, founded in 1945. Lopping Hall opened in 1884 and was paid for by the Corporation of London to compensate villagers for the loss of traditional rights to lop wood in Epping Forest, rights which were bought out when the management of the forest was taken over by the Corporation in 1878. Lopping Hall served as Loughton’s town hall and was the venue for most of the parish’s social – and especially musical - activities during the early 20th century. There are ambitious plans by the Trustees for the building’s restoration by 2009. There is also a full-scale theatre, the College Theatre, on the campus of Epping Forest College.


Loughton's classical music scene dates back to the late 19th century, when there were regular concerts by the Loughton Choral Society in Lopping Hall under the redoubtable conductorship of Henry Riding. Today, performances are mainly at two venues, Loughton Methodist Church and St. John’s Church. Loughton Methodist Church hosts the annual Loughton Youth Music Festival, which showcases talented pupils from local schools and colleges. St. John’s festival choir undertakes extensive overseas tours, and in turn hosts well-known soloists, chamber and operatic groups. The music hall artiste José Collins (1887-1958) lived at 107 High Road for many years. The hymn writer Sarah Flower Adams (1805-1848) lived at a house called Sunnybank, demolished 1888 and replaced by no.9 Woodbury Hill.

Loughton is also home to the National Jazz Archive (see below), which hosts occasional jazz performances. Gladys Mills (1918-1978), a well-known music-hall pianist who performed as ‘Mrs Mills’, lived in Loughton from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s. Loughton boasts a few rock and pop music connections; Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits was a lecturer at Loughton (now Epping Forest) College, and the Genesis song ‘The Battle of Epping Forest’ is based on an actual event when rival East End gangs fought a turf war in the forest. The Wake Arms public house (now demolished, and which was about north of the Loughton boundary in Waltham Abbeymarker) was a notable rock music venue from 1968-1973, hosting bands such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Genesis, Pretty Things, Status Quo, Uriah Heep and Van der Graaf Generator. Ray Dorset, the lead singer of Mungo Jerry had his first taste of fame when his band 'The Tramps' won the Loughton Beat Contest in 1964 [45266].

Roding Players is an amateur orchestra which rehearses at Roding Valley High School and gives three concerts a year in the Epping Forest area; composer Miles Harwood is Musical Director. Loughton Ladies Choir gives regular afternoon concerts in the Epping Forest area. Epping Forest Brass Band, founded in 1935, also has regular concerts in the Epping Forest area, and competes in national competitions and exhibitions. Loughton Cinema had a resident ladies' band during the 1930s. Music at the LMC is a series of concerts given by visiting artists in the winter months.

Opera and Dance

In the 1930s Loughton was home to the Pollards Operas, outdoor operatic performances in the garden of a large house. These were directed by Iris Lemare (1902-1997) and produced by Geoffrey Dunn (b.1903), a prominent impresario, actor and cinematographer, and included several first British performances of operas. Loughton Operatic Society, founded in 1894, is one of the oldest arts organisations in Essex, and still stages regular musicals and operas at Lopping Hall.

Epping Forest District Council’s Arts Unit, Epping Forest Arts, stages occasional dance-based performance works in Loughton, with community and schools participation. Loughton School of Dancing, which meets at Lopping Hall, encourages the town’s younger talent. Harlow Ballet, which stages full-scale amateur ballet productions at Harlow Playhouse, also recruits in the area.

Visual Arts

The proximity of Epping Forestmarker has made Loughton a magnet for artists for many years. The sculptor and painter Sir Jacob Epstein (1880-1959) lived at ‘Deerhurst’ between1933-1950, and produced some of his best known works there. Artist John Strevens (1902-1990) lived at 8 Lower Park Road. Walter Spradbery (1889-1969), best known for his iconic interwar London Transport posters, lived nearby in Buckhurst Hillmarker. Octavius Deacon was a 19th- century naïve artist from Loughton who painted many amusing scenes of village life. Juggler Mark Robertson (1963-1992) lived at 'The Avenue" and had a highly successful career appearing at the London Palladium and on many TV shows.

There is a thriving Loughton Arts Club, and there are frequent exhibitions by contemporary local artists and photographers at Loughton Library. Loughton Camera Club, a member of the East Anglian Federation of Photographic Societies, meets at Lopping Hall in Loughton, and holds regular exhibitions of members’ work in Loughton Library and elsewhere.


Early cinematic shows took place in the Lopping Hall. A purpose-built Loughton Cinema was opened by actress Evelyn Laye on 9 October 1928; designed by local architect Theodore Legg, it could seat 847. This was later reduced to 700. The cinema was renamed the Century in 1953, and closed on 25 May 1963, and has since been demolished and replaced by shops. George Pearson (1875-1973), a pioneering director and film-writer in the early years of British cinematography, was headmaster of Staples Road Junior School, Loughton 1908-1913. Charles Ashton, film actor from the silent movie era, lived at 20 Carroll Hill, Loughton, from 1917-34. He starred in more than 20 films between 1918-29, including the first film version of The Monkey’s Paw, and Kitty, based on Warwick Deeping’s novel of the same name.

Several films have been set in the Loughton area, including the TV-movie Hot Money (2001), based on real events at Loughton’s Bank of England Printing Works. As with the visual arts, Epping Forest has long attracted and inspired writers. Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream was written for the marriage of Sir Thomas Heneage Vice-Chamberlain of the Royal Household to the Countess of Southampton, who lived near Loughton at Copped Hall, where it was first performed in the long gallery in 1594.


Lady Mary Wroth (1586-1652), niece of poet Sir Philip Sidney, lived at Loughton Hall with her husband Sir Robert Wroth, and they turned the mansion into a centre of Jacobean literary life. Ben Jonson was a frequent visitor, and dedicated 'The Alchemist' to Mary and 'The Forest' to Sir Robert. Lady Mary was an author of considerable repute in her own right, and her book ‘Urania’ is generally regarded as the first full-length English novel by a woman.

Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) who lived for some time at nearby Waltham Crossmarker, set part of his novel Phineas Finn (1869), which parodies corrupt electoral procedures, in a fictional Loughton'’. William Wymark Jacobs (1863-1943) lived at The Outlook, Upper Park Road before moving to Feltham House, Goldings Road. Best known as the author of the short story The Monkey's Paw. Jacobs also wrote numerous sardonic short stories based in ‘Clayburymarker’, which is a thinly-fictionalised Loughton. Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) stayed as a child at Goldings Hill Farm. Arthur Morrison (1863-1945), best known for his grim novels about London’s East End, lived in Salcombe House, Loughton High Road. Hesba Stretton (1832-1911) was a children's author who lived in Loughton. Hesba Stretton was the pen name of Sarah Smith; her novels about the street children of Victorian Londonmarker raised awareness of their plight. Horace Wykeham Can Newte lived at Alderton Hall: he was a prolific novelist. Another children's writer, Winifred Darch (1884-1960), taught at Loughton County High School for Girls 1906-1935 (now Roding Valley High School), as did the hymnodist and poet, Emily Chisholm (1910-1991), who lived in Loughton at 3 Lower Park Rd.

Ruth Rendell, Baroness Rendell of Babergh, who lived at Shelley Grove, Loughton, was educated at Loughton County High School for Girls and subsequently worked as a journalist in Loughton at the West Essex Gazette. Some of her fiction is set in Epping Forest, and Little Cornwall, the hilly area of Loughton close to Epping Forest, takes its name from her description in the novel ‘The Face of Trespass’.

Poets associated with Loughton include Sarah Flower Adams (1805-1848), and Sarah Catherine Martin, author of the nursery rhyme "Old Mother Hubbard" is buried in the churchyard of St. Nicholas Church, Loughton. William Sotheby (1757-1833), poet and classicist, lived at Fairmead, Loughton. Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) lived at Beech Hill House, High Beach 1837-1840 where he wrote parts of his magnum opus "In Memoriam." John Clare (1793-1864) lived at a private asylum at High Beach 1837-1841. The First World War poet Edward Thomas(1878-1917) also lived at High Beach 1915-1917. The poet George Barker (1913-91) was born at 116 Forest Road, Loughton. Geoffrey Ainger (b.1925),who wrote the Christmas carols, Born in the Night, Mary's Child, Do Shepherds Stand, and several other hymns, was Methodist minister of Loughton 1958-63. T E Lawrence's hut from Chingford was re-erected at Loughton in 1931 .

Loughton Festival

The Loughton Festival is an annual celebration of the town's literary and artistic heritage. The first Loughton Festival was held on 31 March-1 April 2007. It highlighted the lives and work of Tennyson, John Clare and Edward Thomas, among others. One event, a talk about the author Arthur Morrison, led to the development of the Arthur Morrison Society.

The second Loughton Festival took place during the week of 3-11 May 2008. It highlighted the work of the poet, George Granville Barker, who was born in Loughton, Jacob Epstein, the sculptor, who also lived in Loughton, and the life of Lady Mary Wroth, who lived in Loughton Hall, and her contemporaries.

The Loughton Festival 2010 will feature the walks, talks, music and children's events that people have now come to expect. The 2010 theme will be 'creativity'.

Museum and Archives

Loughton Library
Loughton is home to two important national archives. The British Postal Museum Store houses objects ranging from the desk of Rowland Hill (founder of the Penny Post), to Mobile Post Office vehicles and an astounding assortment of letter boxes. The archive has public open days once a month. The disused signal box at Loughton is owned by the London Transport Museummarker and occasionally, guided tours are offered. Funding was pledged in 2006 to help establish a Street Museum in Loughton. There is also an Epping Forest District Museum store in the town, but this is not open to the public.

The National Jazz Archive is housed in Loughton Library; it is the national repository and research centre for printed material, photographs and memorabilia relating to jazz, with an emphasis on British jazz. Founded by jazz trumpeter Digby Fairweather in 1988, it contains an unrivalled collection of British jazz recordings, photographs, posters and memorabilia. The Archive holds regular celebrity and live jazz events.

A number of Loughton buildings, including the Masonic Hall, Lopping Hall, Mortuary Chapel, and several churches, were opened for Heritage Open Days in September 2007, the first time this had been done. On one of the days, a vintage bus rally was held in the town, attracting a large number of visitors.

Sport and leisure

Loughton is fortunate to be surrounded by open countryside and contains many parks and open spaces. This means that sports play an important part in the town’s life, and there are clubs and facilities catering for almost every kind of sport, ranging from cricket on the Loughton Cricket Club ground to mountain-biking.

Loughton Leisure Centre in Traps Hill, managed by SLM on behalf of Epping Forest District Council, includes a swimming pool complex and fitness facilities. There are other large commercial facilities in the area.


Members of the Loughton Athletic Club, based at the Pavilion in Southview Road and affiliated to the Essex AAA, compete in a variety of regional track and field competitions, including the Men's Southern League and the Women's Southern League. The club was founded in 1906, making it Britain’s oldest athletics club. Loughton Bowls Club has its ground at Eleven Acre Rise.

  • Cricket - Loughton Cricket Club was founded in 1879, and plays in the Shepherd Neame Essex League. Its cricket ground, complete with thatched pavilion, and facing the war memorial, is one of the town’s most important open spaces, and originated as a field named Mott’s Piece. One of the earliest presidents of the Loughton Cricket Club was Julius Rohrweger, a local German extraction who owned Uplands, a large house adjacent to the cricket ground. As he was politically a Liberal, the local Conservative party created and supported for some time a rival team, the Loughton Park Cricket Club, though this no longer exists.

    The South Loughton Cricket Club was founded in 1938, and plays at the Roding Road Cricket Ground. In 2007, its 1st XI became Ten-17 Herts & Essex League champions, having won the title following three consecutive promotions. The club also runs four other teams playing league and friendly cricket, and has a thriving junior section offering coaching and matchplay for children aged six upwards. The club was one of the first in the UK to gain Sport England's prestigious 'Clubmark' accreditation. It is an ECB 'Focus Club'.

  • Fencing - Loughton Fencing Club meets at Loughton Hall.

  • Golf - Loughton Golf Club owns a 9-hole course in Clays Lane. There are many other golf course close by, including Abridge Golf and Country Club, Chigwell Golf Club, Chingford Golf Club, Royal Epping Forest Golf Club, Theydon Bois Golf Club, West Essex Golf Club, Woodford Golf Club and Woolston Manor Golf Club.

  • Horse-riding - Horse-riding is very popular in Epping Forest; riders need to be registered with the Epping Forest conservators before they are allowed to ride in the forest. Pine Lodge Riding Centre at Springfield Farm, Loughton, is an ABRS-approved stables.

  • Mountain-biking - Epping Forest attracts large numbers of mountain bikers. Mountain biking is generally permitted except around Loughton Camp and Ambresbury Banks (both Iron Age forts), Loughton Brook and other ecologically or geomorphologically sensitive areas. A number of clubs organise rides, particularly on Sunday mornings. Epping Forest was considered as a venue for the mountain-biking event of the 2012 Summer Olympics, though a later (but subsequently abandoned) choice was Weald Country Parkmarker near Brentwood, Essex.

  • Orienteering and Rambling - Several long-distance footpaths pass through Loughton, including the Forest Way and the London Outer Orbital Path, and shorter walks are also popular, especially in Epping Forest. Chigwell & Epping Forest Orienteering Club was founded in 1966, and active orienteering in Epping Forest takes place most weekends. West Essex Ramblers, founded in 1970, are the local rambling club for Loughton; the club holds four walks a week in the Loughton area, with summer excursions to more distant locations. The most important event in the ramblers calendar in the area is the traditional Epping Forest Centenary Walk, an all-day event commemorating the saving of Epping Forest as a public space, which takes place annually on the fourth Sunday in September. West Essex Ramblers have over 1,000 members.

  • Speedway - High Beach near Loughton is acknowledged by most speedway historians as being the first venue for speedway racing in the UK. The first event was staged on 19 February 1928.

  • Swimming - Epping Forest District Swimming Club, founded in 1977, meets at Loughton Leisure Centre.

  • Tennis - The Avenue Lawn Tennis Club has four artificial grass courts at its ground between The Avenue and Lower Park Road. From November 2006 to March 2007, the tennis courts were resurfaced with a new layer of astroturf and sand. There is a children's half-court with a basketball net. The courts surround the club house which (among other things) contains a table tennis table and a pool table. The Town Council maintains tennis courts on the Roding Valley, but those which are part of the Loughton Bowls and Lawn Tennis Club are disused.

European Yo-Yo champion Don Robertson resided in Loughton, as did the TUC secretary Len Murray.


Loughton stationmarker is served by the London Underground Central Line. It was opened in 1940, but the railway line dates back to 22 August 1856, when the branch from Stratfordmarker was opened by the Eastern Counties Railway. The railway's 150th anniversary was celebrated by an exhibition and activity day at Loughton Station on 19 August 2006.


Loughton is served by both Loughton tube stationmarker and, further north-east, Debden tube stationmarker, both on the Central Line.

Operator Route
Central Line Eppingmarker to West Ruislipmarker via Central London
Central Line Eppingmarker to Ealing Broadwaymarker via Central London
Central Line Loughton to West Ruislipmarker via Central London

There are also rail services from nearby Chingfordmarker to London Liverpool Streetmarker via Walthamstowmarker and Hackneymarker. To get to Chingfordmarker use bus route 397 (Debden to South Chingfordmarker). At Chigwell for the Central Line towards Hainaultmarker and Woodfordmarker, although the service is not as frequent as at Loughton. To get to Chigwellmarker use bus route 167 (Debden to Ilfordmarker)


There are many bus routes in Loughton, with more frequent services to the south which are under contract to TfL to places such as Ilfordmarker, Chingfordmarker, South Woodfordmarker and Walthamstowmarker. The TfL routes are routes 20, 167, 397 and 549.Services to the north of Loughton are not TfL routes and are mostly operated by Arriva Shires & Essex and Imperial Buses who operate route H1. Destinations include Eppingmarker, Harlowmarker, Abridgemarker, Waltham Abbeymarker and Waltham Crossmarker.

Route Number Route Operation Operator
20 Debden Broadwaymarker to Walthamstow Central Stationmarker via Woodford Greenmarker Daily Arriva London
167 Debden Broadwaymarker to Ilford Hainault Streetmarker via Barkingsidemarker Daily Docklands Buses
542/543 Loughton Station to Debden Broadwaymarker via Loughton Estates Mon-Sat Arriva Shires & Essex
240/250 Debden Broadwaymarker to Waltham Cross Bus Stationmarker via Waltham Abbey Daily Arriva Shires & Essex
397 Debden Broadwaymarker to South Chingford Sainsburysmarker via Chingfordmarker Daily Arriva London
541 Loughton Station to Epping Hospitalmarker/Harlowmarker via Abridgemarker Daily Arriva Shires & Essex
549 Loughton Station to South Woodford Stationmarker via Buckhurst Hillmarker Mon-Sat Docklands Buses
804 Debden Broadwaymarker to Loughton/Buckhurst Hillmarker/Chigwellmarker Mon-Fri Schooldays Blue Triangle
H1 Loughton Station to Harlow Bus Stationmarker via Eppingmarker (Withdrawn from 19/11/09) Mon-Sat Imperial Buses
X55 Loughton Station / Debden Broadwaymarker to Harlow Bus Stationmarker via Eppingmarker Mon-Fri Schooldays TWH Bus & Coach


In 2006, schools in Loughton had approximately 2330 places in post-16 education, approximately 1200 places in Key Stage 4, approx. 1700 places in Key Stage 3, approximately 1500 places in Key Stage 2 and approximately 600 places in Key Stage 1 - almost all of which were in Comprehensive Schools.

Primary Schools

  • Alderton Infant and Junior Schools
  • Hereward Primary School
  • Staples Road Infant and Junior Schools
  • Thomas Willingale School
  • White Bridge Infant and Junior Schools

Secondary Schools

Faith-based Schools

Special Schools

In 2006, Oak View School and Woodcroft School had 62 students with Special Education Needs.

Independent Schools

  • Oaklands School



  • Population figures
  • Pewsey, S (1995), Chigwell and Loughton: A Pictorial History
  • Pewsey, S (1996), Chigwell & Loughton in Old Picture Postcards
  • Pond, Chris (2003), The Buildings of Loughton and notable people of the town
  • Pond, Chris and Caroline (2002), [Six] Walks in Loughton's Forest
  • Pond, Chris, and Ted Martin and Ian Strugnell (2006). Loughton 150 – 150 years of the railway to Loughton.

External links

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