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Rochford is a small town in the Rochford districtmarker of Essex in the East of England. It is sited about 43 miles (69.2 km) from Central London and approximately 21 miles (33.8 km) from the Essex county town, Chelmsfordmarker. According to the 2001 census the civil parish of Rochford, which includes the town proper, Stroud Green, and London Southend Airportmarker, had a population of 7,610.


The town is the main settlement in the Rochford district, and takes its name from Rochefort, Old English for Ford of the Hunting Dogs. The River Roach was originally called the Walfleet (Creek of the foreigners). It was renamed the Roach in what is known as a back formation. This is where it is assumed that Rochford means ford over the River Roach so they renamed the river to fit the theory. The town runs into suburban developments in the parishes of Ashingdonmarker and Hawkwellmarker.

First world war

The Area currently occupied by Southend Airportmarker was used as a fighter station in World War I. The site was founded in the autumn of 1914 when farmland between Westbarrow Hall and the Great Eastern railway line at Warners Bridge 2½ miles north of Southend Pier was acquired for RFC training purposes. Training continued until May 1915 when the site, known also as Eastwood, was taken over by the RNAS to become a Flight Station (night) in the fight against intruding Zeppelins. After the last RNAS action from here on it became once again RFC Rochford. Initially it was defined as a Home Defence night landing ground but in September was reclassified as a Flight Station (night). Normal Home Defence duties continued until after the Armistice when a run-down of unit activities began, with No.198 Sqn disbanding in May and No.61 in June 1919. Except for the occasional civilian flights aviation lessened, even more so when the station closed in 1920 and the site returned to farmland.

Second world war

During World War II Southend Airport was requisitioned by the Air ministry in August 1939 for use as a fighter airfield for the No.11 Group RAF. Rochford was a satellite station for RAF Hornchurch and was primarily a fighter base, home mainly to Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane aircraft. Rochford airfield was accompanied by a radar base in Canewdon (around away.) It was returned to civilian service on 31 December 1946[38469].

Due to this fact Rochford was bombed a number of times.


Until the early 1980s one of the largest employers in Rochford was the Lesneys factory, who manufactured the famous Matchbox miniature die cast model. However, this company relocated to Rugbymarker, Warwickshiremarker in 1990.


The town is just to the north of Southend on Seamarker, but is sufficiently separated from both Southend and Rayleighmarker to preserve its own identity.


The Member of Parliament for Rochford and Southend Eastmarker is James Duddridge (Conservative).


There is a Hall in Rochford which is privately owned by a family which live within the building, along with the golf course who also own a part of it. In 1380 Henry IV was married there. In 1525, Henry VIII awarded Thomas Boleyn the title of Viscount Rochford. Rochford Hallmarker subsequently became the home of Mary Boleyn, sometime mistress of Henry VIII and (probably elder) sister of (Queen) Anne Boleyn, during her second marriage to William Stafford.


Rochford railway stationmarker from which trains run to Southend Victoriamarker and to Liverpool Street stationmarker in the business district of central Londonmarker. In consequence it has long been popular as a dormitory town for commuters. Southend Airport railway stationmarker is under construction on the eastern boundary of the airport, due to open May 2010.

It also has good bus links to the surrounding towns. The Number 7 and 9 service going to both Rayleighmarker and Southendmarker, and the number 8 going to Hockleymarker and Southendmarker.

Services 7, 8 & 9 are normally operated by modern low-floor easy access buses.

There are presently no scheduled passenger flights available from Southend Airportmarker.

Rochford Hospital

Rochford Hospital used to be primarily the district maternity hospital.This was closed and housing was built on much of the site.Some of the hospital was demolished in 1997, with the remainder being utilised for mental health inpatient services by South Essex Mental Health and Community Care NHS Trust until spring 2005 when services were dispersed and Rochford Hospital closed for redevelopement as part of the Runwell Hospital reprovision programme (latterly South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust)The old boilerhouse which was built in 1933 and provided heat and power for the hospital still stands. It is a grade 2 listed building. it has been converted into apartments

In February 2008 the new Rochford Hospital opened to mental health inpatient services provided by South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, Rochford Hospital provides services for wards which moved from Runwell Hospitalmarker.

Built in the grounds of the old hospital, the new development has 111 beds and cost £25 million. It was designed to care for people with mental health needs in a modern and therapeutic environment, initially opening four new wards for adult and older peoples mental health care, these wards are Beech Ward (previously Elm Ward) and Maple Ward (previously Ashingdon Ward) provide services for older people, Cedar Ward (previously Boleyn One Ward) and Willow Ward (previously Chalkwell Ward) provide services for Adults age people, Poplar ward is a new development which will provide inpatient services for adolescents suffering from mental ill health, Poplar ward opened in February 2009. The new Rochford Hospital is part of the wider plans to permanently close the current Runwell Hospital.

Rochford Hospital was officially opened on Thursday 7th May 2009 by Professor Louis Appleby.


Rochford Community Church was founded in 1983. Its mission statement is "To create a growing community of God’s people that is loving, accepting and caring, and which is able to minister God’s love, reconciliation and healing with a servant heart, in faith, both within it and to the world outside."

Notable people

The following notable people were born in Rochford:


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