South Woodford exhibition sheds light on history of area and links to Churchill and Pankhurst

A South Woodford exhibition is shedding light on the history of the surrounding area including its links to two of Britain’s most notable 20th century figures – Sir Winston Churchill and Sylvia Pankhurst.

A History of Woodford, which combines photographs, films and documents taken from Redbridge Museum’s collection, opens at South Woodford Library, High Road, today (Wednesday) and will run until October.

It provides an overview of the development of Woodford Green, Woodford Bridge and South Woodford, particularly over the last 500 years.

And taking an exhibition outside of Ilford, where Redbridge Museum is closed until April 30 while Central Library, Clements Road, is refurbished, could become more commonplace in future, according to Cllr Sue Nolan, the cabinet member for leisure.

The Conservative councillor for Snaresbrook ward said: “It’s kind of a pilot.

“It’s not always easy for people in the west of the borough to access Ilford Central Library.”

The Woodford exhibition highlights Sir Winston’s links to the area.

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He was the MP for Epping Division which incorporated Woodford and Wanstead from 1924 to 1945 and for Woodford from 1945 to 1964, resigning at the grand old age of 89.

Suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst lived in the area from 1924 to 1956.

She opened the Red Cottage Tea Rooms in Woodford High Road in 1924 and through her opposition to Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia, published a weekly newspaper, the New Times and Ethiopia News, from her Charteris Road home.

The exhibition also examines links to empire, trade and slavery and will bring to life the voices of ordinary people from the last 100 years.

Cllr Nolan said: “I think it’s a really special exhibition.

“It will encourage people to see Woodford in a new light.”

The free exhibition is open Monday to Saturday.

On May 1, Allen Packwood, an archivist at the Churchill Archives Centre at University of Cambridge will give a talk on Churchill’s role as an MP.