Canadian uncovers historic record of day 86 years ago when Ilford was declared a borough

A Canadian woman has inherited a piece of history from the 1920s when the royal family visited to declare Ilford as a borough.

Hilary Smith, 60, who lives in Victoria, Canada, and has never been to Ilford, inherited a Charter Day leaflet from her 88-year-old father dating back to October 21, 1926.

The 60-page booklet entitled Ilford Charter Day, commemorates the proclamation of the Ilford charter, attended by the then Duke and Duchess of York (George VI and Elizabeth).

Mrs Smith said: “My father, Alan, cannot remember how he came to have it but there is a name written on the inside cover, Stanley Gable, or Cable, which isn’t a name anyone in my family is familiar with.

“We have lived in Canada since 1957 when my parents emigrated to Toronto but we still have lots of relatives in England.”

The leaflet, which was discovered while Mrs Smith was clearing out her parents’ home, belonged to Alan Smith, a former Brentwood School pupil who lived in Collier Row, Romford.

Mrs Smith said: “To be honest, my first thought was to chuck it out. But the pamphlet seemed interesting and when I sat down and started looking at it, I realised that perhaps it might have some value to Ilford. So I thought I would contact someone at the museum to see if they wanted it, and they did.

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“It’s exciting to hold a piece of history in your hands, and when I think of how easily I might have discarded it, I am ashamed.

“This is how we gradually lose little bits of our heritage because we are too busy.”

Mrs Smith contacted Val Bryant at the Redbridge Museum, Central Library, Clements Road, Ilford who said it would be a welcome addition to the local archives.

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