Clubs news - South Park group joins in birdwatch and tragic tales of young Victorians revealed

Visitors to the bird watching event at South park

Visitors to the bird watching event at South park - Credit: Archant

South Park Users Group

»Members of the South Park Users Group were among dozens of people who painstakingly counted the birds and other wildlife in South Park, Ilford, on Saturday.

The effort was part of the Big Garden Birdwatch, run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

The charity fears some species may be in decline. It uses the survey, carried out by volunteers in gardens and parks nationwide, to monitor numbers.

The South Park Users Group works to maintain and improve the park.

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n For information on joining and events, call Anne or Tony Hoad on 020 8220 3713.

Ilford Historical Society

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The tragic tales of some of Barking’s young Victorian fishing apprentices were revealed at an Ilford Historical Society talk.

Linda Rhodes, a local studies librarian at Valence House Museum in Dagenham, said that by the 1840s, Barking was one of the largest fishing ports in England, where 1,370 men and boys were employed directly on the boats.

Young apprentices were harshly treated by some captains for even minor infractions, she said.

She told the audience at Ilford Hospital Chapel, Ilford Hill, that in its heyday, Barking’s many boats travelled as far as Icelandic waters to catch cod, halibut and herring.

A decline began in the late 1800s after railways reached ports such as Great Yarmouth and Grimsby, allowing fish to be sent to London markets much more rapidly.

Ilford Historical Society holds meetings, talks and events on the history of Redbridge and beyond.

n For more information, see

West Essex Archaeological Group

Boats are such a staple of life in the British Isles that it is hard to imagine a time without them.

But a maritime expert has traced the history of wooden vessels back 6,000 years.

Elliot Wragg, a field officer with the Thames Discovery Programme, will be talking to the West Essex Archeological Group on February 10.

Everyone is welcome to the event starting at 7.45pm at Woodford County High School, High Road, Woodford Green. There is a charge for non-members.

The West Essex Archaeological Group carries out excavations in Redbridge, Havering and Essex, and holds historical lectures and events.

Visit for information or call Anne Stacey on 020 8989 9294.

Redbridge Ramblers

A walking group is urging people to get fit for the New Year with interesting and fun strolls around London and Essex.

The Redbridge Ramblers are welcoming new members for their first walk in February – a wintry stroll around Hainault Forest on Saturday.

Meet at 10am at All Saints Church, Chigwell Row.

n For information on joining the Redbridge Ramblers, email enquiry@redbridge, go to or call Peta on 020 8498 9850.

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