Ilford... in Australia? Familiar borough names in far flung parts of the world (and Hampshire)
PUBLISHED: 15:30 02 March 2013 | UPDATED: 12:36 19 April 2013
How about a trip into Ilford Town Centre? You won’t find much, just a cluster of buildings around a road junction. But the weather is a balmy 25C and there’s plenty of countryside to explore. Or you could go to Newbury Park and journey into the mountains or to nearby Los Angeles for some Hollywood glamour. Paddle in the sea at Redbridge, if you can get past the dockyard. Lizzie Dearden discovers familiar-sounding places all over the world.
Derived from the Old English for a wood, “wuda”, and a ford, “forda”, the place name “Woodford” unsurprisingly crops up in English-speaking countries across the world.
In the UK, we have:
• Woodford, Gloucestershire
• Woodford, Greater Manchester
• Woodford, Northamptonshire
• Woodford, Somerset
• Woodford, Wiltshire
• Woodford cum Membris, Northamptonshire
• Woodford Halse, Northamptonshire
The US isn’t far behind, with five towns of that name:
• Woodford, Kern County, California
• Woodford, South Carolina
• Woodford, Wisconsin
• Woodford, Vermont
• Woodford, Virginia
Australia has three:
• Woodford, New South Wales
• Woodford, Queensland
• Woodford, Victoria
And finally, there’s a Woodford in County Galway, Ireland.
Ilford, Australia, is the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of London. And some former residents of our town seem to have had exactly that idea.
According to online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, the founders of the Australian town had travelled from Ilford, then in Essex, and gave their new home the same name.
The tiny town in New South Wales has only 306 residents spread across an expanse of hills and fields.
It lies on the so-called “Sydney Road” but drivers may need to rest before completing the 220km journey to the coastal city.
Traveller Paul Rands passes through the town on the highway.He said: “There’s not a lot there. It’s practically a ghost town these days – two churches, a closed-down petrol station, the bushfire brigade building and the corrugated iron hall, plus a handful of old houses.”
Ilford is centred on a junction in the road with only a primary school and information board visible to passers-by.
In an attempt to attract new residents, it is one of several rural towns to start a farmhouse letting scheme with rents of just $1 a week.
Newbury Park, California
Newbury Park, in California, is just 30 minutes away from the bright lights of Los Angeles and Hollywood.
The suburban town lies at the western end of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and is overlooked by local landmark Mount Boney.
About 50,000 residents enjoy a balmy climate with daytime temperatures averaging 26C in the summer and 10C in the winter.
Resident Dustin Woomer described Newbury Park as a “peaceful suburban community”.
He added: “Many citizens commute outside the community to work, particularly to Los Angeles.
“Local pharmaceutical companies Amgen and Baxter are large employers as well.
“The area is surrounded by hillsides and open spaces.”
Contrary to what you might think, California’s Newbury Park appears to have no connection to the London suburb. It is named after pioneers the Newbury family, who gave the area their name in 1875 after settling there years before.
An alternative Redbridge can be found not too far from home, a mere 100 miles away in Hampshire.
The south-coast suburb is home to an estimated 14,500 people within the city of Southampton. The area is mostly residential and borders the industrial docks of the maritime city.
It has a railway station for local services and the M27 motorway connects it to Salisbury and the West Country.
The suburb even has its own Redbridge Roundabout.
The Lower Test Nature Reserve, which is a haven for birdlife, lies at the edge of Redbridge where the River Test flows towards the sea at Southampton Water.
Resident and local councillor Andrew Pope said: “Redbridge is a great place to live, as it is on the edge of Southampton, next to transport links, the countryside and the waterside, with the New Forest just across the water.”
• Have you stumbled across an Ilford in Iceland, a Barkingside in Bermuda or a Goodmayes in Gabon?
Let us know if you have found familiar Redbridge names in far flung parts of the world.
We’ll investigate the culture of the village, town or city, and find out what, if anything, it has in common with its more familiar name sake.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call her on 020 8477 3821.
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