Six things that walked down Ilford High Road before you

PUBLISHED: 17:27 31 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:41 31 January 2019

Mock up of  things that could have walked in Ilford. Photo: Ken Mears/ PA/ Ellena Cruse

Mock up of things that could have walked in Ilford. Photo: Ken Mears/ PA/ Ellena Cruse


If you think Ilford has changed a lot over the years, you would be right.

Forget the 10-year challenge, if you go back a bit further, you might have seen lions, bears (oh my) and Vikings walking down the street.

Just for fun, read the list below to find out who was walking in Ilford before you were even a thought.

8000BC -410AD:

1)Elephants and lions

Straight tusks elephants, woolly rhinoceros, lions, bear horses, bison, ox and giant deer could be seen hanging around.

Mammoth remains were also found from this time period.


A Roman settlement and roads were discovered in Ilford, and you don’t get Roman roads without Roman people.

410AD -1600

3)Saxons and Normans

The settlement of Ilford is first recorded as “Ilefort” in 1086 before changing to Ilford in 1232.

The core of Ilford was occupied by Saxons and invaded by Normans in its time.


Ilford Hospital was founded in 1140 by Adelicia, Abbess of Barking as a hospice for infirm men.

In 1560, there are records that show there were “leper cells” where people suffering from leprosy in the surrounding area would be taken.

5)Dismembered victims of Viking raids

More than 22 skeletons were found and a theory was postulated that they were Ilford victims of the Viking invasions.

However, some people believe they were more likely to be leprosy victims.

1600 - 1900


“Witch bottles” were discovered in Ilford showing that rituals would take place in the town centre and on the banks of the River Roding.

Witch bottles were used by witches and non-witches as protection against witchcraft and spells.

The first mention of the item appears in the 17th century. Witches bottles are still used today by magic practitioners, but usually for casting spells (you learn something new every day).

The information was complied after an archaeological survey was carried out by Aoc Archaeology. 

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ilford Recorder. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Ilford Recorder