The Coffee House at Woodford - Life in Woodford Green 1890-1920, by Eve Lockington and Win Trickey

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The Coffee House at Woodford - Life in Woodford Green 1890-1920, by Eve Lockington and Win Trickey
Published by the Loughton and District Historical Society, 86 pages. Paperback (N7727)

From the rear side cover: Here is a real gem of local history, and one that puts human flesh on the bones of local fact. The human interest of this story is immense. A typical late Victorian working class family of six children, in accommodation that would suit two at the most; an autocratic father; every last halfpenny precious; the educational system that despite 60 in a class and poorly trained teachers, turned out people competent in basic skills - all these are covered. The vignette of life on the edge of London and the border of the forest would have been repeated all over the area, but what gives this account its special merit is that it is told, through family memories, photographs and letters, in the mouths of actual people.

The Coffee House from which this book takes its title was built across the parish boundary of Walthamstow and Woodford, which runs some 100 yards to the west of Woodford High Road. The tem­perance movement was strong throughout south-west Essex. The book deals with the Ensom family, its story might be repeated in many of the temperance establishments of the Forest area. The Coffee House was a practical way of supporting the temperance cause by keeping the locals and passing carters out of the pubs, of which there were three within a minute's walk. The Ensom family were practising Congregationalists and the Coffee House was situat­ed right in front of what had been Woodford's first nonconformist church, the Mill Lane Chapel, established in 1794.

The condition of the booklet is generally good. The cover has several minor scuffs and creases, and light wear along the edges and corners, but the spine is intact and all pages are intact, unblemished and tightly bound.