South Ockendon

From Wikishire
Jump to: navigation, search
South Ockendon
Ockendon station building.JPG
Ockendon Station
Grid reference: TQ592827
Location: 51°31’15"N, 0°17’44"E
Post town: South Ockendon
Postcode: RM15
Dialling code: 01708
Local Government
Council: Thurrock

South Ockendon is a settlement and ancient parish in the Chafford Hundred of Essex. It is located just outside the M25 motorway on the edge of the metropolitan conurbation. The area to the north is North Ockendon.


South Ockendon is an ancient parish. It was a village before the Norman Conquest, had a priest in 1085.[1] is listed in the Domesday Book[2] as "Wocheduna", conjecturally named after a Saxon chief, Wocca, whose tribe allegedly lived on a hill.[3] The suffix "don" in Old English means a low hill in open country.[4] Until the late 1940s, the village centred on The Village Green, with its Norman Church of St Nicholas of Myra and adjoining "The Royal Oak"[5] a 14th-century tavern with a 17th-century northern extension.[6] North, South and West Roads all converge on The Green.[7] The railway through Ockendon station was built in 1892 as a through line from Tilbury Dock to the Midlands and further via Upminster and Romford and now is a major commuter route between Southend and Fenchurch Street via Barking.

In 1912, "Mollands Farm" to the south of the original village was acquired for use as a 'rehabilitation' facility for what are now termed 'disadvantaged' or 'educationally challenged' people who were put to useful work on the farm. Over time the farm developed into a major mental hospital or as South Ockendon Psychiatric Hospital. The hospital closed in 1993 and was fully demolished by 1998 as an indirect result of the devastating "South Ockendon Report" which re-defined the borders of bad management of mental patients and led to a nationwide re-appraisal of mental care in the UK. Residential redevelopment of the former hospital site followed from early 1997. This estate was built in modules over a four-year period and is now known as The Brandon Groves Estate. The estate covers about 100 acres with extensive lawns, walks and over 3½ miles of paved access roads. It is furnished by dozens of long-established trees.

South Ockendon village became a location for prefabricated houses accommodating bombed-out residents of the East End of London in the late 1940s. The majority of these were demolished in the late-1960s when a sizeable Greater London Council estate, Leca plan "concrete" construction homes – the Flowers' Estate – was built to replace them, once more with pre-fabricated dwellings, albeit of a superior design.

In the 1970s The Ford Motor Company factory at Aveley housed Ford's Advanced Vehicle Operations which built cars such as the RS1600.[8] The plant was wound down gradually from the late 1990s but closed entirely in 2004, when the last 150 jobs were lost. The majority of the 150 accepted transfers to other Ford or ancillery sites around Essex. The 'Aveley' plant was situated along and west of the railway line, adjacent to Ockendon station in the Belhus Ward[9] that part of Ockendon now commonly known as "Belhus" and also used to name a nearby golf club west of the M25.

Notable residents

Thomas Bennett Sturgeon was responsible for all the merino sheep imported into Australia and New Zealand, forming the entire basis of their wool and lamb economy.[10]


The railway line from Upminster to Grays separates the old village of South Ockendon from Belhus.[9] The line is a spur between Grays Thurrock and Upminster of the line from Fenchurch Street Station to Southend and Shoeburyness.

South Ockendon is served by Transport for London. Buses run between Romford and Lakeside via South Road and Romford from Ockendon station via Upminster and Harold Wood. Local services connect the village directly with Basildon, Brentwood, Purfleet, Grays and Aveley.


Secondary education is provided by The Ockendon Academy (formally known as The Ockendon School, and before that Lennard's Secondary Modern School).


("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about South Ockendon)
  1. Cyril Hart The Early Charters of Essex (Leicester University Press, 1971)
  2. DB32 Essex |publisher=Phillimore|year=1983|section 57b & section 58a
  3. Reaney, PH (1969). The Place-Names of Essex. CUP. 
  4. Margaret Gelling (1997). Signposts to the Past (third ed.). Phillimore. ISBN 0-460-04264-5. 
  5. "The Royal Oak, South Ockendon". Retrieved 11 May 2009. 
  6. Glyn H Morgan Forgotten Thameside (Letchworth Press, 1966, p92)
  7. "The Green at South Ockendon Panorama". Retrieved 11 May 2009. 
  8. "Twenty Questions on Ford RS". Retrieved 11 May 2009. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 StreetCheck. "Postcode Districts in Belhus Ward in Thurrockconstituency". Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  10. Leach, Norma. "THE STURGEON FAMILY". Thurrock Local History Society. Retrieved 16 August 2015.