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All Saints Church, Cranham - - 147590.jpg
All Saints' Church, Cranham
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OS grid reference TQ575875
• Charing Cross 17.5 mi (28.2 km) WSW
London borough
Ceremonial county Greater London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district RM14
Dialling code 01708
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament
  • Hornchurch and Upminster
London Assembly
  • Havering and Redbridge
List of places
51°33′43″N 0°16′05″E / 51.561978°N 0.268006°E / 51.561978; 0.268006

Cranham is a residential area of east London, and part of the London Borough of Havering. It is located 17.5 miles (28 km) east-northeast of Charing Cross and comprises an extensive built-up area to the north and a low density conservation area to the south surrounded by open land. It was historically a rural village in the county of Essex and formed an ancient parish. It is peripheral to London, forming the eastern edge of the urban sprawl. The economic history of Cranham is characterised by a shift from agriculture to housing development. As part of the suburban growth of London in the 20th century, Cranham significantly increased in population, becoming part of Hornchurch Urban District in 1934 and has formed part of Greater London since 1965. The 2011 Census population of Cranham was included in Upminster.



Cranham (parish) population
1881 416
1891 465
1901 397
1911 489
1921 519
1931 1,240
1941 war #
1951 2,836
# no census was held due to war
source: UK census

Cranham is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Craohv and in 1201 as Craweno. It means 'spur of land frequented by crows' and is formed from the Old English 'crāwe' and 'hōh'. It contained two Anglo-Saxon manors of Ockendon (Wochenduna) and Cranham (Crawenho). During the Middle Ages, and until around the 15th century, it was also known as Bishop's Ockendon because a large part of its area was owned by the Bishop of London.

Economic development

The parish is recorded in 1086 as being heavily wooded, supporting an agrarian way of life. Forest clearance was well advanced by the 15th century, with an increase in population and arable land; and there was a windmill in Cranham. Cranham lay on brick earth and this gave rise to the Cranham Brick and Tile Company which was in operation from 1900 to 1920. Drury has suggested that early trade was with the nearby settlements of Romford and Hornchurch and with London via the River Thames at Rainham.

Local government

Romford rural 1931
1931: Cranham (5) within Romford Rural District, adjoining Upminster (4) and Great Warley (3)

Cranham formed an ancient parish of 1,879 acres (7.60 km2) in the Chafford hundred of Essex. The vestry met in the church until 1829 and then at the parish workhouse. In 1836 the parish was grouped for poor relief into the Romford Poor Law Union and for sanitary provision in 1875 into Romford rural sanitary district. The sanitary district became Romford Rural District from 1894 and a parish council was formed to replace the vestry.

The parish formed part of the London Traffic Area from 1924 and the London Passenger Transport Area from 1933. To reflect the significantly increased population in the area, Romford Rural District was abolished in 1934 and Cranham was amalgamated with neighbouring parishes into Hornchurch Urban District. The parish council was abolished and Hornchurch Urban District Council became the local authority. There was a revision of boundaries with North Ockendon, which had been part of Orsett Rural District, absorbed into Cranham and a small area to the north, near Great Warley, transferred to Brentwood Urban District.

In 1965 Hornchurch Urban District was abolished and its former area was transferred from Essex to Greater London, to be combined with that of the Municipal Borough of Romford in order to form the present-day London Borough of Havering. In 1993 the Greater London boundary, to the east of Cranham and north of the railway line, was locally realigned to the M25 motorway, returning some mostly unpopulated areas of open land to Essex and leaving North Ockendon as the only part of Greater London outside the bounds of the motorway.

Urban development

Osm cranham map
Map of Cranham

In the 17th and 18th centuries manorial homes, including Cranham Hall, became attractive properties for merchants from the City of London. Initial attempts to expand the suburban estates from Upminster in the early 20th century ran into problems because of the lack of water supply. In 1922 sewage works for Upminster and Cranham were opened in Great Warley. In the 1930s land was used to develop some council housing and following the sale of the Benyon estate the pace of new building quickened. Cranham's location on the very edge of London's urban sprawl is explained by the halting effect on suburban house building of the introduction of the Metropolitan Green Belt and World War II. Thereafter building took place within the area bounded by the Southend Arterial Road in the north and St Mary's Lane in the south; and there were 615 council houses built by 1971.


Most of Cranham is located on the London Clay belt, with loam to the north and a gravel valley to the south. It rises to about 250 feet (76 m) in the north and to below 50 feet (15 m) in the south; with a ridge running east to west upon which All Saints' Church is located. Cranham forms a continuously built-up area with Upminster to the west, with open fields separating it from Harold Wood in the north, Great Warley to the east and North Ockendon to the southeast. Franks Wood and Cranham Brickfields are designated a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation with a habitat of ancient woodland, coppices, ditches, scrub, tall herbs and neutral grassland. The community forest centre for the extensive Thames Chase is located in the open land to the south east. Cranham forms part of the Upminster post town in the RM14 postcode district. Climate data for Cranham is taken from the nearest weather station at Greenwich, around 12 miles (19.3 km) southwest of All Saints church:

Climate data for London (Greenwich)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14.0
Average high °C (°F) 8.3
Average low °C (°F) 2.6
Record low °C (°F) -10.0
Precipitation mm (inches) 51.6
Humidity 81.0 76.0 69.0 64.0 62.0 60.0 60.0 62.0 67.0 73.0 78.0 82.0 69.5
Avg. rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm) 10.8 8.5 9.6 9.4 9.0 8.3 8.0 7.6 8.5 10.7 10.1 9.9 110.4
Avg. snowy days 4 4 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 16
Sunshine hours 49.9 71.4 107.1 159.8 181.2 181.0 192.1 195.1 138.9 108.1 58.5 37.4 1,480.5
Source #1: Record highs and lows from BBC Weather, except August and February maximum from Met Office
Source #2: All other data from Met Office, except for humidity and snow data which are from NOAA


Cranham compared (2001 Census)
Statistic Upminster Cranham Havering London England
Ethnic group
White 12,354 11,930 213,421 5,103,203 44,679,361
Asian 133 120 4,088 866,693 2,248,289
Black 59 64 3,139 782,849 1,132,508
Mixed 87 78 2,298 226,111 643,373
Chinese/Other 41 19 827 70,928 231,424
Total 12,674 12,242 224,248 7,172,091 49,138,831
Density(/hectare) 5.62 18.67 19.97 45.62 3.77
Households 4,946 5,111 91,722 3,015,997 20,451,427

Demographic data is produced by the Office for National Statistics for the wards of Cranham and Upminster. All of Cranham is contained within these wards, however they also cover the connected settlement of Upminster and the rural outlier of North Ockendon. In 2001 the population of Upminster ward was 12,674 and Cranham ward was 12,242, giving a total population of 25,098. 80.95% in Upminster and 81.73% in Cranham report their religion as Christian, compared to 76.13% for Havering, 58.23% in London and 71.74% in England. 10.08% in Upminster and 10.46% in Cranham report having no religion, compared to 13.18% in Havering, 15.76% in London and 14.59% in England. With a black and minority ethnic population of 3% in 2001, Cranham and Upminster wards have the lowest Simpson index for ethnic diversity in London. The level of home ownership is atypically high compared to the rest of London and England, with over 90% of housing tenure under owner-occupation in both wards.


Floodlight Tower, LTE Depot, Cranham, Upmister - - 19553
Two floodlight towers in the London Underground depot are the tallest structures in Cranham

Front Lane is the main road through Cranham and runs north to south, connecting with the A127 road in the north. Approximately 0.5 miles (0.80 km) to the northeast it has a junction with the M25 motorway, which forms the outer ring road of London. Cranham is the location of the Upminster depot of the London Underground's District line. The nearest London Underground station is at Upminster, approximately 0.75 miles (1.21 km) to the west. The London-Tilbury-Southend line of the National Rail network passes through the area in two places, with the nearest station also at Upminster. There are Transport for London bus service to Upminster, Hornchurch, Romford, and Ockendon station on routes 248, 346 and 347.


Cranham havering london main shops
Willow Parade and shops on Front Lane

All Saints' parish church was rebuilt in 1873 and is a grade II listed building. James Oglethorpe, the founder of the state of Georgia, now part of the United States of America, is buried with his wife at the centre of its chancel. The area around the church forms a conservation area. There is a second church called St Luke's further north on Front Lane. Cranham Hall, the former manor house, is a grade II listed building. There are two community associations that are both registered charities. The Cranham Community Association operates a broad range of sporting, self-improvement and hobby activities at Cranham Community Centre on Marlborough Gardens. Cranham Social Hall, with a capacity of 100, is separately operated by the Front Lane Community Association, and provides a limited range of activities. The main cultural and entertainment facilities of the borough are located in Hornchurch and Romford.


There are several short parades of shops; the largest on Front Lane, dominated by a Tesco Express store. The nearest significant activity centre identified in the London Plan is the local district centre at Upminster. Within Havering, Upminster is identified as the nearest of seven main town centres. There are a number of commercial businesses centred around the A127 Southend Arterial Road including a wholesale butcher, mushroom cultivator, caravan sales, and a sports equipment supplier. There are a limited number of hospitality venues, including pubs and a popular tandoori restaurant.

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