The Borough of Redbridge was created in 1965 with the amalgamation of Ilford with Wanstead and Woodford and the inclusion of parts of Chigwell and Dagenham. The name Redbridge came from the brick bridge over the River Roding and symbolised the joining of the areas. Redbridge is situated seven miles to the northeast of the City of London and shares its borders with the Boroughs of Waltham Forest, Newham, Barking and Havering.

Population change

1966 246,600 people
1998 231,800 people

Redbridge has some historic urban centres, including Ilford, the home of an important film and photographic firm. A third of the borough is Green Belt land. The Green Belt scheme was introduced in 1955 to control metropolitan growth around London. Land falling into the scheme cannot be developed unless there are exceptional circumstances. There are many parks such as Hainault Forest Country Park, Valentines Park and Fairlop Waters. Part of Epping Forest also lies within the borough.

Redbridge includes a number of historic properties. Valentines Mansion was built in the 17th century, probably by James Chadwick, as a large country home for his family. In the 20th century the building was acquired by Ilford council, which intended to turn it into a cultural centre. Plans for the centre were postponed due to the outbreak of the First World War. For a time the mansion was used as a shelter for Belgian refugees. There are currently plans to restore the mansion to its former glory.

By the end of the 20th century, 36.5% of Redbridge's residents defined themselves as belonging to a minority community, a higher-than-average figure for the London boroughs. The largest of these groups are people from the Indian, Pakistani and Caribbean communities.

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