Friday, 18 May 2012

Where is Romford?

I've blogged before about being an 'Essex girl' and the impact of your accent. However, today I came across an article specifically focussing on Romford.

This piece featured in the Romford Recorder - a local paper I will always have a soft spot for, since I spent many weeks of work experience at the River Chambers offices from a young age writing, interviewing and researching. If things had turned out differently I may well have begun my full time career there as a trainee journalist.

Anyway, I digress. This current piece asks the question is Romford in Essex or London?

How can you not know where you live or where a town belongs? Well the interesting thing about Romford (and indeed Hornchurch where I've lived since a baby) is that it sits in a London Borough - the London Borough of Havering. It also sits within the county of Essex.

I have a few thoughts (surprise surprise) on this, but my main view is this - why does it matter? Why can't we stay as we are - within both. We live within a London borough, however this borough happens to sit within the county of Essex.

As people who know me will be aware, I an proud to be from Essex and have never felt ashamed of being from here. To judge someone on where they are from, still in this day and age, I feel is rather ignorant and taking a step backwards from where we have reached in society.

All throughout life I've been teased about being from Essex and it's become part of who I am. Don't get me wrong I love the banter and conversations this leads to and I'm not complaining at all. Although it's funny how these conversations never seem to tire.

I imagine there will be people from my local area who feel it sounds more impressive to say they're from London as it creates connotations of a much more positive nature - culture, intelligence, fashion, trendy and more. Yet if you say someone is from Essex you're more likely to conjure up images of fake tan, a whiney accent, lack of intelligence and chavs.

Imagine though to find after all these years of living in Essex, it's all been a lie and I'm actually a Londoner! Rather than speaking Estuary English and living in a heavily stereotyped county, I am in fact an East Londoner with a cockney accent instead.

Although I argue what does it matter and people don't need to label everything, oddly I admit it makes me sad to think I'm not a true Essex girl.

It remains to be seen what will eventually be agreed and how this campaign raised by Romford Life will turn out.

Wherever it turns out we're officially from and living, I'm proud of where I've grown up regardless, but it's going to take us all some time to shift the Essex stereotypes of the residents and area regardless.


  1. Hi,

    It's Ramzy from the Romford Recorder - really interesting to see your views on this. I'm hoping to do a little follow-up on the reactions that the story sparked and would love to quote your blog. Would this be ok? How would you like to be named if so?

    If you're ok with this (or not ok with this) please could you send me a quick e-mail on ramzy [dot] alwakeel [at] archant [dot] co [dot] uk letting me know?


  2. Hi Ramzy,

    Thanks for your comments/interest in this. I'll drop you an email now!

  3. Romford & Hornchurch are not in Essex, they haven't been since April 1965.
    They are in London. Regardless of some people's opinions, those are the facts.
    People who live in Havering, a LONDON borough, but make out that they live in Essex, presumeably don't wanna be assciated with east London which they must perceive to be a bullet riddled dustbin. East London wouldn't be perceived as half as bad if people stopped saying the bits they think are nice are in some rural county.

  4. Thanks for your comment. You obviously feel very passionately about this. Are you from the area yourself?

  5. Yes, I'm a Romford Cockney. There is no debate to be had. Romford is in London, not Essex. This has been the case since 1965. I like Essex, it's a naturally beautiful rural county, but i don't live there, i live in London.
    Romfordians who like to say they live in Essex when they blatently don't, like to say that Romford is postally in Essex. Like the rest of their arguement, this is wrong. Romford is not postally in Essex. It is incorrect to put Essex on a Romford address. Check any Romford address on Royal Mail's address or postcode finder, not one will have the word Essex in the finished article.
    It appears to be the snobs & social climbers who try to keep the Essex lie alive, but they just appear more ridiculous as time goes by.

    1. Why would anyone make out that they live in Essex when they don't?
      East London may be rough but it's genuine. I guess Essex is posher but then people who say they're from the county complain that they get discriminated against...confusing!
      As far Romford, I've only ever known it as London. To say it is otherwise seems odd to me especially when it is officially London, & when it has the feel and look of London.

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  7. LONDON obviously!

  8. Thanks everyone for all your comments.
    I love that this is still a hot topic and up for debate for people after all this time since I originally posted!

  9. Must be london swats on me rent book no essex
    danny the man

  10. LONDON Borough of Havering. End of discussion.

  11. All the facts say Romford is in London.
    We're abit baffled down at HQ as to why anyone would even suggest that Romford is in Essex. There's simply no evidence to back it up.