This week Julia Dockerill made her maiden speech in Parliament and she posted this on her blog. In it she included a quite interesting piece about the history of both Hornchurch and Upminster:
Rather like me, Hornchurch and Upminster may now be in London, but it will always and forever have an Essex heart. Both Hornchurch and Upminster were agricultural parishes of the county, and the vestiges of a simpler past are scattered across the seat like antique jewels—whether Upminster’s beautiful tithe barn, our Grade II listed windmill or the charming churches of St Laurence and St Andrew. From the mid-17th century onwards, the area attracted successful merchants from the City of London looking to build their country pads. By 1885, Upminster was first formally connected to the metropolis by rail. None the less, its population remained modest right up until 1906, when developer Peter Griggs spotted a chance to turn the area into a new garden suburb for aspirant workers. Hornchurch was similarly swept up in the wave of suburban growth. By 1965, both were formally incorporated into the London borough of Havering.
The area’s role in defending London during the war was played out from RAF Hornchurch, just outside my constituency. My constituency later helped to revive London and its war-weary people by providing land for a large new housing estate on Harold Hill to alleviate inner city housing shortages, particularly among eastenders who sought better lives for their families—what more fitting location for the first sale of a council home to a tenant by the Greater London Council? For aspiration, hard work and a deep sense of family, community and nationhood flow through the veins of my constituents. Ours is a seat where an agrarian Englishness and sense of stability mixes with the upward mobility of the metropolis, and where the brash thrust of the centre breaks into something gentler, almost nostalgic. It is a place where taxis, vans and the tools of tradespeople rest on driveways after a hard day’s work; where doorways are swept and homes taken pride in; and where people hold straightforward, honest hopes for good schools, jobs, public services and homes. My constituents contribute to and believe in what this nation has to offer but they expect our nation’s politicians to hold that belief as well.
You can find the full speech on Julia Dockerill’s blog