Fairlop Waters Country Park

Video produced by our friend Janusz Borkowski


Welcome to this web site created to tell the heritage of Fairlop Plain situated within the London Borough of Redbridge, only 6 miles (9 kms) north east of the London 2012 Olympic Games Stadium.

A modest crowd endured the drizzle, expecting to see a fantastic
flypast of over 60 aircraft. 

Due to adverse weather in central London and beyond,
most of the flypast was cancelled

We only saw helicopters, including JunoHT1, Wildcats, Apache, Chinnocks, Merlin and Puma and finally the magnificent Red Arrows.

Long Live the King!

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From the Ice age, Iron Age, Roman settlements, an ancient Royal forest, Fairlop Oak, Fairlop Fair, RAF military history in two World Wars, the creation of Fairlop Waters, to one Olympic flame carried across Fairlop Lake on a power boat driven by Mike Phillips, towards a second flame on the far bank in 2012.

Kings Wood, part of the Forest of Waltham named Hainault, Forest 1791 John Pennington © National Archives
Note the gravel pits and on the right, Fairlop Oak shown..

A kaleidoscope of significant events within this unique site. It will appeal to people of all ages with a variety of interests and includes teachers education packs for KS1 & KS2.

In the summer of 1953, my first visit to Fairlop. An open space with the deteriorating residue of a fighter station all around, concrete runways rippling to the horizon, tank traps, gun pits and derelict Miskin hangars.

Courtesy Geoffrey Goldsmith

Nearby were model aircraft being flown on control wires and a man, thought to be German, whose dog understood commands in both English and German.  In the distance, cars and motorbikes were heard racing up another unseen runway.

To a ten year old this was magical.
I should have taken more notice, should have taken photographs.  Regretfully I did neither, especially as I did not possess a camera. Hopefully, dogged determination and research have made up for this.

Some pundits consider that RAF Station Fairlop is not worthy of recognition as it was not operational during the Battle of Britain. In relevant publications, Fairlop rarely gets a mention, and because it was designated a satellite of Hornchurch, it does not have a crest in the RAF Church in St Clement Dane, London.

RAF Station Fairlop unofficial Crest & 64 Squadron at Fairlop 1943 © IWM (TR513)

Fairlop was a significant fighter station, so an unofficial crest was designed, worthy of the service and sacrifice of so many men and women.

In the early 1990’s, when I posted a note on the RAF Manston web site asking if there was anyone interested in RAF Station Fairlop, I received one reply.  Sincere thanks are due to Colin Stevens who provided an insight into life at Fairlop during wartime England, which acted as a catalyst for the formation of Fairlop Heritage Group.

 One the main objectives of Fairlop Heritage Group was a memorial to commemorate those who served on Fairlop Plain during two World Wars. They succeeded in 2013. Thanks are due to Lord Carrington KG, GCMG, CH, MC, PC, DL, for giving his support for a Memorial at Fairlop.

After the London Olympics in 2012, I was successful in obtaining funds under Olympic Legacy for a web site. Thanks are due to Jacqueline Eggleston, History on the Move and Ilford Web Design for their advice and contributions. The site has now been redesigned and funded by Fairlop Heritage Group.

Lastly, I would like to acknowledge the support of my wife Barbara, who has participated in this time consuming project and undertaken research with me, as far as New Zealand.
Also I acknowledge the constant support of our Patron Wes Streeting MP.

In 2006 Redbridge Council took the momentous step of buying back the lease so Fairlop Waters could be enjoyed by all. People of Redbridge are indebted to the visionaries within Redbridge Council for making this possible.

 If you have any information, photographs, or need further details of Fairlop Heritage Group or Fairlop’s history and heritage, please email: david@fairlopplaintimes.com

David Martin 8 November 2020, 26 April 2021, 6 June 2022 & 6 May 2023