Gants Hill is a residential area situated in South West Essex with a population of 12,000. It is 2 miles north of Ilford and 12 miles east of Central London. Gants Hill is 30 minutes from Oxford Circus on London Underground's Central Line.
The beautiful Valentines Park stretches from Gants Hill to Ilford. With it's lakes, county cricket ground, tennis courts, mini golf course and other attractions, the park is a wonderful place to escape from the noise and hubbub of Ilford town centre. Gants Hill has a good choice of hotels, guest houses and B&B's, including the new Travelodge and Express Inn.
EATING, DRINKING AND SHOPPING
Gants Hill has a multitude of restaurants, takeaways, public houses and bars, and is also the home of Essex's famous nightclub, Faces. There are banks, offices, specialist independent shops and businesses in Gants Hill, which are listed in the following pages.
There are a number of schools, nursery schools and colleges in the area, including Gearies Infants & Junior, Valentines High, St Augustines and the Redbridge Institute of Adult Education. Gants Hill library (built 1928) houses an impressive collection of books and music and also has a good reference room.
There is 1 car park in Gants Hill - Pay & Display in Cranbrook Road North (next to the Library). There are parking meters on all sides of the roundabout and pay & display parking bays on Cranbrook Road South.
See our Gants Hill
Historical Photo Album
There are two possible explanations for the origin of the name Gants Hill. It could derive from the le Gant family. Gantesgrave appears as early as 1291. In 1321 Ralph le Gant was steward of Barking Abbey, and Richard and Gilbert le Gant were stewards in 1456. There are also theories that the name derives from Gnats Cross*. The area was originally a swamp and was the habitat of swarms of flying insects otherwise known as gnats. Wealthy local landowner Lord Parham had the area drained in 1803 and the village that sprung up in this area became known as Gnat's Cross. This changed to Hill due to cases of religious discrimination. Gnat's probably became Gants due to a printing error in the reproduction of local maps.
* Thank you to Norman Lewis for this information
Gants Hill is a borough of Ilford - originally Yleford - the ford through the River Hyle (meaning trickling stream). Hyle is the Anglo Saxon name for Roding. Ilford is in the south east county of Essex, appearing originally as East Seaxe (the East Saxons) in 604, and as Excessa in the Domesday book.
Gants Hill was originally a small settlement on the main London to Colchester/ Chelmsford/ Norwich road and soon became a crossroads for travellers and day tripping Victorians cycling from East London to the nearby Epping Forest.
Cranbrook Road once continued without interruption from Barkingside to Ilford. However when Eastern Avenue was built in the mid 1920s, the area at the junction gradually took on urban aspects with shops, offices, banks, a cinema and the tube station on the Central Line extension. In its early years Eastern Avenue was a peaceful backwater with little traffic except at weekends and holidays, when everyone with a car made the journey to Southend.
The famous Gants Hill roundabout first appeared around 1928 and later the Underground Station was built underneath in the 1930's. Work was suspended at the outbreak of World War II and the already built tube tunnel was used as an air-raid shelter and by Plessey Ltd for munitions production from 1940-1945. The line was completed by London Underground in 1947.
The Savoy Cinema was opened on 3rd September 1934 and originally seated 1726 people. It became the Odeon in 1949 and has since been converted into a multi screen theatre. Sadly the Odeon closed it's doors for the final time in March 2002 and was demolished in March 2003.
Famous faces to have come from the area include singer Louise Wiener, actress Louise Lombard, actor David Rappaport, athlete Tessa Sanderson, cricketer Nasser Hussein, Bobby Moore, and boxer Nigel Benn.
Please click here for bus services from and to Gants Hill
Gants Hill is on the London Underground Central Line, 35 minutes from Oxford Circus
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Underground Map (PDF)