Rainham, London


Rainham is a suburb of East London, England, in the London Borough of Havering.[2] Rainham is 13.6 miles (21.9 km) east of Charing Cross[2] and is surrounded by a residential area, which has grown from the historic village, to the north and a commercial area, fronting the River Thames, to the south.

Rainham Hall.jpg
Rainham Hall in Broadway
Rainham is located in Greater London
Location within Greater London
Population12,482 (Rainham and Wennington ward 2011)[1]
OS grid referenceTQ525825
• Charing Cross13.6 mi (21.9 km) W
London borough
Ceremonial countyGreater London
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townRAINHAM
Postcode districtRM13
Dialling code01708
UK Parliament
London Assembly
List of places
51°31′04″N 0°11′41″E / 51.5177°N 0.1948°E / 51.5177; 0.1948Coordinates: 51°31′04″N 0°11′41″E / 51.5177°N 0.1948°E / 51.5177; 0.1948

Historically part of the ancient parish of Chafford in Essex, as part of the suburban growth of London in the 20th century, Rainham significantly expanded and increased in population, becoming part of Hornchurch Urban District in 1934, and has formed part of Greater London since 1965.

The economic history of Rainham is underpinned by a shift from agriculture to industry and manufacture[3] and is now in a period of regeneration, coming within the London Riverside section of the Thames Gateway redevelopment area.[4]



Rainham (parish) population
1881 1,253
1891 1,669
1901 1,725
1911 1,972
1921 2,196
1931 3,897
1941 war #
1951 7,666
# no census was held due to war
source: UK census[5]

Rainham is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Raineham and is thought to mean 'homestead or village of a man called Regna', formed from an Old English name and 'hām', meaning settlement.[6] It is also possible that it follows Rainham, Kent which is thought to derive 'home of the Roegingas'. This is also of uncertain meaning, but could refer to 'the ruling people'.[6] The link with Rainham in Kent is strengthened by the discovery of Jutish cemeteries in Rainham.[7]

Bronze ageEdit

A hoard of 453 late bronze-age (900 to 800 BC) artefacts was found in Rainham in 2018. Known as the Havering hoard, it comprises swords, socketed axe heads, spear heads, knives, daggers, woodwork tools, bracelets, ingots, and other items, weighing more than 45 kg in total.[8][9]

Economic developmentEdit

For much of its history Rainham was an agricultural settlement, using the River Thames for trade.[10] In the 16th century industry was limited to a boat-builder and tannery. There are links between Rainham farms and the City of London from the Middle Ages and after the wharf was redeveloped in the 1720s trade increased; including the bringing of muck from London for use in the fields. By 1929 most of the farmland had been given over to market gardening.[10] The ferry to London was supplemented with new coaching links in the 18th century and a railway station opened in 1854. A second wharf was constructed in 1872 and from 1869 there was a growth in industrial development, including chemical and fertiliser factories.[10] The Murex iron-founders moved to Rainham in 1917 and grew along the river, eventually becoming part of the British Oxygen Company. Away from the river, other industries included brickmaking and after World War II there was a growth in gravel extraction.[10]

Local governmentEdit

1931: Rainham (6) within Romford Rural District, adjoining Upminster (4) and Wennington (7)

Rainham formed an ancient parish of 3,253 acres (1,316 ha) in the Chafford hundred of Essex.[11] In 1836 the vestry lost control of poor relief, with Rainham becoming part of the Romford Poor Law Union and in 1875 the parish became part of Romford rural sanitary district. Following the Local Government Act 1894, the sanitary district became Romford Rural District and a parish council was formed. The parish formed part of the London Traffic Area from 1924 and the London Passenger Transport Area from 1933.[12] In 1934 the parish council was abolished and Upminster was combined with other parishes to form part of Hornchurch Urban District. In 1965 the urban district was abolished and its former area was combined with that of Municipal Borough of Romford; and since then has formed part of the London Borough of Havering in Greater London.[13]

Urban developmentEdit

Church of St Helen and St Giles is the oldest building

The earliest development was around the Church of St Helen and St Giles, and this is the only medieval building to survive.[3] New prosperity from increased trade in the early 18th century led to several new buildings, including Rainham Hall.[3] Roads were laid out in 1880 and the new developments consisted of semi-detached and terraced houses. At the same time a community developed around a pub on the river and operated as a resort for day-trippers. As the Thames industrialised it declined in popularity and was gone by 1945. Rainham developed into a suburb of London after World War I. As the estates were broken up for housing some land was purchased by smallholders from Bow and West Ham.[3] In the 1940s they successfully campaigned against having it returned to agricultural use and it was excluded from the Metropolitan Green Belt.[3] The roadways and sewerage systems did not keep up with the rate of growth and a residents' group fought for improvements in infrastructure throughout the 1960s.[3]


The clocktower is a World War I memorial and forms a focus of the town

The town forms part of the Dagenham and Rainham constituency, and is covered by the Havering ward of Rainham and Wennington. The current MP is Jon Cruddas of the Labour Party, who has served the constituency since its creation in 2010. The constituency combines wards in southern Havering with eastern Barking and Dagenham. The Rainham and Wennington ward elects three councillors to Havering London Borough Council. All three councillors elected in 2010 were the Rainham and Wennington Residents Independent Association candidates[14] and the area is unusual in that the residents' association is strongly active.[15] Rainham is within the Havering and Redbridge London Assembly constituency and was in the London European Parliament constituency.[15]


Map of Rainham

Rainham is mostly situated on gravel, rising to between 60 feet (18 m) and 100 feet (30 m).[3] The marshlands along the southern boundary of the River Thames are about 5 feet (1.5 m) above sea level and a tidal section of the River Ingrebourne forms the western boundary. It is located in part of London that is susceptible to flooding.[16] The historic core of Rainham, including the town centre, forms a conservation area.[17] The land to the south has been affected by gravel extraction and 200 acres (0.81 km2) of Rainham Marshes has been filled with 9 million tons of dredged soil by the Port of London Authority.[3] Rainham is a post town in the RM postcode area; it covers a wide area of southern Havering and additionally includes Coldharbour, South Hornchurch and Wennington.[18] Climate data is taken from the nearest weather station at Greenwich, around 8.7 miles (14.0 km) southwest of Rainham:

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14.4
Average high °C (°F) 8.5
Daily mean °C (°F) 5.9
Average low °C (°F) 3.4
Record low °C (°F) −9.4
Average precipitation mm (inches) 43.9
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 10.5 9.2 7.9 8.1 7.9 7.8 7.1 8.2 7.9 10.3 10.6 10.2 105.6
Mean monthly sunshine hours 44.4 66.1 109.7 152.9 198.7 198.6 209.2 198.0 140.6 99.7 58.5 50.1 1,526.4
Source 1: Met Office[19][20][21]
Source 2: BBC Weather[22]


Rainham and Wennington compared (2001 Census)[23]
Statistic Rainham and
Havering London England
Ethnic group
White 11,308 213,421 5,103,203 44,679,361
Asian 341 4,088 866,693 2,248,289
Black 273 3,139 782,849 1,132,508
Mixed 153 2,298 226,111 643,373
Chinese/Other 39 827 70,928 231,424
Total 12,114 224,248 7,172,091 49,138,831
Density(/hectare) 7.91 19.97 45.62 3.77
Households 4,811 91,722 3,015,997 20,451,427

Demographic data is produced by the Office for National Statistics for the ward of Rainham and Wennington. In 2001 the population of the ward was 12,114, consisting of 3,362 families and 4,811 households.[23] The population is 93.35% White, 2.81% Asian, 2.25% Black and 0.32% Chinese or other. 75.58% report their religion as Christian compared to 76.13% for Havering, 58.23% in London and 71.74% in England. 12.04% report having no religion, compared to 13.18% in Havering, 15.76% in London and 14.59% in England.[23]

At the 2001 census, there were 4,589 residents who fell into the social category ABC1, which equated to 37.9% of the population in the ward of Rainham and Wennington.[23] The age distribution was: 5.32% aged 0–4, 15.63% aged 5–15, 5.02% aged 16–19, 33.78% aged 20–44, 24.92% aged 45–64 and 15.32% aged 65 years and older. The general health was described as follows: 70.49% good, 21.52% fairly good and 7.99% not good. 16.41% of people had a limiting long-term illness.


The northern part of Rainham is identified in the London Plan as a local district centre with 20,000 square metres (220,000 sq ft) of commercial floorspace.[2] Within Havering, it is identified as one of seven town centres in the borough,[24] with a retail area extending along Upminster Road South and Broadway.[25]

The southern part of Rainham is a centre for employment, part of the London Riverside business improvement district, and the location of the Tilda Rice main plant. Several large companies have operations and offices based in Rainham, including Keebles, Carpetright, Harveys Furniture, and Rainham Steel.

The plans of the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation include 3,200 new homes and the upgrading of run-down industrial and warehouse facilities on the A1306 road to provide mixed-use development.[26] In 2006 Havering London Borough Council proposed that land in Rainham could be used for a large regional casino.[27]

Riverside sewage treatment worksEdit

The Riverside sewage treatment works is located off Manor Way adjacent to Rainham Creek; it is designed to treat up to 94,000 cubic metres per day of sewage. About 16,300 cubic metres per day is from factories; these factories contributed to the construction of the plant instead of paying a charge for the treatment of waste. The outfall of treated effluent is from the southern corner of the works into Rainham Creek (the tidal reach of the River Ingrebourne), and thence into the river Thames.[28]

Sewage sludge was disposed of by dumping at sea at the Black Deep in the outer Thames Estuary, until this practice was banned in 1998. From 1998 to 2012 the sludge produced at Riverside was pumped to Beckton sewage works for treatment and incineration.[29] In 2012 anaerobic digestion facilities were installed at Riverside, enabling the plant to turn solid waste into enough renewable energy to power the site.[29]


Havering Council's urban strategy recognises that nearby Hornchurch is the main cultural hub of the borough with a large theatre and arts spaces, and Romford offers the largest regional concentration of entertainment facilities.[30]


The A1306 road passes through Rainham and acts an alternative route to the main A13 road between Central London and the Dartford Crossing. High Speed 1 and the London-Tilbury-Southend Line pass through the area, with Rainham railway station served by c2c train services running between Fenchurch Street in the City of London and Grays in Thurrock[31] and is in London fare zone 6.[32]

Several London Bus routes serve Rainham, including routes 103, 165, 287, 372, which provide connections to Barking, Elm Park, Hornchurch, Lakeside and Romford.[33]

The London Loop key walking route passes through Rainham, and it forms the end point of section 23 from Upminster Bridge and the starting point of section 24 to Purfleet.[34][35]

The Belvedere Crossing is a proposed tunnel or bridge, between Belvedere and Rainham[36]

On 26 May 2003, Mayor Question Time, then London Assembly member for Havering and Redbridge Roger Evans asked former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone what progress had been made in convincing the government of extending the Docklands Light Railway to Rainham, the mayor responded by saying Rainham would be linked to the DLR at Dagenham Dock by the East London Transit.[37]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Census Information Scheme (2012). "2011 Census Ward Population Estimates". Greater London Authority. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Mayor of London (May 2006). "The London Plan: East London Sub Regional Development Framework" (PDF). Greater London Authority. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Powell, W.R. (Edr.) (1978). Rainham: Introduction and manors, A History of the County of Essex: Volume 7. British History Online. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
  4. ^ "The London Thames Gateway Development Corporation (Area and Constitution) Order 2004". Office of Public Sector Information. 2004. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
  5. ^ Great Britain Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, Rainham population. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
  6. ^ a b Mills, A.D. (2001). Dictionary of London Place Names. Oxford.
  7. ^ Neale, Kenneth (1970). Discovering Essex in London. Essex Countryside/LPL. p. 20. ISBN 0900519142.
  8. ^ Davis, Nicola (21 October 2019). "'Havering hoard' of bronze age objects to go on show in London". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 June 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "Havering Hoard: A Bronze Age Mystery (11 Sep 2020 - 22 Aug 2021) | Museum of London Docklands". Museum of London. Retrieved 5 June 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ a b c d Powell, W.R. (Edr.) (1978). Rainham: Economic history and local government, A History of the County of Essex: Volume 7. British History Online. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
  11. ^ Great Britain Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, Rainham parish. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
  12. ^ Robson, William (1939). The Government and Mis-government of London. London: Allen & Unwin.
  13. ^ Great Britain Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, Havering London Borough. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
  14. ^ "Your Councillors by Ward". Havering London Borough Council. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  15. ^ a b Baston, Lewis (8 February 2008). "Havering and Redbridge". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
  16. ^ Mayor of London (2008). "Indicative Flood Risk Areas". London Plan. Greater London Authority. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
  17. ^ The Paul Drury Partnership (February 2007). "Rainham Conservation Area: Character Appraisal and Management Proposals" (PDF). Havering London Borough Council. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
  18. ^ Royal Mail (2004). Address Management Guide (4 ed.). Royal Mail Group.
  19. ^ "Greenwich 1991–2020 averages". Met Office. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  20. ^ "Hot Spell - August 2003". Met Office. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  21. ^ "Record Breaking Heat and Sunshine - July 2006". Met Office. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  22. ^ "London Forecast". Met Office. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  23. ^ a b c d Neighbourhood Statistics (2001). "2001 Census: Census Area Statistics, Area: Rainham and Wennington (Ward)". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  24. ^ "Town centre management". Havering London Borough Council. 14 October 2008. Archived from the original on 19 December 2008. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
  25. ^ "Havering UDP: District Centres (schedule 7)". Havering London Borough Council. March 1993. Archived from the original on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
  26. ^ "London Riverside: Rainham". London Thames Gateway Development Corporation. Archived from the original on 30 January 2010. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
  27. ^ "Consulting on casino complex in Rainham". Havering London Borough Council. 16 May 2006. Archived from the original on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
  28. ^ Wood, Leslie B (1982). The Restoration of the Tidal Thames. Bristol: Adam Hilger. pp. 107–09.
  29. ^ a b "Riverside STW sludge treatment".
  30. ^ Urban Practitioners & Allies and Morrison (July 2005). "Romford Urban Strategy". Havering London Borough Council. Archived from the original on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
  31. ^ c2c (December 2009). "Train Times" (PDF). National Express. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
  32. ^ Transport for London (March 2009). "High frequency services" (PDF). Greater London Authority. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 October 2009. Retrieved 25 February 2010.
  33. ^ "Buses from Rainham" (PDF). Transport for London. December 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
  34. ^ "Section 23 Upminster Bridge to Rainham". www.tfl.gov.uk. Transport for London. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
  35. ^ "Section 24 Rainham to Purfleet". www.tfl.gov.uk. Transport for London. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
  36. ^ "Have your say on new river crossings in east and southeast London". www.tfl.gov.uk. Transport for London. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  37. ^ "Extending the DLR to Rainham". Mayor's Question Time. 12 May 2003. Retrieved 5 June 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External linksEdit

  • National Trust - Rainham Hall