Balfour Road, IG1

Place name

Named after Jabez Spencer Balfour (September 4, 1843 – February 23, 1916), MP for Tamworth (1880 – 85) and for Burnley (1889 – 93), though arguably better known to history as one of the greatest financial fraudsters of all time. In 1882, the financier bought up land on the Ilford Lodge Estate. The estate, comprising some 173 acres and a late 18thCentury yellow-brick mansion, located between Thorold Road and Wellesley Road, which survived until the 1970s, was purchased by Balfour’s Lands Allotment Company for £52,000 in the September of that year. The following year, in a deal that was to mark the start of major housing developments in Ilford, Balfour sold the estate, along with some adjoining lands, to Croydon builder J.W.Hobbs and Co. Within a few years however, as the new roads were being laid out, Balfour found himself at the centre of scandal. Instead of advancing money to home buyers, his building society had been lending money to property companies to buy properties owned by him, at a high price. The empire collapsed leaving thousands of investors penniless. Balfour fled, and was later arrested in Argentina in 1895. That same year, the Ilford Lodge Estate was put up for sale, under the name of Ilford Park Estate. Though few houses had been built, most of the present roads on the estate had been laid out. An Ordnance Survey map published in 1898 shows Balfour Road as a trajectory off Cranbrook Road, laid out so far as Ilford Cricket Ground (today’s Granville Road). The rest was laid out along the course of a former footpath during the early 20thCentury.

 

 

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