Griggs Close, IG3


Peter Griggs (November 1, 1849 – August 11, 1920) started developing houses as part of the Loxford Hall Estate from 1897. According to the official account of his life, Griggs had grown up in poverty in South Hackney following the death of his father when he was just seven years old. Brought up by Martha, his mother, he became apprenticed to a Thames lighterman and from there began to build his first fortune, saving up to buy his first barge. Tony Benton’s excellent Upminster History Site adds more detail to this rags to riches tale. Namely that Griggs was born in Brick Lane, four years earlier than he claimed and that his father, a cheesemonger, died aged 52 on September 30, 1857, from chronic hepatitis. In the official version, quoted by Benton: “Griggs ‘by dint of rigid economy managed to save sufficient to acquire a £500 vessel, paying £100 down and the remainder by instalments’. By his own account ‘at the age of 30 … I had made and lost a fortune. I determined to start again, and I recovered myself, although it took me years to do it’.” The official tale does not go into detail over his move into house building. He entered local politics in 1899 when elected to Ilford District Council, becoming its chairman in 1910. In 1901 he was an Alderman on Essex County Council, and even served as MP for Ilford between 1918 and 1920. However, “by the end of 1904 WP Griggs and Co had already contributed some 2,000 homes to Ilford’s development but he acknowledged that it had ‘been very difficult to keep things going. The firm has to give even more to people in the shape of improvements to induce them to buy.'”




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