History of Grange Farm Chigwell

May 27th 2018
By: Melanie Hollidge
History of Grange Farm Chigwell

Make sure you get involved with some of the activities at Grange Farm Centre Chigwell. Grange Farm was set up as a charitable trust in 1984. The aims of the Trust are “to provide or to assist in the provision of facilities for recreation and leisure time occupation for the benefit of the inhabitants of the area.” So what are you waiting for you Chigwell, Loughton and Woodford locals?

The Grange Farm Centre Trust has taken responsibility to support the whole site and to ensure that it is sustainable and a thriving place for the community. It is interesting to note some of the histories behind Grange Farm. Donald Allen (later Sir Donald Allen) the Clerk to the Foundation, strongly believed in the fresh air, sport and exercise for young people, he purchased land in Chigwell Row, 50 acres to be precise for use as a camping site. Then the war put some of Sir Donald Allen’s bold plans on hold.

But after the war, Sir Donald obtained a grant and building at the time was sped up to accommodate over 2000 foreign students for the Festival of Britain in 1951. A hutted camp was provided and a site for tents to accommodate up to 600 campers while the grounds could accept several thousand day-visitors. An assembly hall, tennis courts, football, rugby and cricket pitches, bowling green, running track, mini golf course, sun garden, children’s playground and large swimming pool with high diving boards ensured all visitors had plenty to entertain them on their visits and provided recreational activities for the local residents throughout the year.

Over time Grange Farm Chigwell has attracted visitors from all over the UK, London and other parts of Europe. However, during the 1970s, the change in holiday trends, more affordable travel and package holidays to warmer climes saw a decline in Grange Farm’s popularity and by 1983 it had to be closed until it was redeveloped yet again to offer a host of activities and facilities to Chigwell residents. Check out what’s on for all the family.