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Pole Hill, The Cloister and Bancroft’s School visit, Saturday 21st April

Saturday 21st Apr 2018

Society members are invited to take a tour around Chingford, Woodford and Epping Forest, on the borders of NE London and Essex, to visit three of the locations associated with the friendship between T. E. Lawrence and Vyvyan Richards.

Pole Hill near Chingford was the location of the wooden ‘Cloister’, owned by Vyvyan Richards and often visited by Lawrence. It was here that they planned to set up a printing press to produce fine books although this never came to fruition. The Cloister fell into disrepair in the years after the First World War and was eventually relocated and reconstructed a couple of miles away, within the Conservators Yard of Epping Forest. Richards was a schoolteacher at nearby Bancroft’s School and Lawrence made some memorable visits there.

The day will begin at 9.45am in the car park of Chingford Station, served by frequent trains from Liverpool Street Station. Here we will take the opportunity to view the large Heritage Millennium Mosaic on the side of Chingford Assembly Hall (a portrait of Lawrence has pride of place in the centre of the design). We will then depart by car to the Conservators Yard in Epping Forest. The Friends of Epping Forest have kindly agreed to give us a tour of the reconstructed Cloister here – not normally accessible to the public – followed by a talk given by one of their members. They will then escort us by minibus to Pole Hill, to see the Cloister’s original location and other features and to admire the fine views over London and the Lea Valley. We will then have lunch nearby before visiting Bancroft’s School in the afternoon. Please note that being a weekend we will not have access inside the school but we will be able to walk within its grounds and view the exteriors of the very impressive school buildings. The tour will end no later than 4.00pm. Roding Valley Underground Station, served by the Central Line into London, is 1 mile away.

The cost of the day will be £10 each to cover a donation to the Friends of Epping Forest. This does not include the price of lunch. Please note that the respective locations are all a couple of miles apart. Although the Friends are providing a minibus between the Conservators Yard and Pole Hill we will need to provide our own transport for the rest of the day. It would be greatly appreciated if people coming by car would give lifts to those who have come by train.

The Friends of Epping Forest have stipulated a limit of 9 people but I am trying to negotiate a few more places if needed. If you are interested in attending the day please contact Ian Heritage at [email protected] to secure a place and get further details.

For people travelling from a long distance, there is a Premier Inn in Chingford and a number of other hotels and guest houses in the area. There are several other things to see nearby for those wishing to make a weekend of it, including the historic Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge in Chingford, the Royal Gunpowder Mills Museum in Waltham Abbey, the recently refurbished William Morris Museum in Walthamstow and the ancient Epping Forest itself, which has some lovely walks.


Saturday 21st Apr 2018



The international Society for everyone with an interest in the life of T. E. Lawrence