Romford is now logically a part of this grand conurbation we call London, but in actuality this is very much Essex country. You can hear it in the accents, even the subjects of the conversation, you can smell it in the marketplace (sausages, cheap vegetables, ‘sexy’ vinyl Robin Hood outfits), you can see it in the outfits (not just Robin Hood, but the preponderance of Primark and its allies. You get the picture).
All of which makes Romford somewhere you would actually go, on purpose, unlike a number of other places I’ve been. For example, its extensive market and substantial shopping facilities are quite the draw, and its border location makes it an attraction from outside the city and in. That said, it’s not a pretty part…
Romford’s appeal (for me) is in the diversity and quality of its charity shops. We visited five on Saturday, and came away with some excellent bargains. Most notable was a really quite good Oxfam, from which was purchased a skirt, and in times past has given us some random purple material. This weekend, it yielded up a mammoth Steven Jay Gould book.
Down the road is a well-stocked Cancer Research, and there’s a British Heart Foundation both with a goodly selection of DVDs and clothes. I ended up with Zoolander and the complete Yes Minister – double woo indeed. Cancer Research gets another cheer – £6 bought a pair of French Connection jeans in my own size and everything. I know, get me!
The Sally Army shop was pretty, but brought nothing I would buy, but the littler St Francis Hospice shop, despite its curious odour, was a little treasure trove – best purchase was a slow cooker, £7.50: as I write, I’m digesting its produce in the form of sausage casserole.
Find: Romford on Google Maps
Transport: Romford station on the National Express route to Essex
Consume with: double macchiato from Costa (the mince tart is winking at me though…)
Visit: we plan to incorporate Romford into some sort of preplanned charity shop day out, but as for visitor attractions, they’re few and far between. You could try the Hainault Forest Park.
Overall rating: four cardigans