Leytonstone holds a very tantalising look into London’s past. It is a simple Roman milestone marker that was once a part of an ancient roadway from London to Epping. There has also been a few other Roman finds in Leytonstone, the massive foundations of a Roman building and a Roman cemetery. Leytonstone has existed as a small hamlet since the 14th century. Still, the Roman finds in the area tells us that there has been human occupation for at least 2,000 years.
Fast-forwarding to 1722, Daniel Defoe actually came to Leytonstone. He described the village as a lovely country retreat where wealthy merchants lived as it provided an easy commute to London. Until 1856, Leytonstone remained a largely rural place. Just like so many other areas of London, it was the arrival of the railway in 1856 that meant that Leytonstone was now a viable option for Londoners to live. Once the railway to Stratford and central London was established, Leytonstone became a suburban town. However, much of Epping Forest was saved from the development in the area thanks to the Epping Forest Act of 1878.
So, Leytonstone has a fascinating history. Since the Roman period, it has been a commuter town into London. So, the next time you are on your commute, just imagine a Roman merchant doing the same thing nearly 2,000 years before.