Historically a small farming community sandwiched between the River Roding and the London to Colchester road, Ilford was a substantial coaching town well into the 19th century. The arrival of the railway in 1839 put the buffers on the horse and cart industry, but in its wake new industries bloomed, including steam laundries and collar making. By the start of the 20th century, Ilford was a fully-fledge suburb of London.
As trains pull into the station, passengers will note a large British Telecom building with a rooftop logo - a hint of the modern building that awaits. The main entrance was heavily rebuilt in the 1980s and the architecture matched to nearby contemporary buildings, most notably the Central Library, which mirrors the station's high windows and slate-coloured roof. Ilford station is located in Travelcard Zone 4 and there are plans for Crossrail trains to call at the station from 2018. The Kenneth More Theatre and beautiful Valentines Park, both a short walk from the station, are key local landmarks.