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Ilford is a large town in east London, located 9.1 miles east of Charing Cross. It is the administrative centre of the London Borough of Redbridge, and identified as a major metropolitan centre in the London Plan. Ilford forms a significant commercial and retail centre surrounded by extensive residential development. It was historically a small rural settlement in the county of Essex and its strategic position on the River Roding and the London to Colchester road caused it to develop as a coaching town. The arrival of the railway in 1839 eventually accelerated that growth and as part of the suburban growth of London in the 20th century, Ilford significantly expanded and increased in population, becoming a municipal borough in 1926. Since 1965 it has formed part of Greater London.
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