Manor Park was, until the late nineteenth century, called Little Ilford. It referred to the small crossing over the River Hile which was the former name of the Roding. The river was prone to flooding.
An alehouse stood on the site of the former Three Rabbits pub (on the corner of Rabbits Road
) since the 1630s. It probably took its name from a rabbit warren on the old Aldersbrook estate which gave its name to Warren Avenue. The pub was used by dealers trading at the annual cattle fairs on Wanstead Flats until the nineteenth century.
Between 1829 and 1831, a prison called the Little Ilford House of Correction was built on the site of the current site of Gloucester Road and Worcester Road
. It was demolished in 1878 and some of its rubble was used in the construction of local houses.
The area subsequently received its ’Manor Park’ name due to Manor Park railway station which took its name from the home of the Lord of the Manor of West Ham which was situated in what is now Gladding Road. The Manor House was purchased by the Eastern Counties Railway in 1839 so that the London to Romford line could be constructed. The name Manor Park was speculative - locally there are stations called Manor Park, Upton Park, Woodgrange Park and Wanstead Park.
Manor Park developed rapidly from the 1830s due to the prison, two cemeteries and an Industrial School. Low cost housing for rent was built for potential commuters.
The Eastern Counties Railway line, opened in the 1840s, did not directly serve Manor Park at first. Local residents had to walk the mile to either Forest Gate or East Ham stations. The first station in the area came in 1872 and was named Manor Park and Little Ilford. It was later replaced it with a larger station in 1893 and had its name shortened simply to Manor Park.
The station in turn created a housing boom on the remaining fields in the 1880s and 1890s. Southborough Road was laid out during this time, renamed later to Grantham Road.
In 1903 the area now occupied by Grantham Road, Alverstone Road
and Waltham Road was badly hit by floods, when the River Roding burst its banks. Many people were left homeless - boats had to be hired to rescue the stranded.