Hainault Forest Website

Written, Designed and with Photographs by Brian Ecott

Social History

 Forest Keepers, Green Keepers and Wardens since 1903



ALFRED HARVEY (left) with a colleague

 was Hainault's first forest keeper.

He was recommended to the London County Council by Edward North Buxton, verderer of Epping Forest as an asset to Hainault Forest.

Here they are shown wearing their best brown velvet uniforms. With the exception that the Epping Forest keepers wore claret jackets for best, the Hainault uniform was similar.

Alfred Harvey and his large family resided

at 4 Foxburrows cottage at the time of the

1911 census.


Above right is LCC Forest Keeper FREDERICK REEVES b.1894, d.1959.

Frederick with his wife also pictured lived at Grange Cottage, Lambourne End



HORACE (Wally) DRURY in 1964

with the welsh ponies



Building a Haystack  near Foxburrows Cottages.



from left to right


Young Neil MORTON on tractor




JOHN (PADDY) WALSH Senior Head Keeper

JOHN LEBEAU up ladder

ALF FLETCHER Superintendent. Retired in 1969




Horses were a feature of the forest in GLC days where they were bred and branded with the Hainault iron. RON KIPPS far left became super-intendent in  1969 when ALF FLETCHER retired. Ron came from Tooting Common and one of his first jobs was to set up Country Park status for Hainault and Trent park, the first two in the GLC to receive this status.     Ron woke up the children in the camp early one morning to witness the birth of a foal.

  Above is  DICK COTTERELL with mother and foal in 1977.



 The GLC instituted a dog patrol scheme throughout Greater London in 1971 and handlers and dogs were trained to a very high standard at Crystal Palace and Hackney marshes.

Far left, is JOHN LEBEAU and PRINCE II at Crystal Palace on the first course.


Left VIC GEORGE with EDDIE at Hackney Marshes in 1983

Notice the special GLC cap badge worn by Dog handlers above, compared to the small badge worn by  STEVE FRANCIS and TED PEAK below.






Left STEVE FRANCIS with a goat.

Pictured from the Ilford Recorder January 31st 1986.

At this time the forest and farm were still in the control of the GLC and many of the animals including the llamas and ponies were quartered at Hainault for the winter months, being sent back to the London parks for the summer.























ducklings. The GLC uniform shows brown working clothes and a formal brown suit with peaked cap and tie for patrol duties.


Left: Country Park manager RORY SIDWELL pictured in 1991

Wardens JOHN LEBEAU and JOHNNY MASON take a tea break in 1995.


Warden DAVE FEARNE a keen photographer

who with VIC GEORGE led a photo safari in 1989.



demonstrate a Charcoal burners hut at an open day in 1989.





Far left: Green keepers


celebrating Brian's

"Hole in One"



Left: Green keeper


Brian retired in 1994

Above left: Wardens TOM WOODALL and ROY BENHAM in 1997 with Head Countryside Warden JOHN LEBEAU (centre).

Above right: Warden BILL MANSELL  prepares to light the Millennium beacon in 1999.

Warden JOHN LEBEAU leads a walk for children above, and right helps clear field drains that were well and truly blocked

John led his last walk to Abridge and back in June 2003 before retiring in August 2003



Left: Warden and Green keeper 

FRANK GALPIN retired 1997.



Right: Warden JOHNNY BRIGGS on his last day sharing a joke with

JOHN LEBEAU at Christmas 2004.


Above: RICHARD (Tim) HEASLIP former

Green keeper pictured at the Centenery

celebrations 15th July 2006


Left: Senior Warden ANDREW (Andy)

SMITH pictured in August 2004.











Warden MICHAEL FERGUSON at a Meet the Animals Day on the farm. Mick had a great rapport with children and adults and his knowledge of the animals was second to none. 9th August 2006. Pictures clockwise with Pigmy goats, with Zephyr and Herbie, Little owl and Polecat Ferret.

Warden ALICE GREENACRE with Norfolk lamb, 22nd March 2008



Furby the barn owl chick. Sept. 2008




Warden NICOLE KHAN with Soay Lamb

24th April 2005. Moved to South Weald Park, now at Rainham Marshes.

Senior Warden LEE LEBEAU pictured in July 2007

Warden ALICE GREENACRE dancing on May Day 2008, moved to Forestry Commission, Dalkeith in August 2009.



Linda Herbert's post at Hainault was lost due to austerity measures. Linda had been the first point of contact for enquiries, events and  business for over 18 years. She was responsible for organising an annual list of walks, talks and events. She was a hands-on person and many people will remember her annual Christmas workshop and also as a walks leader from the beginning of Redbridge Walk to Health. 

Photographs wanted of past Forest keepers, Green keepers or Wardens including these:

Eddie Greenaway...Tommy Clark Greenkeeper...Bill Mansell...Jock Hamilton...Mark Foxwell...Bob Barrett...George Caswell...Arthur Boxall...Roy Boxall...Reg Boxall...Asst. Greenkeeper C. Wheeler...Bill Harvey...Keeper Pratt...Keeper Euan Jones...Head Keeper Collins...Head keeper Willingham...Greenkeeper Brian Kelly...Head warden Rory Sidwell...Derek Morton...George Saville