A TRASHY GUIDE TO…ROMFORD
It’s actually in a London borough (Havering. Yes, that’s a London borough) but never mind that, it’s proper Essex.
Everyone is basically an East Ender whose grandmother decided that Romford was just slightly more desirable than a bombed out building in Stepney back after Hitler had done his worst.
The TOWIE lot, who are largely from neighbouring Brentwood (not to be confused with Brentwood, California), are considered aristocrats by Romfordians. Apart from Gemma who is considered a big bastard.
On a Friday and Saturday night South Street – or Saaaaahf Stree’, also known as the Street of Vomit – comes alive with portly teenage girls rocking the drinks deals in tight H&M clothing.
Eating out options are fairly uninspiring now that the Chinese all-you-can-eat buffet by the station has gone out of business (note to restaurateurs: do not offer all-you-can-eat options to people in Romford). The restaurant at the Premier Inn on the roundabout has a plastic banner outside which promises riches for those celebrating a birthday or maybe an engagement.
Romford Market – once the biggest street market in England/Europe/the world – is not what it was when you could buy live eels and just-caught ferrets for tuppence ha’penny. Now it’s more like an al fresco pound shop with bargains on chewing gum with flavours that never took off, and cleaning products that take the skin off your hands.
There are signs of gentrification with The Brewery, a converted *checks notes* brewery (in the ‘70s the dirty-knickers smell of beer being fermented filled the air right across town), which has a range of TKMaxx-style shops selling ends of lines and slightly damaged goods. But beware motorbility scooters in the hands of inexperienced drivers as they are plentiful and driven mainly by people who are not so much disabled as disinclined to walk.
The Premier Inn on the roundabout across from the car park – location, location, location – is where anyone who’s anyone stays in Romford. Basically because it’s the only place in town. Still, it is handy for the Magistrates’ Court.
For the health-conscious there’s an LA Fatness coming out of the station and turning right. Next to the Romford Fry-Up Centre and the sweet shop where there’s generally a fight going on.