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The area was originally owned by Barking Abbey. Hainault IG7 was wrongly connected with Philippa of Hainault, wife of Edward III.
A part of the Hainault Forest Country Park is located in the area. It is one of the remaining parts of the 12th century royal Forest of Essex.
The name Hainault originated from the Old English higna holt, which means wood that belongs to a monastic community. The majority of housing in this area was developed between 1947 and 1953 by the London County Council. Hainault was merged in a single London borough in 1965 and has become part of Greater London, initially spanning Ilford, Chigwell, and Dagenham parishes.
Residents of this area are white and relatively old and have low educational attainment. It continues to change, however, because Londoners look for accommodation in the area’s reasonably priced corners. At present, most homes are owner-occupied, while the rest are leased from the council.
Short-term housing for thousands of security staff and troops during the 2012 Olympics was constructed in Hainault Forest Country Park. It was later on disassembled after the games, and that place was reconstructed to its original state.