Signature at Hornchuch – Design Inspiration

Emerson Park is characterised by tree lined avenues of large houses and villas, many of which are being updated and remodelled. The area, just north of the bustling centre of Hornchurch was created by a wealthy developer, William Carter who, in 1895 bought up twenty acres of land from the grounds of Nelmes Manor and Lee Gardens Manor and built an estate of ‘country villas for city gentlemen,’ which he named after his eldest son, Emerson.

This and other residential developments coincided with the rapid modernisation of Hornchurch following the arrival of the railway in 1885. The town, which until then had been a large rural village with a small tanning industry and brewery soon benefited from gas lighting, piped water and sewers; a ‘new world’ indeed. The population increased hugely, with city commuters and those who came to provide services for them moving in to the area.  Although Hornchurch had become a town, the residents still considered it to be a village with a strong sense of identity, community and pride in its history. This has not changed today and everywhere in Hornchurch are reminders of its heritage, from the rural; LillyPutt farm still bears the name that was no doubt inspired by Jonathan Swift’s story, to more recent history and bravery; Sanders Draper School is named in honour of the second world war pilot who selflessly steered his crippled plane away from the school buildings, ensuring the survival of the children at the cost of his own life.

Hornchurch is believed to take its name from the ‘horned church’ and though today, a sculpted bull’s head adorns the East end of St Andrew’s church, this was added in the 18th Century and the original ‘horns’ are thought to be a feature of a much earlier architecture. Today, there is a dynamic, positive feel to the area, with much active development and a strong sense of belonging to a community which celebrates its heritage at the same time as looking with optimism towards the future. Hidden in the
modern town are reminders of times past; the names of local pubs have endured for centuries; tucked amongst the new buildings in the town are half-timbered houses from an earlier more bucolic age; the old RAF Airfield is now a beautiful country park where relics of the wartime era nestle amongst coppices, lakes and swathes of open heathland; a symbol of hope, of regeneration and the importance of remembering the past.

A visitor to Emerson Park or Hornchurch who takes the time to look beyond the modern façades will discover layers of history and heritage. This ‘Hidden Hornchurch’ is the inspiration for our interior design which will offer a sense of delight and discovery. Within a comfortable, modestly contemporary interior, will be spaces, materials and features that reflect the people, landscape and buildings that have formed the character of the area through time.


Signature at Emerson Park has a beautiful setting, flanked by mature woodland. The arrangement of the site creates distinct garden areas, all of which can be secured, offering a wide range of outdoor experiences and activities. The importance of fresh air and daylight to the well-being of everyone, especially the elderly, is recognised by Signature and these gardens, accessible to all residents, will certainly encourage enjoyment of the outdoors.

  • Secure Dementia Garden with opportunities for relaxation, gardening, games and walking
  • A formal presentation with mixed planting, offering visual, tactile and scented stimuli
  • A sunny terrace with seating for relaxation or al-fresco dining
  • Terrace accessed from the Pub and Activity Room for outdoor socialising and garden
  • A garden area offering activities including giant chess and a boules piste
  • Level paths for gentle exercise and exploration