Whipps Cross Hospital has its origins in the now-demolished Forest House, built in 1683 for James Houblon. 1 James was a friend of John Evelyn, who recorded in his diary for 16 March, 1683:
After visiting Sir Josiah Child [at Wanstead House] I dined at Mr. Houblon’s, a rich and gentile French merchant who was building a house on the Forest near Sir Josiah Child’s, in a place where the earl of Norwich lived some time and which came to him from his lady, the widow of Mr. Baker. It will be a pretty villa about 5 miles from Whitechapel.
This ‘pretty villa’ had a stuccoed exterior, 11 bays and a capped parapet. The entrance hall and many of the first-floor rooms were panelled, some of it painted.
A brief history of Whipps Cross Hospital
by Alan Simpson
1 James Houblon (1629–1700) was an influential merchant and Member of Parliament for the City of London. His grandfather was a Huguenot Fleming who had fled to London to escape the persecution of Protestants in Flanders. Knighted in 1692, James was instrumental in establishing the Bank of England where he was a Director on its first Board.