There has been a market in this area since 1247, when it was used as a location to buy and sell sheep. King Henry III gave Romford the right to hold this market and banned any other settlement from having a similar one if they were within one sheep-driving day away in distance. It later became used as a more general market, but the sale of cattle continued until 1958.
As can be seen from this map from the early twentieth century, the road used to be more defined on one side, with the cattle market having a permanent area. The general market currently takes place on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and on other days it’s used as a car park and an opportunity to nearly run over unsuspecting pedestrians who think it’s pedestrianised (not referring to me, but to two other people who had to dodge cars).
Not wanting to sound like a town planner, but it’s a shame that more isn’t done with this area of Romford, it clearly used to be its beating heart and it’s now a bit of a sideshow.