Our History




The Theydon Trusts was started in 1934 by John H Silley who lived with his wife Margaret at Theydon Grove Epping.


He had a public spirit about him and he raised funds for the building of the Red Triangle Club in Paistow which King George V and Queen Mary attended the opening in 1921.  He also built houses for his workers at the ship repair yard in Cubitt Town in East London.


In 1921 Jack Silley bought the house known as Theydon Grove and moved to Epping and began an association with the town.


The property was described as a Family Mansion with stabling for 14 horses a small farm with rich park land and 2 freehold cottages and gardens.  There was a conservatory which led out to a tennis court and rose garden while inside there was a large kitchen with a flag stone floor and a billiards room.


In 1963 the house and the land were sold and Theydon Grove Estate was built.


In 1934 Jack Silley was concerned about the welfare of the older people of Epping, and made a gift to the then Epping Urban Council the cost of erecting 7 bungalows for aged couples and later another give to construct 12 units for ‘Aged Spinsters and Widows’ of the town which were bedsits.  A Trust was then registered under the Industrial & Provident Societies Act 1983 and known as Theydon Trusts Limited.  The buildings were completed in 1939 for local people to move into.  The road to these dwellings was off Shaftsbury Road and they were named Margaret Road and Margaret Close in honour of Margaret, Jack Silley’s wife.


There was a management committee to run the Association Chaired by Jack Silley.


The Trust became a member of the National Federation of Housing Associations and the rent was set by the Rent Officer at 2/6 per week for the bungalows and 1/- a week for the bedsits which included electricity.


In 1941 Jack Silley died and his son Jack took over. 


Jack died in a plane crash on the Isle of Wight in 1972 and his son Richard became Chairman.


In 1964 the conditions of the Trust were no longer able to be observed and it caused Legal Proceedings to begin to increase the rents and to avoid unworkable restrictions on the lettings.  In 1967 the Trust sold land to provide electricity and double water heaters to the dwellings.


The residents are now both male and female and the properties are occupied by a variety of people of all ages ranging from those in their 30’s with social or other needs, some widows and a number of single men who as a result of divorce are homeless and do not qualify for Local Authority housing, but who need accommodation so that they may maintain contact with their children. 


The Epping Literary & Mechanics Institute which had been built in 1908 for the people of the Town by Ernest Wythes of Copped Hall is now known as The Hemnall Social Club.  The Trust holds the freehold of the Club with responsibility to ensure that there is always a club for the benefit of the people of Epping on the site.   Also on the site was a prefab building in which the Library was based and then occupied by the Citizens Advice Bureau when the library moved to new premises.


There is still continued support of the committee of the Hemnall Social Club, but the most exciting project is the construction of the new office for the Citizens Advice Bureau in Hemnall Street with 2 one bedroom flats above, this project was completed in Spring of 2016. Another project also completed has been a new bungalow on Trust land in Margaret Road.


The Trust has moved on from its start in 1934, still with a committee of local people, a Secretary and Treasurer and an office in St. John’s House. 


The aim of the Trust is still to remain true to the Town, with applicants who have a connection, family or otherwise with Epping.


Pictures : Left to Right. Jack Silley, President of Maritime Engineering, with his wife Maragaret. Front view of Theydon Grove, and rear view of theydon Grove. Bottom, aerial view of Theydon Grove in 1960.