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Romford is a large suburban town in northeast London England and the administrative headquarters of the London Borough of Havering. It is located 14.1 miles (22.7 km) northeast of Charing Cross and is one of the major metropolitan centres identified in the London Plan. It was historically a market town in the county of Essex and formed the administrative centre of the liberty of Havering, until it was dissolved in 1892. Good road links and the opening of the railway station in 1839 were key to the development of the town and the economic history of Romford is underpinned by a shift from agriculture to light industry and more recently to retail and commerce. As part of the suburban growth of London in the 20th century, Romford significantly expanded and increased in population, becoming a municipal borough in 1937 and has formed part of Greater London since 1965. It now forms one of the largest commercial, retail, entertainment and leisure districts outside central London and has a developed night time economy.