A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of Harold Wood from John Bartholomew's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72:
Harold Wood is now a northeastern suburb of Greater London, England, and and located in the London Borough of Havering. It is situated 16.5 miles (26.6 km) east-northeast of Charing Cross (a basis of measuring distance from the centre of London) and near to the Greater London boundary.
In 1836 Romford and Hornchurch became separate civil parishes and Harold Wood was very much on the boundary between them. Following the Local Government Act 1894, the Romford parish was split with the northern part of the Harold Wood ward becoming a new parish of Noak Hill and the southern part forming part of the Romford Rural parish, both within the Romford Rural District. This split the administration of the area between the parish councils of Hornchurch, Romford Rural, Noak Hill and Upminster, and the Romford Rural District Council. In 1900 the Romford Rural parish was recombined with Romford Urban (which consisted of the town of Romford) to form an expanded Romford Urban District. With suburban house building, the population in the area started to rise soon after and prompted further changes to the local government system. Hornchurch and Romford became separate urban districts in 1926. The whole area was included in the London Borough of Havering in 1965 and it was transferred from Essex to Greater London.
A History of the County of Essex: Volume 7 in the Victoria County History series provided online by British History Online, edited by W R Powell. Covers the ancient parishes, formerly within the liberty of Havering-atte-Bower and now within the London borough of Havering, and those in Chafford hundred in western Essex now bordering London. It includes accounts of Hornchurch, Romford, Havering and Rainham.