The station was opened on 1 May 1903 as part of the Great Eastern Railway's (GER) Woodford to Ilford "loop" or branch line (the Fairlop Loop). This line, designed to stimulate suburban growth, had a chequered career. Steam train services serving Fairlop were suspended on 29 November 1947 and electrified Central line passenger services, to Central London via Gants Hill, finally commenced on 31 May 1948. Few alterations took place during this transfer, and the station remains a fine example of an Edwardian railway station including canopies that still bear the "GER" symbol in the bracketry.
The district took its name from an old oak tree, the Fairlop Oak, that stood in Hainault Forest when much of the area was covered in trees. The oak is said to have had a trunk sixty-six feet in circumference, from which seventeen branches issued, most of them measuring not less than twelve feet in girth. In the eighteenth century, a pump and block maker from Wapping, Daniel Day, would take his employees on an annual fair in the forest, using the oak as their rendezvous. The fair took place on the first Friday of July. By the middle of the eighteenth century, the annual excursion to Fairlop had become one of London's most popular entertainments, and as many as a hundred thousand people being drawn through Ilford to the fair in the forest. As a result, the area became known as "Fair" (after the fair) followed by "lop" referring to the tree flourishing after part of it was used to make Daniel Day's coffin after he died in 1767. It has been in Travelcard Zone 4 since 2 January 2007. It is on the north side of Forest Road, in Fairlop, just north of Barkingside. The station has payphones, toilets, a waiting room and car park.
Connections: London Bus routes 150; 167; 247; 275; 667 and 462, and night route N8 serve the station from Tomswood Hill.