The station was opened by the Eastern Counties Railway on 22 August 1856 as part of the Eastern Counties Railway branch to Loughton, which was eventually extended to Epping and Ongar in 1865. The station then formed part of the Great Eastern Railway's system until that company was merged into the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) in 1923. The station was partially reconstructed in 1893, the most notable feature being the provision of a bay platform that remained in use until transfer to the Underground. The name derives from a corruption of Sayers brook, a tributary of the River Roding that flows through Wanstead to the East. Snaresbrook's most notable building is Snaresbrook Crown Court. It was opened in 1843 as an Infant Orphan Asylum by King Leopold I of Belgium, and later became the Royal Wanstead School.
The station is a fine survivor of a Victorian suburban station, with later additions, and includes a brick built station building as well as extensive cast iron and timber canopies to the platforms. Also of note, dating from the same date, are the examples of the concrete roundels (some combined with lamp posts) found on the platforms. In addition to the main building, an alternative exit open at peak hours is available directly on the south side of Wanstead High Street, with another open all day on the north side of the same road accessible via footbridge running parallel to the railway.
Connections: London Buses route W14 serves the station.