River Lea and Aqueduct
The River Lea, and the
Aqueduct continue to flow southwards
Post to the north Walthamstow Marshes
Post to the east Hackney Marshes
Millfields Park. 'Millfields' as a name can be traced back to the 15th
and in the 16th as ‘north’ and ‘south’. The two fields are separated
by Lea Bridge Road. The fields were made up of strips held by tenants until at
least the mid 18th. They are the remains of what was originally Saxon common
land available to local residents for grazing cattle and sheep from 'Lammas
day', 1st August, until 'Lady day' ,25th March, when they was closed
for growing a hay crop. Sport began to take over - bull baiting in 1791 then football.
There was gradual pressure from mission halls and others providing
sports for young men who needed pitches. They were saved from
development following a petition to preserve 180 acres of common land in
Hackney for public use and work by the
Commons Preservation Society in 1872. The Millfields Recreation Grounds
were laid out in 1884 by the London County Council.,
North Millfield was a
brick field. In the 19th four fossil woolly rhino and elephant bones
were found here.
Site of the Battle of
Hackney between Octa, King of Kent and Erchewin, Founder of Essex in 527.
Erchewin had revolted from the King of Kent and Octa wished to bring this under
control. A meeting in Rochester failed and Octa went to Hackney intending to
march south onto the rebels in London. But the Londoners came out to meet them
and won in the ensuing battle.
Millfields – Millfields Park (south). There are LCC boundary markers along the
backs of buildings in the north areas of the park
Works. John Dowell and Sons. In the 1920s made plain and stoppered
bottles for chemical, medical, and perfumery use and also babies' feeding bottles
and ink wells
seems to have been developed from the late 19th with warehousing and
ancillary structures. One warehouse remained but has since been demolished and
the site developed for housing.
A small dock
lay parallel and alongside the road
The Lea split into
two here. In the 9th channels were dug under King Alfred for defence
– they drained the water which also meant that adjacent meadows could be used
Hackney Cut was built
for flood relief and for navigation - to allow boats to get round mill sites
following rows with the owners of Hackney Water works. . It was built by
Smeaton in the 1760s. It turned the Lea
Bridge area into an island
Lea Navigation. The enabling Act dates from 1739 and John Smeaton
was employed by the Trustees to build it.
It starts at Hertford and ends up at the Thames 26 miles away. The idea was to provide a route to bring grain
Weir. Immediately below the road bridge is a
weir which marks the limit of the tidal section of the river.
Lea Bridge Road
47 Clapton Federation
Synagogue. Built in 1931 by M Glass. This
was demolished in 2006 and there are now flats on the site.
Princess of Wales. This is said to be on a Roman site. This was a popular riverside pub in the 19th
and was at one time called the Prince of Wales and contained many pictures of the
Royal Family. It was rebuilt in 1920 with wood-panelled bars.
Leabridge Dock. This
built before 1830 and called Paradise Dock. It is also marked on some 19th
maps as Ashpital’s Dock. It was still in
use pre-Second World War. It was filled in before the 1960s but has now been
reinstated as a shallow water feature for new housing. There was a boatyard associated with post Second Wold War.
OTV Building. This 1960s concrete framed building
was built on stilts over the filled in
Lea Bridge Dock and has now been demolished.
OTV sold reconditioned video machines and black and white TVs
Ferry Inn. This
stood alongside the bridge on the Clapton site and was described as ‘ancient’
in 1757. It was later called the Horse and Groom and was demolished by the East
London Water Co. around 1850
Carbonic Acid Gas Co. factory. Behind a three-storey office is an engine house with a
pediment roof and terracotta detailing. There is also a red-brick chimney and a
yard paved with granite sets with traces of inset iron rails for trolleys. It was used by the Carbonic
Acid Gas Company who made mineral waters or equipment associated with it. They attended
the 1894 Brewer’s Exhibition with ‘equipment for aerated waters’, but had
however been in liquidation in 1893. The
company was run by a Rudolf
Stokvis, with input from Dutch interests.
S.Shaven, Furniture factory. At the back of the carbonic acid gas factory complex
is a group of industrial buildings from 1935 used as a furniture works.
with associated dressing rooms and club rooms 1902
Lea Bridge Rubber Works. They made balloons, rubber toys
and sports goods as well as sheeting and moulded products
144 Ship Aground Public
House, late 19th public house. It is stucco fronted with its roof hidden behind
a parapet. This pub is now closed.
Lea Bridge. This is the tidal limit of the Lea and the point at
which the Lea Navigation and the river Lea part. The crossing was known as Lockbridge in 1486 and
continued into the 16th,-7, when the river was still tidal at
Leyton, as it apparently was until at least the 16th. By 1551 it was
broken but appears to have been repaired and was eventually replaced by a ferry
known as Hackney or Jeremy’s Ferry which belonged to the lord of the manor of
Hackney. The first
bridge after appears to have been wooden and built in 1755 when Lea
Bridge was laid out with a carriage bridge and toll for the turnpike road built
across the marsh to link Clapton to Eagle Pond. The bridge did not have enough
clearance for high barges and it was replaced by an iron bridge in 1820.
The present bridge was built in the early 20th on the 19th
Ice Centre. Built in 1982 by the Building Design Partnership. It
has a curved, lightweight steel roof. It provides for recreational skating, ice
hockey free skating and precision team skating.
Meadow. Green recreational area
Porters Field Riding School. Built by J.M.V. Bishop and M.G. Quintin of the Lea
Valley Regional Park Authority in 1982. This
consists of a walled enclosure with brick-and-flint stables and an indoor
Bridge over the Aqueduct
Lea Bridge Water
Water Works. In the 1690s Francis Tyssen
installed a waterwheel on the site of a fishery weir at Jeremy’s Ferry. The
water raised was piped to a reservoir at Clapton and from there to local
properties. These works fell into disrepair but in 1760 Tyssen's grandson
leased land to men who set up the 'Hackney Water Works Company'. They used the
existing watermills to pump water from the Lea. In 1821 the lease for Hackney Waterworks was
due to expire. Although in a dilapidated state and W.G.D. Tyssen granted the
lease to John Killick, the miller at Lea Bridge who began to expand the
enterprise. After extensive negotiations
the works was sold to the East London Waterworks Company in the late 1820s.
They expanded it during the 1830s.
house. This was slightly down river of the bridge and on the Essex Bank. Here another lot of ‘adventurers and
undertakers’, started a works to supply the town of Hackney with water. They built a cut from the river with mills
were over it and a tower on its west bank to provide pressure to drive the
water to the Clapton reservoir. Locks were also built in the main river and a
major row with bargemen ensued. In the late 1760s following a report by John
Smeaton, the Hackney Cut was built to the west from below the lock and mills.
Mills and Pin
factory. The mills
were an integral part of the waterworks enterprise. In 1788 they were devastated by floods and in 1796 burnt down
along with an adjoining pin and needles factory. By April 1798 the works were
rebuilt and back in operation and apparently let to the London Bread and Flour
Company. The Mills were demolished by
the East London Waterworks Company who eventually dug a two acre reservoir on
the site which later was used for the Middlesex Filter beds.
Lea Bridge Water Works. The East London Waterworks Company had been established
in 1807 with a works at Old Ford. The
1828 Royal Commission into water quality was concerned about their intake there
and they were then required to only take water from above Lea Bridge. The
Company therefore bought the Hackney Waterworks. They also bought Lammas Land on
the Essex side of the river and following a legal battle, paid compensation for
the loss of commoners' rights and their new works was built there with Lea Bridge Road to the north and Hackney Cut to
the west. The works covered 25 acres with 25 filter beds and it became their main
works with the main pumping machines. Following a cholera outbreak in east
London in 1849 the Metropolitan Water Act allowed them to build more filter
beds at the Lea Bridge site – the Middlesex and Essex filter beds – plus reservoirs
and a Cornish steam engine. From 1861 they compulsorily purchased more land
along Lea Bridge Road and built more filter beds. For this two steam engines were bought from Harvey and
Co., named Prince and Princess. In 1854 the company had previously purchased
from Harvey one of the largest Cornish engines ever built for London which was called
Victoria plus eight Cornish boilers and this too was at Lea Bridge. In
the succeeding years the works expanded greatly and in 1902 was taken over by
the Metropolitan Water Board. The East London Waterworks Company was the
largest of the companies thus taken over and Lea Bridge the second largest
works – it has a total capacity of 103m gallons a day. It was soon found necessary to expand and a
triple expansion engine was bought from Hathorn Davey in 1921 to pump to
Woodford –named after Christopher Musgrove, Chair of the Board. It was decided
to expand. In 1942 despite the war, they installed
electric pumps in place of three triple expansion steam engines, plus Prince
Consort, and Victoria - the oldest engine there and in 1943 ‘Connaught’ was
replaced. Cornish engines Prince and Princess continued to pump to Finsbury
Park and Duke and Duchess to Woodford. Plans then began to be made to build a
new works at Coppermills. There were
however problems in 1944 with bombing. in 1947 the works was flooded - the gauge
at Feilds Weir was recording 1,263m gallons a day before it broke down...
floodwater entered the aqueduct and all
work had to stop. Filter beds were isolated and the aqueduct blocked but the works
was out of action for nine days. In 1969 Coppermills Water Treatment
Works began work and In 1974 Lea Bridge Works became part of Thames Water. The
site is still operational although much of the land is now in other use. Buildings
on site included a sluice house of 1885, the Engineers Office of 1890-2 by G.E.
Dolman in red brick with tile hanging and timberwork, the Musgrave engine and boiler
house, 1922-4. Nothing on the site is
Middlesex Filter Beds. The filter beds were built under the 1852
East London Co. Act on the site of the Hackney Water Works reservoir. Six filter beds were arranged around a central covered
area. The went out of use in 1969 and
taken over by the Lee Valley Regional Park in 1988 who opened it as a nature reserve. Two
local artists were commissioned in 1990 to install sculptures on the site, with
the participation of local schools and community groups. Paula Haughney used
five granite blocks retrieved from the foundations of the 'Victoria' Engine
House to make a gigantic seat surrounded by a circle of other foundation stones
from the site. Kate Malone created enormous ceramic fishes, emerging from the
open waters of one of the filter beds.
Essex Filter Beds. To the east in the east bank of the River further 19
filter beds were built, known as the Essex Filter Beds.
Aqueduct from Copper Mills,
to Lea Bridge Works built in 1852.
JollyAnglers. Formerly the Anglers Tavern. This pub was
present by 1800 and was demolished in the 1930s when the whole area was cleared
on health grounds because of the frequent flooding experienced here
44 King’s Head pub. This
was a one bar 19th pub, with
stuffed animals & interesting pictures and Surrounded by timber yards. It had been rebuilt
in the 1920s at a time when all the older buildings in the area were removed on
health grounds because of frequent flooding, but it closed and was demolished
Pond Lane and renamed in 1887 as terraced housing began to be built.
204 Millfields Court.
This is the old Chippendale Arms pub
Pond Farm housing
estate built in the 1950s.
low rise and replaced Clapton stadium in1980.
football ground. Leyton Orient Football club played here 1900–1930. They had
been asked move to from Whittles Athletic ground by the borough council to an
adjacent field. By 1905 the stadium capacity was 20,000. Banking – formed by
waste slag from the power station - ran along the south side of the ground
known as ‘Spion Kop’ after a hill in South where a Battle had been fought in
the Boer War. In 1923 a new stand which was built on the north side of the
ground, and flower beds were laid out at the edge of the pitch. The stand was eventually
sold to Wimbledon Football Club and was demolished in 2001. The club could not
afford to buy the ground and had to leave in 1930.
Clapton Stadium was designed by Owen Williams and
was London's fourth greyhound track, with the first meeting in 1928. It was
also used for boxing, and baseball. The track was sold by the Greyhound Racing
Association in 1969 and closed in 1974.
Whittles Athletic Ground.
This had been used for whippet racing, and by Leyton Orient Football Club.
Hackney power station
and refuse destructor. The 'A' station opened in
1901 and was built by the Borough of Hackney.
It was the largest such local authority station when it was built with
twelve cells. There was a lay-by for barges on the Lea and a six cart tipping platform. It passed to the London
Electricity Board in 1947 on nationalisation.
A 'B' station was built, from 1954 and closed in 1976. A sub-station
remains with some of the original buildings.
Waste Depot. Built on the site of the power station and opened in 2012. This
has a waste transfer station; a two-bay vehicle workshop; new fuelling system,
vehicle wash; and parking space for waste vehicles.
disinfection station was built in 1900 by Hackney Borough Council. It was used
to cleanse belongings of people removed from unsanitary housing or recovering
from infectious diseases. The steam-cleaning operation was powered by the
Borough Electricity Station next door and facilities also included a cyanide
chamber. Built by Gunton & Gunton for the Borough's Public Health Committee
with Arts and Crafts detail. Shelter for
those whose property was steam cleaned in the adjacent Cleansing Building.
Caretakers Lodge to Disinfecting Stall
Mount Pleasant Hill
The hill ran from the railway bridge to the
riverside through an industrial area consisting largely of cardboard box
factories and timber yards. The area is now entirely new housing with some
timber yards – with
a geometric construction of wooden roof beams.
Now gone and housing on the site
Lea Dock was at the bottom of the hill.
Prince of Wales
Terrace of houses once stood in the area now the pub car park.
Bridge with stones set in slopes to assist towing horses.
Premises of Testi and Sons Millwrights. 19th Tudor style building of coursed rubble, with
freestone dressings, in Tudor style. Probably originally a school. Now unused
and semi derelict
saying “H & M.D. Grissell” on the Bridge over what was the entrance to Lea
Bridge dock. This is the makers mark
Water-turbine house of 1885 by WB. Bryan.
With ornamental cast-iron bridges.
Disabled Soldiers and Sailors 1922. By Gunton & Gunton, a row of six cottages
with a semi-detached house at each end. Recessed sitting areas beside the front
doors, and Arts and Crafts details
on the Alderson estate from the 1860s by the London Suburban Land and Building
CAMRA. City and East London Beer Guide
Theatre Association newsletter
Glimpses of Ancient Hackney and Stoke,
London. Old and New
London Record (Keith Fairclough’s wonderful Hackney Water Works article)
Lecture to Docklands History Group
London Place Names
Guide. Web site
London Industrial Archaeology Society. Newsletter
racing web site
and Trench. London Under London
Orient web site
Gardens web site
Make the Most of the Lea Valley.
Water Board. London’s water supply,
Middlesex Filter Beds. Leaflet
Pevsner and Cherry. London North
Beer in London
to Jeremy’s Ferry. Web site
Sexby. London parks
Thames Basin Archaeology Group. A
Survey of Industrial Monuments of Greater London
County History. Essex
Highgate to the Lea,