River Lee, Lee Aqueduct and the Flood Relief Channel
The Lee, the Lee
Aqueduct and the Flood Relief Channel continue to flow southwards
Post to the north Coppermills
Post to the west Springfield
Post to the east Lea Bridge Road
Post to the south Lea Bridge
Trading and light
industrial estate, Set up in the mid 1930s.
Bates of London. Launderers.
Martha Bates started taking
in washing when her husband was out of work. By the 1950s the business moved to
Tottenham as the South House & Elmhurst Laundry. In 1982 it merged with Purity
Sweet Clean Laundry in Enfield and
traded as Royal Jersey, Enfield, and
1999 moved to Leyton, re-branded as Bates.
Dye works. At the bottom of the hill in the
1880s William Connell’s Dye Works – Lea Valley Works, bleaching and dyeing. Later
became a laundry and eventually taken over by Initial.
Black Path is an old way between Walthamstow and Hackney. It is also known as
the Market Porter’s Route since a number of markets lie along its route -
Walthamstow, Mare Street, Broadway Market, Columbia Road and Smithfield. It is
also a boundary to open spaces including Walthamstow Marshes.
Clapton Junction and
The Clapton Junction viaduct was built by
the Great Eastern Railway in the 1880s for their line from Liverpool Street via
Clapton station and the over the River Lee Navigation. Clapton Junction itself
is where this line joined the existing Lee Valley line.
Copper Mills Junction
This joins the Great Eastern line from Liverpool Street to the Lee Valley line of 1840 from Stratford. Until 1961 it also joined a line from Chingford going to Gospel Oak. At the junction some remains of this can be seen.
Flood Relief Channel
Built in 1950 and crossed by the Great Eastern Chingford Line coming south from St. James Street Station.
Hall Farm Junction
In 1872 the Great
Eastern line from Liverpool Street, via Bethnal Green, Hackney Downs and
Clapton was linked to the Walthamstow line at Hall Farm junction. In 1885 it
was Hall Farm junction was also linked to Coppermill junction on the Broxbourne
The Great Eastern Company Chingford line coming south from St.James Street Station was on an embankment which was only half finished in 1860. At the junction, at mile post 5, a curved line took it to Lea Bridge Station. This was electrified but never had electric trains on it and was removed in 1967. There is a campaign to reinstate it. The embankment and some of the track ballast are still in place.
Another curve went to Coppermill junction used for trains going between Chingford and Gospel Oak and some football specials. It was demolished in 1961.
There are some remains of a dismantled railway bridge at Copper Mills Junction - this carried a line between Chingford and Gospel Oak.
The railway line from St.James Street goes south over the aqueduct on a three decker bridge, also crossing the Lea Valley line of 1840
The boundary of
Leyton Marsh was the Dagenham Sewer. Now it is the area between the Walthamstow Nature
Reserve, Coppermill Fields, the Lee and the Flood Relief Channel – and much of
the original area is in other uses. This is Lammas Land - land divided into
strips where hay was grown. Parishioners had ancient rights to graze cattle and
horses between 1 August and 25 March. From 1604 the marsh was taxed by the Commissioners of Sewers
from West Ham to Mucking. The marsh was
administered through a collector and an expeditor and a marsh bailiff. Here there were no banks and no flooding but
they had to keep drainage channels open - particularly the Dagenham Sewer. In the 19th sewage became a problem as new housing
proliferated. At the same time much of the marsh was taken over by railway,
water and gas companies. On Lammas Day 1892 a large demonstration fences built
by the water company were removed and the Leyton Lammas Lands Defence Committee
successfully challenged the water company in court. An Act of 1904 allowed for
the marsh to be kept as an open space, in return for relinquishment of Lammas
rights. However some fields were exempt. A crater from a Second World War V2 is
still visible. In 1971 much of the land was taken over by the Lee Valley Park
Low Hall Sports Ground
19 hectares of green space
containing, 14 full size football pitches, four cricket tables, two floodlit
astro training pitches and a pavilion with changing rooms
The railways cross the marsh in a complicated network of lines and junctions, some of which are current and some of which have been removed.
Walthamstow-Chingford railway running between St.James Street and Clapton
Lee Valley Line between Stratford and Tottenham Hale built by the Northern and Eastern Railway in 1840
Great Eastern Line between Clapton and Tottenham Hale
Blue Plaque which
marks the end part of the Football Stadium which Leyton Orient shared with the
Leyton Speedway Team 1930-1937
20 Union Veneers.
Founded in 1950.
High Hill Ferry
High Hill Ferry was also known as Morris’s
Robin Hood Public House. This riverside pub was on site
by 1794. It as a favourite spot for 19th fishermen and the pub also ran the Robin
Hood Ferry and thus was sometimes called The Ferry House. It was a Courage
Brewery pub, with a popular riverside garden at the front and
associations with the local rowing clubs. It was demolished in
2001. This pub closed and was demolished in 2001.
Robin Hood ferry
111 The Beehive has now been
converted to housing. . This pub was on site
by 1861 and rebuilt in 1915. It closed during the Second World War. It was a
Hope Pub. This is close to the site of the High Hill Ferry. The surviving pub
which is a Fullers house.
John Lee and Henry
Lee, brick works
George Baker and William Burch dyers, calico
printers with works and drying grounds in 1826 until at least the mid-1840s.
Later Baker & Hudden, calenderers, and James Burch, who had a carmine
Robert Lyon, bleacher in 1826-1838,
George Wickenden, a glazier/presser in 1845
Burgoyne, Dyers and printers, 1817
Trading estate and
riverside industrial units being used as sites for housing developments.
Marshes were an area where common rights were enjoyed by manorial tenants in
areas now under reservoirs but also on the remaining areas of marsh. Lammas rights
survived on some of the marsh into the 1930s. The 'great meadow' or common
marsh, in 1699 lay south of the mill-stream, west by the river Lea and the east
of the common sewer. The hay crop belonged to the occupiers of the plots, but Lammas
Day to Lady Day the marsh was available to pasture horses and cows but not
sheep. In the 19th the marsh bailiff marked the beasts, and manorial by-laws regulated
the marsh. The Walthamstow and Leyton marshes had been seen as common to both
parishes but by 1873 a fence had apparently been put up on the parish boundary.
In 1841 Lammas rights were extinguished on land needed by the Northern and
Eastern Railway Co., and in 1854 more had been taken over by the East London
Waterworks Co. The remainder was subject to the Walthamstow Corporation Act of 1834 to be preserved as an open space. However their plans were changed by the
Second World War. In the early 1970s The
Lea Valley Authority wanted to extract gravel for motorised water sports marina
and British Rail wanted to tip ballast. This
led to a ‘Save the Marshes Campaign’. A public inquiry was held in
1981 which led to designation as an SSSI. And there is continuing public involvement in the
upkeep of the marsh as a natural area for public use and recreation The Marsh became a Site of Special
Scientific Interest in 1984. The main marsh is a land form little changed with
a network of river channels which emerge in times of flood. It was grazed from
time immemorial and the Lee Valley Regional Park has re-introduced a herd of
old breed cattle here. There are many water fowl - coots, moorhen, mute swan, Canada
geese, greylag geese, grey heron, Cormorant, Little Grebe and Common Tern. There are water vole and a population of Edible
Frog as well as noctule and pippistrelle bats. There are many birds - sedge and
reed warbler and reed bunting. On the marsh is one of Britain's rarest plants -
Creeping Marshwort - as well as subgracilis
sedge which is an infertile ancient clone. There are three native Black
Poplars and in the ditches comfrey as well as many other interesting plants. This is the last area of the Lee's
freshwater marshes the rest of which have been destroyed by drainage and/or
Bronze Age and Saxon remains. A Bronze Age canoe and a Saxon barge were found in the
marshes of Walthamstow which show that the Lea has been navigated for over
2,000 years. It is said that in 894 the Vikings sailed north up the Lea to sack
Crater pond – In the Second World War a V2 exploded
near the Leyton boundary and made a large circular crater which filled with
water and became known as the "bomb crater pond".
Trenches – these were dug in 1940, to stop enemy
planes landing. Although they were filled in by 1949 it is possible to see
variations in vegetation which indicate their sites.
markers. These mark Lammas plots – the Lands were divided into strips and the owners or
tenants had exclusive rights from 'Lady Day' on 25th March, to
'Lammas Day' which was a festival of thanksgiving for the harvest on 1st
Railway arches. A
plaque marks the Site of hangar and workshop used by A.V. Roe and is the site
of the the first manned flight by a Briton in a British plane. Alliott Verdon Roe was an engineer who in 1906 became secretary
of the Aeroclub and became interested in a design for a "gyrocopter".
In 1907 he entered a competition organised by the Daily Mail for the flying
machine models and won the second prize. Eventually he built a triplane – and needing
a large flat site he moved to Walthamstow Marsh in 1909. Parts for his machine which
had been made in Putney were and assembled in the two railway arches. In June
1909 Roe made a successful series of "short flights" up to 50' in
length. He used a 9 horsepower JAP motorcycle engine which was under powered by
he managed to fly 100 feet. On July 23rd 1909, he flew feet at an average
height of around 10 feet. This was a landmark in the history of aviation.
Bates web site
City and East London Beer Guide
Clarke. Benjamin Clarke,
Glimpses of Ancient Hackney and Stoke Newington
Coppermills Walk leaflet
English Heritage. Blue Plaque Guide
Field. London Place Names,
Lea Valley Walk leaflet
Lewis. Britain’s Best Kept Secret
Smyth. City Wildspace
Symonds. Behind the Blue Plaques of
Victoria County History of Essex