River Lea - Hackney Wick

River Lea and Bow Back Rivers
The Lea Navigation/Hackney Cut flows south through this area; the aqueduct from Lea Bridge ran alongside it.  The Navigation is met by Duckett’s Cut (or the Hertford Union Canal part of the Grand Union Canal) from the east.  The Old River Lea flows south and is met from the north by the old course of the Waterworks River, which intercepts with the Channelsea River.  The Channelsea River then flows south and east. The Waterworks River leaves the Old River Lea above Carpenter’s Lock (?) and flows south and east. City Mill River leaves the Old River Lea below Carpenters Lock and flows south and east. Pudding Mill River leaves the Old River Lea and flows south and east.

This page contains a very substantial part of the Olympic park – it is proposed at this stage to ignore this, so the page reflects the area before this work started

Post to the north Temple Mills
Post to the east Stratford
Post to the south Old Ford

Beachy Road

This was once called Shoot Road
Methodist Chapel and Mission Hall
‘Prefab’ houses here after the Second World War
Broadwood Piano Factory, Helmsley Works between Beachy Road and Stour Road was the 1902 piano factory of John Broadwood and Sons Ltd.  Broadwood were a family business originating in the early 18th. Their Factory moved here in 1902. In the Great War it was an aircraft works and the factory moved to Hendon in the 1930s.  Only the eastern part of the factory survives including a chimney from 1902 with square a tapering shaft and blue brick ornamental cap. From 1903 a tramway ran between the factory and its timber wharf on the canal at the end of the road.
52 William Rust House. People’s Press Printing Society Ltd. This produced Morning Star which h it has owned since 1945. The newspaper was founded in 1930 as the Daily Worker, the organ of the Communist Party of Great Britain. It became the Morning Star in 1966 and now also produces an on line version.

Berkshire Road
This was previously Windsor Road
Atlas Works of Simpson Nicholson and Maule. The Atlas Dye Works were founded in the 1860's by Brooke, Simpson & Spiller Ltd., who were involved in the development of the first commercially viable aniline dyes. Simpson and Maule had had a scientific apparatus business based in Walworth. They were joined by Nicholson who had been a pupil of Hoffman. When Perkin developed the first aniline dye, mauve, they began to manufacture intermediate chemicals and sold to him –also developing and making magenta, Nicholson’s blue and aniline yellow.  They built the Atlas Works in 1865 and in 1868 the firm was sold to Edward Brooke and the firm’s chemist, William Spiller. Despite setbacks with Perkin’s works, with alizarin and the loss of Nicholson they continued with work at Hackney Wick and were joined by W.S.Simpson. The firm was liquidated in 1905 and acquired by Claus and Ree
Claus and Ree. They bought the Atlas works in 1905 and three years later sold it to Bronco
Bronco were the British Patent Perforated Paper Co, which had begun in Banner Street EC and moved to Atlas Works in 1910. They were the sole manufacturers of Bronco – originally called No. 1 Thin and other papers including Sanico, British No. 3, Eureka, Medipathic, Gloria Victis, Okayed, Vade-Mecum, Carmol, and Lavato, Onliwon as well as all kinds of roll paper for every purpose.  Until 1983 a building on the site existed which was part of the original construction of 1865.  It had a stucco frontage surmounted by a large stone figure of Atlas. Demolished. There was also an office building, extant in the 1980s, built early in the twentieth century, perhaps by Bronco Atlas. Leabank Square is on the site

Bream Street
London Carbonic Acid Gas Works relics. Between Bream Street and the canal. A three-storey block of c. 1898 designed for gas purification, a two-storey block of c. 1933 for production of gas from magnesite and closest to the canal, a single-storey works for production of ebonite screw stoppers, c. 1924

Carpenters Road
This road only ran from Stratford Broadway to some works until after the East London Waterworks reservoir closed, and named for the Worshipful Company of Carpenters who owned a farm in marsh land here from 1767. The road appears to have vanished.
Kings Yard. One of the factories of confectioners Clarke Nickolls & Coombs Ltd, who traded as Clarnico.  The firm was founded in 1872 and had number of works in the area, later taken over by Trebor Sharps. This three-storey, canal side building built in 1905 was the starch department, later a warehouse.  Adjacent buildings built in 1908, were the lozenge department.  There was also a two-storey carriage house, a single storey peel shed, and a range of stables. There were also works on the south side of the road. The building was bombed in the Second World War. King’s Yard was the centre of a campaign to save the building from demolition following plans to convert the structure into an energy facility for the Olympics.
Inflatable Ruin was installed as a public art work on the since demolished Lozenge Building
Vigremont Chemical Works 1890s. Boake, Roberts and Co. moved to the Vigremont works which became their headquarters from 1900. Arthur Boake came to London from Dublin in 1869 and produced brewing chemicals - bisulphite of lime – and later a product for clarifying wine. He was joined in 1876 by Francis Roberts. They moved Warton Road in Stratford and then to two sites on opposite sides of Carpenters Road. They undertook large scale production of Sulphurous Acid and Sulphites, Phosphoric Acid and Phosphates, Barium and Strontium Nitrates. In the 1890s they also made flavouring essences and essential oils. After the Great War they also made organic solvents, esters, plasticisers and food colours. They were taken over by Albright and Wilson in 1966 and became Bush, Boake & Allen Ltd, later part of International Flavours and Fragrances. They produced amyl and ethyl acetates and in the 1950s metallic stearate intermediates for plastics and plant.
Johnson’s Saccahrum Co Ltd.  Taken over by Berry of Boake Roberts and Co who were next door. Boake had a caramel department and Berry was interested in brewing sugars. In 1906 they formed Sugar and Malt Products Ltd. and took Johnson’s over
Channelsea Tallow Works. George Johnson and Sons. Tallow melters 1890s/This later became a sack works.
Towler Engineering works. This company was also based in Sugar House Lane 1930s
Britannia Works.  A brick former office stood north of Carpenter’s Road, east of the junction with Water den Road, dated 1896 -1916 as part of Grover’s Britannia Works and engineering company.
Imperial Works. Fur processing plant in the 1950s. Asteroid Storage Engineers.
Messina Works and Palermo Works. The Confectioners, Vegetable Colours & Fruit Essences Company Ltd.  The works supplied colourings and flavourings to the confectionary and ice cream making trade.
Gliksten Timber Yard. J.Gliksten & Son Ltd, the east end's largest timber yard established 1912-13. There were ramps on the Hackney Cut for three electric travelling cranes used to transfer logs and timber from barge to stockpile. An early 20th warehouse on the site became known as Brundles Industrial Warehouse, a brick-built shed in three sections, with a modern office extension.
Bow Industrial Estate. On the site of the Gliksten Yard.
East London Waterworks Reservoir – This was built before 1860 to and was out of use by the 1880s. It was associated with various cholera outbreaks.  It had a connection with the old River Lea slightly to the north of the junction with the City Mill River and to the south north of Old Ford Locks. It covered the majority of the area in the triangle south of the railway. By the 1890s it was drained and waste marshy land.
Victoria Park Steam Bone Works. This was slightly north of where the reservoir flowed out in the 1890s into City Mill River.

Channelsea River
It has been claimed that the Channelsea River is the result of Alfred the Great blocking the River Lea in 895AD – as part of a defence strategy against invading Danes. It has however been recorded since the 12th.

City Mill River
This stream leaves the Old River Lea and went originally to power the City Mill at Stratford. It was originally a branch off the Pudding Mill River but was diverted to become an independent through route between the Old River Lea and the Waterworks River.

Davey Road
This road has now disappeared
Named after William Davey’s Imperial Tar Works. In 1865 Davey patented 'improvements in apparatus for washing or purifying coals and for producing ammoniacal water there from'. In 1853 he had been in Neckinger Road, Bermondsey and was also involved in a druggist business in Crutched Friars. There were a number of other Davey’s Tar Works in the area and it is possible that they were related.  In the early 1870s new residents in Cadogan Terrace complained about Davey's Tar Works and eventually Davey had to close down, cancelling orders for oil and tars to local works. They moved to a site on Barking Creek/
Pharos Chemical Works.  This works was opened by Leon and Charles Clerc in the 1860s. They were refiners and distillers of benzoline and naphthalene. The works was purchased by Carless in the 1890s.
Clarnico Buildings.  The turning contained more buildings belonging to sweet makers Clarke, Nicholls and Coombs

Fish Island
Name for the area covered by roads named after fishes. Gas Light and Coke Co. (the ‘Chartered’ Company) bought land herein the 1870s but never built a works. They were however involved in the industrial development of the area.

Hackney Cut
Two-mile cut built by the River Lea Trustees in the early 1770s following Smeaton's report of 1766 and which extends the Lee Navigation.   It begins below Lea Bridge and continues to what is now Old Ford Locks
White Post Bridge.–over the Lea at Carpenters Road is this 20th bridge??

Hackney Wick
‘Wick’ means an outlying dairy farm and such a farm was here in the 13th.

Hepscott Road
1 Elphick Paints Ltd
1-2 A. Neale. York Stone merchants ‘paving the way since 1947’.
Hope Chemical Works of Carless, Capel and Leonard.  In the 1980s all that survived of this extremely important site is the boundary wall of 1891.  This was the Carless, Capel & Leonard works, established in 1859, rebuilt after a fire in 1890.  The firm was the first to use term 'petrol'. Eugene Carless established a mineral oil distillation and refining business here in 1859. Initially, oil supplies came from Scottish bituminous shales. A later by-product was benzine used in flare lamps and in the dry-cleaning industry. The first U.S oil supplies came in 1869 - in wooden barrels and Carless's became the leading distillers of U.S Crude Oils in the UK. In 1870 George Capel joined the firm and John Leonard in 1872, Leonard soon became the sole proprietor. In 1893, Frederick Simms, of the Daimler Motor Syndicate Ltd and ordered "Launch Spirit", also called "De-odourised Petroleum Spirit for his boat business and the name was changed to "Petrol" at his suggestion. The firm supplied their new fuel for the Emancipation Run to Brighton in 1896 and became founder members if the Automobile club.   In early advertisements they referred to "autocarists”. By 1899 they were still virtually the only British source of refined motor spirit, and had 1,500 agents throughout the country. In 1894 they also took over the Pharos Oil works, and in 1907, the Lea Chemical works. They relocated to Harwich in 1968. In the 1920s coalite was supplied as a fuel to the RAF and in the Second World War they made TNT. The Company opened a refinery at Harwich in 1964 dealing with condensate from North Sea Oil.  Production ended at Hackney Wick in the early 1970s and the administration moved from the Hope Works to Petrol House but the firm soon left Hackney Wick completely. 
3-13 Petrol House.  London & Provincial Dyeworks.  Three-storey block built 1905-6 for Lush & Cook, dyers and dry cleaners. Sold in 1984
3-13 Militant Tendency HQ. 1980s
3-13 McGrath House. McGrath Bros. waste control. Founded 1972.
9 Old Court Furniture

Hertford Union Canal
Also known as Duckett's Cut It connects the Regents Canal to the Hackney Cut in a straight line. It was promoted by Sir George Duckett and opened in 1830 but was a commercial failure. It was taken over Regents Canal Company in 1857, as part of the Grand Union Canal in 1927.
Footbridge.  Between Hepscott and Roach roads built by Baxter & Associates across the Union Canal to provide a continuous walk to the bridge over the Lea at Carpenter's Road.
Graffiti Art on the walls at the junction of the canal and the Hackney Cut

Leabank Square
Housing development by Campbell, Zogolovitch, Wilkinson, and Gough. On the banks of the Lea with 150 houses and flats

Monier Road
Britannia Mirrors. Framed mirror manufacturer, founded 1980s
The Hub Studios. Royal Connections. Charismatic Christian organisation.

Old River Lea
Carpenters Road Bridge
Carpenter's Road Lock is a tidal lock installed c. 1931, to allow navigation of between the Waterworks River and Old River Lea.  It has an integral footbridge and it has a pair of rising radial gates where a section of a cylindrical surface forms the lock gate. This is rotated into the lock bed to open it as for a tidal local traditional gates would need to be bi-directional.
Bully Point Nature Reserve. Part of the former marsh was drained and then tipped on and the result was a nature reserve is noted for 14 species of butterfly, many birds and small mammals.  It had wet woodland and colourful ephemeral plant communities particularly good for invertebrates. Now demolished, and the wildlife killed.

Pudding Mill River
The Pudding Mill River or Hunter's Mill stream was a waterway forming a north-south route from Stratford to the Old River Lea. Originally the City Mill River diverged from it. It was originally semi tidal and Old Ford tide gates sited east of the junction with the old river lea normally kept the water level. The river has been removed although the cast iron footbridge at Carpenters Lock and the lock itself apparently remain.

Knobs Hill corn mill – on the east bank south of junction with the Old River Lea hIhi

Channelsea Junction

Rippoth Road
The road was closed in 1968 to allow for timber drying sheds and a kiln to be built. It lay to the north of Wyke Road.

Roach Road
Omega works. Steel-framed block of 126 units in 7 storeys, 2004
Crown Wharf. 240 unit development with a supermarket on the ground floor.
Crown Wharf Yard.  Circular, red brick Chimney erected 1899-1900 by builders Chessum & Sons for their Crown Wharf yard.
A.    Younger furniture. Abraham Younger Ltd was a high quality furniture manufacturer and leader of style in the 50s, 60s and 70s and they aimed at the top end of the market. They made Scandinavian style furniture in the 50s and their teak Moselle suite. Their designer was John Herbert who won three awards in 1960 for a sideboard and two tables made of afromosia and later designed a dining set in African walnut. Later with Alan Pledge they produced with reference to traditional Spanish design with Toledo in 1970.  The chimney in Crown Wharf Yard at one time had ‘Younger’ written on it.
Roach Road Works. D. Anderson makers of roofing felts and Belfast Truss roofs of Lagan Works, Belfast. Roofing materials – including aluminium and felt and various coating, among many other manufactures.
Stour Space and The Counter Café

Rothbury Road
25 Mountain of Fire and Miracles. This is a Nigerian evangelical church
Victoria Park Industrial Park

Smeed Road
BOC Gases
Smeed Road School. Opened in 1886 and renamed Fordway County Primary in 1951, Closed 1968 and since demolished.
Algha Works. Optical product manufacturers. In the 1920’s Max Wiseman had a business selling lenses, cases and frames and wanted his sons to manufacture Rolled Gold frames in England. They purchased the contents of a complete factory from Rathenau, and opened the Algha Works in 1932 with 10 German technicians. This was to become known throughout the world as Algha Works. In the Second World War they made gas mask frames and aviator goggles and after 1947 manufactured for the NHS. In the 1980s the factory was taken over by American Optical and the Savile Row Collection was launched. In 1996 it again became a family business. The works was built in 1908 as a printing factory designed by Henry C Smart and was named Algha Works in 1932. A new form of glazing was used – the prismatic stall-board light - enabled light to flood the semibasement, and throughout the building, a specialized form of floor construction ensured well-lit working spaces on all floors

Stour Road
Vittoria wharf – artists’ studios and craft workshops
Foreman Salmon Smokers. Harry (Aaron) Forman came to London from Russia in the late 19th and imported salmon in barrels of brine from the Baltic. He then developed a cure for Scottish Salmon. It remains a family business. Forced to leave their factory for the Olympics their new 2008 building is in the shape of a piece of salmon and includes a restaurant and a viewing gallery. 
Byron and Byron curtain poles manufacturers started in 1984 to supply hand crafted accessories for interiors by Italian Orazio Gualtieri.
Primrose Works – trading estate and industrial units

Wallis Road
The road may have been named for G. & T.Wallis whose wharves were at the river end
G. & T.Wallis. Varnish works. Wallis had previously been in Long Acre, Southwark and the company may have dated from before 1810. They had won medals for their varnish in the 1850s and had moved to Hackney Wick by 1870s.
127b Johnstone Boat House, presented to the Eton Mission Rowing Club in 1934 by their president.  Gilbert Johnstone. Red brick building.
68 Vision Gospel Mission. This is in what was the Carless Institute. The Institute was built in 1926 as a social centre for all local workers, bequeathed by William Leonard. 
Falcon Chemical works. Edward Beanes and Co. which survived into the 1960s. This was on the riverside and in 1876 was a paint factory also producing other chemicals. A new building was erected in 1889. In 1922 Frederick Beanes developed a new tobacco pipe. By 1959 they were making wine finings and it was also a 'herb factory'
Victoria Works. J.E.Barringer Spice Grinders. Founded 1846 and taken over in 1931 by Stafford Allen.
Alexander Fife label works 1969
Parkseine works. This dated from 1855 set up by Alexander and became the British Xylonite works, makers of the first plastic. A wall plaque reads: - "First plastic in the world, known as 'Parkesine', invented by Alexander Parkes.  First made near this site, 1866".  Parkesine was a compound of cellulose nitrate and some small examples were displayed at the 1862 London International Exhibition.  Production was taken over by Daniel Spill in 1868.  He re-branded the product "Xylonite" and transferred production to his Homerton works.  The Company later move to Hale End, and products were sold under the "Halex" brand name. The Company eventually re-located to Brantham, Suffolk.  .   
99 Central Books building. This covers the site of Daniel Spill's waterproof cloth works.  It became the Vulcan Works and then Clarnico. The Communist Party of Great Britain, as an archive store, took over the building for a period.  It is now occupied by Central Books a commercial enterprise. Book publishers and distributors since 1939.                                    
George Spill’s works was involved in rubber technology and he invented the little holes under arms in rubberised garments. He had done well out of selling items like groundsheets to the military. He was joined by his brother Daniel who became the main backer for Parks' venture into plastics.  Part of the gable of a surviving bay of George Spill's rubber cloth factory of 1860 remains.
Vulcan Bedstead Works. This was next use for the Spill factory. Vulcan Cottages were in front of the building. Owned by George Horrel
Clarnico – Clarke, Nichols & Coombs, Clarnico, had extensive premises in the area and many buildings were used by them in the early 20th. They were established in 1872, as a sweet manufacturer - mint creams, butterscotch, caramels, and chocolates etc. By 1913 they were employing around 2,000 people, mostly female.  It was one of the first companies in Britain to operate a profit-sharing scheme.  The Company ran its own choir, band hospital, and fire service and offered its female employees a dowry on marriage.  It had wharf facilities on The Lea Navigation.  It was taken over by Trebor/Sharps in 1972, and production transferred to the latter's premises. 
Phoenix Chemical Works. W.C.Barnes. This factory was here before 1849 and was connected to Henry Barnes who had been a drysalter in Long Acre and Upper Thames Street.  In 1868 Barnes was involved in the adjacent Xylonite Works and later became a partner in Brooke, Simpson & Spiller venture when they took over Perkin's Greenford Works in 1874.  He eventually moved to premises at Rainham, Essex, where he specialised in aniline dyes.  In 1876 on Wallis Road the firm produced chloroform, paraffin, nitric acid, antimony, etc.  And made a speciality of oil based materials for lighting
Daro Factors is a family business established in 1923. They make the Spegelstein range of fittings as well as dealing in a wide range of other fittings.
Spegelstein furniture fitting manufacturer.  Opened in the 1960. They undertook electro plating – much of it for the Lesney Matchbox factory. They made a wide range of fittings of all sorts
Lion Works.  Complex site incorporating buildings of various dates, on the site of a mid-nineteenth century iron works, used by Achille Serre from c1903 until 1927 and now in multiple occupation.  The oldest surviving building probably dates from the 1880s.  The name Achille Serre remained in faded mosaic above the door.
Button Manufactory 1870s
Sheppey Chemical Works 1870s.  Likely to be one of the chemical manure works owned by the Stevens family
Willow Works – chemical works owned by Barnes
Main Yard, artist’s studio in print works building
Imperial Glass Bottle Works 1895

Waterden Road
Golden House.  Brooke Bond Liebig., Oxo factory. This had a stucco facade stepped recessed windows and Egyptian style doors. Later in other use including as the Kokonut Grove night club
44 Hackney East Bus Garage. Stagecoach bus depot
Wolsey Match Works of 1916 by 1950s this was the Wolsey Cattle Feed Works.
Seemeel Wolsey Works.  This was British Feeding Meals in 1929. They made fish meals and fish by-products -  Animal food produced from fish waste which was collected from Billingsgate, fish curers, retailers and merchants throughout London.  In the Second World War they were pioneers in converting domestic refuse into animal food.  Became a subsidiary of Spillers
Later owned by Spillers,
Fish meal factory 1916 by 1950s Premier Works Patent Foods
Wolsey Works, owned by Spillers 1979

Waterworks River

White Post lane
Lea Chemical Works. After the Great War Carless established a works for distilling solvents, especially xylene, used in the manufacture of printing inks.  .
33/37 Superproofers. Rot proofed ropes;
Lord Napier pub closed
52-54 Mr. Bagel. Bakery in place since the 1980s.
92 Achille Serre.  Achille Serre Moved from Dalston and established his dry cleaning business in a corner of Griffith's Tar Yard, now Queen's Yard.  Two of the three multi-storey blocks on the south side of White Post Lane were built in 1905, the other, nearest the canal, with flat roof concrete lintels, was built in the early 1920s. 
10 Caslon typefounders
Lea Tavern. Smaller scale of a Truman's pub of 1897 with cut brick gables. Demolished December 2008; The date above the dormer windows reads 1897..
Queen's Yard.  Six-storey stock-brick block built 1913-4 for Clark, Nickolls & Coombs Ltd (Clarnico) as a chocolate factory as part of their Queen's Yard complex.  The rest of Queen's Yard has been redeveloped. Base and piers of blue
Victoria Iron works. Victoria Metallic Cask and Iron Mesh Co. This Company closed down in the 1950's, having been established in the 1870's.  Subsequently, the site has been occupied by a variety of small businesses (for example, mirrors). 

Wyke Road
Courage Brewery Distribution Depot

Broadwood Piano. Web site
CNC History of Clarke Nichols and Coombs
Discover Bow Back Rivers. Leaflet
East London Record
GLIAS notes on Hackney Wick (including notes by Mary Mills, Chris Seagrave and Chris Grabham )
London Borough of Hackney web site
London Borough of Newham web site
London Borough of Tower Hamlets web site
Mills. Gas and Chemicals in east London
Mills. GLIAS. Notes for walk c. 1990
Mills. The Early East London Gas Industry and its waste products
Morning Star web site
Morris. Archives of the chemical industry
Museum of London web site
Sainsbury, West Ham 1886-1986
Saville Row Collection web site
Wikipedia. Bow Back Rivers web site
Wildlife on the Bow Back Rivers. Notes.


bluebluesdancer said…
Do you, or anyone else, have any knowledge of the history of a company that you mention named "The Confectioners, Vegetable Colours & Fruit Essences Company Ltd."?
I have a fruit candy mould that belonged to my Great-Grandmother and I'm wondering how old it is.

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