Tuesday, 19 June 2012

River Lea - Walthamstow Marshes

River Lee, Lee Aqueduct and the Flood Relief Channel
The Lee, the Lee Aqueduct and the Flood Relief Channel continue to flow southwards

The Great Eastern Railway from Liverpool Street to Chingford
The rail line running north from Clapton Station continues to run north westwards

Post to the north Coppermills
Post to the west Springfield
Post to the east Lea Bridge Road
Post to the south Lea Bridge

Argall Avenue
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 in 1999 moved to Leyton, re-branded as Bates.

Bakers Hill
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
The 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 viaduct
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 line
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.
Lee Aqueduct
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

Leyton Marshes
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 Authority.

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

Railway
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

Rigg Approach
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 Ferry.
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 Whitbread house.
Anchor and 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 works.
Robert Lyon, bleacher in 1826-1838,
George Wickenden, a glazier/presser in 1845 and 1855
Battersby & Burgoyne, Dyers and printers, 1817

Theydon Road
Trading estate and riverside industrial units being used as sites for housing developments.
Havilland Building - Hunt & Co, cardboard box factory, designed by Owen Williams 1939

Walthamstow Marshes
Walthamstow 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 gravel extraction.
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 Hertford.
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.
Cast Iron 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 August.
AVRO- 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.

Sources
Bates web site
CAMRA.  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 London
Victoria County History of Essex
Walthamstow Marshes leaflet

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