Posts Tagged ‘Lea’

Canary Wharf Workshop 2004

Thursday, May 9th, 2024

Canary Wharf Workshop – On Sunday May 9th 2004 I led a small workshop group of photographers on a walk which started at Canary Wharf and then went to Canning Town and the River Thames. Although photography is theoretically banned on the Canary Wharf estate we had no problems with security, probably because we kept to obviously public areas and I had asked those taking part not to use tripods.

Canary Wharf Workshop

I was never a fan of the redevelopment of London’s docklands under Michael Heseltine and the London Docklands Development Corporation set up in 1981. Of course development was needed after the docks became redundant, but we should have seen a development that was made for the interests of the population of London, not simply for the mates of the Tory Party.

Canary Wharf Workshop

The area needed some kind of overall planning authority, but one that worked with the local authorities in the area rather than against them, ignoring their priorities.

Canary Wharf Workshop

Of course there were gains from the work of the LDDC, perhaps the main ones being the Docklands Light Railway and the Jubilee Line Extension to Stratford. Certainly by the time it was wound up in 1990 it had changed the whole area significantly. But many of those changes had sacrificed local needs to business profits.

Canary Wharf Workshop

The piece that I wrote about the day reflected my political views about what had taken place. A year or so later London won the bidding for the Olympics, leading to yet more development in the area by an authority that disregarded local needs and led to inappropriate development, still proceeding, in East London. I’ll reproduce what I wrote in 2004 here, with minor corrections, particularly to capitalisation and spelling.

May 9th 2004 found me taking a group of photographers for a walk around some parts of London’s docklands. We started at the centre of this ‘crime of the century’. I still don’t quite understand why a Conservative government felt so at odds with the City of London that it decided to set up offshore competition in the Enterprise Zone.

The feeding frenzy that ensued, trousering public property and tax breaks into the private pocket at an unprecedented rate was inevitable.

The long-term consequence has been a distorted development with few real buildings of distinction but some expensively finished tat, and a lack of overall planning. I’m not sure that London would benefit from gaining the Olympics for which it is currently bidding, but if it fails, probably part of the reason will be the Docklands debacle.

We started below the obscene gesture towards the old city, at least clear about its symbolism, then took the DLR down to Crossharbour with its silly bridge, walking back to the Wharf and taking the Jubilee to Canning Town.

Then back alongside the Lee (still waiting for that riverside walkway) to East India dock basin and along by the Thames, where a galleon appeared in front of the dome.

The River Lee is here better known in its tidal section as Bow Creek, and we are still waiting for parts of that riverside walk to be opened if they ever will be. There was a competition for a new bridge across Bow Creek with a wining design named, but money disappeared and it was never built. But a few years ago we did get a different new bridge higher up by Canning Town station and the development of the industrial site of Pura Foods as London City Island.

A few more of my pictures from the walk on My London Diary

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London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall.
Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.

Around Warton Road

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

Robbialac, Warton Rd, Stratford, Newham, 1983 35p-15_2400
Jenson and Nicholson, Robbialac Works, Warton Road, Stratford, London E15.

Jensen and Nicholson were the makers of Robbialac paints and had premises here on Warton Road, offices on the Goswell Rd and a further works in Stratford on Carpenters Rd. The business was started in 1821 at the Barbican by William Kingham and John Jenson became a partner in 1840, taking over the business in 1848. He was joined in 1856 by Wilfred Nicholson.

Following a fire which destroyed the company’s factory, Nicholson decided to move to Stratford Marshes and a few years later Nicholson took over the company, which continued to trade under the name Jenson and Nicholson Ltd. As well as Robbialac enamel paints for cars and home decoration, the company also made Copal varnishes and distributed Cuprinol wood preservatives. In 1960 they merged with Berger Paints forming Berger, Jenson and Nicholson who after various takeovers became a part of Crown Paints and were then acquired by the Dutch company Akzo Nobel. (Information from Grace’s Guide

The name Robbialac came from the 15th century Italian ceramicist Luca Della Robbia, famed for his brightly coloured enamels and the word lacquer. The major Portuguese paint manufacturer Tinta Robbialac, founded in 1928, also uses it as a brand name.

Bridgewater Rd, Stratford, Newham, 1983 35q-12_2400
Bridgewater Rd, Stratford, Newham, 1983

The concrete bridge here is an early use of ferro-concrete I think had a plaque on it stating it had been built using the Hennebique system and certainly deserves preservation. I photographed it on various occasions and it survived the Olympics and was still present when I last visited the area, but I’m unsure if it will be retained in the future.

Waterworks River, Bridgewater Rd, Stratford, 1983 36m-62-positive_2400
Waterworks River, Bridgewater Rd, Stratford, 1983

The view looking south from the Bridgewater Road bridge along the Waterworks River to the Warton House on Stratford High St, and blocks of flats on the opposite side of the street off Abbey Lane, Albert Bigg Point and Aubrey Moore Point. The footpath on the bank at right was extremely overgrown and the gates to it were locked. At right is one of the many pylons that were taken down for the Olympics.

Carpenters Rd, Stratford, Newham, 1983 35p-51_2400
Carpenters Estate, Stratford, Newham, 1983

I am not sure of the exact location of this doorway with its interesting use of concrete. There were (and are) 3 point blocks on the Carpenters Estate and I think the one in the background here may be Dennison Point and this building may have been on the site now occupied by the Building Crafts College in Kennard Road which moved to a new building here in 2001.

Waterworks River, Railway Bridge, Stratford, Newham, 1983 35q-32_2400
Waterworks River, Railway Bridge, Stratford, Newham, 1983

I think this is from the footpath beside the Waterworks River looking north towards the bridge carrying the Eastern Region main line from Liverpool St across to Stratford. Possibly I had climbed down from Bridgewater Road as I think this path was closed at the time. The factory at right was on Warton Rd.

Waterworks River, Blaker Rd, Stratford, 1983 36m-52_2400
Waterworks River, view towards Blaker Rd from the Greenway, Stratford, 1983

The Waterworks River turns to the left in the distance to go under Stratford High St, with a channel going on under Blaker Rd to City Mill lock. The concrete pillar is part of the bridge carrying the Northern Outfall Sewer across the river and I wondered if the profuse fig tree growing here might be benefiting from some warmth from the sewage or possibly even be nourished by some leakage.

Kerry's, Greenway, Northern Outfall Sewer, Stratford, Newham, 1983 35v-23_2400
Kerry’s, Stratford 1983.

Kerry’s were a company that made and distributed a wide range of products, both those they made themselves and others branded with their name. In 1961 according to Grace’s Guide they were “Wholesale distributors to the motor, radio, electrical and cycle trades, also machine tool makers, specialising in centre lathes, boring mills, power saws, drills and special purpose machines” and even produced a light weight moped, the Capitano. Manufacturing moved to Basildon in the 1960s and the business was bought up and sold at the end of the decade.

Although Kerry’s address was Warton Road, I think the factory was actually rather closer to the Northern Outfall Sewer and reached over the bridge on Bridgewater Road.

More pictures on Flickr.

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

Stratford Marsh: Sewage and Rivers

Thursday, January 7th, 2021

Northern Outfall Sewer, Lea Navigation, Stratford Marsh, Newham, 1983 36o-24_2400
Two pipes and behind them the Northern Outfall Sewer

Part of Bazalgette’s great plan for freeing the Thames in central London from being a huge open sewer was to build large sewage pipelines to sewage works to the east of London. North of the river, the Northern Outfall Sewer, built in 1960-65, channels sewage from high level sewers serving North London and those from Central London to run under an embankment from Wick Road, across the Lea Navigation at Old Ford and past Stratford’s ‘Cathedral of Sewage’ at Abbey Mills which pumps up sewage from lower level sewers serving West London to join it and flow together to the sewage works at Beckton, the effluent from which is discharged into the Thames. Above the large pipes is a path for pedestrians and cyclists, rebranded at great expense as ‘The Greenway’ in the early 1990s.

Lea Navigation, Stratford Marsh, Newham, 1983 36o-34_2400
These two pipes close to the Greenway are perhaps for gas.

It provides a useful traffic-free route across Newham, but access to it is often poor, particularly for cyclists and for the past 15 or so years has been blighted by closures of various sections, particularly in Stratford Marsh for the 2012 Olympics and Crossrail construction as well as sewer maintainance. It should be open again now and is an interesting walk, though the slightly sweet sickly smell may put some off.

Towards Bow, from Northern Outfall Sewer, Stratford Marsh, Newham, 1983 33x-14_2400
Stratford Marsh and Bow, 1983
Lea Navigation from Northern Outfall Sewer, Stratford Marsh, Stratford, Newham, 1990 90-9h56_2400
The sewer path provides an elevated viewpoint. Lee Navigation and Bow 1990

Stratford Marsh north of the Northern Outfall was bounded by water. The Old River Lea ran from Carpernters Road through Carpenter’s Lock to join the Lea Navigation just south of Old Ford Lock and immediately north of the outfall. Along its east side was the Waterworks River (carrying most of the flow from the Lea and passing under the sewer close to Stratford High St, which it flowed under close to City Mill Lock. Running West from the other end of the lock was St Thomas’s Creek joining to the Navigation at Bow Bridge, and north the City Mill River linking to the Old River Lea.

City Mill River, Stratford Marsh, Newham, 1983 35p-24_2400
A rare boat makes its way around the Bow Back Rivers. City Mill River, 1983

Until the closure for the Olympics it was possible for boats to navigate around the area, leaving the navigation just above Bow Bridge on St Thomas’s Creek, going north up the City Mill River, then west along the Old River Lea back to the navigation, all these rivers being at the same level. In quite a few days of walking around the area I only saw two boats making the trip.

Signal Box, Stratford Station, Stratford, Newham, 1983 35p-65_2400
Channelsea River at Stratford Station, 1983

Another smaller channel, the Pudding Mill River, ran a little to the west of this down from the Old River Lea, disappearing under the railway lines which cut through Stratford Marsh (a couple of pictures in a later post.) This river I think disappeared completely under the stadium in the Olympic makeover; while all around them was changed (including the soil, much imported from elsewhere) the other watercourses in this area emerged largely unscathed though there were changes south of the High St, and I think the Channelsea River was possibly further marginalised.

Channelsea River, Jupp Rd, Stratford, Newham, 1983 35p-62_2400
Channelsea River, Jupp Rd, Stratford, 1983

Fish Island, Hertford Union & Old Ford

Sunday, January 3rd, 2021

Roach Road, Old Ford, Tower Hamlets, 1990  90-9h24_2400
Roach Rd, 1990

The Hertford Union Canal is a short canal which links the Lea Navigation at Hackney Wick to the Grand Union Canal in Bethnal Green, and so to the canal system across England and Wales. Just across the canal at the south of Hackney Wick was a largely industrial area with several street names – Dace Rd, Roach Rd, Bream St – gave it the name ‘Fish Island’. Always somewhat isolated with canals on two sides of a triangle, it became even more so with the building of the A12 East Cross Route effectively severing it on the third side. A new footbridge across the Hertford Union now makes it more accessible from Hackney Wick.

Hertford Union Canal, Hackney Wick, Tower Hamlets, 1983 36n-31_2400
Hertford Union, Fish Island, 1983

There were several timber yards along the Hertford Union, some still at work in the 1980s, although no longer served by the canal.

Hertford Union Canal, Hackney Wick, Tower Hamlets, 1983 36n-32_2400
Herford Union, 1983

There were still a few barges moored at some wharves in 1983.

Hertford Union Canal, Hackney Wick, Tower Hamlets, 1983 36n-34_2400
Hertford Union , 1983

Though most of the wharves – like this one with a roof extending over the canal – were empty. There were no boats moving on the canal when I walked beside it, and little wind to disturb the reflections.

Isle of Dogs Youth, Hertford Union Canal, Old Ford, Tower Hamlets, 1983 36n-24_2400
Hertford Union , 1983

I’d seen the boat belonging to the Isle of Dogs Youth project moving on the Lea Navigation, but here it was moored, I think outside about the only former industrial building along the whole length of the canal which has not been replaced by flats, the Chisendale works, built in 1942-3 by Maurice Cohen as a factory, CHN Veneers, to glue together layers of wood to make parts for fighters and bombers, including Spitfire propellors. The factory closed in 1972 and was bought by Tower Hamlets Council and left empty. In 1980 they leased it to artists who had been evicted from Butlers Wharf close to Tower Bridge. It took them two years of work to clear the building and make it useable with two dance studios, 40 artists workshops and a public gallery as Chisenhale Art Place.

Hertford Union Canal, Old Ford, Tower Hamlets, 1983 36n-22_2400
Hertford Union, 1983
A F Suter & Co, Swan Wharf, Dace Road, Old Ford, Tower Hamlets, 1990  90-9h35_2400
Dace Rd, 1990

A F Suter & Co’s building at Swan Wharf is in Dace Road at the south east of Fish Island, close to Old Ford Lock on the Lea Navigation.

Mural, Wick Lane, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1983 36o-31_2400
Mural, Wick Lane, 1983

Wick Lane is one of two roads which lead out from Fish Island, both along its west edge, with Wansbeck Rd leading north to Hackney Wick and Wick Lane taking you across the East Cross Route to Bow. Pedestrians can also leave by crossing the Lea Navigation at Old Ford Lock or on the Northern Outfall Sewer (aka Greenway) or a footbridge across the East Cross Route to Old Ford.

All these pictures are in my Flickr album River Lea – Lea Navigation 1981-1992. You can also find them with other later pictures of the area on my web site: River Lea/Lee Valley.

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

Clapton – Lea Valley 1982

Thursday, December 31st, 2020

2020 is a year I don’t think I want to look back on, so I’ll eschew that traditional filler and instead look back rather further to continue my series on walks in the Lea valley in the 1980s.

Works, Upper Clapton or South Tottenham, Hackney or Haringey,1982 32c-42_2400

This time of year it has been a tradition for at least some of my family to get together to go on sometimes fairly lengthy walks, usually somewhere in the country. It’s something that has rather tailed off over the years, with both my sons now having young children, and also as my own legs getting old and tired, making anything over six or seven miles something of an ordeal.

Flats, Anchor & Hope, High Hill Ferry, Clapton, Hackney, 1982 32c-41_2400

This year things have become even more difficult, with us all under Tier 4 restrictions on travel etc and in different parts of the country, so our meetings have only been virtual. And although Linda and I have managed some short walks – around 5 miles on Boxing Day – these have all started and finished at our home. But at least I can take a digital walk in the Lea Valley.

Playing Field, Leyton, Waltham Forest, 1982 32c-44_2400

These pictures were not all taken on the same walk, which is one I did several times when working on my Lea Valley project and have repeated parts of rather more times since, sometimes riding on my Brompton folder. Parts of it have changed dramatically over the years, and wherever in these pictures you see a timber yard, factory or power station there is probably now several blocks of flats.

Clapton, Hackney, 1982 32u-64_2400

So many changes make it difficult for me to pinpoint the exact locations of some of these pictures, though others have very recognisable landmarks – such as the railway viaduct in the background above, now with a blue plaque celebrating the work of Alliott Verdon Roe, the first man to build and fly an entirely British aeroplane, built here in one of its arches, back in 1909.

Latham TImber, Clapton, Hackney, 1982 32c-31p (2)_2400

But Latham Timber is long gone, along with its neighbouring yard and the fences on which ‘The Gruesome’ staked their territorial claim and on which P & R pledged their ‘Forever True’ love in white paint on 16-8-82. Where are they now I wonder as I look at these pictures? Though so far as I’m aware I never saw any of them back in 1982 either.


The Gruesome Clapton, Hackney, 1982 33a-65_2400

The Gruesome Clapton, Hackney, 1982 33a-63_2400

Latham TImber, Clapton, Hackney, 1982 32c-56_2400

Middlesex Wharf, Clapton, Hackney, 1982 33a-52_2400

More pictures at River Lea – Lea Navigation 1981-1992. My next post in this series will look a little downstream.

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

Towards Hackney Wick 1982

Wednesday, December 30th, 2020

I continue my virtual walk downriver towards Hackney Wick.

Clapton Park Estate, Clapton Park,  Hackney, 1982 32k-64_2400

Past the Clapton Park Estate: Norbury Court, Bakewell Court, Ambergate Court and Sudbury Court at 172 Daubeney Road, each 20 stories with 114 flats, approved by Hackney Council in 1968. Three were demolished by explosions in 1993-5 but Sudbury Court was sold to a private developer who gave it a relatively minor make-over and renamed it Landmark Heights.

Clapton Park Estate, Clapton Park, Hackney, 1982 32k-53p_2400

Somewhere I passed a canal-side factory –

Hackney Wick, Tower Hamlets, 1983 36n-46_2400

as well as the wide expanse of Hackney Marshes, with what must surely be more football pitches and anyone needs

Hackney Marsh, Hackney Wick, Hackney, 1982 32z-62_2400

as well as some wilder areas where the hogweed grows

Hackney Marsh, Hackney Wick, Hackney, 1982 32u-13_2400

and was ambushed by a group of children

Hackney Wick, Hackney, 1982 32k-51_2400

who demanded I take their pictures.

Hackney Wick, Hackney, 1982 32k-42_2400

Clost to Eastway I came across a travellers site

Travellers site,  Eastway, Stratford, Newham, 1983  36o-12_2400

close to the River Lea, here looking a very serious river away from the navigation.

River Lea, Eastway, Stratford, Newham, 1983  36o-13 (2)_2400

My walk continued but in a less linear fashion wandering around Hackney Wick – in the next episode. You can see all the pictures and more in my album River Lea – Lea Navigation 1981-1992.

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

Lea Valley 1993 – Around Tottenham Hale

Tuesday, December 29th, 2020

Stonebridge Lock, Northumberland Park, 1983 37c-22_2400

Continuing my pictures from walks along the River Lea and Lea Navigation in 1983 which are in my Flickr album River Lea – Lea Navigation 1981-1992.

Tottenham Hale station on the Victoria Line was a convenient starting point for walks both north and south along the Lea navigatiion, which is crossed by Ferry Lane around 200 metres from the station.

Stonebridge Lock is around 3/4 miles north up the path from Ferry Lane, where steps lead down to the towpath immediately after you cross Pymmes Brook. The view above is looking south back towards Tottenham Hale.

Lea Navigation, Tottenham, 1983 34l-51_2400

Thames Water Sludge Mains Bridge No 3 crosses the Navigation closer to Ferry Lane, and as well as a crudely painted landscape also carried racist graffiti from the National Party, a splinter group of the National Front which was active from 1976-83.

Ferry Lane, Tottenham, 1983 34l-64_2400

A lone tree behind a gate somewhere on Ferry Lane (or its eastern continuation, Forest Road.)

Flood Channel, Leyton, Waltham Forest, 1982 32d-46_2400

The Lee Flood Relief Channel at Forest Rd. There are now tall recently built blocks of flats replacing the inustrial units and garage in this picture.

Ferry Lane Wharf, Tottenham Hale, Hackney, 1982 32d-56_2400

This extensive range of warehouses fronting the navigation immediately south of Ferry Lane has now been demolished and replaced by housing.

Ferry Lane Wharf, Tottenham Hale, Hackney, 1982 32d-55_2400

There is a channel here from the River Lee Diversion which takes excess water from the river and navigation north of Enfield, though usually most of the flow in this rejoins the navigation around half a mile further south.

Ferry Lane Wharf, Tottenham Hale, Hackney, 1982 32d-53_2400

The pattern of waterways it the Lea Valley is difficult to understand and as well as the diversion there are also various flood channels, as well of course as tributaries such as the Pymmes Brook and Dagenham Brook. In the old days there were various man-made channels to feed water mills, while more recently, particularly in the twentieth century various projects to control flooding in the area.

Flickr album River Lea – Lea Navigation 1981-1992.

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

Timber – Lea Navigation

Saturday, December 19th, 2020

Timber made up a very large proportion of the commercial traffic on the Lea Navigation, certainly in the twentieth century. In its earlier years barge traffic on the River Lea and its canalised sections was largely of agricultural products – malt, meal and grain – being carried down to London, with barges being returned empty or carrying coal upstream. Trade was substantial even before the construction of the navigation began following plans by John Smeaton and the 1767 Act of Parliament, and the river carried an estimated 30,000 tons a year coming mainly from around Ware and Stanstead Abbotts.

The flash locks then in use, with gates that were removed to allow barges to pass wasted large quantities of water and tolls were high, and they also meant that loads going upstream were restricted to a third or a quarter of the 35-40 tons of a downstream load. There were many later improvements to the navigation, though most of the current system comes from an 1866 Act of Parliament.

Timber yard, Towpath Road, Dorford Wharf, Edmonton, 1983 34m-52_2400

In the twentieth century barges carried loads of 100 tons on the waterway and the main traffic was timber, carried upstream from the Surrey docks to a number of timber wharves, one of the larger of which was the Edmonton Wharf at the Lea Valley Trading Estate, which I think was operated by Hahn & Co Ltd, though I can find no further details.

Timber yard, Towpath Road, Dorford Wharf, Edmonton, 1983 34l-16_2400

I made several visits to this large site and took pictures, and returned in later years when it had become a bus depot. Back in 1983 there was another timber yard on the opposite bank of the navigation, which I think was called Dornford Wharf, though the old street plan I used labels this area of the east bank with this name.

Timber yard, Towpath Road, Dorford Wharf, Edmonton, 1983 34l-15_2400

In the Flickr album River Lea – Lea Navigation 1981-1992 I’ve captioned these images as being in Dornford Wharf, Towpath Rd, and I’ve also included a few more images which are simply slight variations on those show here – as well as many other images taken along the river.

Timber yard, Towpath Road, Dorford Wharf, Edmonton, 1983 34m-61_2400

Timber yard, Towpath Road, Dorford Wharf, Edmonton, 1983 34m-63_2400

Timber yard, Towpath Road, Dorford Wharf, Edmonton, 1983 34m-66_2400

If these huge trunks had been brought here by the navigation they will have been here some time as commercial traffic ended a couple of years earlier in 1981. There didn’t appear to be any work being carried on in the timber yard when I took these pictures, but they were possibly made on a Sunday.

Timber yard, Towpath Road, Dorford Wharf, Edmonton, 1983 34m-51_2400

At the side of the yard close to the towpath I came across an area that had clearly been used fairly recently to cut up some wood on a rather smaller scale but which had produced a prolific amount of sawdust.

Although the Flickr album River Lea – Lea Navigation 1981-1992 only currently contains black and white pictures, I did also make some colour transparencies when I was photographing the Lea Valley. Three of them, including the image above, were my contribution to the show Roof Unit Foundations at [ space ] in Hackney in 2007.

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

Lea – by the North Circular

Friday, December 11th, 2020

North Circular Rd, Edmonton, 1983 37c-44_2400

The North Circular Road crosses the Lea Navigation in Edmonton, where there are now a whole series of six bridges over it, though I think there were fewer when I was taking these pictures in 1983. The street map I used shows the North Circular as just a single carriageway, Angel Road, which on the east side became the Lea Valley Viaduct, and I think this picture is taken across the whole of the roadway.

Lee Valley Trading Estate, Angel Rd, Upper Edmonton, 1983 34m-41_2400

To the south of the North Circular there were industrial and commercial areas on both banks, with Clements International UPH, “Europe’s Largest Maker” on the west, a huge furniture showroom (I suppose the UPH stands for upholstery) and beyond it to the south a timber wharf.

Lee Valley Trading Estate, Angel Rd, Upper Edmonton, 1983 34k-46

On the east bank wasDorford Wharf and the extensive Lea Valley Trading Estate and Kingsway Industrial Estate, and another timber wharf, which I’ll post pictures from later.After re-instalapi-ms-wi-

On the east bank wasDorford Wharf and the extensive Lea Valley Trading Estate and Kingsway Industrial Estate, and another timber wharf, which I’ll post pictures from later.

Lee Valley Trading Estate, Angel Rd, Upper Edmonton, 1983 34n-24_2400

I think all of the businesses by the navigation were closed, including the cafe here. Now the whole area has been cleared.

Timber yard, Towpath Road, Dorford Wharf, Edmonton, 1983 37c-31_2400

Although commercial traffic on the Lea Navigation had come to an end, there were still a number of lighters on it, including this one moored in front of a timber wharf. There were so many timber wharves on the Lea because the entrances to the Limehouse Cut and Bow Creek leading to the Lea Navigation were opposite the Surrey Docks, where ships brought in timber from the Baltic and elsewhere and which had large storage ponds where it was stored and seasoned.

Lee Valley Trading Estate, Angel Rd, Upper Edmonton, 1983 34n-23_2400

There is still a timber merchant not far away, just to the north of the North Circular at Ash Wharf, but none of its timber comes in by barge.

You can click on any of the above images to see a larger version in the Flickr album River Lea – Lea Navigation 1981-1992.

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

Ponders End & Edmonton

Monday, December 7th, 2020

Lea Navigation, Brimsdown, Ponders End, 1983 34m-22_2400

I’m not sure why the name Ponders End so appeals to me. It has a rather down to earth quality (or perhaps down to water) which is apparently reflected in its etymology, stretching back over 600 years to the Ponder family, with a John Ponder being recorded as far back as 1373. He or his family apparently got their name because they kept or lived by a fishpond or mill pond on the River Lea. Ponders End was their end of Edmonton.

Lea Navigation, Ponders End, 1983 34m-23_2400

The River Lea was important for the movement of people and goods from the earliest times and was improved for navigation at various times in the middle ages; later the first modern gated lock on a river was built at Waltham Abbey in 1577 and the basis of the current Lea Navigation – including the Limehouse Cut – were laid in the 1770s, though there were further improvements well into the 20th century. You can read more on Wikipedia. In recent convention the spelling Lea is used for the river and natural features, and Lee for those man-made features such as the navigation but I tend to use Lea for both.

Lea Navigation, Ponders End, 1983 34m-24_2400

Because of its good transport links to London, industry began to arrive here in the 19th century, with wharves along the canal. Later with the growth of motorised transport development became centred along the Great Cambridge Road, the A10, a short distance to the west, particularly after its improvement in the 1930s. When I took these pictures back in 1983 the area was full of factories, but many were derelict, their demise accelerated by Thatcher’s national flight from manufacturing – something which was at the centre of my recording of out post-industrial landscape

Lea Navigation, Brimsdown, Ponders End, 1983 34m-32_2400

The area had turned its back on the canal where all commercial traffic had ceased a couple of years earlier, but many of the structures were still present. Now almost all have been replaced by warehousing and some residential development. In later years I photographed around the little that remained, including Wright’s Flour Mill, parts of which date from the 18th century.

Lea Navigation, Brimsdown, Ponders End, 1983 34m-36_2400

Back in 1983, there was no GPS and it was hard to determine the exact location of the pictures I took as I walked beside the navigation, and I made few records that would help. In a few pictures it is possible to see features which still exist, particularly the tall blocks of council flats close to Ponders End station.

Thorn Lighting, Edmonton, 1983 37e-34_2400

The last two pictures are of one of Edmonton’s best known and largest industries, Thorn Lighting. Julius Thorn opened his Atlas Lamp Works Ltd in Edmonton in 1932, and later at the start of the war a second factory in Tottenham. The company is now part of the Austrian company Zumtobel. I think that these two pictures are part of their Angel Road site. The main production moved from here to Merthyr Tydfil soon after the Second Wolrd War, but speciality lamps were produced here until around the late 1960s.

Thorn Lighting, Edmonton, 1983 37e-35_2400

More pictures in River Lea – Lea Navigation 1981-1992 on Flickr. Click on any of the pictures above to go to a larger version in that album, where you can also comment on the pictures.

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.