Posts Tagged ‘Lea Valley’

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.

33a-54_2400

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.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : 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.


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.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : 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.


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.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : 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.


Pymmes & Tottenham Marsh 1983

Sunday, December 27th, 2020

Pymmes Brook,  Edmonton, 1983 37c-55_2400

The Pymmes Brook is a stream in north London which runs from Barnet and joins the River Lea at Tottenham. It got its name from William Pymme who was given land in Edmonton by Edward II in the fourteenth century.

Pymmes Brook,  Edmonton, 1983 37c-56_2400

Although it begins from underground springs at Monken Hadley Common in the London Borough of Barnet, these supply relatively little of the water which reaches the River Lea, particularly when the river is in flood, augmented by water runoff from streets and sewage overflows along with the more normal industrial effluent. Because it used often to flood in its lower course, much is now in deep concrete channels, and in some places is culverted.

Pymmes Brook,  Edmonton, 1983 37c-65_2400

I’m no longer sure exactly where I took most of these pictures of the Pymmes Brook, but I think they were just a little after it flowed under the North Circular. I think some may actually be of the Salmons Brook which runs down from Enfield and joins it in Upper Edmonton. This gets its name not from the fish – which were probably once found in it before the area became urban and industrial – but from the 13th century landowner John Salemon.

Pymmes Brook,  Edmonton, 1983 37c-23_2400

The river runs more or less parallel to the Lea Navigation just a few yards away across Tottenham Marshes and only finally flows into the Lea close to Ferry Lane in Tottenham Hale.

Chalk Bridge, Tottenham, 1983 34l-13_2400

My pictures of the Lea continue south from Chalk Bridge and past Tottenham Marshes.

Lea Navigation, Tottenham Marshes, 1983 34l-31_2400

On the east side are the large Banbury and Lockwood reservoirs, part of a series up the Lea Valley providing water for much of east London.

Banbury Reservoir, from Lea Navigation, 1983 34l-24_2400

This is one of the most picturesque sections of the River Lea, certainly in its lower reaches. I could almost imagine Izaak Walton walking along here in conversation (as Piscator) with his friends Venator and Auceps on May Day holding the discussion of the relative merits of fishing, hunting and fowling as recorded in his ‘The Compleat Angler‘.

Lea Navigation, Tottenham Marshes, 1983 37c-33_2400

More pictures from the Lea in my Flick album River Lea – Lea Navigation 1981-1992


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : 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.


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.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : 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.


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.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : 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.


More from the Lea: Enfield

Saturday, December 5th, 2020

Enfield, 1983 34y-16_2400
Enfield, 1983

I’ve now put more photographs in my Flickr album River Lea – Lea Navigation 1981-1992 to add pictures from Broxbourne to the River Thames to my earlier uploads.

Enfield Lock, 1983 34y-35 (2)_2400
Enfield Lock

I’ve gone through the contact sheets from 1981-3 and selected and digitised a few more pictures I found of interest to add to those I’d scanned preparing for earlier shows, but I think there are pictures from some of the later years in that period I may add later.

Lea Navigation, Brimsdown, Ponders End, 1983 34n-52_2400

But for the moment this album is complete – with 418 pictures. Because I made these on a number of different visits to the area, it was difficult to put them into sensible order – and a few are still obviously in the wrong place. But I’ve tried to put them at least largely in order as the valley leads down to the River Thames at Leamouth.

Lea Navigation, Brimsdown, Ponders End, 1983 34n-41_2400

Back in 1981-3 I was not too concerned with the exact locations of the pictures, and my contact sheets seldom have little indication except for the contents of the pictures. I can no longer find the notebooks in which I wrote about the project, though a few of the vintage prints have locations on them and a couple even grid references. I’ve tried to give locations on Flickr, and already a few viewers have been able to help me on this, and correcting a few mistakes I made. Corrections and comments are always welcome, and clicking on any of the images in this post will take you to a larger version where you can post comments.

Broxbourne, 1983 37d-55_2400

So, for example, this picture I’ve captioned simply ‘Broxbourne, Herts, 1983‘ but I could be quite wrong. It could be Cheshunt or somewhere else. And I’d be happy to be told exactly where it is. It’s easier to remember pictures further south as I’m more familiar with the area, though thanks to some who have already corrected a few of my confusions such as mistaking the Clapham Park flats for the Trowbridge Estate.

Lea Navigation, Brimsdown, Ponders End, 1983 34n-42_2400

Most of the pictures in today’s post are from Enfield, Ponders End or Brimsdown, in the London Borough of Enfield, where a large industrial area is located to the west of the canal. I think most of the structures I photographed back then have since been replaced.

Lea Navigation, Brimsdown, Ponders End, 1983 34m-14_2400

In a later post I’l post more selected pictures from Ponders End and Edmonton and then further south. But you can see them already at Flickr album River Lea – Lea Navigation 1981-1992.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : 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.


Before the Olympics – The River Lea

Sunday, November 29th, 2020

The Source of the River Lea, Leagrave, Luton, Beds, 1982 33d-56_2400
The source of the River Lea, Leagrave, Beds

Back in 1981 I kind of stumbled across the River Lea as I walked and photographed eastwards out of the city through Wapping, Limehouse and Poplar to Bow and Canning Town. Of course I’d known about it since my youth, growing up in Middlesex; it was our eastern boundary where civilisation ended and Essex began, but never something we visited.

I began at Bow Creek, the River Lea’s tidal section which leads to its confluence with the River Thames at Leamouth, but soon after began to explore Stratford Marsh, a remarkable wilderness area around the Bow Back Rivers. I’d gone to Bow having heard a short radio report that commercial traffic on the Lea Navigation was to end in a few weeks time, and found it more or less already had, though I was able to find a couple of loaded barges moored by a wharf next to the Bow flyover, as well as quite a few barges empty and apparently abandoned.

River Lea, near Luton, Beds, 1983 33e-14_2400
River Lea

I put together a proposal to document the area around the Lea navigation and sent it, including some of the pictures I had already made, to try to obtain some funding for an extensive project on the area. Later I found the esteemed photographer I had approached to endorse my project was not one of the charmed circle who advised the funding body and promoted their own former students and protégées – and that outsiders were seldom if ever funded.

Works, Broxbourne area, Herts, 1983 34z-52_2400

When my rejection came I was downhearted – particularly by seeing some of the projects that did get support – and also rather angry. I still saw it as a worthwhile project and thought about ways I could carry it out funding it myself. I had little cash and a young family to support, so I had to keep costs to a minimum. I had to stick to using 35mm, to load cassettes from bulk film, do all the processing and printing myself and to give up the idea of producing a book.

White House Cafe, Lea navigation. Broxbourne area, 1983 34z-11_2400

Probably working with 35mm improved the project, giving me more flexibility than using medium format, where my choice of focal lengths would have been much more restricted. But loading cassettes from bulk did lead to more problems than using factory loaded film and my home processing facilities were a little on the primitive side. For some of the work I used Kodak Technical Pan, an extremely fine-grain film designed for high contrast copy work which could be tamed for pictorial use with reduced development – but which also meant reduced speed – depending on the developer used from ISO6 to ISO32. Later Kodak Technidol developer became available and made it much less sensitive to small changes in development time or agitation, and the results were more reliable. Technical Pan was I think discontinued in 2004.

Lea Navigation,  Broxbourne area, Herts, 1983 35a-32_2400

I worked on the project on occasional days in 1982-3, extending it to cover the area around the River Lea from its source to the Thames and then moved on to other things. Occasionally though I returned to the Lea and took more pictures, particularly in 1992 around Stratford Marsh, and later in that decade around Ponders End. In the early years of this century I walked the length of the river over several stages with my family and later went back a cycled much of it after I bought a Brompton folder which I could easily take on trains to suitable starting points. By this time I’d also exhibited work from this project in several shows. When the site for the London Olympics was announced in 2005 I began putting it on line, setting up the web site The Lea Valley and planning the book ‘Before The Olympics‘, which eventually I self-published on Blurb – and is still available.

In the last few days I’ve gone back to my contact sheets from 1981-3 and digitised a number of new images from them and am now beginning to upload them to Flickr, along with a few already from 1990-1992 previously scanned.

Riverside Cafe, Waltham Abbey, River Lea, Lea Navigation,  Broxbourne area, Herts, 1983 35a-42_2400

So far I’ve uploaded only the few images I made between the source at Leagrave (augmented as I made the exposure by a French photographer friend) to somewhere around Cheshust, close to the edge of Greater London. You can see more from this stretch already on Flickr, but there are very many more taken inside London Boroughs to come.

Broxbourne area, Herts, 1983 34z-46_2400

Some apologies. Some of the images are without full location details, which I have lost, and others were scanned with carrier glass that has caused clear ‘Newton’s rings’ in shadow areas, which are impossible to entirely retouch, though perhaps one day I’ll re-digitise them. Some of the negatives have also been damaged by an insect infection which takes extensive retouching and is in some images impossible to completely remove.

I’ll make further posts after I upload more pictures to the album, and will probably upload images from later years too.

River Lea – Lea Navigation 1981-1992


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : 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.