Lea Bridge

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Lea Bridge
Middlesex Filter Beds Weir-Head.jpg
Below Lea Bridge, the flow of the river continues over the head of the Middlesex Filter Beds Weir. Hackney Cut continues the navigation to the right. The island between contains a nature reserve in the former filter beds.
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Lea Bridge
Location within Greater London
Population29,710 (Both Lea Bridge wards 2011 Census) [1]
OS grid reference TQ355865
  Charing Cross 7 mi (11.3 km)  SW
London borough
Ceremonial county Greater London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district E5, E10
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
UK Parliament
London Assembly
List of places
51°33′44″N0°02′44″W / 51.5621°N 0.0456°W / 51.5621; -0.0456 Coordinates: 51°33′44″N0°02′44″W / 51.5621°N 0.0456°W / 51.5621; -0.0456

Lea Bridge is a district in the London Borough of Hackney and the London Borough of Waltham Forest in London, England. It lies 7 miles (11.3 km) northeast of Charing Cross.


The area it takes its name from a bridge built over the River Lea in either 1745 - or sometime after 1757 - and the Lea Bridge Road which leads through the area and across the bridge. The bridge also gives its name to a ward in Waltham Forest (Lea Bridge) on the eastern, Leyton, bank of the river, and to a ward in Hackney on the Western side of the river, also called Lea Bridge ward. The boundary between the two boroughs runs down the middle of the river at this point.

Within Hackney, Lea Bridge Road forms the customary boundary between Upper and Lower Clapton.


In 1582 Mill Fields Lane ran from Clapton to Jeremy's Ferry in the Leyton Marshes. At the same spot a timber bridge was built in either 1745, [2] or sometime after 1757. [3] After this, the road became known as Lea Bridge Road, with a tollgate at the Clapton end. A toll house was built on the west bank of the river in 1757, and the bridge rebuilt in iron in 18201. Tolls continued to be levied until 1872.

Clapton Orient played at the Lea Bridge Stadium between 1930 and 1937 before moving to Brisbane Road. The stadium was also used for speedway and was the home track of the Lea Bridge speedway team. It was demolished in the 1970s and a housing estate built on the site.

Local area

There are few crossing points for the Lea Marshes. The nearest major river crossing to the south is at Hackney Wick and to the north at Tottenham Hale.

The area contains large amounts of open space, dominated by Millfields recreation grounds, one of the largest parks in Hackney and recently awarded a Green Flag, to mark the high standard of the park environment and its maintenance. Along the southern border of the park is the site of what was once a coal-fired Millfields power station, now used as a sub-station, on the London Ring, and recently upgraded. This was built in 1901, well before the creation of the National Grid in 1938, a period when power had to be generated near to the consumer. It provided electric street lighting throughout the then Metropolitan Borough of Hackney.

The Princess of Wales pub from Lea Bridge (October 2005) Princess of wales lea bridge 1.jpg
The Princess of Wales pub from Lea Bridge (October 2005)

Lea Bridge gives ready access to the lower reaches of the extensive Lee Valley Park, which stretches for about 42 kilometres (26.1 mi) on both banks of the river. Next to the south side of the bridge is a pub, the "Princess of Wales" and a Grade *II listed Victorian Old School Room, built in 1862, for the education of the children of those who lived by a now built over dock - the former schoolhouse is now restored and occupied by a Buddhist Order. To the south are the Hackney Marshes, and beyond Leyton Marsh to the north are the Walthamstow Marshes and Nature Reserve. Also to the South is the former Olympic Park, now called the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Below the bridge, the river flows over the Middlesex Filter Beds Weir, marking the boundary with Leyton and providing the supply for the former East London Waterworks Company. The old Middlesex Filter Beds have been converted into a nature reserve, and on the Leyton side the corresponding Essex Filter Beds are now a reserve for birds. The Lee Navigation continues south in an artificial channel known as 'Hackney Cut', to the next lock at Old Ford (about 1.7 miles), where the natural channel rejoins the Navigation after its 2 miles (3.2 km) meander towards Leyton.

To the North of the river is an ice rink, which got a planning application granted (in October 2020) to demolish and replace with a double pad ice rink and other leisure facilities. There is also Oxbow Island, created by the meandering of the river, along the north bank, which is one of the remaining areas of wild land and wildlife in the area and is the responsibility of the Canal & River Trust.




Lea Bridge Railway Station when it reopened in 2016. Lea Bridge Station re-opening after 31 years (26432053793).jpg
Lea Bridge Railway Station when it reopened in 2016.

The local station for Lea Bridge is Lea Bridge railway station on the Lea Valley lines. Also close by is Clapton railway station on the Liverpool Street to Chingford line. Lea Bridge Road is well served by buses having seven bus routes in total, two of which are night routes, and one 24-hour route. Buses in the area include routes 55, 56, 58 and W19, with the addition of night routes N38, N55 and 24-hour operated route 158. [4] More recently, there is now a 308 bus which comes from Leabridge roundabout and turns into Chatsworth Road, going to Stratford.

From Leabridge roundabout intersection with Upper and Lower Clapton roads, a number of buses travel south through Hackney, and to the City, and to the north through Stamford Hill and Stoke Newington.

Related Research Articles

London Borough of Hackney Borough in United Kingdom

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Leyton Human settlement in England

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Walthamstow Human settlement in England

Walthamstow is a large town and former parish in East London, England, within the London Borough of Waltham Forest. It adjoins Chingford and the North Circular Road to the north, Snaresbrook and South Woodford to the east, Leyton and Leytonstone to the south, and Tottenham and the Lea Valley Reservoir Chain to the west. It is situated 7.5 miles (12.1 km) north-east of Charing Cross.

London Borough of Waltham Forest London borough in United Kingdom

The London Borough of Waltham Forest is a London borough in north-east London, England. Its population is estimated to be 276,983 in 2019. It borders five other London boroughs: Enfield to the north-west, Haringey to the west, Hackney to the south-west, Newham to the south-east and Redbridge to the east, as well as the non-metropolitan county of Essex to the north.

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Hackney Marshes Human settlement in England

Hackney Marshes is an area of open space in London's Lower Lea Valley, lying on the western bank of the River Lea. It takes its name from its position on the eastern boundary of Hackney, the principal part of the London Borough of Hackney, and from its origin as an area of true marsh.

Old Ford Human settlement in England

Old Ford is an area in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets that is named after the natural ford which provided a crossing of the River Lea.

Bakers Arms Human settlement in England

Bakers Arms is an intersection and arguably a district on the boundary of Leyton and Walthamstow, in the London Borough of Waltham Forest. It is named after a former public house which stood at the junction of High Road Leyton, Hoe Street and Lea Bridge Road (A104). The pub's name was derived from the nearby almshouses for members of London's baking trade, which were completed in 1866. The first record of a publican at the Baker's Arms was in 1868. The pub closed in 2010, and the premises now operate as a betting shop. There are several food stores, pubs and cafes, and a variety of other retail outlets.

The Lea Valley, the valley of the River Lea, has been used as a transport corridor, a source of sand and gravel, an industrial area, a water supply for London, and a recreational area. The London 2012 Summer Olympics were based in Stratford, in the Lower Lea Valley. It is very important for London's water supply, as the source of the water transported by the New River aqueduct, but also as the location for the Lee Valley Reservoir Chain, stretching from Enfield through Tottenham and Walthamstow.

London Buses route 22

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Lea Bridge Road

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Lea Valley Walk Long-distance footpath in South East England

The Lea Valley Walk is a 50-mile (80 km) long-distance path located between Leagrave, the source of the River Lea near Luton, and the Thames, at Limehouse Basin, Limehouse, east London. From its source much of the walk is rural. At Hertford the path follows the towpath of the River Lee Navigation, and it becomes increasingly urbanised as it approaches London. The walk was opened in 1993 and is waymarked throughout using a swan logo.

Leyton Marsh

Leyton Marsh is an open space in the Lower Lea Valley, located in Leyton in the London Borough of Waltham Forest.

Pond Lane Flood Gates

Pond Lane Flood Gates is a redundant flood defence structure, located near Lea Bridge Road on the River Lee Navigation in the London Borough of Hackney, England.

Middlesex Filter Beds Weir Weir on the River Lea in London, England

The Middlesex Filter Beds Weir, or Lea Bridge Road Weir, marks the start of the Hackney Cut, an artificial channel of the River Lee Navigation built in 1770, in the London Borough of Hackney. The weir lies between the former Middlesex Filter Beds – now a nature reserve – and the Thames Water treatment works at Lea Bridge Road.

Old River Lea

The Old River Lea is the former natural channel of the River Lea below Lea Bridge, in the London Borough of Hackney. The Old River forms a large meander from the Middlesex Filter Beds Weir to rejoin the main channel of the River Lee Navigation below Old Ford Lock, just west of the 2012 Olympic stadium.

Hackney, London Human settlement in England

Hackney is a district in East London, England, forming around two-thirds of the area of the modern London Borough of Hackney, to which it gives its name. It is 4 miles (6.4 km) northeast of Charing Cross and includes part of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Historically it was within the county of Middlesex.

Clapton, London Human settlement in England

Clapton is a district of East London, England, in the London Borough of Hackney.


  1. "Waltham Forest Ward population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  2. 'Hackney: Communications', A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10: Hackney (1995), pp. 4-10 Date accessed: 1 November 2006
  3. 'Leyton: Introduction', in A History of the County of Essex: Volume 6, ed. W R Powell (London, 1973), pp. 174-184. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/essex/vol6/pp174-184 [accessed 27 July 2021].
  4. "Buses from Lea Bridge Road" (PDF). Transport for London. Retrieved 30 April 2019.