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3.2 Lea Bridge and its Environs

The first bridge at Lea Bridge was constructed of timber in 1757, replacing Jeremy’s Ferry. The second Lea Bridge was constructed in 1820, but was itself replaced in 1892. By the 1830s Paradise Dock (later known as Lea Bridge Dock) had been cut and a more coherent cluster of development had been constructed around along its sides. Throughout the C19th this was supplemented by further residential, commercial, and industrial development. The East London Waterworks (Lea Bridge Station) were also constructed during this period, to the east of the River Lea.

The C19th also shows residential development springing up around the Millfields Recreation Grounds, although as this is common land (now designated as Metropolitan Open Land) the buildings around Lea Bridge remained as a distinct group.

An auction catalogue and plan (see figure 13) from 1902 lists a variety of lots for sale at Lea Bridge: a glass factory, boat builders (with dressing rooms and club rooms), a carbonic acid gas factory, an India rubber works, and cottages, as well as the Ship Aground Beer House. The area around Lea Bridge reflects the many uses of the River Lea.

In 1935 a furniture works was constructed to the rear of the carbonic acid works to Otley Terrace. Drawings from this period indicate that the Lea Bridge Dock was still in use, although by the 1960s it had been filled in.

Figure 7 Leisure activities, such as rowing, on the River Lea, 1890

Figure 8 Transport of goods continued on the River Lea until relatively recently. This view was taken in 1966 (Photo: Frank Chambers)

leabridge.org.uk December 2012