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Turnpike & toll house

Turnpike & toll house

The toll house on the Hackney bank of Lea Bridge c.1860 (Hackney Archives)

The Lea Bridge Turnpike Act of 1757 permitted the development of a toll road from Lower Clapton across the River Lea to Eagle Pond, Snarebrook.

A wooden bridge was constructed at Lea Bridge and the rights to Jeremy's and Smith's Ferries purchased and extinguished. An old ford, presumably to the south of Lea Bridge, was also removed.

Toll gates and toll houses were erected at the junction with Lower Clapton Road and at the western approach to the bridge.

Residents of Hackney driving carts to and fro across the bridge to collect Hay from Leyton Marshes or to graze horses and cattle there were exempt from the tolls by the Turnpike Act.

The Turnpike was much narrower than the current Lea Bridge Road. The road was widened to the north side in the late 19c. to accommodate two way running trams when the old iron Lea Bridge of 1820 was replaced.

An Omnibus Passing the 'Three Compasses' Inn, Clapton;1850.James Pollard Museum of London

The City of London holds a copyrighted photograph of the Lea Bridge Road looking westward c.1890, which can beviewed here(opens a new page).


A History of the County of Middlesex Volume 10: Hackney: Communications, pp. 4-10, Fn 91. T.F.T. Baker (Editor). 1995

A History of the County of Essex: Volume 6: Leyton: Introduction, pp. 174-184, W.R.Powell (Editor). 1973

The Road to Jeremy’s Ferry. Oral history of “Leyton Gateway” Lea Bridge Road. Norma Crooks. 2003

leabridge.org.uk December 2012