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Crossing the Lea

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Crossing the Lea


Friends Bridge

A stone bridge at Bow, near Stratford, was erected in 1110 to 1118 over the River Lea by order of Queen Matilda, wife of Henry I. It is the earliest stone bridge in England of which definite records remain. For better resisting the force of the current, it was bowed up stream, and was the first curved bridge on the island. Lives are said to have been lost in crossing the ford, and as the Queen had herself been in peril there, she ordered this bridge (and another at Channelsea) to be erected.This was replaced in 1835 to 1839 by a stone arch of 66-foot span.

Bridges, ferries and fords across the Lea in or near the Lea Bridge area:

Lea Bridge, old and new

Kings Head Bridge

Friends Bridge

Dock Bridge

Strongs Bridge

Ferry Bridge

Ferries and fords


History of Bridge Engineering. Henry Grattan Tyrrel. Published by the author. Chicago 1911

leabridge.org.uk December 2012