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The River Lea


The River Lea is a tributary of the River Thames. It rises at Marsh Farm, near Luton, and travels some 42 miles southward to its confluence with the Thames at Bow.

Main Tributaries

The main tributaries of the Lea are the River Stort, Turkey Brook, New River, River Bean, River Mimram, River Moselle; and Hackney Brook.

The River Moselleonce flowed directly into the Lea to the north of Ferry Lane, but it now flows into Pymmes Brook which joins the Lea below Tottenham Lock.

Hackney Brookonce joined the Lea to the south of Lea Bridge near Hackney Wick but is now diverted south to Victoria Park and flows not the main sewer system.

Minor tributaries, side streams channels and brooks

There is a network of minor tributaries, side streams, channels and brooks weaving through the Lea Bridge area.

TheOld River Leafollows a semi-natural meandering course along the eastern edge of Hackney Marsh to Old Ford Locks.

TheRiver Lea NavigationCanalof Hackney Cut divides from the Lea atLea Bridge Weirand travels south, rejoining the River Lea at Old Ford Locks.

TheRiver Lea Flood Relief Channelrejoins with the Old River Lea south of Friends Bridge, opposite Hackney Marshes.

Dagenham Brookflows approximately parallel to the River Lea,joining the River Lea near New Spitalfields Market.

Shortlands/ Blackmarsh Sewer flows from Walthamstow, parallel with Dagenham Brook. The channel was largely filled in the 1960s when the Lea Flood Relief Channel was built.

TheFleet River has beenknown at different periods as Papermill, Coppermill, or Waterworksriver.

Southwards to the Thames

South of the Lea Bridge area, downstream from Carpenters Road Lock, the river divides into a series of back rivers, creeks and channels before re-combining below Three Mills.

The Hertford Union Canal links the Lea with the Regent's Canal. The Limehouse Cut travels south westward from Bow Locks to the Limehouse Basin.


'Metropolitan Essex since 1919: Local adminstration', A History of the County of Essex: Volume 5 (1966), pp. 74-81

environmental statement annexeflood risk assessmentolympic, paralympic & legacy transformation planning applicationsfebruary 2007

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

'Walthamstow: Introduction and domestic buildings',A History of the County of Essex: Volume 6(1973), pp. 240-250

leabridge.org.uk December 2012