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The Ferry Inn, recorded as dating from at least 1702, already ‘ancient’ 1757, later called Horse and Groom; demolished c. 1850.[1]


The first waterwheel was erected followed by mills grinding corn pins and needles, and a water pumping station.


Earlier waterworks at Hackney on the same site as the venture started in 1760.[2]


The commission for Tower Hamlets also included marshes at Hackney within their jurisdiction. Their records show no concern whatsoever with the navigation along the lower Lea, one rare exception being that in 1708 the bargemen complained to the Tower Hamlets commission about a new waterworks at Hackney.[3]


Jeremy's Ferry was so called by 1709.[4] The Ferry belonged to the lord of the manor of Hackney along with Smith’s Ferry, slightly to the north.[5]


In 1720, Clapton and some other parts were supplied with water from the Lea through pipes recently been laid by the Tyssen family.[6]


The Walthamstow Slip's boundary marks were often disputed and, in 1723, they were deliberately altered.[7]


The first meeting of the River Lea Trust at Ware was attended by 29 Trustees. William Whittenbury was appointed Surveyor to the Trust later in the year.[8]

Lea Bridge in 1745

Click to enlarge (opens in a new window)


Ferries were described from south to north as: Tyler'sleading to the isolated White House between theLeaand the mill stream[9], Jeremy's at the end of Mill Field Lane, Smith's by a building (then or later the Jolly Anglers) a little farther north.

In 1745, the original Lea Bridge was built of wood, with three arches or waterways, the centre of which was 68 feet between the abutments. After standing for seventy-five years, it was deemed insecure, and was rebuilt in 1820.[10]


Jeremy's Ferry, and a second smaller one, called Smith's Ferry, a little to the north, are shown on maps of 1747–8.[11] As both, with the adjoining land, belonged to the lord of the manor of Hackney, Lockbridge and the ferries are probably the origin of the portion of Hackney (Middlesex Wharf) which was once a part of Hackney. The maps show two tracks to Jeremy's Ferry. One, Water Lane, led south from Marsh Street, Walthamstow, joined on the way by another lane from Low Hall. Water Lane crossed Walthamstow Marsh, which lay partly in Leyton parish. From Leyton, a track led north-west from the bottom of Marsh Lane across Leyton Marsh. No way to the ferry is shown from Hemstall Green.[12]


Warburton’s maps of 1749 indicate two bridges or fords and Jeremy’s Ferry (possibly mistaken for Smith’s Ferry), the first crossing at the current lead bridge and one to the south, approximately opposite Dock Bridge.


[1] Greater London Sites and Monuments Record (SMR)

[2] Navigation Devices along the River Lea, 1600-1767. Dr. Keith Fairclough

[3] 7 GLRO, THCS 60,.Court of Sewers, 13 January 1708, 10 February 1708

[4] A History of the County of Middlesex Volume 10: Hackney: Communications, pp. 4-10, Fn 89. T.F.T. Baker (Editor). 1995

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

[6] A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10: Hackney: Public services, pp. 108-115, Fn. 80. T.F.T.Baker (Editor). 1995

[7] A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10: Hackney: Communications, pp. 4-10. Fn 13. T.F.T. Baker (Editor). 1995

[8] Minute Books of both the River Lee Trust (1739 - 1868) and the Lee Conservancy Board (1868-1948), held at the National Archives at Kew. Taken from Lee and Stort web site: www.leeandstort.co.uk/index.htm.

[9] A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10: Hackney: Communications, pp. 4-10. Fn 87. T.F.T. Baker (Editor). 1995

[10] The Municipal Parks, Gardens, And Open Spaces Of London. Lieut. Col. J. J. Sexby, V. Delliot Stock. 1905

[11] A History of the County of Essex: Volume 6: Leyton: Introduction, pp. 174-184, Fn. 75. W.R.Powell (Editor). 1973

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

Recollections, comments, contributions and corrections

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leabridge.org.uk December 2012