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St Barnabas Church, Homerton by Arthur Ashpitel


The foundation, as well as side walls of the Three-Arch Bridge, and those of the Eighth and sixth arch Bridge on the Lea Bridge Road, being found to be in a very dilapidated state, and theDistricts.Ground much scoured outintimes of heavy floods, the whole have been thoroughlyHackney and repaired.Lea BridgeRoad March 1840.[1]


‘The Horse and Groom is most pleasantly situated short distance from the high road to Walthamstow; the gardens belonging are almost surrounded by water, and the place itself so delightful, highly picturesque, and embowered in wood, that it only requires to be seen, to be duly appreciated. The angler may here pursue his sport, although at so short a distance from the busy town, amid delightful scenery, and uninterrupted enjoyment’.[2]

The Line for the Northern and Eastern Railway, leading from Tottenham Mills to itsjunctionwith the Eastern CountiesRailway,crosses this line a short distance east ofLea Bridge,and requires theMetropolis Roadto be raised eighteen feet where such crossing takes place. The Line ofRoadat this part being level for a considerable distance on both sides, the Commissioners deemed it necessary to demand the insertion of special clauses in the Act for such new terminus, in order to secure to the public a belter inclination to overcome this rise than that given by the General Railway Act, as well as to secure proper parapet-walls and other fencing, effectually to shut out from the view of the traffic on the turnpikeroadthe passing of engines and carriages on the Railway.[3]

The line of theNorthern and Eastern Railway,being completed as far as Broxbourne, was opened to the public. ‘The line crosses theLea Bridge Road,under abridgeof great length, consisting of seventeen arches on each side of the line of railway, and of very neat design.’[4]


St James Church, Clapton Pond


St James Church (St James the Great, Clapton): a church of 1840-41 by E.C. Hakewill. Consecrated in 1841 (British History on Line). Mapping evidence (the Booth map) indicates that the school house at Lea Bridge is associated with St James.


River Lea trustees provided ways over the Hackney cut. By 1842, they had a crossing to the new engine house atLeaBridge, south of the main roadbridge. (Now demolished.)

Arthur Ashpitel FSA (1807-69) (W.H. Ashpitel’s son) commenced practice. A local man born in Hackney (Clapton), he was trained under his father William Ashpitel and was educated in Homerton. After 1855, he suffered ill-health and travelled abroad but still kept up architectural practice. He is buried at St John of Hackney Churchyard. He later turned his attention to the improvement of dwellings for the labouring classes, and, for a Committee, erected a block of dwellings for artisans at Lambeth.They promoted the idea of living in flats in a publication called Town dwellings: an essay on the erection of fireproof houses in flats.[5] He also wrote on public baths. His partner John Whichcord Junior was the son of John Whichcord Senior who, with Ashpitel’s father W.H. Ashpitel, was a pupil of Danile Asher Alexander, both of whom worked on London Docks. Arthur Ashitel was engaged on designs for schools at Lea Bridge, the Gravel Pit Chapel, Hackney, model cottages for superior artisans at Hackney.[6]

‘Suicide from Jealousy’. Mary Ann Anninge, aged twenty five, committed suicide by leaping, in an inebriated state from the Lea Bridge after drinking in the Greyhound public house. ‘They found the deceased’s bonnet and shawl on the bank’.[7]


Hackney Tithe map shows the Lea Bridge Dock, the plot but not the footprint of the Ship Aground, and the carbolic factory.

The Railway Act of 1836 signalled the development of railways in competition with the turnpike. The Lea Valley line required a new road bridge and ramps to a plan by Robert Stephenson, engineer, in 1843. Toll receipts along the turnpike fell during the 1840s.


The limits of supply to the East London Waterworks Company were described as‘all those portions of the Metropolis, and its suburbs, which lie to the east of the city,Shoreditch, the Kingsland Road, andDalston; extending their mains even across theriver LeaintoEssex, as far asWest Ham.’[8]

St Barnabas Church, Homerton


St Barnabus Church, Homerton High Street by Arthur Ashpitel with vestry and schoolhouse (North aisle constructed in 1851). The endowment and half the cost of the vicarage was paid for by Joshua Watson (1771-1855), the leader the Hackney Phalanx. The building reflected the newly-developed desire to create churches faithful to their medieval predecessors and described as 'interesting as an effort to copy local character [of medieval churches]' (Cherry and Pevsner)[9].


National schools, promoted by the Hackney Phalanx, were opened in connexion with the new Anglican churches. A school at Lea Bridge (probably the schoolhouse) opened in 1846, (possibly under either St James National, Powell Road or Peter the Great) but closed after 1880. The Hackney divisions of the School Board for London, under the Educational Act of 1870,built 13 new schools leading to the closure of many local church schools, including St Peter’s. [10]


St Barnabas' vicarage, Homerton High Street


Article by William Howitt published in the People’s Journal complaining about increasing obstructions to bathing in the Hackney Cut and misuse of the police. East London Water Company and also the landlord of the Lea Bridge Inn (possibly the Horse and Groom) had placed notices that no person shall bathe in their water even below the Waterworks under penalty of prosecution.[11]

John Green purchases a boat builders boatyard, workshop and gardens at Middlesex Wharf, to the north of the Jolly Anglers Public House. This included land on the east side of the river with an associated right of way, possibly associated with the rights to the former Smith’s Ferry to Middlesex Wharf. The lessor was John Hammond, owner of Hammonds Cottages, The Kings Head Beer House and Hammonds Tea Gardens. Green’s son Vincent married Hammond’s daughter and in 1972 they construct nos. 1 and 2 Pleasant Cottages, also known as Green Cottages.



Metropolitan Commission of Sewers Act combines local boards, including Tower Hamlets and Middlesex.


First Cholera Epidemic reported by John Snow.

Mid 19C.

St James' Schoolhouse constructed.


[1] House of Commons Papers On the Metropolis Turnpike Roads Appendix Two Report from General Surveyor to the Commissioners on the present state and condition of the Metropolis District of Roads

[2] Guide to the Lea Bridge and White House Fisheries Pub. H Brown. Held by University of California Libraries.

[3] House of Commons Papers On the Metropolis Turnpike Roads Appendix Two Report from General Surveyor to the Commissioners on the present state and condition of the Metropolis District of Roads.

[4] The Gentleman's magazine (London, England), by ‘Sylvanus Urban’ Volume 16 July to December. 1840

[5] Town Dwellings. Ashpitel and J Whichcord. 1854

[6] Memoir of Arthur Ashpitel, FRIBA, FSA by Wyatt Papworth, The architect: A Weekly Illustrated Journal of Art, Civil Engineering and Buildings. Volume 1: January – June 1869

[7] The Annual register, or a view of the history and politics of the year 1842. 1842

[8] Historical and Statistical Account of the present System of Supplying the Metropolis with Water, Journal of the Statistical Society of London, Vol. 8, No. 2. Joseph Fletcher. June 1845. Wikipedia

[9] Incorporated Church Building Society papers, Lambeth Palace Library, file 3631. A. Brodie et al. Directory of British Architects 1834-1914, vol. 1, 2001, pp 64-5. B.F.L. Clarke, Parish churches of London (1966), 66-67 Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North, p. 481. 1998

[10] A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10: Hackney: Education

[11] The People's Journal, Volume 2. Edited by John Saunder. 1847

[12] Water and Engineering, Volume 50, p. 164. 1948

Recollections, comments, contributions and corrections

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leabridge.org.uk December 2012