Below Lea Bridge, the flow of the river continues over the head of the Middlesex Filter Beds Weir. Hackney Cut continues the navigation to the right. The island between contains a nature reserve in the former filter beds.
Lea Bridge shown within Greater London
|OS grid reference|
|- Charing Cross||7 mi (11.3 km) SW|
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|London Assembly||North East|
Lea Bridge is a district in the north-east of the London Borough of Hackney, bounded by Upper Clapton to the north, Lower Clapton to the south, and the River Lee Navigation to the east. On the other side of the bridge after which the area is named is Leyton in the London Borough of Waltham Forest.
In 1582 Mill Fields Lane ran from Clapton to Jeremy's Ferry in the Leyton Marshes. At the same spot a timber bridge was built in 1745, and the road became known as Lea Bridge Road, with a tollgate at the Clapton end. A toll house was built on the west bank of the river in 1757, and the bridge rebuilt in iron in 1820–1. Tolls continued to be levied until 1872.
There are few crossing points for the Lea Marshes, and the road 1s a major bottleneck at some times of day, as the nearest major river crossing to the south is at Hackney Wick and to the north at Tottenham Hale. Lea Bridge Road is an important thoroughfare.
In spite of the traffic, the area is well supplied with open space, dominated by Millfields recreation grounds, south of which is the site of the coal-fired Millfields power station, now disused except as a sub-station. This was built in 1901, well before the creation of the National Grid in 1938, a period when power had to be generated near to the consumer. It provided electric street lighting throughout the then Metropolitan Borough of Hackney.
Lea Bridge gives ready access to the lower reaches of the extensive Lee Valley Park, which stretches for about 42 kilometres (26.1 mi) on both banks of the river. Next to the south side of the bridge are two public houses, the "Princess of Wales" and "The Ship Aground". To the south are the Hackney Marshes, and beyond Leyton Marsh to the north are the Walthamstow Marshes and Nature Reserve. Below the bridge, the river flows over the Middlesex Filter Beds Weir, marking the boundary with Leyton and providing the supply for the former East London Waterworks Company. The old Middlesex Filter Beds have been converted into a nature reserve, and on the Leyton side the corresponding Essex Filter Beds are now a reserve for birds. The Lee Navigation continues south in an artificial channel known as 'Hackney Cut', to the next lock at Old Ford (about 1.7 miles), where the natural channel rejoins the Navigation after its 2 miles (3.2 km) meander towards Leyton.
- 'Hackney: Communications', A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10: Hackney (1995), pp. 4-10 Date accessed: 1 November 2006<
Transport and locale
||Stamford Hill||Springfield Park||Walthamstow|
|Hackney Central||Lower Clapton||Hackney Marshes|
- Nearest stations
- Lee Valley Park
- Lea Bridge Road Nature Reserves Leaflet (PDF)
- Lea Bridge Road Nature Reserves Map (PDF)
- The River Lee (for young people)