High Road Leyton in March 2013
Leyton shown within Greater London
|OS grid reference|
|London borough||Waltham Forest|
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||E10, E15, E20|
|UK Parliament||Leyton & Wanstead|
|London Assembly||North East|
Leyton is an area of east London and part of the London Borough of Waltham Forest, located 6.2 miles (10 km) north-east of Charing Cross. It borders Walthamstow and Leytonstone in Waltham Forest, Stratford in the London Borough of Newham and Homerton and Lower Clapton in the London Borough of Hackney. The district, which includes part of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park that hosted the 2012 Olympic Games as well as Leyton Orient Football Club, has many shops and restaurants, although it is predominantly a residential district. It consists of mainly terraced houses built between 1870 and 1910, interspersed with modern housing estates. Many of the high-rise council blocks that formerly dominated the skyline have been demolished over the past 15 years.
History and features 
Leyton is in the Lower Lea Valley, the river forming its western boundary.
Leyton is partially bisected by the A12 (M11 link road), with most of the district lying on the north-west side of this busy traffic artery through east London.
The High Road Leyton bridge crossing the A12 offers some of the best views in London of the Olympic Park, which also borders the district, as well as of skyscrapers further west.
It borders Walthamstow along Lea Bridge Road and areas of the London Borough of Hackney via the River Lea.
Paleolithic implements and fossil bones show that early man hunted in Leyton. A Roman cemetery and the foundations of a Roman villa have been found here. From Anglo-Saxon times, Leyton has been part of the County of Essex. The name means "settlement (tun) on the River Lea" and was also known until 1921 as "Low Leyton". In the Domesday Book, the name is rendered as Leintun. at which time the population was 43.
The ancient parish church of St Mary the Virgin was largely rebuilt in the 17th Century. The parish of Leyton also included Leytonstone. The old civil parish was formed into an Urban District within Essex in 1894 and it gained the status of Municipal Borough in 1926. In 1965, the Municipal Borough of Leyton was abolished and was combined with that of Walthamstow and Chingford to form the London Borough of Waltham Forest, within the new county of Greater London.
The main route through the town is the High Road, which forms part of the ancient route to Waltham Abbey. At the top end of the High Road is a crossroads with Lea Bridge Road and Hoe Street. This junction and the surrounding district is known as Bakers Arms, named after the public house which has now closed down. The pub was named in honour of the almshouses on Lea Bridge Road built in 1857 by the London Master Bakers' Benevolent Institution.
In World War I, about 1,300 houses were damaged by Zeppelin raids. By the 1920s, it had became a built-up and thriving urban industrial area known for manufacturing neckties and for its Thermos factory. During the Blitz of World War II, Leyton suffered as a target because of its proximity to the London Docks and Temple Mills rail yard. The yard (named after an ancient mill owned by the Knights Templar) is now reduced in size as part of it has become a retail park 'Leyton Mills', whilst the rest has been renovated to serve as a depot for high speed trains.
After World War Two, Leyton suffered from large-scale industrial decline in the second half of the 20th century. But, like much of east London, Leyton, which also borders the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, has benefited from significant regeneration projects over the past decade. Parks have been spruced up and several tower blocks have been demolished. And, most recently, in the build-up to the Olympics, Waltham Forest Borough Council spent £475,000 restoring 41 shopfronts on the part of Leyton High Road closest to the 2012 London Olympic Games site. The Olympics authority also smartened up the pavements and street furniture.
Leyton, which comprises three electoral wards with a total population of 42,061, is one of the most diverse districts in London. Almost 66% of its residents are either Black, Asian or an ethnic minority, according to Waltham Forest Borough Council profile reports for the Leyton (ward), Grove Green and Lea Bridge (ward) wards. This compares to 55.1% of Greater London, according to the United Kingdom Census 2011. Within these groups, there are many people whose origins are from Russia, North Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Jamaica, Ireland, Portugal, Cyprus, Italy and newer arrivals from South Africa, Bosnia, Serbia and Poland.
Leyton is also one of the most deprived districts in London. More than a third of its children live in poverty, according to Waltham Forest ward profiles. The district is also blighted by relatively high unemployment. In June 2011, a total of 1,845 people - or 10.8% of the workforce - were claiming Jobseeker's Allowance, the same data reveals. During the same period, the rate was 9.1% in London and 7.7% nationally. The Beaumont Road estate has been assessed as the fifth most deprived estate in Britain.
Although the area is still viewed as a traditional working class district, it is said to be becoming increasingly cosmopolitan. Several web threads and newspaper articles have suggested that large numbers of young professionals and other university-educated people are moving into Leyton and elsewhere in Waltham Forest because they cannot afford the higher house prices and rents in neighbouring Hackney and areas such as Bethnal Green and Bow in the nearby London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Artists are understood to be particularly drawn by the lower cost of studio space. Already, more than half the population is under the age of 30, according to the most recent census. It is also highly multi-cultural, with just 34% of the population recorded as White British.
There are two main shopping areas in the district, located at opposite ends of the High Road. A new retail park is to be found at Leyton Mills. This has a large Asda store, a B&Q store and a selection of furniture and electrical stores. At the north end of the town, Baker's Arms has a more traditional selection of shops lining Lea Bridge Road and the High Road, including a branch of Tesco.
There are numerous pubs and a few bars situated on the High Road, including the King William IV pub, which is the home of Brodie's Brewery, a maker of craft beers and ales. There are also several other drinking establishments on Lea Bridge Road. The local police station is on Francis Road, which also has two primary schools and a mini supermarket.
Restaurants reflect the diversity of Leyton's population, with cuisines on offer including Turkish, Portuguese, Polish, Indian, Mauritian, Somali and Cypriot. There are also several fast-food takeaway shops, cafes and bakeries.
Leyton lies on the eastern side of the Hackney Marshes, one the largest areas of parkland in London. However, access is inhibited by the Eurostar depot and the Eton Manor Olympic transport hub. A bridge to the marshes crosses the Orient Way road and railway tracks from Jubilee Park, which was created as a merger of two previously separate playing fields to mark the 60th anniversary of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
A major focal point in the centre of Leyton is Coronation Gardens, a park built in 1902 to commemorate the coronation that year of King Edward VII. It includes a fountain, landscaped gardens, abandstand and a children's maze,
On the High Road, near Bakers Arms, there is also a municipal gym and Leyton Leisure Centre swimming pool, which was formerly called the Leyton Leisure Lagoon and is currently being renovated and extended by the council.
There are two public libraries in Leyton. One on the High Road, nextdoor to the former Town Hall, and the other on Lea Bridge Road.
The London Borough of Waltham Forest also operates Brooks Farm, a city farm in Skelton Lane Park, near Leyton Midland Road station. It is free to visitors and the livestock include pigs, sheep, cows, horses and llamas.
Leyton's skyline is comparatively low-rise compared to other districts of east London. However, high-rise estates did once dominate the horizon. But the towers were unpopular with many residents and considered to be poorly constructed.
The Oliver Close Estate and the Cathall Road estate were the first to be completely redeveloped by demolition and rebuilding with the help of the multi-million pound Waltham Forest Housing Action Trust scheme during the early 2000s. The redevelopment of the problematic Avenue Road Estate followed. Demolition of the last large high-rise estate in the area, the Beaumont Road Estate, began in 2006. It has since been almost completely redeveloped. Indeed, the only remaining 20-storey tower block left in Waltham Forest - from a 1970s peak of 20 across the borough - is the Northwood Tower in Walthamstow.
However, smaller 1960s-built blocks, such the 10-storey Slade Tower in the Leyton Grange estate, still dot the area.
The majority of homes in the area, however, remain the Victorian and Edwardian terraces built between 1870 and 1910 during Leyton's phase of rapid development from what had been a small village at the beginning of the 1800s. These properties range in size from two- to seven-bedroom houses. As a result, the area is popular with families, although market prices remain depressed and have not yet recovered from their 2007 pre-credit crunch peak.
By March 2013, the average price of a terraced home in Leyton's E10 postal district was £253,000, according to property website Zoopla. This is compared to £433,000 for the equivolent property in neighbouring Clapton. A 2011 report in The Guardian national newspaper described homes in Leyton as "freakishly good value".
Leyton has some crime hotspots designated as high crime areas according to Metropolitan Police crime mapping data, notably in the area between Temple Mills Lane and the High Road. Certain locations within that area have seen dispersal orders introduced in a bid to reduce crime.
The town is the home to a football club, Leyton Orient F.C., which is viewed by many residents as an important part of Leyton's identity. Orient came to Brisbane Road, Leyton in 1936 from Clapton. The stadium has recently been re-constructed and renamed the Matchroom Stadium. Although they reached the top flight of English football when promoted to the Football League First Division in 1962, Orient currently play in Football League One.
Leyton Orient's future in the heart of Leyton is uncertain. In October 2011, Orient submitted a request to the Football League to move into and become tenants of the London 2012 Olympic Stadium, following complaints over West Ham United being given a 99-year lease of the stadium. Orient claimed that the stadium was too close to their stadium, which they claimed would breach FA rules, and by extension, move the club into bankruptcy. There has also been talk of the club moving into the 15,000 seater Riverbank Arena.
Leyton F.C. (between 1975 and 1992 called "Leyton Wingate") was founded in 1868, and until January 2011 played in the Isthmian League Division One North at the Leyton Stadium in Lea Bridge Road. The club was dissolved later in 2011.
Leyton also has a cricket pitch and pavilion, which was the former home of Essex County Cricket Club. In 1886, the team purchased Leyton Cricket Ground in the High Road, which became their headquarters until 1933; however, they continued to play at Leyton until 1977. The pavilion (a Grade II listed building) still stands today as part of Leyton Youth Centre.
Also in Leyton is the London Velopark, which has a 6,000-seat indoor velodrome for track cycling and a 6,000-seat outdoor BMX racing track. The Lee Valley Tennis and Hockey centres at Eton Manor are also due to open to the public in late 2013. The London Legacy Development Corporation claims this North Park area, the first section of the Olympic Park to reopen to the public after the 2012 Games, will "be a valuable area of open green space for the neighbouring communities" and "a place for jogging, kickabouts, children’s play and family picnics".
Wards and areas 
Leyton is served by the Central Line of London Underground, with a station located at the southern end of the High Road. Journey times to Liverpool Street station and Bank-Monument station are 12 and 14 minutes respectively, according to the TfL website. There is a London Overground station at Midland Road on the Gospel Oak to Barking line.
The town is well-served by buses, with 24-hour services running along the High Road and Lea Bridge Road. Leyton station is served by routes 58, 69, 97, 158, and 308. It can also be reached by bus from Walthamstow Central Station, which is a Victoria Line tube station and also provides a National Rail service to London Liverpool Street and Chingford.
Central London may be reached by bicycle from Lea Bridge Road following the London Cycle Network Route 9 through Hackney and Shoreditch.
Notable people 
- Peter Ashby – Musician, composer, born in Leyton 1963
- Harry Beck – Creator of the London Underground Map
- William Bowyer (1699–1777) – Printer, buried in Leyton Parish Church
- Jack Cornwell VC – Born in Leyton in 1900
- William Cotton (1786–1866) – Banker, governor of the Bank of England, 1842–1845
- Bobby Crush – Pianist
- Curtis Davies – Premiership footballer
- Charles Goring, 2nd Earl of Norwich – Buried in Leyton Parish Church in 1671
- Gunshot – British hip hop group
- Steve Harris – Founder and bass player of Iron Maiden
- Sir Michael Hicks (1543–1612) – Courtier and politician, lord of the manor of Ruckholt
- Jamie Kyriakides – Drummer and singer of The Skints
- David Lewis (1682–1760) – Poet, buried in Leyton Parish Church
- Frank Muir – Writer and radio personality
- John Henry Pepper – Scientist and inventor, creator of Pepper's ghost, a famous stage illusion
- Redzz – Rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer & actor
- Sir Thomas Roe – English diplomat, born in Leyton in 1581
- John Strype – Historian and biographer, was curate and vicar of Leyton 1669–1737
Transport and locale 
Nearest tube stations 
Nearest railway stations 
- Forest Gate railway station
- Leytonstone High Road railway station
- Leyton Midland Road railway station
- Maryland railway station
Nearest places 
Sports clubs 
- Leyton Sixth Form College
- Waltham Forest Guardian (local newspaper)
- Council Tax for Leyton and Borough of Waltham Forest
- The Leyton War Memorial Project
- Archives relating to Leytonstone at The National Archives (United Kingdom)
- Images of Leyton at the National Monuments Record, English Heritage
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