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Meandering Along The River Lea

March 17, 2020
by the gentle author

Taking advantage of yesterday’s spring sunshine to escape the city and seek some fresh air, I wandered along the river bank from Bow as far as Tottenham Hale

At Cody Dock

Sir Corbet Woodall (1841-1916), Gas Engineer and Governor of the Gas Light and Coke Company, with two of his historic gasometers at Bow

At Bow Lock

Looking towards the tidal mill at Three Mills Island

At Three Mills Island

Who can identify this water fowl?

Old Ford Lock

Beneath the Eastway

Sculling on the Hackney Cut

At Lea Bridge

Barge cat

The Anchor & Hope

Looking towards Clapton

The Lea Rowing Club

At Tottenham Lock

Two Thames Barges at Tottenham Hale

Coal & diesel delivery barge

At Stonebridge Lock

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40 Responses leave one →
  1. Fiona Larcombe permalink
    March 17, 2020

    The Anchor and Hope – exactly what we need right now.

  2. March 17, 2020

    The water fowl looks like an Egyptian Goose.

  3. March 17, 2020

    The water fowl is what we in the Netherlands call a Nijlgans, or in English A Nile goose.
    Though I’m not sure you call it that..
    Best wishes, Annette

  4. March 17, 2020

    Greetings! That looks like an Egyptian goose – I have seen these in Hyde park.
    Fresh air, sun, open spaces and greenery – how much we have taken for granted!
    Thanks for the views.

  5. March 17, 2020

    The water fowl looks like an Egyptian goose. Have seen them on the Thames at Hampton too. They’re becoming naturalised here like parakeets and egrets.

  6. Helen Abbott permalink
    March 17, 2020

    Thanks for these lovely pictures. A nice reminder of normality in these dark days
    The waterfowl is an Egyptian goose. You see them quite often these days along the River Lea.

  7. March 17, 2020

    Lovely Pictures along the rivers!!???????

  8. Libby permalink
    March 17, 2020

    Lovely pics. The bird is an Egyptian goose

  9. March 17, 2020

    The water fowl looks like an Egyptian or Nile goose.

  10. Bruce Edwards permalink
    March 17, 2020

    Hi, the bird is an Egyptian Goose

  11. Bill permalink
    March 17, 2020

    I believe the water fowl shown may be an Egyptian goose.

    Thank you for all your efforts and emails.

    Best wishes.

  12. March 17, 2020

    Looks like an Egyptian goose. Ornamental wildfowl introduced a long time ago and now a wild species.
    Keep safe GA. We need Spitalfields Life more than ever.

  13. Greg Tingey permalink
    March 17, 2020

    Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptica – probably a female

  14. Peter permalink
    March 17, 2020

    The waterfowl in the photo is an Egyptian goose. The RSPB website says that it is related to the shelduck, this pale brown and grey goose has distinctive dark brown eye-patches and contrasting white wing patches in flight. It was introduced as an ornamental wildfowl species and has escaped into the wild, now successfully breeding in a feral state.
    I first saw these geese on Clapham common 10 or so years ago in the winter. They are beautiful birds that you can see on ancient wall paintings in Egyptian tombs.

  15. Penny Gardner permalink
    March 17, 2020

    You should have come up as far as Ponders End. You could have snapped Wrights Flour Mill and then on …. My Aunty Peg lived at the end of Wharf Road, by the Lea near Picketts Lock. Goodtimes there in the ’50s. All gone now, under miserable concrete and grass leisure deserts.

    There’s a smell around the Gasworks,
    Where a Lover and his Lass works.
    Round the bend
    At Ponders End.
    Oh,ain’t it grand.

  16. Annie S permalink
    March 17, 2020

    Great photographs GA.
    I know that stretch of the River Lea quite well and live quite close to Springfield Park.
    Yesterday was certainly a beautiful day for a walk!

  17. March 17, 2020

    Thank you so much for this. I made this journey twice a day by bike or foot in the 80’s when living in Islington and teaching in Tower Hamlets. Sunlight, birds and interesting clutter. It looks very familiar.

  18. Jill Wilson permalink
    March 17, 2020

    Glad you were able to enjoy the lovely weather yesterday for a “meander”.

    And beautifully composed photos as always…

  19. Ken Perkins permalink
    March 17, 2020

    The waterfowl looks similar but not identical to the Egyptian Goose—perhaps a hybrid or immature?

  20. Bernie permalink
    March 17, 2020

    How little of London I explored during my youth there! I did explore some of the Lea’s footpaths, but so little of so much, alas!

  21. Stuart goodman permalink
    March 17, 2020

    Great evocative images. We lived in Harrington Hill by the anchor and hope but didn’t get much further than the bridge over to the marshes.
    What a pity, we really missed something.

  22. March 17, 2020

    It looks like an Egyptian goose

  23. Jonathan Taylor permalink
    March 17, 2020

    Well meandered .. I’d reckon an Egyptian Goose

  24. Milo Bell permalink
    March 17, 2020

    Unless i’m very much mistaken that waterfowl was Trevor. Me and him go way back to the time he was just a chick and i used to sit by the canal feeding him tidbits (until i learnt it was bad for him) Good to see he’s still around.

  25. March 17, 2020

    I cycled that stretch from Limehouse, all the way to the Walthamstow Wetlands on Sunday. The water fowl is an Egyptian geese, one of a pair at bow Lock. I noticed that some Egyptian Geese in the Wetlands already have chicks. Lovely weather for walks, I hope the quarantine isn’t long or severe, because spring really is coming.

  26. Rob Hill permalink
    March 17, 2020

    The view of Clapton shows the spire of the Church of the Good Shepherd. It was built by the Agapemonite cult in 1892. A building that deserves a visit to view the strange statuary on the exterior.

  27. March 17, 2020

    My old home at Springfield Marina

    It’s an Egyptian Goose

    I recognise the red-sweatered rower

    I know the Katie Lea

    Memory Lane for me

  28. March 17, 2020

    …… also I recognise the statue from a walk nearly 20 years ago, spanning several weekends – from the source of the Lea to the Thames. An interesting little garden memorial to the gas workers who died in the first and second world wars.

    I loved all the photos – all brought back memories. Thanks

  29. Jenn Newbold permalink
    March 17, 2020

    Lovely photo of the Anchor and Hope. As someone else picked up on right away — just what we need right now. I love the flowering tree; it’s snowing here today.

  30. paul loften permalink
    March 17, 2020

    I moved so many times during my childhood. One of the places that I lived in the late 5o’s was a council estate at the River Lea end of Southwold Road in Clapton. It was just a stone throw from the River Lea. The old blocks of flats, backing on to the Millfields were demolished long ago, as unfit for human habitation and I believe have been replaced by a modern housing estate.
    I would spend my weekends with friends swinging on a rope hanging from a lightning-struck tree that bordered the bank of the murky river. At that period the river was murky and full of oily patches and there was also the discarded floating detritus of all sorts of human activity. So it was not a pleasant prospect if you should accidentally fall off the rope into the river. This occasionally happened. My memory of that part of the river in Clapton is predominantly of the Hackney Marshes and the many different species of birds that we spent our time admiring. There was also the James Latham wood yard amongst other businesses sited by the Lea, where barges would park and load the planks of wood by cranes. one could watch the continual traffic of the old barges and wave the crewmen on board who would cheerfully return the wave with a smile. There were many things to do on that busy stretch of the river and I would always look forward to our trip to the old Lea with my friends on the weekends.

  31. Kasey Grier permalink
    March 17, 2020

    Please take care of yourself, Gentle Author! Fresh air and sunshine is always good for the soul — but be sure to maintain your “social distance” (ugh, what a term) when you are out and about.

  32. Harriet permalink
    March 17, 2020

    In quarantine due to Clovid-19 concern in US and very much appreciate the photos and tour. Thank you.

  33. Liz Olson permalink
    March 17, 2020

    I have something to say. Thank you for the breath of fresh air each morning. Your words and photographs tug at my heart.

  34. Fred permalink
    March 17, 2020

    The water fowl’s name is Bruce and he owes me £20.

  35. Pauline Taylor permalink
    March 17, 2020

    Wow this is great, my great grandparents, my grandfather and his two brothers and one sister lived right beside the River Lea in Spring Lane, I do have photos and there are paintings which my cousin’s family have now although I have sent copies to what was Hackney Archives when David Mander was there. All of the houses were demolished a long time ago but I have been able to walk along Spring Lane.
    Thank you so much for the photo of the sculler as well, my grandfather, Alfred Russell, was a champion in the single sculls and I have some of the prizes that he won including a beautiful gold Gladstone medal. He belonged to a rowing and sports club on the River Lea, and I have a very big photo of all the members with my grandfather sitting cross legged in the front row and looking very modern in his cap and and a white knitted sweater.
    All these photos have been a treat for me in these grim times that we find ourselves in now so thank you so much GA.

  36. March 17, 2020

    As always…your strolls and beautiful photographs are balm for the soul in these troubling times.
    Keep well Gentle Author and take care.

  37. Bert Woodruff permalink
    March 17, 2020

    Looks like an Egyptian Goose–not a goose at all, a duck introduced in Western Europe (from Africa, I think).

  38. paul loften permalink
    March 18, 2020

    It’s strange, just sitting here in front of my computer reading over today’s posts, I pictured the old lightning-struck tree, which I described as sited by the river’s edge with the thick rope that hung from the branch that overhung the Lea. Somebody must have put the rope there and in those days nobody worried about kids using it as a swing. The branch protruded a few feet over the river and when it was used as a swing by the boys it went over the deep water. There was a boy who stood on the knotted end and swung into the river and fell off and sadly drowned at that spot. I never saw t happen or knew the boy. However, my memory brings back a particular day when we went there and saw workman cutting down part of that tree that overhung the river. We were hoping to use it and asked why they were cutting it down. I saw a man crying and his terrible sadness had struck me. He was the father of the boy that drowned there all those years ago.

  39. NdeQ permalink
    March 19, 2020

    The statue depicts Sir Corbet Woodall (gas engineer) and Governor of the Gas Light and Coke Company (1906-16) and much more. The statue was originally at Becton Gas Works. He was my great grandfather and I was proud to ‘discover him’ recently on my doorstep.

  40. Pennie Hammond permalink
    June 24, 2022

    Thank you for this website. I have found many things of interest. My ancestors, as far back as I have been able to trace, lived along the Lea – at Waltham Abbey, Lea Bridge, Mile End, Bow – for a hundred years. Grandpa was born at Lea Bridge in 1874 right on the river at Hammond Cottages (destroyed in the 1930s I think) but was sent to Canada at six with two older brothers. Their last home was probably the Annie Mcpherson home on Tower Street near London Fields. I have visited Hackney numerous times, but your website has given me a sense of history of the area and the heritage that we lost when he was sent to Canada.

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