Wednesday, April 6, 2016


This is  the 20th station travelling East to West on the Central Line.
There was nothing inspiring about the station as I stepped out onto a very busy Leyton High Road.
I had travelled through this station numerous times on my visits to the other tube stations and was amazed by the size of a cemetery than ran alongside it, so that was my first visit.

The cemetery is St Patrick's Catholic  cemetery, one of only two Roman Catholic cemeteries in London. It is a rambling, overcrowded place with many large tombstones and monuments. Opened in 1868 to cope with the rise in population, many people buried here are of Irish, Italian or polish descent.

Not too far from the High Road is the Queen Elizabeth Park, formerly the Olympic Park of 2012. I am standing on the spot where the athletes' and workers'  dining rooms in the Olympic Village were located.  I was a volunteer working in the dining areas during the Olympics and it is interesting to see how it has changed and delighted that the area has not become a white elephant. Where the athletes were housed in all these apartment blocks, they are now the homes of the new residents in the newly named East Village. To my left was the fitness area, gym and administration block for the athletes. It is now a school with sport as its specialism.

And on the site of the dining rooms is an interim use community project, the Mobile Garden City. Launched in 2015, it will be open until Dec 2016 when it will move to a new location in the park. Its aim is to create a beautiful mobile public garden and to provide training opportunities for the community in gardening and food growing. Areas not currently being developed are used for community based projects and activities until a more permanent development is started.

I walked on a little further to the Velodrome. As I approached I saw a class of young children on the outside track learning how to ride their bikes safely. I am happy to see there is a legacy to the Games.

The centre of London is about 6 miles away. From this vantage point next to the Velodrome you can see the Olympic Stadium in the foreground (the new home of West Ham United Football Club) and some of the city skyscrapers.
No mistaking this sign's meaning. Not sure what is behind the wall but I won't be climbing up to find out.

An invigorating walk in the beautiful sunshine took me across the A12 via the Eton Manor Bridge.

On the other side of the road are the Hackney Marshes which run alongside the  River Lea. This is one of the largest areas of Common land in London. It was originally marshland but was drained during medieval times. Its status as common land with grazing rights and the effects of flooding have saved this land from being developed.  It now has the largest concentration of football pitches in Europe. 

The new Spitalfields market moved to Leyton in 1991. Prior to that the fruit and veg market was near Liverpool Street station and is still a market today focusing on art, craft and fashion. The new market is open to retailers and caterers and is the most famous fruit and vegetable market in the country.

There is no admittance to the market without wearing a high visibility garment as its opening hours are midnight -9am.

No mistaking which part of London I am in.

I have walked in a large circle and am now back on the High Road. This is Leyton public library built in 1882 it began life as Leyton Town Hall but in 1892 a new town hall was built next door

Next door to the library is the Town Hall designed by John Johnson whose design beat 30 other competitors and was erected in 1894/6/

Close to the centre of Leyton is Coronation Gardens. Built in 1902 to commemorate the coronation of Edward VII. It has a fountain (shown here), landscape gardens and a bandstand. Although it was midweek when I visited, the park was full of people enjoying the sunshine. A class of children were playing around the bandstand so I didn't take a photo.

This is an interesting sign in the park as the Borough of Leyton no longer exists. It was abolished in 1965 when Leyton combined with Walthamstow and Chingford to form the London Borough of Waltham Forest. There are 32 London Boroughs plus the City of London making 33 districts altogether. This journey on the Central Line started in the county of Essex outside the London borough boundaries. Since Woodford I have been through the Borough of Redbridge and Leyton is my last station  in the Borough of Waltham Forest.

I walked through the park to have a look down some of the side roads and here I found Leyton Orient Football Club. The stadium is overlooked by these apartments so as long as you like football you would enjoy living here. The grey gate is one of the entrances into the stadium.

This is the main entrance into the stadium. The team currently play in the 2nd division of the Football League.

I followed a sign for Skelton Lane park and discovered that it included an urban farm. The farm has been built next to the railway arches which carry the overground railway.

The farm had new animal enclosures as well as indoor and outdoor classrooms providing a learning centre for this part of East London. There was a range of farm animals such as pigs, sheep, goats alpacas and cows as well as numerous chickens and ducks. What a great way for inner city children to learn about animals.

Back on the High Road I walked beneath this bridge which carries the Overground trains to another station Midland Road.

 This cricket pitch and pavilion was the former home of Essex County Cricket Club. Built in 1886 it was their headquarters until 1933. The pavilion is now part of Leyton Youth Centre.

There were a number of art deco buildings on the High Street.

I like the modern design of the leisure centre.

At the crossroads of Lea Bridge Road and Leyton High Road is the area known as the Baker's Arms. The name comes from a pub on one of the corners which is now a betting shop. The pub itself was named after almshouses a little further down Lea Bridge Road.
Entrance to the Bakers Almshouses. These almshouses were built between 1857 and 1866 for the London Master Bakers Benevolent Institution.

52 almshouses were built on 3 sides of a square with turrets in the corners and overlooking the garden. They were built for retired people who had spent their lives working in the baking industry and lived within a twelve mile radius of Charing Cross.

In September 1916, twenty two were damaged by bombs. Then in the late 1960s the almshouses were compulsory purchased by the Greater London Council for a road widening scheme. However the almshouses were saved due to their architectural significance and were given a Grade II listing.

When the road widening scheme was abandoned the houses were refurbished and  converted into one bedroomed flats. The last retired baker moved to new accommodation  in Bakers Lane, Epping in 1971.

There are a number of plaques on the almshouses. These two give thanks for the installation of electric lighting in 1924 and gas in 1939.

Even Leyton Bus station looked picturesque with all the daffodils in the glorious blue sunshine. Despite my first impressions on leaving Leyton Underground Station I have enjoyed my walk around the town.


  1. Wow, that farm was a huge surprise. There were actually quite a few hidden gems in Leyton. Every place has a story! I'm glad the Olympic venues are being so well repurposed. It would have been a shame for all that to be only a one off!

  2. I can't pinpoint it on a map now, but our friend made a nice sum when she sold her flat, I think on the western banks of the Lea, just before the Olympics. Indeed it is good to see the Olympic facilities being used. So many countries don't think beyond the main event when preparing for international events.

    The footpath in front of the station looks like only three abreast could pass, but that is where all the transport information is, and you would have stand back a little to read it. Is there no where else? All great photos with plenty of history thrown in.

  3. OH, that poor family that buried all those babies! I hope they had some that survived. The Town Hall has a wonderful design and looks freshly painted. And wouldn't it be fun to have a flat in theBaker's Almshouses? I think so!

  4. I love reading about your exploits above the underground. It is great to sea the Olympic buildings are being put to good use.

  5. I like the library and the picture of all the colorful houses. Have a great weekend and thanks so much for your comments on my blog. I love all the photos but especially the cute little animals. Great posting. Cheers.

  6. Oh I forgot to mention that I really like the type size you use as I can read it easily!

  7. I really enjoyed this walk – quite a variety of buildings! I liked the pretty town hall and library and also those vividly colored houses. No wonder US tourists love to visit England – most cities here have little character and there is so much sprawl and nondescript commercial buildings with no sidewalks that make walking hazardous. Plus most old buildings are usually torn down to make room for freeways, shopping centers or parking lots! The large cities like New York or San Francisco are wonderful but there are thousands of small cities with very little to see. For example in the greater Atlanta area where I live, with a population of about 5 million plus, there is only one good art museum downtown Atlanta. I heard local politicians saying that they did not want to support museums - that if people were interested in museums and old buildings they could always travel to Europe!

  8. Really interesting blog this week. I'm glad the Almshouses were saved, goes to show how short-sighted some councils are

    1. Forgot to say it's good the Olympic village is still in use


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