Meandering – to follow a winding course, to wander in a leisurely or aimless manner.
Meander originates from the ancient greek name for a river, the Maiandros, which flows through modern Turkey. The name has come to define not just wandering rivers but aimless journeys more generally.
This was my starting point to explore the Lea, London’s second river – a rambling path; rising in rural Hertfordshire and winding it’s way through East London to its eventual confluence with the Thames near the old East India dock.
Once an ancient trade route for transporting wheat for bread and grain for gin, more recently it’s path through East London has determined the boundaries of the island on which the Olympic park has been built.
What was once a site for flour mills has become a cultural icon – generating a transformation of what was once a centre for London’s furniture industry. While the timber yards and furniture factories have gone – a new city of narrowboats, pop-up cafes and shops have arisen – adding another layer to London’s history.
Yet these recent re-generations are not new. For centuries the Lea has been managed, re-routed, transformed and shaped over time to satisfy a variety of needs. Meandering along the Lea today reminds us that the urban environment is constantly in flux.
Trinity Buoy Wharf, where the Lea River meets the Thames
Orchard Place, Leamouth
Three Mills Wall River, Bow London
Lea River, Bow
London City Island – view from East India Dock Basin
Lea River, London East Village
Eastway, Lee River navigation, Hackney Cut
Lee River navigation, Hackney London
Lee River Navigation, Hackney Cut
Lee river navigation – Hackney
Frocks afloat, Lee River Navigation, Hackney Wick
Lee River Navigation, Hackney Wick
Lee River navigation, Hackney Wick
Meditating on the Hackney Cut
Hackney Marshes, Lee River Navigation
Hackney Marshes, Lea River
Darts, Lee River navigation, Hackney
Lee river navigation – Enfield London. What appear to be bullet holes are a reminder that close to this bridge was the site of the Royal Small Arms Factory, which produced small arms for the british military from 1816 to 1988. Today the site is known as Enfield Island and is a housing estate with a few remnants of its previous military past.
Lovelocks, Lea River, Clapton London
Lee River Navigation, Hackney
Lea River, Clapton
Lea River, Bow London
Danger of Death by Failing, Lea Bridge Road, Lea River
Princess of Wales, Lea Bridge, Lea River London
Middlesex Filter Beds
Labyrinth, Middlesex filter beds, Lea River.
Labyrinths are often associated with rituals – walking the path can be the path to god, a contemplative state, or perhaps a pilgrimage.
Memory, Lee River navigation, Hackney Cut
Lea River, Hackney
Lee River Navigation, Hackney Wick London
The beginning – or the end of the Lee River Navigation, Lea Bridge London
Walthamstow Marshes, Lea River, London
No Step, Lee River Navigation, Hackney London
Hackney Marshes, the spiritual home of Sunday Football
Forgive me I’ve lost my mind, Middlesex filter beds, Lea River
Towpath, Lee River Navigation, Hackney
Blue, Lee River Navigation, Hackney
Lee River Navigation, Hackney Wick – remains of a previous industrial past
Fish Island, Lea River Hackney London
Ripples – Lea River, Hackney London
Lea River, Hackney Marshes
Beer Tree, Marksfield Park, Lea River London
Lea River, Tottenham
Lee river navigation – Tottenham marshes
Enfield energy centre, Lee River Navigation
Government Row, Enfield Island, Lee River Navigation
The Narrowboat Cafe, Lea River, Enfield London
Lea river – London Orbital Motorway
Church Street, Waltham Abbey
Aqueduct Lock No 8, Lee River Navigation, Cheshunt