City Island builds a bridge to Canning Town.
At 600 feet, Britain’s tallest crane was assembled and used in Canning Town recently. It was job was to put into place a new footbridge across the river Lea, as it finally meanders into the Thames. The developers, Ballymore, commissioned and constructed the bridge to connect their new development ” Island City” to Canning Town Station. Before, this new development was only accessible from the busy A1261, the Lower Lee crossing, and was 20 minutes drive from the Tube. Now, the island is connected to Canning Town Station, the Apartments, offices, Art Centre and Gallery being built have become more accessible and desirable. Rumour has it that the first apartments sold off plan achieved “eye-wateringly high prices.”
Looking at the records, Ballymore’s Leamouth Footbridge is the 11th bridge across the Lea. Interestingly, the first bridge across the river was built not so far away in Bow, near Stratford. It was built some time between 1110 and 1118 on the orders of Queen Matilda, wife of Henry 1. Apparently, she nearly lost her life crossing a fast moving and deep ford in Bow and ordered the Bow Bridge and another in Channelsea, be constructed. It is the earliest stone bridge in England of which definite records remain. It was of a cutting edge design for its time as it was bowed to face upstream to resist the force of the current. It was replaced in 1835 to 1839 by a stone arch of 66 foot span.
The source of the river Lea is at Marsh Farm, Leagrave, Luton in the Chiltern Hills. The river is 42 miles long and it it is possible to walk a tow path along its entire length. It has served as the traditional boundary between Essex and Middlesex and has been used for transportation down to the Thames since the Bronze Age.
The river is also the spiritual home of angling. The river is featured in Izaac Walton’s Compleat Angler, published in 1653, one of the first book in praise of the art and spirit of fishing as a recreational sport. Today, rumours abound of a monster fish or reptile in its waters. On the 5th August 2005 there were eye-witness reports of a Canada Goose being pulled under water never to resurface. Again, in 2012 a similar incident occurred when a goose was seen to be pulled “vertically down”.
The truth is out there.