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Hackney Marshes is an area of grassland on the western bank of the River Lea in the London Borough of Hackney. It was incorporated into the Lee Valley Park in 1967. It was originally a true marsh, but was extensively drained from Medieval times, and rubble was dumped here from buildings damaged by air raids during World War II. The principal area of the marsh lies below Lea Bridge Road between the Old River Lea, and the Hackney Cut – an artificial channel of the Lee Navigation, dug about 1770, to avoid a loop in the natural watercourse. The southern extent is marked by the A12 road (Great Britain); although the industrial land around Hackney Wick Stadium was originally an extension of the marsh, it now forms a part of the Olympic Park, London for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Hackney Marsh is one of the largest areas of common land in Greater London, with of protected commons.

History

The marsh
The River itself was always an important waterway, being navigable to Hertfordshire; the Marsh was formed by the periodic flooding of the river, and so formed useful pasture, but could not be occupied permanently. Before the 10th century. the estuary of the river came as far as Hackney Wick, crossed at Old Ford. Marsh Road, the continuation of Homerton High Street, led to the marshes, and thence to Temple Mills. The Roman era appear to have built a significant stone causeway across the marshes here; a periodical, the ''Ambulator'' of 1774, noted ''there have been discovered within the last few years the remains of a great causeway of stone, which, by the Roman coins found there, would appear to have been one of the famous highways made by the Romans''[http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=45254 'The northern suburbs: Haggerston and Hackney', Old and New London: Volume 5 (1878), pp. 505-24] accessed: 15 December 2006 The river forms a natural boundary, so in 527 AD it formed the boundary between the Anglo-Saxons kingdoms of Essex and Middlesex. In the 9th century, it formed a part of the Danelaw boundary and reputedly, King Alfred stranded an invading Viking fleet here in 895 AD. This was achieved by draining the river where it met the River Thames, but the increased drainage affected river navigability, until it was restored in the 17th century.

By medieval times, both sides had become Counties of the United Kingdom in England, and attempts were made to control the flow of water through the marshes. Mills were established including the Knights Templar in England mill at Temple Mills. Much of the marsh was 'owned' by the Templars and used for pasture. When the Templars were abolished, the land passed to the Knights Hospitaller, and thence to the The Crown during the English Reformation, when monastic lands were seized. At this time, much of the land was associated with the Hackney Central village of Lower Homerton and with the large manor house at Hackney Wick.

Around 1770, the river was straightened by the construction of the Hackney Cut, now forming the eastern extent of the marsh. The natural watercourse passes to the east over the Middlesex Filter Beds Weir, just below Lea Bridge Road. A nature reserve occupies the former Middlesex Filter beds on the island between the two watercourses.

By 1795, the former Templar mills were being used for preparing lead (submerged in urine, and heated by decaying cow dung, the lead was converted to lead oxide, and then finely ground to form a pigment for white, yellow and red lead paint). A new watermill was established on the Crown land of the marshes by Prince Rupert for an improved method of boring guns, however the secret died with him in 1682 and the enterprise collapsed.Granger's Biographical History, vol. ii. p. 407. 4to. edit. Dugdale's Baronage, vol. i. p. 559

At the end of the 19th century Hackney Central suffered from increased demand for building land, both for housing and to extend the factories in Homerton. The marshes had always suffered periodic flooding from the River Lea but with the introduction of London sewerage system a flood relief sewer was constructed beneath the marshes. Most common and Lammas lands were then preserved by an Act of Parliament and passed to the control of the Metropolitan Board of Works, but the marsh remained excluded from the MBW scheme because many of the lammas rights were still exercised, predominantly grazing. This was a period of increasing arguments between landowners and groups, such as the Eton Manor Mission,About 1901, The Eton Manor Mission was formed, from premises at Hackney Wick. The purpose was to use pupils from Eton College to bring ''enlightenment'' to the poverty stricken East End of London and for those boys to come to some understanding of the situation of the poor. One strand of this peculiar meeting of opposites was through sport on the Marshes, including running, boxing and the formation of Eton Manor F.C. who were trying to use the marsh for recreation. The of marshes were finally preserved by the London County Council in 1890, by purchasing the rights and landowners' interests for £75,000. They opened to the public in 1893 and were formally dedicated in 1894.Sexby, Municipal Pks. 361-3; L.C.C. Ceremonial Pamphlets, 21 July 1894 The LCC undertook further flood prevention, straightening some of the bends in the River by introducing four 'cuts', the old channels being retained to form islands.[http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=22710 Hackney: Public services', A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10: Hackney (1995), pp. 108-15.] Date accessed: 13 October 2006.


There were few houses on the marshes, but a notable exception was the White House Inn, by a bridge on the old road to Leyton. Originally built as part of a Lea fishery scheme, the pub is now long gone but a bridge remains, rebuilt to supply Anti-aircraft warfare during World War II.
''In the Marshes towards Hackney Wick were low public houses, the haunt of highwaymen and their Dulcineas. Dick TurpinThe infamous highwayman, Dick Turpin was said to frequent the White House Inn. A ward is named after him at Homerton University Hospital. was a constant guest at the "White House," or "Tyler's Ferry," near Joe Sowter's cock-pit at Temple Mills; and few police-officers were bold enough to approach the spot''.
Small areas of the marsh have been taken for housing and sports fields and others added. were taken in 1915 to build the 'National Projectile Factory'; after World War I, in 1922 this site was used to create the Mabley Green recreation ground. A further were taken in 1937 for the building of the Kingsmead Estate. The Matchbox (toy company) die cast model factory was built on the Homerton side of the Lee Navigation in the 1940s, having success for many years with their ''Matchbox (brand)'' brand. The factory was a major local employer and closed in 1990.



Sport
In 1881, old boys from Homerton College, then still in the London area, founded the Glyn Cricket Club. Members of the cricket club then decided to form a football section to keep fit during the winter months, this football section was to become the famous Clapton Orient Football Club which for thirty years played its home games at Millfields Road Stadium (1900–1930). In 1946 the Club was renamed Leyton Orient F.C. and their home ground is now the Matchroom Stadium in Brisbane Road, Leyton, E10 5NF.
Today the marshes provide many pleasant walks, in reach of the inner city, but the most famous use of Hackney Marshes is for Sunday league football,[http://www.hackneyandleytonfootballleague.co.uk Hackney & Leyton Sunday League Football website] accessed : 12 Nov 2006 with 88 full-size football (soccer) pitches marked out. On a typical Sunday, over 100 matches are played by amateur teams in several local leagues. This led in 2006 to a dispute between the London Borough of Hackney and Nike, Inc. over the company's use of the borough logo on their sportswear. The dispute was settled with payment of £300,000 going to support local youth sports groups.[http://society.guardian.co.uk/localgovt/story/0,,1870454,00.html Nike scores own goal on Hackney Marshes - Clare Dyer] in Society Guardian 12 Sept 2006 (accessed : 23 Oct 2006)

One of the most well known matches to be played on the marshes is games from The Hackney & Leyton League

London Olympics 2012
[[File:Olympic Stadium October 2009 SM.jpg|thumb|right|200px|The 2012 Summer Olympics stadium under construction.]]
Part of the Olympic Park, London for the 2012 Summer Olympics was built on Hackney Marshes. This caused some controversy with local residents' groups,[http://sport.guardian.co.uk/london2012/story/0,14213,1414889,00.html Protest stirs in troubled east - Paul Kelso in The Guardian February 15, 2005] date accessed: 30 October 2006[http://www.clubplan.org/CMS/page.asp?org=2673&name=Olympics1 Hackney Development Forum] date accessed: 30 October 2006 who expressed concerns that East Marsh was to be tarmaced and used as a disabled Coach (vehicle) park for the games. This was a temporary measure and restoration of the pitches has commenced -although it is behind schedule and unlikely to open in time for the start of the 2013 football season.

Arena Fields, however, was lost to the Olympic Park and its site will become part of the legacy Olympic Park, London permanently. This area is to be replaced by parkland of comparable size and value on the Hackney side at the end of the 2012 Summer Olympics. It will not be possible to reinstate the loss of mature and varied trees or to compensate for the disruption caused to wildlife by construction.

The natural course of the River Lea forms the borough boundary with London Borough of Waltham Forest and London Borough of Newham (except for East Marsh, which lies between the river and Temple Mills). The Olympic plans included upgrading this watercourse and improving public access. The Olympic Park lies south of the A12 road (Great Britain), on industrial land around the former Hackney Wick Stadium. Hackney Marshes is an area of grassland on the western bank of the River Lea in the London Borough of Hackney. It was incorporated into the Lee Valley Park in 1967. It was originally a true marsh, but was extensively drained from Medieval times, and rubble was dumped here from buildings damaged by air raids during World War II. The principal area of the marsh lies below Lea Bridge Road between the Old River Lea, and the Hackney Cut – an artificial channel of the Lee Navigation, dug about 1770, to avoid a loop in the natural watercourse. The southern extent is marked by the A12 road (Great Britain); although the industrial land around Hackney Wick Stadium was originally an extension of the marsh, it now forms a part of the Olympic Park, London for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Hackney Marsh is one of the largest areas of common land in Greater London, with of protected commons.

Music, literature and film

*The celebrated cockney music hall performer Gus Elen sang a song entitled ''If It Wasn't for the 'Ouses In Between'' which included the following chorus:
''Oh it really is a wery pretty gardenAnd Chingford to the eastward could be seen;'Wiv a ladder and some glasses,You could see to 'Ackney Marshes,If it wasn't for the 'ouses in between.''
*In 1977, a 15 minute film was made celebrating the football on the marshes, by John Smith, and adapted for television the following year.[http://www.canyoncinema.com/S/SmithJohn.html ''John Smith filmography''] accessed 18 July 2008
*In 1997, Nike presented a selection of FA Premier League players turning out for the Sunday League teams to the soundtrack of Blur (band)'s "Parklife".
*The 2005 film ''Bullet Boy'' (Saul Dibb) used the marshes and local streets as a location.
*Radio 1's Hackney Weekend was held here on the marshes on 23 and 24 June 2012. with acts such as Jay-Z, Rihanna, will.i.am, Florence + The Machine, Leona Lewis and Plan B all performing across the two days. Hackney Marshes is an area of grassland on the western bank of the River Lea in the London Borough of Hackney. It was incorporated into the Lee Valley Park in 1967. It was originally a true marsh, but was extensively drained from Medieval times, and rubble was dumped here from buildings damaged by air raids during World War II. The principal area of the marsh lies below Lea Bridge Road between the Old River Lea, and the Hackney Cut – an artificial channel of the Lee Navigation, dug about 1770, to avoid a loop in the natural watercourse. The southern extent is marked by the A12 road (Great Britain); although the industrial land around Hackney Wick Stadium was originally an extension of the marsh, it now forms a part of the Olympic Park, London for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Hackney Marsh is one of the largest areas of common land in Greater London, with of protected commons.

Education

Hackney Marshes is an area of grassland on the western bank of the River Lea in the London Borough of Hackney. It was incorporated into the Lee Valley Park in 1967. It was originally a true marsh, but was extensively drained from Medieval times, and rubble was dumped here from buildings damaged by air raids during World War II. The principal area of the marsh lies below Lea Bridge Road between the Old River Lea, and the Hackney Cut – an artificial channel of the Lee Navigation, dug about 1770, to avoid a loop in the natural watercourse. The southern extent is marked by the A12 road (Great Britain); although the industrial land around Hackney Wick Stadium was originally an extension of the marsh, it now forms a part of the Olympic Park, London for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Hackney Marsh is one of the largest areas of common land in Greater London, with of protected commons.

Transport and locale

[[Image:Hackney districts.gif|thumb|upright|right|Districts within the London Borough of Hackney]]
{{Geographic Location
|title = '''Neighbouring areas of London.'''
|Northwest = Lower Clapton
|North = Lea Bridge
|Northeast = Leyton
|West = Homerton
|Centre = Hackney Marshes
|East = Leytonstone
|Southwest = Victoria Park, London
|South = Hackney Wick
|Southeast = Stratford, LondonOlympic Park, London
}}

Railway stations
''The area is not well served by transport, although boasts many buses. Access to the Olympic Park is intended to be served by Stratford''.

At 20 minutes walk, the nearest London Overground station is Hackney Wick railway station. At about 30 minutes walk, the nearest List of London Underground stations are Leyton tube station and Stratford tube station. Stratford International is also a Eurostar and National Rail station. (International trains are not currently stopping here).

Walking and cycling
Nearby, Hackney Wick is on the Capital Ring walking route, much of which is accessible to cyclists. The River Lea and local canals have a tow path which is accessible for both walking and cycling. The River Lea provides a continuous route to Hertfordshire for the particularly determined. Hackney Marshes is an area of grassland on the western bank of the River Lea in the London Borough of Hackney. It was incorporated into the Lee Valley Park in 1967. It was originally a true marsh, but was extensively drained from Medieval times, and rubble was dumped here from buildings damaged by air raids during World War II. The principal area of the marsh lies below Lea Bridge Road between the Old River Lea, and the Hackney Cut – an artificial channel of the Lee Navigation, dug about 1770, to avoid a loop in the natural watercourse. The southern extent is marked by the A12 road (Great Britain); although the industrial land around Hackney Wick Stadium was originally an extension of the marsh, it now forms a part of the Olympic Park, London for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Hackney Marsh is one of the largest areas of common land in Greater London, with of protected commons.

See also

*Lower Lea Valley Hackney Marshes is an area of grassland on the western bank of the River Lea in the London Borough of Hackney. It was incorporated into the Lee Valley Park in 1967. It was originally a true marsh, but was extensively drained from Medieval times, and rubble was dumped here from buildings damaged by air raids during World War II. The principal area of the marsh lies below Lea Bridge Road between the Old River Lea, and the Hackney Cut – an artificial channel of the Lee Navigation, dug about 1770, to avoid a loop in the natural watercourse. The southern extent is marked by the A12 road (Great Britain); although the industrial land around Hackney Wick Stadium was originally an extension of the marsh, it now forms a part of the Olympic Park, London for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Hackney Marsh is one of the largest areas of common land in Greater London, with of protected commons.

Notes and references

Category:Areas of London
Category:Common land in London
Category:Districts of Hackney
Category:Lee Valley Park
Category:Marshland in London
Category:Parks and open spaces in Hackney
Category:Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park