Nearest Tube: Leyton
This district of east London is situated about 5 miles to the north-east of London, just east of Hackney. The area has been settled since Roman times, but the name is derived from the Saxon meaning "farm on the Lea".
Originally marshland, the area was drained during Saxon times. Once it had been drained, the district was a very fertile agricultural region for hundreds of years and market gardening was the major source of income for the district.
By the 17th century the area had become a popular residential district for some of London's wealthier citizens and so several mansions were built. But by the mid 19th century industrialisation had reached the region.
The Eastern and Northern Railways had reached Leyton by the 1850s and the railway industry, along with gas and water works, soon took over much of the district.
This meant that the residents of the district tended to be the workers in these industries and so the area soon became known as a predominantly working class district. Poverty was a major feature of Leyton, and a number of Almshouses were built in response to this.
The 1878 Epping Forest Act preserved 200 acres of Leyton as parkland, but the district is still predominantly residential. The area suffered extensive bombing during the Second World War and so much of the district dates from the late 20th century.
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