Been meaning to do this walk for a while – heading south in a straight line from Leytonstone across Stratford and Abbey Marshes bound for the Plaistow Levels beside the river Thames.
“Local history is the cradle of true patriotism, and local patriotism is the best stimulant to efficiency and progress”
Fifty Years A Borough 1886-1936 – The Story of West Ham by Donald McDougall, 1936
“There seems to be no doubt that the name comes from the Saxon, indicating the Street by the ford, or Stratford”.
“It is quite likely that the area was a centre of communal life of the (pre-Roman) period and that it saw Druid ceremonial at its best”
East Ham and West Ham were simply known as Hamme at the time of Edward the Confessor.
Alfred the Great is said to be responsible for the creation of some of the watercourses around Stratford such as the Channelsea River which he created to drain water from the Danish ships moored in the River Lea.
|Channelsea River 2|
“These streams had for many years been deteriorating, silting up, and at times giving off very offensive smells.”
|the marsh monster|
“But before there were small clustered villages, and before the unassailable fortress stood sentinel on the bank of the river, what people lived in the forests and marshy lands? What did they do in the struggle to live?
The first great work of these unrecorded hands was to build a wall of earth all along the north bank of the river so tha a great belt of swampy land was made fertile and flourished into meadows and pastures.”
The Story of Tower Hamlets, 1967
West Ham Abbey “stood on the banks of the Channelsea River, one of the waterways created by Alfred the Great, in a very low-lying area now almost entirely covered by factories, warehouse and gasometers.”
Fifty Years a Borough