Leytonstone byways to Old Leyton

Be guided by your feet – or a river, road or canal. With the rain lashing down crossing the footbridge over the Link Road the prospects for a stroll did not look good so I fell upon old territory, some of the first streets I walked when I arrived in London as a callow 18-year.

Then the sun broke out over Upper Leytonstone and I followed the old byways along the Leytonstone/Leyton border to Abbotts Park, past the new Exchange development to Leyton Cricket Ground where I imagined I was watching Essex play Australia in 1905. Squinting you can see back to the workers excavating the remains of a Roman villa in the grounds of Leyton Grange back in the 18th Century, until of course the cars come hooning round Church Road.


Download the audiobook of This Other London here (excerpt in the video above)


  1. Clive Power   •  

    You walk not far from where in Leytonstone someone permanently made their home, as I learnt recently, although they did so unknowingly.

    Timothy Evans, perhaps best known through the film 10 Rillington Place, was wrongly convicted and hanged in 1950 for the murder of his wife and daughter (who were actually murdered by his neighbour, John Christie). About the time of the posthumous pardon of Evans in 1966, his body was moved from the grounds of Pentonville prison to St Patrick’s Catholic cemetery in Langthorne Road, Leytonstone.

    Still, in the body count of those killed, Leytonstone will be as nothing compared to my own little Aldersbrook where the City of London cemetery has both Jack the Ripper victims but also who knows how many bodies of those killed – maybe including in the Great Fire? – from when the contents of overcrowded churchyards in central London were moved to mass graves in the new cemetery.

    • JohnR   •     Author

      Thanks for your comment Clive – I hadn’t come across the Timothy Evans connection before. The other night I was told the story of a local fella called John Morrison who was involved in getting a head stone in St. Patrick’s for Ripper victim Marie Kelly. I think the actor Mickey Rourke was also involved.

  2. Toby   •  

    What a fantastic blog this is! Stumbled on it searching for info on the river Ching and happily spent a good few hours on it. Cheers John! Hope to meet you around one day

    • JohnR   •     Author

      Thanks very much Toby – sure to see you around, I’m always out there

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.