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the history of Leyton and Leytonstone

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the later Victorian and Edwardian times 1890 to 1919

A new landscape was created that was secular and therefore non-denominational.  

Local government wanted its presence noticed, though Leyton’s multi-centred character limited the impact.  Hackney obtained its first town hall in 1802 (by the parish church tower, later a bank 1), and a larger one in Mare Street in 1837.  West Ham got a landmark Town Hall at Stratford Broadway in 1868.  Poplar opened local government offices in 1870 (on the corner of Woodstock Terrace), Bromley by Bow and Limehouse in 1871.  Walthamstow’s first Town Hall, in Orford Road, opened in 1876.

the urban landscape

1 Nikolaus Pevsner ‘London except the Cities of London and Westminster’ in ‘The Buildings of England’ series

The first Town Hall for Leyton was completed in 1883 1 (and is now a public library).  It was designed by J M Knight who had been the architect for the Mile End Vestry Hall in Bancroft Road completed in 1865.  When built this first Town Hall stood in an isolated position, though the Council depot at Auckland Road was quite close, as was the Great Eastern Railway station for Leyton.  The High Road provided connections with Stratford to the south and Lea Bridge Road and Walthamstow to the north.  Grove Green Road ran to Leytonstone with Cathall Road the link to Harrow Green.  The Town Hall was therefore well connected by road to the focus points within the Council’s area without one of them being unduly favoured.

The local authority area of Leyton had always had a number of centres within it, and this diffuse character was increased when housing covered the area.  The Tottenham and Forest Gate Railway Company (now the Barking to Gospel Oak line) built stations on the two High Roads away from existing centres, and the train service started in 1894.  The location of the stations remains anomalous.

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