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Leyton Town Hall and Library
Grid reference: TQ375865
Location: 51°33’38"N, 0°-0’56"W
Post town: London
Postcode: E10, E15, E20
Dialling code: 020
Local Government
Council: Waltham Forest
Leyton and Wanstead

Leyton is a town in Essex, within the north-eastern part of the metropolitan conurbation, largely contiguous with its neighbouring towns. It is a suburb of terraced houses built between 1870 and 1910, interspersed with modern housing estates.[1] Many of the high-rise council blocks that formerly dominated the skyline have been demolished over the past 15 years.

Leyton stands in the Lower Lea Valley, the river forming its western boundary, and the border with Middlesex. It straddles the Greenwich Meridian. Leytonstone lies to the east, and to the north is Walthamstow. Stratford is to the south. Westward across the River Lea in Middlesex are Homerton and Lower Clapton, separated from Leyton by the river and the great expanse of the Hackney Marshes.

The area rises from marshland along the Lea to over 90 feet at Whipps Cross on the southern edge of Epping Forest.


The name of Leyton means "Lea village", from the River Lea flowing by it. It was also known until 1921 as "Low Leyton".[1] In the Domesday Book, the name is rendered as Leintun.

Leyton lends a name too to neighbouring Leytonstone, which was one Leyton-atte-Stone.


Paleolithic implements and fossil bones show that early man hunted in Leyton. A Roman cemetery and the foundations of a Roman villa have been found here. In the Domesday Book, the name is rendered as Leintun. at which time the population was 43. The ancient parish church of St Mary the Virgin was largely rebuilt in the 17th Century.[2] The parish of Leyton also included Leytonstone.

The main route through the town is the High Road, which forms part of the ancient route to Waltham Abbey. At the top end of the High Road is a crossroads with Lea Bridge Road and Hoe Street. This junction and the surrounding district is known as Bakers Arms, named after the pub, which has now closed down. The pub was named in honour of the almshouses on Lea Bridge Road built in 1857 by the London Master Bakers' Benevolent Institution.

The town grew and grew out into its neighbours during the repaid suburbanisation of the region from the day the railway came and throughout the twentieth century.

In First World War, about 1,300 houses were damaged by Zeppelin raids.[1] During Second World War, Leyton suffered as a target because of its proximity to the London Docks and Temple Mills rail yard. The yard (named after an ancient mill owned by the Knights Templar[2]) is now reduced in size as part of it has become a retail park 'Leyton Mills', whilst the rest has been renovated to serve as a depot for high speed trains.

About the town

The area is one of the most cosmopolitan and multi-cultural parts of London. The 2001 Census revealed a mixed population; approximately 50 per cent White, 23 per cent Black and 21 per cent south Asian. Within these groups there are many people whose origins are from Russia, North Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Jamaica, Ireland, Cyprus, Italy and newer arrivals from South Africa, Bosnia, Serbia and Poland.

The New Spitalfields Market relocated in 1991 from the Old Spitalfields market, is the UK's leading horticultural market specialising in exotic fruit and vegetables.

There are two main shopping areas in the district, located at opposite ends of the High Road. A new retail park is to be found at Leyton Mills. At the north end of the town, Baker's Arms has a more traditional selection of shops lining Lea Bridge Road and the High Road.

There are numerous pubs and a few bars situated on the High Road. The local police station is based on Francis Road, which also has two primary schools and a mini supermarket.

Large scale redevelopment and inner city regeneration has been underway in Leyton for many years, as is also the case in the neighbouring areas of Hackney, Clapton and Stratford. High-rise estates which were poorly constructed and unpopular (for example the Oliver Close Estate and the Cathall Road estate) have been completely redeveloped by demolition and rebuilding with the help of the multimillion-pound Waltham Forest Housing Action Trust scheme. Other problematic areas such as the Avenue Road Estate have also been redeveloped over the past 10 years. The last large high-rise estate in the area, the Beaumont Road Estate has now been almost entirely demolished and redeveloped.

Leyton has some crime hotspots designated as high crime areas according to Metropolitan Police crime mapping data, notably in the area between Temple Mills Lane and the High Road. Certain areas within that region currently (as of July 2009) have dispersal orders as a measure to reduce crime.


In 1886, Essex County Cricket Club bought Leyton Cricket Ground in the High Road, which became their headquarters until 1933,[1] however they continued to play at Leyton until 1977. The pavilion (a Grade II listed building[3]) still stands today as part of Leyton Youth Centre.

  • Football:
    • Leyton Orient FC
    • Leyton FC

Orient came to Brisbane Road, Leyton in 1936 from Clapton.[1] The stadium has recently been re-constructed and renamed the Matchroom Stadium. Although they reached the top flight of English football when promoted to Football League First Division in 1962, Orient currently play in Football League One.[4] Leyton FC (between 1975 and 1992 called "Leyton Wingate") was founded in 1868, are in the Isthmian League Premier Division, and play at the Leyton Stadium in Lea Bridge Road.[5]

  • Ice Hockey: Lea Valley Lions play at the Lee Valley Ice Centre[6]

Olympic Legacy

Leyton borders the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park where the 2012 Summer Olympic Games were principally held.


The training facilities at the Waltham Forest Pool & Track were used by competitors preparing for the 2012 Summer Olympics held at the Olympic Park in neighbouring Stratford.

The London Velopark is in Leyton, which include a 6,000-seat indoor velodrome for track cycling and a 6,000-seat outdoor BMX racing track.

Transport links

Leyton is served by the Central Line of London Underground; Leyton tube station is at the southern end of the High Road. Journey times to Liverpool Street station and Bank-Monument station are 12 and 14 minutes respectively, according to the timetable at least.

There is a London Overground station, Leyton Midland Road, on the Gospel Oak to Barking line.

The nearest railway stations are:

  • Leyton (on the Central Line)
  • Leytonstone High Road
  • Leyton Midland Road
  • Forest Gate
  • Maryland railway station


Outside links