The Lea Valley can claim to have over one hundred first industrial achievements, more than anywhere else in the world. These include the development of petrol for automobiles, the creation of the first plastic, the discovery of electo-magnetism and the manufacture of the first electric light bulb, the first diode and the first duplicating machine. Many companies that went on to become British household names originated in the valley. These include Avro, the aeroplane manufacturer; AEC, the manufacturer of London’s buses; Lesney, the maker of toys including the ‘Matchbox’ brand; Belling heaters; Ferguson electronics; Gestetner duplicators and sweet manufacturers Trebor and Maynard’s.
These companies represent just a fraction of the many industrial enterprises that helped the Lea Valley change the world as we know it.
Of course, the valley has changed dramatically in recent years, not least as the result of the construction of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park at Stratford on the site of what was once one of Britain’s largest railway works. However, there are still numerous places where evidence of former industrial activity can still be seen and explored. A number of these have become heritage destinations and the aim of the Alliance is to promote interest in this rich industrial heritage by encouraging both Londoners and visitors to come and discover the vital role that the valley has played in shaping the modern world.
The Alliance members have between them a wealth of knowledge and information about the valley’s history. Articles relating to the valley’s many forgotten stories of the valley’s history will be produced quarterly for our website and we will share many of the photographs that our members hold.
Dr Jim Lewis and Mr Lindsay Collier are also available to do lectures on various subjects relating to the valley’s past. There is a small charge for this that will be given as a donation to the Alliance.
Please contact us for further details.