I first photographed the Lee Navigation in the early 1980s, when a few commercial barges were still in use. Within months they had gone.
It was also a time when many of the larger manufacturing industries which had occupied the Lea Valley were closing down, as Thatcher closed down our productive base and shifted decisively towards the UK as a service economy. At times I very much felt I was recording a post-industrial wasteland.
Since then, I've returned to the Lea Valley and photographed it again at some depth at roughly ten year intervals. I've worked in both black and white and colour, and, more recently using panoramic cameras and, in the past few years working with digital.
With the redevelopment of the lower Lea Valley to accomodate the needs of the 2012 London Olympics, much of the unique nature of the area and its rivers is likely to be lost, covered in acres of concrete and much of the smaller rivers encased in conduits. The current time seems a particularly important one to record.
1990s (to follow)
All photographs on this site are
© 1980-2010 Peter Marshall.