06 June 2010

Lee or Lea?

Signs in Ware use both "Lea" and "Lee" to refer to the river. For a considerable part of its way this flows within the Lee Valley Park. The Environment Agency utilises "Lea" throughout the river's length. The canalised part is known as the Lee and Stort Navigation. It seems that "Lea" predominates upstream of Hertford, where, after Hertford Castle Weir, the river becomes a navigation.

Both spellings are used from Hertford to the Thames, so it was perhaps the use of "Lee" in the parliamentary act permitting the canalisation that caused the variation. To add to the confusion, where the the Lea/Lee meets the Thames it is known as Bow Creek. The take-off of water for New River (YMGW passim) lowered the natural water levels, demanding the installation of locks, including at Hardmead. Just east of this point there is some surprisingly interesting new residential development.

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