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London - Bow & Hackney Developments

On behalf of Aitch Group we have undertaken a number of Detailed Archaeological Assessments and a Geoarchaeology Borehole Survey prior to the residential development of brownfield sites in Bow and Hackney.​


Our detailed research programme revealed that these areas had remained as sparsely occupied marshland from prehistory through to the mid-Victorian period, resulting in the accumulation of substantial alluvial silt and peat deposits of high Palaeoenvironmental potential, these being overlaid by 19th century and modern made ground to a depth of 3.5m-4m in places.

Consultation of excavation records provided details of a large Roman civilian settlement discovered at Old Ford and flanking both sides of the Roman road from London to Colchester, whilst evidence of Roman occupation possibly associated with bridges or wharfs is recorded adjoining the River Lea at Crown Wharf. 

Archaeological investigations also recorded the presence of 18th -century timber-lined tanks and several timber conduits possibly connected with early attempts to improve drainage of the marshes.

Construction of the Hertford Union Canal following an Act of Parliament in May 1824 heralded significant landscape change bisecting the area and linking the Lea Navigation immediately to the east with the Regent's Canal at Bethnal Green.

Streets were laid out from the late 1860s flanked by rows of terraced housing interspersed with trades such as coppersmiths and hauliers, whilst factories, wharves and timber yards provided local employment and transformed part of the area from open marshland into the thriving industrial quarter known as ‘Fish Island’.

Many houses were heavily damaged by German bombing during the Blitz of 1940-41 and were later demolished. The remaining properties survived until the late 1960s when the Greater London Council raised concerns about the cramped conditions and generally poor quality of the housing and initiated a programme of wholesale clearance and redevelopment.

Archaeological Planning Conditions Discharged.


Project Details


Aitch Group


Housing/Commercial Development


Detailed Archaeological Assessments; Geoarchaeological Boreholes

Key Points

  • High Palaeoenvironmental Potential

  • Site excavation and geo-archaeological investigation

  • Archaeological Planning Condition Discharged