Lea Valley Distillery

Lea Valley Distillery, Stratford, London, England.

Extract from Alfred Barnard’s historic tour of every whisky distillery in Great Britain, published in ‘1887’

There are several ways of reaching this Distillery, which is five miles from the City. Tram-cars run from Aldgate, omnibuses from the Bank, and trains from Fenchurch Street and Liverpool Street Stations; we chose the tram-car, which landed us nearer our destination than any other route. When the Distillery was built, the whole district was a country suburb, and land was very cheap; now, with the exception of a few fields at the back of the works, every inch has been built over and almost absorbed in the great City. Lea Valley is the only Malt Distillery in England, and it was certainly a bold experiment to make a trial in the very heart of the Kingdom, so far away from the hills and mountain streams; the proprietors find, by experience, that they did wisely, and the demand for their Whisky has led to the erection of other buildings and the enlargement of those existing. The Company have also gone in for the manufacture of Grain Whisky, and possess all the appliances and vessels used by the Scotch Distilleries for that purpose. The managing director, who is a practical distiller, received us most courteously, and himself conducted us over the establishment.

The Distillery was founded by Mr. E. A. Brock in connection with Mr. Geo. Phillips, who sold it to the above Company, Mr. Brock remaining as managing director. The buildings, which cover one acre, are planted on the banks of a section of the Canal, and are erected entirely of brick, after the plans of Mr. Brock. The Maltings are all at Ware, in Hertfordshire, and the malt is brought direct therefrom by canal. We first inspected the Granary building, a lofty structure of four stories, which abuts on the canal, and is 120 feet long by 45 feet broad; the grain is lifted by hoists direct from the barges and spread out in the Lofts. One of the lower floors is appropriated to the Mill machinery, and contains five pairs of stones, the others are used for storing the grain.