Research project documenting the site and the people formerly employed at 97 Lea Bridge Road, London E10, a 1920s industrial estate demolished in 2017 to make way for the ‘Motion’ housing development. This research was not funded or commissioned by anyone, and comes from an interest in the history of the local area, although a small arts grant from Waltham Forest Council allowed the work to be displayed to the public along with a free publication.
The buildings at 97 Lea Bridge Road and Burwell Road were originally commissioned by brothers Coleman and Gabriel Zmidek, who had arrived in the UK from Poland and changed their surname to Smith. They were ‘fancy cardboard makers’: manufacturers of cardboard packaging including for cigarette boxes and record covers, and the building on Burwell Road housed the cellophane wrapping process Celilynd, which they invented. Later the building at 97 Lea Bridge Road was the home of a shirt maker called Ricky Paul, before going on to house fabric retailers, clothes manufacturers, a second-hand furniture store and several car mechanics. The project has included an installation in one of the units in June 2016, including a film made in the last few months of its occupation (above). The process of the site being cleared, left empty, occupied for a squatters’ party and eventually demolished, has been documented through photography and film.