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Lesney Products & Co, Homerton Road, Hackney, E9 5TR

Gill, Jonathan (2009) Lesney Products & Co, Homerton Road, Hackney, E9 5TR. Project Report. Oxford Archaeological Unit Ltd. (Unpublished)

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Oxford Archaeology have undertaken a programme of historic building recording and investigation at the large Lesney Products factory adjacent to Homerton Road in London Borough of Hackney. The recording has been undertaken as a condition of planning approval granted by London Borough of Hackney for the demolition of the complex and the redevelopment of the site by Telford Homes.

Lesney Products & Co Ltd was a manufacturing firm established in the immediate post-war period which enjoyed huge growth in the later 1950s and 1960s, almost entirely based on the production of Matchbox Toys. The factory in the current study was opened in 1969 as part of a great expansion in Lesney's capacity but rather than producing toy cars this complex appears to have housed the company's non-toy side of the business and to have produced other commercial die-castings. The company went into liquidation in 1982 and the Matchbox brand was sold but the Homerton Road plant (that in the current study) continued to produce castings and plastic parts for electrical appliances until relatively recently. The surviving branch of Lesney Products have since moved to different premises.

The existing non-listed buildings are of relatively recent date and of limited historical significance. They are however of some social interest, partly due to the widespread and enduring appeal of Matchbox Toys although this is limited by the fact that the toys were not manufactured at this plant. The company was among Hackney's largest employers in the 1960s and 1970s and there will no doubt be many people still living who worked at this plant and have happy memories from their time there. The high profile nature of the building, especially the tall southern elevation with a large sign for 'Lesney Matchbox Toys' will have made the building a well-known local landmark.

As well as the social interest the building is also of some architectural and industrial archaeological interest. The building is designed in an attractive modernist style where the structural frame is expressed on the exterior of the building and there is considerable variety in the massing and materials used. It is a good example of industrial architecture and of a planned factory from the 1960s. The industrial archaeological interest comes from the survival of a number of internal features relating to the former use of the building (foundry, conveyor belts etc) and the understanding of the complex is considerably enhanced by an excellent set of 1960s architects drawings. In the 19th and for much of the 20th century Hackney was an important manufacturing centre and the Lesney Factory with its industrial character is symbolic of this now largely lost heritage.

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Historic Buildings Recording
Subjects: Period > UK Periods > Modern 1901 - present
Geographical Areas > English Counties > Greater London
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology South > Buildings
Depositing User: Joseph Reeves
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2010 13:43
Last Modified: 22 Dec 2011 14:25
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/155

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