The Black Path ran from Hackney to Walthamstow, on the way passing Broadway Market, Columbia Road and Smithfield. The historic diagonal path was also known as the Templars’ Path and the Porters’ Way.
The route was reputedly the pilgrimage from London to Waltham Abbey and possibly further to Walsingham. The route also became known as the Market Hauliers Way, along which were pulled barrows and carts bringing produce from the fields to the London markets. Today, the path is a strategic walking and cycle route connecting together a string of open spaces.
The route had been diverted over time and historic maps indicate the path split into three after crossing the Lea at Lea Bridge.
Both Margaret Audley (in 1616) and David Doulben (in 1633) left money in their wills for the upkeep of the route.
The route is shown in John Coe’s map of 1822, which coincides with the opening of the new iron Lea Bridge in 1819-22.
The name Black Path may refer to the clinker and ash surface of the route. However, another explanation is that the route crossed a field called Black Breeches.
Some of the route is still in use for cycling and walking and can been seen on Open Street Map.