Lee Valley Boat Centre

Boating on River Lee

By Angela Barnett

Summertime 2008

The Lee Valley Boat Centre has been running as a boating centre for many years on the corner of the River Lee opposite the Crown Public House.  The present management has been here for 10 years but there is a history here that goes back to when a Mr Sykes ran the place hiring out rowing boats.  Does anyone have any information or photos of his era?

The Lee Valley Park own and lease the property these days but what came before?

Here is a photo of what the boat centre looks like now but we would love to see older photos.


This page was added on 23/02/2010.

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  • I remember Harry Sykes and hired his rowing boats many times in the 1970’s together with my friends Pete Weedon, Phil Sawyer and Stuart Jacobson. I seem to remember he had a three legged black Labrador and a large parrot that could often be seen outside Harry’s office/workshop. He also used to smoke Calypso cigars that had a. Built in plastic filter and had been soaked in Port. Good times.

    By Richard Bartlett (27/01/2024)
  • Tracey also just wondering if you have been able to find some photos of Harry Sykes?

    By John Vistuer (02/08/2023)
  • Emma just wondering if you have managed to get any photos from family of Harry Sykes?

    By John Vistuer (02/08/2023)
  • Hello would it be possible to get a photo of Harry in the Boatyard or just a photo of Harry. I’m writing a book about a Lifeboat that Harry repaired following the Lifeboat’s return from Dunkirk ‘Operation Dynamo’ and it would be great to include a photo of Harry.

    By John Vistuer (10/12/2019)
  • Hello I’m also interested in Mr Sykes repairs to an ex-Lifeboat Jane Hanna LN98 which was damaged 1940 as a result of taking part in Dunkirk. The owner was a Bernard Chase who asked Mr Sykes to repair her Stern post as it apparently was ripped out. Great to see any pictures, invoices or anything really about this boat being in the yard.

    Thanks John

    By John Vistuer (27/06/2019)
  • I worked for Blanks Boatyard in Stanstead Abbots where the marina now stands. We used to have dealings with Sykes Boatyard. Harry Tuesday to build and repair the wooden hire boats he ran. Mostly “clinker built” style. The place was always very popular during the summer months. Any one have info regarding Cyril Blanks and his boat building business- it was very successful in the late 50s and early 60s?

    By Brian Bethell (16/03/2018)
  • Hi
    I am currently having my boat restored which was built by Harry Sykes in the late 1940s early 1950s.I would like to know more about the history of this boat building business. Can anyone help please?

    By David Rapkins (06/02/2017)
  • Hi I’m going to find some phos for you from my family, mr Sykes was married to my nan, my mothers side of the family. So they will have lots of phos from this era.

    By Emma (29/08/2012)
  • Harry Sykes was my step grandad.he married my Nan Ivy Brown who owned and ran the crown Pub.I will see what i can find out from relatives etc.

    By Tracey Brown (28/08/2012)