The station opened on 9 July 1894 as part of the Tottenham & Forest Gate Railway and was originally just called "Leyton". On 17 August 1915, three explosive bombs from the German Zeppelin L.10 landed on or near the station, destroying the ticket office, a billiard hall in the arches under the platform and damaging several houses nearby; four people were killed. The station was renamed on 1 May 1949 to its current name. The goods yard was just beyond the station, and closed on 6 May 1968. Like Leytonstone High Road and Wanstead Park, the booking office here was built into the viaduct arch, but by the 1980s all the old buildings had gone, although the Greater London Council built a new booking office on Midland Road itself. A few years later that was closed, as like other stations it became unstaffed, and it too was demolished. Paleolithic implements and fossil bones show that early man hunted in Leyton. A Roman cemetery and the foundations of a Roman villa have been found here. From Anglo-Saxon times, Leyton has been part of the County of Essex. The name means "settlement (tun) on the River Lea" and was also known until 1921 as "Low Leyton". In the Domesday Book, the name is rendered as Leintun. at which time the population was 43.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, Leyton was a "pretty retiring place from London" for wealthy merchants and bankers; in 1766 there were said to be 50 or 60 gentlemen with houses in the parish. Leyton's development from an agricultural community to an industrial and residential suburb was given impetus by the arrival of the railway. First at Lea Bridge Station in 1840, then at Low Leyton in 1856 (now Leyton Underground). Finally Leyton Midland Road opened in 1894, after an elevated line had been built on brick arches across the already developed streets. However, not all the green spaces were lost, 200 acres of Epping Forest within Leyton's borders were preserved by the Epping Forest Act 1878. Since the takeover by London Overground the station has benefited from a major refit including deep clean, new signing, a ticket machine and additional waiting shelters. The community garden which was started by members of the GOBLIN support group is tended by station staff now. Automatic ticket gates have now been installed. Controversially, the Midland Road entrance is now closed. The service has been improved in stages to four trains per hour, weekdays and weekends except late evenings when it goes down to two trains per hour. The station is in Travelcard Zone 3 and has wi-fi, help points and a waiting room but no toilets.
Connections: London Bus routes 69, 97 and W16 and night route N26 serve the station.