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London Borough of Hackney


London Borough of Hackney

London borough
Coat of arms of Hackney
Coat of arms
Official logo of Hackney
Council logo
Hackney shown within Greater London
Hackney shown within Greater London
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region London
Ceremonial county Greater London
Status London borough
Admin HQ Mare Street, Hackney
Created 1 April 1965
 • Type London borough council
 • Body Hackney London Borough Council
 • Leadership Mayor & Cabinet (Liberal Democrat (council NOC))
 • Mayor Jules Pipe CBE (Labour)
 • MPs Diane Abbott (Labour)
Meg Hillier (Labour)
 • London Assembly Jennette Arnold (Labour) AM for North East
 • EU Parliament London
 • Total 7.36 sq mi (19.06 km2)
Area rank 285th (of 326)
Population (mid-2014 est.)
 • Total 63,176
 • Rank 309th (of 326)
 • Density 8,600/sq mi (3,300/km2)
 • Ethnicity[1]

36.2% White British
2.1% White Irish
0.2% White Gypsy or Irish Traveller
16.2% Other White
2% White & Black Caribbean
1.2% White & Black African
1.2% White & Asian
2% Other Mixed
3.1% Indian
0.8% Pakistani
2.5% Bangladeshi
1.4% Chinese
2.7% Other Asian
11.4% Black African
7.8% Black Caribbean
3.9% Other Black
0.7% Arab

4.6% Other
 • ONS code 00AM
Time zone GMT (UTC0)
 • Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)
Postcodes E, EC, N
Police force Metropolitan Police

The London Borough of Hackney is a North East London Borough within Inner London.

Southern and eastern parts of the borough are popularly, but unofficially, regarded as being part of east London, with northern and western areas considered to belong to north London.

The London Plan issued by the Greater London Authority assigns whole boroughs to sub-regions for statutory monitoring, engagement and resource allocation purposes. The most recent (2011) iteration of this plan assigns Hackney to the ‘East’ sub-region,[2] while the 2008 and 2004 versions assigned the borough to ‘North’ and ‘East’ sub-regions respectively.

Hackney is bounded by Islington to the west, Haringey to the north, Waltham Forest to the north-east, Newham to the east, Tower Hamlets to the south-east and the City of London to the south-west. Much of Hackney maintains its inner-city character and in places like Dalston large housing estates now sit side-by-side with gated communities. In South Hackney, near Victoria Park, there is terraced Victorian and Edwardian housing.

The historical and administrative heart of Hackney is the area roughly extending north from Mare Street and surrounding the Church of St John-at-Hackney; known as Hackney Central. To the north of the borough are Upper Clapton and Lower Clapton, Stamford Hill and Stoke Newington. To the east is the large open space of Hackney Marshes and the districts of Hackney Wick and Homerton. Light industries in the area around the River Lea employ over 3,000 people and some were also used for the 2012 Summer Olympics.


  • History 1
    • Administrative background and heritage 1.1
    • Place name origin 1.2
    • Landscape history 1.3
    • Iron Age to Anglo-Saxon period 1.4
    • Later history 1.5
    • Listed buildings and conservation areas 1.6
  • Governance 2
  • Geography 3
    • Location 3.1
    • Districts and postcodes 3.2
    • Topography 3.3
    • Geology 3.4
    • Climate 3.5
  • Demography 4
  • Education 5
  • Transport 6
    • London Overground 6.1
    • Travel to work 6.2
  • Notable associated people 7
  • Notable attractions and institutions 8
  • Twinned towns 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


Administrative background and heritage

St Augustine's Tower. A former property of the Knights of St John dating from the 13th century, St Augustine's Tower is Hackney's oldest building. The tower is all that remains of the medieval parish church, which was demolished in 1798. (September 2005)

The borough was formed in 1965 from the area of the earlier metropolitan boroughs of Hackney, Shoreditch and Stoke Newington. The new council included representative symbols of the predecessor boroughs in its new combined coat of arms: Shoreditch by three bells from Shoreditch Church; Stoke Newington by two trees bearing fruit; and Hackney by the Maltese Cross of the principal landowners of the parish in the Middle Ages. The shield is surmounted by a representation of St. Augustine's Tower.

The old metropolitan borough of Hackney was closely based on the unusually large ancient parish of the same name.

The council displays, in Hackney Town Hall, a portrait of the Queen wearing the robes of the Most Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem, of which she is Patron.

Place name origin

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Place Names (fourth edition) discusses the origin of the name. Our first surviving records of the place name are as Hakney (1231) and Hakeneye (1242 and 1294). The ‘ey’ suffix almost certainly refers to an island and so the dictionary favours the interpretation that Hackney means ‘Haka’s island’ with Haka being a notable local person and the island (or inaccessible place surrounded by marshes) lying close to the River Lea which was once a much wilder place than today.

The Dictionary goes on to suggest that the ‘Hack’ element may also derive from:

  • The Old English ‘Haecc’ meaning a hatch – an entrance to a woodland or common.
  • Or alternatively from ‘Haca’ meaning a hook, and in this context a bend of the river.

Given the island context the ‘hatch’ option is unlikely to be correct, so the favoured 'Haka's Island' or the 'Island on the bend' seem more likely.

The place name will have originally referred to just the island or possibly both the island and the manor of the same name based around it. Subsequently the name Hackney was applied to the whole ancient parish of Hackney.

Landscape history

At one time most of the area was covered with open oak and hazel woodlands, with marshland around the rivers and brooks that crossed the area. In Roman times and for a long time after the River Lea was tidal as far as Hackney Wick where the Hackney Brook met the Lea and the confluence was very wide when flooded.

Iron Age to Anglo-Saxon period

In the Iron Age and probably until after the Roman period (as the Romans used tribal territories as administrative sub-divisions) the River Lea separated the territories of the Catuvellauni[3] to the west of the river from the Trinovantes to the east.

The Romans built the Roman road, Ermine Street, runs through the modern borough under the names Shoreditch High Street and Kingsland Road amongst others.

In the Anglo-Saxon period the River Lea separated the core territories of the East Saxons (on the east side) from the Middle Saxons (on the western, Hackney side) they often controlled. This continuity of this natural boundary from pre-Roman period may be a result of the differing Saxon groups taking control of pre-defined territories.

After both areas were brought under the control of Alfred the Great the river became the boundary between the historic counties of Middlesex (Hackney) and Essex (modern Newham and Waltham Forest).

Later history

Sutton House was built in 1535.

In the hackney coach"—the forerunner of the more generic "hackney carriage"—operated in London in 1621. Current opinion is that the name "hackney," to refer to a London taxi, is derived from the village name.[5] (Hackney, through its historical fame for its horses and horse-drawn carriages, is also the root of the French word haquenée, a term used for a small breed of horse,[6] and the Sardinian achetta horse.) Hackney's rural reputation was brought to an end by the construction of the railway in the 1850s.

Curtain Theatre circa 1600 print. Note: some authorities believe this to be a depiction of the Theatre – the other Elizabethan theatre in Shoreditch.

London's first Tudor theatres were built at Shoreditch and the Gunpowder Plot was first exposed nearby in Hoxton too.[7]

Notable residents from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries included Robert Aske, William Cecil, Samuel Courtauld, Samuel Hoare, Joseph Priestley and Thomas Sutton.

Many grand houses stood in Stoke Newington and Stamford Hill, with the latter providing a haven for Hackney's many Orthodox Jewish residents from the 1930s. Alfred Hitchcock made many of his first films in Hoxton at the Gainsborough Studios in Poole Street.[8]


  • [8] Hackney Biodiversity Action Plan
  • Official site of Hackney council
  • Hackney Conservative Party Links to Conservative Councillors, London Assembly Members and MEPs
  • Hackney Labour Party Links to Labour Councillors, London Assembly Members and MEPs
  • Hackney Liberal Democrats Links to Liberal Democrat Councillors, London Assembly Members and MEP
  • Hackney Green Party Links to Green Councillor, London Assembly Members and MEP
  • Hackney Independent Link to Hackney Independent Party
  • Hackney Rugby Football Club
  • The Hackney Society (Heritage Conservation)
  • Hackney Walks
  • Tudor Life in Hackney (National Archives)
  • Hackney Silver Surfers
  • Hackney Museum
  • Timeline Educational site presenting Hackney history.
  • The Hackney Podcast
  • The Hackney Citizen A local newspaper based in Hackney

London/Hackney travel guide from Wikivoyage

External links

  1. ^ 2011 Census: Ethnic group, local authorities in England and Wales, Office for National Statistics (2012). See Classification of ethnicity in the United Kingdom for the full descriptions used in the 2011 Census.
  2. ^ "London Places" (PDF). Greater London Authority. Greater London Authority. Retrieved 03/09/2015. 
  3. ^ 
  4. ^ 'Hackney: Settlement and Building to c.1800', A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10: Hackney (1995), pp. 10–4 Date accessed: 2 October 2006
  5. ^ """The history of the word "Hackney. 2002-05-11. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  6. ^ CNRS – Nancy Université. "Centre National de Ressources Textuelles et Lexicales". ATILF. Retrieved 21 June 2015. 
  7. ^ Houses of Parliament factsheet on event accessed 6 March 2007
  8. ^ Visiting Hackney accessed 10 May 2007
  9. ^ (Channel 4 TV)Location, Location: Best and Worse Hackney One Year On accessed 7 November 2007
  10. ^ (LBH Press release, 6 April 2006)Hackney wins best bike borough accessed 7 November 2007
  11. ^ (LB Hackney)Parks department accessed 7 November 2007
  12. ^ Hackney Today 188 21 July 2008
  13. ^ English Heritage's 'At Risk' register accessed 5 July 2010
  14. ^ Hackney Society photographic survey accessed 23 January 2007
  15. ^ Results for the Mayoral Election on 6 May 2010 accessed 26 May 2010
  16. ^ The Speaker of Hackney Council accessed 27 May 2010
  17. ^ Mayor and Council Elections 2010 accessed 26 May 2010
  18. ^ (The Audit Commission August 2006)Corporate Assessment Report: London Borough of Hackney accessed 4 December 2007
  19. ^ Two more die on 'murder mile' | UK News | The Observer
  20. ^ 23 April 2007157 Hackney Today accessed 6 June 2007
  21. ^ Map 5A.1 – London's sub-regions The London Plan (Greater London Authority, 2008) accessed 13 November 2009
  22. ^ a b c d : Volume 10: Hackney (1995)Hackney: Introduction, A History of the County of Middlesex, pp. 1–4. Date accessed: 13 June 2009
  23. ^ "London, Greater London: Average conditions". BBC Weather Website.  
  24. ^ "August 2003 — Hot spell". Met Office Website.  
  25. ^ "Monthly temperature records by country". Met Office Website.  
  26. ^ "Greenwich 1981−2010 averages". Met Office Website.  
  27. ^ "NOAA".  
  28. ^ "Heathrow Climate period: 1981−2010". Met Office Website.  
  29. ^ A Vision of Britain through time accessed 20 February 2009
  30. ^ Statistics for ethnicity [5], country of birth [6], and religion [7] are from the UK census.
  31. ^ Learning Trust history accessed 5 May 2007
  32. ^ "2011 Census: QS701EW Method of travel to work, local authorities in England and Wales". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 23 November 2013.  Percentages are of all residents aged 16-74 including those not in employment. Respondents could only pick one mode, specified as the journey’s longest part by distance.
  33. ^ Hackney Cyclists
  34. ^ a b c Twinning (LB Hackney) Accessed 19 September 2008
  35. ^ "[via]"British towns twinned with French towns . Archant Community Media Ltd. Archived from the original on 5 July 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-20. 
  36. ^ Barnett, Marissa (2014-02-27). "Austin picks up 13th sister city in London borough of Hackney". Austin American-Statesman (Cox Media Group). Retrieved 2014-02-28. 


The borough also has informal links with South Africa, Turkey, and Our Lady's and a school in Hangzhou, South West China.[34]

Alexandra, South Africa.[34]

And an informal twinning with

Flag Country Town[34] Region
Barbados Bridgetown Caribbean
France Suresnes[35] Western Paris
Germany Göttingen Lower Saxony
Grenada Caribbean
Israel Haifa Haifa District
Russia Presnensky District Moscow suburb
US Austin[36] Texas

The London Borough of Hackney has formal twinning arrangements with:

Twinned towns

Flats built in the site of Gainsborough Studios in Hoxton

Notable attractions and institutions

Notable associated people

65% of households in Hackney are car free.[33]

In March 2011, the main forms of transport that residents used to travel to work were: bus, minibus or coach, 16.9% of all residents aged 16–74; underground, metro, light rail, tram, 9.2%; bicycle, 9.2%; on foot, 7.5%; driving a car or van, 7.1%; train, 4.6%; work mainly at or from home, 3.5%.[32]

Travel to work

Lea Valley Lines Travelling south to north - nearest London Overground stations are London Fields, Hackney Downs, Rectory Road, Stoke Newington and Stamford Hill.

East London Line Travelling north to south — nearest London Overground stations are 'Dalston Junction, Haggerston, Hoxton' and 'Shoreditch High Street'

North London Line Travelling west to east — nearest London Overground stations are Dalston Kingsland, Hackney Central, Homerton and Hackney Wick

London Overground

A busy sunset over Graham Road (with some contrails), Hackney Central (19 September 2005—3 days before the autumnal equinox)

It is proposed that Crossrail 2, the 'Chelsea-Hackney Line', would provide a direct Underground service to Hackney Central, Dalston and Homerton, although it is currently undecided whether this would be built as London Underground or main line specifications.

However, three London Overground lines serve Hackney: the North London Line crosses from west to east while the East London Line runs from Highbury & Islington and passes through Dalston Junction and on south through Haggerston, Hoxton, Shoreditch towards destinations south of the River Thames, including Clapham Junction, Crystal Palace, Croydon, and New Cross. Local services on the Lea Valley Lines passed into London Overground on 31 May 2015. Trains originate at London Liverpool Street and head towards either Enfield Town (via Bush Hill Park), Cheshunt (via Turkey Street) or Chingford (via Clapton).

Hackney is hardly served by London Underground services: Only Manor House, located on its extreme north-western fringe on the boundary with Haringey, though Old Street sits only a few metres south-west of Hackney in Islington.


In 2002, the borough entered into a ten-year contract with the Learning Trust, an independent collaborative body that organises education for Hackney's 27,000 pupils in over 70 schools, nurseries and play centres. The trust was set up in response to an OFSTED report that identified failings in the then existing system.[31] Two of London's most successful City Academies are in Hackney with another two in development and plans to rebuild or renovate every other Hackney school by 2016.


At the 2011 census, 6.3% of the population was Jewish, making it the third biggest in England after London Borough of Barnet and the Hertsmere borough of Hertfordshire.

The largest rise of ethnic groups between 2001 and 2011 was 'Other', which increased by 222%. This was followed by 'Mixed', which rose by 84%.

32% of households are owner–occupied.

The 2001 census also shows Christianity is the biggest religion in Hackney, with 44% of residents identifying Christian; 18% identified as Muslim, 4% Jewish, and 3% belonged to other religions. A further 19% stated no religion, and 12% did not state a response. By the 2011 census, residents identifying themselves as Christian fell to 38.6%, whilst those with no religion rose to 28.2%. Judaism had a modest increase, Islam had a small increase, and Hinduism made a slight drop.

132,931 (66%) of the resident population were British born. A further 10,095 (5%) were born in other parts of Europe, and the remaining 59,798 (29%) born elsewhere in the world.

There is also a large Turkish and Kurdish population resident in Hackney. Turkish and Kurdish communities are located in all parts of the borough, though there is a greater concentration in north and central Hackney.

Stamford Hill has a large Haredim (Hasidic) population.

The population is ethnically diverse. Of the resident population, 89,490 (41%) people describe themselves as White British. 30,978 (14%) are in other White ethnic groups, 63,009 (29%) are Black or Black British, 20,000 (9%) are Asian or Asian British, 8,501 (4%) describe themselves as 'Mixed', and 6,432 (3%) as Chinese or Other.

In 1801, the civil parishes that form the modern borough had a total population of 14,609. This rose steadily throughout the 19th century, as the district became built up; reaching 95,000 in the middle of that century. When the railways arrived the rate of population growth increased — reaching nearly 374,000 by the turn of the century. This increase in population peaked before World War I, falling slowly in the aftermath until World War II began an exodus from London towards the new towns under the Abercrombie Plan for London (1944).[29] The population is now rising again, and the 2001 census gives Hackney a population of 202,824.[30]


Climate data for London (Greenwich)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14.0
Average high °C (°F) 8.3
Average low °C (°F) 2.6
Record low °C (°F) −10.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 51.6
Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm) 10.8 8.5 9.6 9.4 9.0 8.3 8.0 7.6 8.5 10.7 10.1 9.9 110.4
Average snowy days 4 4 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 16
Average relative humidity (%) 81.0 76.0 69.0 64.0 62.0 60.0 60.0 62.0 67.0 73.0 78.0 82.0 69.5
Mean monthly sunshine hours 49.9 71.4 107.1 159.8 181.2 181.0 192.1 195.1 138.9 108.1 58.5 37.4 1,480.5
Source #1: Record highs and lows from BBC Weather,[23] except August and February maximum from Met Office[24][25]
Source #2: All other data from Met Office,[26] except for humidity and snow data which are from NOAA[27]

This data was taken between 1971 and 2000 at the nearest national weather station in Greenwich; around 7 miles (11.3 km) south of Hackney Town Hall:


The Lea and Hackney Marshes are underlain by alluvium soils; and the higher ground between Homerton and Stamford Hill is formed on a widening bed of London Clay. Brickearth deposits are within tongues of clay extending beneath Clapton Common, Stamford Hill and Stoke Newington High Street. The centre and south western districts lie on river terrace deposits of Taplow Gravel. Victoria Park and Well Street Common lie on flood plain gravel.[22]


Within the Borough, the land rises westward from the Lea reaching 30 metres (98 ft) above sea level at Clapton Common and Stamford Hill. The area around Victoria Park, in the south of the borough lies about 15 metres (49 ft) above sea level. At Spring Hill, in Upper Clapton the road descends sharply from 25 metres (82 ft) to only 10 metres (33 ft) at High Hill Ferry, on the Lee Navigation.[22]

The New River passes through the borough close to Finsbury Park and flows towards Islington. The Regents Canal also crosses the borough to the south of De Beauvoir Town in the west, joining the Hertford Union Canal below Victoria Park.[22]

The London Borough of Hackney covers an area of 19.06 square kilometres (7.4 sq mi). Its primary geographic feature is the course of the River Lea; and the associated River Lee Navigation, which passes through Hackney Cut — an artificial channel of the Lea built in 1770 across the Hackney Marshes to straighten a meander of the natural river. A tributary of the Lea, Hackney Brook was fully culverted in 1860 by the Metropolitan Board of Works.[22]


Traditionally, much of the borough was and remains considered as a part of East London, with Hoxton and Shoreditch being part of the East End of London. In the 2008 revision of the London Plan, the borough was officially reassigned to the north London sub-region for administrative purposes.[21]

Postal districts were assigned to the former parts of the borough in 1857/8. Most of the borough would originally have been covered by a planned 'NE' postal district, but this was abolished in 1866. Most of the borough is covered by the eastern postal district, but Shoreditch constitutes five separate postcodes. Areas to the west of Kingsland Road and in the north of the borough are predominantly covered by the northern postal district.

A further group of settlements follow another north-south radial road, with South Hackney to the east of Cambridge Heath Road — north of Victoria Park; and Hackney Central commencing at Mare Street. London Fields was formerly common land to the west of this place, but now forms a district in its own right. To the north, Homerton lies immediately east of the centre of Hackney. The River Lea forms the borough's eastern boundary. Hackney Wick, the Hackney Marshes, Lower and Upper Clapton all lie along this eastern boundary.

Settlements to the west of the borough followed the line of the former Ermine Street, with De Beauvoir Town — a Victorian estate to the west of the (now) Kingsland Road. Further north, lie Dalston, Stoke Newington and Stamford Hill — where the borough abuts Haringey.

The most southerly district in the borough is Shoreditch, adjacent to the City. To the north-west, bordering Islington, the City, and north of Old Street is Hoxton. To the north of Shoreditch is Haggerston, north of the Regents Canal. Bethnal Green also forms of the southern parts of the borough, also this is formally and majoritised within neighbouring Tower Hamlets.

Some locations in the London Borough of Hackney.

Districts and postcodes

Hackney Town Hall is approximately 5 miles (8 km) north-east of Charing Cross, St Pauls Cathedral being situated in between; and 3.8 miles (6.1 km) from the GLA City Hall near Tower Bridge.

The London Borough of Hackney is an Inner London Borough within Greater London. It is to the north-east of the City of London; and neighboured by the London Boroughs of Tower Hamlets, to the south; Islington to the west at Southgate Road; Haringey to the north. On the east, the River Lea forms the boundary with Waltham Forest; and to the south-east is Newham. Historically, the River Lea formed the boundary between the predecessor counties of Middlesex and Essex.



Hackney has a reputation as one of the most crime-ridden London boroughs, and some of its streets have even been referred to as "Murder Mile",[19] but cooperation between local police and council has resulted in the borough experiencing a bigger drop in crime than in any other London borough in the four-year period up to 2007 (28% reduction).[20]

Every ward remains among the 10% most deprived in the country, with 47% of children living in low income households.[18]

At the Hackney Council election on 6 May 2010 the Labour Party were returned with 50 Councillors; winning six additional seats. The Conservative Party forms the largest opposition party on the Council with four Councillors; and the Liberal Democrats have three.[17]

Unlike most other English local authorities, the Borough is now governed by a directly-elected Mayor who is also the political leader of the Council. The Mayor – currently Jules Pipe CBE[15] – is supported by a cabinet, councillors and a Speaker who fulfils the civic and ceremonial duties previously undertaken by the (non-political) mayor.[16]

The borough comprises two parliamentary constituencies: Hackney North and Stoke Newington (represented by Diane Abbott MP) and Hackney South and Shoreditch (represented by Meg Hillier MP); both are Privy Counsellors and Labour Party Members of Parliament. The borough is in the North East London Assembly constituency returning Jennette Arnold AM, as the directly elected Assembly Member. Hackney is part of the London constituency in the European Parliament.

Hackney Town Hall was built in the 1930s for the former Metropolitan Borough. (October 2005)


There are 1,300 Victorian housing, and areas of industrial heritage.[14]

Listed buildings and conservation areas

. 2012 Summer Olympics play host to the largest collection of football pitches in Europe; and was the site of part of the Hackney Marshes [13], became scheduled in 2009 as one of Britain's historic park and garden at risk from neglect and decay.Abney Park One, [12] status.Green Flag Seven Hackney parks have now achieved [11]).2, covering 815 acres (3.3 kmparks and open spaces with 62 [10] It was inner London's 'greenest borough' and London Transport's 'best bike borough 2006',[9]

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