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London Borough of Hackney
Shown within Greater London
Status London borough
— Total
Ranked 321st
19.06 km2 (7.4 sq mi)
ONS code 00AM
Admin HQ Mare Street, Hackney
— Total (2008 est.)
Ranked 72nd (of 326)
11,131 /km2 (28,829 /sq mi)
White British
White Irish
Other White
White & Black Caribbean
White & Black African
White & Asian
Other Mixed
Other Asian
Black Caribbean
Black African
Other Black
(2005 estimates)[1]
Hackney London Borough Council
Logo of Hackney London Borough Council
Leadership Mayor & Cabinet
Mayor Jules Pipe CBE
Executive Labour
MPs Diane Abbott
Meg Hillier
London Assembly
— Member
North East
Jennette Arnold
Coat of Arms
Coat of arms of Hackney London Borough Council
Official website LB Hackney

The London Borough of Hackney (About this sound pronunciation ) is a London borough of North London,[2] and forms part of inner London.[3]

Between 1999 and 2001 serious concerns were expressed about Hackney's performance as a council by the Audit Commission, and many aspects of council services were failing.[4] This led to considerable negative press coverage that still colours perceptions of the area, but is at odds with the changing realities of the borough. In 2005, MORI identified that residents were significantly more satisfied than they had been in 2002, and in 2007 the Audit Commission showed that improvements continue to be made in council performance, with the council now achieving 'three stars', and described as 'improving strongly'.[5] Every ward remains among the 10% most deprived in the country, with 47% of children living in low income households.[4]

Hackney has a reputation as one of the most crime-affected London boroughs, 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).[6]

The south western tip of the borough is adjacent to the City and close to the Broadgate development. In this area some office development has taken place within the borough boundary. Also in the south west is Hoxton and Shoreditch which are central to the London arts scene and home to numerous clubs, bars, shops and restaurants, much of which is centred on Hoxton Square. The development of Shoreditch and Hoxton caused land value to increase in the area such that developers looked to other parts of the borough for development. Much of Hackney is inner-city in character and in places like Dalston large housing estates now sit side-by-side with gated communities.

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. Hackney Town Hall Square has been developed as a new 'creative quarter'. Surrounding the public square itself is the now bankrupt Ocean music venue, a new Library, Technology and Learning Centre, Hackney Museum and the refurbished Hackney Empire. A new town hall complex is being built behind the existing building. South Hackney abuts Victoria Park (which is in neighbouring Tower Hamlets) and terraced Victorian and Edwardian housing stock has survived in the area.

To the north of the borough are Upper and Lower Clapton, Stamford Hill and Stoke Newington. To the east is the large open space of the Hackney Marshes and the districts of Hackney Wick and Homerton. Light Industries employing over 3000 people have been claimed from this area to allow the land around the River Lea (the eastern boundary) to be used for the 2012 Summer Olympics, making the area one of the Host Boroughs for the games.

There are 1,300 listed buildings in Hackney, including the iconic grade II* Hackney Empire, Tudor Sutton House, and the grade I medieval St Augustine's tower. The Borough contains 25 conservation areas including Clapton Square, and many urban open-spaces including Clapton Common and Clissold Park. Conservation areas also protect large areas of Georgian and Victorian housing, and areas of industrial heritage.[7]



St Augustine's Tower. Dating back to the 13th century, this is Hackney's oldest building. It is all that remains of the original medieval parish church, which was demolished in 1798 (September 2005)

The borough was formed in 1965 from the area of the former metropolitan boroughs of Hackney, Shoreditch and Stoke Newington. The new council adopted elements of its constituents in the new coat of arms; Shoreditch by three bells from Shoreditch Church (recalled in the rhyme Oranges and Lemons), Stoke Newington by two trees bearing fruit, and Hackney by the eight pointed cross of the principal landowners of the parish in the middle-ages, the Order of St John of Jerusalem. The shield is surmounted by a representation of St Augustin's Tower, the remains of Hackney's former parish church in the historical centre of Hackney. The motto is Justitia turris nostra, translated as Being fair is what makes us strong.[8] The Queen's portrait hangs in the council chamber, wearing the robes of the Venerable Order of Saint John.

Individual parts of the borough have a rich history. The Roman road, Ermine Street forms the western edge of the borough. Much of the rest of the land was covered with open oak and hazel woodlands, with marshland around the rivers and streams that crossed the area. Hackney lay in the Catuvellauni tribal territory.[9] The eastern boundary of the borough is formed by the River Lee. This was an ancient boundary between pre-Roman tribes, and in the Roman era, was tidal as far as Hackney Wick and continued as the boundary between the historic counties of Middlesex and Essex.

Sutton House was built in 1535

In the Tudor period the lands of the religious order were seized and Hackney became a retreat for nobility around Hackney Central and Homerton, including Henry VIII's palace by the Lee Bridge roundabout, where BSix Sixth Form College stands today.[10] Sutton House, on Homerton High Street, is the oldest surviving dwelling in Hackney, originally built as Bryck Place for Tudor diplomat Sir Ralph Sadleir in 1535. The village of Hackney flourished from the Tudor to late Georgian periods as a rural retreat – brought to an end by the construction of the railway in the 1850s. Notable residents have included Thomas Sutton, Samuel Courtauld, Joseph Priestly, a governor of the Bank of England and the founding director of the Honourable East India Company.

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 in Shoreditch and the Gunpowder Plot was first exposed at nearby Hoxton.[11] 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.[12]

After industrialisation, extensive post-war development and immigration the area is now gentrifying its large stock of Georgian and Victorian terraces and new apartments, warehouse conversions and period restorations are being built.[13] Despite development it is inner London's 'greenest borough' and London Transport's 'best bike borough 2006',[14] with 62 parks and open spaces, covering 815 acres (3.3 km2).[15] Seven Hackney parks have now achieved Green Flag status.[16] Hackney Marshes play host to the largest collection of football pitches in Europe; and will be the site of part of the 2012 Summer Olympics.


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

The borough consists of 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 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.

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 – is supported by a cabinet, councillors and a Speaker, currently Councillor Muttalip Ünlüer, who fulfils the civic and ceremonial duties previously undertaken by the (non-political) mayor.[17]

At the Hackney Council election on 4 May 2006 the Labour Party were returned with 44 councillors, winning one seat and losing one. They gained an additional Councillor in 2008 with the defection from the Liberal Democrats of Cllr Joseph Stauber. The Conservative Party forms the largest opposition party on the council with nine councillors, the Liberal Democrats have two, and for only the second time a candidate from the Green Party was elected.[18]



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 Lee forms the boundary with Waltham Forest; and to the south-east is Newham. Historically, this river has formed a boundary between the former counties of Middlesex and Essex.

Hackney Town Hall is about 5 miles (8 km) north-east of Charing Cross; and 3.8 miles (6.1 km) from the GLA City Hall near Tower Bridge.

Districts and postcodes

Some locations in the London Borough of Hackney.

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 Hackney Road — which forms the boundary with Bethnal Green in Tower Hamlets.

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 meets Haringey.

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 where this street becomes Mare Street. London Fields was common land to the west of this point, but now forms a district in its own right. To the north, Homerton lies immediately east of the centre of Hackney. The borough boundary, further east is formed by the River Lee; and Hackney Wick, the Hackney Marshes, Lower and Upper Clapton all lie on the eastern boundary of the borough.

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 benefits from five separate postcodes; and areas to the west of Kingsland Road and in the north of the borough are predominantly covered by the northern postal district.


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 Lee; and the associated River Lee Navigation, which passes through Hackney Cut — an artificial channel of the Lee built in 1770 across the Hackney Marshes to straighten a meander of the natural river. A tributary of the Lee, Hackney Brook was fully culverted in 1860 by the Metropolitan Board of Works.[19]

The New River passes through the Borough from near Finsbury Park, and flows towards Islington. The Regents Canal also crosses the Borough below De Beauvoir Town in the west, joining the Hertford Union Canal below Victoria Park.[19]

Within the Borough, the land rises westward from the Lee 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.[19]


The Lea and Hackney Marsh 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 are on flood plain gravel.[19]


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:

Climate data for Greenwich
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average high °C (°F) 7.9
Average low °C (°F) 2.4
Precipitation mm (inches) 51.9
Source: Met Office[20] 2009


Year Pop.  %±
1801 14,609
1811 19,523 33.6%
1821 25,342 29.8%
1831 35,482 40.0%
1841 68,246 92.3%
1851 94,961 39.1%
1861 172,385 81.5%
1871 249,810 44.9%
1881 327,234 31.0%
1891 369,209 12.8%
1901 374,132 1.3%
1911 379,120 1.3%
1921 368,469 −2.8%
1931 358,117 −2.8%
1941 305,501 −14.7%
1951 260,626 −14.7%
1961 240,521 −7.7%
1971 221,975 −7.7%
1981 179,536 −19.1%
1991 187,792 4.6%
2001 202,819 8.0%
Source: A Vision of Britain through time

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 the 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).[21] The population is now rising again, and the 2001 census gives Hackney a population of 202,824.[22]

The population is ethnically diverse. Of the resident population, 89,490 (44%) people describe themselves as White British. 30,978 (15%) are in other White ethnic groups, 53,009 (25%) are Black or Black British, 20,000 (9.4%) are Asian or Asian British, 8,501 (4%) describe themselves as 'Mixed', and 6,432 (3%) as Chinese or Other.

Stamford Hill has a large Haredim (Hasidic) population.

There is also a large Turkish population in Hackney, many of whom are Turkish Cypriot. Turkish-speaking communities are located in all parts of the Borough, though there is a greater concentration in the north and in central Hackney. Stoke Newington, Newington Green and Dalston have the greatest concentration of population and in particular Green Lanes, running from Manor House down to Newington Green Roundabout, has a high concentration of businesses and shops.

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

The 2001 census also shows Christianity is the biggest religion in Hackney, with (44%) Christian; (18%) Muslim; (4%) Jewish; and (3%) belong to other religions. A further (19%) stated no religion, and (12%) did not state a religion.

32% of householders are owner–occupiers.


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.[23] 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.


Hackney is currently poorly served by London Underground services. Only one station, Manor House is located in the Borough, on its extreme north-westen fringe on the boundary with Haringey. Old Street sits only a few yards south-west of the Borough in Islington.

Transport for London is extending the East London Line northwards through the borough, reusing some of the abandoned line between Dalston Junction and Broad Street, with stations planned at Shoreditch High Street, Hoxton, Haggerston and Dalston Junction. When complete, in June 2010, the line will be handed over to London Overground, who will run services from Hackney to South London. Crossrail 2 would provide a direct Underground line to serve Hackney, Dalston and Homerton although it is currently undecided whether this would be operated by London Underground or as a main line.

The North London Line is operated by TfL, as a part of the London Overground. The Lea Valley Lines also pass through Hackney:

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

London Overground

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

East London Line (opening June 2010) Travelling north to south — nearest London Overground stations are Dalston Junction, Haggerston, Hoxton and Shoreditch High Street

Lea Valley Lines

Hackney stations (north to south)


London Buses routes 4, 8, 19, 21, 26, 30, 35, 38, 42, 43, 47, 48, 55, 56, 67, 73, 76, 78, 106, 135, 141, 149, 205, 214, 236, 242, 243, 253, 254, 259, 271, 276, 277, 279, 308, 318, 341, 344, 349, 388, 393, 394, 425, 476, 488, D6, W15, other routes 812, Night route N8, N19, N26, N29, N35, N38, N55, N73, N76, N253 and N279.

Notable associated people

Notable attractions and institutions

Twinned towns

The London Borough of Hackney has formal twinning arrangements with:–

Flag Country Town[24] Region
Barbados Barbados Bridgetown Caribbean
France France Suresnes Western Paris
Germany Germany Göttingen Lower Saxony
Grenada Grenada St George's Caribbean
Israel Israel Haifa Northern Israel
Russia Russia Presnensky District Moscow suburb

The borough also has informal links with South Africa, Turkey, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The Homerton University Hospital has its own twinning arrangements with the Rambam Medical Centre (Haifa, Israel) and St George’s Hospital (Grenada). Schools are encouraged to pursue links with specific schools abroad – such as the arrangement between Our Lady's and a school in Hangzhou, South West China.[24]

South Africa An informal twinning with the township of Alexandra, South Africa.[24]


  1. ^ Data Management and Analysis Group, Greater London Authority, Demography Update October 2007, (2007)
  2. ^ Map 5A.1 - London's sub-regions The London Plan (Greater London Authority, 2008) accessed 13 November 2009
  3. ^ Office of Public Sector Information - London Government Act 1963 (c.33) (as amended) accessed 13 November 2009
  4. ^ a b Corporate Assessment Report: London Borough of Hackney (The Audit Commission August 2006) accessed 4 Dec 2007
  5. ^ City's councils get top ratings (BBC News) 7 February accessed 8 Feb 2008
  6. ^ Hackney Today 157 23 April 2007 accessed 6 June 2007
  7. ^ Hackney Society photographic survery accessed 23 Jan 2007
  8. ^ Details extracted from a council information sheet — May 2007
  9. ^ Roman Landscape (Brickfields Building Exploratory) accessed 10 May 2007
  10. ^ 'Hackney: Settlement and Building to c.1800', A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10: Hackney (1995), pp. 10-4 Date accessed: 02 Oct 2006
  11. ^ Houses of Parliament factsheet on event accessed 6 Mar 2007
  12. ^ Visiting Hackney accessed 10 May 2007
  13. ^ Location, Location: Best and Worse Hackney One Year On (Channek 4 TV) accessed 7 Nov 2007
  14. ^ Hackney wins best bike borough (LBH Press release, 6 April 2006) accessed 7 Nov 2007
  15. ^ Parks department (LB Hackney) accessed 7 Nov 2007
  16. ^ Hackney Today 188 21 July 2008
  17. ^ The Speaker of Hackney Council accessed 13 May 2009
  18. ^ Mayor and Council Elections 2006 accessed 10 May 2007
  19. ^ a b c d Hackney: Introduction, A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10: Hackney (1995), pp. 1-4. Date accessed: 13 June 2009
  20. ^ Met Office (2000). "Climate: Greenwich 1971-2000 averages". Retrieved 7 February 2010. 
  21. ^ A Vision of Britain through time accessed 20 February 2009
  22. ^ Statistics for ethnicity [1], country of birth [2], and religion [3] are from the UK census.
  23. ^ Learning Trust history accessed 5 May 2007
  24. ^ a b c Twinning (LB Hackney) Accessed 2008-09-19

External links

London/Hackney travel guide from Wikitravel

Coordinates: 51°32′N 0°05′W / 51.533°N 0.083°W / 51.533; -0.083

Simple English

London Borough of Hackney
Shown within Greater London
Official website LB Hackney
Status London borough
— Total
Ranked 349th
19.06 km²
ONS code 00AM
Admin HQ Mare Street, Hackney
— Total (2005 est.)
Ranked 64th (of 354)
10,897 / km²
Ethnicity 59.4% White, including:
44.1% White British
3.1% White Irish
12.2% White non-British

24.7% African-Caribbean
8.6% South Asian
4.2% Mixed Race
1.2% Chinese
Leadership Mayor & Cabinet
Mayor Jules Pipe
Executive Labour
MPs Diane Abbott
Meg Hillier
London Assembly
— Member
North East
Jennette Arnold

The London Borough of Hackney is a London Borough in north London.

Greater LondonLondonCity of London

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