Living in Hackney
Once a forgotten East London suburb, Hackney now has a thriving arts and fashion scene, as well as world renowned bars and clubs. Its proximity to the City has also been key in driving new buyers to the area, many of whom enjoy walking or cycling to work.
Hackney is one of the most talked about places in London. In recent years it has attracted food lovers with a range of farmers markets and innovative restaurants. It has also become a creative mecca attracting art and fashion lovers. This means the area has some of the best attractions around.
- Broadway Market – Always buzzing at the weekends
- The Geffrye Museum, 136 Kingsland Rd – Furniture and textiles from 1600 to present day
- Houng Viet, Englefield Rd – Vietnamese food
- Tonkotsu, Haggerston Rail Arches – Japanese food
Now closely affiliated with some of the best fashion designers in the industry, Hackney always has new pop-up ventures and exciting stores to explore. The Hackney Fashion Hub makes Hackney one of the best retail destinations around.
- Chatham Place Fashion Outlets - Burberry and Aquascutum discount stores
- Box Park - For quirky independent stores
- Ridley Road Market - for a taste of the old East End
Despite being close to the City, Hackney benefits from some amazing open spaces and parks which hugely contribute to its popularity. With cycling more popular in Hackney than any other London borough, there are also some great spaces for locals to explore on two wheels.
- London Fields - Heaving in the summer months
- Hackney Marshes - Home of many Sunday League football teams
- Hackney Downs - Sports facilities, children's play area and space to cycle
Property in Hackney
- King Edwards, E9
- Kingsland High Street, Dalston, Hackney E8
- Pembury Circus, Hackney E8
- Quadra Parkside, Lansdowne Drive E8
- Aikin Court, 29 – 35 Barbauld Road N16
- Colville Estate, London N1
- (Former) Great Eastern building, Hackney E8
- Haggerston West and Kingsland Estates, Hackney E8
- Holly Street Estate, E8
- King Edwards Road, E9
- Kings Crescent Estate, Stoke Newington N4
- Nightingale Estate, E5
- St Leonard's Court, New North Road, N1
- Woodberry Down, Finsbury Park N4
The first real records of settlement in Hackney date back to Saxon times. Before this most of the borough was farmland, providing food for the Roman city of Londinium, whose defensive walls rose up just south of Shoreditch. Two major Roman roads ran through Hackney.
What is now the A10 was once the Roman trunk road to Lincoln and onto York. A second major road ran along Old Street and then through Bethnal Green and eventually to Colchester.
The Tudor upper crust was drawn to Hackney for holidays, hunting and sometimes matters of high state. At King’s Place (later Brooke House) in Clapton, Henry VIII was reconciled with his daughter, the future Bloody Mary, after a frosty five years after he divorced her mother and cut her out of the succession. Tragically, the building was ripped down by Hackney Council in the 1950s. At Church House, opposite the medieval church of St Augustine’s (of which only the tower remains today; it is the oldest building in Hackney), Tudor ministers entertained intellectual superstars Erasmus and Thomas More.
Of these rambling Tudor mansions, only one survives: Sutton House in Homerton. Now nestling among sprawling council estates, it was built in 1535 by Sir Ralph Sadleir, a protegé of Thomas Cromwell, and modified in the Jacobean era by a wealthy wool merchant. As its original name Bryk Place suggests, it’s a brick mansion laid out in an E-shape over three storeys. Formerly a squat, it was saved from ruin by the National Trust, who did a superb job of restoring it to its original splendour. You can visit today and see its migraine-inducing Jacobean panelling richly decorated in emerald green, corn yellow, blood red and gold.
Today, few traces of the area’s aristocratic past survive but its spirit lives on in local London place names. One of the borough’s main thoroughfares is Kingsland Road - originally part of the Roman Ermine Street connecting London to York, and so one of the straightest roads in London. West of Dalston you can find Boleyn Road, Wolsey Road, and King Henry’s Walk.
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.