This section of the website is a history of Stoke Newington, from the edge of Newington Green, northwards to Seven Sisters Road and the border with Haringey. Stoke Newington is now the northern part of the London Borough of Hackney, but for centuries it was a separate area with its own administration and a very different history from other parts of Hackney. Similar histories of the rest of Hackney, just as complex, could be written. This one is about Stoke Newington, but placed too in the London and indeed national picture on occasion.
The village spread outwards from the centre of London, gradually covering the open fields with houses. Therefore, the further north the houses are, the newer they tend to be. There has been replacement and in-filling since, but the rule is basically correct. Generally speaking this history follows the building development chronologically.
People living in Stoke Newington will find that the ground beneath their feet is teeming with history. Nothing is quite like it was even twenty or thirty years ago and, over the years the changes have been dramatic.
After years of attempting to teach Urban Studies with inadequate information, I have tried to put together the sort of material teachers might use as a basis for lessons. Nobody would want to teach all this, or to teach it all to one age group. Instead, I hope teachers will take a few sections, reproduce them with suitable questions or comments and so use the disk as a resource. Primary and Secondary teachers, and indeed college lecturers, have used the same material, each in completely different ways. The material and the area are food for all.
This is an outline, fairly well filled in after more than 40 years of work on it, but I hope it will be fleshed out further with all sorts of other material.
Schools will need their own local material for children to use. Looking things up on a CD disk is easy, and exciting at first, but can become boring. Hands on material where children can make their own discoveries are the real thing. Actual maps with the particular school in the centre of an A4 sheet; sets of census sheets for a nearby street; biographies of local people and stories about where the ghost lived, are the things that count. This is where the excellent TIME LINE is so valuable a resource and fund of ideas.
I suggest that the School Librarians and not the Departments, should hold all material, lending it out to teachers and pupils like library books and calling it in at intervals. So much work of this sort has been done time and again by successive teachers who have each moved in as strangers to the area, slaved away researching what has already been found, only to move on after a few years. Too often their hard work has mouldered away in cupboards, instead of being available centrally, in the School Library. This is a soul-destroying waste of time and talent. Add to it. Enjoy the new discoveries, but you should not have to start by learning the ABC. Keep it in the School Library
The booklet starts with a brief introductory section on the Geology of Stoke Newington and the Growth of Hackney. Then a series of maps and drawings follows the development of Stoke Newington chronologically. A set of symbols have been entered on the maps to help in location. The succession of maps gives a general idea of the development of the area. However, the dates are not completely reliable. Some cartographers pirated out-of-date maps instead of re-surveying. Sometimes only part of a map was revised and a new date given to the whole. Some maps, such as the Post Office Directory 1858, shows roads which were planned but never built.
Scattered in the book are sheets on Cast iron, Wrought iron, Architectural details etc. These are intended for teachers to use to help pupils to observe things closely when drawing in the field and to give them the vocabulary to describe their finds. Teachers and college lecturers can use the accompanying Borders to make A4 worksheets with text and questions at the appropriate level. School libraries should hold copies of all the maps, covered in plastic for pupil reference. Large maps are obtainable from the local libraries, while small ones can be down-loaded from the disk.
I should like to thank, the Hackney Archives Department, De Beauvoir Road, City of Westminster Archive, Camden Local History Archive, Guildhall Library, London Metropolitan Archive London Topographical Society, and the old Architects' Plan Room at County Hall, for their unfailing help over many years. Pieces of all their work have been incorporated in the disk.