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Hackney

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“HACKNEY, a parish and an extensive suburb of the metropolis, in the N.E. division of the Tower Hamlets, hundred of Ossulstone, county Middlesex, 2½ miles N. by E. of London, commencing about a mile from Shoreditch church.

It is intersected by the North London railway, which-has a station in Church-street and one in Kingsland. The town lies in the vale of Hackney Brook, near the banks of the river Lea, and, according to the census of 1861, contains 76,687 inhabitants. Previous to 1835 it formed one parish, but is now divided into Hackney St. John, South Hackney, and West Hackney, together comprising the hamlets of Hackney Proper, Homerton, Clapton, Dalston, De Beauvoir Town, Stamford Hill, and Kingsland. The streets are in general straight, well-paved, clean, and lighted with gas, being under the superintendence of a local board of works. The houses are substantial and commodious, and are well supplied with water. The extensive silk mills formerly existing here have long been removed, and the place is now chiefly inhabited by city merchants and gentlemen engaged in business in London. At Hackney Wick are various factories for waterproofing, bone-crushing, chemical works, and rope-walks. It contains a townhall, situated in Church-street, where the parish offices are; a literary and scientific institution, mechanics' institute, theological seminary, London Orphan Asylum, erected in 1813, at Clapton, by Dr. Andrew Reed, and affording maintenance and education to 430 orphan children between 7 and 15 years of age; a penitentiary, eight private lunatic asylums, and the Children's Friend Institution at Hackney Wick. In the manor of Hackney the old Saxon custom of gavelkind prevails, so that the lands are divided between all the sons or daughters as co-heirs in the event of the father dying intestate. In the 13th century it formed part of the possessions of the Knights Templars of St. John of Jerusalem, who are supposed to have had a mansion in Church-street. The workhouse is situated in Homerton, and answers for this and the adjoining parish of Stoke Newington, together forming a Poor-law Union. For other purposes Hackney is governed by a board of trustees of the poor, appointed under a local Act of Parliament, and by a vestry of 120, appointed under the Metropolitan Local Management Act. The poor-rate valuation of the parish in 1852 was £200,000, but had increased in 1862 to £300,000. Hackney is within the Shoreditch County Court district and Metropolitan Police district. The soil is generally gravel resting upon clay, and is chiefly the property of William Amhurst Tyssen Amburst, Esq., who is lord of the manor and chief landowner. The Victoria Park, which comprises nearly 290 acres, extends between the parishes of Bow and Hackney. It was commenced in 1841, and is chiefly intended for the use of the large and crowded districts of Bethnal Green, Whitechapel, and Shoreditch.

from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

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Business & Commerce Records

The first plastics in Britain were manufactured in Hackney. Alexander Parkes invented Parkesine in 1862, and from 1866-1868 the Parkesine Company had a factory in Wallis Road, Hackney Wick. The company went bankrupt but Parkes' works manager Daniel Spill continued on the same site with the Xylonite Company, and from 1877 at 124 High Street, Homerton as the British Xylonite Company, which moved to Brantham in Suffolk in 1887. Apart from the accounts on the Plastiquarian website there is also an account in the Victoria County History.

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Church Directories

Parishes in this Rural Deanery in 1903

Anglican churches in Hackney in 1890 - Information about churches, showing dates of creation of parishes, and the name used for the records in the London Metropolitan Archives, and elsewhere. The ancient parishes were split into many smaller ones as London grew. This web page has links to other directories of churches in Hackney.

Outline map of Parishes in 1903

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Description & Travel

Description(s) from The National Gazetteer (1868)]

"HACKNEY, a parish and an extensive suburb of the metropolis, in the N.E. division of the Tower Hamlets, hundred of Ossulstone, county Middlesex, 2½ miles N. by E. of London, commencing about a mile from Shoreditch church. " (There is more of this description).

"BEAUVOIR, (or De Beauvoir Town), a hamlet in the parish of Hackney, hundred of Ossulstone, in the county of Middlesex, 2 miles to the N. of London. The village, which forms part of the northern suburbs of London, is entirely of recent construction, and is situated near the Kingsland-road. The houses, though unpretending, are commodious, and many have neat gardens attached to them. The soil is gravel, and the neighbourhood considered healthy. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of London, of the value of £200, in the patronage of R. B. De Beauvoir, Esq., the founder of the church, which is dedicated to St. Peter.

"DALSTON, a hamlet in the parish of Hackney, Tower division of the hundred of Ossulstone, in the county of Middlesex, 2½ miles N.E. of St. Paul's, London. It is situated on the North London railway, extending from the village of Hackney towards Kingsland. It has greatly increased of late years, and has some old mansions and numerous neat houses of modern erection. Here is the German hospital, which was founded in 1846; and also a refuge for the destitute, as Dalston House, removed hither from Hackney-road. The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of London value £350 in the patronage of the Rector of St. John's Hackney. The church is dedicated to St. Philip. It was erected in 1841, at a cost of £5,700, and can accommodate 1,000 persons. The School of Industry, in Dalston-lane, was erected by subscription in 1837."

"HOMERTON, a hamlet in the parish of Hackney, Tower division of the hundred of Ossulstone, county Middlesex, 3 miles N.E. of St. Paul's, London. The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of London, value £150, in the patronage of the bishop. The church is dedicated to St. Barnabas. There are three chapels, Robinson's almshouses for 12 ministers' widows, and the Protestant Dissenters' College, for 20 students, founded soon after the Revolution, and rebuilt in 1823."

"KINGSLAND, a hamlet and suburban district in the parish of Hackney, Tower division of the hundred of Ossulstone, county Middlesex, 2 miles N.E. of St. Paul's, London. It is a station on the North London railway, and omnibuses run to the city. Previously to the middle of the 15th century, here was a hospital or house for lepers, which, after the Reformation, served as an out ward to St. Bartholomew's hospital till 1761. The chapel of the priory was suffered to remain as a proprietary chapel, in the patronage of the governors of the hospital, till 1847, when it was taken down. This place, which has recently vastly increased in population, extends along the road from London to Tottenham and Edmonton, and several streets and numerous houses of recent erection branch off on either side. The site of the hospital and part of the market gardens are now built over."

"LOWER CLAPTON, a hamlet in St. James's district, in the parish of Hackney, in the Tower division of the hundred of Ossulstone, in the county of Middlesex, 3½ miles to the N.N.E. of St. Paul's. It is within the County Court district of Hackney, and the north-eastern postal division, and is now a suburb of the city of London, containing about 3,000 inhabitants. Near the Lea Bridge station of the Great Eastern railway is a large india-rubber manufactory. Until recently it was a pretty rural spot, chiefly inhabited by wealthy London merchants. The houses are mostly old, but well built. Here are St. John's Foundation School for the sons of clergymen, and Hackney Grammar School in connection with King's College, London. Brook House, the ancient seat of the Earls of Northumberland, is now a lunatic asylum.

"SHACKLE WELL, a hamlet in the parish of Hackney, Tower division of Ossulstone hundred, county Middlesex, 3 miles N.E. of St. Paul's, London. It is situated on Hackney brook, and was formerly the seat of Mrs. Heron, daughter of Sir T. More. Spottiswoode's Bible printing office is situated in this district, which is now studded with villas."

"STAMFORD HILL, an ecclesiastical district in the parish of Hackney, lower division of Ossulstone hundred, county Middlesex, 3½ miles N.E. of St. Paul's. It is situated on the line of the ancient Ermine Street, near the Cambridge section of the Great Eastern railway, and forms part of the borough of the Tower Hamlets. The village, now a rising suburb of the metropolis, is beyond Abney Park Cemetery, overlooking the valley of the river Lea. It had a population in 1861 of 5,483. The New Asylum for Infant Orphans was founded in 1844. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of London, value £207, in the patronage of the Rector of Hackney. The church, dedicated to St. Thomas, which stands in the road to Hackney, was built in 1850, from designs by Mr. L. Vulliamy, at a cost of £8,700. See Hackney."

"UPPER CLAPTON, a hamlet in the parish of Hackney, Tower division of the hundred of Ossulstone, in the county of Middlesex, 4 miles to the N.N.E. of St. Paul's. It is a flourishing suburban district, studded over with pleasant villa residences, extending from the banks of the river Lea on the E. to Stoke Newington Common on the W., where it is bounded by Hackney Brook; on the S. it adjoins Lower Clapton at the obelisk facing the Lea Bridge-road, and on the N.W. it unites with Stamford Hill, in which district it is partly included. There is a proprietary chapel, and a chapel belonging to the Independents.

Description(s) from "The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland" (1868), transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003; intended for personal use only, so please respect the conditions of use.

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Gazetteers

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Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Hackney has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.

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Maps

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference TQ350846 (Lat/Lon: 51.544156, -0.054597), Hackney which are provided by:

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Societies

  • The Hackney Society includes amongst its aims "educate and foster public interest in the history" of the Borough