Stoke Newington Town Hall, built 1935-37 for the Metropolitan Borough of Stoke Newington
|OS grid reference|
|o Charing Cross||5 mi (8.0 km) SW|
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||N16, N4|
Stoke Newington is an area occupying the north-west part of the London Borough of Hackney in north-east London, England. It is 5 miles (8 km) north-east of Charing Cross. Stoke Newington Church Street was the site of the original hamlet of Stoke Newington, which in turn gave its name to Stoke Newington the ancient parish.
The modern London Borough of Hackney was formed in 1965 by the merger of three former Metropolitan Boroughs, Hackney and the smaller authorities of Stoke Newington and Shoreditch. These Metropolitan Boroughs had been in existence since 1899 but their names and boundaries were very closely based on parishes dating back to the Middle Ages.
Unlike many London districts, such as nearby Stamford Hill and Dalston, Stoke Newington has longstanding fixed boundaries; however, to many. the informal perception of Stoke Newington has blurred over time, to stretch east of the originally Roman A10 to overlap areas of the former Ancient Parish and subsequent Metropolitan Borough of Hackney.
The Metropolitan Borough largely adopted the Ancient Parish's boundaries, including the eastern boundary which followed the A10 road, though there were minor rationalisations, notably the transfer of areas of Hornsey.
Stoke Newington's northern and western boundaries have become the north-west borders of the modern London Borough. The eastern boundary was formed by the A10 road where it goes by the name Stoke Newington High Street (originally High Street, until a name change in 1937) and Stoke Newington Road (meaning the road to the hamlet of Stoke Newington), further south.
These boundaries included the sites of the small hamlet of Stoke Newington and part of Newington Green, however it excluded the open space known since the early 20th century as Stoke Newington Common (originally Cockhangar Green), and Stoke Newington railway station was built close to, but just outside this area.
More recently, Stoke Newington has come to be viewed by many as extending east of the A10 to overlap the AP\MB of Hackney to include West Hackney, an ill-defined area of the N16 postal area which includes Stoke Newington railway station, Rectory Road railway station and Stoke Newington Common.
As a consequence Stoke Newington, like nearby Stamford Hill, has become closely associated with the N16 postcode, though a significant part of western Stoke Newington is covered by the N4 postcode district.
In the north of the district is the extensive West Reservoir, now a non-working facility, but open for leisure and surrounded by green space. At the entrance is the Castle Climbing Centre, once the main Water Board pumping station. It was designed, by William Chadwell Mylne, to look like a towering Scottish castle.
To the south of these facilities is Clissold Park, which contains a small menagerie, aviary and Clissold Mansion, a Grade II listed building, built in the 1790s for Jonathan Hoare, a local Quaker and brother of Samuel Hoare.
East from here and past the two Church of England parish churches, both called St Mary's (Stoke Newington decided to retain the old one, unusual in a London parish), is Abney Park Cemetery, one of the most splendid and enlightened of Victorian London cemeteries. It is the main London burial ground for 19th-century non-conformist ministers and William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, is buried here. It is now a nature reserve. Abney Park was scheduled in 2009 as one of Britain's historic parks and gardens at risk from neglect and decay.
Across the high street to the east is the fragmented Stoke Newington Common, which has had an extensive and diverse programme of tree planting.
From the 16th century onwards, Stoke Newington has played a prominent role in assuring a water supply to sustain London's rapid growth. Hugh Myddleton's New River runs through the area and still makes a contribution to London's water. It used to terminate at the New River Head in Finsbury, but since 1946 its main flow has ended at Stoke Newington reservoirs. A slow ornamental trickle flows past the West Reservoir, goes underground for a stretch on Green Lanes, reappears for a time in Clissold Park, and disappears underground again on its way to Canonbury. The river bank, the New River Path, can be walked for some distance to the north through Haringey and on to its source near Hertford, though not all sections are open.
Stoke Newington East and West Reservoirs, to the north of Clissold Park, are quite substantial for urban facilities. Stoke Newington Reservoirs were constructed in 1833 to purify the New River water and to act as a water reserve. The West Reservoir is now a leisure facility, offering sailing, canoeing and other water sports, plus Royal Yachting Association-approved sailing courses. On its western edge stands the former filter house, now set out as a visitor centre with a café; some of the old hydraulic machinery can be viewed in the main hall. The pumping station at the reservoir gates, converted to a climbing centre in 1995 was designed in a distinctive castellated style by Robert Billings under the supervision of William Chadwell Mylne and built in 1854-56.
Besides the water board facilities and the New River, Clissold Park contains two large ornamental lakes, a home to many water birds and a population of terrapins. These lakes--purportedly the remains of clay pits dug for the bricks used in the building of Clissold House--are all that is left to mark the course of the Hackney Brook, one of London's lost rivers, which once flowed from west to east across Stoke Newington on its way to the River Lea. In flood at this point, the brook was known to span 10 metres. The two lakes are not fed from the brook, which has disappeared into the maze of sewers under London, but from the mains supply--the New River.
Stoke Newington or 'new town in the wood', has been lightly settled for hundreds of years, close to larger neighbouring Saxon settlements near the River Lea. In the 19th century it was discovered that Stoke Newington Common and Abney Park Cemetery had been part of a Neolithic working area for axe-making, some examples of which can be seen in the Museum of London.
Stoke Newington is recorded as part of the Ossulstone hundred in the county of Middlesex in the Domesday Book of 1086. In the 17th century, the parish of Stoke Newington, lying on the west side of Stoke Newington High Street, became part of the new Finsbury division and the parish of Hackney to the east became part of the Tower division. Both divisions were in 1889 then incorporated into the County of London.
In the Middle Ages and Tudor times, it was a very small village a few miles from the city of London, frequently visited by wayfarers as a pit stop before journeying north, Stoke Newington High Street being part of the Cambridge road (A10). At this date the whole manor was owned by St. Paul's Cathedral and yielded a small income, enough to support part of their work. During the 17th century the Cathedral sold the Manor to William Patten, who became the first Lord of the Manor. His initials 'WP' and the motto 'ab alto' can be seen inscribed above the doorway of the old church next to Clissold Park.
A century later, it passed to Lady Mary Abney who drew up the first detailed maps of field boundaries and began to lay out a manorial parkland behind today's fire station on Church Street, with the aid of her daughters and Dr Isaac Watts.
During the early 19th century, as London expanded, the Manor of Stoke Newington was "enfranchised" to be sold in parcels as freehold land for building purposes. Gradually the village became absorbed into the seamless expansion of London. It was no longer a separate village by the mid-to-late 19th century.
Being on the outskirts at this time, many expensive and large houses were built to house London's expanding population of nouveau riche whose journey to the commercial heart of the capital was made possible by the birth of the railways and the first omnibuses. The latter were first introduced into central London in the 1820s by George Shillibeer, following his successful trial of the world's first school bus for William Allen and Susannah Corder's novel Quaker school, Newington Academy for Girls. By the mid-19th century, Stoke Newington had "the largest concentration of Quakers in London", including many who had moved up the A10 from Gracechurch Street meeting house in the City. A meeting house was built in Park Street (now Yoakley Road) by the architect William Alderson, who later designed Hanwell Pauper and Lunatic Asylum. The Anglican St Mary's Church, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1854-58, replaced the older parish church (also St. Mary's), which survives on the opposite side of Church Street.
St Mary's Lodge on Lordship Road, the 1843 home of architect and district surveyor John Young, is the last-surviving (though now ruined and derelict) of several grand detached houses built in the area around that time for well-off members of the new commuter class. Gibson Gardens, an early example of quality tenement buildings erected for the housing of 'the industrious classes', was built off Stoke Newington High Street in 1880 and still stands today.
As a late Victorian and Edwardian suburb, Stoke Newington prospered, and continued in relative affluence and civic pride with its own municipal government until changes brought about by the Second World War.
During World War II, much of the area was damaged in the Blitz and many were made homeless, although the level of destruction was much lower than in those areas of East London further south such as Stepney or Shoreditch or even in next-door Hackney. The death toll was also relatively low: almost three-quarters of civilian deaths being due to one incident on 13 October 1940 when a crowded shelter at Coronation Avenue off the high street received a direct hit. The memorial to all the residents of the Borough who died in the air raids, including local Jewish people, can be seen in Abney Park Cemetery. Like Hackney and Tottenham, Stoke Newington avoided most of the later V-weapon attacks, which fell disproportionately on South London; seven V-1s and two V-2s hit the borough.
Most of the historic buildings at the heart of Stoke Newington survived, at least in a repairable state. Two notable exceptions are the classically grand parish church of West Hackney, St James's, on Stoke Newington Road, which dated from 1824, and St Faith's, a Victorian Gothic church by William Burges. Both were so severely damaged, the former in the October 1940 bombing, and the latter by a flying bomb in 1944, that they were entirely demolished. St James's was replaced after the war by a much more modest structure, St Paul's, which is set well back from the street. Traces of the old church's stonework can still be seen facing Stoke Newington Road.
After the war a substantial amount of residential housing, particularly to the east of modern Stoke Newington, in Hackney borough at the time, had been either destroyed or left in such a bad state that it was seen by the urban planners of that era as better to demolish it. Postwar redevelopment has replaced many of these areas with large estates, some more successful than others. Much of this residential redevelopment was planned by Frederick Gibberd, the designer of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.
Ever a home to radicals, Communist Party meetings were held in the Town Hall in the post-war years. And although Stoke Newington became part of the London Borough of Hackney in 1965, it has never quite lost its own identity. Indeed, following the 1960s, it increasingly became home to a number of squatters, artists, bohemians and also political radicals. Famously, the 'Stoke Newington 8' were arrested on 20 August 1971 at 359 Amhurst Road for suspected involvement in The Angry Brigade bombings.
The most famous examples of political terrorism by Stoke Newington residents, none originally from the area, are Patrick Hayes, Jan Taylor and Muktar Said Ibrahim. The first two were convicted of two bombings and had substantial links to the huge lorry bombs of the 1990s. Both were arrested, firing at officers in Walford Road and later sentenced to thirty years imprisonment.
The third, Muktar Said Ibrahim, was convicted, as the ring leader, on an indictment of conspiracy to murder. He planted a failed bomb on a 26 bus, which misfired later on the Hackney Road on 21 July 2005. Ibrahim used to work at an off-licence on Amhurst Road. In February 2005, police were seeking Ibrahim on an arrest warrant for an outstanding public order offence and sent a letter to his Farleigh Road address saying "Call us, before we call you." After the attack, Ibrahim was seen on the run in Farleigh Road and was later arrested in Dalgrano Gardens, W10. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, to serve a minimum of forty years before being considered for release.
These days, Stoke Newington is a very multicultural area, with large Asian, Irish, Turkish, Jewish and Afro-Caribbean communities. The area continues to be home to many new and emerging communities such as Polish and Somali immigrants.
Stoke Newington has undergone major gentrification, as have neighbouring Newington Green, Canonbury and Dalston. Much of the gentrification of the area has been based around Church Street, where there are many independent shops, pubs, bars and cafes.
On Saturday mornings, St Paul's churchyard in Stoke Newington High Street hosts an active farmers' market--relocated in July/August 2011 from its earlier site in the playground of William Patten Primary school on Church Street. This was the first farmers' market in the UK to have only organic and biodynamic producers.
In June 2011 property developer Newmark Properties LLP announced their proposed development for Wilmer Place. This includes a large Sainsburys supermarket, "high quality private and affordable residential apartments", and a car park for over 90 vehicles. This development requires the demolition of some of the existing properties in Wilmer Place and 195-201 Stoke Newington High Street. There has been strong local reaction against this development during the brief pre-planning consultation. Several local groups are protesting against this development, including Hackney Unites, the Hackney Liberal Democrat Party, and Stokey Local, a group formed by local business leaders and residents.
On 11 December 2016, at about 12:30 PM, a water main burst, flooding Stoke Newington High Street. About 350 people had to flee their homes due to the incident.
At the time of the 2011 census, there were 13,658 residents in Stoke Newington Central. The Stoke Newington Central Ward census findings revealed 63.1% of Stoke Newington Central's population was White (44.9% British, 15.2% Other, 2.9% Irish and Gypsy or Irish Traveller, 0.1%). 16.6% was Black (7.3% Caribbean, 6.2% African, 3.1% Other) and 9.9% was Asian (4.2% Indian, 1.3% Pakistani, 1.6% Bangladeshi, 0.8% Chinese and 2% Other).
Although Stoke Newington contains only one Grade I listed building (St Matthias Church), it contains a fair number of Grade II* buildings for one London district. Residential buildings are strongly represented, and this becomes even more clear when the lowest grade, Grade II, is considered, where almost whole streets are listed in some cases.
There are many Grade II listed properties on Stoke Newington Church Street, the historical heart of the district, and two other notable residential streets to the west of the district - Albion Road and Clissold Road - are replete with listed properties.
Close to the local pub The Lion, local resident and property owner Sofie Attrill gave consent for pop group Blur to create some publicity for their 2003 single "Crazy Beat". The album's cover and single artwork were undertaken by graffiti artist Banksy, with the single featuring a spoof image of the British Royal Family, replicated as a mural on the building. By 2009 it had become a tourist attraction, but Hackney Council had wanted to remove all graffiti from the area and tried to contact the building owner to gain her agreement to remove the artwork. Unable to contact her due to incorrect Land Registry records, they started painting over the artwork with black paint. They were stopped after they had partly covered the mural.
It is served by bus routes 67, 73, 76, 106, 141, 149, 243, 276, 341, 393 and 476 and Night Buses N73 and N76. 149, 243 and 341 are 24-hour services.
Stoke Newington is well known for its pubs and bars, lively music scene, including contemporary jazz, and open mic comedy sessions. The Vortex Jazz Club used to be on Church Street but has now moved to Dalston.
Since 2010, Stoke Newington has also had its own literary festival, created to celebrate the area's literary and radical history. It takes place in early June in venues across the area and was described in 2011 by Time Out magazine as 'Just like Hay-on-Wye, but in Hackney', by The Times as one of its 'Top 5 Summer of Books' and by Londonist.com as 'a literary festival that's thrown its pretensions in a skip'.
A Stoke Newington music festival was instituted in 2015, taking place at various venues around town in late October. The 2016 festival saw a performance by Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth at the Mascara Bar stage on Sunday 23 October and by Hank Wangford that same evening at the main stage at St Paul's Church Hall. For the 2017 festival, the main St Paul's stage was headlined on Friday 20 to Sunday 22 October by The Cesarians, The Featherz and The Frank Chickens respectively on each night. In 2018 the St Paul's stage was used only on the Sunday with the Mascara Bar serving as main stage, headlined on Friday 19 to Sunday 21 October by the Cesarians again, Dodgy and Urban Voodoo Machine frontman Paul-Ronney Angel. Mediæval Bæbes also appeared on the Friday at the Abney Public Hall.