Until the 19th century, it was the only road from Hackney leading west towards Dalston and Kingsland. The centre of Dalston was east of the ‘dog-leg’ in Dalston Lane: the ‘dog-leg’ being where today Dalston Lane has its junction with the 19th century Queensbridge, Parkholme and Graham Roads. This kink in the road was presumably necessary to keep its distance from the broadening Pigwell Brook, which ran along the south of modern Graham Road.
Recorded first in 1294 as Derleston, probably meaning Dedrlaf’s ‘tun’ (the Saxon word for an enclosed farm settlement cleared from surrounding forest), Dalston was one of several hamlets in the parish of Hackney. Dalston Lane, an ancient route, connected Dalston, crossing Hackney Brook at Dalston Bridge (near today’s Pembury Arms), to the northern end of Church Street (our modern Narrow Way), the main street running through Hackney village.