1/15  Created, along with these other Self-Guided Walks during the COVID-19 pandemic as a Hackney history walk to follow during the lockdowns. Start at the junction of Stoke Newington Road and Shacklewell Lane. On the other side of Kingsland High Street draper Ziba Dudley took over his father-in-law’s shop by 1895. Gradually this absorbed the whole block becoming  ‘NE London’s Leading Store’ with 120 staff. Dudley’s closed down in 1975.

2/15 Walk along Shacklewell Lane to Shacklewell Lane Mosque. This was said to dwarf the surroundings when built as the Stoke Newington Synagogue in 1903. In 1977 it became a mosque for the Turkish-Cypriot community who had moved  into the area to live and work. Its central dome was added in 1987. Carry on towards the centre of Shacklewell.

3/15 Shacklewell, not recorded until the 15th  century, was one of Hackney’s least populated settlements. Shacklewell Lane continued east to Stoke Newington Common. The area lost its  village feel in the last quarter of the 19th century when more industry moved in. The Lloyds sign on the side of the building opposite is an echo of the clothing factories in the area till the 1980s

4/15 Follow Shacklewell Lane round to the left and  cross the zebra crossing to the Public Washing Baths. Now a nursery, it opened in 1931 with 24 baths for men, 16 for women. Bombed in 1940, it was repaired by 1942. In 1938, at its  peak, it provided 103,143 baths. The Shacklewell Arms opposite was originally The Green Man, licensed by 1760.

5/15 In 1785 Shacklewell had its own coffee house. On the other side of the road, No. 77, Felix Place, is Shacklewell’s oldest surviving house. Walk on to the Petchey Academy, Hackney’s 2nd Academy, which opened in 2005 on what had been the site of a school since Dalston County Secondary was built here in 1937; later the site of Kingsland School which closed in 2004.

6/15 With the green opposite, this is the centre of Shacklewell, built on a ridge sloping south to Dalston and east to the valley of the Hackney Brook. The WW1 memorial on the green to the ‘Men of Shackelwell’ was put up by St Barnabas church, which we will pass later. Flats at Nos. 108-122 Shacklewell Lane were the site of the People’s City Farm from the 1960s till 1990.

7/15 Further on is Cotton Lofts, built in 1932 as Albert Works, the new premises for printers Henry Hildesley. Among other things, Hildesley’s printed London Transport posters from 1916 to 1925. It had an active staff association with a canteen catering for 46. The building was designed by Hobden and Porri, also the architects of the Simpson building, to be seen later.

8/15 Further on, on the right is Milton House Mansions, built as a terrace of maisonettes in 1907. They were built on the site of  a house once occupied by Vincent Novello, founder of Novello’s music publishing company. Soon after moving here in 1823 he left ‘lest his children’s education should suffer from the village’s seclusion.’

9/15 Walk down to the traffic lights at the junction with Amhurst Road. A map of 1863 shows this was as far as Amhurst Road went. The eastern part of Shacklewell Lane, leading to the bottom of Stamford Hill via Stoke Newington Common,  was renamed Rectory Road as it went past the original rectory of St Paul’s (West Hackney) Church.

10/15 Safely cross Shacklewell Lane here and head back up to Shacklewell Green. On the right, pass Shacklewell House which replaced late 18th century houses pulled down in 1936. Take a look at the plaques on the side of the building: the architects were a Jewish family firm, Messrs Joseph, who designed social housing in various parts of Hackney from 1904 to the 1960s as well as The New Synagogue, Stamford Hill and The Hackney Synagogue.

11/15 Turning right into Perch St, you enter a  ‘close’ of three distinct roads with red brick terraces. These were built between 1881 and 1886 with single doors leading to two self-contained flats, each with three rooms, a scullery and a WC. They were built on the site of the home for 200 years of Hackney’s Lord of the Manor: Herons, Rowes, Tyssens

12/15 Leave the area by the pedestrianised Seal Street and turn left down Shacklewell Row. On left, hard to see  behind the mission hall put up in 1890 by the Merchant Taylors’ public school, is St Barnabas Church. This is the only church ever built in Shackelwell. When built in1910,one architectural critic saw it as  ‘the best church of its date in London.’ It was designed by  C H Reilly, whose childhood home was in Stoke Newington.

13/15 Walk back up Shacklewell Row. At the end of passage ahead you turn right and follow Somerford Grove left and turn left again, still in Somerford Grove, to stand in­ the  middle of the Somerford Estate. It provided 150 homes in 5 different forms of dwelling, 1, 2 or 3 storeys high. The estate was built 1946-49 with communal facilities and was designed by leading architect Sir Frederick Gibberd.

14/15 The estate was built on 9 acres of what were streets of 19th century housing badly bombed in WW2. Carry on to the end of the road, turn left (notice the wall painting) then right, then left past GP surgery and turn right back into Somerford Grove to walk along the side of a 1930s factory, now converted into Olympic House, to Stoke Newington Road.

15/15 Turn left to stand outside Beyond Retro in a building which was built as a factory for S. Simpson  1929 to make the company’s successful DAKS trousers. The architects were Hobden and Porri. The factory was extended in 1931 and 1934 down Somerford Grove. It was seen as the most advanced clothing factory of its time, employing 2000 people. Simpson’s gradually moved out of the building, finally leaving in 1982.


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