UP STAMFORD HILL (0.7 miles)

1/10 Start at the gates of Abney Park Cemetery, N16 0LH, at the side of a main roadway in and out of London, laid down by the Romans 2000 years ago. Here, until the 1850s, a bridge took the road over Hackney Brook at a ‘sandy ford’, a possible derivation of Stamford

1/10 Cross the road to the corner with Cazenove Road, named after a Huguenot family whose house stood opposite the other end of this road. The building on the north corner of the street was The Weavers Arms, named perhaps as it was a haunt of Spitalfields weavers on a day out from London. On the south corner was Stephens till 1970s when every part of London had its own department store

3/10 Walk up the hill to the Egg Stores. This shop has been here with its distinctive font since the late 1940s. It now serves the local Hassidic and wider communities: a ‘one stop shop for all things Kosher’, renowned for its pickled herring. This side of Stamford Hill was in the parish of Hackney; the other side in Stoke Newington.

4/10 Carry on up to Stoke Newington station, first built 1872 on the site of Ibston Lodge to serve the Great Eastern Railway from Liverpool Street station. This was the third rail line to be built across Hackney. The Station Master was provided with a house across the road at No. 41. The Station was rebuilt in 1975. Belfast Rd was the home in 1841 of Stamford Hill Breweries.

5/10 On to Birdcage Pub. This side of the hill had more paths leading off it eastwards. Windus Road follows the route of a country lane towards Clapton Common. Here since 1732, the pub might take its name from being a resort of Huguenot silk weavers from Spitalfields here to snare and cage birds in fields around to sing to them as they wove.

6/10 Once a deserted area, by 1859 Stamford Hill was described as ‘a locality consisting principally of villa residencies … one of healthiest and most opulent suburban residences of London.’ In 1928 the LCC compulsorily purchased houses to the Stamford Hill Estate. 277 flats were built by 1931, each with bathroom and kitchenette but no lifts nor facilities

7/10 To the next junction: note the trough put up by the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association, established in 1859 to provide free drinking water. Till then there was a charge for water for horses. Cabbies travelled with maps showing the troughs. This trough was put up in memory of Richard Coles, who lived on Stamford Hill for 45 years. The library is on the site of a Congregational Church which stood there with its tall spire from 1871 to 1966.

8/10 Cross the road continuing up Stamford Hill passing a few remaining large villas. Further on was in 1844 the Orphan Asylum for Fatherless Children taking in orphans irrespective of religious background. It was founded by a Congregational Minister, Revd. Andrew Reed, who also set up orphanages in Lower Clapton Road and Dalston Lane.

9/10 In the vicinity of the top of the hill a gibbet was to be seen as people travelled in and out of London. In 1684 highwayman John Smith, after carrying out a robbery on Stamford Hill, killed a lawman who was in hot pursuit. Caught and found guilty, Smith was hanged at Newgate and his body was brought here to hang in chains. In 1717 Joseph Still attacked and killed a man in Stoke Newington; he was hanged here.

10/10 At the crest of a hill, the shops of Stamford Hill Broadway are on the site of Cedar House. Demolished in 1908, it was typical of the large houses lining Stamford Hill. In 1901 it was the home of Dr Charles Aveling, his wife, one son, two daughters, a nurse, a cook, a housemaid and a parlour maid. Here you are 30 miles from the sea which with an east wind, said 19th century historian Benjamin Clarke, you could smell!




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