1/14 Start at the Academy Apartments, E8 1AL, by Pembury Circus. In 1803 this was the site of the Hackney School of Industry. It was acquired as the North East London Institute in 1886 and was rebuilt by the LCC in 1925. It was one of the first of Hackney’s educational building to be turned into flats in the 1990s.
2/14. Walk on, under the bridge, to Hackney Downs Station. The station opened in 1872 on the Great Eastern Line, which was the third and last railway line to cross Hackney. It opened as Downs Junction Station: the line from Liverpool St divides here, one branch going to Stoke Newington and the other to Clapton.
3/14 Walk up the road. On the right Sigdon Road School opened in 1898 for 356 infant boys and girls.Notice from here on remnants of 18th century and early 19th century houses. This part of Dalston Lane was called Dalston Rise as the land sloped down to the valley of the Hackney Brook.
4/14. On the left are Navarino Mansions, in a different style from surrounding buildings. 300 flats were completed here in 1905 for the ‘Four Percent Industrial Dwellings Company’, founded in 1885 to give the East End’s Jewish poor better living conditions. The building was designed by Nathan Joseph the company’s architect and a member of a prominent architectural family who also designed synagogues and social housing in Hackney.
5/14 The building at the corner with Greenwood Road was the Lord Truro pub by 1865. At no. 164, Carrara House, in 1911 lived James Elves, Shoreditch-born marble mason, with his Islington born wife. Married for 20 years the couple had a son of 19, who worked, a 14 year old daughter, working as a Mother’s Help, and a son, 11, at school; a fourth child had died young.
6/14 Walk on past the recently restored no 160, Dalston’s oldest surviving house dating from the second quarter of the 18th century. This stretch of Dalston Lane was the heart of the “pleasant and healthy village of Dalston” where in 1791 a Mrs Larkham ran a school for 20 girls: it would cost you 16 guineas per year to educate your daughter at Mrs, Larham’s.
7/14 Further along on the left are the entrance gates to the German Hospital. The hospital opened in 1845 in what had been the premises of the Dalston Infant Orphan Asylum. The hospital was founded for the “reception of all poor Germans and others speaking the German language without distinction of religion or origin.” It was staffed by German nurses and doctors.
8/14 Walk through the gates over the railway line to see larger hospital premises built in 1864 to accommodate 100 beds. The other side of the building can be accessed from Clifton Grove off Graham Road. German nurses continued working here during WW1 but they were interned in WW2. The hospital became part of the NHS in 1948 and closed in 1987.
9/14 Back at Dalton Lane, turn left and stop opposite Ridley Road. Had 1965 plans gone ahead for a motorway from Hackney Wick to Willesden, with an 8 lane viaduct through Dalston, this spot would be in the the middle of a massive gyratory road system. Take the zebra crossing and walk down Dalston Lane.
10/14 The centre of Dalston was built on a ridge. To the east land sloped down to the Hackney Brook. Here land slopes south down to where the Pigwell Stream ran from Kingsland, then behind the gardens of today’s Graham Road along Wilton Way. The road crosses Hackney’s first railway line, which came through the area in 1850.
11/14 On the bend of Dalston Lane was St Bartholomew’s church built in 1885 as one building with a vicarage. The vicarage with its north corner supporting part of an arch once connected to the church is all that remains. The church part was demolished in the 1970s for a garage, which was never built. The site was developed for housing in 1995.
12/14 Carry on along Dalston Lane to Cape House hostel on the right. The building is a 1914 rebuild of Dalston Police Station which moved here in 1872 from Kingsland High St. The station closed in 1991. The architect of the building was London Metropolitan Police architect JD Butler. Nos 32-44 opposite, when put up in 1999 by the Peabody Trust, were nicknamed locally Battenberg Cake.
13/14 Further up on the right is the Eastern Curve Garden, so named as this is where the train line curved south to form a branch line to the City at Broad Street Station in 1865. On the other side of the road is Dalston Square, laid out on the site of the original Dalston Junction Station.
14/14 At the corner with Ashwin St is what was built as the Railway Tavern. This and surrounding buildings are subject to forthcoming development. At the end of Ashwin St, on your right, facing the station from 1882 till it burnt down in 1890 was a Turkish baths. It was open for men and women, 8am-10pm, and cost 1/6 (one shilling and six pence) to get in.