The 12th Stoke Newington History event of the year was held on December 3rd in St Matthias Halls, as usual. All 155 Tickets were snatched in 22 hours, which was incredible. Proceeds from this event were donated to Pets Against Loneliness; a group of volunteers bringing together older members of the community with well-behaved dogs and their owners for the purposes of joy and the alleviation of loneliness.
I had a great time presenting my survey of Stoke Newington coal-hole cover designs as part of the October Nerd Nite London event. It’s very niche and ultra-geeky, which is why Nerd Nite is the ideal forum to share my interest in these decorative cast iron beauties.
I had the pleasure of presenting my talk about the dramatic campaign to save Clissold Park from development in the Drawing Room in Clissold House as part of a festive Sunday celebrating 130 years of Clissold Park, which coincided with the Open House London weekend. Giving this talk in Clissold House always feels special.
Sam Gelder from the Hackney Gazette wrote an article about my recent photo-survey of the 17 surviving street signs that include ‘Borough of Stoke Newington’, meaning they date back from the the period of 1900-1965 when Stoke Newington was an independent metropolitan borough. I’ve been fascinated by these old signs for a while and finally got around to documenting them all. You can read the online version of the article here.
The 11th Stoke Newington History Talks take place on Sep 10th and was jammed packed with 120 people. The talks by guest speakers Nick Higham and Anne Wilkinson were absolutely fascinating. I’m glad I finally got a chance to share my extensive collection of material about Stoke Newington seven long-lost cinemas. I’m glad that seating capacity will be increased to 140-150 for the next event in order to accommodate demand.
I had a great time presenting a Stoke Newington history talk for the 3rd year running as part of the Stoke Newington Literary Festival. This year I presented the story of the campaign to save Clissold Park in the mid 1880s. The Gallery Hall in Edwards Lane was completely packed with 135 people and I’m glad I got a chance to share this remarkable story with that many people.
The 10th Stoke Newington History Talks event was a packed event as always in St Matthias Halls. It was great seeing so many familiar faces from previous events and both Ruth and Laurie captivated the audience with their descriptions of the Willows Estate on Carysfort Road and the Hackney Brook respectively.
The 9th Stoke Newington History Event was held on the 25th of February in St Matthias Halls. It was great to see the hall packed and as always, the evening offered an eclectic mix of topics, from Stoke Newington’s pub rock venues of the 1970s, to an unseen collection of photos of the area taken by Frederick Arthur Wirth to my virtual tour of Church Street using archival material.
I became interested in red pillar postboxes after reading about them in a book about London street furniture. I was intrigued to see how many pillar postboxes in Stoke Newington might be considered rare. More generally, I was also interested to see the number of postboxes by Royal Cypher, which gives a rough indication when the postbox was installed.
18 months ago I had an idea to install a plaque on Barton House GP, the site of the home of Clissold Park co-founder Joseph Beck, who led the campaign in the mid 1880s to save the park from development. While there’s a commemorative fountain in the park to honour Joseph Beck and his ‘partner-in-crime’ John Runtz, I felt it would fitting to also have commemorate Beck’s important achievement outside the park, where Beck lived.
18 months later it’s a reality thanks to donations from the Clissold Park User Group and Beck’s family. The plaque was unveiled on November 10th, 3pm outside Barton House GP by Beck’s great great great grandchildren.
The 8th (and 2-year anniversary!) Stoke Newington History Talks event was held in St Matthias Halls on November 14th. All 100 tickets sold out in 12 hours. It was a great event in front of packed audience. I talked about Stoke Newington’s historical boundaries and how present perceptions of Stoke Newington are subjective and vary considerably, depending on who you ask. Simon Cole talked about Dissent and Mike Steele provided an insight into George Duckworth’s notes about Stoke Newington as part of Charles Booth’s poverty survey of London in the late 19th century.
It was a pleasure talking to Helen Mulroy from BBC London News about my photo mash-up project. I love how the mash-ups were overlayed onto the footage to create a ‘mash-up in motion’.
‘Stoke Newington historian documents the fascinating designs of Victorian coal hole covers’ /The Hackney Gazette
My survey of Stoke Newington coal hole covers made it to the Hackney Gazette. It’s great seeing the photos in print in a double-spread. You can access the article online here.
I completed a photo survey of coal holes covers within the boundaries. I only started notice these case iron objects a few months ago and have been fascinated to see so many different patterns and designs so I decided to document all of them. I checked every Victorian house in every street in the boundaries of the former borough of Stoke Newington (More interesting than it sounds). Found 76 different ones and I estimate about 600 overall. You can download an A2 poster here.
The 7th Stoke Newington History Talks event, which was held on June 6th in St Matthias Halls was one of my favourites so far. Kay Trainor, who co-founded the 3-week Stoke Newington Midsummer Festival in the 1990s talked about the festival fascinating story while Ian Castle, describe the riveting details of the German Zeppelin raid on Stoke Newington in 1915. My talk ‘Look up, look down: Spotting local history everywhere’ included examples of various relics and remnants in the built environment from coalhole covers, boundary marker plates and bootscrapers.
It was great being part of the Stoke Newington Literary Festival again and talking to a packed Gallery Hall on Edward’s Lane about Alexander Guttridge’s fascinating photos of Stoke Newington in the 1930s.
EXHIBITION: Echoes of the Past moved to the Stoke Newington Public Library
My exhibition of photo mash-ups ‘Echoes of the Past’ is now on display in the Stoke Newington Public Library in Stoke Newington Church Street. The exhibition was originally displayed in the Hackney Museum in the summer of 2017 before moving to the Hackney Archives in January 2018. It will remain in the Stoke Newington Public Library for the foreseeable future.