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’.
In the media: Stoke Newington historian documents the fascinating designs of Victorian coal hole covers
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.
PUBLICATION: “Saving Clissold Park: The two-year battle to secure public use” in London Landscapes, Spring 2018 issue
I was very happy to contribute an article about the campaign to save Clissold Park from development in the 1880s to the 2018 Spring edition of London Landscapes; the tri-annual newsletter of the London Parks & Gardens Trust.
EVENT: 28.2.2018 – Stoke Newington History Talks #6: 1846 map, Girls’ education and Victorian photographers
65 people braved the snow on a freezing night to attend the 6th Stoke Newington History Talks event, which was held in the beautiful former New River filtration plant, now West Reservoir Centre, on the bank of the West Reservoir in Green Lanes. The event also doubled as a mini local history market with stalls with representative from the Clissold Park User Group, Abney Park Trust, Hackney Society and Hackney Archives selling merchandise.
I had a great time presenting my research into the evolution of Stoke Newington Church Street (1847-2017) at a Nerd Nite London event in January in front of 200 people. My talk was followed by two brilliant talks about 3D printing and quantum physics! It’s a terrific event which takes place once a month. Highly recommended.
Inspired by a meeting I attended at William Patten School regarding a planned local heritage project, I created Sgt. Pepper-like poster summarising 60 individuals connected with Stoke Newington from the last 6 centuries. Some were born in Stoke Newington, others lived in the area for period or helped shape its architectural landscape.
You can download high quality version here. Recommended minimum print size is A3.
EVENT: 30.11.2017 – Stoke Newington History Talks #5: New River, Save the Reservoirs Campaign and photos from the Hackney Archives
The 5th Stoke Newington History Talks event was held at St Matthias Hall to accommodate the growing popularity since I organised the first event on the 28th of November 2016. The hall was packed and it was fascinating hearing about the history of the New River from Nick Higham and the story of the campaign to save the New River Reservoirs from Monica Blake.
EVENT: 28.09.2017 – Local churches – An event organised by the Green Lanes N16 Traders & Residents Association
It was a pleasure talking about the history of some of Stoke Newington’s churches during a local history event, which organised by the Green Lanes Traders & Residents Association. The 2nd talk was by John Wirth, who carried out an impressive research into the history of the Green Lanes Methodist Church.
EVENT: 04.09.2017 – Stoke Newington History Talks #4: Abney Park, Jewish past and photos from the 1930’s
Nearly 70 people attended the 4th Stoke Newington History Talks event. It was an absolute joy listening to John Baldock talk about Abney Park Cemetery and Rachel Kolsky providing fascinating insight into the recent history of the Jewish community in Stoke Newington.