03.12.2019 – Stoke Newington History Talks #12

SNHT no.12

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.

Wendy Forrest taking questions from the audienceIMG_2419

Lucy Madison taking questions from the audienceIMG_2420

130 Years of Clissold Park by Amir Dotan

… and here’s the audio slideshow version recorded during the talk

Thinker, Sailor, Soldier, Spy – Mapping the Ghosts of Stoke Newington Past by Lucy Madison

Small Builders of Stoke Newington by Wendy Forrest

12.09.2019 – ‘Old road signs should be protected’ – Stoke Newington historian / The Hackney Gazette


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 photos I took of all the street signs can be viewed here. 

10.09.2019 – Stoke Newington History Talks #11

SNHT no.11

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.

Stoke Newington’s seven long-lost cinemas by Amir Dotan

Victorian gardeners of Stoke Newington by Anne Wilkinson

The Blitz and after: How they rebuilt Stoke Newington after World War Two… even the bits the bombs had missed by Nick Higham 

The first 10min of Nick Higham talk about WW2 bomb damage in Stoke Newington:

A few panoramic photos from the event:


20.05.2019 – Stoke Newington History Talks #10

SNHT no.10

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.


25.02.2019 – Stoke Newington History Talks #9

SNHT no.9

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.

Here are the presentation slides of the three talks and videos of two of them:

A Visual History of Stoke Newington Church Street by Amir Dotan

A Stoke Newington Life:Frederick Arthur Wirth’s Unseen Photos 1920-1970. By John Stuart Wirth

Stoke N’ Roll: Stoke Newington musical heritage by Craig McLean



Surveying Stoke Newington’s red pillar postboxes 

SN Post Office Pillar Box survey

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.

You can read more about this little project in article I wrote in the Hackney Gazette.