30.11.2017 – Stoke Newington History Talks #5: New River, Save the Reservoirs Campaign and photos from the Hackney Archives

SNHT no.5

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.

A 20min video of my talk where I presented photos of Stoke Newington Church from the Hackney Archives collection.

My presentation slides:

Nick Higham presentation slides:

Monica Blake’s presentation slides:

Photos from the event:

04.09.2017 – Stoke Newington History Talks #4: Abney Park, Jewish past and photos from the 1930’s

Alexandar Guttridges’ photos from the 1930s by Amir Dotan

Alexandar Guttridge, a local resident whose family ran two shops on Church Street took photos of the street and surrounding area during the 1930s. His 18 photos provide a unique and fascinating view of the area in the 1930s as old small houses were being replaced with new modern blocks of flats. Stoke Newington history enthusiast (StokeNewingtonHistory.com) and organiser of the Stoke Newington History Talks events, Amir will present this special collection of photos, providing context and supporting material to bring them to life.

The History and burials of Abney Park Cemetery by John Baldock 

The first nondenominational cemetery in Europe, Abney Park Cemtery is one of Stoke Newington’s most famous and cherished landmarks. It opened in 1840 as a garden cemetery on the site of a vast 18th century arboretum, and holds many fascinting stories. John Balsock, the Abney Park Trust Office Manager, will share some of these as well as the history of the cemetery. John moved to Stoke Newington in 2008, and started volunteering at Abney Park in Feb 2010. He fell in love with its quirky beauty and the peace and solitude it provided and has been employed by Abney Park Trust in Oct 2010. He’s been the Abney Park Trust Office Manager since.

Jewish Stoke Newington by Rachel Kolsky

Today, the ultra-orthodox community predominates but with its neighbourhood park, numerous synagogues and shops, this tour provides an insight into the early Jewish migration from the East End northwards and community initiatives such as maternity homes, schools and social housing associated with communal leaders such as the Bearsted and Schonfeld families. Engaging, knowledgeable and well-researched Rachel Kolsky is a prize-winning London Blue Badge Tourist Guide (www.golondontours.com) who is passionate about exploring Jewish heritage. She has co-authored two books, ‘Jewish London’ and ‘Whitechapel in 50 Buildings’.

22.06.2017 – Talks at the Tower: Saved by the People: The Creation of Clissold Park


It was truly a special experience giving a talk in Hackney’s 16th century St Augustin’e Tower. On a hot July evening, with the old tower clock chiming in the background in a small room drenched in history. Thanks a lot to Laurie Elks, the organiser of the event who gave me the oppotuniry to share in a unique location the story of how Clissold Park was saved.

Saved by the People: The Creation of Clissold Park

Clissold Park, the jewel of Stoke Newington, only exists because of a passionate campaign in the 1880s to save to the estate from development. As the last remaining open space in the area, the prospect of losing it to the “jerry builder” prompted concerned local residents to mobilise. The dramatic story can now be told for the first time through the recent discovery of the private papers of the chief campaigner, Joseph Beck.

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The view from outside the Tower and



Stoke Newington Rail Station – History display

A proposal I presented to the Stoke Newington Station manager for a station history display inside the station, utilising an otherwise empty and uninspiring blank space. Currently researching the best solution to print and display the material, taking into account the risk of vandalism. A poster on a stand in the entrance hall also looks like a possibility. Hopefully this project will become a reality soon.


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