Stoke Newington History Talks

In 2016 Sam Roberts of suggested we start running an evening featuring short talks about Stoke Newington’s history. I liked the idea and organised the first event later that year. 25 people showed up and filled the Clarence’s small function room in Stoke Newington Church Street. The venue had to change twice to accommodate the growing popularity of the events and before Covid-19 they were held in St. Matthias Halls in Wordsworth Road. At present the event is online and delivered via YouTube. The event’s mailing list has 1,100+ subscribers and 180 tickets used to sell out within a few days for a live event.  


Ticket sales are used to raise funds for a different local charity each time. The speakers donate their time for free. The last nine events raised £5,248 for local charities (Hackney Winter Night Shelter, North London Action for the Homeless, Pets Against Loneliness, Hackney Migrant Centre, Hackney Foodbank, Hackney Playbus, National Food Service North London, The Literacy Pirates).

The next event


The next Stoke Newington History Talks will be on Dec 12th in St Matthias Halls. Book your ticket here:


That was a wonderful evening last night. You said it would be special and it was. That chap talking about electricity … James? He is a star! How can anyone make substations sound interesting. Brilliant. And Mark was just great too … so relaxed and cool and calm. To think that Stokey looked like that at the time I was spending time there. I do not remember anything … we just used to go to the pubs and hear music. No cameras with us of course.


Thank you Amir for the wonderful talk tonight. It was all so interesting! Mark and James were great too so please pass on thanks to them for sharing. Look forward to the next one


I loved your street signs talk last night. In fact all the presenters were great. Thank you so much for your dedication and energy in setting these evenings up.


I can’t be doing with zoom etc, but I sat at my computer all the way through. Marvellous. James is astonishing. How the hell does he hold all that knowledge, all those facts, and convey it all so articulately? He is a born communicator.


Many thanks again for an excellent event. You and your guests help us enjoy and appreciate our common local history and urban landscape in massively entertaining ways.


No. 1 – 28.11.2016: Ghostsigns, Photo Mashups & Pleasure Grounds

  • Photo mashups of Stoke Newington by Amir Dotan
  • Stoke Newington Ghost signs by Sam Roberts
  • Highbury Barn: A brief history by Lee Jackson

Access the presentation slides here

No. 2 – 27.02.2017: Pubs, Simpsons factory, Conservation & Preservation

  • Stoke Newington Pubs: Demolished. Converted. Rebuilt by Amir Dotan
  • Conservation & Preservation by Nick Perry
  • Simpsons Factory by Sean Gubbins

Access the presentation slides here

No. 3 – 22.05.2017: Images from the 70s-80s, Church St property survey, Garden City Movement

  • Stoke Newington Church Street property survey 1847-2017 by Amir Dotan
  • Photos of Stoke Newington from the 1970s by Alan Denney
  • Garden City Movement by Ken Worpole

Access the presentation slides here

 No. 4 – 04.09.2017: Abney Park, Jewish past and photos from the 1930’s

  • Alexandar Guttridges’ photos from the 1930s by Amir Dotan
  • Abney Park Cemetery by John Baldock
  • Jewish Stoke Newington by Rachel Kolsky

Access the presentation slides here

No. 5 – 30.11.2017: New River, Save the Reservoirs Campaign and photos from the Hackney Archives

  • Photos from the Hackney Archives by Amir Dotan
  • The history of the New River by Nick Higham
  • Save the Reservoirs campaign by Monica Blake

Access the presentation slides here

No. 6 – 28.02.2018: 1846 map, Girls’ education and Victorian photographers

  • Before the building boom: Exploring the 1846 map by Amir Dotan
  • Susanna Corder’s pioneering Quaker girls’ school by Peter Daniels
  • Photography in Victorian Stoke Newington by Janet Foster

Access the presentation slides here

No. 7 – 06.06.2018: Zeppelin raid, Stoke Newington Festival and spotting old relics

  • Look up, look down: Spotting local history everywhere by Amir Dotan
  • Reflections on the Stoke Newington Festival 1993-2001 by Kay Trainor
  • “The Germans are here!”: Stoke Newington and the Zeppelin by Ian Castle

Access the presentation slides here

No. 8 – 14.11.2018: Boundaries, Dissent and Charles Booth’s poverty map

  • On maps in and in minds: The boundaries of Stoke Newington by Amir Dotan
  • Dissenting Stoke Newington by Simon Cole
  • Charle Booth’s 1889 poverty map: The Stoke Newington notes by Mike Steele

Access the presentation slides here

No. 9 – 25.02.2019: Musical heritage, unseen photos and Church Street

  • 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

Access the presentation slides here

No. 10 – 20.05.2019: Local history treasure troves, Hackney Brook and the Willows estate

  • Stoke Newington history treasure troves by Amir Dotan
  • The Willows estate: rural to industrial to gated development in Stoke Newington by Ruth Swirsky
  • This Plashy Stream: Memories of the Hackney Brook by Laurie Elks

Access the presentation slides here

No. 11 – 10.09.2019: Cinemas, Post-WW2 rebuild and Victorian gardeners

  • 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

Access the presentation slides here

No. 12 – 03.12.2019: 130 years of Clissold Park, Local Builders and Layers of London project

  • 130 Years of Clissold Park by Amir Dotan
  • Thinker, Sailor, Soldier, Spy – Mapping the Ghosts of Stoke Newington Past by Lucy Madison
  • Small Builders of Stoke Newington by Wendy Forrest

Access the presentation slides here

No. 13 – 02.03.2020: Then & Now animations, Photos from the 80s and Civil Defence

  • Then & Now animations – Exploring Stoke Newington’s changing streetscape by Amir Dotan
  • The Rio Cinema Tape/Slide Newsreel Group – Reporting Stoke Newington in the 1980s by Alan Denney
  • Civil Defence in Stoke Newington – The historic underground world of the Town Hall by Andy Wells

Access the presentation slides here

No. 14 – 03.12.2020: Aerial photos, Fire fighting and living in Clissold House in the 80s-90s

  • Come fly with me – Exploring old aerial photos of Stoke Newington by Amir Dotan
  • Living in Clissold House 1986-99 by Caz Richards
  • Fire stations and fire fighting in Stoke Newington – A quick history by Billy Reading

Access the presentation slides and videos here

No. 15 – 06.04.2021: Street signs, Electricity & Photos from the late 70s

  • A Visual History of Stoke Newington Street Signs by Amir Dotan
  • Powering Stoke Newington – 115 years of electricity supply by James Watson
  • My photos of Stoke Newington in the late 70s by Mark Barnes

Access the videos here