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 Tavern’s small function room in Stoke Newington Church Street.

Due to increasing popularity the event moved to the White Hart in the High St, and after four events moved again, this time to St Matthias Halls in Wordsworth Road, where it’s been held since with the exception of three online events during lockdown.

To date there have been 33 guest speakers and 51 talks. A few guest speakers gave two talks and at each event I give a talk as well. The event’s mailing list has 1,300+ subscribers and tickets sell out within a day, so don’t wait too long to book a ticket!

SNHT no.1
The first event on 28.11.2016 was in the function room of the Clarence Tavern in Stoke Newington Church Street
Events 2-5 in 2017 were held in the function room of the White Hart in Stoke Newington High Street
Since 2018, apart from event no. 6 which was held in the West Reservoir and events no. 14-16 that were online during the pandemic, all the events were held in St Matthias Halls in Wordsworth Road
Three events (14-16) were held online during the pandemic

The next event

The next Stoke Newington History Talks will be on 20th April 2023. Book tickets here.


Ticket sales are used to raise funds for a different local charity each time. The speakers donate their time for free. The last 10 events raised £5,983 for local charities, with the proceeds from ticket sales for event no. 17 in December 2020 donated to The local charities were: 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. 


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


Jenny and I thoroughly enjoyed your last gig, we were treated to so much information – too much for my aged brain to retain, so I’m looking forward to seeing the video of the event to refresh my memory.


Thanks so much for a fascinating evening – many new facts/aspects to muse over! All well-presented as ever & funding a worthy cause. Surprisingly complex boundaries on our doorsteps! So many pubs in Howard Rd! The ‘Jazz-Line’ – what an eye opener.


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.


Past events

Below are all the past Stoke Newington History Talk events. All contain the presenters’ presentation slides and in some cases there are also videos, recordings of online presentations, audio slideshows and photos from the events. 


No. 17 – 12.12.2022

  • The History of Stoke Newington Street Names by Amir Dotan
  • The Boundaries of Stoke Newington – From Parish to Borough by Tom Hilverkus
  • A History of the Railways in Stoke Newington by Simon Kendler

View event materials


No. 16 – 05.08.2021

  • The architects who built Stoke Newington by Amir Dotan
  • The gentrification of Stoke Newington: The 1987 Stoke Newington Lifestyle Guide by Martin Bailey
  • Woodberry Down: the Stoke Newington Estate envisaged as a model for Britain’s post-war welfare state by John Boughton

View event materials

No. 15 – 06.04.2021

  • 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

View event materials


No. 14 – 03.12.2020

  • 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

View event materials

No. 13 – 02.03.2020

  • 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

View event materials


No. 12 – 03.12.2019

  • 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

View event materials 

No. 11 – 10.09.2019

  • 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

View event materials

No. 10 – 20.05.2019

  • 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

View event materials

No. 9 – 25.02.2019

  • 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

View event materials


No. 8 – 14.11.2018

  • 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

View event materials 

No. 7 – 06.06.2018

  • 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

View event materials

No. 6 – 28.02.2018

  • 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

View event materials


No. 5 – 30.11.2017

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

View event materials 

 No. 4 – 04.09.2017

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

View event materials

No. 3 – 22.05.2017

  • 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

View event materials

No. 2 – 27.02.2017

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

View event materials


No. 1 – 28.11.2016

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

View event materials