Posts Tagged ‘Homerton’

Homerton to Hackney Wick

Monday, May 9th, 2022

Homerton to Hackney Wick – This walk I made in October 1988 continues from where my previous post Morning Lane, Paint, Handbags and Printers ended.

Homerton High St, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-01-Edit_2400
Homerton High St, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-01

Immediately east of Mackintosh Lane on the south side of Homerton High St at No 178-84 was an unusual arched brick wall, which attracted my attention. Thistle House at 178-82 was a hostel with 33 rooms in multiple occupation. Part of the wall shown in this picture has now been demolished to allow storage of large rubbish bins. The wall goes in front of two distinct houses, both of which have one circular window – but in the joined house it is above the second floor window.

Barnabas Rd, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-63-Edit_2400
Barnabas Rd, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-63


Barnabas Rd runs south from Homerton High Street past Homerton Station. In 1988 the premises of printers Alan Moor & Co at No 24 was up for auction. It is still there and remains a handsome villa – my photograph doesn’t really do it justice. I suspect it dates from around 1860 when Barnabas Road was called Church Road, (it was renamed in 1936) but can find no details. The rather ugly porch has I think been extended since 1988.

The Immaculate Heart of Mary & St Dominic, RC, Church, Kenworthy Rd, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-64-Edit_2400
The Immaculate Heart of Mary & St Dominic, RC, Church, Kenworthy Rd, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-64

Originally called the The Church of the Immaculate Heart and St. Dominic it was designed by C A Buckler and built on what was until 1939 Sidney Rd two years after a mission was founded here in 1873. The church, completed in 1883, was badly damaged by bombing and fire in 1941 and was rebuilt in 1955-57. My picture shows it with shops on the corner of Wick Rd, where there is still an Indian takeaway.

Hackney Hospital, Homerton High St, Kenworthy Rd, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-65-Edit_2400
Hackney Hospital, Homerton High St, Kenworthy Rd, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-65

I went up Kenworthy Road back to Homerton High St, stopping on the corner of Ward Lane to make this picture of the East Wing of Hackney hospital, which I think is Pavilion B, built in 1880-82, designed by William Finch, a typical design for the time with long airy ‘Nightingale Wards’ and towers at the corner containing sanitary facilities. (I stayed on a similar ward in a south London hospital in 2003 just before it was demolished – and collapsed in the disconnected sanitary area after an operation, fortunately in reach of the red emergency cord which I came around sufficiently to pull and bring medical staff running to my aid.) Although Hackney Hospital closed in 1995, parts are still in use for mental health services and a notice calls this the John Howard Centre, which provides low and medium secure mental health services for North East London.

Shops, Homerton High St, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-66-Edit_2400
Shops, Homerton High St, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-66

These buildings are still there at 201-205 Homerton High Street, though in different hands. Back in 1988 a Bookmakers next to a Turf Accountant (a rather upmarket term for the same thing) seemed excessive, while F A MURRELLS business was completely hidden by shutters. It seemed to be some kind of miniature business, the whold width of the property perhaps around 7 ft with a tiny door only suitable for a slim child in the shutters. Whatever was going on inside – or rather had once gone on inside – obviously involved something of some value, worth protecting with an AFA Burglar Alarm, perhaps a jewellers or pawnbrokers? But this tiny shop had obviously been fairly recently sold – and now appears to be a residential property.

The Adam & Eve, pub, Homerton High St, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-51-Edit_2400
The Adam & Eve, pub, Homerton High St, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-51

There has been an Adam & Eve tavern in Homerton High Street since at least 1735, but its fine frontage is dated from 1915 and was recently restored. Its cream terracotta front includes a large relief showing very chastely the couple before the fall but underneath an apple tree. In 1988 it was a Taylor Walker pub (though Taylor Walker had been taken over and closed in 1960), now it is described as a gastro-pub, with fresh food from the farm daily and offering “CURING – MICROBREWERY – ALLOTMENT”. The Taylor Walker pub sign was rather better and had above the field gun that came from the Clerkenwell Cannon brewery they took over in 1929.

East Cross Route, Hackney Wick, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-10d-55-Edit_2400
East Cross Route, Hackney Wick, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-10d-55

The East Cross Route was a part of the disastrous Ringways plan for concentric motorway rings around London. This was one of two major parts of the of the innermost Ringway 1 which actually got built between 1967 and 1973. The cost and environmental devastation caused by the building of the Westway in North Kensington led to a huge backlash which led to the cancellation of the remaining parts of the scheme.

The East Cross Route was less controversial, partly because it was in East London and most politicians and others didn’t much care about what happened there, but also because it largely replaced an existing rail line which had long separated the communities on each side. For much of its length there was in any case little between the road and the natural boundary of the River Lea and the Lea Navigation.

There were relatively few roads which ran across the area, and the links across the new road were maintained with both Wick Lane and Wick Road still leading to Hackney Wick. Olf Ford Road no longer led to Old Ford, except by a footbridge, but for vehicles the detour was relatively short. The bridge I was on when I made this picture carries a footpath across Victoria Park from Cadogan Terrace to Rothbury Road in Hackney Wick. The Trowbridge Estate built in 1965-9 had 7 rather striking 21-storey tower blocks. Demolition of these had begun with Northaird Poiont in 1985 and all had gone by 1996.

The final post in this series, appearing shortly, will include my pictures from Hackney Wick where my walk ended.


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Morning Lane, Paint, Handbags and Printers

Sunday, May 8th, 2022

Morning Lane, Paint, Handbags and Printers – continuing my walk in October 1988 from where I finished the previous post, Shops, Houses, A Library, Car Sales 1988 on Morning Lane in Hackney.

Morning Lane, Hackney, 1988  88-10c-33-Edit_2400
Morning Lane, Hackney, 1988 88-10c-33

This row of shops is at 163-173 Morning Lane, a few yards west of Ponsford Street, and still looks much the same, although 173 at right, derelict in 1988 and its doors and windows covered with corrugated iron sheeting has been rebuilt with two extra floors, one set back in the roof, and has lost or covered up the rather attractive doorway between it and 171. Surprisingly Sang Kee is still there, with a rather brighter shop front, though the CHINESE FOOD TO TAKE AWAY is no longer advertised as HOT. The bookmakers and Property Consultants have closed, and although there were various fast-food outlets which replaced the Morning Lane Fish Bar I think these properties are now residential.

Morning Lane, Hackney, 1988  88-10c-35-Edit_2400
Morning Lane, Hackney, 1988 88-10c-35

This rather attractive building 1930s building on Morning Lane was demolished in 2008-9 to build the Cardinal Pole Catholic School. The school was named for the last Catholic archbishop of Canterbury, Cardinal Reginal Pole, archbishop from 1556 to 1558; the new building brought together the school which was previously on Parin three sites and was a part of the Hackney Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme. When I photographed it was in use by Hackney Council and the row of posters outside warned of the dangers to local public services of government rate capping.

Morning Lane, Hackney, 1988 88-10c-21-Edit_2400
Morning Lane, Hackney, 1988 88-10c-21

Bergers came to Hackney from Shadwell in 1780, making dyestuffs and became a major manufacturer of paint and varnish from the 1860s. After various mergers etc they became Berger, Jensen & Nicholson and finally a part of Crown Paints, but they left the area in 1970. Most of their extensive buildings were demolished, but this handsome 1934 laboratory building at 205 Morning Lane survived until 2008, being used as a health centre and later taken over by Hackney Social Services.

Persaud Handbags Ltd, Rosina St, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10c-24-Edit_2400
Persaud Handbags Ltd, Rosina St, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10c-24

There is still a carwash on Rosina St, a short cul-de-sac south of Homerton High Street, though it looks rather different, and rather to my surprise the factory building behind is still standing, its front entrance in Shepherd’s Lane, and looking rather more dilapidated. Spitalfields Life ran a story, At Persauds’ Handbag Factory in 2011 showing work continuing in the building still run by the Persaud family under the name J&R Designs. Unfortunately the company was wound up in 2016, though the works appeared to be still in use in 2021.

Sedgwick St, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10c-11-Edit_2400
Sedgwick St, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10c-11

Sedgwick St also leads south from Homerton High St, with a footpath at its end leading under the North London Line at Homerton Station. I think everything in this photograph has now been demolished.

St Barnabas Hall, School. Church, High Street, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10c-13-Edit_2400
St Barnabas Hall, School, Church, High Street, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10c-13

St Barnabas Church was built on Homerton High St in 1845-7, designed in a late medieval style in Kentish Ragstone by Hackney-born Arthur Ashpitel (1807-69). The adjoining St Barnabas Hall and Schools were added in 1884, also in ragstone but in a Tudor style. According to its Grade II listing, part of the costs were provided by “Joshua Watson (1771-1855), the leader of an influential group of Evangelical churchmen known as the Hackney Phalanx.” The vicarage, forecourt wall and war memorial have separate Grade II listings.

Mackintosh Lane, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10c-15-Edit_2400
Mackintosh Lane, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10c-15

Mackintosh Lane is a narrow road parallel to Sedgwick Street a few yards to the east, with the two streets joining at the southern end immediately north of Homerton Station on the North London Line, now a part of London’s Overground. The buildings on the left – the east side of the street – which have a hanging sign for a printing works called either MB or M3 Printers have been replaced by flats, though one building just visible at the end of the street remains. Those at the right remain, extensively refurbished around 2013.

In 1940 the east side of Mackintosh Lane as listed on London Wiki was home to the following
1 Apex Insulation Co Ltd, insulating material manufacturers
1 Excelvac Flask Co, vacuum flask makers
1 Gainsborough Sheet Metal Works
3 Rowlands (Homerton) Ltd, leather goods manufacturers
5,5A & 6 Hirst Harold, leather manufacturer
6 Richford & Co Ltd, iron founders
Orcene Co Ltd (The), detergents
7 Parapads Ltd, tailors padding manufacturers
Cornish & Holland, pianoforte key manufacturers (Nestor works)
Marshall F H, cabinet maker.

Now Googling Mackingtosh Lane reveals a non-profit art gallery and “a truly unique wedding venue” in a”1950’s building … once a print factory loading bay”. Times change.


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Hackney Housing

Thursday, February 20th, 2020

I took a short walk in Hackney before the protest outside the town hall to remind me exactly where Marian Court was, just behind the rather empty ‘fashion village’, an implant into the area with government money, £1.5m of Boris Johnson’s regeneration funding after the 2011 riots. It seems if anything to have been an expensive way to prove that gentrification isn’t an effective way to combat racist policing with a shoot to kill policy, and has failed to generate the promised jobs.

Marian Court appears to have been a well-designed small estate built for the Metropolitan Borough of Hackney in the late 1950s. It was built to the standards of the time and was in need of modernisation, and had been allowed to deteroriate. But as on many other council estates, rather than investing in the relatively modest cost of the necessary refurbishment, the council decided on an expensive scheme involving total demolition and the building of roughly twice as many housing units on the site by private developers, with a large proportion for sale at high market prices and others also at high prices as ‘affordable’ or shared ownership properties. Reports say that despite the roughly doubling of the number of units there will be 40% less social housing than at present.

The replacement flats in such schemes are almost always built to lower space standards than the existing properties, and demolition and rebuild involves an enormous environmental impact. Given our current problems with global warming and the impending threat of human extinction unless we take urgent actions to avoid this, demolition of existing buildings such as this should now be a rare last resort.

The human impact is of course also huge, with the estate being emptied. Those in social housing will have been offered rehousing, but usually in far less convenient places than this, targeted in part because of its central location and close transport links, and also probably with less security of tenure and higher rents. Leaseholders typically get compensation at far less than the cost of a similar property in the same area – or the new properties.

Schemes such as this effectively lead to social cleansing, despite the promises often made (but seldom kept) by local councils about residents being able to stay in the area or move back into the redeveloped properties. Those on low incomes are forced to move to the peripheries of the borough, to outlying borough or sometimes well outside London, away from jobs, schools, friends and other links in the community.

The protest at Hackney Town Hall, organised by East End Sisters Uncut and London Renters Union was over the failure by Hackney Council to provide suitable rehousing for two families remaining in Marian Court, both of whom attended and spoke at the event, and who seem to have been victimised because they particular housing needs and have stood up for their rights. You can see more about both of them and their issues with the council at Hackney don’t victimise housing activists.

And a few pictures of the area including Marian Court in Hackney


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