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The London Borough of Hackney is a London borough in North-East London, and forms part of inner London.

Borough of contrasts[]

Between 1999 and 2001 serious concerns were expressed about Hackney's performance as a council by the Audit Commission, and many aspects of council services were failing. This led to considerable negative press coverage that still colours perceptions of the area, but is at odds with the changing realities of the borough. In 2005, MORI identified that residents were significantly more satisfied than they had been in 2002, and in 2007 the Audit Commission showed that improvements continue to be made in council performance, with the council now achieving 'three stars', and described as 'improving strongly'.

While every ward remains among the 10% most deprived in the country, with 47% of children living in low income households, the ethnic diversity of the area creates a vibrant inner city area of London. Hackney has a reputation as one of the most crime-affected London boroughs, but cooperation between local police and council has resulted in the borough experiencing a bigger drop in crime than in any other London borough in the four year period up to 2007 (28% reduction).

The south western tip of the borough is adjacent to the City and close to the Broadgate development. In this area some office development has taken place within the borough boundary. Also in the south west is Hoxton and Shoreditch which are central to the London arts scene and home to numerous clubs, bars, shops and restaurants, much of which is centred on Hoxton Square. The development of Shoreditch and Hoxton caused land value to increase in the area such that developers looked to other parts of the borough for development. Much of Hackney is inner-city in character and in places like Dalston large housing estates now sit side-by-side with gated communities.

The historical and administrative heart of Hackney is the area roughly surrounding and extending north from Mare Street known as Hackney Central. Hackney Town Hall Square has been developed as a new 'creative quarter'. Surrounding the public square itself is the Ocean music venue, a new Library, Technology and Learning Centre, Hackney Museum and the refurbished Hackney Empire. A new town hall complex is being built behind the existing building. South Hackney abuts Victoria Park (which is in neighbouring Tower Hamlets) and terraced Victorian and Edwardian housing stock has survived in the area.

In the north of the borough are Clapton, Stamford Hill and Stoke Newington. In the east is the large open space of the Hackney Marshes and the districts of Hackney Wick and Homerton. There is some declining light industry around the River Lea (the eastern boundary) and land is planned to be re-used for the 2012 Summer Olympics, making the area one of the Host Boroughs for the games.

There are 1,300 listed buildings in Hackney, including the iconic grade II* Hackney Empire, Tudor Sutton House, and the grade I medieval St Augustine's Tower. The Borough contains 25 conservation areas including Clapton Square, and many urban open-spaces including Clapton Common and Clissold Park. Conservation areas also protect large areas of Georgian and Victorian housing, and areas of industrial heritage.


The borough was formed in 1965 from the area of the former metropolitan boroughs of Hackney, Shoreditch and Stoke Newington. The new council adopted elements of its constituents in the new coat of arms; Shoreditch by three bells from Shoreditch Church (recalled in the rhyme Oranges and Lemons), Stoke Newington by two trees bearing fruit, and Hackney by the eight pointed cross of the principal landowners of the parish in the middle-ages, the Order of St John of Jerusalem. The shield is surmounted by a representation of St Augustin's Tower, the remains of Hackney's former parish church in the historical centre of Hackney. The motto is Justitia turris nostra, translated as Being fair is what makes us strong. The Queen's portrait hangs in the council chamber, wearing the robes of the Venerable Order of Saint John.

Individual parts of the borough have a rich history. The Roman road, Ermine Street forms the western edge of the borough. Much of the rest of the land was covered with open oak and hazel woodlands, with marshland around the rivers and streams that crossed the area. Hackney lay in the Catevallauni tribal territory. The eastern boundary of the borough is formed by the River Lee. This was an ancient boundary between pre-Roman tribes, and in the Roman era, was tidal as far as Hackney Wick and continued as the boundary between the historic counties of Middlesex and Essex.

In the Tudor period the lands of the religious order were seized and Hackney became a retreat for nobility around Hackney Central and Homerton, including Henry VIII's palace by the Lower Clapton/Lee Bridge roundabout, where BSix Sixth Form College/Brooke House School stands today. Sutton House, on Homerton High Street, is the oldest surviving dwelling in Hackney, originally built as Bryck Place for Tudor diplomat Sir Ralph Sadleir in 1535. The village of Hackney flourished from the Tudor to late Georgian periods as a rural retreat – brought to an end by the construction of the railway in the 1850s. Notable residents have included Thomas Sutton, Samuel Courtauld, Joseph Priestly, a governor of the Bank of England and the founding director of the Honourable East India Company.

London's first Tudor theatres were built in Shoreditch and the Gunpowder Plot was first exposed at nearby Hoxton. Many grand houses stood in Stoke Newington and Stamford Hill, with the latter providing a haven for Hackney's many orthodox Jewish residents from the 1930s. Alfred Hitchcock made many of his first films in Hoxton at the Gainsborough Studios in Poole street.

After industrialisation, extensive post-war development and immigration the area is now gentrifying its large stock of Georgian and Victorian terraces and new apartments, warehouse conversions and period restorations are being built. Despite development it is inner London's 'greenest borough' and London Transport's 'best bike borough 2006', with 62 parks and open spaces, covering 815acre. Seven Hackney parks have now achieved Green Flag status. Hackney Marshes play host to the largest collection of football pitches in Europe; and will be the site of part of the 2012 Summer Olympics.


Unlike most other English local authorities, the Borough is now governed by a directly-elected Mayor who is also the political leader of the council. The Mayor – Philip Glanville since 2016 – is supported by a Cabinet, Councillors and a Speaker, who fulfils the civic and ceremonial duties previously undertaken by the (non-political) mayor.

The mayor and borough council have a four-year term of office. The most recent elections were held on 3 May 2018. The Labour Party candidate, Philip Glanville, was re-elected as mayor. The borough council consists of 57 councillors and following the 2018 elections there are 52 Labour councillors and 5 Conservative Party members.

Hackney London Borough Council Elections 2018
Ward Number of councillors Parties
Brownswood 2 2 Lab
Cazenove 3 3 Lab (gained from Liberal Democrats)
Clissold 3 3 Lab
Dalston 2 2 Lab
De Beauvoir 2 2 Lab
Hackney Central 3 3 Lab
Hackney Downs 3 3 Lab
Hackney Wick 3 3 Lab
Haggerston 3 3 Lab
Homerton 3 3 Lab
Hoxton East and Shoreditch 3 3 Lab
Hoxton West 3 3 Lab
King's Park 3 3 Lab
Lea Bridge 3 3 Lab
London Fields 3 3 Lab
Shacklewell 2 2 Lab
Springfield 3 3 Con
Stamford Hill West 2 2 Con (Con gained 1 from Lab)
Stoke Newington 3 3 Lab
Victoria 3 2 Lab
Woodberry Down 2 2 Lab

Demographics of Hackney[]

According to an estimate of mid-2016 the population of the borough is 273,500. In the 2011 the ethnicity of the population was given as:

  • 36.2% White British
  • 2.1% White Irish
  • 0.2% White Gypsy or Irish Traveller
  • 16.2% Other White
  • 2% White & Black Caribbean
  • 1.2% White & Black African
  • 1.2% White & Asian
  • 2% Other Mixed
  • 3.1% Indian
  • 0.8% Pakistani
  • 2.5% Bangladeshi
  • 1.4% Chinese
  • 2.7% Other Asian
  • 11.4% Black African
  • 7.8% Black Caribbean
  • 3.9% Other Black
  • 0.7% Arab
  • 4.6% Other

There is also a large Turkish population in Hackney, mainly whom are Turkish Cypriot. Turkish-speaking communities are located in all parts of the Borough, though there is a greater concentration in North and Central parts of the Borough. Stoke Newington, Newington Green and Dalston have the greatest concentration of population and in particular Green Lanes, running from Manor House down to Newington Green Roundabout, has a high concentration of businesses and shops.

132,931 (66%) of the resident population were born in the UK. A further 10,095 (5%) were born in other parts of Europe, and the remaining 59,798 (29%) born elsewhere in the world.

The 2001 census also showed Christianity as the biggest religion in Hackney, with (44%) Christian; (18%) Muslim; (4%) Jewish; and (3%) belong to other religions. A further (19%) stated no religion, and (12%) did not state a religion.

32% of householders are owner–occupiers.


In 2002, the borough entered into a ten year contract with the Learning Trust, an independent collaborative body that organises education for Hackney's 27,000 pupils in over 70 schools, nurseries and play centres. The trust was set up in response to an OFSTED report that identified failings in the then existing system. Two of London's most successful City Academies are in Hackney with another two in development and plans to rebuild or renovate every other Hackney school by 2016.


Hackney is currently poorly served by London Underground services. Only one station, Manor House is located in the Borough, on its extreme north-westen fringe on the boundary with Haringey. Old Street sits only a few yards south-west of the Borough in Islington.

Transport for London has extended the East London Line northwards through the borough, reusing some of the abandoned line between Dalston Junction and Broad Street, with stations at Shoreditch High Street, Hoxton, Haggerston and Dalston Junction. When completee in June 2010, the line was handed over to London Overground, who will run services from Hackney to South London. Crossrail 2 would provide a direct Underground line to serve Hackney, Dalston and Homerton although it is now undecided whether this would be operated by the London Underground or as a main line.

The North London Line is operated by TfL, as a part of the London Overground. The Lea Valley Lines also passes through Hackney:

Lea Valley Lines[]

Hackney stations (north to south)

Districts and postcodes[]

The following is a list of places located within the London Borough of Hackney

Postcode districts[]

Postcode districts include EC1, EC2, E1, E2, E5, E8, E9, E10, N1, N4, N15, N16.

Cultural attractions and institutions[]

See also List of Mayors of Hackney

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