Hackney, Portrait of a Community 1967 – 2017

Published by The Hackney Society and edited by Laurie Elks, this wonderful book was created to mark the 50th anniversary of The Hackney Society.

Enlightening and informative, its pages are filled with a collection of stories, observations, reflections and memories, presented in chronological order by authors who draw on their own experiences and expertise.

The book takes us through the evolution of the borough over the past 50 years, but it also looks towards the future, posing questions about sustainability, planning, social housing, regeneration vs gentrification, education, diversity and culture.

Ridley Road Market Stall 1980 © Neil Martinson

An array of fabulous images are dotted throughout the book. Poignant and well chosen, they add richness and depth, reminding us of what once was, and nudging us to consider what the future holds. It’s interesting to ‘see’ how the landscape has changed, and yet, in some ways, how it’s stayed the same.

Lesneys Matchbox Toys Factory © Neil Martinson

Tim O’Rourke at the Cock Tavern – voted London’s most beard-friendly pub © Neil Martinson

Rather than being a snapshot in time, or a ‘frozen moment’, the book embraces both the past and the future with clear eyes. It does not shy away from some of the more difficult points in the borough’s history and acknowledges the fact that the borough is constantly evolving.

It’s an absolute treasure – and a great gift – for anyone with an interest in history and a love of Hackney; perfect to curl up with on a cold, winter’s evening.

You can order copies from The Hackney Society’s website or pick one up from independent bookshops. It’s also available at Sublime in Victoria Park, J Glinertin in Wilton Way, E8 and The Hackney Museum. Happy reading!

The Hackney Society is a membership organisation of Hackney residents and friends, run by volunteers. Its aim is to promote the highest standards in design and protect Hackney’s unique heritage. Find out more here: hackneysociety.org

Cover image: The last days of Broad Street Station ©Gordon Edgar