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Hackney Wick

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Hackney/Tower Hamlets

A run-down Leaside industrial area, now divided from the rest of Hackney by the A102(M) East Cross Route. The parish church of St Mary of Eton with St Augustine was founded in 1880 by Eton College, which wanted to perform charitable work in a poor part of London. Hackney Wick has a proud history at the heart of east London’s industrial development. Remarkably, the use of the word ‘petrol’ was pioneered in Hackney Wick, by Carless, Capel and Leonard, who carried on their refining business here for over a hundred years from 1860, while Matchbox toys were made at Lesney’s factories here from 1947 to 1983.

Much of the area was built up with council housing from the mid-twentieth century. Hackney Wick did not gain its station (originally to have been called Wallis Road) until 1980, when the North London Line was reopened to passenger services, although there had been a station at Victoria Park from 1856 to 1943. After a period of stagnation, various disused sites are now undergoing regeneration and the first steps towards a tentative gentrification have been taken recently with artists buying long leases on old warehouses. Completed in 2003, St Mary’s Village has replaced the 1960s tower blocks of the Trowbridge estate with a mixed tenure development of houses and flats. A third of homes in Hackney Wick are rented from a social landlord and another quarter from the council. Five per cent of households have neither central heating nor sole use of a bath or toilet – the highest proportion in London. It is to be hoped that Hackney Wick’s proximity to the Olympic Park will stimulate much-needed environmental improvements in this vicinity.

click for area map (opens in a new window)
Dilapidated premises on Wick Road in 2007, showing no sign yet of pre-Olympics revitalisation

Media centres and the handball arena will be constructed just east of Hackney Wick, on the site of the Arena Field recreation ground, several commercial premises and the former Hackney greyhound stadium. The basketball arena will replace Bow industrial park, south of the railway line.

Postal district: E9 and E15
Population: 11,049 (Hackney's Wick ward)
Station: Silverlink Metro (Zone 2)
Further reading: Vicki Cattell and Mel Evans, Neighbourhood Images in East London: Social Capital and Social Networks on Two East London Estates, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 1999

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