Hidden London

Shacklewell

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Hackney

A multiracial neighbourhood with some light industry, almost squeezed out of existence by Hackney and Stoke Newington, which lie on either side. The name may refer to a well-spring in a sunken place or where animals could be shackled (tethered) and was not recorded until 1490, despite its probable Old English origin. In the early sixteenth century Sir John Heron, reputedly the richest man in Hackney, owned a large estate centred on a manor house here – its site now covered by shops. Several villas for gentlemen were built during the course of the eighteenth century, interspersed with lesser properties for tradesmen, two pubs and a dairy on the south side of the village green. Side roads subsequently proliferated, many lined with cramped terraces, but Shacklewell remained an isolated settlement until Hackney expanded outwards to meet it in the mid-nineteenth century. Perch, Seal and April Streets were laid out in the early 1880s with good quality terraces for working people and Shacklewell Green was taken into public ownership.

By the early twentieth century Shacklewell had gained a synagogue and some industrial premises, while a number of larger houses were being knocked down and replaced by more terraces. Parts became a slum and several streets were cleared in the 1930s to make way for municipal and philanthropic housing projects. More flats followed after the Second World War. The conversion of the synagogue to a mosque is an indication of the shift in Shacklewell’s ethnic mix in recent decades. Kingsland secondary school (opened as Dalston county school in 1937) has a significant number of pupils from Turkish and Kurdish backgrounds, some of whom speak little English and have minimal experience of formal education. At Shacklewell primary school (1951) over 80 per cent of children are from black, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Turkish or Chinese backgrounds.

click for area map (opens in a new window)
April Street was laid out in 1884 by John Grover of Islington, who also built shops in Shacklewell

Postal districts: N16 and E8

Brewer's London Phrase & Fable

 
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