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Hackney in 1839

Hackney is 2 miles from Shoreditch church, on one of the branches of the Norfolk and Suffolk roads. The parish is in the Tower division of Ossulston hundred, which is comprehended in the new metropolitan parliamentary borough of the Tower Hamlets. The parish has an area of 3,300 acres, with a population, in 1831, of 31,047. It contains the several villages or hamlets of Hackney, Homerton, Upper and Lower Clapton, Stamford Hill, Dalston, Shacklewell, the greater part of Kingsland, and a part of Stoke Newington. Hackney, properly so called, has one principal street, known as Mare Street and Church Street, and some other streets, containing many good houses, some of them of old date, for this was one of the earliest places of rural retirement to the wealthy merchants and traders of London. The church was rebuilt near the close of the last century ; it is a large brick building devoid of external beauty, but its interior construction and arrangements have been the subject of much commendation. It has a stone tower of modern erection, but as this was insufficient to bear the bells, the tower of the former church has been allowed to remain in the churchyard, which is spacious and pleasantly laid out. South Hackney church, originally built as a chapel-of-ease, but since made a district church, has little architectural beauty. Homerton adjoins Hackney on the north-east, and consists of one street, half a mile long, leading down to the marshes of the Lea. It has a proprietary Episcopal chapel, and a college rebuilt a few years since for the education of Congregational ministers. Clapton lies north of Homerton, and Stamford Hill north of Clapton. There are at Clapton a neat iron bridge, called Lea Bridge, over the Lea, and a handsome building erected for the London Orphan Asylum. At Stamford Hill is an Episcopal chapel, originally a proprietary chapel, but since purchased by subscription of the inhabitants and enlarged. Those parts of Kingsland and Newington which are in this parish are on the York road. On this road is the district church of West Hackney, a Doric edifice of good design. It has a large churchyard and a parsonage house. There is a small ancient chapel at Kingsland, partly in this parish, partly in Islington. Dalston and Shacklewell lie between Hackney proper, Kingsland, and Newington. There are several dissenting meeting-houses ; and several ranges of almshouses in the parish ; among the latter is ‘the Retreat’ for the Widows of twelve Independent or Baptist Ministers. Dyeing, calico printing, and some other manufacturing processes are carried on in the parish ; and there are considerable brick fields. The Regent’s Canal and the Lea navigation pass through the parish.

Hackney parish originally constituted one benefice ; but it has lately been divided into four districts, which, with the clear yearly value of their benefices, are as follows :- Hackney Rectory (the mother church), £1,082, with a glebe-house ; South Hackney Rectory, £399 ; West Hackney Rectory, £464, with a glebe-house ; Stamford Hill Chapelry, £165. There were in the parish, in 1833, sixty-three day and boarding schools of all kinds, four day and Sunday schools, and ten Sunday-schools. Of these schools four were infant schools, supported chiefly by endowment or subscription, with 470 to 490 children ; fifteen others were charity schools, including two national and two Lancasterian schools, the Cumberland Benevolent Institution, the London Orphan Asylum, and the boys’ establishment of the Children’s Friend Society, which is at Hackney Wick. There are two proprietary grammar-schools; one connected with the Church of England, the other open to all sects. The school-house of the former is a brick building at Clapton, with a Doric front and portico finished with cement in imitation of stone ; that of the latter is near Hackney churchyard, and is of Gothic architecture.