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The Hackney Society Relaunches 2009 Publication: Modern, Restored, Forgotten, Ignored

There’s no doubt that the buildings of Hackney have long served their community throughout history. From a 1930s night out at the dogs courtesy of the Hackney Stadium, to providing a place to get clean in 1904 at the Haggerston baths, the area has seen ups and quite literally downs, in its architectural heritage.

Which is something that the Hackney Society, are highlighting in the reissue of its 40th anniversary publication, Hackney: Modern, Restored, Forgotten, Ignored.

First released in 2009, the publication features 40 Hackney based authors and the rise, fall and restoration of 40 Hackney buildings to celebrate 40 years of the heritage organisation.

The new book cover

The new book cover

The book sold out at the beginning of this year and was the winner of the 2011 Walter Bor Media award for best publication.

Editor Lisa Rigg, 42, who began fundraising for the Hackney Society, said the idea behind the book was to do what the society did best.

“I thought it was important to do something which the Society had previously been well known for – its local history books.

“The book was a celebration of Hackney’s wonderful built heritage. We hope it will raise pride as well as highlight what has been lost and how historic buildings are irreplaceable.”

The Trowbridge Estate in Hackney Wick was demolished, although contested, in 1985

The Trowbridge Estate in Hackney Wick was demolished, although contested, in 1985

Retired professor and writer, Ken Worpole, 69, a Hackney resident for over 40 years, wrote the introduction to Modern, Restored, Forgotten, Ignored along with a piece on the demolished Mother’s Hospital, where he, his children and his grandchildren were born.

The hospital, built in 1913, is just one historical site that Mr Worpole said contributes to the unique townscape of Hackney.

The Mother's Hospital, Clapton Road.  Demolished in 1986

The Mother’s Hospital, Clapton Road. Demolished in 1986

“With the canal and 16 railway stations, the borough is broken up so that it could never become a kind of uniform development.

“It will always have these nooks and crannies and back streets and with such a range of buildings, going from Tudor to contemporary, it’s such an interesting streetscape and it’s partly why people like living in Hackney so much.”

Sutton House on Homerton High Street is a grade-II listed Tudor manor house

Sutton House on Homerton High Street is a grade-II listed Tudor manor house

Since 2009, Hackney has seen many architectural changes including the new overground transport system.

Hackney Society trustee, Margaret Wilkes, 67, said: “I have lived in Hackney since the early 1980s, and this change has accelerated in the last few years, with lots of young people coming into the borough to live.

“Broadway Market has been transformed, The Arcola has moved, the Rio been refurbished but needs more support and the Hackney Empire, after a rocky few years is now expanding its activities.”

Broadway Market, 1985

Broadway Market, 1985

The decision was made to keep it as a “snapshot of Hackney in 2009”, with certain updates such as the liquidation of Free Form Arts Trust, who were based in the Hothouse on Richmond Road.

With Haggerston Baths having just been announced as one of the top ten endangered buildings in the country, Ms Willes said: “Restored is the happy story, forgotten is not such a jolly subject, and the worst of all is ignored.

“The book is not only a celebration of the rich architectural heritage of Hackney, but also a salutary reminder of how fragile that can be, and how important it is for organisations like the Hackney Society to be around.”

Event details: 6 November,
Broadway Bookshop, Broadway Market, E8 4QJ
7pm, Free Entry

For more information about The Hackney Society see here.