Hidden gems of Hackney

There are many places of interest in Hackney that may not be so well known. If you would like to recommend a hidden gem in Hackney to feature please let me know.


Hackney’s floating church

I recently attended an event where the Bishop of Stepney, Adrian Newman, officially launched the St Columba community’s new barge. However, they have a more exciting addition coming soon: a permanent floating church coming in the summer of 2019.

The floating community hub developed by the church partnership of St Mary of Eton and St Paul Old Ford, will be available for the communities of Hackney Wick, Sweetwater, Eastwick and Here East.

The design includes accordion-style roof inspired by the bellows of a church organ and will be available for all to use. Not only for worship- it will also be up for hire for community events, children’s theatre, art exhibitions, business functions and interfaith celebrations.

If you have any queries or would like additional information about the floating church you can contact the vicar of St Mary of Eton church, Sue Makin, by calling 020 7018 2904 or visit the church website here.


Shoreditch Town Hall

Shoreditch Town Hall is one of the grandest former civic buildings in London and welcomes over 70,000 guests every year.

The Town Hall hosts new theatre, music, dance, comedy, talks and events, alongside a range of learning, community and engagement activities, all year round, working with 130 artists, community groups and arts organisations.

It programmes over 60 productions, hosts up to 700 events, and commissions up to 8 new pieces of live performance, every year. Events include tea dances for older constituents or baby loves disco for the youngest. 

It also provides a Michelin star bite to eat at its own restaurant the Clove Club.

Come and see their current performances such as Andy Smith’s new play Summit.

For more information call 020 7739 6176 or visit the website here.


The Paper & Cup

The Paper & Cup is a not for profit local social enterprise cafe operated by the Spitalfields Crypt Trust – an outstanding charity supporting the homeless of East London.

This café provides freshly made coffees, teas, cakes and nibbles. They sell books at very low prices and also sponsor regular exhibitions featuring the work of local Hackney South & Shoreditch artists.

If you're in the area and after an excuse to escape the cold, please pop in! More information about The Paper & Cup and its opening hours can be found here http://www.paperandcup.co.uk/about-us 

You can find out more about the SCT here:


Capital Ring Walk

Most Hackney residents are familiar with Hackney’s canals but fewer are aware that they form part of an orbital green walk around inner London.

Hackney’s section follows the River Lea Navigation and then into Stoke Newington before leaving the borough at Finsbury Park. Completely traffic-free, the trail offers a chance to spot birdlife and other flora and fauna along the River Lea. The ring is signposted with easy to follow wayfinders. A good place to join the walk in Hackney South is at the Princess of Wales Pub on Lea Bridge Road where from there you can follow it to the London Olympic Stadium. 

See the Capital Ring’s TFL site for more details.


Hackney Museum 

Tucked away on Reading Lane is Hackney Museum.  With rotating exhibits this museum is a local source of information about historical and local events in the borough.

The current exhibitions are “Roots, Rhythms & Records: The sounds and stories of African and Caribbean music in Hackney”, “Changing Faces, Hidden Stories: photographs from RA Gibson's studio” andMothers of Hackney: an exhibition by Hackney mums exploring their challenges and achievements”.

Pop in to one of their events such as their language-learning workshop for women, art workshop and music event for children.

The museum hosts a gift shop where you can buy the official “I Love Hackney“ merchandise including t-shirts, mugs, badges & Oyster card holders.

You can find out more about the Hackney Museum including opening times here.


St Augustine’s Tower

Nestled at the bottom of the Narroway in Hackney Central, the tower dates from the early 16th century. It is the oldest building in Hackney, and all that remains of the 13th century medieval church founded by the Knights of St John. The tower once formed part of St John’s church, which was largely demolished in 1798, after which a new building was constructed around it. Inside the tower is a working turret clock dating at least from 1608.
The tower has at various times housed a mortuary, tools for the church gardens, and now is under the care of the Hackney Historic Buildings Trust. On the fourth Sunday of the month the tower is open to visitors, and you can climb the stairwell for views across Hackney. Entry is free. More information can be found here.


Hoxton Trust

The Hoxton Trust is a local charity that provides legal and welfare advice. Government policy, particularly on housing, benefits and immigration, mean that demand for local advice services continues to increase. They provide a drop in service twice a week and guarantee to see the first ten clients.

The Trust has an award winning, beautiful community garden on Hoxton Street, providing outdoor space to local residents and businesses. In it you can find a bugs hotel, a growing willow tunnel and bird boxes. I understand that the site was previously used for housing, and before that, as an asylum in the 18th century. The garden was built by a team of volunteers in the 1980s.

For more information see here.


Our Place

Our Place on the New Kingshold estate is a community led project that brings people together for coffee mornings, meetings, craft sessions, a film club, a parent support group, bingo nights, a family holiday club, community gardening sessions, fun days and more.

The group is trying to set up a sewing class so if you have a sewing machine you no longer need, or good quality sewing supplies or fabric please let me know so I can put you in touch. If you are a local resident, pop down to say hello. Find out more here.