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Butler & Stag

Homerton | E9

Area Guide

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Homerton Area Info

Homerton Area Info

Homerton is in the heart of Hackney, with Hackney Central and Hackney Marshes to the east and west, and Lower Clapton and South Hackney to the north and south. Property-wise it is a varied mix of low-rise apartments and high-rise flats surrounded by streets of traditional Victorian and Georgian terraces, council and ex-council properties, warehouse conversions and newly built developments. The area was given a massive boost by the 2012 Olympics and the easy access to Europe from Stratford International station means that gentrification has not let up since. The area is proving to be very popular with young professionals, small families, city-commuters, gender-fluid creative types and local workers.

Things To Do In Homerton

Chatsworth Road was one of the first purpose-planned high streets back in Victorian times with butchers, bakers and candlestick makers, greengrocers, gunsmiths, milliners and haberdashers. If you go to the weekly market it seems largely unchanged, merely updated. The candles are scented, the bakers are craft, the butchers free-range organic (or halal), creperies have replaced the gunsmiths, and the milliners and haberdashers now sell fascinators and cutting edge threads. Flower shops and delicatessens abound.

Elsewhere in Homerton there are plenty of lively bars with craft-ales and local gins both with and without live music. Equally, there are traditional pubs and a wide range of restaurants and cafes. When all that gets too much, there is always Homerton University Hospital.

There is a thriving local arts and music scene based loosely around the Chats Palace theatre where you can usually find something to do. The theatre encourages and presents a wide range of music and dance, theatre and comedy, photography, carnival, and even transgressive performance. There are classes and workshops for all ages and abilities.

If you are of a sporty disposition you can quickly get to the open spaces and playing fields of Hackney Marshes, the home of Sunday League football and the largest collection of football pitches in Europe. If you just like a bit of fresh air, or you have a dog to walk, there are wooded riverside walks along the River Lea or Wick Fields. If you have children, Homerton Grove Adventure Playground scores very highly and Victoria Park is not far to the south.

The area is well connected with Homerton London Overground station, 8 bus routes and a night-bus service.

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History of Homerton

The first records of Homerton date back to 1343 when it was small hamlet based around a farm. In Tudor times it was a desirable suburb as the great estates of the Knights Templar were broken up by Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell and by 1600 it was a sought-after location with more than a few rich Londoners settling around what may have been a prominent manor-house or possibly a royal official’s residence.

There were several prominent properties including Sutton House which was named after Thomas Sutton who was believed to be the richest commoner in England. He was in good company; Lord Rich (who later became the Earl of Warwick), Lord Cromwell (Thomas’ great grandson) and Sir John Peyton were all householders – although apparently, they did not contribute to the upkeep of the church! More recently T-Rex front man Marc Bolan was born here and Pete Doherty has given his address as Homerton.

By 1664 there were 57 chargeable houses (one of which had 22 hearths) and only a few years later Great Homerton and Little Homerton had 115 houses – almost a quarter of the total in Hackney. However, developments and the gradual break-up of the great estates had an inevitable effect on the area. By around 1720 there were 8 taverns, one of which was by reputation a knocking-shoppe, At this time there were over 104 residents paying the poor-rate, only 15 years later there were 155 and 26 years later this had shot up to 213.

At about this time the great houses were gradually broken up and by the 1800s many had become variously boys and girls schools and shortly thereafter an institution for young men opened its doors. However industrialisation was also setting in, a lead-works (for pigments), a silk-factory and various water-mills together with a rope-works were being developed. These stereotypically required an oppressed labour force who largely lived in shanties – one local nickname was “Botany Bay”. Social decline really set in with the expansion of the workhouse and other factories and the industrialisation of Hackney Wick.

In 1870 a series of epidemics swept London. A large 200 bed hospital was founded to try to halt the spread of contagion. 2 wards for typhus, 2 for scarlet-fever and enteritis and 2 for special cases. The wealthier residents simply fled. The site is now the Homerton University Hospital.

In the inter-war years there was an even balance between residential and commercial development. Homerton was different from most of Hackney in that the industrial premises were purpose-built rather than converted residential. Ironically, today it is the industrial and warehouse stock that is being converted back to residential.

The area suffered considerable damage in WWII and much of the area was demolished to make way for public housing. There are now very few relics of the pre-Victorian age.

Homerton University Hospital - London
Homerton University Hospital - London

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