A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10, Hackney. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1995.
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Hackney was not mentioned in Domesday Book, which included most of it in the bishop of London's Stepney manor. Four hides in Stepney held by Robert Fafiton may have been the later manor of Kingshold and had land for 3 ploughs, of which Roger the sheriff had 1 hide, 2 villeins had 26 a., and an unspecified number of bordars had 3 virgates; there was woodland for 60 pigs. (fn. 1) Hackney (later Lordshold) manor was still administered with Stepney in 1318 and probably until after the Black Death. By 1386-7 separate account rolls signified the lord's policy of retaining a few meadows while leasing out the other lands piecemeal. (fn. 2) The total receipts of c. £142 for Hackney included £18 in fixed rents and £16 for parcels of the demesne let to 10 tenants, in some instances for five years. (fn. 3) Rents from the demesne, both arable and pasture, were higher in the 1390s than in the 1380s but much lower in the early 15th century; they were stable, totalling £12 16s. 8d., for much of the early 16th century. (fn. 4)
On the Templars' estate in 1185 the land given by William of Hastings had 13 tenants of whom eight held 5 a. apiece and paid 1s. 6d. rent and provided one man's labour for the hay harvest; tenants of 10 a. or ½ virgate paid and owed twice as much, and the single holder of a virgate twice as much again, from which figures a virgate has been estimated at 20 a. and a hide at 80 a. Similar services and slightly higher rents were owed on land given by Ailbrith. The customary works were all done on meadow land. (fn. 5) Mowing works survived in 1307-8 and, for the Hospitallers, in 1331. (fn. 6) On the bishop's manor commuted works were worth £23 17s. 6d. in 1386-7, when mowing and carting hay were among the expenses, and in 1464-5. (fn. 7) The Hospitallers complained in 1384 that their rights of free warren in Hackney had been infringed. (fn. 8)
Hay from the demesne was carted to Stepney for the bishop's use in 1386-7 and in 1464-5, when some was taken to London. Hay was also sold, while in the 1380s corn was bought. (fn. 9) Arable was rarely recorded: Wick manor supported 26 cattle and 4 horses in 1400 (fn. 10) and pasture predominated on the Hospitallers' estate at the Dissolution. (fn. 11) By the early 17th century little arable apparently survived, other than in Hackney Downs, in the open fields which became known as the Lammas lands. (fn. 12)
Copyhold tenure was confirmed as gavelkind by an Act of 1623, (fn. 13) itself confirming a Chancery decree on the customs of Hackney and Stepney manors. The form of descent was division among a tenant's sons or, in default, his daughters, the youngest coheir to have first choice. It applied to named copyholders who had compounded with Thomas, Lord Wentworth (d. 1640), or his father, as did other benefits including the right to fell trees, dig the waste before their houses, let their buildings decay, or make leases for up to 31 years 4 months without licence. (fn. 14) Such subdivision and short leasing were to militate against substantial planned development on the north-east side of London. (fn. 15)
The demesne of Hackney manor in 1652 consisted of Scotland farm, c. 138 a., with another 30 a. south of Homerton, 6 a. abutting Millfield Lane, and 64 a. dispersed in the marsh. Nearly half of its value of £101 7s. came from fines, almost as much from quitrents, and £7 from fishing, which had been leased in the 1460s, and two ferries. (fn. 16)
Grass, whether for pasture or mowing, covered some three-quarters of the land subject to tithe in 1711, when 1,004 a. were 'upland' and 382 a. marsh. Apart from hay, the largest crops were oats on 146 a., peas on 106 a., barley on 86 a., wheat on 60 a., and rye on 26 a.; beans and potatoes took up 80 a. (fn. 17) Four ploughed fields stretched from the west end of Dalston Lane southward to the parish boundary and eastward from Kingsland Road to London Fields in 1745, when their depiction as the only arable was probably a simplification. (fn. 18) Arable was recorded in 1794 between Stoke Newington and Clapton and in 1800 in small patches in most parts of the parish and in Hackney Downs. (fn. 19)
In the 1790s the farms were occupied mainly by cowkeepers, who bred few animals but fed c. 600 on rich grass. (fn. 20) Hackney had 1,570 a. of grass, including the marsh, and 580 a. of arable in 1811. (fn. 21) The titheable land included 1,062 a. of grass and 154 a. of arable in 1842, (fn. 22) when there had been some recent reversion to arable on Hackney Downs and pasturage rights had been infringed by delays in moving crops. (fn. 23) Agriculture was said to employ only 49 of the 3,125 families in 1811, compared with 838 in trade or industry, but 582 families out of 6,307 in 1831. (fn. 24)
The extensive commonable lands of the parish, on which.landholders enjoyed rights of pasturage from 1 August (Lammas rights), comprised Hackney Downs, London Fields, Well Street common, North and South Mill Fields, and most notably Hackney marsh. The regulation of Lammas rights chiefly concerned the marsh, where in 1185 the humbra or marshy meadow was distinguished from the quabba or bog. (fn. 25) Hackneymead was an alternative name for Hackney marsh in 1535. (fn. 26) Annual appointments of manorial drivers and the lord's charge for impounding were confirmed in the Act of 1623, (fn. 27) after intrusions by newcomers. In 1804 no records could be found of the extent of the lands or of the vestry's right to permit encroachment. (fn. 28) The lord's ancient scale of rights, allowing from three head of cattle for parishioners' holdings rented at £10-£15 a year to an unlimited number for those worth more than £100, was amended in 1836 to favour the poor. (fn. 29) Cattle and horses were to be branded HM in 1736, and often were rescued illegally from the pound. Asses and mules were to be impounded as not commonable in 1802 and goats, sheep, and pigs in 1814. An account of all impounding was to be kept by the marsh keeper, the drivers' deputy, from 1802. (fn. 30) The profits from marking and impounding were to be spent on improving the marsh in 1817; gates were to be set up and tolls paid by strangers riding across the land during the closed season. (fn. 31) The traditional grazing period ran from Lammas day (12 August from 1752) to Lady Day; premature entry was condemned in 1605 and the start of the season was sometimes postponed, for 10 days in 1692 and until 14 August in 1696 and 1703. (fn. 32) A shorter season, from 26 August until 25 March, was ordained in 1817. (fn. 33)
A later start for grazing enabled crops, whether hay or corn, to be harvested after bad weather. The marsh in 1745 comprised 283 strips of very variable size with 35 owners, the chief being Stamp Brooksbank with 74 a. in 17 strips and F. J. Tyssen with 72 a. in 61 strips. Only six other holdings exceeded 10 a. and most were less than 5 a.; Brooksbank's was exceptional in including a large block, c. 46 a. astride the later cut between Homerton bridge and Cow bridge. (fn. 34) The lands of the poor of Hackney, 29 a. in 27 strips, were staked out in 1786. (fn. 35) Larger divisions existed in Well Street common, by 1700 in two fields held by the Cass family and one each by the Norris family and the parochial charities, (fn. 36) and in London Fields, in 6 strips with 4 owners in the early 19th century and with five owners in 1860. (fn. 37) The Mill fields and Hackney Downs, like the marsh, lay in narrow strips in the mid 18th century, when F. J. Tyssen, Lord Brooke, William Parker, and St. Thomas's hospital held parcels in all three. Stoke Newington common was apparently owned by the lord but subject to rights of common pasture throughout the year. (fn. 38)
In 1605 the early lifting of hay from London Fields was held to be no justification for the owner having put his cattle to grass before the accepted date. (fn. 39) In 1837 Adamson, the tenant farmer of 20 a. of Hackney Downs, failed to gather his harvest by Lammas, whereupon one parishioner turned cows on to the land and another seized part of the wheat. Their acquittal by the magistrates prompted rumours that the crop was public property and led to its despoilment by a crowd estimated at 3,000-4,000. (fn. 40) If such activity curbed any tendency to revert to arable, the increasing isolation of the detached commons combined with encroachments to lessen their value as pasture. Brickmaking and building were planned on part of London Fields called Nursery field, once used for sick cattle, in 1812. (fn. 41) Hopeful vendors in 1862 stressed London Fields' appeal to builders and dismissed the Lammas rights as rarely used and of little value. (fn. 42) It was gravel digging which brought riots and litigation after most of the commons had passed into public ownership in 1872, although continued grazing postponed Hackney marsh's final conversion to recreation until 1893. (fn. 43)
Sheep and pigs made up most of the sales from Marsh farm c. 1815 to 1840. (fn. 44) Livestock in the parish in 1867 included 534 cattle, 600 sheep or lambs, and 95 pigs. Sheep and pigs had fallen in number by 1880, risen again to 450 and 65 respectively by 1890, and disappeared by 1914. Cattle, mainly dairy cows, numbered 571 in 1870, 1,116 in 1880, 719 in 1890, and 140 in 1914. Thirty-nine people in 1880 and 25 in 1890 farmed land, while another 44 in 1880 and 30 in 1890 merely kept livestock, as 11 still did in 1914. The decline of both groups was attributable to the spread of building and also to the extinction of Lammas rights: no corn and very few green crops were grown from the late 1860s, and perhaps earlier, whereas in 1890, before Hackney marsh was taken over for recreation, there were c. 600 a. of permanent grass, of which c. 320 a. were not to be cut that year for hay. (fn. 45)
Cowkeepers who had no land suffered from increasingly stringent safeguards for public health. Eighty-three cowsheds and 65 slaughterhouses were inspected in 1876 and 81 cowsheds and 47 slaughterhouses were licensed in 1889; licences had dwindled to 39 and 33 in 1900, to 18 and 21 in 1912, and to 3 and 13 by 1930. A. Stapleton at Brookfield farm, Northwold Road, had 5 sheds in 1889 and 1900 and 3 in 1912. The Welford family, prominent dairymen on the north-west side of London, had 3 sheds in 1901 and one in 1912. Welford's made way c. 1928 for United Dairies and Stapleton's later for Home Counties Dairies. The largest cowkeeper in 1930 was Edward Mason, with 29 in Downham Road, although the longest survivor was S. P. Snewin, relicensed in Oldhill Street in 1946 and still there with a dairy in the 1960s. (fn. 46)
On a site where there was apparently no mill in 1185 the Templars had in 1278 a watermill in Leyton and in 1307-8 adjoining mills under the same roof, one in Leyton and one in Hackney. Both watermills passed with the Templars' estate to the Hospitallers and in 1540 to the Crown, which in 1593 leased them for 40 years with adjoining lands, as Ruckholt and Temple mills, to Clement Goldsmith. (fn. 47) They were subleased in 1600 by Goldsmith to Edward Ryder, who sold his interest to George Bromley in 1601 but reserved all fishing and the right to operate his recently built flood gates. A former leather mill on the premises was the forerunner of many industrial buildings, but the main mills were still to be used for grinding corn. (fn. 48) They were sold by the Crown, probably in 1633, to Richard Trafford, whose son John leased them to Abraham Baker in 1637. Baker as tenant had already improved the old mills and built new ones, all of which were sold in 1668 by John Trafford's son Sigismund to John Samyne, grocer of London, whose family sold them soon after 1680. (fn. 49) Several short lived industries were later started by owners or lessees of the mills. (fn. 50) Adjoining land which had been sold with the mills in 1668 and probably in 1601 was mortgaged in 1769 on behalf of George Petty, together with a rent charge on the mills; (fn. 51) it was conveyed without the rent charge in 1772 to Edward Leeds, (fn. 52) whose son Richard conveyed it in 1812 to William Turner, a farmer on the Ruckholt estate in Leyton. (fn. 53)
The mills in 1812 adjoined the south side of a bridge across the Lea, through whose centre ran the parish boundary. Buildings immediately to the west included the White Hart, south of which a narrow peninsula stretched between the river and a wide ditch or sewer. On the Essex bank were c. 6½ a. in Leyton and West Ham. (fn. 54) The mills had been demolished by 1854, (fn. 55) probably by a new owner whose heir offered the entire estate, which was underlet, for sale in 1899. (fn. 56)
A mill from which North Mill field in 1381 and South Mill field in 1443 were named (fn. 57) was presumably the forerunner of corn mills at Lea bridge which were for sale in 1791. (fn. 58) The flour mills in 1829 lay south-east of Lea bridge across an arm of the river to an island at the north end of the Hackney cut. (fn. 59) The buildings apparently survived but their island had been joined to the East London Waterworks Co.'s land to the south by 1865. (fn. 60)
MARKET GARDENS AND NURSERIES.
A field called Gardenplot belonged to the king's manor in 1535 (fn. 61) and artichokes were grown on an orchard of Grumbolds c. 1580. (fn. 62) The herbalist John Gerard (d. 1612) praised small turnips grown in Hackney for sale in London. (fn. 63) He also obtained foreign seeds from Lord Zouche, whose collection at Homerton was supervised by Matthias de Lobel (d. 1616), after whom the lobelia was named. (fn. 64) Both Evelyn in 1654 and Pepys in 1666 admired Lord Brooke's garden, where oranges grew. (fn. 65)
The garden of James Thynne at London Fields in 1666 was presumably the nursery advertised in 1694 and occupied by John Thynne in 1695. (fn. 66) By 1745 nurseries and market gardens lined both sides of Mare Street and stretched south of Wick Lane. (fn. 67) Middlesex's main market gardens lay farther west (fn. 68) and Hackney was less noted for horticulture than was Hoxton (fn. 69) until building drove nurserymen farther from London.
Johann (John) Busch, from Hanover, had small nursery sites on the west side of Mare Street from 1756 and may have sold them to another Hanoverian, Conrad Loddiges, in 1771. He then worked in Russia, as did his son Joseph Charles Bush, who was born in Hackney. (fn. 70) Conrad Loddiges (d. 1826), who produced a trilingual catalogue from 1777, began business from a shop at the corner of London Lane and Mare Street. He held scattered fields before moving c. 1786 to grounds east of Mare Street, where he later acquired Barber's Barn. (fn. 71) The firm, soon noted for exotics, (fn. 72) flourished under his younger son George (d. 1846), publisher of the Botanical Cabinet. With glasshouses up to 40 ft. high and an arboretum begun in 1816, Loudon considered Loddiges's a commercial botanic garden of model design. The arboretum was imitated at Chatsworth for the duke of Devonshire (d. 1858), a frequent visitor, whose protégé Sir Joseph Paxton probably secured the finest specimens for the Crystal Palace in 1854, (fn. 73) when the main lease was shortly to expire. After St. Thomas's had sold most of the land, George's son Conrad (d. 1898) kept some small glasshouses and remained at no. 222 Mare Street. (fn. 74)
John Abercrombie (d. 1806) was at Hackney by 1767, when he published Every Man His Own Gardener, but by 1779 was in Tottenham. (fn. 75) In 1786 he listed the Smiths' nursery at Dalston, Shoobert's in Homerton, Richards's in Kingsland, and Ross's in Stoke Newington Road. (fn. 76) The first, founded by Warren Luker (d. 1784) between Dalston Lane and the later Graham Road, was known as Luker, Smith & Lewis from 1780 and as Smiths' from 1785 until 1849. (fn. 77) Under Edward and Samuel Smith it offered foreign flowers in 1794 and covered 30 a. by 1800. (fn. 78) John Smith traded in 1842 and part of the grounds survived until shortly after 1865. (fn. 79) John Shoobert or Shuport had previously held 3 a. in south Hackney. (fn. 80) Thomas Richards was assessed 1784-1802 and Mary Richards in 1805 held a nursery which was probably the large ground between Lamb Farm and London Fields occupied 1811-24 by James Grange. (fn. 81) The Ross family was represented from 1811 to 1837 by John Ross, in 1825 a landscape gardener at the Caledonian nursery; his ground lined the south side of Wellington Road in 1837, when it was partly built upon and when he secured a long building lease. (fn. 82) Unlisted nurserymen included John Meek, successor to Thomas Meek, in Lamb Lane by 1782, (fn. 83) William Archer, lessee from Meek in 1803, and James Kelvington, Archer's underlessee in 1807. (fn. 84) Meek's lands, originating in a lease of 1746 to his grandfather, were the subject of lawsuits which led to his widow's imprisonment. (fn. 85) A nursery of c. 4 a. west of London Fields in 1790 survived until building spread south of Wilman Grove. (fn. 86)
Early 19th-century nurserymen (fn. 87) included the Scots Thomas Shepherd, who with his son Thomas William emigrated in the 1820s, John MacKay in Upper Clapton Road, and Hugh Low (d. 1863), who joined MacKay in 1823. Hugh Low's son Stuart Henry (d. 1890) and grandsons continued at Clapton until their move to Enfield in 1882; another son Sir Hugh (d. 1905) was an authority on tropical plants. (fn. 88) Nurserymen in the 1830s included Thomas Gellan at Shacklewell, Richard Mitchell in Lower Clapton, Thomas Waredraper in Well Street, (fn. 89) and William Dulley at Lamb Farm, perhaps as James Grange's successor. William Holmes, gardener to Dr. Frampton in 1848, acquired Frampton Park nursery, where his son William succeeded him; Eliza Jane Holmes's nursery was listed at no. 1 Frampton Park Road in 1902. (fn. 90) William Chitty (d. 1894), with a nursery at Stamford Hill, was connected with the horticultural writer Shirley Hibberd.
Commercial gardening was still concentrated in southern Hackney c. 1800. (fn. 91) Market gardeners were estimated to occupy 110 a. and nurserymen 40 a. in 1806; (fn. 92) together they held 139 a. out of the 1,560 a. subject to tithe in 1842. (fn. 93) Business was driven northward by builders, although in 1865 gardens remained at London Fields and at the eastern end of Cassland Road; a patch was kept by the builder Charles Butters's son Walter behind King Edward's Road in 1891. (fn. 94) The main areas by 1865 were behind Stoke Newington High Street and Road as far as Rectory Road, south of Hackney Downs between Amhurst and Pembury roads, around the sites of Navarino Grove (formerly Smiths') and Colvestone Crescent, and east of Brooksby's Walk. (fn. 95) All were soon built up, although in 1868 a large, presumably temporary, nursery bordered the projected Fountayne Road. (fn. 96) Watercress beds lay between the railway and Morning Lane, on the site of Chalgrove Road, until the 1870s. (fn. 97)
Later nurseries included Brick's in Shacklewell Row, Baddeley's on the site of Alvington Crescent, Hollington's in Downs Road, Allen's in Downs Park Road, and Prince's. (fn. 98) J. Noble's Pond Lane (later Millfield Road) nursery, established in the 1840s, supplied trees for municipal open spaces in the 1880s; potential building land in 1882, it made way for Elmcroft and Hilsea streets in 1896. (fn. 99)
TRADE AND INDUSTRY.
Hucksters from Hackney, selling cheese in London, were accused of regrating in 1377. (fn. 100) Occupations included those of sawyer in 1566, (fn. 101) embroiderer and joiner in 1598, (fn. 102) locksmith in 1613, poulterer and hackneyman in 1614, carpenter and cordwainer in 1615, blacksmith, tailor, and baker in 1616, cutler in 1617, and butcher and shoemaker in 1618. (fn. 103) More numerous were 'moniers' (presumably money-changers or bankers), (fn. 104) victuallers or vintners, (fn. 105) brickmakers, (fn. 106) and silkweavers, (fn. 107) the two last representing activities for which parts of Hackney were later noted. Tradesmen's tokens, mostly of innkeepers, included one issued by a chandler in 1656. (fn. 108)
Brickhill and the Gravel Pit were crofts at Clapton in 1535. (fn. 109) Brickmaking on 1½ a. near Balmes was banned on the complaint of Sir George Whitmore in 1631. (fn. 110) The Whitmores in 1660 leased land immediately south of the grounds of Balmes House to John Waxham, a Hoxton brickmaker, (fn. 111) and from 1670 to Ralph Harwood, a brickmaker later described as a gentleman. (fn. 112) The Rowes in 1687 had forfeited land for having dug brickearth near Kingsland Road. (fn. 113) Some gravel pits south of Morning Lane, soon to be commemorated in the name of a meeting house, were old in 1697. (fn. 114) A lease by Thomas Lee of land east of Mare Street in 1704 allowed digging to make bricks. (fn. 115) Thomas Scott, brickmaster of Shoreditch, reserved the brickearth when settling land in Hackney, Stepney, and Shoreditch in 1706 on the marriage of his son Thomas, who soon moved to Hackney. (fn. 116) Brickmaking was allowed north of Dalston Lane in 1709, (fn. 117) on unidentified sites in 1717-18, (fn. 118) by Thomas Waxham at Stamford Hill in 1721, (fn. 119) on part of the poor's land in 1729, (fn. 120) and east of Stamford Hill in 1760. (fn. 121) The earl of Warwick owned three brickfields at Upper Clapton, totalling c. 17 a., in 1762. (fn. 122) Balmes farm had fields called Further, Hither, and Middle Bricklands, totalling c, 27 a., in 1756; (fn. 123) Samuel Rhodes (d. 1794), as lessee of the farm, could dig brickearth in 1785. (fn. 124)
'Vast quantities' of bricks and tiles had been made around Kingsland by 1795. (fn. 125) By 1798 manufacturers' rent for brickfields had trebled within 20 years to £300 an acre. (fn. 126) The Tyssen estate required £500 an acre in 1803 from Richard Dann for land behind Church Street (fn. 127) and supplements of £400 in 1805 from Edward and Samuel Smith for their nursery ground, where they might also extract potter's clay. (fn. 128) Brickfields occupied 170 a., more than market gardens and nurseries, in 1806. (fn. 129) Spurstowe's charity leased 14 a. for digging brickearth to Dann in 1818. (fn. 130) Several leases, as of land at Shacklewell in 1806 and High Hill ferry in 1822, exacted a premium rather than additional rent. (fn. 131) Alternatively a charge was levied, 1s. 9d. for every 1,000 bricks at Shacklewell in 1845, when it was hoped to make 3 million within four years, and 3s. 3d. at Upper Clapton in 1865. (fn. 132) Many leases were made by the Tyssens to Thomas (d. 1856) and William'Rhodes (d. 1843). (fn. 133) William was still extending their holding in 1843, when the Middletons leased him 24 a. south of Shrubland Road, in Haggerston. (fn. 134) Among his successors were Robert and William Webb of Newington green, whose land in 1845 included pug or chalk mills at the south-west corner of the projected intersection of Downs Park and Amhurst roads. (fn. 135)
Although exhausted brickfields were always to be manured for return to cultivation, lessors increasingly reserved the right to reclaim and build. On land between Stoke Newington Road and Shacklewell Lane leased in 1806 and 1815 the high road frontage accordingly was to be dug first; (fn. 136) parts of 61 a. leased in 1814, near the high road or Downs and Dalston lanes, could be resumed. (fn. 137) Whereas De Beauvoir Town was built up largely with materials shipped from outside to Kingsland basin, (fn. 138) in 1845 brickearth from Shacklewell was not to be sold for manufacture elsewhere. (fn. 139) When other areas were built over, Clapton became the centre of brickmaking: the victims of a boating accident in 1840 were nearly all the sons of brickmakers from Caroline and Brook streets. (fn. 140) A brickfield leased with a wharf at Lea dock, north-west of Lea bridge, to James and Alfred Stroud in 1865 (fn. 141) was the only one marked in 1883; probably it had gone by 1901. (fn. 142)
Silkweavers were recorded from 1609, (fn. 143) apprentices were bound to a local weaver and a silk stocking and frame maker in 1647, (fn. 144) and the parish supplied an old silkweaver with a loom in 1659. (fn. 145) Local expertise perhaps contributed to the choice of Hackney Wick for a factory by Leny Smith, who from 1787 was leased 31 a. with a tobacco or snuff mill, previously a fulling mill, and who had a London office by 1791. Described as a silk throwster and later as a crepe manufacturer, (fn. 146) he or his son Leny Deighton Smith (fn. 147) was the country's largest producer in 1811, with a mainly female workforce of 600-700 at Hackney Wick and another at Taunton (Som.). (fn. 148) The elder Smith mortgaged property to the Hope Insurance Co. in 1831, (fn. 149) shortly before the mill was taken for Brenton's asylum. (fn. 150) Smith's family had long been out of business by 1842, when a smaller workforce at the mills produced flock and horsehair for George Kent. (fn. 151) Part of the old snuff mill estate was offered in 38 plots by Marmaduke Matthews in 1849 and later built up as Wick Road. Sir John Musgrove was also among the estate's developers. (fn. 152)
Water power at Temple Mills served many industries. (fn. 153) Before 1593 a little leather mill had stood there, (fn. 154) where there was later. a powder mill, itself probably replaced c. 1627 by a mill for grinding smalt. A watermill built on Hackney marsh for Prince Rupert (d. 1682), where the secret of 'prince's metal' for guns was reputedly lost on his death, may have been at Temple Mills. (fn. 155) A company formed in 1695 to make brass, tin, and latten utensils was disputed between its past and present managers in 1721. (fn. 156) Manufacture of sheet lead had begun by 1757 and continued until 1814 or later. In 1792 the points of needles were ground by Messrs. Sharpe, under a lease of 1783, and tree trunks were bored to make water pipes. (fn. 157) Flockmaking was probably the last activity there c. 1829-32. (fn. 158) Turner & Sons, papermakers and embossers, sold up a recently built mill in 1765; called Hackney Wick House, its site had abundant water and was probably by Hackney brook. (fn. 159)
A calico ground at Temple Mills lay on the Ley ton side in 1772. (fn. 160) Two calico printers and a calenderer recorded in 1795 (fn. 161) were probably at Spring Hill, where there was a large calico factory in 1774 (fn. 162) or at High Hill ferry, where George Baker and William Burch occupied intermingled buildings, backed by drying grounds, in 1826. Burch was normally styled a calico printer and Baker a dyer. (fn. 163) They were there c. 1845 (fn. 164) and may have been represented in 1855 by Baker & Hudden, calenderers, and James Burch, who had a carmine works. (fn. 165) Baker's Hill by 1880 contained the Lea Valley bleaching and dyeing works of William Connell & Co., whose Lea Valley laundry was taken over in the 1960s by Initial Services. (fn. 166) Also at High Hill ferry were Robert Lyon, a bleacher in 1826 and 1838, (fn. 167) and George Wickenden, a glazier or presser in 1845 and 1855. (fn. 168) Another calico printer was John Hammond, who was building immediately south of Lea dock in 1832 and acquired more land in 1838. (fn. 169)
Trade, manufacture, and handicrafts were said to employ 838 families by 1811 and 2,505 by 1831, but the figures appear unreliable. (fn. 170) Industries of note included an unlocated 18th-century porcelain factory, a rope works in the 1820s on the site taken for the church of St. Mary of Eton, a perforating works in John Street, London Fields, employing c. 50 in 1842, (fn. 171) and an optical glass works, mentioned in 1849, which was presumably that of Samuel Froggatt, by 1821 an optician at Hackney Wick, where Frogatt's mill stood east of the rope works. (fn. 172)
Riverside or canalside wharves served builders, industry, and later public utilities. By 1830 the De Beauvoir Town estate had made leases of 4 wharves on the Regent's canal west of Whitmore bridge and of 16 in Shoreditch (later Kingsland) basin. (fn. 173) In 1870 most received manure or building materials, those on the east side of the basin having frontages to Kingsland Road. (fn. 174) Wharves accounted for 7 per cent of the probate value of the De Beauvoir Town estate in 1935 (fn. 175) and for c. 15 per cent of its rental in 1950. (fn. 176)
Early wharves on the Lea were at Hackney Wick, the neighbourhood of Lea bridge, High Hill ferry, and Spring Hill. Three were at Spring Hill in 1774. (fn. 177) Near Lea bridge, where Paradise (later Lea bridge) dock and Lea dock existed by 1831, (fn. 178) the boundary crossed the river to include Essex wharf, opposite Middlesex wharf, where a lease was renewed to Thomas Saunders, a coal merchant, in 1815. (fn. 179) North of Hackney Wick the cut was almost serted in 1865 but industry had spread to Marsh gate or Homerton bridge by 1891 and had filled any gaps there by 1910. Hackney district board had a wharf or stone depot at the Homerton end of the later Lee Conservancy Road (so named from 1907) and another at Kingsland basin, no. 297 A Kingsland Road; (fn. 180) in 1913 the council also used a wharf leased from the Lee Conservancy board for bringing coal to the electricity works and refuse destructer. Homerton wharf was retained for refuse disposal until the 1970s. (fn. 181) James Latham, 18th-century timber merchants from Liverpool who in 1815 had moved to Shoreditch, from 1912 were also in Hackney, where in 1991 they employed 100-250 at a site which included Middlesex wharf. (fn. 182) Building contractors included Frederick Wise, by 1899 at no. 146 Dalston Lane; the site was sold in 1985 to Travis Perkins, which in 1991 also occupied Metropolis wharf at no. 305A Kingsland Road. (fn. 183)
The manufacture of colour, later of paint, (fn. 184) was brought to Hackney from Shadwell in 1780 by Lewis Berger (formerly Steigenberger, d. 1814). At Homerton he rented a farmhouse in Shepherd's Lane with a field stretching west to Hackney brook. The farmhouse was rebuilt as a residence, a factory was set up at the southern end of the field, near a well, and the brook was diverted through the grounds to prevent floods in Water Lane. (fn. 185) The business was expanded by Lewis's sons Samuel (d. 1855) and John (d. 1860) and from 1860 by John's sons Capel Berrow and Lewis Curwood Berger, who began making paint and varnish. A limited company called Lewis Berger & Sons, formed in 1879, was bought in 1905 by the American paint makers Sherwin-Williams. Overseas expansion was accompanied in 1926 by the establishment of a public company and in 1960 by a merger with Jensen & Nicholson, itself taken over in 1970 by Hoechst AG, which sold Berger, Jensen & Nicholson in 1988 to Williams Holdings, who sold to Crown Paints.
Berger's occupied almost all the land between Shepherd's and Water lanes, c. 5 a. (fn. 186) bounded on the north from 1848 by the N.L.R. line. Samuel and John replaced the original works with a Lower factory and added an Upper factory near the house. In 1860 the site contained only the two factories, Berger House, an adjoining clock tower of 1805, and ornamental water representing the diverted brook, but by 1890 it had been almost entirely built over. Employees numbered 60-70 at Homerton and at a City office in 1860 and 400 at Homerton alone by 1910; they were noted for long service, although industrial sickness led strikers in 1911 to denounce the company's 'sheds of death'. (fn. 187) Berger's ended its connexion with Homerton in 1960. The buildings were replaced, except for a laboratory of 1934 at no. 205 Morning Lane, (fn. 188) used in 1991 by Hackney L.B.'s social services.
The first plastics in Britain (fn. 189) were patented, as parkesine, by Alexander Parkes in 1862 and produced from 1866 at a works next to the waterproofers George Spill & Co. in Wallis Road, Hackney Wick. The company went bankrupt in 1868 but Spill's brother Daniel continued at the same works with improved material from 1869 until 1874, when his Xylonite Co. also failed. In 1875 he moved to no. 124 High Street, Homerton, and L. P. Merriam, who had tried to promote celluloid, the American equivalent of xylonite, (fn. 190) moved into no. 122. In 1877 they respectively formed the British Xylonite Co. and the Homerton Manufacturing Co., which merged in 1879. Merriam (d. 1889), whose factory in the garden made combs from the sheet xylonite made next door, assumed sole control in 1884 and finally prospered after acquiring the Impermeable Collar and Cuff Co. of Bower Road, Hackney Wick. His son C. F. Merriam moved sheet production to Suffolk in 1887. The Homerton site was sold after the production of finished articles was moved in 1897 to Hale End (Essex).
Water provided access and a means of waste disposal for noxious industries at Hackney Wick. George Spill had a works there by 1862 and James G. Ingram & Son, vulcanized rubber manufacturers founded in Hoxton, from 1866. (fn. 191) The Victorian iron works west of Wallis Road, a ropery in Gainsborough Road, an aniline dye works north of the parkesine works, and a varnish works all lay within Hackney by 1870, when the Hackney cut led to an isolated rubber works and a tar and chemical works beyond Wick Lane bridge. (fn. 192) The group of works at Hackney Wick included several using noxious substances on the Bow side of Wallis Road and in White Post Lane. (fn. 193) In 1875 the aniline dye works was the Atlas works of Brooke, Simpson & Spiller, and Ingrams had extended their factory in Chapman Road. (fn. 194) By 1880 the Hackney side of Wallis Road had a printer and makers of printing ink, bedsteads, paving, and book cloth. (fn. 195)
Clarke, Nickolls & Coombs, (fn. 196) confectionery and jam makers established in 1872, were at Hackney Wick by 1879 and on both sides of Wallis Road by 1910, when they had also spread south of the G.E.R. line and to the previously underdeveloped east bank of the Hackney cut in both Hackney and Bow. (fn. 197) The company, probably the district's leading employer, was one of the first to introduce profit sharing in 1890, (fn. 198) acquired a convalescent home at Clacton (Essex), and formed many social clubs. (fn. 199) It was registered as Clarnico in 1946 and described as having been the country's largest confectioners in 1948, when war damage had led to plans for a factory in Waterden Road. Clarnico moved to Waterden Road c. 1955 and, as Trebor Sharps, left Hackney c. 1975.
The industries which employed the greatest numbers were widespread away from the river and were often organized in small firms. Furniture trades were noted in the 1890s, although fewer than in Shoreditch or Bethnal Green. (fn. 200) Small carpentry or cabinet factories abounded in side streets, as around the G.E.R. line between Mare Street and London Fields or by the G.N.R. line south of Homerton's high street. (fn. 201) In 1901 over 5,000 people worked in wood, including 1,852 cabinet makers and 504 french polishers. (fn. 202) Piano making was well represented: of 34 north London manufacturers listed in 1880, 14 were in Hackney, besides a piano warehouse. There were fewer by 1900 but in 1924 they included the Helmsley works of Broadwood, White & Co., which in 1951 was an office equipment factory. (fn. 203) Charles Crop & Sons in Brooksby's Walk made tobacco pipes by 1872; by 1898 the London exporters Adolph Frankau & Co. had a steamworks at no. 112 (later no. 154) High Street, Homerton, where briar pipes were later made by Marechal Ruchon and in the 1970s by Fairfax Traders. (fn. 204) Large furniture firms included from 1895 the Acme Wood Flooring Co. from Vauxhall, perhaps supplied by the neighbouring timber merchants G. Ellis & Co., in Gainsborough (later Lee Conservancy) Road until the 1920s, (fn. 205) and Greaves & Thomas, inventors of the Put-U-Up settee-bed, in Northwold Road, where their premises included the Amherst works, from 1911 until c. 1965. (fn. 206)
The making of clothes and footwear employed over 15,000 in 1901. One third, including 2,686 bootmakers, were men; women included over 2,000 dressmakers, over 2,000 shirtmakers or seamstresses, 1,000 tailors, over 900 milliners, and over 900 artificial flower makers. (fn. 207) Although never so concentrated as they were farther south, clothing workers multiplied until by 1964 there were almost as many in Hackney as in London's old East End. Both areas were centres of Jewish enterprise: Hackney in 1964 was noted for its large factories for men's tailoring, its dispersed production of shirts and underwear, and for clothing accessories. The industry ranged from factories with their own retail outlets to homeworkers paid by contractors. (fn. 208)
Simeon Simpson in 1894 established a firm in Stoke Newington (fn. 209) which opened a model factory in 1929 at nos. 92-100 Stoke Newington Road, where 2,000 were employed. The company patented Daks clothing in 1934 and, despite war damage and the opening of factories elsewhere, (fn. 210) remained until c. 1982; Halkevi Turkish community centre used the premises in 1991. Gerrish, Ames & Simpkins, of Basingstoke (Hants), bought Morley hall during the First World War, built the adjoining Carlington works (fn. 211) in 1932, and remained until c. 1962. Home Bros, had a model factory at Durigo House, King Edward's Road, from 1922 until c. 1987, and Swears & Wells were at no. 1 Downs Park Road by 1938 until c. 1976. (fn. 212) Barrymore's made clothing in Retreat Place in 1934 and later at Pembury works in Glaskin Mews off Pembury Road. (fn. 213) Their successors Willerby & Co. employed 410 there in 1955 (fn. 214) and remained until after 1964. The outfitters Moss Bros, had a workshop between Ball's Pond and Bentley roads by 1961. (fn. 215)
The East End clothing firm of Alfred Polikoff (d. 1943) had a plant in London Lane by 1915, when a factory was built at nos. 148-50 Mare Street which was burned down in 1932. New premises were opened in 1933 in Chatham Place, where part, used by a subsidiary called Sportown, was rebuilt after bomb damage. Polikoff's, which opened Welsh and Irish factories, was acquired by Great Universal Stores in 1948 but kept its own name in the 1970s. Amenities for its staff included a sports ground at Springfield park from c. 1955. By 1952 Polikoff's shared premises with Burberry's, which had had a London shop from 1901; Burberry's was also taken over by G.U.S. and employed c. 315 at nos. 29-53 Chatham Place in 1991. (fn. 216)
Bootmaking was at first concentrated south and south-east of London Fields: in 1880, of 43 wholesale boot manufacturers listed in north London, 38 were in Hackney, including all but one of the 8 businesses in Ash Grove and 6 of the 10 in Mentmore Terrace. (fn. 217) Poverty in the 1890s was attributed to the hangers-on of boot finishers, whose northward drift from Bethnal Green had made a second centre for their trade. (fn. 218) In 1938 London's footwear industry was centred on Hackney, (fn. 219) where long established firms, all with Jewish names, were to survive until the 1960s. Jacob Kempner, at no. 236 Mare Street and Paragon Road in 1898, was at nos. 31 and 33 Well Street by 1911, called Kempner & Brandon by 1920, at Victory works in Shore Road in 1934 and 1948, and later in Dalston Lane. (fn. 220) Reuben Lazarus, in Hackney Grove by 1911, had one of three boot factories between Richmond and Ellingfort roads in 1934 and was in Ken worthy Road in 1948. (fn. 221) Eleazer Phillips, who replaced a Barnardo's home and the Y.M.C.A. at nos. 273-5 Mare Street, claimed to be Hackney's oldest shoemakers in 1948. (fn. 222)
The varied industries included several other firms which became household names. A large works of the King's printers Eyre & Spottiswoode (before 1831 Eyre & Strahan), originally for producing bibles, was in Shacklewell by 1829 (fn. 223) and until c. 1936; later occupants included Swears & Wells. Reeves & Sons moved their artists' colour factory in 1866 from the City to Beech (later Ashwin) Street, replacing Luxembourg hall, surviving war damage c. 1940, and moving away c. 1955. Tyer & Co., inventors of a railway signalling system, were also in Ashwin Street until the 1960s. (fn. 224) W. J. Bush & Co., England's first makers of flavouring essences, had moved from the City by 1880 to Ash Grove, where their Grove chemical works had expanded by 1930 and was occupied by the firm, from the 1960s called Bush Boake Allen, until c. 1973. Achille Serre, the dyers and cleaners, were in White Post Lane from c. 1896 to c. 1928. (fn. 225) Nalder Bros. & Thompson moved in 1899 to Dalston Lane, where they made electrical measuring instruments and employed c. 400 in 1948 and remained until c. 1969. Siemens Bros., based at Woolwich, made electric tantalum lamps at Dalston from 1908 until 1923. (fn. 226) E. C. Barlow & Sons had moved from Shoreditch to Urswick Road by 1903, where from 1929 they formed a branch of Metal Box, enlarged the factory in 1940, and employed 320 in 1948; the company left Urswick Road c. 1983 and a second local works in Theydon Road c. 1987. Venus Pencil Co. was at nos. 169 and 171 Lower Clapton Road from 1903 (fn. 227) until c. 1970. The War Department's National Projectile factory was opened in 1915 on part of the marsh near the G.N.R.'s sidings and the Hackney cut. (fn. 228) Mentmore Manufacturing Co., at no. 16 Mentmore Terrace in 1921, moved c. 1923 to Tudor Grove, where in 1948 it claimed to be Europe's biggest fountain pen maker at Platignum House; it moved to Hertfordshire c. 1963.
In 1904 Hackney had 374 factories and 855 workshops, employing 17,714 people. Nearly a third worked in the clothing industry, while almost a tenth, mainly men, made articles of wood and almost as many, mainly women, worked in laundries; over 1,000 were employed in the respective manufactures of fine instruments, of paper (or in printing), and of chemicals or drugs. (fn. 229) That industrial workforce was less than a fifth of all those occupied, in 1901 estimated at 101,606, of whom 65,379 were male. (fn. 230) The larger figure included those in offices, in domestic service, or with no fixed workplace, and perhaps many who worked on their own. (fn. 231) In Hackney, as in London as a whole, domestic service was the largest single employer, (fn. 232) with over 8,000, mostly unmarried women. Men in commercial occupations formed a still larger category, but one with wide subdivisions: 2,335 were merchants, agents, or accountants, 6,146 were clerks, and 1,199 dealt in money or insurance, most of them presumably in the City. Building, including such allied trades as plumbing or glazing, occupied 6,382 and transport nearly 5,000. The availability of sites presumably explained why in 1892 proportionately more people were employed by builders in Hackney and Stoke Newington than elsewhere on the north and east sides of London. (fn. 233)
By 1938 the pattern of industrial employment had not greatly changed, despite much smallscale conversion of private premises. (fn. 234) Hackney had 2,071 factories and workshops, of which 922 made clothing or footwear, 401 made furniture, and 310 were concerned with engineering. Only 5 of London's 28 boroughs had more factories and only 3 exceeded Hackney's industrial workforce of 46,333. Clothing employed nearly 23,000, furniture making 7,580, and engineering 5,850. More than 2,000 worked in the production of food, drink, and tobacco, and in papermaking and printing. A few firms, chiefly furniture makers, had moved farther north or east; both Hackney and St. Pancras had experienced an overall loss of 21 factories, more than in any other metropolitan borough, since 1932. (fn. 235)
The departure of large firms was part of the decentralization of London's industry which gathered pace after the Second World War. (fn. 236) At Hackney Wick the rubber makers Ingrams and the manufacturing chemists E. Beanes, of the Falcon works, survived for almost a century into the 1960s, as did the only slightly younger timber merchants G. Ellis, the drysalters Jessop & Co., and several firms on the Bow side of the boundary. In Bentham Road the Cassland ropeworks established in 1848 by George Oldfield similarly survived. (fn. 237) The most spectacular modern advance was made by Lesney Products, pressure die casters at no. 1 A Shacklewell Lane by 1950, in Eastway by 1959, and Lee Conservancy Road by 1975. Lesney began to make Matchbox model vehicles in 1953. (fn. 238) With a workforce of 1,500, it was thought to be Hackney L.B.'s largest employer in 1982, when it went into receivership and was bought by the Hong Kong based Universal (International) Holdings. (fn. 239)
Industrial decline became more marked from the 1970s, although statistics such as the 38 per cent fall in the manufacturing workforce between 1971 and 1980 applied to the wider area of the L.B. (fn. 240) The clothing industry was critically threatened in 1980, both by recession and by ephemeral back-street shops, (fn. 241) often using immigrant labour. (fn. 242) Burberry's was one of the few well known names to survive in 1991. (fn. 243) A large factory might be taken over by several businesses: Reeves's former works at no. 18 Ashwin Street was occupied by 5 firms, all concerned with clothing or accessories, in 1964 and by 8 in 1975. (fn. 244)
In 1826 a wide variety of shops in Church Street served Hackney village and one in the high road served Kingsland, Dalston, and Stoke Newington. They included booksellers, watchmakers, wine merchants, and, in Hackney, 2 perfumers and 4 confectioners. Both Clapton and Homerton had shops for everyday needs. (fn. 245) Local retailers included Thomas Gibbons, who started as a china and glass dealer in Morning Lane in 1831. His daughter Elizabeth Gibbons moved from Brett Road to Amhurst Road, where, after making room for Matthew Rose & Sons c. 1890, her cash furnishers' business acquired a row of nine shops and remained a family firm at nos. 1-17 in 1991. (fn. 246) Matthew Rose, Hackney's leading department store c. 1900, began as a draper's at no. 335 Mare Street and from 1868 expanded to include nos. 347-57 Mare Street and nos. 2-18 Amhurst Road, closing in 1936. (fn. 247) T. B. Stephens, a modest draper's in 1904, built a three-storeyed department store at nos. 230-240 Stoke Newington High Street, where it survived until c. 1973. (fn. 248) Cooke's eel and pie business, from Shoreditch, in 1910 opened a branch at no. 41 Kingsland High Street; as F. Cooke's, the shop retained its ornate interior in 1991. (fn. 249) Hackney and District chamber of commerce was founded in 1897 and renamed Hackney and Tower Hamlets chamber of commerce in 1982. (fn. 250)
Street markets were held in 1893 in Kingsland Road, Mare Street, Well Street, and the Broadway, London Fields. The Kingsland Road market moved to Kingsland High Street, and in 1930 was in Ridley Road, where it remained among the best known in London; Clapton had a similarly large market, with 200 or more licensed pitches, in Chatsworth Road, but Mare Street's had disappeared. (fn. 251) Market streets contained c. 350 food stalls in 1927, besides itinerant food sellers, and over 400 in 1930. (fn. 252)
National retail chains included Home & Colonial Stores, the grocers, with branches by 1895 at nos. 52 Kingsland High Street and 400 Kingsland Road, by 1898 at nos. 303 Mare Street, 218 Well Street, 120 Stoke Newington High Street, and 50 Chatsworth Road, and by 1920 at no. 166 Stamford Hill. Boots cash chemists were at no. 382 Mare Street by 1911 and moved to nos. 398 and 400 c. 1920. W. H. Smith & Sons, the booksellers, were at no. 80 Stoke Newington High Street by 1912. Marks & Spencer was at no. 297 Mare Street by 1914, as the London Penny Bazaar, and also at no. 156 Stoke Newington High Street by 1915; in Mare Street it moved in the 1930s to part of Matthew Rose's former premises. F. W. Woolworth & Co. was at nos. 144-6 Stoke Newington High Street by 1917 and at no. 333 Mare Street by 1922. (fn. 253) In 1991 Hackney was served by national chains, by individual shops, many of them catering for ethnic minorities, by markets including a daily one in Ridley Road, and by Dalston Cross shopping centre, opened in 1989. (fn. 254)