Hackney: Local Government

Pages 101-107

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10, Hackney. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1995.

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In 1294 the bishop of London claimed view of frankpledge, infangthief, outfangthief, the assize of bread and of ale, fugitives' goods, tumbril, pillory, gallows, and fines in Hackney, as part of his manor of Stepney. (fn. 1) Separate bailiffs accounted for Hackney and Stepney by the 1380s (fn. 2) but courts for the whole manor, sometimes with pleas for Hackney entered separately, were still held at Stepney in the 16th century. (fn. 3) The bishop was paid 16s. as the common fine from Hackney in 1349. (fn. 4)

Proceedings for Hackney are recorded on Stepney court rolls for 1349, 1442, 1509, and 1581-2 and in books for Stepney for 1654-64. (fn. 5) Two officers, perhaps constables, were elected for Hackney in 1509, when two chief pledges were elected for Shacklewell and one each for Clapton and Homerton. (fn. 6) A general court baron for Hackney, held immediately after a Stepney court in December 1581, was concerned largely with copyholds which had changed hands during the previous year; it also proposed two names for the choice of bailiff or collector. (fn. 7) The next court for Hackney, after a view of frankpledge at Stepney in April 1582, chose 2 constables, 2 aletasters, and 6 chief pledges or headboroughs: one and a deputy for Clapton, 2 for Mare Street, Well Street, and Grove Street, and 2 for Kingsland, Newington, Shacklewell, and Dalston. Three common drivers were chosen two days later. (fn. 8) In 1641 the steward of Hackney, who was also steward of Stepney, summoned the copyholders to meet in Hackney (fn. 9) and in 1642 courts at Stepney were held for Hackney alone in April and October. The first dealt with ditches, the assize of bread, and the elections of a constable and 2 aletasters for the parish and of a headborough for each of 7 wards: Kingsland and Dalston, Newington and Shacklewell, Church Street and part of Clapton, Clapton, the upper end of Homerton, Mare Street, and the lower end of Homerton. (fn. 10) By 1654, although the manors still had the same lord, Hackney courts were held at Homerton; much less frequent than those for Stepney, they consisted of a general court baron in April and December and a view in April, with one special court in 1655 and three in 1656. (fn. 11)

Separate courts were held for the Hackney manors of Lordshold, Kingshold, and Grumbolds, despite the acquisition of all three by the Tyssen family. Court books or draft court books exist for Lordshold for 1658-1940 (fn. 12) and for Kingshold for 1666-1936, (fn. 13) with minutes and extracts. (fn. 14) It had been claimed in 1331 that the Templars had possessed pleas and perquisites of court for what became Kingshold manor; the Hospitallers, fined in 1511 for default at the bishop's law day, had held a court at Hackney in the early 16th century, when rolls had allegedly been lost. (fn. 15) For Grumbolds there are extracts for 1486-1741; later records include a minute book to 1925. (fn. 16) In 1711 the lord received 83 quitrents for Lordshold, 21 for Kingshold, and 5 for Grumbolds. (fn. 17) Uncertainty was such that a Kingshold transaction of 1798 was wrongly entered under Lordshold. (fn. 18)

The busiest court, that of Lordshold, consisted of a view of frankpledge, followed by a court baron, in April and sometimes special courts. (fn. 19) The view was held at first usually at Homerton, where the Coach and Horses was the meeting place in 1752, and later at Kingsland, at the King's Arms by 1753 (fn. 20) and at the Tyssen Arms from 1815. (fn. 21) After 1845, no longer called a view, the court met at the Manor rooms until 1885 or later; (fn. 22) enfranchisements (fn. 23) and property transactions were done in lawyers' chambers until 1924. For Kingshold a view was likewise followed by a court baron, in Church Street and perhaps from 1666 at the Green Man, named as the usual meeting place in 1723; it was held at the Cock in the late 18th century, later at the Mermaid, the Tyssen Arms, the Manor rooms, and finally in London. (fn. 24) Grumbolds courts, annual c. 1500 but later less regular, also met latterly at the Manor rooms. (fn. 25) Probably all three manors had a single steward, normally a lawyer. Stewards exploited the family's absence before and after the term of J. R. Daniel-Tyssen from 1829 until 1852: Thomas Tebbutt and his son were involved in William Rhodes's building schemes (fn. 26) and Charles Cheston, son and successor of Chester Cheston, ruined Lord Amherst of Hackney by embezzlement. (fn. 27)

Until 1840 or later (fn. 28) the Lordshold court appointed 2 constables, 2 aletasters, and normally 8 headboroughs; it also suggested 2 names for the choice of a reeve and appointed 6 or 7 common drivers. A magistrate was excused serving as headborough in 1718, partly because the headborough's was an inferior office. (fn. 29) Aletasters were active in the late 17th century and continued to present the use of false weights and measures in 1740. (fn. 30) Reeves and drivers were substantial landowners and were still being appointed in 1885. (fn. 31) Kingshold courts appointed a constable, an aletaster, and 2 headboroughs until 1841 or later but no officers by 1845. (fn. 32)

Manorial and parochial authority overlapped. The common drivers reported in 1605 to a large meeting of inhabitants, which then passed a resolution on the commons, as did the vestry in 1614 and later. Parishioners claimed to be upholding ancient customs, which were set out by agreement between the lord and the copyholders in 1617. (fn. 33) The vestry instructed the constables and headboroughs about the poor in 1618, before it had its own beadle, (fn. 34) and again in 1701 and, after offering payment, in 1712; it barred manorial officers from serving as beadle in 1781. (fn. 35) In addition to safeguarding the commons, the Lordshold court in its turn gave orders about the stocks and whipping post, which the parish had failed to repair, in 1744. (fn. 36) The steward denied intentional infringement of parochial privileges in 1804, after the vestry's protest at not having been informed of inclosures, and the vestry promised in 1806 to keep better records, after the court's complaint that their inadequacy made it difficult to appoint officers. The vestry disclaimed any connexion with manorial officers when asked to meet parliamentary election expenses in 1833. (fn. 37)


Hackney, where parish meetings were recorded from 1581, (fn. 38) had an unusual dual form of government from 1613, when a select vestry was instituted by a faculty from the bishop of London. In most parishes a select vestry tolerated open meetings only to add occasional weight to its own decisions. In Hackney, perhaps because it attracted so many rich merchants, the parish officers 'and other inhabitants' continued to meet every few months and shared power with the 'gentlemen of the vestry', for whom the faculty was reissued in 1679. Both bodies were merged in an open vestry in 1833, (fn. 39) by which time they had surrendered responsibility for the poor and for lighting and watching to trustees under Acts of 1763 and 1810; separate vestries for South and West Hackney had also been created by the subdivision of the rectory in 1831. Hackney vestry's continued influence through the election of parish officers and others as trustees was diminished by the establishment of the poor-law union in 1837. (fn. 40)

In 1547 Church House of c. 1520 was said to have been built for meetings on the king's, the church's, or parochial business. Presumably it was so used until taken for the free school c. 1616. (fn. 41) Officers recorded from 1554 were 2 churchwardens and 4 laici or sidesmen, (fn. 42) and 2 surveyors of the highways, 4 surveyors of the poor, and 2 collectors for the poor from 1581. One churchwarden was elected in 1583, the second one presumably being named by the vicar. (fn. 43) A steady source of income which came to form the 'unappropriated funds' was foreshadowed in 1590, when the vicar and 15 others excused Thomas Audley from parish offices in return for money towards repair of the church. (fn. 44) Inhabitants were first listed by district for the collection of church rates in 1605. (fn. 45)

The faculty of 1613 was requested by the vicar and others after trouble from 'the meanest sort being greater in number'. It appointed the rector, vicar, assistant curate, churchwardens, and 32 named parishioners, or any 10 of them, to meet as vestrymen at the church. (fn. 46) Vacancies thereafter were filled by co-option. In the 1620s the vestry usually appointed annually 2 churchwardens, 4 sidesmen, 2 surveyors, and 2 collectors; later in the century overseers, rather than collectors, and 2 sidesmen were chosen. At least 4 of the original vestrymen and in 1628 both churchwardens signed with a cross. (fn. 47) There was a parish clerk before 1625, when the vicar's installation of his own nominee led to an action in King's Bench which upheld the traditional right of election claimed for the parish and exercised by the vestry. (fn. 48) In 1711 the parish clerk was also given the office of vestry clerk, apparently a new post whose duties were again defined in 1756. (fn. 49) A sexton was paid an increased salary in 1632 and one was succeeded by his wife as sextoness in 1690; (fn. 50) the office was lucrative enough to be shared in 1744 and entailed the employment of pew openers in 1759. (fn. 51) A beadle was to be appointed in 1657 'for the preventing of multiplying of the poor' and again in 1671; his duties were reviewed in 1694, when all new lodgers were to be reported. (fn. 52) Two beadles were paid in 1732-3 and again, as home and out beadles, with partly differing functions until 1771, in 1753; (fn. 53) there were three beadles by 1810. (fn. 54) Searchers, to examine corpses, were originally appointed by magistrates but from c. 1727 by the vestry until they were discontinued in 1836. (fn. 55) A verger was first appointed in 1799. (fn. 56) Most salaried offices, like those of the early schoolmasters and of lecturers and others connected with the church, (fn. 57) were renewed annually; in 1730 they were those of vestry clerk, beadle, organist, sextoness, clock minder, organ minder, organ bellows blower, churchyard keeper, and midwife. Holders of all the offices save that of organ minder were reappointed in 1760, by which date 6 bearers were also chosen. (fn. 58) Records include a summary minute book for 1581-1613, vestry minutes from 1613, (fn. 59) parishioners' meetings minutes for 1762-1824, (fn. 60) churchwardens' accounts, some with overseers' accounts, from 1732, (fn. 61) poor rate books from 1716, (fn. 62) churchwardens' rate books from 1743 and statute labour books from 1720, with gaps, (fn. 63) and lamp and watch rate books from 1764. (fn. 64)

The vestry met at Easter, for appointments and audits, (fn. 65) and also irregularly: 4 times in all in 1620, 9 in 1660, 16 in 1700, 4 in 1740 and 1770, 8 in 1810, and 3 in 1820. Attendances ranged from 7 to 22 in 1660, with an average of nearly 16 which varied little thereafter. In 1712 absentees were to be asked to attend and in 1719 it was agreed that if numbers should fall below 13 a churchwarden and 4 others might prepare proposals for the next vestry; (fn. 66) nine meetings were dissolved between 1729 and 1753 for lack of a quorum. It was planned in 1732 and 1759 to summon one at least every two months and in 1790, without success, to observe fixed dates in June and August. (fn. 67) The chair was normally taken by the vicar or his curate. A suggestion that the vestry should meet at the 'parish house' (Church House) rather than its room at the church was rejected in 1781. (fn. 68) Church House, in use in 1795, was replaced in 1802 by the building later called the old town hall. (fn. 69)

Wider parish meetings obtruded, as in 1723 when the vestry insisted on its right to choose a lecturer, although the general public might afterwards voice its opinion. On legal advice, the right was conceded to all who paid poor rates. (fn. 70) Such parishioners were sometimes present in the vestry, as in 1700 when 'others' were noted after the named attenders. (fn. 71) In 1725 a separate book was reserved for general meetings and in 1739 the select vestry forced several outsiders to withdraw. (fn. 72) The vicar and parish officers attended the parish meetings, of which there were 11 in 1763 and 7 in 1770. The parish meetings submitted names to the magistrates for appointment as highway surveyors and were concerned particularly with the poor, although all matters of parish interest were discussed. (fn. 73) Petitioners for an inquiry into the leasing of Lammas lands were accused of treating a session of the select vestry as a public meeting in 1804. A new local Act, to create more vestrymen, was sought in 1813. The vestry claimed that parochial rates and expenditure had always been effectually controlled by parish meetings, when it finally admitted an additional 49 inhabitants in 1833. (fn. 74) The merger resulted from legal opinions that the bishop's faculty, a copy of which had been withheld by the clerk, was an unsafe foundation for a select vestry. (fn. 75)

In 1581 the collectors for the poor raised money to bring up a fatherless child and in 1598 they made 37 payments, including one to the 'poor house'. (fn. 76) Pensioners were to attend church twice a week in 1620 and were to number not more than 15 in 1628, when a separate book for poor rates was to be bought. (fn. 77) Some pensions were paid for looking after the young or the sick. (fn. 78) The poor's stock was separated in 1628 from the church stock and consisted of the income from parish lands which had been acquired through charitable gifts and which were leased out by the vestry; money in the church box was added. (fn. 79) When the magistrates decided that Hackney could afford to contribute to relief in Stepney in 1676, the vestry claimed that it was already burdened with extraordinary poor. In 1708 bread was distributed to up to 74 people, 'as was usual in this parish', whether or not the amount was covered by gifts. (fn. 80) In 1710 badging was to be strictly enforced on all paupers except Henry Rowe. (fn. 81)

Responsibility by 1741 had devolved upon a workhouse committee, which fixed the poor rate and was answerable to the parish meetings rather than the vestry. (fn. 82) An Act of 1763 committed the poor to a board of trustees, being the vicar, parish officers, and anyone eligible for office, including those who had compounded; any five of them could fix the poor rate. (fn. 83) The early meetings of the trustees, rarely numbering more than 12, were held weekly in the vestry room. Separate rates were introduced, for the poor and for lighting and watching, and five collectors were appointed in 1764; an initial sum was raised by the promise of annuities secured on the rates. (fn. 84) An Act of 1810 allowed all householders rated for the poor at £40 a year to act as co-vestrymen, sharing the vestry's responsibility for relief although not in other fields. It also increased the number of trustees, who might be vestrymen or co-vestrymen, from 53 to 72, and provided for them to form 12 committees of six, which would meet weekly in rotation, and to delimit six districts: Clapton, Homerton, Church Street, Mare Street, Kingsland, and Newington. (fn. 85) The enlarged board of trustees in 1811 met 17 times at the parish house, with an average attendance of 28. (fn. 86) It was elected annually after the opening of the vestry in 1833. (fn. 87)

Revenue for the poor in 1628 was £14 10s. from charities' lands and £2 10s. from £50 stock. (fn. 88) The poor rate, increasingly important as the payers multiplied, raised £120 in 1669 and £326 in 1710. (fn. 89) In 1720 nearly two thirds of expenditure was on monthly payments to 52 pensioners, some with children, a tenth was on nursing, and the rest on children's clothing. (fn. 90) The cost of maintaining the poor was £1,725 17s. 5d. in 1775-6, (fn. 91) when the rate was 2s. in the £, (fn. 92) and an average of £2,376 8s. 5d. for the three years to Easter 1785. (fn. 93) It was £5,158 in 1803, over £13,000 in 1813 and 1821, and slightly less in 1831; the rise, more uneven than that of the population, produced an expenditure per head of 15s. 8d. in 1813 and less than half of that amount in 1831. (fn. 94) Nearly £14,349 was levied but only £8,849 spent on the poor in 1834-5. (fn. 95)

A workhouse where a child was to be sent in 1709 was presumably outside the parish. (fn. 96) In 1732 rented premises were repaired as a workhouse. (fn. 97) A house on the south side of Homerton's high street was leased from the Milborne family in 1741 and in 1761; the parish officers assigned the lease in 1764 to the new trustees for the poor (fn. 98) and in 1769 lent them money to buy the site. (fn. 99) The workhouse management committee met weekly in the 1740s and 1750s, (fn. 100) when the number of inmates ranged from 41 to 74. (fn. 101) At first the committee arranged quarterly contracts for supplies but the poor were farmed by 1755 and in 1764; (fn. 102) direct management was resumed in 1765. (fn. 103) One of the six overseers was to attend on every weekday at the workhouse under the Act of 1810. (fn. 104) Accommodation was for 220 in 1775-6 (fn. 105) and expensive enlargement was carried out in 1810-11 and again in 1813. (fn. 106) Stricter discipline and more profitable work were sought in 1811 but many rules were not kept by 1822. (fn. 107) The parish claimed to manage a model workhouse in 1831, when it held 102 men and 153 women, housed separately, 80 boys, and 60 girls; work was provided there and a few inmates were farmed out. In addition outdoor relief was paid to 398 pensioners and for 35 children to be nursed. (fn. 108) The buildings apparently had no special accommodation for the religious services which were held and the schooling which was recommended in 1815. (fn. 109)


Although the body of trustees continued until 1899, (fn. 110) the Poor Law Amendment Act, 1834, vested practical responsibility for the poor from 1837 in Hackney union until the London Government Act, 1929, substituted the L.C.C. in 1930. The union combined the old parishes of Hackney and Stoke Newington; (fn. 111) initially, Hackney contributed seven eighths of the annual cost (fn. 112) and elected 13 guardians (20 by 1872) to Stoke Newington's 5. (fn. 113) Weekly meetings were held at the parish house and later at the town hall and at the workhouse. (fn. 114) The old workhouse was replaced by a building begun in 1838 and finished by 1842, (fn. 115) which the trustees sold to the guardians in 1845, (fn. 116) when further building had to be done. (fn. 117) The premises in 1849 included a range along the high street, in front of women's wards and a small infirmary to the west and men's wards, with a stone yard, to the east; farther south stood a chapel of 1848 seating 500 and schools, behind which the grounds stretched to beyond the new railway line. (fn. 118) The schools were criticized in 1854, when attended by 45 boys and 79 girls, but had improved by 1857, when the numbers had risen by 50. (fn. 119) The union maintained 459 indoor and 2,034 outdoor poor, 42.6 for every 1,000 inhabitants, in 1850; the proportion fell to 28.9 for every 1,000 inhabitants in 1860 but was 55 in 1870. (fn. 120) Although some buildings were adapted and others added for the infirmary, later Hackney hospital, the workhouse continued to receive both the able bodied and the infirm and was certified for 1,090 inmates in 1885. (fn. 121) As Homerton central institution it was certified for 1,404 in 1930, when the guardians derived most of their income from Hackney M.B. as overseers and when they also had nearby branch homes, besides one for children at Ongar (Essex). (fn. 122)

From 1833 the trustees and the enlarged vestry (fn. 123) were still seen as unrepresentative by the Hackney Magazine, which publicized their proceedings. (fn. 124) The vestry in 1836 set up a 20-member highways board, soon renewed under a new Act, (fn. 125) and in 1837 accepted the continuance of the trustees' lamp board. (fn. 126) It also protested at the high property qualification for election as guardian and in 1841 opposed the rates sought by the Tower Hamlets commissioners of sewers. (fn. 127) Meetings were normally chaired by the rector or a churchwarden and spent much time over repeated and rising demands to abandon church rates.

A new administrative vestry, for the whole parish but with more limited responsibilities, was installed under the Metropolis Local Management Act, 1855. The Act replaced the metropolitan commissioners of sewers, successors to the Tower Hamlets commissioners, with the Hackney district of the Metropolitan Board of Works (M.B.W.); the district, which included Stoke Newington, returned one member to the M.B.W. (fn. 128) The new vestry superseded the three church vestries for all but church purposes. It met, erratically, less than once a month. In addition to the rector and churchwardens, it consisted of 119 vestrymen, of whom one third was elected annually, representing the seven wards of Stamford Hill, Homerton, Dalston, De Beauvoir Town, Hackney, South Hackney, and West Hackney. (fn. 129) It chose the district board and, after some doubts about their continued existence, the trustees of the poor. (fn. 130) Resenting the link with Stoke Newington and the division and vagueness of its own powers, the vestry criticized the bookkeeping of the former highway and lighting boards and unsuccessfully sought to control those parochial charities which had been apportioned to South and West Hackney. (fn. 131) It appointed a fire engine committee, as did the trustees, and a finance committee. (fn. 132) Through a joint committee also representing the trustees and the district board, it was responsible for building a new town hall. (fn. 133)

Hackney district board, meeting weekly from 1855 at the town hall, consisted of 51 members for the eight Hackney wards and 5 for Stoke Newington. At first it was often chaired by J. R. Daniel-Tyssen and represented on the M.B.W. by George Offor, an earlier opponent of church rates. The board appointed general purposes and finance committees and superseded the highway and lighting boards. Officers included a clerk, a medical officer of health, a surveyor, and an inspector of nuisances. (fn. 134) From 1856 the trustees of the poor met twice a year to make a parish or poor trust rate, chiefly for the guardians, the Metropolitan Police, and the fire engines, and separate general, lighting, and sewers' rates for the district board of works. Many other meetings dealt with appeals against assessments. The trustees' delays in meeting financial calls forced the guardians to postpone the settling of bills in 1856. (fn. 135)

The district board of works was dissolved in 1894. (fn. 136) No longer linked with Stoke Newington except in the poor-law union, Hackney was administered again by the vestry, which maintained the district board's officers and worked, as the board had done, through committees; (fn. 137) it called itself a corporate body and was quick to seek a transfer of powers from the trustees of the poor, since many vestrymen were also trustees. (fn. 138) Both vestry and trustees were superseded by Hackney metropolitan borough council under the London Government Act, 1899, which also introduced a single rate. (fn. 139)

Borough of Hackney

Perfess in chief the dexter sidegules with a representation ofHackney tower proper andthe sinister side per fess sableand argent with a maltesecross per fess argent and gules,and in the base six pieces barrywavy argent and azure [Granted 1924]

Hackney metropolitan borough council was first elected in 1900 and consisted of a mayor, 10 aldermen, and 60 councillors representing 8 wards which remained unchanged until 1936: Stamford Hill, Clapton Park, Homerton, the Downs, Kingsland, Hackney, South Hackney, and West Hackney. (fn. 140) In 1903 the town hall was the meeting place of the council twice monthly; in addition to the town clerk, treasurer, and solicitor, there were departments for the accountant, the engineer and surveyor, public health, electricity, and libraries. (fn. 141) The borough received a grant of arms in 1924. (fn. 142) From 1936 there were 8 aldermen and 48 councillors for 16 wards. Most of the wards were altered and renamed in 1955 but there were still 16 in 1965 when, under the London Government Act, 1963, the metropolitan borough was joined with those of Stoke Newington and Shoreditch to form the London Borough of Hackney. (fn. 143) The new borough had 20 wards in 1971 and 23, of which 15 lay in Hackney, by 1978. (fn. 144)

The first town hall, which in 1802 had replaced Church House, (fn. 145) remained in use until 1866. Rooms were then leased to the M.B.W., the guardians, who disputed ownership with the vestry, and several provident societies, and public meetings might still be held there. (fn. 146) A plain two- storeyed block of four bays, the central two slightly projecting, it was given a stone cladding in 1900, with a pediment, balustrades, and more elaborate doorway. Part was occupied from 1899 by the London City & Midland Bank, which remained there as the Midland Bank in 1991. (fn. 147) The second town hall, begun in 1864, was opened in 1866 in the centre of the rectangular space called Hackney Grove. (fn. 148) Designed in the 'French- Italian' style by Hammack & Lambert and faced with Portland stone, it was of two storeys over a basement and consisted of a five-bayed central block, balustraded and with a Doric porch, projecting beyond single-bay wings. (fn. 149) The estimated building costs were greatly exceeded. (fn. 150) Extensive alterations by Gordon, Lowther, & Gunton, opened in 1898, included wider two-storeyed wings producing an ornate frontage of 11 bays. (fn. 151) A third town hall was begun in 1934, finished in 1936, and opened in 1937, replacing houses behind the second one, of which the site thereafter formed a garden. 'Conventional but not showy', the building was designed by Lanchester & Lodge and faced in Portland stone; it was flat-roofed and four-storeyed, with a front of nine bays, the central five slightly projecting. From 1965 it was the municipal centre of Hackney L.B. (fn. 152) The building in 1991 retained its unaltered interiors in the Art Deco style. (fn. 153)

London Borough of Hackney

Per fess in chief per fesssable and argent a maltese crossper fess argent and gules betweentwo oak tress eradicated or fructed gules and in the base gulesthree bells or, the whole within abordure barry wavy argent and azure [Granted 1969]

Conservatives outnumbered Liberals on the first borough council, elected in 1900. As Municipal Reformers they averted Progressive control in 1906, by allying with Independents (Ratepayers' Association), and took overall control in 1912. (fn. 154) Labour, which in 1900 had unsuccessfully run 9 candidates in Homerton, the most radical ward, narrowly took control in 1919 but lost every seat to an alliance of Municipal Reformers and Progressives in 1922 and 1925. (fn. 155) It regained a majority only in 1934 but kept it thereafter, both on the metropolitan borough council and, except in 1968, on its successor. One Communist was elected in 1945 and two were elected in 1949. (fn. 156) Apart from Springfield, all the wards in the former borough elected Labour members to Hackney L.B. in 1990. (fn. 157) The turnout in municipal elections was close to London's average until the Second World War but lower thereafter. (fn. 158)

Two parliamentary seats were allotted to Hackney by the Representation of the People Act, 1867. (fn. 159) Liberals were always returned until the constituencies of North, Central, and South Hackney were created in 1885. (fn. 160) Hackney North returned a Conservative or Unionist until 1945, except in 1906. Hackney Central voted Conservative until 1900, then Liberal until 1923, Conservative again in 1924 and 1931, and Labour in 1929 and 1935. Hackney South generally returned a Liberal, with Conservatives only in 1895, 1900, at a by-election in 1922, and 1931; it was the first to vote Labour, in 1923, as it did again in 1929 and 1935. All M.P.s were elected as Labour from 1945, the boundaries being redrawn to form the two seats of Hackney Central and of Hackney North and Stoke Newington in 1955. Hackney South and Shoreditch formed a third constituency in the 1970s but Hackney Central was divided between the other two Hackney seats in the 1980s. The M.P. for Hackney South, who had joined the Social Democrat party, was defeated in 1983. (fn. 161) Members included Sir Charles Reed (d. 1881), chairman of the London school board, and his successor Henry Fawcett (d. 1884), the 'member for India', and for South Hackney Sir Charles Russell from 1885 until 1894, when he became Lord Russell of Killowen and lord chief justice. (fn. 162) The financier Horatio Bottomley (d. 1933) represented South Hackney from 1906, despite local opposition from his own party, and as an independent from 1918 until his imprisonment in 1922. (fn. 163) Herbert Stanley Morrison (d. 1965), later Lord Morrison of Lambeth, was co-opted as mayor of Hackney in 1919 and began his parliamentary career as M.P. for Hackney South in 1923. (fn. 164)

From 1889 Hackney's three parliamentary seats each returned two members to the L.C.C. (fn. 165)


  • 1. Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 475.
  • 2. McDonnell, Medieval Lond. Suburbs, 35.
  • 3. P.R.O., SC 2/191/60-4.
  • 4. Ibid. 60, m. 16.
  • 5. P.R.O., SC 2/191/60, 62-3; B.L. Eg. Ch. 2080-1; G.L.R.O., M93/1-4. Also abstracts from 1651: G.L.R.O., M93/89-92.
  • 6. P.R.O., SC 2/191/63, m. 3d.
  • 7. B.L. Eg. Ch. 2080.
  • 8. Ibid. 2081.
  • 9. B.L. Eg. MS. 3006, f. 87.
  • 10. Ibid. ff. 66, 149-50.
  • 11. G.L.R.O., M93/1, ff. 15, 56, 61, 64, 108, 142, 145, 154, 156, 160, 213.
  • 12. G.L.R.O., M79/LH/1-40 (ct. bks., some unfit for consultation); M79/LH/45-56 (draft ct. bks.); M79/LH/41- 2 (indexes).
  • 13. Ibid. M79/KH/1-20 (ct. bks., some unfit for consultation); M79/KH/23-5 (draft ct. bks.); M79/KH/21-2 (indexes).
  • 14. Ibid. M79/LH/57-82; M79/KH/26-41.
  • 15. B.L. Cott. MS. Nero E. VI, ff. 66-7; P.R.O., C 1/314/8; C 1/465/31.
  • 16. H.A.D., D/F/TYS/40; G.L.R.O., M79/G/1 (index); M 79/G/2-7.
  • 17. Ibid. M79/LH/44.
  • 18. Ibid. M79/LH/18, p. 150.
  • 19. Two paras. based on ct. bks. and draft ct. bks.
  • 20. G.L.R.O., M79/LH/13, pp. 1, 24.
  • 21. Ibid. 20, p. 435.
  • 22. Ibid. 36, p. 372. Ct. book for 1886-96 unfit for consultation.
  • 23. Listed from 1836 to 1923 at back of G.L.R.O., M79/LH/42.
  • 24. Listed from 1666 to 1852 at back of ibid., M79/KH/22.
  • 25. H.A.D., D/F/TYS/40; G.L.R.O., M79/G/2.
  • 26. Above, manors (Balmes).
  • 27. Above, manors (Lordshold).
  • 28. Ct. bk. for 1841-4 wanting.
  • 29. Cal. Mdx. Sess. Bks. xi. 155-6.
  • 30. G.L.R.O., M79/LH/4.
  • 31. Ibid. M79/LH/36, p. 372.
  • 32. Ibid. M79/KH/10, p. 393; ibid. 12, passim.
  • 33. Vestry mins. 7 July 1605; 31 July 1614; 19 July 1696; 26 July 1703; Robinson, Hackney, i. 353-408.
  • 34. Vestry mins. s.v. 1618; below (parish govt. to 1837).
  • 35. Vestry mins. 26 May 1701; 26 June 1712; 17 Apr. 1781.
  • 36. G.L.R.O., M79/LH/52, ct. 3 Apr. 1744.
  • 37. Vestry mins. 3 Apr., 14 Oct. 1804; 22 Dec. 1806; 24 Jan. 1833.
  • 38. H.A.D., D/F/TYS/1.
  • 39. S. and B. Webb, Eng. Local Govt., Par. and County (1924), 193, 228-9 n., 246 n., 264. Both types of mtg. were sometimes recorded in same bk., e.g. vestry mins. 10 Aug., 26 Dec. 1724.
  • 40. 4 Geo. III, c. 43; 50 Geo. III, c. 190 (Local and Personal); vestry mins. 30 June 1831; G.L.R.O., P79/JN1/157.
  • 41. Lond. Rec. Soc. xvi. 68; below, educ. (preamble).
  • 42. Guildhall MSS. 9537/1, f. 78; 9537/2, f. 106r. Four oeconomi or churchwardens in 1577: ibid. 9537/4.
  • 43. H.A.D., D/F/TYS/1, pp. 1-3. Officers 1581-1607 listed in ibid. D/F/TYS/12/2, pp. iii-iv.
  • 44. H.A.D., D/F/TYS/1, p. 5; Webb, Eng. Local Govt. 229 n.
  • 45. H.A.D., D/F/TYS/1, pp. 66-7.
  • 46. Ibid. D/F/TYS/2, pp. 2-3; Robinson, Hackney, ii. 85- 7.
  • 47. H.A.D., D/F/TYS/2, passim.
  • 48. Vestry mins. 20 July 1628; G.L.R.O., P 79/JN1/239/1-3.
  • 49. Vestry mins. 13 Dec. 1711; 12 June 1756.
  • 50. Ibid. 1 May 1632; 22 Apr. 1690.
  • 51. Ibid. 23 Jan. 1744; 16 Apr. 1745; 16 June 1759.
  • 52. Ibid. 1 May 1657; 24 May 1658; 25 Apr. 1671; 17 Sept. 1694.
  • 53. Ibid. 18 Dec. 1731; 11 Apr. 1732; 27 Mar. 1733; 24 Apr. 1753; 16 Dec. 1771.
  • 54. Ibid. 24 Apr. 1810.
  • 55. Ibid. 29 July 1727; 5 July 1736; 30 Mar., 30 May, 24 Sept. 1748; 7 Aug. 1836.
  • 56. Ibid. 15 Apr. 1799.
  • 57. Below, ch.; educ. (preamble).
  • 58. Vestry mins. 31 Mar. 1730; 8 Apr. 1760.
  • 59. In H.A.D. and G.L.R.O.
  • 60. G.L.R.O., P79/JN1/157.
  • 61. H.A.D., P/J/CW/1-36, 119-23; G.L.R.O., P79/JN1/218-28.
  • 62. H.A.D., P/J/P/71-195.
  • 63. Ibid. P/J/CW/37-118; P/J/H/7-10, 12-62.
  • 64. Ibid. P/J/L/1-82.
  • 65. Para. based on vestry mins. passim.
  • 66. Vestry mins. 16 July 1712; 12 Dec. 1719.
  • 67. Ibid. 8 Jan. 1732; 16 Apr. 1759; 6 Apr. 1790.
  • 68. Ibid. 26 May; 4 Aug. 1781.
  • 69. Lysons, Environs, ii. 512; Robinson, Hackney, i. 91; below, local govt. after 1837.
  • 70. Vestry mins. 18 Nov. 1723; 1 Apr., 27 May 1724.
  • 71. Ibid. 27 May, 17 June 1700.
  • 72. Ibid. 11 Jan. 1725; 1 May 1739.
  • 73. G.L.R.O., P79/JN1/157, passim.
  • 74. Vestry mins. 15 Oct. 1804; 16 Dec. 1813; 9 Apr. 1833.
  • 75. Hackney Mag. Nov. 1833, 17-20.
  • 76. H.A.D., D/F/TYS/1, ff. 1, 37.
  • 77. Vestry mins. 19 Nov. 1620; 1 Dec. 1628.
  • 78. Ibid. 1 Dec. 1628; 22 Apr. 1650.
  • 79. Ibid. 1 Dec. 1628; below, charities.
  • 80. Vestry mins. 16 Sept. 1676; 20 June 1708.
  • 81. Ibid. 14 June 1710; above, manors (Shacklewell).
  • 82. Par. mins. 4 July 1763.
  • 83. 50 Geo. III, c. 190 (Local and Personal).
  • 84. G.L.R.O., P/JN1/158, pp. 16-17 and passim.
  • 85. 50 Geo. III, c. 190 (Local and Personal).
  • 86. H.A.D., P/J/P/2.
  • 87. Robinson, Hackney, ii. 322.
  • 88. Vestry mins. 1 Dec. 1628.
  • 89. Robinson, Hackney, i. 253.
  • 90. H.A.D., D/J/P/76.
  • 91. Rep. Cttee. on Returns by Overseers, 1776, p. 100.
  • 92. G.L.R.O., P/JN1/158, p. 295.
  • 93. Abstract of Returns by Overseers, 1787, H.C. 1st ser. ix, p. 143.
  • 94. Rep. Com. Poor Laws, H.C. 44, p. 99f (1834), xxxv, app. B2, pt.1. Half yearly rates detailed in trustees' min. bks.: H.A.D., P/J/P/2-23.
  • 95. Poor Law Com. 2nd Rep. H.C. 595-11, p. 214 (1836), xxix.
  • 96. Vestry mins. 15 Dec. 1709.
  • 97. Ibid. 4 Jan. 1737; Hackney and Stoke Newington Past, 79; Hackney Par. Workho. Rules (facsimile pub. by H.A.D. 1986).
  • 98. H.A.D., P/J/P/68/1-2, 5.
  • 99. G.L.R.O., M79/LH/15, p. 120; H.A.D., P/J/P/2, p. 60.
  • 100. H.A.D., P/J/P/35; G.L.R.O., P79/JN1/160-1.
  • 101. H.A.D., P/J/P/35, 18 Sept. 1742; 25 Oct. 1746.
  • 102. Ibid. passim; ibid. P/J/P/68/3-4. Mins. and outdoor relief payments are ibid. P/J/P/37-40.
  • 103. G.L.R.O., P/JN1/158, pp. 85, 100; cf. H.A.D., P/J/P/2, pp. 289, 308, passim.
  • 104. 50 Geo. III, c. 190.
  • 105. Rep. Cttee. on Returns by Overseers, 1776, p. 100.
  • 106. Robinson, Hackney, i. 253; par. mins. 31 Aug. 1812; Hackney Par. Workho. Rules; H.A.D., P/J/P/2, pp. 4, 148, and passim.
  • 107. Hackney Par. Workho. Rules; H.A.D., P/J/P/2, pp. 43-7.
  • 108. Rep. Com. Poor Laws, 98g.
  • 109. Hackney and Stoke Newington Past, 80, illus. 99- 100; above, plate 64; H.A.D., P/J/P/2, pp. 238, 243.
  • 110. H.A.D., P/J/P/11-23; Hackney Dir. (1872 and later edns.); A. Bassett Hopkins, Boros. of the Metropolis (1900), 21, 29, 57.
  • 111. 4 & 5 Wm. IV, c. 76; 19 Geo. V, c. 17; V.C.H. Mdx. viii. 197.
  • 112. Poor Law Com. 4th Rep. H.C. 147, app. D, p. 81 (1840), xviii.
  • 113. Hackney Dir. (1849 and later edns.).
  • 114. G.L.R.O., Ha BG 1-137 (min. bks. 1837-1940).
  • 115. Robinson, Hackney, ii. 343-4.
  • 116. G.L.R.O., M79/LH/26, p. 115.
  • 117. Statement relating to Metropolitan Workhos. H.C. 474, p. 3 (1866), lxi.
  • 118. G.L.R.O., M79/LH/26, pp. 118-19 (plan); P.R.O., HO 129/11/4/1/2.
  • 119. Mins. of Educ. Cttee. of Council, 1854-5, H.C. 1954, p. 35 (1854-5), xlii; 1857-8, H.C. 2386, p. 49 (1857-8), xlv.
  • 120. Return of Paupers in each Union, H.C. 214, p. 2 (1876), lxiii.
  • 121. Return relating to Accn. in Workhos. and Infirmaries in Metropolis, H.C. 93, p. 4 (1888), lxxxvii.
  • 122. G.L.R.O., Ha BG 137, pp. 4, 590-1.
  • 123. Para. based on G.L.R.O., P79/JN1/147, passim.
  • 124. Hackney Mag. Nov. 1833 sqq.
  • 125. Ibid. pp. 55-8, 105-7.
  • 126. Ibid. pp. 78, 84.
  • 127. Ibid. pp. 90-1, 289-90.
  • 128. 18 & 19 Vic. c. 120; Grocott, Hackney, 18, 21-4.
  • 129. Hackney Dir. (1872); Kelly's Dir. Hackney (1890).
  • 130. H.A.D., J/V/1, pp. 3-7, 54, 165-7, and passim.
  • 131. H.A.D., J/V/1, pp. 64-5, 99, 165-7, 216 sqq.
  • 132. Ibid. J/V/1, p. 89 and passim; J/V/2, passim; ibid. P/J/P/15, p. 71.
  • 133. Ibid. J/V/1, p. 219; 2, pp. 52-3.
  • 134. H.A.D., BW/1; G.L.R.O., P79/JN1/166, passim.
  • 135. H.A.D., P/J/P/15, pp. 16, 62-6 and passim.
  • 136. Metropolis Management (Plumstead and Hackney) Act, 56 & 57 Vic. c. 55.
  • 137. H.A.D., J/V/18/1-5 (ann. reps. 1895-1900); mins. and letter bks. in H.A.D.
  • 138. Ibid. J/V/18/1, pp. 3, 19-21.
  • 139. 62 & 63 Vic. c. 14; Hopkins, Boros. of Metropolis, 21, 29, 57.
  • 140. The Times, 3 Nov. 1900, 14a; 3 Nov. 1934, 7b; L.C.C. Lond. Statistics, xli. 24.
  • 141. Kelly's Dir. Hackney (1902-3).
  • 142. C. W. Scott-Giles, Civic Heraldry (1953), 251.
  • 143. L.C.C. Lond. Statistics, xli. 24; ibid. N.S. iii. 20; Census, 1951-61; Lond. Govt. Act, 1963, c. 33.
  • 144. Census, 1971; H.A.D., Hackney L.B. Ward Map (1978); Hackney Herald, June 1986 (suppl.).
  • 145. Lysons, Environs, Suppl. 173.
  • 146. H.A.D., J/V/2, pp. 588, 622; J/V/3, p. 80; Terrier, Mar. 1987.
  • 147. Robinson, Hackney, i. 91; Pevsner, Lond. ii. 168; Lost Hackney, 31; Hackney Photos. i. 6; Terrier, Mar. 1987; List of Bldgs. (1975).
  • 148. The rector hoped that it would be on the cramped site of its predecessor: H.A.D., J/V/2, pp. 52-3, 65-6.
  • 149. Illus. Lond. News, 13 Oct. 1866, 371-2; Hackney Photos. ii. 70; Terrier, Mar. 1987.
  • 150. H.A.D., J/V/2, pp. 286, 288-9; ibid. H/LD 7/5.
  • 151. Ibid. J/V/18/2, 30; Hackney Official Guide [1925], 58- 9; Terrier, Mar. 1987; above, plate 36.
  • 152. Terrier, Mar. 1987; Pevsner, Lond. ii. 167; Hackney, Official Guide [1938]; Daily Telegraph, 11 Dec. 1989, 4c.
  • 153. H.B.M.C. Lond., HAC 65; List of Bldgs. (1991).
  • 154. Election results in The Times, 3 Nov. 1900, 14a; 3 Nov. 1906, 5a, b; 2 Nov. 1912, 11b.
  • 155. Ibid. 4 Nov. 1919, 12f, 14a; 3 Nov. 1922, 14d, 16c.
  • 156. Ibid. 3 Nov. 1934, 7b; 3 Nov. 1937, 19a; 3 Nov. 1945, 2c; 14 May 1949, 2b; G.L.C. Ann. Abstract of Gtr. Lond. Statistics, ii. 8; vii. 11; x. 6; xii; Hackney Herald, June 1986.
  • 157. Hackney Gaz. 9 May 1990, 16.
  • 158. L.C.C. Lond. Statistics, xvii sqq.
  • 159. 30 & 31 Vic. c. 102, pt. II.
  • 160. F. W. S. Craig, Brit. Parl. Election Results 1832-85 (1989), 11; Redistribution of Seats Act, 48 & 49 Vic. c. 23. Boundaries in H.A.D., BW/E/13/19.
  • 161. F. W. S. Craig, Brit. Parl. Election Results 1885-1918 (1989), 19-20; ibid. 1918-49 (1969), 20-2; 1950-73 (1983), 17-18, 42; 1974-83 (1984), 20-1; H. Pelling, Social Geog. of Brit. Elections 1885-1910, 30, 33, 37-9; L.C.C. Lond. Statistics, N.S. iii. 12; Whitaker's Almanack (1983 and later edns.).
  • 162. D.N.B.
  • 163. Ibid.; Craig, Election Results 1885-1918, 20.
  • 164. D.N.B.; Herb. Morrison, An Autobiography (1960), 82-3 and passim.
  • 165. Whitaker's Almanack (1890); G. Alderman, Lond. Jewry and Lond. Politics 1889-1986 (1989), 28.