A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10, Hackney. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1995.
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Six excellent wells were noted c. 1720, including those commemorated in the names Pigwell brook and, by the 15th century, Shacklewell and Well Street. One, a disused chalybeate spring between Church Street and Dalston, (fn. 1) may have been the source near Dalston from which pipes were laid to Aldgate after Londoners had voted funds in 1535. (fn. 2) Hackney was among the places from which London was authorized to draw water by an Act of 1543, which eventually led to the creation of the Hampstead Water Co., and the Lea at Hackney marsh figured as a possible source in unrealized proposals of 1610. (fn. 3) Church Well Path records a well, on the site of Hackney bus depot, which had been abandoned by 1850. (fn. 4) Conduit field lay in the north angle of Kates Lane and Upper Clapton Road in 1790; an ancient conduit there in 1831 was to be commemorated in Conduit Place off Wood (later Rossington) Street. (fn. 5)
Clapton and some other parts were supplied in 1720 from the Lea through pipes which had recently been laid by the Tyssen family. (fn. 6) In 1753, however, Hackney and Homerton were losing summer visitors because of the lack of 'soft' water. (fn. 7) From 1760 Abraham Ogier and other lessees of the Tyssens' corn mill at Lea bridge increased the waterwheel's power by making a weir, which in 1766 pumped water for Hackney. Assisted in 1784 by a reservoir at Clapton and with profits from the waterworks rising in 1791, they continued as suppliers until a new lease was granted in 1820 to a Mr. Killick. The lease and freehold were bought by the East London Waterworks Co. in 1830. (fn. 8)
The East London Waterworks Co., incorporated to supply Hackney and other parishes from the Lea in 1807, secured further powers in 1829 (fn. 9) and had made a waterworks channel from Lea bridge to Old Ford alongside the Lee trustees' Hackney or New cut by 1834. The supply was increased by reconstruction at Lea bridge in 1837. Lea bridge reservoir was built between the river, the cut, and the new channel and in 1838 the reservoir at Clapton was replaced by one at Stamford Hill, where by 1891 it had made way for houses on the west corner of Portland Avenue and Darenth Road. (fn. 10) Under an Act of 1853 filter beds were built at Lea bridge, one on the Essex side of the Lea and the other replacing Lea bridge reservoir. A new engine was installed in 1854 and two more filter beds, on the Essex bank, were built under an Act of 1867. (fn. 11)
In 1850 the vestry unanimously resolved to seek the establishment of a public body to improve the metropolitan water supply. (fn. 12) In 1874 the East London Waterworks Co. supplied most of Hackney; the New River Co. served the north-west corner of the parish, Shacklewell, Dalston, and De Beauvoir Town. (fn. 13) The New River Co.'s supply was not yet constant in 1888 and the East London's was disrupted in 1894. (fn. 14) Under the Metropolis Water Act, 1902, both companies were superseded in 1904 by the Metropolitan Water Board, (fn. 15) itself superseded under the Water Act, 1973, by the Thames Water Authority in 1974. (fn. 16)
SEWERAGE posed a problem by 1845 and preoccupied the new district board's medical officer of health in 1856, when the spread of housing had turned Hackney brook into an open sewer. (fn. 17) In 1859-60 the M.B.W. completed its northern high-level sewer along the line of Hackney brook to Church Street and thence south-eastward across Victoria Park to Old Ford, (fn. 18) where it joined the Marsh sewer skirting the Lea from Tottenham and, in the 1860s, the Wick Lane branch sewer. The high-level and Ratcliff storm relief sewer, running due south along Mare Street to join the middle-level sewer in Shoreditch, was built between 1881 and 1884. The L.C.C. built a more northerly middlelevel sewer, passing through De Beauvoir Town and south Hackney to Old Ford, between 1906 and 1911. It also built storm relief sewers and curbed flooding on the marsh with a main sewer from Abbey Mills in Stratford, passing mainly between the Lea and the Marsh sewer, which was finished in 1908. (fn. 19)
Local sanitation (fn. 20) from 1856 was the respon sibility of Hackney district board of works, which spent most of its money on paving and sewerage and much of its time on prosecutions for nuisances. Although until 1866 the staff was too small to carry out inspections except after complaint, the medical officer reported that 1,518 houses had been connected to sewers and 1,839 nuisances abated in 1858 alone. Perhaps made unusually vigilant by the rapid pace of building, Hackney was one of the first parishes to take advantage of the Sanitary Act, 1866, (fn. 21) by regularly inspecting all houses with a rental of under £20. By 1870 it claimed to have paved and drained most yards and alleys, improved ventilation, and enforced the emptying of 5,715 cesspools for houses served by main drains. It again took the lead when further powers were conferred by the Sanitary Laws Amendment Act, 1874, (fn. 22) but was still short of staff, to inspect c. 2,000 work places, in 1891.
The vestry granted a weekly sum to keep a patient at Kingsland hospital in 1613, (fn. 23) and made payments to the father of a consumptive child in 1657 and to a surgeon in 1659 and 1704. (fn. 24) Precautions against the plague in 1665 were to include procuring four bearers, a sedan chair for the sick, and four nurses who would be pensioned for life. (fn. 25) In 1716 most of the poor rate was spent on pensions, often for the sick, but £94 18s. out of £352 7s. provided monthly payments to 14 women for nursing. (fn. 26) A midwife was paid weekly in 1665 and probably thereafter (fn. 27) for over a century, her office being among those renewable at Easter. (fn. 28) An apothecary received gratuities for treating the workhouse and out poor from 1741 until 1744, when he was granted a salary, (fn. 29) and a successor was retained in 1764 by the trustees, who in 1767 appointed a new surgeon and apothecary to attend both the workhouse and the poor at home. (fn. 30)
Hackney workhouse infirmary, the forerunner of Hackney hospital, at first consisted merely of beds for the sick or idiots. In 1764 the trustees felt that they had taken over an infirmary rather than a workhouse. (fn. 31) In 1836 the diet was wrong for inmates who were mostly old or infirm. (fn. 32) In 1837 the guardians reappointed one apothecary for the workhouse and three others for the districts as medical officers of health. (fn. 33) The infirmary in 1849 consisted of a single range on the west side of the grounds, immediately south of the women's wards; (fn. 34) a smallpox ward was put up with the help of the inmates in 1860 (fn. 35) and an iron building for sick children by 1866. (fn. 36) The parish had subscribed to a smallpox hospital at King's Cross since 1815 (fn. 37) and to the county lunatic asylum since 1836 or earlier, (fn. 38) but the workhouse admitted a few smallpox cases and held some harmless imbeciles in 1866, when 119 of the 613 inmates were visited daily by the medical officer's assistant. The sick were not classified, were tended by only two paid nurses, and had no day rooms. (fn. 39)
Extensions and adaptations from 1869 (fn. 40) led to a distinction between the workhouse, later called Hackney and Homerton central institution and entered from Sidney Road, and the infirmary, called Hackney hospital. (fn. 41) The workhouse in 1890 had 90 beds, chiefly for the aged bedridden and attended by three paid nurses, while the infirmary had 437 beds, with 35 nurses. (fn. 42) The infirmary expanded to fill the angle between Homerton's high street and Sidney Road and was largely rebuilt in the early 20th century to include four pavilions, two on each side of an administration block, with 800 beds by 1929. The institution underwent less change, (fn. 43) although its area included a pavilion opened in 1926 and on the west side a new nurses' home and mental block, all of which served the hospital. (fn. 44) Both sites passed in 1930 to the L.C.C., which in 1933 completed improvements to the hospital which had been planned by the guardians and in 1937 opened a six-storeyed nurses' home, partly replacing terraced houses acquired by the institution in Sidney Road. (fn. 45)
Hackney hospital passed in 1948 to the northeast metropolitan region's Hackney group management committee, under which it had 1,310 beds in 1949 and 920, mostly acute, in 1968. (fn. 46) The site was cramped and most of the buildings were outdated in 1976, when prefabricated operating theatres were being installed and one ward block offered 'arguably the worst general hospital psychiatric facility in the country'. (fn. 47) In 1985, when administered by the City and Hackney health authority as part of its Hackney/Homerton unit, it served as an acute hospital during the rebuilding of the Eastern hospital. From 1986 Hackney hospital retained 244 beds for old and psychiatric patients, whom it was planned to move to an extension at Homerton. (fn. 48) Demolition on the west side of the site was in progress in 1993.
The Eastern, later Homerton, hospital was opened in 1871 as one of the first three foundations of the Metropolitan Asylums Board. The buildings, on 6 a. north of Homerton Grove, at first were used solely to meet a smallpox epidemic but were designed as a pair of hospitals, the northern for 112 smallpox cases and the southern for 200 fever cases. (fn. 49) The M.A.B., which was in dispute with Hackney district board of works over health precautions, in 1882 stressed the pair's wide catchment area by calling it the North-eastern fever hospital. (fn. 50) An ambulance station had been attached by 1889, when there were 400 beds, (fn. 51) classes on infectious diseases were introduced in 1891, (fn. 52) and a small isolation block was added in 1900. Accommodation was increased to 561 beds by the M.A.B.'s purchase in 1921 of the City of London's institution, originally the East London workhouse, immediately to the west. (fn. 53) The Eastern hospital was administered from 1930 by the L.C.C. and from 1948 by the regional board's Hackney group management committee, under which it had 621 beds in 1949 and 495 in 1968. (fn. 54) A new isolation block was opened in 1935 (fn. 55) and major rebuilding was planned in 1939, but demolition started only in 1981. (fn. 56) The hospital was reopened in 1986 as Homerton hospital, the City and Hackney health authority's general hospital for the district, with four two-storeyed brick wards containing 444 beds. (fn. 57)
The German hospital (fn. 58) was opened in 1845 in Dalston Place on the south side of Dalston Lane, in three houses bought from the infants' asylum. (fn. 59) Financed by subscriptions and patronized by royalty, the hospital offered free treatment to Germans or German speakers and had dispensing branches in both east and west London; (fn. 60) a few 'sanatorium' beds attracted fees but most of the out-patients were poor English. Two linked blocks of red brick with patterning, designed by T. L. Donaldson (fn. 61) and E. A. Gruning in Tudor style, were opened in the garden in 1864, whereupon most of the Dalston Lane frontage was let for building. The new hospital, with 100 beds, was approached by Alma (from 1877 Ritson) Road and from 1867 by a road from Dalston Lane across the railway. Later additions included the Sister's House designed by C. G. F. Rees in 1911 and a five-storeyed buff-brick wing by Burnet, Tait & Lorne, opened in 1936 and facing Fassett Square. (fn. 62) A small convalescent home was opened at Graham House, no. 113 Dalston Lane, in 1883 and replaced in 1908 by one at Hitchin (Herts.). The hospital had 142 beds in 1890, when the London dispensaries survived, (fn. 63) 161 including 12 private beds in 1931, and 192 in 1935. It passed in 1948 to the Hackney group management committee as a general hospital, with 217 beds in 1949 and 1968. (fn. 64) It was reserved for psychiatric and psychogeriatric patients from 1974, was partly empty by 1976, and closed in 1987. (fn. 65) The original block, a very early pavilion-plan hospital, with its contemporary lodge and the noteworthy eastern extension, (fn. 66) survived in 1991.
The Salvation Army's Mothers' hospital originated in a maternity home for unmarried women opened in 1894 by Mrs. Bramwell Booth at Ivy House, on the corner of Mare Street and Richmond Road. It closed in 1912, when the semidetached nos. 153-63 Lower Clapton Road were bought and when wards were built in their gardens to form a general maternity hospital, opened in 1913. The hospital also trained Salvationist and other midwives; (fn. 67) it had 90 beds in 1935. It passed to Hackney group management committee in 1948, with 107 beds in 1949 and 114 in 1968, (fn. 68) and despite opposition (fn. 69) was closed on the opening of Homerton hospital in 1986. (fn. 70) Most of the site was sold to Newlon housing trust for Mothers' Square. The scheme was partly finished in 1988, when a small psychogeriatric hospital was to be included. (fn. 71)
The Salvation Army kept a maternity home, at first called a rescue home, at nos. 27 and 29 Devonshire Road from c. 1898 until 1927 or later. By 1922 there were homes later called Cotland at no. 9 Amhurst Park and Hope Lodge at no. 4 Clapton Common (formerly the Salvationists' training college). Sapsworth House was at nos. 122 and 124 (later also at nos. 126 and 128) Clapton Common by 1934, when all three maternity homes had 20-30 beds. All had closed by 1970. Crossways, opened by 1898 as a rescue home at no. 13 Laura Place, had 20 maternity beds in 1970 and remained a hostel for girls in the 1980s. (fn. 72)
The Metropolitan Free hospital, founded in 1836, moved from Stepney to the south corner of Kingsland Road and St. Peter's Road (from 1936 St. Peter's Way), where out-patients were received by 1886. (fn. 73) It was intended for a poor area, treating subscribers, and in 1888 only 50 of its 160 beds were in use, from lack of funds; (fn. 74) 12 of the beds were for Jews. In 1890 it was governed by a committee, with the lord mayor as president, and by 1902 the king was patron. (fn. 75) All 150 beds remained free in 1935. It passed to the region's Central group management committee in 1948 and to the new East London committee in 1966, when it was linked with St. Leonard's hospital, Shoreditch. (fn. 76) The Metropolitan remained open, with a chest clinic, in 1975 but was closed to in-patients in 1977. (fn. 77) The yellow- and red-brick building, mainly of four storeys, later housed workshops and survived in 1991.
A dispensary for Stamford Hill, Stoke Newington, Clapton, West Hackney, Kingsland, and Dalston was opened in 1825 on the Hackney side of Stoke Newington High Street but moved to the opposite side in 1864. (fn. 78) The union guardians in 1870 acquired a site in Roseberry Place for a dispensary (fn. 79) which was open by 1872, when there was also a homoeopathic dispensary at no. 100 Stoke Newington High Street; (fn. 80) the Roseberry Place dispensary survived until c. 1961. (fn. 81) Hackney Provident dispensary, established in 1877 as a branch of the Metropolitan Provident Medical Association, had 370 subscribers at no. 8 Brett Road in 1910. (fn. 82) A disinfecting station and shelter designed by Gordon & Gunton, to isolate people whose homes were being disinfected, was built by the council in Millfields Road in 1900 and retained in the 1980s. (fn. 83) There were health centres in 1985 at no. 205 Morning Lane, no. 36 Lower Clapton Road, no. 210 Wick Road, no. 3 Mandeville Street, no. 210 Kingsland Road, and in Fountayne Road and Somerford Grove. (fn. 84) A mortuary, initially for cholera victims, was housed in the old church tower by 1875; part of the Rectory's garden was taken in 1890 for a new mortuary, which was opened with rooms for a coroner's court in 1893. (fn. 85)
Hackney was associated with lunatic asylums, (fn. 86) although less notoriously than Hoxton by the 1670s or Bethnal Green later. The longest lived was Brooke House, taken in 1759 by John Monro (d. 1791), who was physician to Bethlehem hospital like his father and many of his descendants. (fn. 87) The house was licensed for 50 patients c. 1840, when it was dilapidated and rarely visited by Henry Monro, whose family owned it until the late 19th century and retained an interest until it was bombed in 1940. (fn. 88) Whitmore (formerly Balmes) House had by 1756 been taken for an asylum by the physician Meyer Schomberg (d. 1761) (fn. 89) and in 1773 was occupied by Roger Devey and another doctor, John Silvester. (fn. 90) It passed by marriage to Thomas Warburton, an unqualified man with influential contacts, who supplied keepers for George III in 1788 and reserved Whitmore House for rich patients; they included Henry Addington (d. 1823), son of the former prime minister and lodged separately in the grounds, and John Murray, marquess of Tullibardine and later duke of Atholl (d. 1846). (fn. 91) Conditions were praised by Edward Wakefield (d. 1846) in 1815 but fiercely attacked in the 1820s. (fn. 92) The asylum passed to Thomas's son Dr. John Warburton (d. 1845) and was closed in the mid 19th century, although more crowded madhouses in Bethnal Green remained in the family. A house which Thomas held from 1801 in Mare Street was to be demolished in 1847 and was commemorated in Warburton Road. (fn. 93)
In the same part of Mare Street the old 'Black and White House' was a madhouse in 1724. (fn. 94) The nearby Pembroke House was taken by Dr. George Rees in 1818 for insane employees of the East India Co. It was under Dr. Walter Davis Williams by 1844 and had 135 inmates by 1870; the site was then bought by the G.E.R. and the house soon replaced by Bayford Street. (fn. 95) London House, also nearby, was an asylum c. 1826 under Samuel Fox (fn. 96) and in 1830 and 1844 under William Oxley, who joined its grounds to those of a house in Mare Street, possibly the later Tre-Wint industrial home; presumably they constituted the male and female asylums with 15 and 22 inmates in 1861. (fn. 97) Wick (later Sidney) House was marked in 1831 as Dr. Tuke's lunatic asylum. (fn. 98) Dr. Thomas Ruston, a propagandist for inoculation, (fn. 99) offered treatment in Mare Street in 1768 but was apparently forced to leave by threats of prosecution. (fn. 100)
Charitable institutions with medical functions included a school for the deaf and dumb, which Thomas Braidwood (d. 1806) moved in 1783 from Edinburgh to Bowling Green (renamed Grove) House and in 1799 to Pembroke House, where it was continued by his family until c. 1810. (fn. 101) The British Asylum for Deaf and Dumb Females was founded by two ladies at Stamford Hill in 1851, moved to Eagle House, Homerton, in 1857 and to no. 179 Lower Clapton Road in 1864. (fn. 102) After demolition of the house in 1933, (fn. 103) the Deaf and Dumb Home continued at no. 26 Clapton Common, a four-storeyed building designed by A. Rubens Cole, until c. 1986. (fn. 104) The East London Home and School for Blind Children, founded c. 1894 by Miss S. Rye at no. 120 Lower Clapton Road, moved in 1901 to nos. 2 and 4 Warwick Road (from 1938 Warwick Grove), where it was licensed for 15 by the Education Department and replaced c. 1948 by a municipal welfare centre, itself replaced by Warwick Court. (fn. 105) The Anglican sisters of St. Francis maintained a home for bedridden women at no. 157 Richmond Road from 1920 until 1962. (fn. 106) St. Mary's home for mothers and babies moved in 1918 from Paddington to no. 153 Stamford Hill, where it remained in 1975. (fn. 107)
A cage, a cucking stool, and a whipping post were to be set up in 1630. The cage was at the south-west corner of the churchyard in 1657 and, with the stocks, was repaired in 1659; a new cucking stool was ordered in 1690. (fn. 108) A manorial court demanded that the public stocks and whipping post be mended in 1744 (fn. 109) and a pillory near the pond in Mare Street was used in 1748. (fn. 110)
A nightly watch was the responsibility of a headborough in 1617. (fn. 111) Quarter sessions in 1681 ordered those magistrates who lived in Hackney to form 16 night watchmen into companies; in 1686 the constables were to be prosecuted for not keeping a proper watch. (fn. 112) A watchhouse was to be built in 1696 and one at Cambridge Heath was paid for by voluntary contributions in 1714; there were watchhouses at Cambridge Heath and nearby at the Shoulder of Mutton in 1728. (fn. 113) Watchmen, to be fined in 1725 for unpunctuality, were in 1740 to patrol both the road and footway to London in pairs, those on the road to be mounted. The expense was to be met from the 'unappropriated funds', (fn. 114) as were rewards and prosecution costs (fn. 115) until subscriptions had raised enough for rewards by 1778. (fn. 116) Hackney turnpike trust employed its own eight watchmen under an Act of 1756, when guns and bayonets were bought, beats defined, the two watchhouses to be continued, and four more to be provided. (fn. 117) There was no lock-up, however, in 1763, when the landlord of the Mermaid and Bird in Hand refused to guard prisoners taken by the turnpike trust's watchmen. (fn. 118)
Watching, with lighting, devolved in 1763 upon the parish trustees, (fn. 119) although the vestry continued to issue orders and offer rewards. (fn. 120) It replaced a road patrol with four local watchmen in 1764 and because the lighting and watching rate sufficed only for the winter it agreed in 1785 to pay for a nine-man summer patrol out of the 'unappropriated funds'. (fn. 121) The parish meeting also offered rewards and in 1782 sought subscriptions for armed patrols whose cost was too heavy for the rates. (fn. 122) To avoid taking all prisoners to Hackney, a cage at Kingsland was promised in 1819 and again in 1822. (fn. 123) In May 1828 the lighting and watching trustees took pride in having recently freed the parish from all night-time robberies: four inspectors had charge of an evening patrol of 26 and a night patrol of 30, the numbers being much greater in winter, when boxes were used; horse patrols had been replaced by foot and in addition eight parish constables saw to inns, shops, and the serving of warrants. Claiming to have driven criminals away to Tottenham, Hackney advised other parishes to copy its vigilance (fn. 124) and was one of only two petitioners against the Metropolitan Police Act, 1829. (fn. 125) It was nonetheless included in the metropolitan police area, with stations next to the old church tower and in Kingsland High Street south of Shacklewell Lane by 1842. (fn. 126) The Hackney station had moved to the northwest corner of the churchyard (later no. 422 Mare Street) by 1865; (fn. 127) the site was that of a police barracks in 1910, the station having moved to a building of 1904 at the north-east corner, (fn. 128) where it remained in 1991. The Kingsland station had moved by 1872 to Dalston Lane, where its building at no. 39, dated 1914, had recently closed in 1991. A station in Wick Road, west of Hedgers Grove, was in use by 1892 and until the Second World War.
Oil lamps were set up in 1756 by Hackney turnpike trustees, (fn. 129) who ordered five for 130 yd. of Church Street and offered a contract to light all the lamps from Shoreditch. In 1757 their surveyor stored 154 lamps during the summer. (fn. 130) The parish trustees, responsible for lighting under the Act of 1763, established a lamp board, (fn. 131) whose legality was questioned in the 1830s (fn. 132) but which was superseded only in 1856 by Hackney district board of works, which fixed the lighting rate. (fn. 133) For 1841-2 the lamp board paid £2,290 to the Imperial Gas Co. and £611 to a contractor for the oil lamps. (fn. 134) With 30 miles of road and 1,047 lamps, the parish was comparatively well lighted in 1854. (fn. 135) The oil lamps were converted to gas in 1856-7 under the district board, (fn. 136) whose area was part of that supplied by the Imperial Gas Co. (fn. 137)
Electric street lighting, under an order of 1893, was provided only in 1901, after Progressive electoral gains had ensured that Hackney would have its own power station. (fn. 138) The station, at the east end of Millfields Road, was built in brick with stone dressings to the design of Gordon & Gunton. (fn. 139) An adjacent refuse destructor supplied heat, and a wharf was built on land leased by the Lee Conservancy for bringing coal and removing waste. (fn. 140) Allegations that profits from the electricity supply had been misused proved harmful locally to the Labour party in 1922. (fn. 141) The power station passed to London Electricity Board in 1947 and still operated, as a substation, in 1994. (fn. 142)
FIRE ENGINES were required by law in 1708, when Francis Tyssen offered to supply one cheaply and all landholders were to pay in proportion to their poor rates. (fn. 143) An engine house was to be sited on the south side of the churchyard, where churchwardens were to inspect the equipment twice a year in 1712, and was built or rebuilt in 1725. A second engine, under a further law, was needed in 1774. (fn. 144) A new large engine was to be bought in 1823 and the existing one assigned to Kingsland. (fn. 145) In 1849 engines were kept in Church Street, in the workhouse, and at Kingsland (probably the later De Beauvoir Town station in St. Peter's Road), (fn. 146) and in 1858 one was bought for west Hackney and Stoke Newington and installed on the east side of the high street. (fn. 147) By 1861 the parish had five engines tended by eight men. (fn. 148) Under the Metropolitan Fire Brigade Act, 1865, the vestry leased its engine houses and sold most of the equipment to the M.B.W., whose duties later passed to the L.C.C.'s London Fire Brigade. (fn. 149) The M.B.W. in 1868 rented and in 1874 bought a site for Hackney fire station at the corner of Amhurst and Bodney roads. (fn. 150) In 1870 there were fire stations in Amhurst Road, St. Peter's Road, and, for south Hackney, Perry (later Kingshold) Road. (fn. 151) Stoke Newington's station was moved in 1886 to the corner of Brooke and Leswin roads and a station at the corner of Kingsland and Downham roads, presumably replacing the one in St. Peter's Road, was built in 1895. (fn. 152) Hackney Wick, which factories made particularly vulnerable, was served only by a substation moved from Poplar to the north end of Wallis Road in 1897, (fn. 153) until a full station was opened in 1902 on the site of nos. 97 and 99 Homerton High Street. (fn. 154) Hackney fire station survived until c. 1921 and Leswin Road until 1977, after it had temporarily housed firemen from Homerton and Kingsland, whose rebuilt stations were reopened in 1974 and 1977. (fn. 155)
PUBLIC LIBRARIES (fn. 156)
were the subject of a rowdy meeting in 1878 and were successfully opposed by a small popular vote. (fn. 157) Private institutions (fn. 158) or circulating libraries (fn. 159) were supplemented in 1885 by a gift of records and books to the vestry from the executors of J. R. Daniel-Tyssen. Kept at the Manor House and then at the town hall, with its own librarian, the Tyssen library came to form the basis of Hackney's local history collection. (fn. 160) After adopting the Public Libraries Acts in 1903, the council bought land in Mare Street from the L.C.C. for a central library, designed by Henry Crouch, (fn. 161) built with funds from Andrew Carnegie, and opened in 1908. Branch libraries, also paid for by Carnegie, were opened for Dalston in 1912 in Forest Road on land given by the Rhodes family, for Homerton, to the design of Edwin Cooper, in Brooksby's Walk, and for Clapton in 1914 in Northwold Road. (fn. 162) A fourth branch, in a converted motor showroom at no. 158 Stamford Hill, was open part time from 1936 and full time from 1939. Dalston library was bombed but reopened in temporary premises, extended in 1946, at nos. 80-82 Dalston Lane and on a permanent site at nos. 24-30 in 1959. (fn. 163)
Part-time libraries (fn. 164) had been opened by 1942 at no. 160 Victoria Park Road, no. 71A Englefield Road, and Kingsmead Way. A further branch was opened in 1947 in a prefabricated building in Eastway, where it was enlarged in 1948, and in 1951 at no. 24 Somerford Grove. The Englefield Road branch was reopened at no. 105 Mortimer Road in 1962 and the Victoria Park branch, called Parkside, at nos. 92-6 Victoria Park Road in 1964. (fn. 165) New two-storeyed libraries were opened for Stamford Hill on the site of the Congregational church in 1968 and for Homerton in the high street in 1974; Eastway library was rebuilt as part of a shopping precinct in 1979. (fn. 166) Rose Lipman library, beneath a community hall in De Beauvoir Road, replaced Mortimer Road in 1975; thereafter it held Hackney archives department, established in 1965 and first housed in Shoreditch. (fn. 167) Hackney museum was opened in the Central hall, Mare Street, in 1987 (fn. 168) but three branch libraries were closed in 1988. (fn. 169)
Public baths designed by Harnor & Pinches were opened in 1897 in Lower Clapton Road; proposed alterations caused controversy in 1990. (fn. 170) Slipper baths were opened in Wardle Street in 1922, Gayhurst Road in 1928, Shacklewell Lane in 1931, Englefield Road in 1932, and Gainsborough Road (later Eastway), together with a laundry, in 1935. All remained open c. 1980, as did the first municipal launderette opened in Oldhill Street in 1958 and a more recent one in Morning Lane. (fn. 171) The more westerly of Victoria Park's bathing lakes lay within Hackney, although not the Lido which superseded them in 1936. (fn. 172) The L.C.C.'s improvements to Hackney marsh included the formation of a bathing pool, unused in 1898 as the Lea had still to be purified. (fn. 173) An open air pool was opened at West Side, London Fields, c. 1931. (fn. 174) It survived, with Eastway baths, c. 1987, but swimming pools were open only in Lower Clapton Road in 1989. (fn. 175)
PARKS AND OPEN SPACES.
The first large open space maintained from public funds was Victoria Park, (fn. 176) created under Acts of 1841 and 1842 (fn. 177) on lands compulsorily purchased with money from the Crown's sale of York (later Lancaster) House. The park, intended for east Londoners as a whole, extended from Bethnal Green into south Hackney mainly over parts of the Cass and St. Thomas's hospital estates. It was unofficially open from 1845, when still being laid out by the commissioners of Woods and Forests, whose architect Sir James Pennethorne planned gardens at the west end and open grass for recreation at the east. A quarter, later reduced to a sixth, of the purchased land could be leased for building until the M.B.W. bought c. 24 a. from the Woods and Forests to add to the park's 193 a. in 1872; (fn. 178) a small plot was added by Wilberforce Bryant in 1876. Maintenance of the park had passed in 1851 from the Woods and Forests to the office of Works and Public Buildings, which received annual parliamentary grants until an Act of 1887 (fn. 179) transferred the charges to Londoners. Thereafter management was by the M.B.W., the L.C.C., the G.L.C., and from 1986 a board representing Hackney L.B., which contained 27.92 of the park's 88.02 ha., and Tower Hamlets. (fn. 180)
Victoria Park, whose first lake was authorized in 1846, was noted for its landscaping (fn. 181) and for amenities ranging from floral displays to concerts and sports contests. Ornamental furnishings included a Tudor lodge of 1845 and imposing gates at Approach Road, Bethnal Green, a pagoda ordered in 1847, a Moorish arcade designed by Pennethorne, a polygonal Gothic fountain designed by H. A. Darbishire and given by Baroness Burdett-Coutts in 1861, a palm house of 1892, a refreshment pavilion of 1940, and two alcoves from the 18th-century London Bridge. Many did not survive the Second World War or subsequent neglect, but in 1988 it was planned to restore the fountain, which stood within Hackney, and to re-erect other monuments. (fn. 182)
Enough commons and Lammas lands were preserved from 19th-century building to make Hackney relatively rich in open spaces, (fn. 183) although most were useful rather than ornamental. Under the Metropolitan Commons Act, 1866, the district board organized a petition for the inclosure of nearly 180 a. collectively described as Hackney commons, whose transfer to the M.B.W. was confirmed in an Act of 1872. The lands were Clapton common (9¼ a.), Stoke Newington common (5½ a.), North and South Mill fields (57½a.), Hackney Downs (50 a.), Hackney or Well Street common (30 a.), London Fields (27 a.), and strips of waste in Dalston Lane and Grove Street (later Lauriston Road). (fn. 184) The lord, while repudiating his agent's digging for gravel on Stoke Newington common, in 1875 provoked protests by inclosing part of Hackney Downs and the Mill fields. His fences were torn down, as were notices put up by the Grocers' Co. in 1877, but Chancery upheld him against the M.B.W. in 1879. (fn. 185) His rights were purchased by the M.B.W. under an Act of 1881 and those of other freeholders under a further Act of 1884. (fn. 186)
Hackney marsh (337 a.) (fn. 187) where Lammas rights were still exercised, was excluded from the M.B.W.'s scheme in 1872. The possibility that the owners might unite to convert it into building land led the district board to seek its purchase by the L.C.C. in 1889, when further agitation was caused by the manorial drivers' ban on football by boys from the Eton mission. After the Board of Agriculture had drafted a Scheme in 1890 the owners negotiated to sell their rights to the L.C.C. for £75,000, the district board contributing £15,000 and private subscribers £10,000. The marsh was open to the public from 1893, when transferred under the London Open Spaces Act, and formally dedicated in 1894. Flood prevention works by the L.C.C. included four cuts across bends in the Lea, the old channels being retained to form islands; a bathing pool was created by the northernmost cut. West of Lee Conservancy Road 37½ a. taken in 1915 for the National Projectile factory were to be retained by the government in 1922 but later were cleared for Mabley Green recreation ground. (fn. 188) Kingsmead estate was built on 20½ a. exchanged with the L.C.C. in 1937. (fn. 189) Thereafter it separated Hackney Marsh recreation ground (later Daubeney Fields) from Mabley Green ground to the south. (fn. 190)
Springfield park (32½ a.) was opened in 1905 after its purchase from T. K. Bros under the L.C.C. (General Powers) Act, 1904. As the SpringWeld estate, it had contained Thomas Garland's Spring Hill House, the Chestnuts, and SpringWeld House, the last of which was retained for refreshments and staff accommodation; it also included Spring Lane, which was diverted closer to the Lea, and the island at Horse Shoe Point. (fn. 191)
Smaller plots were bought or held for nominal rents by Hackney district board and its successors, the vestry and the metropolitan borough, which respectively cared for 11 a. in 1895, and 13½ a. in 1912. (fn. 192) They included the freeholds of Shacklewell green, the Triangle in Mare Street, Stonebridge common, and strips along Stamford Hill, all acquired by the board in 1883, and strips in Dalston Lane and Lauriston Road handed over by the M.B.W. in 1884. With grants from the Metropolitan Gardens Association, the M.B.W., and the L.C.C., gardens were created in Well Street burial ground, bordering St. Thomas's Place, and West Hackney, St. John's, and South Hackney churchyards under faculties granted in 1884, 1885, 1893, and 1900, and also in De Beauvoir Square and St. Thomas's Square, leased from 1891 and 1892. West Bank at Stamford Hill was bought in 1891, East Bank in 1894, and Clapton pond and gardens and Albion Square in 1898. (fn. 193) Clapton Square, neglected as a residents' garden, was acquired by the L.C.C. and passed to Hackney M.B. in 1924, by which date 621 a., almost one fifth, of the borough was open space. (fn. 194) Encroachment on parks by sports pitches and playgrounds, notably on London Fields and Hackney Downs, brought complaints in 1980. (fn. 195)