Stoke Newington: Growth, from 1940

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 8, Islington and Stoke Newington Parishes. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1985.

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A P Baggs. Diane K Bolton. Patricia E C Croot, 'Stoke Newington: Growth, from 1940', in A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 8, Islington and Stoke Newington Parishes, (London, 1985) pp. 160-163. British History Online [accessed 26 May 2024].

A P Baggs. Diane K Bolton. Patricia E C Croot. "Stoke Newington: Growth, from 1940", in A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 8, Islington and Stoke Newington Parishes, (London, 1985) 160-163. British History Online, accessed May 26, 2024,

Baggs, A P. Bolton, Diane K. Croot, Patricia E C. "Stoke Newington: Growth, from 1940", A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 8, Islington and Stoke Newington Parishes, (London, 1985). 160-163. British History Online. Web. 26 May 2024,

From 1940

During the Second World War 474 buildings were destroyed and many more damaged. (fn. 87) The County of London Plan of 1943 discussed an expansion of open space, a reduction of population to an overall density of 100 to the acre, and a separation of industry from residential areas. (fn. 88) The need to give priority to housing, however, together with vigorous objections by firms to residential zoning, ensured that the plan was never put into effect. (fn. 89) By 1951 there were 10,446 dwellings in the borough, an increase of almost a quarter over 1931. (fn. 90) Numbers of dwellings built since the war were 3,244 by 1957, 3,834 by 1960, and 4,507 by 1964. (fn. 91) In 1961 there were 15,037 dwellings in the borough. (fn. 92)

The shift in the balance between private and public housing, which had begun during the 1930s, was completed after the Second World War. The Church Commissioners, having relinquished the freehold of Woodberry Down, sold numerous other sites. The borough council acquired nos. 206-16 (even) Green Lanes in 1950, nos. 23-33 (odd) Lordship Road in 1951, nos. 58-78 (even) Bethune Road and nos. 96-122 (even) Manor Road in 1955, nos. 1-11 (odd) Queen Elizabeth's Walk and the rear of Lordship Park in 1955, and nos. 87-121 (odd) Lordship Road in 1957. The L.C.C. acquired nos. 63-93 (odd) Bethune Road and nos. 2-16 (even) Fairholt Road in 1951, Northumberland House, nos. 338-52 (even) Green Lanes and nos. 1-25 (odd) Woodberry Grove in 1954, and no. 54 Bouverie Road in 1958. (fn. 93)

The borough council set up a housing depart-ment in 1948 and, largely using its direct labour force, (fn. 94) undertook an extensive replacement of Victorian houses with blocks of flats, mainly in the south. They included Hawkesley Court (128 flats and 23 houses) finished in 1948, Milton Gardens (76 flats) in Albert Town in 1949, (fn. 95) Amwell Court (116 flats) in Green Lanes next to the reservoir in 1950, (fn. 96) Gordon Lodge at the northern end of Queen Elizabeth's Walk in 1951, (fn. 97) Londesborough Road (80 flats) (fn. 98) and Manor Road (54 flats, probably Rosedale House) in 1953, (fn. 99) and Defoe Road (36 flats) by 1955. (fn. 1) Lordship South estate (121 flats) on the western side of Lordship Road was begun in 1956 but not finished until 1959, by which time other recently completed estates were Hillcourt (146 flats) on the north side of Manor Road, and Burma Court (129 flats) south of Aden Terrace. (fn. 2) The borough had built 1,336 dwellings between 1945 and 1957 and at the end of 1960 owned 2,335, including pre-war estates. By the end of 1964 the numbers had risen to 2,889. (fn. 3)

The L.C.C. in 1946 started work on the first eight blocks containing 1,765 dwellings as part of an amended scheme for Woodberry Down. (fn. 4) One eight-storeyed block, the largest yet built for the L.C.C., was opened in 1949. (fn. 5) Building continued until by 1961 there were 1,797 dwellings on the original site, mostly in five-storeyed blocks, while another 219 dwellings, mostly in ten-storeyed blocks, were being built on the site of Northumberland House. (fn. 6) The L.C.C. built 1,845 dwellings in Stoke Newington between 1945 and 1957, owning 2,041 dwellings there by the end of 1960 and 2,324 by the end of 1964. (fn. 7)

Other flats built during the 1950s were Medway and Crawshay houses in Clissold Crescent between 1954 and 1959, (fn. 8) Queen Elizabeth's Close on the site of nos. 1-11 (odd) Queen Elizabeth's Walk between 1952 and 1960, (fn. 9) and Shannon Court off Dynevor Road between 1952 and 1962. (fn. 10) During the next decade Listria Lodge replaced two large houses at the Stamford Hill end of Manor Road between 1953 and 1966, (fn. 11) Sandor Court, four- and six-storeyed blocks, replaced Bethune Close between 1954 and 1963, (fn. 12) Meadowcroft replaced nos. 83-93 (odd) Bethune Road between 1954 and 1970, (fn. 13) Arbor Court (48 flats) was built on a site bounded by Queen Elizabeth's Walk, Lordship Park, and Lordship Road, Queen's and Palm's courts were built in Queen Elizabeth's Walk north of Lordship Park between 1960 and 1970, (fn. 14) and flats replaced Victorian houses on a site bounded by Lordship, St. Kilda's, and St. Andrew's roads between 1960 and 1975. (fn. 15) Flats continued to be built south of Church Street. The Milton Gardens estate in Albert Town was extended, more than 200 flats in blocks named after poets being built between 1954 and 1970, (fn. 16) and to the west flats replaced houses in Howard Road and the old town hall in Milton Grove between 1959 and 1970. (fn. 17) The other area of development was in the south-west where flats were built between Green Lanes and Statham Grove and on the site of All Saints' church in Aden Grove between 1959 and 1970. (fn. 18) All the houses on the east side of Clissold Road were demolished after 1952, and Clissold Park school opened there in 1969 and Glebelands old people's home about the same time. In 1972 Crusoe House opened on the site of nos. 41-51 (odd) Clissold Road. (fn. 19) Chestnut Close replaced nos. 15-35 (odd) Lordship Road, Juniper Court was built in Grazebrook Road, and Sandale Close was built on the site of no. 97B Carysfort Road between 1970 and 1980. (fn. 20) Two large estates by Hackney L.B. in the 1980s were Shellgrove in the south-east, bounded by Boleyn Road, Crossway, Pellerin Road, and Selsea Place, and Yorkshire Grove in the old Victoria area of South Hornsey, bounded by Victoria Grove, Yorkshire Close (formerly Victoria Grove West), Nevill, Walford, and Beatty (formerly Gordon) roads.

The immediate post-war policy of replacing Victorian houses with blocks of flats gradually moderated. By 1964 the borough council had converted 346 houses to flats and the L.C.C. 42. (fn. 21) Under the Civic Amenities Act, 1967, Hackney L.B. designated the Clissold Park area, including nos. 169-223 (odd) Church Street, a conservation area. (fn. 22) In 1972 it prevented rebuilding on the site of Allen's flats in Bethune Road. (fn. 23) In 1974 a list of protected buildings included large numbers of Victorian houses throughout Stoke Newington. (fn. 24) In 1975 Hackney L.B. was opposed by the inhabitants of some 40 houses in the Barbauld (formerly Broughton) Road area, which it wanted to replace by flats, and in 1976 the G.L.C. expressed concern about displacing small firms from the large gardens at the back of Albion Road. (fn. 25) In 1983, although there were modern flats at the western end of Barbauld Road, most of the street retained its Victorian terraces. In 1976 Hackney designated for rehabilitation an 'action area' named Shakspeare Walk, north of the new flats in Albert Town and west of Nevill Road. Houses in Cowper Road were accordingly demolished to provide an open space, while shops and houses in Milton Grove and Allen Road were restored. In 1981 the council designated an 'action area' called Palatine Road, east of Albert Town between Beatty and Prince George roads, and a general improvement area called Martaban (Listria Park, near Stamford Hill). In 1982 the council proposed two new conservation areas, one extending the Clissold Park area to include the whole of Church Street and the second comprising Milton Grove and parts of Albion Road and Shakspeare Walk. (fn. 26)

Density in 1951 varied from 100 people to the acre in Palatine and 83 in Church ward to 36 in Manor ward; 65 per cent of households shared a dwelling. (fn. 27) In the decade to 1961 the number of dwellings increased by more than a half and the wards were reorganized. Manor ward, reduced in size, was still the most spacious, with 33 people to the acre, and Palatine the most crowded, with 97. Woodberry ward had been created for the Woodberry Down estate, which had 71 to the acre. In 1961 nearly 40 per cent of accommodation was rented, private, and unfurnished, nearly 27 per cent was rented from the local authority, and only 25 per cent was owner occupied. (fn. 28)

In spite of additional housing, overcrowding was greater than before. (fn. 29) The most prosperous moved farther from London and slum clearance transferred many of the original inhabitants to new towns. The old who were left sublet to immigrants, whose proportion to the total population rose from 105 per 1,000 in 1951 to 192 in 1961 (fn. 30) and 240 in 1966. Many were West Indians, of whom 68 per cent shared dwellings in 1973, compared with 25 per cent of the English, while only 8 per cent of West Indian households had all facilities, compared with 40 per cent of the English. There was higher unemployment among the West Indians, who often lived in furnished, rented accommodation. By 1971 Clissold and Defoe wards, comprising the whole area south of Lordship Park and Manor Road, respectively had 26 per cent and 23 per cent of their residents with both parents born in the New Commonwealth. Overcrowding (10 per cent) and lack of amenities (64 per cent) were then highest in Brownswood ward, (fn. 31) where in 1971 there were 0.79 people to a room and 136 people to the hectare. While there were fewer people per room (0.74 or 0.75) in the other wards, the density was usually greater, 195 to the hectare in Clissold and 174 in Defoe, but only 107 in New River. The population in all wards had gone down since 1961. (fn. 32)

In the 1960s and 1970s the Jews who had settled between the late 19th century and 1940 were replaced by more recent immigrants. In addition to West Indians, there were Hassidim from Europe who settled in large numbers north of Church Street, (fn. 33) Greek Cypriots in Finsbury Park, (fn. 34) and Turks in the south-west part of Stoke Newington. (fn. 35) In 1981 Green Lanes from Newington Green to Harringay and Wood Green was described as the spinal cord of Cypriot London. (fn. 36) By the 1980s gentrification was spreading from Islington. In addition to the renovation of Victorian houses by the borough council and housing associations, there was a growth of owner occupation and a new appreciation of Victorian architecture. (fn. 37)

In 1983 Stoke Newington was sharply divided between Victorian housing and modern, predominantly post-war, blocks of flats. The old centres of settlement are treated separately below. Among buildings (fn. 38) north of Church Street is the mid 19th-century engine house of the Metropolitan Water Board, a large castle-like structure or 'amazing folly', (fn. 39) and Fairview, no. 14 Queen Elizabeth's Walk, a detached two-storeyed stockbrick house with original ironwork, built for the nurseryman Alfred Kendall by 1846. (fn. 40) At the east end of Manor Road no. 4, stock-brick and of three storeys and basement, with a segmental bay, survives from the early 19th century. (fn. 41) The Allen flats, nos. 24-54 (even) Manor Road and nos. 2-56 (even) Bethune Road, resemble three-storeyed semi-detached houses of grey brick and painted stucco. (fn. 42) Modernization of some blocks was in progress in 1983. On the southern side of Manor Road the older houses are mostly three-storeyed semi-detached buildings of the late 1870s. In Lordship Road, where many houses have disappeared since 1974, there remain two pre-Victorian cottages, nos. 10 and 12, at the Church Street end and St. Mary's Lodge, no. 73, a two-storeyed stock- and red-brick detached house built by John Young, an architect, for himself c. 1845. (fn. 43) Farther north survive a derelict villa of the mid 19th century and, in its own grounds opposite St. Kilda's Road, one of slightly earlier date. The east side of Yoakley Road is lined with yellow-brick houses, mostly two-storeyed and in pairs or short terraces, all mid 19th-century.

South of Church Street are houses dating from the 1820s and 1830s, notably those by Cubitt and others in Albion Road, which contains a mixture of 19th-century villas and terraces in varying states, some recently restored, mostly as flats, and some in industrial use. Nos. 143-9 (odd) on the west side are detached and semi-detached symmetrical stuccoed houses with pedimented entrances. (fn. 44) The more noteworthy buildings are on the east side: no. 76, a two-storeyed, three-bayed detached house with a massive porch, nos. 108-18 (even), formerly South Place, a terrace built after 1839 by John Adams, (fn. 45) nos. 154-62 (even), detached and semi-detached houses mostly in poor condition, and nos. 166-78 (even), an impressive three-storeyed terrace undergoing restoration. Other noteworthy houses include no. 68, two-storeyed with a basement, and nos. 78-86 (even) and 92-104 (even), two three-storeyed terraces of stock-brick and stucco, in poor condition although some houses are being renovated, and nos. 180-4 (even), a semi-detached pair and a single house that might have been the end of a terrace, all three-storeyed and plain. A small yellow-brick terrace at the Church Street end (nos. 238-46 even) is notable as having been built by Cubitt's own labourers. (fn. 46)

Early 19th-century houses survive in Victorian (formerly Victoria) Grove, including Albion Villas, nos. 9 and 11, a semi-detached two-storeyed pair with basement and attics and semi-circular bays. The flanking semi-detached pairs, nos. 5 and 7 and 13 and 15, are of similar date. In spite of the demolition in Albert Town, many of the original houses, dating from the early 1850s, remain. In Milton Grove no. 66, of two storeys with an Ionic porch, is being rehabilitated, and nos. 64 and 68 are of similar date. Eden Villa, no. 104, is two-storeyed, with iron balconies, railings, and pilasters, and nos. 2-16 (even) Albion Grove, are three-storeyed houses in groups of four, with Italianate features of the 1850s. Other houses in the same roads and in Shakspeare Walk display similar details. (fn. 47) Also of the 1850s are the Albion public house in Clissold Road and, opposite, nos. 1-39 (odd), Italianate houses of three storeys and basements, in groups of four; most are in a poor state, awaiting rehabilitation. (fn. 48) No. 3 Aden Grove, a narrow three-storeyed house with basement, survives from a pair that existed in 1848, (fn. 49) and no. 42 Clissold Crescent, formerly the Grange, Park Lane, a red-brick Gothic detached house built by the architect, James Brooks, for himself in 1862, where he died in 1901, (fn. 50) is being refurbished. Nos. 93 and 95 and 99-103 (odd) Green Lanes are the remains of Millfield Place, a three-storeyed terrace built in 1846-8. (fn. 51)

Whole streets of houses of the 1870s and 1880s remain. Features include the twin pillars at the entrance to Lordship Park from Green Lanes, surmounted by a lion and griffin, sculpted motifs on the terraced houses of Hermitage and Eade roads, the ecclesiastical appearance of Bethany, no. 53 Bethune Road, in 1983 housing a religious community, and tiled paths in Lordship Park and Queen Elizabeth's Walk. (fn. 52) Of the 20th-century buildings, Nicholl House by Sir Leslie Martin (1948), one of the first blocks on the L.C.C.'s Woodberry Down estate, is starkly functional in style. On a later extension of the estate, Lincoln Court at Bethune Road (1969) was built by Howes, Jackman and Partners as high-rise rectangular blocks on pedestals overlooking the reservoirs. (fn. 53) Much of the Woodberry Down estate, however, in contrast to the low-rise brick flats of the borough council, is in grey concrete and reminiscent of Soviet architecture of the early 1950s. (fn. 54)

The population, 1,462 in 1801, more than doubled to 3,480 in 1831, reached 6,608 in 1861, and rose to 9,841 in 1871, and, during the decade of most building, to 22,781 in 1881. Overcrowding, rather than building, was reflected in the rise from 30, 936 in 1901 to 50,659 in 1911 and 52,172 in 1921. The population then declined, falling to 31,370 in 1941, rose steadily to a new peak of 52,301 in 1961, but fell to 45,684 in 1971. (fn. 55)


  • 87. Stoke Newington, Official Guide (1950), 77.
  • 88. G.L.R.O., AR/TP2/157 (L.C.C. Town Planning Scheme 19).
  • 89. Ibid. TP4/33.
  • 90. Census, 1951.
  • 91. Thereafter the figures for Stoke Newington were included in those for Hackney: L.C.C. Lond. Statistics, N.S. iii (1947-50), 110; v (1951-60), 98; vii (1955-64), 101.
  • 92. Census, 1961.
  • 93. Ch. Com., Surveys S2, pp. 910 sqq.; Estate maps, Stoke Newington Estate 1.
  • 94. Below, local govt.
  • 95. Stoke Newington, Official Guide (1950), 77, 83-4.
  • 96. The Times, 13 Nov. 1950, 2e; Official Opening of Amwell Ct. Housing Est. 1950 (S.N.L. cuttings 41.8, LC 2166).
  • 97. Official Opening of Gordon Lodge, 1951 (S.N.L. cuttings 41.8 GOR, LC 2387).
  • 98. Londesborough Rd. Housing Scheme, 1953 (S.N.L. cuttings 41.8 LON).
  • 99. O.S. Map 1/1,250 TQ 3287 SE. (1953, 1954 edns.).
  • 1. Stoke Newington, Official Guide [1955], 22.
  • 2. Ibid. (1959); Lond. Boro. of Hackney, Street Plan [n.d.]; The Times, 25 Apr. 1961, 8a; 21 Nov. 1961, 6d.
  • 3. L.C.C. Lond. Statistics, N.S. iii (1947-56), 110; v (1951-60), 94-5, 98; vii (1955-64), 98, 101.
  • 4. Hackney Gaz. 21 Feb. 1944 (S.N.L. cuttings 41.8); Stoke Newington, Official Guide [1947], 36; above, plate 51.
  • 5. The Times, 18 Feb. 1949, 2d.
  • 6. Stoke Newington, Official Guide [1961], 10-13; O.S. Map 1/1,250, TQ 3287 NE., NW., SW. (1953, 1954, 1962 edns.).
  • 7. L.C.C. Lond. Statistics, N.S. iii (1947-56), 110; v (1951-60), 94-5, 98; vii (1955-64), 98, 101.
  • 8. O.S. Map 1/1,250, TQ 3285 NE. (1954, 1959 edns.).
  • 9. Ibid. TQ 3286 NE. (1952, 1960 edns.).
  • 10. Ibid. TQ 3386 SE. (1952, 1962 edns.).
  • 11. Ibid. TQ 3386 NE. (1953, 1966 edns.).
  • 12. Ibid. TQ 3387 SW. (1954, 1963 edns.).
  • 13. Ibid. TQ 3387 NW. (1954, 1970 edns.).
  • 14. Ibid. TQ 3286 NE. (1960, 1970 edns.).
  • 15. Ibid. TQ 3287 NE. (1960, 1975 edns.).
  • 16. Ibid. TQ 3385 SW. (1954, 1970 edns.).
  • 17. Ibid. TQ 3285 NE. (1959, 1970 edns.).
  • 18. Ibid. TQ 3285 NE. (1959, 1970 edns.).
  • 19. Ibid. TQ 3286 SE. (1952, 1970, 1980 edns.); below, educ.
  • 20. Ibid. TQ 3286 NE., SE. (1970, 1980 edns.).
  • 21. L.C.C. Lond. Statistics, N.S. vii (1955-64), 98.
  • 22. Lond. Gaz. 31 Jan. 1969, p. 1176.
  • 23. Architect's Jnl. 18 Oct. 1972 (S.N.L. cuttings 41.8).
  • 24. Listed Bldgs. under 1971 Act, 1974 (S.N.L. cuttings 55).
  • 25. Hackney Gaz. 7 Oct., 25 Nov. 1975 (S.N.L. cuttings 41.8 BAR, LC 3320-1); Evening Standard, 10 June 1976 (S.N.L. cuttings 41.8, LC 3206).
  • 26. Hackney Gaz. 30 Nov. 1979 (S.N.L. cuttings 55.4, LC 3666); Hackney Boro. Plan, Stoke Newington Area (1982), SN 3-4, 9-11, maps 3.11, 8.1, 9.6.
  • 27. Census, 1951.
  • 28. Ibid. 1961.
  • 29. Passage based on P. J. Mason, 'Immigration and Housing in Stoke Newington' (TS. 1973, S.N.L. 41.6, LC 3305).
  • 30. Cf. average for L.C.C. area: 93 in 1951, 141 in 1961.
  • 31. START, Interim Rep. on Social Trends in L.B. of Hackney (S.N.L. 40.4).
  • 32. Census, 1971.
  • 33. Below, Judaism.
  • 34. Time Out, 20-6 June 1980 (S.N.L. cuttings 80.3, LC 3760).
  • 35. Ibid. 1 Aug. 1980 (S.N.L. cuttings 23.1, LC 3761).
  • 36. New Society, 26 Mar. 1981 (S.N.L. cuttings 41.6, LC 3794).
  • 37. Hunter, Victorian Villas, 62.
  • 38. Listed Bldgs. under 1971 Act, 1974 (S.N.L. cuttings 55).
  • 39. Pevsner, Lond. ii. 429-30; D. Batchelder and others, From Tower to Tower Block: Bldgs. of Hackney (Hackney Soc. 1979), unpag., plate 39; above, plate 53.
  • 40. From Tower to Tower Block, plate 24; Guildhall MS. CC. 2416; tithe (1848), no. 121. For Kendal, below, econ., nurseries.
  • 41. Tithe (1848), no. 389.
  • 42. From Tower to Tower Block, plate 26; above, plate 50.
  • 43. Guildhall MSS. CC. 2410, 359874, 359877; tithe (1848), no. 99.
  • 44. From Tower to Tower Block, plate 14.
  • 45. Hobhouse, Thos. Cubitt, 48.
  • 46. Ibid. 46.
  • 47. From Tower to Tower Block, plate 25; Hunter, Victorian Villas, 17, 43, 45.
  • 48. Hackney Boro. Plan, Stoke Newington Planning Area (1982), SN 3-7.
  • 49. Tithe (1848), nos. 767-8.
  • 50. From Tower to Tower Block, plate 32; Victorian Soc. 'The Grange, 42 Clissold Cres.' (R. Dixon, TS. 1972, S.N.L. cuttings 57.2); S.N.L. cuttings 78 Brooks.
  • 51. Tithe (1848).
  • 52. The black and white chequered pattern may have been a feature used by Wm. Osment: Hunter, Victorian Villas, 49.
  • 53. From Tower to Tower Block, plates 49, 50.
  • 54. Above, plate 51.
  • 55. Census, 1801-1971; L.C.C. Statistical Abstract for Lond. xxxi (1939-48), 5. Figures to 1891 inclusive for parish, 1901-61 for borough, 1971 for wards comprising area of former borough.