An uncommon History in Five Parts
Edited by Margaret Willes
Published by the Hackney Society
Once an Arcadia fit for kings, now an inner-city labyrinth of dazzling diversity, the eyes of the world are upon Hackney as it prepares to host the London Olympics.
In this unconventional history, six authors take snapshots of the borough in 1612, 1712, 1812, 1912 and 2012 as it was transformed in unimaginable ways. Festooned with antique prints and photographs, you'll see the gleaming palaces and rolling meadows of Tudor Hackney melt into the industrial sweep of the Victorian age, and high-rise estates soar from the rubble of the Blitz. You'll hear the cries of hunters fade into the wailing of sirens; the roar of hot-air balloons morph into the flame of the Olympic torch.
Rich in anecdote, it reveals how famous and infamous figures were affected by Hackney - from Henry VIII to Samuel Pepys, Dick Turpin to Diane Abbott, William Shakespeare to Oswald Mosley. And it tells the stories of a cast of new Hackney characters: heroic ballooners, secret diarists, fanatical gardeners, coffee-house tycoons, charging bulls and the pig-swinging boozers of the Cat and Mutton pub.
An eye-opener for Hackney residents and a voyage of discovery for those yet to visit the borough, this collaborative work paints a colourful portrait of one of the most eclectic, creative, and resilient places in London.