Knowing and understanding the area in which we’re developing is important to us as a London-based house builder.
The Hackney area is undergoing a great deal of regeneration, and Anthology is currently working closely with Hackney Council to see through the third phase of the Colville Estate regeneration with our development, Hoxton Press.
As well as the exciting future Hoxton has, it’s important to never forget its past. Local expert, Carolyn Clark, knows Hoxton like the back of her hand and the moments in history that made Hoxton the area it is today.
We understand you have a vast knowledge of the history of Hackney – where did the interest in the boroughs past stem from?
I lived in Shoreditch from 1976 and have been involved in many Shoreditch organisations and activities over the years.
I've always been interested in memories about the area and this made me want to find out more. It's such a good feeling to walk down a street and know its history, particularly within living memory. When I edited the community newspaper 'Shoreditch Views' in the 1980s, we always had stories from people about the history of the area and I wrote a regular history column in 'In Shoreditch'. Since 2009, I have worked as a community historian on a range of heritage projects in different areas, including three in Hackney.
You co-wrote Shoreditch Tales, how did the writing of this book come about?
Listening to people who’ve lived in Shoreditch for a long time, often for generations, shows such a rich past, but there’s also a lot of spin in the media about what the area was like. Incomers claiming to have 'discovered Shoreditch' and even national newspapers saying Hoxton was “a place known more for its bomb sites than its culture.” I wanted to set the record straight.
The book provides a history of people and places with a focus on living memories over the last century with lots of great photos, maps and more.
It’s evident you love the Hoxton area, what makes this London Borough so great?
It's always been a very distinct place with an identity that runs deep. There were many innovations in Shoreditch over time, many homegrown: it was the first local authority in England to burn waste to supply cheap electricity to residents in 1897, the first Borough to build a municipal housing scheme and the first Technical Institute in London that focused on the furniture trade was created in the area.
Although the area constantly evolves, it manages to stay true to itself with many of the people having lived in Hoxton for generations. There's also still a lot of buildings and places remaining from the past.
If you’d like to find out more about the Hackney area – you can purchase Carolyn Clark’s book: http://shoreditchtales.com/
To make Hoxton your home then our Hoxton Press Suite is open daily 10am – 6pm with late opening on Thursday until 8pm or you can call 020 3308 9813 for more information.