We were having a chat in the office the other day about Haggerston’s history, and realised that we didn’t know much about this fantastic area. So we thought we’d share some historical insights!
The Doomsday book mentions Hergotestane, a hamlet in the north-eastern part of Shoreditch.
In 1714 Sir Robert Geffrye bequested, a Lord Mayor of London and Master of the Ironmongers’ Company, almshouses to be built housing approximately 50 pensioners. In the early 20th Century the Ironmongers Company sold the properties to the Council (now housing the Geffrye Museum), relocating the pensioners to a healthier area with a less unsavoury reputation!
Haggerston at the end of the 18th Century was still a small rural area, supplying London with dairy products and horse feed. A few country houses had been built by wealthy Londoners to enjoy fresh air and fine countryside.
The Regents’ Canal opened in 1820 transforming the area into an industrialised hub. In its first year of operation the canal carried 120,000 tons of cargo. Ten years later, 1830, this had risen to 500,000 tons supplying coal for gas works, and timber for Hackney’s growing furniture industry. It wasn’t until 1967 that the Regent’s Canal was classified as an amenity waterway.
Hoxton Hall was built in 1863 ‘with the specific object of affording the humbler classes an entertainment that shall combine instruction with amusement’. The Hall largely attracted audiences of young working-class men. In 1871 the music hall lost its performance licence due to complaints from the police (the mind boggles) and a few years later became a Quaker meeting house!
Haggerston Baths opened in 1904. Most houses did not have their own baths so the arrival of public ones was welcome! At the opening ceremony, the Vice Chair of the Baths Committee swam an entire length underwater (woooo)! Sadly the Baths closed in 2000 on safety grounds.
The North London Railway Line opened a station in Haggerston in 1867. Enabling the first generation of commuters to work in the City or Docks and live in the suburbs! The station was closed in 1940 due to bomb damage from the Second World War. It only reopened in 2010 as part of the Overground network!
We couldn’t imagine Haggerston as a leafy green suburb with cows roaming about, and it definitely sounds like we missed some proper good knees ups at Hoxton Hall!
Posted: February 2015