Programme & Tickets

All tickets can be claimed or purchasd by clicking through to our ticketing website from the title of the event. A weekend pass can be purchased here for £30 which gives access to all paid talks. SOLD OUT.

Talks - Friday May 10 (Free)

Location: Hackney Archives, Dalston CLR James Library, Dalston Square, London E8 3BQ

Time Speaker Title & Description
10:00 AM Steven Spencer The Salvation Army in Hackney
The Salvation Army is a church and charity founded in east London in the 1860s. From the 1880s onwards many of its most significant London locations were in Hackney, from the evangelical Clapton Congress Hall to the Mothers' Hospital. This talk will explore these locations and other, less well known, Salvation Army sites in the borough.
11:00 AM Richard Yeboah From Hackney With Love: An Intimate History of Regeneration, Gentrification and Belonging
From Hackney, With Love: An Intimate History of Regeneration, Gentrification and Belonging is an insider exploration of the dramatic social, cultural and economic transformation of one of the most iconic places in Britain – my home, the London Borough of Hackney. My talk will explore the themes of Hackney's socio-economic transformation during the 18th, 19th and 20th century and its transition from a Middle Class suburb to one of the poorest areas of Britain. But it will also examine how since the 1980s Hackney has increasingly returned to its middle class origins - driven by the impact of regeneration, urban renewal and gentrification, exploring its role in displacing working class communities across the Borough since the 2000s. SOLD OUT.
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM Break and Tours
12:30 PM Hackney Archives Behind the Scenes at Hackney Archives
Join us for a tour of our basement storage areas highlighting some of the treasures in our collection. SOLD OUT.
2:00 PM Kooi Chock Glendinning The Forgotten Malaysian Heroes
Before the Colonial British gave us independence in 1953, they and the Malayan Malays constitutionalised sidelining us, Malayan Chinese and Malayan Indians. So we had to leave our country, our families and friends to come over to Britain to help the British economy..
3:00 PM Anna Birch The Wollstonecraft Live! Experience
Handle an original copy of Mary Wollstonecraft's iconic text A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and find out how local theatre and film company Fragments & Monuments bought Wollstonecraft's legacy to life. Hackney Archive holds an original copy of Mary Wollstonecraft's iconic text A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Fragments & Monuments created their own sister version mapping their performances and films travelling world wide in her name. The gift created by is a limited edition art book and is now stored at Hackney Archives next to Wollstonecraft's 18 th century game changing book. Artistic Director Anna Birch will explain how this donation to the hackney archive came about and why its important.
4:00 PM Deborah Jeffries Hoxton Entertains in the 1860s
In 1863, Hoxton Hall joined The Britannia Theatre in becoming a notable venue in Hoxton's nineteenth century entertainments' industry. Come and discover how different these venues were and what they each provided for London's amusement-seeking audiences.
5:15 PM Hackney Archives Behind the Scenes at Hackney Archives
Join us for a tour of our basement storage areas highlighting some of the treasures in our collection. SOLD OUT.

Talks - Saturday May 11 (£3)

Location: Museum of the Home, 136 Kingsland Road London E2 8EA

All talks cost £3 or a weekend pass SOLD OUT

Time Speaker Title & Description
10:00 AM Susan Doe Votes for women! Individual suffrage stories from Hackney
Hackney had its share of militant suffragettes, working alongside those who kept away from arson and breaking windows. The research for the Women from Hackney’s History project has uncovered their stories. From those in Hackney who signed the first suffrage petition in 1866 through to those who earnt their hunger strike medals, there are a range of women’s stories that throw light on the suffrage campaign and bring it all closer to home. As we approach the centenary of the right to vote, the Women from Hackney’s History research has uncovered the stories of those local women who supported suffrage in their own way.
11:00 AM Andrew Whitehead London's most sensational shoot-out: the Siege of Sidney Street
Andrew Whitehead, author of 'A Devilish Kind of Courage: Anarchists, Aliens and the Siege of Sidney Street', reveals the story of the most sensational shoot-out in London's history. At Sidney Street in Stepney in January 1911, two Latvian anarchists wanted for the murder of three London police officers held police and troops at bay for six hours. Winston Churchill, then Home Secretary, rushed top-hatted to the scene. But who were the gunmen? Why did they resort to shooting policemen? Who told police of their whereabouts? What did Churchill's presence achieve? How did a Hackney hairdresser get caught up in this drama? And how did this widely reported incident shape the debate about those perennial issues of immigration and asylum?
12:00 PM Nick Higham The Mercenary River
Today we take water for granted. Turn a tap and the stuff gushes out. But for centuries London struggled to supply its citizens with reliable, clean drinking water. Nick Higham tells the story of London’s water from the Tudor era to the 20th century. It’s a tale of remarkable technological, scientific and organisational breakthroughs, but also one of greed and complacency, high finance and low politics. Nick’s talk features Hackney’s very own New River, which is still a functioning part of London’s water supply and today terminates in Stoke Newington.
1:00 PM Break and tours of museum
2:00 PM Katharine Quarmby The hidden histories of girls who lived at the Female Refuge for the Destitute, Hackney Road
In 1817 a girl called Ann Tyrell arrived at the Refuge for the Destitute in Hackney. Journalist and writer Katharine Quarmby talks about the real Hackney history behind her novel, The Low Road. Katharine uncovered the hidden histories of two young girls who lived at the Hackney Refuge for the Destitute in the early 1800s, uncovering the real lives behind the institutional records that chronicle the lives of so-called Objects there. Katharine explores how she turned the lives of two female Objects into her debut novel, The Low Road, a story of forbidden love, entanglement with the Georgian criminal justice system - and a journey that led all the way to Botany Bay.
3:00 PM Nigel Smith Gainsborough Studios: Hackney’s Little Hollywood
Between 1920 and 1949, on the site of an old power station between the Regent’s Canal and Shoreditch Park, more than 170 films were made in what was then one of Britain’s most famous film studios. Now a block of flats this is where Alfred Hitchcock started his career and the plucky British film industry put up a fight against Hollywood. Hitchcock’s legacy at Gainsborough Studios is commemorated with an enormous sculpture of the director’s head. But there’s much more to this story than the Master of Suspense. Stars including Ivor Novello, Gracie Fields, James Mason and Glynis Johns all made films here and the studio played a front-line role in the growth of the British film industry. Nigel Smith is a tour guide who specialises in the history of cinema and cinema-going. With anecdotes, archive images and video clips his talk will bring to life a brief period of Hollywood glamour in Hackney.
4:00 PM Breda Corish When “the Irish Question” came to 1880s Hackney: Tactical voting, “lively” meetings & “monster” demonstrations!
Late nineteenth-century debate about self-government for Ireland played out not just in the corridors of Westminster but also on the streets of Hackney. At the forefront of the Liberal campaign for Home Rule was South Hackney’s Irish-born MP Charles Russell - political ally and legal defender of “the Uncrowned King of Ireland” Charles Stewart Parnell. The demands of Irish nationalists for land reform and legislative independence dominated late nineteenth-century British politics, with Conservative and Liberal governments deploying in Ireland their respective policies of “coercion” and “conciliation”. Following the 1885 General Election, the Irish Parliamentary Party led by Charles Stewart Parnell held the balance of power in Westminster and the new electoral constituency of South Hackney had a new Liberal MP (1885-1894): the Irish lawyer and Home Rule advocate Charles Russell (1832-1900), later Baron Russell of Killowen. Hackney’s strong Liberal presence and modest Irish electorate came together to deliver a vigorous campaign of support for Liberal Prime Minister William Gladstone’s (ultimately unsuccessful) efforts to legislate for Home Rule in Ireland. While still South Hackney’s MP, Russell was also a key player in a historic judicial inquiry where he successfully defended Parnell against false accusations made by The Times. Russell the lawyer was described as having “the same effect on a witness that a cobra produces on a rabbit”.
5:00 PM Stephen May 1907 - Revolutionaries in London
Award-winning novelist Stephen May discusses the background to the fascinating blend of fact and fiction behind his book Sell Us The Rope. This describes the weeks Stalin, Lenin, Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg spent in Hackney in 1907. In 1907 29 year old Joseph Stalin - the man responsible for the bank robberies that financed the Bolsheviks - the 5th Congress of the Russian Communist Party. Stalin sought to establish alliances within the Left of the party while struggling to shake off his impoverished violent past and step into a future that would eventually make him one of the world's most infamous dictators. Full of fascinating historical gems - and taking place amid landmarks you'll recognise, Sell Us The Rope is a gritty, immersive work that takes us right into the political ferment that was the East End of the time.

Talks - Sunday May 12 (£3)

Location: Sutton House, 2 and 4 Homerton High St, London E9 6JQ

All talks cost £3 or a weekend pass can be purchased here

Time Speaker Title & Description
10:00 AM Tim Dowley Hackney Downs: The Worst School in England?
Tim Dowley, historian and former pupil of Hackney Downs, author of Defying the Holocaust, outlines some of the highs and lows in the story of this extraordinary school – the ‘Jewish Eton’– whose pupils included Harold Pinter and Leon Kossoff.
11:00 AM Laurie Elks Bloody-minded Hackney Heroes
Hackney Heroes recalls the contribution by Hackney campaigners who fought to preserve some of the places we value most including De Beauvoir Town, Hackney Empire, Sutton House and Walthamstow Marshes. Some of the places in Hackney we value most have come down to us through the energy of bloody-minded campaigners who fought to preserve them. These include the early Victorian villas of De Beauvoir and Mapledene – which Hackney Council was determined to demolish – and Walthamstow Marshes. All of these places were saved through the effort of strong-minded individuals who knew how to organise and carry people with them. Laurie Elks will tell the story of these heroes; the context of their campaigns; and their achievements.
12:00 PM Neil Martinson Hackney - A photographic documentary over half a century
Hackney in the 70’s was raw - bombed out houses, kids playing in the streets and factories abuzz with workers. Neil’s images documented that period and the turbulent 80’s as Thatcherism tightened its grip with mass unemployment and factory closures. For the first time he will be showing some his current work in parallel with his older work. It will be an unique insight into Hackney and the changes that have taken place and what remains
1:00 PM Professor Green and Craig McLean From Hackney to Hollywood: A Local Musical History
Welcome to Hackney / A place where I think somebody's been playing Jumanji / A Manor where man are like animals / An' they'll yam on you like they yam on food / Cats with claws that'll stab a yout', act bad an' catch a slap or two / We don't applaud success, all we clap are tools." His home neighbourhood has come a long way since Professor Green wrote those lyrics 14 years ago – and so has the rapper turned broadcaster, activist and entrepreneur. But musically, too, the borough has long contained multitudes. In conversation with journalist Craig McLean, Pro presents a lively history of our 'hood heroes, from Malcolm McLaren to Labrinth, Rudimental to Paloma Faith, and all points in between.
1:00 PM Break and Tours
2:00 PM Squat the Lot
Squatting, culture and politics in Hackney in the 1980s, Chas Loft, Gail Thibert, David Insurrection, Heather Redheader talk about their experiences of squatting.
2:00 PM Martin Sugarman Local Jewish war hero of SOE with Martin Sugarman
A talk about a little known local Jewish war hero who served in Special Operations Executive, was highly decorated and sadly betrayed and then murdered at Gross Rosen death camp in 1944.
3:00 PM Amir Dotan 1930s Stoke Newington – Rediscovering a Decade of Profound Change with Amir Dotan
This talk explores the considerable transformation of the former Borough of Stoke Newington during the 1930s. Over the course of the decade, a profound transformation unfolded as roads were widened to accommodate the increasing traffic, while the Housing Act of 1930 ushered in a new era of council housing estates built on the site of 'Slum Clearance Areas' as well as grand, old houses, causing a notable shift in the urban landscape. Amid these profound changes, the establishment of a new Town Hall in Church Street left behind an enduring architectural legacy. In addition, noteworthy symbolic changes, like wholesale street renaming and a new Stoke Newington Borough Coat of Arms, played a pivotal role in reshaping the former borough's identity throughout this fascinating decade in Stoke Newington's history.
4:00 PM Linh Vu and Eithne Nightingale Child Migrant Voices with Linh Vu and Eithne Nightingale
Film Passing Tides of Linh Vu's journey from Vietnam in Hackney in 1970s and interview between Linh and Eithne Nightingale (researcher and author) Linh Vu will interview Eithne Nightingale about her research, related films and book - Child Migrant Voices in Modern Britain - Oral Histories 1930s to the Present Day published by Bloomsbury February 2024. Eithne will interview Linh about her experience of coming to Hackney from Vietnam and of her participation in Eithne's research, book and film. Followed by questions from and discussion with the audience.
5:00 PM Lucy Madison Hackney History 'Pub' Quiz
Join us for a fun pub-style quiz about all things 'Hackney History'! Written by professional quiz writers and Hackney history enthusiasts, you can expect Hackney-history-based general knowledge, picture, music, literary and connection rounds, with a variety of questions tailor-made for all knowledge levels. 2 hours with comfort and refreshment break half-way.


All walks £3 unless otherwise marked

Date & Time Guide Description
Wed 8th May
Lesley Thompson De Beauvoir Town walk
Royal hunting ground to 19C residential estate. De Beauvoir Town lies on the south-western border of Hackney and is still sometimes called ‘Kingsland’ because Henry VIII hunted here. It is distinct from but nestled up close to Dalston, London Fields, the Regent’s Canal, Shoreditch, south east Islington and Mildmay. This walk winds through the early/mid 19C streets and beautiful central square, a historic canal basin, lost churches, site of a cattle market and much more. SOLD OUT.
Friday 10th
Sean Gubbins Shacklewell History Walk
Tucked between Stoke Newington, Clapton and Dalston, Shacklewell with its village green is a little know part of Hackney with its own history harking back to the Middle Ages. This walk tells you about the history of Shacklewell, a forgotten village of Hackney. Hear about the part it played in the development of Hackney, growing from rural hideaway to providing housing and jobs for London’s growing population. Finish by visiting Shacklewell's tucked away, pre-Modernist 1910 St Barnabas Church, deemed ‘the best church of its date in London’.
Saturday 11th May
Lesley Thompson Historic Hoxton
Once a run down area on the edge of the East End, now an amazing mix of old and new, the dilapidated and fashionable, Tudor retreats, almshouses, elegant squares and workhouses. This walk explores Hoxton's origins as a mediaeval settlement in Shoreditch parish and its rises, falls and regeneration over the centuries. Hear of houses for the wealthy in the 16C 'countryside', a connection with the Gunpowder Plot, a place of entertainment, then a descent into poverty, workhouses and burial grounds. A radical and campaigning 19C parish administration generated electricity from waste in a building that still stands and 21st century Hoxton is again fashionable today.
Saturday 11th May
Sean Gubbins Loddiges Walk
After a short visit inside Hackney's 2nd oldest house 195 Mare Street (if available), this walk will take you up Mare Street. The walk will trace where German immigrant started his plant business which, with his sons, developed into the world-famous Hackney Botanical Nursery, with its Grand Palm House, exotic Camelia Houses and the largest arboretum of its time.
Sun 12th May
Andrew Whitehead From Houndsditch to Sidney Street: in the footsteps of anarchist gunmen
A walk in the footsteps of the Latvian anarchist desperadoes involved in the sensational Siege of Sidney Street, a six-hour shoot-out in Stepney in 1911. This walk takes us from Houndsditch, where Latvian anarchists tried to burrow in to a jewellers' shop in December 1910, to Sidney Street in Stepney where two of the suspects were cornered two weeks later. The Siege of Sidney Street, a six-hour shoot-out, is one of the most sensational incidents in London's history. The walk will be led by Andrew Whitehead whose new book, 'A Devilish Kind of Courage: Anarchists, Aliens and the Siege of Sidney Street', is the definitive account of this drama, of the political exiles involved and of the impact on the public debate at the time about immigration and asylum.
Sun 12th May
Penelope Rafter 18th Century Hackney
A stroll along 18th century Mare Street, beginning at that ever popular place of resort, London Fields and ending at the venerable Sutton House. A walk based along Mare Street, taking in sites and buildings that remain from the rural idyll that was 18th century Hackney. From the original garden centre to the elegant neo- classical St John’s church discover the history of Hackney before the railways.
Sun 12th May
Sue Doe The inhabitants of Hackney Church
Those buried at St John at Hackney give an insight into the history of Hackney as well as being some fascinating individuals. Your guide has been researching them and will share their stories.
Sun 12th May
Alan Gartrell The Origins of Abney Park
This talk focuses on the appalling condition of Victorian churchyards (as mentioned in Dickens' Bleak House), The Magnificent Seven, non-conformists, the unique position of Abney Park and its opening ceremony, the avoidance of burial fees, as well as the contributions of George Collison.
Sat 18th May
Hidden Tudor Tours Hackney Tudor Tales
Join us on a captivating journey through time as we delve into the rich history of Hackney during the Tudor and Early Stuart era. Our stroll from Stoke Newington Road to Kingslands High Road will be filled with fascinating tales and intriguing characters, reminiscent of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. As we walk, we will uncover the secrets of Hackney's first hospital and the blackmail plot by John and Jane Daniell. We will also learn about the lives of diverse individuals who once called Hackney home, from a 105-year-old black man to a young woman teaching both boys and girls.
Sun 26th May
Black History Walks Hackney (Dalston) Black History Walk
This walk recognises 75 years since the SS Windrush arrived from the Caribbean. This tour starts with the 1950's and goes right up to the 21st century. We will cover: Black music history soul, reggae, rave and acid: the legendary 4 Aces; Hackney's black activism and its pioneering role in housing equality; Sus and Operation Jackpot, the Freeway Rick Ross Los Angeles connection; Black British Civil Rights: Hackney Black Peoples Defence Association, Colin Roach and others; Revolution via reading: Black bookshops, Maarifa, Centerprise; Gentrification and social cleansing; Education and the Black child, from grassroots campaigns to national change; Race Relations 1965, 1968,1976 the reasons, the impact, the legacies; The rise of the black church.

Satellite Events

Ticket price determined by venue

Date & Time Event Name Description
Thu 2nd May
10 am
Hoxton Hall Guided Tour Join Stuart the CEO of Hoxton Hall on a guided tour of the venue and learn all about the building's heritage of Music Hall, social activism, performers, and recently as a film location too! FREE
Sunday 5th May
2.15 pm
Legacy in the Dust Film Screening & Discussion, Rio Cinema Legacy in the Dust: Screening of film about the Four Aces Club in Dalston followed by a panel discussion with director Winstan Whitter and Community elders. Tickets on Rio Website here
Tue 7th May
11 am
Hackney Town Hall Guided Tour Join a Hackney councillor on a guided tour of the beautiful art deco Town Hall and learn all about the building's heritage of local government, service delivery, and recently as an interactive theatre venue! FREE
Tue 7th May
12pm and 6.30pm
Shoreditch Town Hall History Tour Join us on a history tour around our Grade II Listed building, and explore spaces that are never usually open to the public. You will learn about the architecture & design of the building, and how its use has developed over the years from a municipal building that opened in 1866 to the leading arts venue it is today. Plus, you'll hear about the Women of Shoreditch Town Hall, following our recent series of blog posts and short videos. There will be free refreshments (tea, coffee, juice, biscuits) and you’ll even have the chance to bag one of our History Books at a discounted price. No need to book, just turn up for a time slot. Spaces will be available for up to 20 people per slot, on a first come first served basis. Our bar will be open for drinks at the end of the evening tour.
Thu 9th May
11 am
Hackney Town Hall Guided Tour Join a Hackney councillor on a guided tour of the beautiful art deco Town Hall and learn all about the building's heritage of local government, service delivery, and recently as an interactive theatre venue! FREE
Thu 9th May
11 am
Hackney Empire Guided Tour Come behind the scenes to discover the history of Hackney Empire with a free guided tour. Hackney Empire is a grade II* listed building. The theatre was built as a music hall in 1901, designed by the architect Frank Matcham. It is now an exceptional variety theatre for the 21st century, serving the local community and beyond. Come behind the scenes to discover the history of Hackney Empire with a free guided tour. Hear how we went from a music hall, to a TV studio, to a Bingo Hall, to the theatre we are today. FREE. SOLD OUT
Thu 9th May
6 - 8pm
An evening with the Hackney Cypriot Association The Hackney Cypriot Association (HCA) has played an important part in the lives of Greek-Cypriots & Turkish-Cypriots and others in Hackney since its foundation in 1976 at the Family Centre in Rectory Road, and then from its much-loved home at No 5 Balls Pond Road, since 1982. Dedicated to treating all people with kindness and respect, it offers a lively cafe, luncheon club, health advice, music and cultural evenings, and other services. Staff and members of HCA will share the history of their work and its contribution to Hackney's vibrant community sector. Light refreshments will be provided. All welcome £3
Sun 12th May
11 – 2pm
Abney Park Chapel Tours Join us for a tour inside the newly restored Chapel. Abney Park Trust are hosting a series of short tours on the hour at 11am, 12noon and 1pm, giving you an insight into the Chapel’s history and a picture of what they have planned for the upcoming year. They are starting to gather stories from local people about their memories of the Chapel - come and share your stories.
Sun 12th May
12 – 4pm
St Augustine’s Tower St. Augustine’s Tower is Hackney’s oldest building, the remains of a church built around 1275 that was much altered as Hackney grew. The Tower survived when the rest of the original parish church was demolished in 1798 following the opening of the new parish church of St. John’s. Come and explore the Tower’s history over the 4 floors and enjoy a special view of London from the roof. Access up the Tower is via a narrow stone spiral staircase — FREE JUST TURN UP.
Wed 15th May
10 – 11am
Castle Cinema Guided Tour The Castle Cinema was originally opened as an electric theatre in 1913, making it one of London’s original picturehouses. It was reopened as a cinema, crowdfunded by locals, in 2017 and has been in operation ever since. Join the team at The Castle Cinema for a guided tour around the building - learn about the fascinating history of the building & its quirky inhabitants, whilst having a peek behind the scenes in one of the oldest working cinemas in London.
Thurs 16th May
10 – 11am
Castle Cinema Guided Tour The Castle Cinema was originally opened as an electric theatre in 1913, making it one of London’s original picturehouses. It was reopened as a cinema, crowdfunded by locals, in 2017 and has been in operation ever since. Join the team at The Castle Cinema for a guided tour around the building - learn about the fascinating history of the building & its quirky inhabitants, whilst having a peek behind the scenes in one of the oldest working cinemas in London.
Fri 17th May
Black History Walks Black History Walks unveils a blue plaque to recognise James Baldwin's 1985 visit to Hackney — FREE JUST TURN UP at Hackney CVS 24-30 Dalston Lane London E8 3AZ
Sat 18th May
11.30 – 3pm
The Old Fire Station (61 Leswin Road N16 7NX) Open day with free tours and activities, for old and new friends of the Old Firestation Community Centre N16 to reconnect and learn more about the histories of those that have worked and played there. FREE
Sat 18th May
1.30 pm
Castle Cinema, 64-66 Brooksby's Walk Hackney, London E9 6DA Film screening of The Street at the Castle Cinema, followed by an in-person Q&A with the director, Zed Nelson. Focusing on one East London street over a four-year period, The Street is a film about love and loss, a community unravelled by gentrification, and the nation’s slide into Brexit. Zed Nelson’s four-year epic delivers a moving, tragi-comic portrait of not just a street, but a nation on the cusp of enormous change. Tickets here
Sat 18th May
2 pm
Introduction to Abney Park walking tour Join us for a walking tour to introduce you to some of the key figures in Abney Park's heritage. Learn more about the politicians, social activists, performers and writers buried here hosted by our knowledgeable tour guide, Alan Gartrell. This tour marks the 184th anniversary of the opening of Abney Park in May 1840. Tickets here
Sun 19th May
2 pm
William Hone walking tour - comedy and caricature in Georgian England William Hone was an early nineteenth century satirist who famously faced a three-day show trial in 1817. It was so dramatic that Ian Hislop wrote a play about it. But Georgian satire was so robust that it can put even Private Eye in the shade! Hone was a big name in his day, and has since been described as one of the "fathers of modern media". Hone's illustrator George Cruikshank and the world-famous author Charles Dickens attended Hone's funeral at Abney in 1842. This William Hone walking tour will discuss Hone's career, his trial and show some of Cruikshank's savage cartoons. Tickets here