Archives guide part 1

Arrangement of this guide

This guide to the holdings of Hackney Archives Department (HAD) was prepared as a contribution to the second edition of the Guide to London Local History Resources and the layout follows the scheme laid down in this return.

The Hackney section gives more detail than was specifically required by the terms of the Guide, though it has not always been possible to provide full details of those classes of civil parish records held by the London Metropolitan Archives. In particular customers should note that the divisions in the Hackney material between the two offices follow no logical groupings. There is a programme of microfilming to provide copy of the principle parochial sources at HAD.

Some important cross references are included in the text, but subjects and places are covered in the two indexes at the back. Archive collections and in some cases individual documents are identified in the guide by document number.

The first edition of the guide was produced in 1990 and was by the Borough Archivist, David Mander, except for the Hackney parish section, largely compiled by Jean Wait. The second edition was produced by David Mander and Peter Foynes The entry for Bryant and May is largely that used in Company Archives: The Survey of the Records of the First Registered Companies in England and Wales by Lesley Richmond and Bridget Stockford (Gower, 1986) and is reprinted with the kind permission of the Business Archives Council. The second edition of the Hackney guide has been corrected to include holdings as at April 1997.

The abbreviation LMA is used throughout the guide for the London Metropolitan Archives (the former Greater London Record Office).

Administrative history of Hackney

Ancient parishes

Within the London Borough of Hackney are:

  • the ancient parish of Hackney, also known as St John-at-Hackney (see Hackney parish records in sections 1 and 6 below)
  • the ancient parish of Shoreditch, also known as St Leonard, Shoreditch (see Shoreditch parish records in sections 1 and 6 below)
  • the ancient parish of Stoke Newington, also known as St Mary, Stoke Newington (see Stoke Newington parish records in sections 1 and 6 below)
  • part of the ancient parish of Hornsey (see below)
  • part of the ancient extra-parochial liberty of Norton Folgate (see below)


Detached areas and divided parishes

South Hornsey

The part of Hornsey ancient parish now within the London Borough of Hackney consisted of the area west of Green Lanes and three detached areas within Stoke Newington. These four areas were administered from 1865 by the South Hornsey Local Board, which was replaced in 1894 by the South Hornsey U.D.C. In 1900 this area became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Stoke Newington.

Records of the ancient parish of Hornsey, including South Hornsey, are held by the London Borough of Haringey. For records of the South Hornsey authorities, see section 1 below.

Until 1900 South Hornsey remained part of Middlesex, and did not come under the jurisdiction of any of the Metropolitan authorities (see below).

Norton Folgate

This was an extra-parochial liberty at the southern end of Shoreditch. In 1900 a small portion of it was included in the Metropolitan Borough of Shoreditch, but the greater part of it was incorporated into Stepney.

Civil parish records of Norton Folgate 1729-1900 are held by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

Poor law unions


Part of Hackney Union 1834-1930 (records at LMA)


Being a populous parish, Shoreditch was not united with any other. It retained its parochial Trustees for Maintaining the Poor until 1868 (most records at LMA, but see also section 1 below).

Formed Shoreditch Union 1868-1930 (records at LMA )

Stoke Newington

Part of Hackney Union 1834-1930 (records at LMA)

South Hornsey

Part of Edmonton Union 1834-1900; part of Hackney Union 1900-1930 (records at LMA)

Norton Folgate

Part of Whitechapel Union 1834-1900 (records at LMA)

Local authorities 1855-1900


From 1855-1894 Hackney was administered by the Hackney District Board of Works; the Hackney Vestry had very limited functions.

The Board of Works was dissolved in 1894. From then until 1900 the Hackney Vestry governed the parish.


Shoreditch was governed by its Vestry 1855-1900.

Stoke Newington

From 1855-1894 Stoke Newington was administered by the Hackney District Board of Works; the Stoke Newington Vestry had very limited functions.

The Board of Works was dissolved in 1894. From then until 1900 the Stoke Newington Vestry governed the parish.

South Hornsey

The South Hornsey Local Board of Health governed the area 1865-1894 and was replaced by the South Hornsey Urban District Council 1894-1900.

Ad hoc authorities

Dates given for those for which records exist.


  • St John-at-Hackney Lamp and Watch Trustees 1764-1837 (see Hackney parish records)
  • St John-at-Hackney Trustees of the Poor 1810-1900 (see Hackney parish records)
  • St John-at-Hackney Highways Board 1836-1856 (see Hackney parish records)
  • Hackney District Board of Works 1855-1894
  • St John-at-Hackney Commissioners for Public Baths and Washhouses 1891-1897 (see Hackney Vestry records)
  • St John-at-Hackney Labour Bureau 1896-1900 (see Hackney Vestry records)
  • Hackney Local Representative Committee (for relief of distress caused by the war) 1914-1920 (see Hackney Metropolitan Borough Records)
  • Special (National Service) Committee 1917 (see Hackney Metropolitan Borough Record)
  • Peace Celebration and War Memorial Committees 1919-1923 (see Hackney Metropolitan Borough Records
  • Profiteering - Local Committee 1919-1921 (see Hackney Metropolitan Borough Records).
  • Mayor's Distress Fund Special Committee 1920-1922 (see Hackney Metropolitan Borough Records)
  • Hackney Industrial and Recreational Centres for Unemployed Men 1933-1939 (See Hackney Metropolitan Borough Records)


  • St Leonard, Shoreditch, Charity Trustees 1746-1967 (see Shoreditch parish records)
  • St Leonard, Shoreditch, Trustees of the Four Rates 1778-1852 (see Shoreditch parish records)
  • St Leonard, Shoreditch, Trustees of the Poor 1817-1858 (see Shoreditch parish records)
  • St Leonard, Shoreditch, Burial Board 1855-1896 (see Shoreditch parish records)
  • St Leonard, Shoreditch, Commissioners for Baths and Washhouses (1854-1856) 1883-1897 (See Shoreditch vestry records)
  • St Leonard, Shoreditch Public Library Commissioners 1891-1896 (see Shoreditch vestry records
  • Shoreditch Distress Committee 1906-1915 (see Shoreditch Metropolitan Borough Records
  • Bethnal Green and Shoreditch Teal Street improvement Joint Committee 1907-1911 (see Shoreditch Metropolitan Borough Records
  • Shoreditch Local Profiteering Committee 1919-1921 (see Shoreditch Metropolitan Borough Records).

Stoke Newington

  • St Mary, Stoke Newington, Board of Health 1831-1849 (see Stoke Newington parish records)
  • St Mary, Stoke Newington, Burial Board 1862-1896 (see Stoke Newington parish records)
  • St Mary, Stoke Newington, Library Commissioners 1890-1900 (see Stoke Newington vestry records)
  • Stoke Newington National Reserve Borough Committee 1912-1933 (see Stoke Newington Metropolitan Borough Records
  • Stoke Newington National Registration and Recruiting Committee 1915 (see Stoke Newington Metropolitan Borough Records)

South Hornsey

  • Albert Town Inspectors for lighting 1854-1858 (see South Hornsey records)
  • Stoke Newington Inspectors for lighting 1858-1865 (see South Hornsey records)

Local authorities 1900-1965

Metropolitan Borough of Hackney

The former parish of Hackney, with minor boundary adjustments.

Metropolitan Borough of Shoreditch

The former parish of Shoreditch, with minor boundary adjustments, plus a small portion of Norton Folgate (see above).

Metropolitan Borough of Stoke Newington

The former parish of Stoke Newington plus the former Urban District of South Hornsey (see above), with minor boundary adjustments.

London Borough of Hackney

In 1995 the boundaries of LB Hackney were altered. Those parts of Victoria Park formerly in Hackney became part of Tower Hamlets, and parts of the southern areas of Hackney Wick were added to Hackney. The eastern boundary was adjusted to follow the modern course of the River Lea throughout. There were small changes to the northern boundary resulting in the transfer of Eade Road and part of Vartry Road to LB Haringey. To the west the Hackney parts of Arlington Avenue and all of Baring Street were transferred to LB Islington and there were minor adjustments to the boundary along the northern part of Tabernacle Street. To the south the Broadgate development was transferred to the City of London.

Other authorities with responsibilities in the area

  • Hackney, Shoreditch, Stoke Newington, also South Hornsey after 1900
  • Middlesex Quarter Sessions 1549- 1889. Records at LMA
  • Holborn and Finsbury Commissioners of Sewers (covering Shoreditch) 1683-1847. Records at LMA
  • Tower Hamlets Commissioners of Sewers (covering Hackney and Stoke Newington) 1703-1847. Records at LMA
  • Metropolitan Commissioners of Sewers 1847-1855. Records at LMA. Published minutes 1849 & 1854-55 (part) also at HAD
  • Metropolitan Board of Works 1856-1888 Records at LMA. Published minutes 1872 and 1875-1888 also at HAD.
  • Metropolitan Asylums Board 1867-1930. Records at LMA
  • London School Board 1870-1904. Records at LMA. Copies of published minutes 1872 and 1875-1900 (gaps) also at HAD
  • London County Council 1889-1965. Records at LMA. Published minutes 1889--1965 and published reports 1900-10 and 1927-37 also at HAD
  • Greater London Council 1965-1986 and successor bodies. Records at LMA. Published minutes also at HAD.
  • Inner London Education Authority 1965-1990. Records at LMA. Published minutes of ILEA 1967-84 (gaps) and ILEA Education Committee 1965-86 also at HAD.

South Hornsey before 1900

  • Middlesex Quarter Sessions 1549-1889. Records at LMA
  • Middlesex County Council 1889-1965. Records at LMA

Scope and history of the collections

Hackney Archives Department was formed in 1965, with the creation of the London Borough of Hackney, and is a separate service within the Education & Leisure Directorate. The Department administers the records of the Council and its predecessor authorities and collects records of businesses, institutions, religious bodies and individuals that have an association with the Hackney area. The Department also maintains a local history library, a visual collection and has some oral history tapes, though it is no longer active in the oral history field.

The collections are a combinations of former local history collections built up by Shoreditch, Stoke Newington (including parts of the collections of local antiquarians) and Hackney, the centre of those collections was the Tyssen Library, originally built up by the Tyssen family in the 19th century and housed in the Town Hall until transferred to the new Central Library in 1908.

The archive collections are divided between the main classes of local authority records, manorial, public, family and estate, religious, business and society and institutional records. There are subject, place and name indexes. Maps are indexed together, thus bringing references to maps in archive and other collections within one index. There are separate card catalogues to the local history library, visual collection and oral history tapes and cassettes.

All collections are consulted in the search room, where there are ten searcher places , four microfilm readers, one of which is also a reader printer and four computer terminal places for those using Hackney on Disk and the computerised catalogues. Part of the local history library and some general books are available on open access, all other items have to be ordered through the indexes and catalogues. There is a visitors register, signature of which implies acceptance of search room regulations. Details of hours and facilities are given in the current edition of London Local Archives, published by the Greater London Archives Network.

Copying facilities include a photocopier, the microprinter reader, a photographic service and provision for making CAPPS print copies of maps. Publications are on sale at the Department, including the extensive range of Godfrey Ordnance Survey maps covering Hackney and the adjoining areas.

Appointments to use the Department are essential. There is a ramp which provides access for people with disabilities.

The Department has its own conservation service, which is also available to other local authorities, businesses, institutions and individuals at commercial rates.

Service provision is set out in a Council approved Customer Charter. There is performance monitoring for correspondence response and other aspects of service delivery. There is a collection policy, also approved by the Council. The Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts A standard for record repositories (1990) has been adopted by the Council range of leaflets are available free on some of the collections, voters lists, maps and rate books.

The Department has its own user group, the Friends of Hackney Archives, which is funded from member subscriptions and publishes an annual volume, Hackney History. Friends also receive the Department's newsletter, the Hackney Terrier, usually published quarterly. The Friends assist the Department in various ways and administer a donations fund.

Page updated: 16/03/2016 10:15:36