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Shacklewell is an area of the London Borough of Hackney.
The area has never been an administrative unit, and partly for that reason its extent is now only nebulously understood. At one time its sphere of influence grew well beyond its core, but Shacklewell is now mostly forgotten as a place name in everyday use.
The village was one of four small villages within the Parish of Hackney, (Dalston, Newington, Shacklewell, and Kingsland), which were all grouped for assessment purposes, together having only as many houses as the village of Hackney. The village of Shacklewell was settled on the eponymous village green, along Shacklewell Lane.
Shacklewell lay a little over 500 yards north of the hamlet of Dalston, which stood on Dalston Lane, with which it was linked by Cecilia Road.
By the 19th century, Shacklewell extended north to include Rectory Road, Stoke Newington Common, and the northern end of Amhurst Road.
Shacklewell had a manor house, which at one time was occupied by the Heron family. Cecilia More, the youngest daughter of Sir Thomas More, the Roman Catholic martyr, married into the family in 1525. The house was later occupied by the Tyssen family, who owned large parts of Hackney.
One municipal building still standing is the former 'Shacklewell Washing Baths'. This was a communal bath and washhouse for the working classes. Simple bathhouses like this were once of great importance. Even into the 1960s, in some working-class areas of London many dwellings did not have their own bathrooms. Largely residential in the mid-19th Century, the district gained some light industry later on, including Eyre & Spottiswoode's printworks and a saw mill. Although some industry remains, largely now in Turkish hands, Shacklewell has been superseded as a commercial centre by neighbouring Stoke Newington and Dalston.
Modern Shacklewell is one of the more ill-defined districts of Hackney, with most of its outerlying areas having, in public definition, been lost to the surrounding districts of Stoke Newington and Dalston. It is no longer common for a Londoner to refer to themselves as living in Shacklewell, so in its way the district is an illustration of the mutable nature of placenames in the capital. Residents will normally consider themselves along with their postcode to be in Stoke Newington, which is closely identified with N16, while those in E8 - including the original core area - self-identify as living in Dalston. This is reinforced by ward boundaries that divide Shacklewell between Dalston (ward) and Stoke Newington Central (ward) north and south and Hackney Downs (ward) to the east.
There is just one significant cultural amenity based in Shacklewell: the Lux Cinema on Shacklewell Lane.
N16 and E8
- Old and New London Vol 5.
- Hackney: Dalston and Kingsland Road, A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10: Hackney (1995), pp. 28-33 accessed: 7 December 2007
- Hackney: Shacklewell, A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10: Hackney (1995), pp. 35-38 accessed: 11 December 2007