As the name of this district would suggest, this area is the heart of Hackney that is the lynch pin of the borough. The Town Hall of Hackney Council is located here on one of the main arteries of Hackney, Mare Street.
As with the other districts of Hackney, there is a lot of history dating back many centuries, the main relics that remain today are St Augustine’s Tower from circa 1600, which was part of a church that replaced the 13th century Knight’s Templar Church that stood there. Another historical religious building of note, is St John at Hackney and its church gardens and graveyard which house several famous people.
Modern day has seen a revival of the past with the Hackney Empire undergoing recent refurbishment. Having been open since 1901, it has had performers such as Charlie Chaplin, Marie Lloyd, Louis Armstrong and recently, Shaolin Monks performing their wheel of life. More contemporary to the region is the Ocean Music Venue for live music and a capacity of several thousand. Also opening its doors not too long ago in a multi million pound development, is the Hackney Museum and library in a contemporary building next to the town hall in Mare Street.
Mare Street and the locality is also home to numerous restaurants, bars, shops, supermarkets and clubs that give the area colour. For the green open spaces, there is London Fields for walks in the park including one of the few Lidos left in London and of course, there is The Pub on The Park for a roast Sunday lunch or light refreshment. When you’re done with all of this, there is Broadway Market for its Saturday farmers market with fresh produce from around the country.
Hackney Central as an area, although still more cosmopolitan than your average high street, has started to see the chains seep in, from Marks and Spencers to Subway opening their doors, on top of the independent shops, you also have the chance to buy from some of the well know high street brands.
Transport wise, Hackney Central is quite possibly the best connected area of Hackney with two overland lines linking it to Liverpool Street, Highbury and Islington, Stratford and the North of London. As always, there are numerous bus routes that head to the city and beyond making it ideal for professionals that can’t afford to be one of the few thousand people that live in the city itself.
All in all, Hackney Central is a jumble of old and new in the heart of Hackney. It is a vibrant place to live or work and well recommended to anyone.