E2, E8, E9
Nearest Tubes: Kilburn,
Nearest Station: Hackney Central BR Station
The district of Hackney lies to the north-east of The City and is one of the most well known districts in London's East End.
There is some dispute as to the origins of the name. One suggestion is that it is derived from the Saxon words "haccan" meaning to kill with a sword and "ey" meaning river, indicating that the area was once a battle ground. Another suggestion is that it was once a marshland belonging to the Saxon chief Haca, the Saxon word for marsh being "eyot".
Whatever the origins of the name, what is known is that by the 18th century the district was popular with the nobility. For example it was home to, amongst others, the Earls of Oxford and Northumberland. It was also a favoured residence for city merchants who wanted to live outside of The City.
Until the 19th century the area was predominantly rural, and well known for it gardens. But then the railways arrived and Hackney was transformed into the largely industrialised region of today.
The best known parts in the district are the Hackney Downs, which is an area of about 40 acres, which are used for fetes, carnivals and games. And Hackney Marsh, which is no longer marshland but an area of about 337 acres used for sports and recreation.
But these aren't really tourist attractions. For the tourist the main attractions are Sutton House which, dating from the early 16th century, is the oldest house in the East End. And there is also the Hackney Empire variety theatre.
The Ridley Road is also worth heading to for its cosmopolitan market, and Stoke Newington for its ethnic restaurants.
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