Opening soon: history of Hackney in 50 objects

© Hackney Museum

THE ENCHANTINGLY beautiful copperplate handwriting in a Victorian teenager’s diary is one of the irresistible highlights of Hackney@50, an imminent exhibition.

It marks 50 years ago this April 2015, when the borough of Hackney took Shoreditch and Stoke Newington into its grasp.

Borough enlargement was carried out all over Britain under the Labour government of pipe-smoker, pullover-wearer Harold Wilson.

Hackney Museum is showing 50 objects with 50 stories illustrating what Hackney means to residents.

The biggest objects would be the two town halls, which Hackney, with its notorious indifference to architectural heritage, under-used and under-maintained until recently.

History through objects is an idea inspired by British Museum director Neil MacGregor’s radio series and bookA History of the World in 100 Objects.

Shoreditch town hall © David Altheer
Shoreditch heraldry is still visible in features within the handsome Victorian town hall

The diary offering an insight into the life and thoughts of a young north Londoner in the 1870s was kept by a 16-year-old, Lizzie Hudson, who lived in Dalston between 1871 and 1879.

Other objects include a fossil excavated in Stoke Newington, a brass tiffin brought to Hackney from India in 1946 and personal stories of Afro-Caribbean families.

Hamish Scott 260115

* Hackney@50, The People’s Choice, Hackney Museum, crnr Reading Lane Mare Street E8 1GQ (020 8356 3500), Thurs 12 Feb 2015-Sat 29 Aug 2015. Hackney@50 Family Day drop-in workshops, Wed 18 Feb 2015. All free. See website for opening times.

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