Monday, 24 August 2015

Hackney to Bethnal Green

Another London walk. the original intention was to go from Hackney Downs station to Bethnal Green, and then across to Shoreditch and ending once again at Liverpool Street station. But frankly it was so hot I gave up at Bethnal Green and jumped on the tube.

But before that there were a few clocks to see.

The first is on the tower of the church of Saint Augustine. Although the photograph above might suggest that this is a complete church, the building to the right is actually the Hackney old town hall.

As the plaque suggests, the tower is all that remains of the 13th century church (once belonging to the Knights of St John) that was demolished in 1798.


The tower stands in the churchyard gardens of St John at Hackney, the replacement church completed in 1797.

Heading south now on Mare Street, to the lovely Hackney Town Hall (opened July 1937).

No, these aren't blurry photos. It is just the strength and angle of the sun casting very strong shadows of each of the numerals.

Standing opposite the Town Hall (and the next door Hackney Empire) is the Baxter's Court Wetherspoons pub. And this rather curious clock.

Continuing south, Mare Street becomes Cambridge Heath Road, and at the latter's junction with Roman Road stands St John on Bethnal Green (I've just realised that I could have called this posting St John to St John).

St John on Bethnal Green was designed by Sir John Soane, and was completed in 1828.

Finally, we move next door to Bethnal Green underground station. It is quite an odd sensation going down the steps, as this was the site on 3 March 1943 where 173 people were crushed to death as they rushed down to seek shelter in the partially built station when the air raid siren sounded. A memorial is being built in the adjacent park (

On a lighter note, there is a glorious clock on the platform. According to the book Underground Heritage (by Antony Badsey-Ellis, published by Capital Transport, 2012), this design (made by Magenta Time Company Ltd) was installed at four stations on the eastern extension of the Central Line opened in the 1940s - the others being Gants Hill, Redbridge, and Wanstead. Bethnal Green station opened in December 1946.

This example at Bethnal Green was refurbished in 2009 with a polished brass case.

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