354 Mare St, E8 1HT
This walking tour follows an ancient route taken by drovers from London’s agricultural hinterland to the city markets, exploring historic and contemporary stories about Hackney, its food culture, and its relationship to the city.
Hackney Downs, Hackney Central
55, 242, 254, 253, 106, 30, 56, 38
The Black Path is Hackney’s version of Broadway, a diagonal line that cuts through the east London urban grid. Also known as the Porters’ Path, it marks the route taken by drovers and market traders from London’s agricultural hinterland to the city markets.
The tour uses the path not just as a history, but as a lens for exploring contemporary stories about Hackney, its food culture, and its relationship to the city.
These stories range from the exotic fruits of Hackney Central through to the back-to-front inns of Mare Street, from factory-scale food production to urban farming, from food poverty to intensifying gentrification.
We’ll also reflect on the route itself, and how this quirk of geography is still a support line to the city – although the commodities 'Hackneyites' carry into town today are more likely to be ideas than livestock.
Ends: Hackney City Farm.
The route follows pavements and paths, and there are some steps, kerbs and uneven surfaces.
Guide: Emma Keyte is a writer, map enthusiast and founder of Free, a specialist consultancy working with architects to define and articulate their ideas and identity. For her, most stories about London start or end in Hackney where she has lived for the last 20 years.
This tour is led by an alumnus of Open City’s Golden Key Academy – a course training up insightful and engaging guides dedicated to explaining London and bringing its many stories to life.
Further info on the Golden Key Academy can be found here https://open-city.org.uk/golden-key-academy
Meet at the bottom of St. Augustine's Tower
354 Mare St
Drop in / Guided tour
Hackney Empire is a grade II* listed building. The theatre was built as a music hall in 1901, designed by the architect Frank Matcham. It is now an exceptional variety theatre for the 21st century, serving the local community and beyond.
Frank Matcham, 1901
community/cultural, concert/performance space
Grade II* listed Nonconformist chapel for 1,000 people. Described by Pevsner as 'one of the finest Nonconformist buildings in London'. Horseshoe plan, innovative cast-iron columns and tracery, restored as a centre for the performing arts.
Henry Fuller and James Cubitt, 1871
Morris+Company moved to Hackney in September 2022, a year in occupation and in collaboration with the 215 Mare St residents, it will open doors to the community and the wider public, featuring exhibitions, workshops and tours of the studios
Taylor Court and Chatto Court, together with Wilmott Court, form a pair of award-winning mixed-tenure housing, accommodating 45 new homes and commissioned by the Hackney Council on two sites at the edge of the post-war Frampton Park Estate.
Henley Halebrown (HHbr), 2021
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