12 Broadway Market and Hackney facts that are Quite Interesting

27th September 2013

Broadway Market bag in HackneyCor’ blimey, would you Adam and Eve it? Thinking Bob kick and pranced over to Hackney for a ball and chalk around Broadway Market on 25th October!

To celebrate, ‘ere’s 12 brass tacks about Broadway Market and Hackney, from King Henry’s bricks and mortar to Pepys’ favourite Hackney rub-a-dub…

Broadway Market and Hackney facts

  1. The old Broadway Market is rumoured to have inspired Albert Square in EastEnders, as did Fassett Square in nearby Dalston. The soap’s fictional location, Walford East, is shown on the Tube map in the spot occupied by Bromley-by-Bow in real-life.
  2. Henry VIII was reconciled with his daughter, the future Mary I of England (or Bloody Mary) at King’s Place in Clapton.
  3. The nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons  makes reference to St. Leonard’s, otherwise known as Shoreditch Church: “When I am rich, says the bells of Shoreditch.” Pop goes the Weasel also mentions the Eagle pub on City Road: “Up and down the City Road, in and out the Eagle, that’s the way the money goes, pop goes the weasel.”
  4. Sid Vicious and John Lydon from the Sex Pistols first met at Hackney Technical College.
  5. Samuel Pepys was a regular customer at the Mermaid Tavern, now Mermaid Fabrics in Hackney Central.
  6. Famous faces who lived, grew up or were educated in Hackney include Marc Bolan, Edgar Allan Poe, Jessica Tandy (Lydia Brenner in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds), Jeremy Beadle, Lord Alan Sugar, Harold Pinter, Tony Blair, Dick Turpin, Michael Caine, Ronald and Reginald Kray, Barbara Windsor and Ray Winstone.
  7. Victoria Park was opened in 1845 following a petition by 30,000 local people to Queen Victoria. Onlookers were shocked that ‘there was no bathing pool provided and local youths were in the habit of bathing – naked! – in the adjacent Regent’s Canal.’
  8. The first bomb of World War One was dropped on Nevill Road in Stoke Newington.
  9. On 12th October 1605, at a house near Crondall Street in Hoxton, Lord Monteagle received the letter unmasking the plot led by Guy Fawkes to blow up the Houses of Parliament.
  10. Fred Cooke started selling jellied eels on Broadway Market in 1900. His restaurant served shepherds driving their flocks to the City of London. Cooke’s grandson, Bob, now runs the shop and still sells jellied eels as well as pie, mash and liquor.
  11. The Theatre in Shoreditch (built in 1576) staged the first performance of Romeo and Juliet and other Shakespeare plays.
  12. Alfred Hitchcock’s early film The Lady Vanishes was filmed at Gainsborough Film Studios in Hoxton. A giant red sculpture of the director’s profile now stands on the site.

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Hackney facts: sources

Broadway Market history

A Radical History of Hackney Parks: London Fields

Hackney Council: interesting places and famous faces

Victoria Park, East London: The People’s Park

SexPistolsOfficial.com: Sid Vicious

BBC News in pictures: studios honour master of suspense…

Open Plaques: The Gunpowder Plot

The Telegraph: The surprising history of Hackney

Londontopia.net: Top 100 Cockney Rhyming Slang Words and Phrases

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