Stamford Hill is an area in Inner London, England, located about 5.5 miles north-east of Charing Cross. The neighbourhood is a sub-district of Hackney, the major component of the London Borough of Hackney, and is known for its Jewish Chasidic community, the largest concentration of Charedi Hasidic Jews in Europe.
|Area||5.2 km2 (2.0 sq mi)|
|• Density||13,087/km2 (33,900/sq mi)|
|OS grid reference||TQ335875|
|• Charing Cross||5.5 mi (8.9 km) SSW|
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
The hill is believed to be named after the ford where the A10 crossed the Hackney Brook on the southern edge of the hill. Sanford and Saundfordhill are referred to in documents from the 1200s and mean ‘sand ford’. Roque's map of 1745 shows a bridge, which replaced the ford, referred to as ‘Stamford Bridge’.
The hill rises gently from the former course of the Hackney Brook to the south, and its steeper northern slope provided a natural boundary for the traditional (parish and borough) extent of Hackney, and now does so for the wider modern borough.
Stamford Hill lies on the old Roman road of Ermine Street, on the high ground where it meets the Clapton Road which runs from central Hackney. By the 18th century, the Roman road (now numbered as the A10) was subject to heavy traffic, including goods wagons pulled by six or more horses, and this caused the surface of the road to deteriorate. The local parishes appealed to Parliament in 1713 for the right to set up a Turnpike Trust, to pay for repairs and maintenance. Gates were installed at Kingsland and Stamford Hill to collect the tolls.
Roque's map of 1745 shows a handful of buildings around the Turnpike, and by 1795 the A10 was lined with the large homes and extensive grounds of wealthy financiers and merchants attracted, in part, by the elevated position.
Stamford Hill had a gibbet, that was used to display the remains of criminals, executed at Tyburn in the 1740s. In 1765, a map of the area showed the Gibbet Field south of the road from Clapton Common, behind Cedar House.
The area remained essentially rural in character and little more was built until the arrival of the railway in 1872 and the tram system at about the same time. Stamford Hill was the point where the tram line coming north from the City met the Hackney tram line, and so it became a busy interchange, with a depot opening in 1873. Electrification commenced in 1902 and by 1924 a service was commenced between Stamford Hill and Camden Town along Amhurst Park.
Stamford Hill had many eminent Jewish residents, including the Montefiore family. Italian-born Moses Vita Montefiore (died 1789) was living there in 1763. His son Joseph (died 1804) married Rachel Mocatta, and his grandson Abraham Montefiore (died 1824) married Henrietta whose father, the financier Nathan Meyer Rothschild, lived near the modern Colberg Place from 1818 to 1835. The Montefiores' property a little further south was to be transformed by Abraham's grandson, Claude Montefiore, into Montefiore House school. With the increased development of the area, many distinguished families moved away: in 1842 there were few remaining of the wealthy Jews who had once settled in Hackney. The philanthropist and abolitionist MP Samuel Morley had a residence here from about 1860. The gardening writer and cottage gardener Margery Fish was born Margery Townshend in Stamford Hill in 1892.
From the 1880s, a new influx of Jews arrived from Stepney in the East End and, in 1915, the New Synagogue was transferred to Stamford Hill to serve this growing population. In 1926, the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations was established in Stamford Hill, and this became a magnet for other strictly observant Jews, many fleeing Nazi persecution in the years before the Second World War. Also, many Jewish families came to the area from other areas of London, refugees in their own way from bombing and post-war clearances for new housing. One of the early Hasidic leaders in Stamford Hill was the Shotzer Rebbe. The Hungarian uprising also led to an influx of Haredi Jews fleeing hardship under Soviet rule. Another notable Jewish resident from 1955 until his death in 2000, was the spiritual head of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, Rabbi Chanoch Dov Padwa.
Stamford Hill has never been an administrative area in its own right; it has always been an area of Hackney. Hackney was an administrative unit with consistent boundaries from the early Middle Ages to the creation of the larger modern borough in 1965. Hackney was based for many centuries on the Ancient Parish of Hackney
Parishes in Middlesex were grouped into Hundreds, with Hackney part of Ossulstone Hundred. Rapid Population growth around London saw the Hundred split into several 'Divisions' during the 1600s, with Hackney part of the Tower Division (aka Tower Hamlets). The Tower Division was noteworthy in that the men of the area owed military service to the Tower of London - and had done even before the creation of the Division.
The Ancient Parishes provided a framework for both civil (administrative) and ecclesiastical (church) functions, but during the nineteenth century there was a divergence into distinct civil and ecclesiastical parish systems. In London the Ecclesiastical Parishes sub-divided to better serve the needs of a growing population, while the Civil Parishes continued to be based on the same Ancient Parish areas.
The London Government Act 1899 converted the parishes into Metropolitan Boroughs based on the same boundaries, sometimes with minor rationalisations. In 1965, Hackney merged with Shoreditch and Stoke Newington to form the new London Borough of Hackney.
The area's usual definition is based on the physical feature of the hill and the neighbourhood's location within the Ancient Parish and subsequent (with almost identical boundaries) Metropolitan Borough of Hackney. Reflecting that the originally Roman A10 also takes the name ‘Stamford Hill’ as goes over the hill between the brook and the borough boundary.
Southern Boundary with West Hackney: The east-west course of the Hackney Brook, which may have been as wide as 22m at this point, provided a natural southern boundary for the district, however the river was culverted and it is now difficult to discern its former course on the ground. This has led to very ambiguous boundary, along its former course, in the Cazenove\Northwold Road area.
East and south-east boundary with Upper Clapton: Upper Clapton is also part of Hackney and shares much of the eastern side of the hill. There is little tradition of a particular border. The post code boundary is sometimes used but this is arbitrary: post code areas are not intended to define districts.
The high fertility of the Haredi community contributes to the area having one of highest birthrates in the UK, with a crude birth rate of more than 25 per 1,000 of the population, twice the UK average.
|Ward||All||Christian||Buddhist||Hindu||Jewish||Muslim||Sikh||other||No religion||not stated|
Haredi Jewish community
Stamford Hill is at the centre of an Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox Jewish and predominantly Hasidic community estimated to be some 15,000 strong and growing at a rate of around 5% each year. It is the largest Hasidic community in Europe, and referred to as a square mile of piety, reflecting the many Jewish men seen walking in their distinctive clothes on their way to and from worship. The congregations often represent historical links with particular areas of Eastern Europe in their dress and their worship. Many also retain links with congregations around the world. The largest of these congregations is the Satmar, which has five directly associated synagogues; Belz is another large community with several synagogues. As well as Stamford Hill's own Jewish population, there are also many observant Jews in neighbouring Upper Clapton, West Hackney, Stoke Newington and Tottenham; there may be as many as 50 synagogues in this wider area.
A volunteer emergency response first-aid service called Hatzola (the Hebrew word for rescue) and a volunteer community watch group called Shomrim (the Hebrew word for watchmen) are run by, and largely for, the Jewish community. The need for dietary observance means that Stamford Hill has a large number of shops selling specifically Kosher food.
The strictly orthodox Jewish community relies mostly on private education for schooling, with almost all Jewish children attending private, single-sex Jewish schools. In 2005, the Stamford Hill Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls' School achieved voluntary-aided status. The school has made headlines several times, most recently when some of its pupils refused to study Shakespeare due to his alleged anti-Semitic views, and the school's principal, Rabbi Abraham Pinter, saluted the girls for having pride in their beliefs. In 2014, the Oxford, Cambridge and RSA (OCR) Exam board, having conducted an investigation into alleged exam malpractice, concluded that the school had redacted (deleted) questions involving the evolution of species on GCSE science exam questions. Ofqual subsequently ruled that blocking out exam questions is malpractice, and, accordingly, not permissible. The same year, it was reported that many of the ultra-orthodox schools in the area have no lessons in English, and operate "without the most basic health, safety and child welfare checks", with up to 1000 boys missing from the school system and attending illegal schools instead from the age of thirteen or fourteen.
Haredi families on average have 5.9 children, almost 2.5 times the average for England and Wales, and many families live in overcrowded flats. National planning regulations are applied by the local council, prohibiting "excess" development of family housing. This has led to conflict between the council and the Jewish population, represented by the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations. Agudas Israel Housing Association is active in developing housing for the Jewish community in Stamford Hill.
There is also a notable population of Yemenite Jews, especially Adeni Jews who originated in the port city of Aden in Yemen. They settled in Stamford Hill after fleeing the inter-community violence at the end of the Aden Protectorate. The Adeni Congregation synagogue, Nahalat Yosef, is named after the original Adeni synagogue in Yemen. A new synagogue has been built, modelled on the original one. Adeni Jews tend to consider themselves a different ethnicity to other Yemeni Jews, due to differences in traditions, prayers (pronunciation) and customs that have evolved under British rule. In recent years, many have moved to Southgate and Hendon.
In 2014 the community met with controversy after a sign was spotted in the location reading, "Women should please walk along this side of the road only". The sign was reportedly put up for a Torah Procession parade and was meant to provide directions for members who wished to avoid contact with the opposite sex. After complaints about the sign were raised, a group of Shomrim who regularly police the area contacted the organisers to tell them that the posters "lacked explanation". The posters were removed and the organisers agreed to take the signs down more quickly the following year.
Since the 2011 census. there has been a migration of Stamford Hill Chasidic Jews to Canvey Island, in Essex. Canvey Island has a fairly homogenous ethnic make-up, and did not previously have a significant Jewish presence, but community relations appear to be good and were the subject of a TV documentary.
The Jesuit order founded St Ignatius' College on 10 September 1894, in two houses called Morecombe Lodge and Burleigh House near Tottenham High Road. In 1907 the College was recognised by the Board of Education and began to receive public money. Notable former pupils of St Ignatius include Alfred Hitchcock and Cardinal Heenan. It remained at Stamford Hill as a grammar school until 1968, and then became a two—form entry comprehensive school, the Lower School being located at the old Cardinal Allen School in Enfield, and the Upper School in new premises at Turkey Street, Enfield.
There are also many independent or Haredi schools in the area.
Transport and locale
- Northwest = Harringay
- North = South Tottenham
- Northeast = Walthamstow
- West = Manor House
- Centre = Stamford Hill
- East = Clapton
- Southwest = Finsbury Park
- South = Stoke Newington
- Southeast = Upper Clapton
- Nearest stations
- Mavar, an organisation which supports those who wish to leave the Haredi lifestyle in the UK, many of whom come from Stamford Hill.
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- The North Metropolitan Tramways Co. inaugurated 1872, and ran from Moorgate via Kingsland and Stoke Newington Roads to Stamford Hill
- The North Metropolitan from Bishopsgate ran through Mare Street, and thence to Clapton, opened in 1872, and was extended to Clapton Common in 1875, reaching Stamford Hill in 1902
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- The synagogues are named for the book Nahalat Yosef by Shemu'el Yosef Yeshuah. The book is named for his father, but contains a systematic exposition of rabbinical law and ethics. A second part details his travels in Palestine and the particular customs of Adeni Jews. In The Jews of the British Crown Colony of Aden Reuben Ahroni pp. 170–1 (Brill, 1994) ISBN 90-04-10110-1
- Saul, Heather. "Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down". The Independent. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
- Blundy, Rachel. "Hackney council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road they should walk on". The Evening Standard. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
- Jewish Chronicle article describing the migration and the BBC documentary https://www.thejc.com/culture/tv/tv-review-canvey-the-promised-island-1.451767