Secret Urban Suppers
inspired by Hackney, London
Discover the creative story of Hackney, London, Salty Studio's local neighbourhood where we live, work and never stop creating. A multicultural hub of innovation and inspiration.
"The first surviving records of the place name are as Hakney (1231) and Hakeneye (1242 and 1294). The ‘ey’ suffix almost certainly refers to an island; the dictionary favours the interpretation that Hackney means ‘Haka’s island,’ with Haka being a notable local person and the island (or inaccessible place surrounded by marshes) lying close to the River Lea. This was once a much wilder place than today.
In the Tudor period, the lands of religious orders were seized by the Crown and put up for sale. Thus Hackney became a retreat for the nobility around Hackney Central and Homerton.
The village of Hackney flourished from the Tudor to late Georgian periods as a rural retreat.
Construction of the railway in the 1850s ended Hackney's rural reputation by connecting it to other parts of the city and stimulating development.
London's first Tudor theatres were built in Shoreditch. Alfred Hitchcock made many of his first films in Hoxton at the Gainsborough Studios in Poole Street.
Following extensive post-war development and immigration since the late 20th century, population pressure has increased and the area's many Georgian and Victorian terraces are being gentrified, warehouses are being converted to housing, and new flats are being built."
- Hackney Brew -
Elderflower cordial, Apple and Hibiscus 58 Gin, Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic
We went to a local distillery in Hackney Downs and spoke with Mark the founder of 58 Gin. After coming over from Australia, Mark founded the distillery 4 years ago and they are now moving to a much bigger space in Haggerston this week. They run gin making classes in their small space and hand pack each bottle themselves. Mark initially didn’t like the bitterness of gin (and I didn’t too) so he created a gin that HE would like. 58 Gin was born, named after Mark’s house number.
They use a combination of nine botanicals to create the aroma of their gin: bergamot, pink grapefruit, bourbon vanilla, sicilian lemon, orris root, cubeb pepper, angelica, juniper and coriander seed.
- An Open Bookshop -
Turkish pastry served on a book: spinach, feta, baharat spices and
Turkish sumac spice
"The London Borough of Hackney has 8 public libraries. With a variety of books to choose from, reading groups, family workshops, local school visits, creative writing groups and even ping pong sessions for the over 50s, Hackney is creating a safe place where learning is for life.
Hackney has a well-established Turkish and Kurdish speaking community: Turkish Cypriots who arrived from the 1930s as commonwealth citizens, Turkish people from mainland Turkey who came to live in London for both political and economic reasons in the 1970s and 1980s, and the Kurdish community who fled persecution in Turkey, Iraq and Iran in large numbers in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Turkish and Kurdish communities are located in all parts of the borough, though there is a greater concentration in north and central Hackney."
- Vintage -
Pie served in a teacup: sweet potato, red/yellow/green pepper, halloumi, kale, courgette, basil seeds
Vintage Magazine, Words by Hannah Shillito:
"It’s no secret that Hackney is something of a go-to place for all North London hipsters, and rightfully so – you cannot walk five paces without stumbling upon a new pop-up vintage/retro stall or shop.
London’s Borough of Hackney – and perhaps even more specifically the trendy Dalston and Stoke Newington areas are full to the brim with vintage and retro second hand shops and markets.
Head to the jam-packed Broadway market on a Saturday amongst your fellow fashionably-attired foodies and clothes lovers along with the indie buskers and tweed-trousered dog walkers, casually strolling among the stalls packed with retro goodies, books, LPs and delicious street food.
Dusty Fingers Sunday Thrift is on the third Sunday of the month but you can pick up great antique furniture, amazing vintage clothes, and any odds and ends you might want to decorate with.
Then there’s the Hackney Flea Market, which is only on at selected weekends (you can check the Facebook group for exact details), and is ideal for people who love trawling through piles of clothes to find the perfect thing for them. There are so many stalls to look at that you’re bound to find a bargain somewhere!"
- Afro-Caribbean Touch -
Coconut rice, mixed beans, plantains, lime
Hackney is a multicultural hub.
"In June 1948, the Windrush arrived in Essex, carrying 492 people from the Caribbean, travelling to England to start a new life in the ‘Mother Country’. Hackney was a popular choice as a place to live because it was cheap, well connected, had plenty of accommodation and was already home to many diverse communities. As the pioneers began to form a community, the area became even more popular.
According to 2011 census data, over 25% of Hackney’s population has African or Caribbean heritage.
If you want to find out more, Hackney Museum has an excellent permanent collection about the local history of Hackney featuring displays and interviews about people who have migrated to Hackney over the past 1,000 years."
- A Taste of Columbia Road Flower Market -
Elderflower jelly with edible flowers from the market
"A Sunday ritual in Hackney is to head over to Columbia Road for the flower market. Being one of London’s most visually appealing markets, Columbia Road overflows with bucketfuls of beautiful flowers every Sunday. From 8am-3pm, market traders line the narrow street selling flowers, houseplants, herbs, bulbs and shrubs.
The Flower market began as a Saturday trading market, but as the Jewish population grew a Sunday market was established. The Saturday market lapsed, but the Flower market evolved.
The whole area went into a decline in the 1970’s. Indeed demolition was mooted, but the locals fought back and the area and market were saved. Since the 1980’s the market has grown into one of international repute."
- Edible Artscape -
Matcha cake, meringue, mango purée, edible fruit powders, dried edible flower mix
Ending our tour in a local art gallery, its now your turn to make your own edible artscape inspired by this story.
"East London is known for having some of the best street art around. Hackney Wick in east London has over 600 studios, making it the densest concentration of artist studios in Europe."
- Goodie Bags -
Vietnamese corn sweets