Pictures paint a thousand words, so before settling down to read this page, you might like to thumb through 'A Day in the Life of St Paul's.
The Parish of West Hackney
The Parish of West Hackney has as its western border Stoke Newington Road, which is the continuation of Kingsland Road, which runs north from Shoreditch. There the road is flanked by new loft-style developments for computer games designers, which peter out on the approach to Dalston. Dalston is centred on heaving Ridley Road Market and Dalston Kingsland Railway Station, which will be connected to the Tube in 2010. The A10 continues northward before climbing Stamford Hill. Our parish is distinct from Dalston and Stamford Hill, and it’s not Stoke Newington either. It is, of course, West Hackney and the obvious place for a centre is St Paul’s and its 2.5 acre site. If you would like to see a map showing our Parish Boundary, please visit achurchnearyou.com/st-pauls-west-hackney and click on 'Find Us'.
The parish sits in the heart of the Turkish and Kurdish communities. Their spiritual needs are met by the tile-clad, double bronze domed Azizye Mosque, their social needs are met by a succession of snooker clubs, and their gastronomic needs are met by small supermarkets brimming with fruit and vegetables. Turkish wedding photographers sit alongside Turkish jewellers and hairdressers, and the parish now has its own Turkish gym. Side by side with these shops and services are discount general stores (Poundsaver, Poundland, Poundworld and the cheeky 99p) and more upmarket, specialist shops, bars and restaurants.
Despite the highly visible presence of the Turkish and Kurdish communities, they make up only a small proportion of local residents. According to the Census of 2001, 45% to 65% of local residents classify themselves as White, and 15% to 25% classify themselves as Black or Black British. Children form a disproportionately high proportion of the local population, and there are two Primary Schools within a five or ten minute walk of St Paul’s. There are no large local housing estates, with most streets composed of terraced housing built 1865-1885, when the railway came to nearby Rectory Road.
St Paul's Church
Built in 1960 to replace the original church of 1823 that was bombed in the Second World War, St Paul’s Church occupies a prominent site on the major transport artery in north-east London. It’s slightly set back from Stoke Newington Road (the A10), with its own car park and a glade of mature trees. The building is nondescript from the outside but the interior tingles with the spirit of the Festival of Britain.
St Paul’s Church Hall
The bright and well-appointed church hall sits at right angles to the church; a folding wooden screen separates the two buildings, which can be retracted to allow for larger congregations at special services. The hall is home to a variety of organisations which address many of the presenting problems within the parish. It boasts a fully compliant catering kitchen and a recently installed toilet for disabled users. We have just completed a £1m regeneration of St Paul's Hall, thanks to the generosity of the Big Lottery Fund, the City Bridge Trust and West Hackney Parochial Charity.
West Hackney Churchyard and Recreation Ground
West Hackney Churchyard and Recreation Ground make up the 2.5 acre site on which stood the former West Hackney Church and its graveyard. The graveyard was closed in 1885 and was handed over to the local council of the time to be laid out as a park area, which became known as West Hackney Recreation Ground.
Sadly, this wonderful site becamse tired and moribund over the years, but thanks to a generous grant of £650,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the site has been totally restored and regenerated and now it stands at the heart of our local communtiy as a beautiful green space with natural play equipment, in which people can come and enjoy a bit of rest and relaxtion, or just simply pass through on their way from A to B!