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Stamford Hill

Stamford Hill

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Stamford Hill
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OS grid reference:TQ335875
Latitude: 51.57050685200261°
Longitude: -0.07276013435779838°
London borough: Hackney
County level: Greater London
Region: London
Constituent country:England
Sovereign state:United Kingdom
Ceremonial county: Greater London
Historic county: Middlesex (1889)
Police force: Metropolitan Police
Fire brigade: London Fire Brigade
Ambulance service: London Ambulance
Post office and telephone
Post town: LONDON
Postal district: N15, N16
Dialling code:020
UK Parliament: Hackney North and Stoke Newington
London Assembly: North East
European Parliament: London
London | List of places in London

Stamford Hill is a place in the north of the London Borough of Hackney, near the border with Haringey. It is home to one of Europe's largest Orthodox Jewish communities.


[edit] History

Stamford Hill lies on the old Roman road of Ermine Street, on high ground above Stoke Newington, where it crosses the road from the medieval village of Clopton (the modern Upper and Lower Clapton) into Hackney.

Development of the area began around 1800, and many prosperous dwellings were built around Stamford Hill over the next 100 years. The London Road became a busy commercial centre to serve the needs of the burgeoning population. Around 1880, not only were railways serving the area, but this was the point where the tram systems coming north from the city<ref>The North Metropolitan Tramways Co. inaugurated 1872, and ran from Moorgate via Kingsland and Stoke Newington Roads to Stamford Hill</ref>, met the Hackney tram system<ref>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</ref>, and so it became a busy interchange, with a depot opening in 1873<ref>'Hackney: Communications', A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10: Hackney (1995), pp. 4-10 Date accessed: 01 November 2006.</ref>. 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 (d. 1789), lived there by 1763. His son Joseph (d. 1804) married Rachel Mocatta and his grandson Abraham Montefiore (d. 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 farther south, was to be turned by Abraham's grandson Claude Montefiore into Montefiore House school. With the spread of building, such distinguished families moved away: in 1842 there were few of the wealthy Jews who had once settled in Hackney<ref name=brithist><cite> 'Hackney: Judaism', A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10: Hackney (1995), pp. 145-48. Date accessed: 31 October 2006.</ref>.

From the 1880's many Jews arrived in the area, escaping from the poverty of 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 here, and this became a magnet for other strictly observant sects, many fleeing both Stalinist and Nazi persecution in the years before and after World War II. Also, many Jewish families came here, from other areas of London, refugees in their own way, from bombing and post-war clearances for housing.

[edit] Stamford Hill Today

Image:Stamford hillboys.jpg
Haredim shopping (Jan 2003)

Stamford Hill is at the centre of the largest Hasidic community in Europe, and referred to as a square mile of piety<ref name=brithist/>, reflecting the many Jewish men seen walking in their traditional clothes on their way to and from worship. The congregations often represent historical links, with particular areas of Eastern Europe, in their dress, and worship. Many also retain international links with other congregations around the world. The largest of these congregations is the Satmar who have five directly associated synagogues and many more affiliated congregations. Belz is the second largest with two, or three, synagogues. In the surrounding area, there may be over fifty synagogues. Many observant Jews in the neighbouring areas of Stoke Newington, Upper Clapton and even Tottenham identify with Stamford Hill.

Stamford Hill has its Shabbat siren, which plays Jewish music just prior to sunset to herald in the Jewish Sabbath and Jewish Holidays. The need for dietary observance means that Stamford Hill has a large number of shops selling specifically Jewish food. The freshness and quality is to be commended.

The wider community in Stamford Hill reflects the very diverse composition of The London Borough of Hackney. The data table shows ONS Census data<ref>Office For National Statistics, 2001 Census, at Hackney Live accessed on 27 Nov 2006</ref> for the wards around Stamford Hill, where respondents indicated a religion<ref>In the 2001 UK census, respondents were voluntarily asked to identify their religion.</ref>:

Ward AllChristianBuddhistHinduJewishMuslimSikhotherNonenot stated
Stoke Newington 10,1334,1631081472381,56396582,6891,071
New River 11,5043,91878962,3461,52596801,5151,850
Springfield 10,8593,51266612,5521,352134671,1851,930
Lordship 11,2993,76681461,94996697962,1472,151
Cazenove 10,5003,35974971,3902,069127681,7841,532
Total 54,29518,7184074478,4757,4755503699,3208,534
The London Borough of Hackney has expressed its concern that Jewish residents were seriously under-counted in the 2001 Census data<ref><cite>'Torah, worship and acts of loving kindness' - Christine Holman and Naomi Holman, De Montfort University, November 2002.


The high birthrate in Stamford Hill<ref><cite>LBH Children & Young People: Figure 2.1:Population density 0 to 19 year olds Demonstrates areas where there is a significant proportion of people in this age group. The higher proportion is correlated with where Orthodox communities live (accessed 27 Nov 2006)</ref> leads to local housing pressure and housing need. Haredi families have on average 5.9 children, almost 2.5 times the average for England and Wales, and many families live in overcrowded apartments<ref name=ynet><cite>Reuters/Ynet - London haredim considering move - 1st July 2006 accessed 28 Nov 2006</ref>. National planning regulations are applied by the local council, prohibiting "excess" development of family housing. This has inevitably led to conflict between the council and the Jewish population, represented by the Union of Hebrew Orthodox Congregations.

One solution that has been proposed, is building a satellite Orthodox community of 300 homes at Milton Keynes. London Mayor Ken Livingstone has promised "(I) will do all I can to find a solution that ensures that the needs of London's Orthodox Jewish community are met in future years," he told Reuters, adding that one solution could be to relocate the community within the capital<ref name=ynet/>. Many Haredi do not want to leave Stamford Hill, but the area is now "bursting at the seams"<ref>An indication of the number of 0-5 year olds can be obtained from these ONS census details (accessed 27 Nov 2006)</ref>.

A large part of the Orthodox communities will remain in Stamford Hill, as the congregations, schools and shops exist here to support their strict religious observance. The danger for the future is that the issue of overcrowding must be addressed, and a solution found that meets both Orthodox needs, and that of the wider population.

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Stamford Hill

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