Part of London borough of Hackney.
Origin of its name uncertain may have come from a drainage ditch ‘Soerditch’ running through the area & into Thames. Later the local lords of the manor in 1300s were called Soerditch. Mistress of Edward 1V called Jane Shore who according to an ancient ballad died poor & worn out in the eponymous ditch. Once an area of green fields & fresh water outside the City of London developed in the 1680s. During this time wealthy people endowed almshouses for people associated with City Livery Companies. Traces of these remain with the Geffrye Museum & Haberdasher’s Aske Building. By the 19th century the area was poor & run down but in the 1990s things started to change. The burgeoning art community here has overseen development of what some journalists have described as London’s coolest square mile.

The first settlement was at the junction of two Roman roads Ermine St (now Kingsland Rd.) & the road to Silchester (now Old St.)

Boundary St Estate built 1891 as the first LCC Housing estate, one of the first public housing ventures in the world. Replaced one of the worst slums in London known as Old Nichol. Read Arthur Morrsion Child of the Jago (available on Amazon) to get an authentic description of the dreadful conditions).

St Leonard’s Church founded in 12th century. Rebuilt after the tour collapsed during a service. Present church designed by Charles Dance the Eldfer erected in 1736.  New church incorporated monuments from the old including the bells. Three of Keats’ brothers were babtised here. Members of the Burbage acting family & Gabriel Spencer killed by Ben Jonson in a duel are buried in the churchyard.

Shoreditch Town Hall built 1866 as Vestry Hall. 1902 it underwent major expansion. A large assembly hall was added plus the tall tower embellished with a figure of ‘Progress’ bearing a torch & battle axe. The building has been renovated & is now used by small creative companies with community events & a restaurant.

Hoxton Square laid out in 1683. 1863 St Monica’s RC church built to serve the poor Irish community. James Parkinson, physician & geologist lived & practised at No 1 Following the publication of his pamphlet ‘the shaking disease’ was named after him. Ben Jonson fought a duel here when the area was open fields killing Gabriel Spencer. Today centre of an artistic area with White Cube 2 Art Gallery opened 1993 owned by Jay Jopling. Known as a promoter of YBA including Damien Hirst, Anthony Gormley & Tracey Emin.

Pitfield Street Pitfield Baths & Library financed by John Pasmore Edwards built 1895. Baths demolished 1960s. Building used in past by ENO now apartments & home to Courtyard Theatre. 1689 Haberdashers School & almshouses founded here1689 by Robert Aske who left funds for 20 poor men & women & 20 poor boys associated with Haberdashers Company. School moved out 1898 now in Elstree. Now luxury flats.

Hoxton Market 1688 permission granted to hold a market here on Tuesdays & Saturdays. John Lewis Burtt started a Nonconformist Mission here 1886 when the area was notorious for pickpockets & children’s gangs.  Former electricity generating station occupies an imposing site. First power station to be built in Britain which generated electricity from destruction of domestic waste-a green project. Now London’s leading centre for circus arts. Can do a BTEC in circus skills or attend beginners classes in juggling, acrobatics etc.

Hoxton Street Known today for its market it used to be known for its entertainment. Britannia Music Hall founded 1840s, rebuilt 1858, destroyed in Blitz 1841.

Princes Foundation & Drawing School part of the P of Wales Trust for promoting & running courses in sustainable, traditional architecture & drawing.

Curtain Road London’s first theatre was here The Theatre built by Burbage in 1576. One year later The Curtain was built. Shakespeare both acted & wrote for these theatres – Romeo & Juliet, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Love’s Labours Lost.  1598 when the landlord increased the rent The Theatre was dismantled, transported by cart across the Thames & rebuilt on the South Bank as The Globe.


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