The Anonymous Widower

Hackney Central Before Levelling Up

This press release from Hackney Council is entitled £19m Funding Boost For Town Centre At Hackney’s ‘Beating Heart’.

This summary is in the first two paragraphs.

A greener, safer and more welcoming Hackney Central is one step closer after Hackney Council’s successful application for £19m in Levelling Up funding.

The award will see five acres of public space transformed, bringing new green space, trees and seating along Amhurst Road, investment in Hackney Central Library, a much-needed redesign of Pembury Circus junction, new creative workspace and a rejuvenated Hackney Town Hall Square.

This is the summary from the Government’s levelling-up document.

£19 million for renovating public spaces in Hackney Central, such as the iconic Town Hall Square, as well as new creative workspace and upgrades to the Hackney Central Library.

So. this afternoon I went for a walk around Hackney Central and took these pictures.

Note.

  1. The roundel is missing outside the Graham Road entrance to Hackney Central station.
  2. Hackney Town Hall is a Grade II Listed Building, dating from the 1930s.
  3. I wrote abut the Hackney Picturehouse in The Film That Changed My Life!.
  4. The Hackney Empire is a Grade II* Listed Building.
  5. The Pizza Express is new, swanky and spacious, and not what I’d expected. I had a late lunch there.
  6. The bridge carrying the Overground over Mare Street needs improvement.
  7. I wrote about the Hackney Marks and Spencer in Levelling Up – The Marks & Spencer Way.
  8. St. Augustine’s Tower is the oldest building in Hackney.
  9. The main building of Hackney Central station is now a bar and music venue.

In words that could be attributed to legendary estate agent; Roy Brooks, it is an area with potential.

These are some thoughts.

The Town Hall Square

What puzzles me about the garden in front of the Town Hall, is the two trees, which I would associate with warmer climes.

Even today, when it was rather cold, there were still flowers in front of the Town Hall.

The Overground

I argue that the coming of the London Overground raised the standard of Dalston, Hackney, Whitechapel and other parts of East and South London to that of their more desired and affluent neighbours.

We can’t really attribute the the creation of the London Overground to any one politician, as it has been an aspiration of several politicians and rail professionals since the 1990s. This History section in the Wikipedia entry for the Overground lists all the false starts and hopes.

But one man; Peter Hendy has been there most of the time and has worked with all three of London’s Mayors and several Transport Ministers.

I do wonder how much the Overground benefited from a sane, quiet hand from someone like Lord Hendy.

The Overground has certainly done its best for Hackney and we need more of its common sense approach to levelling-up all over the country.

Marks And Spencer

When I moved back to London, Hackney had a terrible Marks and Spencer.

As one of their biggest London stores, is just three stops away on the Overground, it might have been financially prudent to close the store at Hackney Central.

But Marks did the opposite and converted it into an upmarket food store, which is much more Knightsbridge than East End.

It’s certainly convenient for me, as I can get a bus there and a bus back, with only a hundred metre level walk at both ends.

The Graham Road Entrance To Hackney Central Station

This makes it easier to travel around Hackney and to get to the Town Hall, Theatre, Cinema and Library area.

How many extra entrances to railway stations will improve journeys and attract more passengers?

The Continuous Development Of The Hackney Central And Hackney Downs Complex

Since I moved to Hackney three projects have been completed on the station complex.

  • A walkway has been built between the two stations to ease interchange.
  • Lifts have been added to the footbridge at Hackney Central.
  • The Graham Road entrance has been opened.

Two other projects have been proposed, but nothing has been actioned.

  • A replacement entrance to Hackney Central station on the North side of the station.
  • Step-free access to Hackney Downs station.

Will either of these projects be covered by the levelling up funding?

Pizza Express

This opened in December and I hadn’t seen it before, but you won’t notice it, unless you walk or ride on a bus up Mare Street, which I rarely do these days, since Hackney Wick station has been rebuilt.

So I was surprised to see it and like the Marks and Spencer it is more upmarket than other pizzadromes in East London.

  • There is a lot of space.
  • It has a proper wheel-chair entrance, that no-one could fault.
  • Seating is upmarket, with several tables having a good view of the street outside. Ideal for someone eating alone, as I do regularly.

The restaurant still has a few rough edges, but it has the potential to be a pizzadrome to visit.

I do wonder, if the upmarket Marks and Spencer and Pizza Express are in a way an endorsement of Hackney’s plans for the future, by two market leaders of the High Street.

Buses

There are a lot of bus routes going through the area, which is a good thing.

But the information could also be improved.

Clapton Bus Garage

This map shows the location of Clapton bus garage.

Clapton bus garage is the large building in the North-East corner of the map, red buses with white roofs outside.

This document on the Hackney Council web site is entitled Draft Hackney Central And Surrounds Masterplan, where this is said.

Relocate Clapton Bus Garage to an alternative site, to develop the site for mixed use, commercial/
residential development, and create a new route from St John-at-Hackney Churchyard Gardens to
Bohemia Place and beyond.

This sounds like a good idea, as part of the congestion in the area is caused by buses having to fight their way into the garage, when the roads are busy.

If they built, the right flats there I might be interested, as the site has good transport connections and an excellent Marks and Spencer.

Ashurst Road And Pembury Circus

This paragraph is in Hackney’s press release.

The award will see five acres of public space transformed, bringing new green space, trees and seating along Amhurst Road, investment in Hackney Central Library, a much-needed redesign of Pembury Circus junction, new creative workspace and a rejuvenated Hackney Town Hall Square.

Cut out what I have already covered and you get.

The award will see public space transformed, bringing new green space, trees and seating along Amhurst Road and a much-needed redesign of Pembury Circus junction.

This map shows Amhurst Road and Pembury Circus.

Note.

  1. Amhurst Road runs NW-SE across map.
  2. Hackney Central station is at the bottom of the map on the North London Line, which runs East-West.
  3. Hackney Downs station is the other station in the middle of the map.
  4. Pembury Circus is to the East of where Amhurst Road runs under the railway, at the top of the map.
  5. Dalston Lane runs between Pembury Circus Hackney Downs station.

I know the area around Hackney Downs station well.

  • I regularly take a train to Hackney Downs station and get a 30 or 56 bus to my home from a bus stop on Dalston Lane.
  • It can be a very unfriendly and cold place to catch a bus late at night.

But saying that, I’ve never had any trouble.

Improvements in that area, would certainly make my journey easier.

I would like to see the bus stops at Hackney Downs station moved to under the railway bridge to both improve shelter and cut the walking distance.

Conclusion

This could be £19 million very well spent and all residents of Hackney, myself included, could benefit.

 

 

 

 

 

January 21, 2023 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The New Entrance At Hackney Central Station – 2nd July 2022

The new entrance at Hackney Central station opened yesterday.

Note.

  1. The cafe must be fairly good, as it has two flavours of gluten-free brownies.
  2. I may have a touch of arthritis these days, but stairs like these are fine for me, as there are two right-handed paths.
  3. There is a second set of stairs down from the footbridge to speed passengers on their way to Hackney Downs station.
  4. There is a light-controlled crossing over Graham Road.
  5. Bus stops in both directions are only about twenty metres from the crossing.
  6. The station buildings appear to have green roofs.
  7. The is plenty of bike storage, but no car parking.
  8. There is no lift, although the design should allow one to be added later, if it is thought one is needed.

I’ve seen bigger budgets produce worse designed station entrances than this one.

My Use Of The Graham Road Entrance At Hackney Central Station

I suspect, I will use the new entrance mainly in one of two ways.

Going West On The North London Line

If I want to go west on the North London Line, the obvious one is to get a bus to Highbury & Islington station from the closest stop to my house and get the train from there.

But that route has got more difficult in recent years.

  • Our South London Mayor in his wisdom cut the 277 bus back to Dalston Junction station.
  • So there is only the 30 bus left and the route uses badly-designed Egyptian-built buses. I’ve nothing against Egyptians, but these buses don’t have the flat floor, that people expect from a bus these days.
  • Since the roundabout was rebuilt, it seems to be a longer and more difficult walk for pedestrians.

So I’d prefer to take another route.

  • Canonbury station is probably the closest station, but it is an uphill walk from my house.
  • Dalston Kingsland station is a possibility, but the steps to the platform aren’t the safest.
  • Dalston Junction station is another possibility, as it is step-free, but it means more changes of mode and train.

Going via the new Graham Road entrance has advantages.

  • From my house, there are frequent 38 buses to the new entrance.
  • The 38 bus stop at Hackney Central is only a few metres from the station entrance.
  • There is a coffee stall in the station entrance.
  • The steps in the entrance are easy for me.

I will try out this route the next time, that I go to the West on the North London Line.

Coming Home From Stratford With Shopping

If I need a big Marks & Spencer or a John Lewis, it is convenient to go to Eastfield at Stratford and come home on the North London Line.

I will usually use the The Canonbury Cross-Over to double-back and get a bus home from Dalston Junction station.

It is an easy route, but sometimes the trains mean a wait of nearly ten minutes at Canonbury station.

The new entrance at Hackney Central gives an alternative route.

  • You would get in the back of the train at Stratford.
  • Alight at Hackney Central.
  • Exit the station through the new entrance.
  • Cross Graham Road on the light-controlled crossing.
  • Walk about twenty metres to the 38 bus stop.
  • Wait for a frequent 38 bus.

Today, I waited just a minute.

Conclusion

The entrance was first mentioned in an article on Ian Visits in October 2019 and I wrote about it in Will Hackney Central Station Get A Second Entrance?.

In May 2021, I wrote £3m Hackney Overground Station Upgrade To Begin In June.

The entrance seems to have gone from a concept to reality in under three years and once the starting pistol was fired, it was built in under a year.

How many parts of the UK rail network could be improved, by small projects like this?

 

July 2, 2022 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hackney Central Station New Entrance – 24th December 2021

The new entrance at Hackney Central station is moving on.

Parts of the structure can now be seen behind the hoardings.

This picture shows the new entrance from Graham Road.

And this picture shows the entrance from above.

It does not look like step-free access is provided, but I suspect it could be added later.

Strangely, although Hackney Central station is to the East of where I live on the other side of Dalston Junction, it will be on a route, I might take, when I want to go West on the North London Line. I would just take a 38 bus direct to this entrance and then take a train to Richmond or Clapham Junction station as appropriate.

If Hackney Council put a light-controlled crossing over Graham Road, this will make it easy for me to come home from Stratford.

December 29, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

A Fair Recovery For Hackney Central

This image from Hackney Council shows a visualisation of the new entrance to Hackney Central station, that will be created on Graham Road.

I took these pictures of the site in October 2019.

I wrote about the new entrance in Will Hackney Central Station Get A Second Entrance?.

It’s certainly a site in need of improvement.

Here’s a few more of Hackney’s images from this page on Hackney Council’s web site.

If they build it like the visualisations, it could be something special.

May 24, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

£3m Hackney Overground Station Upgrade To Begin In June

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Hackney Gazette.

Selfishly, this is the improvement, that I’m waiting for.

I live to the West of Dalston Junction station on the 38 bus route. The second entrance will make getting to and from Stratford and the various attractions there much easier.

May 20, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Full Steam Ahead For Second Entrance At Hackney Central Overground Station

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the Hackney Gazette.

 

The first paragraph says it all.

A second entrance at Hackney Central Overground station could be up and running by the end of 2021, after receiving planning approval yesterday.

I’m pleased and this was my comment to the article.

I am 73 and live between Dalston Junction and Highbury Corner, so if I’ve been to the Eastfield Shopping Centre and am coming home with a heavy parcel, I sometimes find it heavy going, as I either have to cross the footbridge at Hackney Central and get a 38 bus or do a bit of shuttling about to get one of the buses from Dalston Junction.

This entrance will mean I can get out at Hackney Central and get the bus in Graham Road.

Provided of course, the pedestrian crossings are arranged with the new entrance and the buses.

I don’t think we can ever have too many station entrances.

 

December 4, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Plans For Second Entrance At Hackney Central Station Move Ahead

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the Hackney Citizen.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Plans to alleviate overcrowding at Hackney Central station are now moving ahead, with a decision by the Town Hall to provide a second entrance on council-owned land on Graham Road.

The article also makes the following points.

  • Things should be moving on the new entrance on the North side of the station.
  • Usage of the Overground went up 160 percent between 2007 and 2013,
  • Usage is expected to rise 40 % in the next ten years.
  • The original 1980s building was designed with a twenty year life.

Read the whole article, as it looks like the politics of the new entrance is all very complicated, but badly needed. Especially, by this traveller!

 

March 12, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment

Will Hackney Central Station Get A Second Entrance?

Hackney Central station is a station that has been designed by that well-known architectural practice; Topsy and Partners.

When I moved back to London, the station was very simple with a crude concrete footbridge.

And now there is talk of a second entrance at Hackney Central station in Graham Road.

This article on Ian Visits is entitled Hackney Central Overground Station Could Get A Second Entrance

This is the first paragraph.

A second entrance for Hackney Central station to deal with overcrowding is being explored as part of a joint project between the council and Transport for London.

And this Google Map shows the plot of land, where the entrance would be built.

Graham Road runs across the bottom of the map and there is a gap in the houses on the North side, that leads up to the railway.

I took these pictures as I walked from West to East along Graham Road.

Notice the sign on the site, which says Development Site Sold.

The Ian Visits article says this about development of the second entrance.

Hackney council and TfL have agreed in principle to contribute to the scheme and work together with Network Rail on the project. Initial feasibility work has started and ground investigations are expected to begin in October. Depending on feasibility work and funding arrangements, construction of the second entrance may start next year.

Doubtless the new entrance will be funded by the usual over site development, but it is on the end of a row of residential houses, so a block of flats would not be overly out of place here.

Ian also states that the land is owned by Hackney Council.

Could it be that we’re looking at a plan being put together, by a property developer bearing in mind, the wishes of Hackney Council?

  • The Council have sold the land with conditions on development.
  • There would be an appropriately-sized block of apartments.
  • Some would be affordable.
  • The block would contain an entrance to the station.

It would certainly be a well-located housing development.

  • It would have a convenience entrance to the station, with trains every few minutes  to the North, South, East and West.
  • There are three frequent bus services on Graham Road.
  • Walk to the North and you are in Hackney’s main shopping area.
  • Walk to the South and you come to the Hackney Cultural Quarter that comprises the Town Hall, Library, the Hackney Empire theatre and the cinema.

I doubt there would be much if any car parking in the block and it will be difficult locally.

What Would The Station Entrance Do For Rail Passengers?

Obviously, it would help those who lived by the entrance, but it would also help other groups.

Passengers From The Cultural Quarter Going West

Currently, if you’re going from say the Town Hall to perhaps Highbury & Islington for the Victoria Line of Hampstead Heath for a constitutional, you have to walk under the railway, enter the station on the Stratford-bound platform and then use the footbridge to cross the tracks.

Wjen the second entrance opens, you would use it to go direct to the Westbound platform.

Passengers Arriving From Stratford Wanting To Catch A Bus To The West

I regularly come home from Stratford, after shopping in the big Marks & Spencer in Eastfield.

It is a tricky journey, as whatever way you take, there seems to be steps at some point.

When the second entrance opens, I will use it to catch one of the frequent 38 buses stopping outside the station to get home.

I don’t think, I will be the only person using this route..

Passengers Of Reduced Mobility And Those With Baggage, Bikes And Buggies

A Second Entrance on Graham Road would certainly make it easier for any of these groups of passengers.

Increased Services On The North London Line

Services on the North London Line are currently si-eight trains per hour (tph) and this frequency wil surely increase to reduce overcrowding.

There will be more passengers wanting to use train services at Hackney Central, making an additional entrance more necessary.

Conclusion

A Second Entrance to Hackney Central station on Graham Road would be a valuable additio to the increasingly busy Hackney Central/Hackney Downs station complex.

 

 

 

 

October 3, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Funding Secured For New Entrance At Stratford Tube Station

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on IanVisits.

The new entrance will give those coming from the Carpenters Estate direct access to Stratford station.

This Google Map shows the South East section of the station.

The main station building has the two station symbols on the top and the Jubilee Line platforms run Southwards from the building.

It would appear that the new entrance will be close to the Southernmost corner of the station building in a staff car park.

Knowing the station well, I suspect it will be a very useful new entrance for both residents and visitors to the Olympic Park.

It will make it easier to avoid the clutches of Eastfield.

The only details on the cost of the scheme is this sentence from Ian’s article.

Newham council has agreed to contribute £1 million to the scheme, which is being funded from its Community Infrastructure Levy.

As it incorporates some extra lifts in the station, the scheme is probably going to be more than a million pound one, but the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) is involved, I suspect that everything is securely funded.

Should There Be Other Small Schemes Like This?

At Shepherd’s Bush station on the Overground, in 2015, a new entrance was built to give better access to Westfield. It is not very busy during the day, but I suspect that workers at Westfield use it more than shopper. Wikipedia says it cost £1.35 million, so I should think that the Stratford scheme wouldn’t cost a great deal more.

I believe there are other places, where extra entrances could be built.

Simple Ungated Entrances

Entrances don’t have to be grand, as I showed in An Ungated Entrance Used To Create Step-Free Access At Crofton Park Station.

These two entrances are just a hole in the station fence, Oyster readers and a bit of tarmac. There must be other places, where these entrances can be installed.

An Entrance At Hackney Central Station Into Graham Road

In It Looks Like The Hackney Downs/Central Link Is Ready To Open, I also talk in detail about adding a Southern entrance to Hackney Central station, that would lead directly into Graham Road. Eith a pedestrian crossing and changes to the bus stops, it would be a very useful step-free entrance for those living between the centres of Hackney and Dalston.

A Second Entrance At Highbury & Islington Station

In Could We Create A Second Entrance To The Overground At Highbury And Islington Station?, I investigated creating a West-facing entrance at Highbury & Islington station, that would improve access for those going to football.

Conclusion

I believe that a lot of stations can be improved, by adding extra entrances in convenient places.

It is probably easier to do in London’s Oyster/contactless card area, as a couple of readers can sort out ticketing.

 

May 18, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Is Hackney Downs Station A Suitable Case For Treatment?

Some of the stations on the London Overground, are architectural gems.

The picture shows some the internal detail of the refurbished Grade II Listed Crystal Palace station. The cafe was created in an area of the station, that few realised existed.

There is also work going on at Peckham Rye station, where an enormous Victorian waiting room has been discovered. An architect called Benedict O’Looney seems to be on a mission to restore the station to its former glory.

Peckham Rye station could be step-free as early as 2019, so I suspect that the station could become more important in the grand scheme of things.

What would Del Boy have thought?

There is also Camden Road station, which is in pretty-good nick.

If Camden Road station has a problem, it is that the station possibly needs more passenger capacity and perhaps one of the closed platforms to be reopened.

I’d love to know what is behind those windows on the top floor.

Hackney Central station has a similar building to Camden Road station.

It looks like Hackney Central will get a modern station building to go with the step-free footbridge. But I suspect everything is on hold until the plan for Crossrail 2 is finally decided.

Yesterday, I was in Hackney Downs station and I was told that the bland station building abandoned by British Rail, might be worth restoring.

 

Who knows what lies behind the brick walls and lurks in the dark spaces under the tracks in the old station building?

Knowing the way, many of these railway stations were built, I wonder if London Overground could come up with an imaginative scheme to create a Victorian counterbalance to the more modern Hackney Central, in what will inevitably be Hackney Interchange.

 

April 19, 2017 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment