Hackney Gazette Review of the Year

Review of the year - Green river

Review of the year - Green river - Credit: Archant

As we come to the end of 2013, we look back at the year in terms of the most interesting, shocking, saddest and funniest news stories of the year:


The year got off to a bad start for aspiring master chefs as flagship training restaurant The Hoxton kitchen in Hoxton Square, Hoxton folded, while pub-goers were left reeling after developers applied to build flats above popular nearby boozer the Wenlock Arms, which footballer David Beckham used to frequent with his late grandfather.

Conservationists and history lovers were also shocked to learn that developers were planning to build a 40-storey tower block with shops and restaurants above the recently discovered remains of Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre off Hewett Street, Shoreditch.

And Hackney featured in the 20 worst places for gambling in the country – spending a whopping £362 million on gaming machines per year – according to data released by the Gambling Commission and campaign group Fairer Gambling.


The shortest month of the year kicked off with the announcement that Hackney could get two new stations as part of Crossrail 2.

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Children’s bellies were said to be expanding in the borough as it ranked second in the country for child obesity with 27 per cent of year six children classified as obese.

Communities reeled with shock after 19-year-old Nigerian Prince and university student Joseph Burke-Monerville was gunned down in his parked car in Clapton in a case of suspected mistaken identity.

The owner of pool club Efes – frequented by the likes of Peaches Geldof, Alexa Chung and Kelly Osborne – in Stoke Newington Road, Dalston vowed to appeal after it lost its late-night licence.

And planners The Berkeley Group were given the green light to build the tallest skyscraper in Hackney which will stand at 143 meters (473 ft) when complete.


The Duke of Welllington, an 1850s pub in Morning Lane that has been converted into a Pringle of Scotland outlet was earmaked for demolition by landowners Chatham Works and Manhattan Loft corporation.

An accountant was reunited with her dog three months after it was stolen before her eyes in Downs Park Road in Hackney Downs. Lovable pooch Henry was found by police at an address in the borough during a raid.

And childhood friends Charlotte Austen and Jack Munro, of Lansdowne Road, London Fields built a life-size spitfire made of 6,500 egg boxes for veteran charity Help for Heroes.

In a sign of community support, hundreds of people supported The Cycle Pit Stop in Netil Market, Westgate Road, London Fields after it was torched by arsonists. Fellow market traders sold goods to raise enough money so that owner Roger Telesford could set up his business again.


As spring got in full swing campaigners expressed horror as 40 Hackney Police were trained to use controversial taser guns.

The congregation of Britain’s first atheist church were kicked out of its temporary premises in Steiner School in Ball’s Pond Road due to “moralistic” Christians, according to the pastor Sanderson Jones.

And Richard Eades and Michelle Booth, of Mare Street, Hackney Central gave their son George the middle name Reggie in honour of the Radisson Blu Edwardian Grafton hotel where he was born after staff at University College Hospital turned the couple away saying that Ms Booth was not yet in labour.

But the month ended in tragedy when 15-year-old schoolboy Derek Boateng was fatally stabbed on a packed bus in Highbury on his way home from school. He died the following day, on his 16th birthday.


It was celebrations all round in May after part-time DJ and Hackney resident Natalie Coleman became the third woman in nine years to be crowned Masterchef champion and campaigners saw Hackney Council refuse the Geffrye Museum’s plans to knock down a 19th century pub in Cremer Street, Haggerston.

But the town hall came under fire when epilectic George Hawkins, 16, was left fighting for his life just weeks after being evicted from his home in Morton Close, Clapton by the council.


Residents were left confused after the north end of Mare Street in Hackney was pedestrianised without “adequate” notice and their buses were rerouted adding an extra 10 minutes to their journey time on average, and anger erupted as it was revealed taxpayers footed a bill of £750,000 for a “free” Radio 1 mega-pop concert on Hackney Marshes in June 2012.

More than a 1000 people from all over the world flocked to Stamford Hill to watch the Grand Rabbi of Bobov conduct his nephew’s wedding.

Shoreditch nightclub East Village in Great Eastern Street was closed after two men linked to the place were investigated for links to laundering proceeds from prostitution and brothels.


Environmentalists were left outraged after artists Sam Bompas and Harry Parr used chemicals to turn the River Lea fluorescent green days after thousands of fish died from pollution.

A Hackney headteacher – who was billed by education secretary Michael Gove as one of his “magnificent seven” – was suspended over concerns about his relationship with a technology company which was contracted by the school.

More than 2,000 people, including celebrities, leant their support to The Dolphin pub in Mare Street, after fears that it could be closed down after Hackney Council decided to review its licence.


As the borough basked in the heatwave, a probe was launched after rifleman Phil Scott, of Glyn Road, Clapton died in a horrific accident in Kingsland Road, Dalston just seconds after an unmarked police car blue-lighted him.

A De Beauvoir family spoke of their heartbreak after their mother Mary Idowu, of De Beauvoir Road was locked up in a Chinese prison for more than two months after her friend was involved in a dispute in a shoe shop.

In good news Mahmoud Ally celebrated after winning a place to study at Oxford University. The 20-year-old had previously been kicked out of two colleges before being given a third chance by BSix College in Kenninghall Road, Clapton.


X-Factor fans were kept on the edge of their seats after boy band Kingsland Road, who lived in Haggerston, stormed their way through the live shows.

Popular late-night boozer The Dolphin in Mare street had its hours slashed from 3am to 1.30am after a licence review because of the high number of complaints about thefts by police.

Labour and Conservative councillors raised concerns over the future of democracy in the borough as the council’s overview and scrutiny board was disbanded and squatters of a Grade II listed building in Mare Street, Hackney announced plans to turn the borough’s second oldest residential building into a community centre.


In a month where the St Jude’s Storm battered the borough, a consortium of GPs celebrated after winning a contract for an out-of-hours service in the borough from private company Harmoni.

But in a massive NHS blunder dementia sufferer Lilian Taylor, 88, of Southwold Road, Clapton was tucked up in a stranger’s bed after Homerton Hospital staff took her to the wrong house which belonged to a “confused elderly gentleman”.

Convicted killer Lerone Michael Boye went on the run after escaping from mental health unit the John Howard Centre in Kenworthy Road, Homerton – he is still on the loose.

Pub campaigners celebrated after helping the council stop a developer from overturning a ruling to protect The Chesham Arms, Homerton from being converted into flats.


The centre of Hackney came to a standstill after a row of terraces in Amhurst Road were earmarked for demolition forcing out several residents and two restaurants, with traffic and buses rerouted.

Douglas Samuel of Anderson Road, Homerton was jailed for 20 years for the murder of Gaynor Bale, a domestic assistant at St Joseph’s Hospice in Mare Street, Hackney.

Dalston residents were left in a hump with the Mayor of London Boris Johnson after he overturned Hackney Council’s decision to reject plans for a developer to build a block of 10 storey flats above Holy Trinity Primary School in Beechwood, Road.


An edible meadow full of herds, fruit trees and flowers bordering Lea Conservancy Road in Mabley Green, which has taken a community group years of hard work to transform, was destroyed after fly tippers dumped 49 tonnes of waste on the site.

St Paul’s West Hackney Church choir, which is made up of recovering drug addicts, sex workers and homeless people, launched their bid for a Christmas number one.

But the year ended in disappointment for thousands of campaigners as a legal challenge by the town hall against Boris Johnson’s closure of Kingsland Fire Station failed.