Hackney Downs is an open space and a broader area in
Lower Clapton, in the London Borough of Hackney; it is also the name of a local council ward. It borders on Stoke Newingtonto the west and Shacklewellto the south. Although part of Clapton, as a distinct area, it can be said to be bounded by Amhurst Road to the south, Kenninghall Road to the north, Cricketfield Road to the east and the railway to the west, thus occupying most of the western half of Lower Clapton and some of the shrinking district of Shacklewell. The streets north and south of the park are dominated by social housing – these areas were largely rebuilt during the 1930s and 1960s.
The Downs open space was originally common land, preserved from the 1860s as parkland as a result of pressure by the
Commons Preservation Society. It is one of the larger open spaces wholly within Hackney borough and is surprisingly well-kept, though rather underused. It has a play area, basketball courts, football pitches and a bowling green. However, on weekdays outside school holidays, it is largely unused except for the odd dog walker and those short cutting between Stoke Newington and Hackney Central, and it only really comes alive on weekends. It may be that the reputation of the social housing to the north and south of the park acts as a deterrent, but nowadays these estates are much more pleasant places and there is a permanent park ranger present, so Hackney Downs is now as safe a place as any other Hackney park.
Occupying, as it does, a fairly central place in Hackney, the park used to be the yearly venue for the popular Hackney Show, but this event — which helped to give a sense of community and identity to an often-troubled borough — has been discontinued in recent times as a cost-cutting measure, as have the regular Fireworks Night shows. The park was given a
Green Flag awardin July 2008. ["Hackney Today" 188 21 July 2008] Hackney Downs Schoolwas also located here, the site has been redeveloped as the Mossbourne Community Academy.
Hackney Downs railway station
* [http://www.mossbourne.hackney.sch.uk/ Mossbourne Community Academy]
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