This battered corrugated iron church on Shrubland Road looks like it would be more at home in Alabama, or perhaps a Flannery O’Connor novel, than in Dalston, and I have always been intrigued by it. So I was happy to open a copy of Hackney: Modern, Restored, Forgotten, Ignored, and there it was. Built in 1858 at a cost of just £1250, it’s believed to be the oldest surviving example of an iron church in existence, a ‘tin tabernacle’ as they are called.
Published by The Hackney Society and available through their website or from Pages of Hackney, I found this book at the local hairdresser of all places, and went out to buy a copy soon afterwards. It looks at 40 buildings in Hackney to mark 40 years of The Hackney Society. As well as historical buildings it features contemporary homes and new schemes such as Adelaide Wharf and Sutton House, and is beautifully photographed and well researched. The saddest chapter, ‘Forgotten’, looks at buildings that have been demolished.