So why Eleven98?
A very good question. Aidan explains.
I knew I had to give this venture of mine a name with profound significance. It had to be something that really transmits what the project means to me on a personal level.
I've done a lot of research into the history of Hackney recently, wanting to discover who lived here throughout the course of history and why they made the borough their home.
I felt that being able to delve into and understand the rich tapestry of historical events linked with my home town would be the best way to trigger the inspiration to come up with a name befitting of something so close to my heart.
My research led me to some very curious discoveries. Allow me to drop some of these tidbits of history on you.
The earliest surviving records of settlement in Hackney date back to Saxon times. Before this most of the borough was farmland providing food for the Roman city of Londinium, whose defensive walls rose up just south of Shoreditch.
Two major Roman roads ran through Hackney almost two millenia ago.
What is now the A10 was once known as Ermine Street and was the Roman trunk road from Londinium (London) to Lindum (Lincoln) and Eboracum (York).
What the Romans referred to as Magna Via (The Great Road) ran along what is now Old Street and thence through Bethnal Green and eventually out to the one-time Roman capital of Camulodunum (Colchester) along the route of the A12.
If you were to walk past the BSix Sixth Form College building at Lea Bridge roundabout, you probably wouldn’t notice anything unusual. However, this was once the site of one of the most impressive Tudor homes in the East End and, at one point in time, was one of the royal palaces of Henry VIII. The original building came to be known as King’s Place, and latterly Brooke House as I had always known it.
Did you know about St Augustine’s Tower, which stands in St. John's Church Gardens on the Narrow Way?
St. John's Church was so named because of its dedication to John the Baptist. It's the oldest building in the borough, dating back to medieval times.
The parish records of St. John at Hackney contain the earliest known occurrence of a black person living in Hackney (Anthony, who was buried on 18 May 1630 supposedly aged 105).
A depiction of St Augustine's Tower features in the coat of arms of The London Borough Of Hackney.
Baptism and burial records for Hackney's churches provide evidence of other incomers to the borough, including Huguenots and their descendants, refugees from France in the late 1600s.
For many centuries, Hackney was a rural area close to, but not part of, central London life. The area was rich in woodland and marshes and the few people who lived here probably worked the land to provide food for the Roman and post-Roman city of London.
It is thought that the area’s name came from a Saxon settlement dating back to the 5th or 6th centuries. At this point in time, Hackney was known as "Haca’sey", a name meaning 'high ground in marshland owned by a man called "Haca" (a local Danish landowner)'. The first records of the area being called 'Hackney' came about in the year 1198, some 700 years later. And that’s how it’s been known ever since.
So there you have it, a brief history of my beloved borough. And now you know why I named my project Eleven98.