A creative Hackney Central

What you told us

Hackney Central is the civic heart of the borough, a destination for culture, and a home for some of the borough’s major landmarks – the stunning Hackney Town Hall, the Grade II listed Hackney Empire, and the historic high street along Mare Street and the Narrow Way.

It’s an ethnically and culturally diverse area, with around 40% of residents coming from a non-white background. But it’s also somewhere where people are more likely to be left behind due to factors like poor health, loneliness or low income.

Thousands of people took part in the Hackney Central Conversation and helped create the Hackney Central Town Centre Strategy. You identified priorities including: 

  • Hackney Central‘s local feel is vital to the success of the area
  • The institutions, venues and spaces that create community bonds should be supported and enhanced
  • The sense of character and distinctiveness needs to be safeguarded
  • Cultural, civic and open spaces are important arenas for social interactions.
Front entrance of the hackney empire
Hackney's history integrates wonderfully into the modern environment. I love that Elizabethan buildings and 13th Century ruins sit side by side with a McDonalds and a nightclub. The signage in the churchyard gives a great overview of the area's past and I regularly see people reading it there. I live in the centre of Hackney and I'm always surprised how much my neighbours already know about the history of the area - It's something that really binds this community together.

What we're doing

To deliver on your feedback, we’ll not just protect Hackney Central’s heritage, such as conservations areas, listed buildings and civic buildings but enhance it – investing in excellent public spaces, cultural facilities and the library, displaying and celebrating the area’s heritage, and improving access to educational, community and digital facilities.

We’ll also work with the community to create public spaces that better represent this diversity, and make sure leisure and library services are more open and accessible to all to help reduce social isolation and bridge health and income inequalities.

This will support our missions for Hackney Central, created in partnership with the local community, to champion our character by broadening cultural and heritage activities and encourage wellbeing for all by supporting the spaces, services and local networks that enable Hackney Central’s communities to feel healthy and safe.

How we're doing it

We’re delivering improvements to more than 2,500 sqm of public space at Hackney’s civic heart at Hackney Town Hall Square, making it an inclusive space for everyone.

Illustrated icon of 4 books


We’ll complement this with investment in Hackney Central Library next door to widen digital skills, improve access and reduce social isolation, delivering on the feedback of 8,500 people who helped create our library strategy.

Illustrated icon showing front of museum


We’ll deliver on ambitious plans to transform and reimagine Hackney Museum so more people can access Hackney’s rich histories.

Illustrated icon showing swimming pool


We’ll invest in leisure facilities, starting with a new learner pool at London Fields Lido while we develop proposals to refurbish and upgrade Kings Hall Leisure Centre.

Find out more

Reimagining Hackney Museum

Consultation is expected to begin in autumn 2023 What we’re doing We’re developing ambitious plans to transform Hackney Museum so residents can engage with the museum’s collections and local histories in new and interesting ways. Our plans include: a new permanent exhibition sharing stories of migration and settlement from prehistory to modern day a redeveloped community room an improved shop enhanced digital activities so more people can...

Kings Hall Leisure Centre

Consultation is expected to begin in early 2024 What we’re doing We’ve appointed a design team to develop initial plans to refurbish and improve Kings Hall Leisure Centre. The plans are not yet funded but we are determined to secure and improve the building for the community. Why we’re doing it Kings Hall Leisure Centre has been at Hackney’s heart for generations - with thousands of you learning to swim, going to classes or using the gym in this historic...

Closed activities

Browse some of the recently closed activities and find out how your feedback has helped to make a difference.

Hackney Central Library

Consultation is expected to begin in early 2024 What we’re doing Hackney Central Library is the borough’s busiest library – and it will soon have better facilities and be more accessible to more people. Proposals we’re looking at include: flexible and inclusive equipment to make it more accessible to more people children and young people’s zones collaborative learning spaces bookable meeting spaces new study spaces exhibition spaces...

London Fields Lido

Consultation was completed in Spring 2023. What we’re doing London Fields Lido is a hugely popular and much-loved local facility, welcoming over 340,000 visitors last year. We are proposing to make improvements to make the facility even better and able to be enjoyed by more people with the development of a new teaching pool in addition to the existing pool. Why we’re doing it We’re committed to improving the quality of the leisure facilities throughout...

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