In modern terms, Stoke Newington can be roughly defined by the N16 postcode area (though this also includes parts of Stamford Hill and the almost extinct district of Shacklewell). Its southern boundary with Dalston is quite ill-defined too, but it was once a well-defined administrative unit. In 1899 the Metropolitan Borough of Stoke Newington was formed out of the greater part of the parish of that name. The resulting boundaries seem rather anomalous now; the entire eastern side of Stoke Newington High Street and beyond, including Stoke Newington Common, were included in the next door Metropolitan Borough of Hackney, but in fact this area was then part of the parish of Hackney – not Stoke Newington – and much of it would have been regarded as being in Shacklewell at the time. These apparent oddities became moot when in 1965, the Metropolitan Borough became part of the London Borough of Hackney. Immediately to the south of Stoke Newington is Newington Green, also ill-defined, though originally they were two distinct villages separated by a mile of fields.
Throughout all these changes, the core of Stoke Newington, centred around Church Street, has retained its own distinct 'London village' character; indeed, Nikolaus Pevsner confessed that he found it hard to see the district as being in London at all.
Stoke Newington used to be known as an Irish area. The Turkish community of London is now well represented, particularly the Turkish Cypriots; the Aziziye Mosque on Stoke Newington High Street runs services in their language. Neighbouring Stamford Hill holds one of the world's largest communities of Orthodox Jews. Church Street, with its cafes and organic supermarket, and the surrounding area are depicted as the natural home of the yummy mummy.
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“It is the story-tellers task to elicit sympathy and a measure of understanding for those who lie outside the boundaries of State approval.”
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