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See you in Stokey: the campaign to promote London’s ‘friendliest neighbourhood’

As shopping destinations go, it’s hard to compete with the charm of Stoke Newington. Packed full of quirky independent shops and restaurants, this is the place to come to escape the monotony of big chain stores and characterless shopping centres.

It’s a place with a local heart that beats loudly – expect to meet traders who are passionate about their craft and community, immerse yourself London’s “friendliest neighbourhood” and tuck into some of the best food London has to offer.

Traders here are so passionate about the area’s offering that they’ve launched the See you in Stokey campaign in a bid to highlight just what’s on offer.

Heidi Early, who runs Earlybird Cards on Stoke Newington’s Church St, said: “We are determined to let more people know about this amazing town of ours. It literally is the friendliest place in London – local traders go out of their way to make people feel welcome and to help them find what they need and that’s pretty rare.

“There’s so much to do here – shopping obviously! But we have two stunningly beautiful nature reserves on our doorstep - the amazing and historic Abney Park Cemetery and Woodberry Wetlands.  Clissold Park is wonderful too with its resident deer and the ponds which are teeming with wildlife.”

Between Church St and the High St, Stoke Newington offers almost every nationality of food and a wonderful array of gift shops and clothes shops.

Changes to the local road system (the closure of Church St to through traffic and the creation of low-traffic neighbourhoods nearby) were implemented in September and, while some traders have welcomed the change, others say it’s had a big impact on trade.

Heidi added: “There’s a strong sense of community amongst the traders here – launching the See you in Stokey campaign is a lovely way of coming together, of letting people know that while Church Street might be closed to through traffic we’re very much open for business. It’s our way of urging the public to make a conscious decision to shop local.  

“Posters are being printed promoting the area and we’d like the Council to allocate funds for bold and colourful Welcome to Stokey signs at the boundary of the main shopping streets – like the ones on Carnaby Street.”

Traders have worked with Stoke Newington’s Rude Studio to come up with the colourful design for See you in Stokey. Join the Facebook group, page and Instagram @seeyouinstokey, for details of forthcoming events.


A Brief History of Church St

Shops first started to open on Stoke Newington Church St in the mid-late 1800s. 

Until that point the street was full of mansion-like residences with large gardens and paddocks with livestock. There were several boarding schools here.

Gradually shop fronts began to be fitted to the 18th century houses and, later in the 19th century, the larger houses were replaced with terraces and shops, housing small-scale industries such as sadddlers, bootmakers, gramophone traders, milliners and furniture makers.

From the 1920s right through to 1990 the street was populated with numerous manufacturing companies. The first restaurants began to appear here in the 1970s.

Among the oldest surviving businesses here are K A C DIY Shop (which has been open at number 46 since around 1954), T.J Electrics, Radio & Television Repairs (open since 1975) and Gino, men's hairdressers opened in 1965.

Click here to view local historian Amir Dotan’s wonderful historic record of Church Street’s trading history. And check out his website www.stokenewingtonhistory.com

    There’s a strong sense of community amongst the traders here – launching the See you in Stokey campaign is a lovely way of coming together

    Posted 3rd December 2021