Metropolitan Borough of Shoreditch

The Metropolitan Borough of Shoreditch was a Metropolitan borough of the County of London between 1899 and 1965, when it was merged with the Metropolitan Borough of Stoke Newington and the Metropolitan Borough of Hackney to form the London Borough of Hackney.

Shoreditch Town Hall
Shoreditch Town Hall
Metropolitan Borough of Shoreditch.svg
Shoreditch shown within the County of London
 • 1911/1931658 acres (2.66 km2)
 • 1961659 acres (2.67 km2)
 • 1911111,390
 • 193197,042
 • 196140,455
 • 1911169/acre
 • 1931147/acre
 • 196161/acre
 • OriginShoreditch and Norton Folgate
 • Created1899
 • Abolished1965
 • Succeeded byLondon Borough of Hackney
StatusMetropolitan borough
GovernmentShoreditch Borough Council
 • HQOld Street
 • MottoMore Light, More Power
Arms of the Metropolitan Borough of Shoreditch.svg
Coat of Arms adopted by the Borough Council

The borough was made up of three main districts: Shoreditch, Hoxton and Haggerston. An individual coat of arms was never granted to the metropolitan borough council; they adopted the arms of the second lord of the manor of Shoreditch, John de Northampton.


The borough comprised the area of the ancient parish of Shoreditch (St Leonard's) plus part of the ancient liberty of Norton Folgate to the south[1] The parish vestry had taken on local administration from the 17th century onwards.

Civic buildingsEdit

The civic buildings of the borough included the Town Hall (originally the Vestry Hall) in Old Street with the Magistrates Court (derelict in 2007), the Coroner's Court in Boundary St and other civic offices nearby.


The borough motto commemorates the provision of electric power to the borough from the Vestry of St Leonard Shoreditch Electric Light Station[2] later known as the Shoreditch Borough Refuse Destructor and Generating Station[3] on Coronet Street. The building on Coronet Street is embellished with the motto E PULVERE LUX ET VIS (Out of the dust, light and power). It was built in 1896 and burned rubbish, to provide steam for the electricity generator. The waste heat was used to heat the public baths next door (and now demolished). The building is now home to the National Centre for Circus Arts.

Population and areaEdit

The metropolitan borough was conterminous with the Vestry authority, when it was formed in 1900. Statistics compiled by the London County Council, in 1901 show the population growth in London, over the preceding century.

The area of the borough in 1901 was 658 acres (2.7 km2). The populations recorded in National Censuses were:

Shoreditch Vestry 1801-1899

Year[4] 1801 1811 1821 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891
Population 34,766 43,930 52,966 68,564 83,432 109,257 129,364 127,164 126,591 124,009

Metropolitan Borough 1900-1961

Year[5] 1901 1911 1921 1931 1941 1951 1961
Population 118,668 111,390 104,248 104,248 [6] 44,871 40,455

By comparison, after amalgamation with Hackney and Stoke Newington, to form the modern London Borough of Hackney, the combined area became 19.06 km² - approximately 4,710 acres (19.1 km2); in 2005, this had a population of 207,700,[7] or a population density of 10,900/km². In 1901 Shoreditch the population density was 44,600/km².

Coat of armsEdit

The borough used coat of arms, but these were never formally granted and, therefore, not official. When the borough was merged to found the London Borough of Hackney, other charges were used to represent Shoreditch in the new coat of arms of the London Borough of Hackney.[8][9]


A map showing the wards of Shoreditch Metropolitan Borough as they appeared in 1916.

Under the Metropolis Management Act 1855 any parish that exceeded 2,000 ratepayers was to be divided into wards; as such the incorporated vestry of St Leonard Shoreditch was divided into eight wards (electing vestrymen): No. 1 or Moorfields (18), No. 2 or Church (21), No. 3 or Hoxton (21), No. 4 or Wenlock (18), No. 5 or Whitmore (12), No. 6 or Kingsland (12), No. 7 or Haggerstone (9) and No. 8 or Acton (9).[10][11]

The metropolitan borough inherited these eight wards for elections: Acton, Church, Haggerston, Hoxton, Kingsland, Moorfields, Wenlock and Whitmore.[12][13]

Borough councilEdit

Parliament constituencyEdit

For elections to Parliament, the borough was divided into two constituencies:

In 1918 the borough's representation was reduced to one seat:

In 1950 the borough's representation was reduced to half a seat, when it was merged with Finsbury:


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Hackney Council: History[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ R. Crosley, London's coats of arms and the stories they tell (Robert Scott, London, 1928)
  3. ^ Cherry, B. and Pevsner (1998) The Buildings of England: London 4: North: 520. London, Penguin
  4. ^ Statistical Abstract for London, 1901 (Vol. IV)
  5. ^ Shoreditch MetB: Census Tables at Vision of Britain accessed on 14 Dec 2006
  6. ^ The census was suspended for World War II
  7. ^ 2005 estimate
  8. ^ Heraldry of the World: Hackney
  9. ^ Civic Heraldry of England and Wales: Hackney lb
  10. ^ The London Gazette Issue: 21802. 20 October 1855. pp. 3878–3879. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  11. ^ "H.M.S.O. Boundary Commission Report 1885 Shoreditch Map". Vision of Britain. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  12. ^ Post Office London County Suburbs Directory, 1919. 1919. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  13. ^ Ordnance Survey 'County Series 3rd Edition' Map of London (1912-14) at 1:2500 scale. Accessed at

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

51°31′30″N 0°04′37″W / 51.525°N 0.077°W / 51.525; -0.077