Hackney Tudors

Hackney Tudors is a project for school children exploring the history of the Hackney area. The children take part in a range of activities, such as walking tours of historical sites in Hackney, music and dance workshops, roleplaying chidren of the time, essay and poem writing, and finally create a play about some aspect of Hackney's Tudor history.

The organisers of Hackney Tudors, Clio's Company, have ambitious plans for the Hackney Tudors website. In the long term, they hope to have a site where children can explore a detailed virtual Tudor Hackney, write in a forum, and upload their own pictures and stories. However, the project is funded by grants from local authorities, and so has a limited budget; to accomodate this, they plan to build the site in stages.

This first stage, then, has a very simplified version of their long-term ideas. A clickable map links to information about some residents, real or imagined, of Tudor Hackney, and a gallery contains paintings, poems and photographs from the schoolchildren. A secondary menu at the top of the page offers information about the project for parents, teachers and local authorities.

The imagemap, in the 'explore' section, works on pure css and html. As schools sometimes have fairly dated technology and slow connections, we linked to a plain text page as well, just in case.

The map itself required a little creativity, as there are no surviving maps of Hackney from the period. I started by reading everything I could find about the layout of Tudor Hackney, and then overlaid the known features on a modern streetmap to fix their positions. I then compared this to an 18th century map of Hackney to check what I'd got, and used it to fill in a few details, such as the routes of minor lanes. I then filled in this outline by overlaying hundreds of tiny slices taken from a Tudor map of London which, although it didn't extend as far as Hackney, did show similar areas. The result was a reasonably accurate map with the right period feel.