In WW2 the Stoke Newington Civil Defence Control Centre was located in the basement of Stoke Newington Town Hall in Stoke Newington Church Street. The town hall was opened in 1937 and at the outbreak of war a number of rooms in the basement were strengthened with the addition of 10" X 6" ‘I’ section steel girders supported on pillars. Many of the rooms in the basement have windows opening into a central courtyard or onto a sunken walkway just below street level.Other areas of the basement contained toilets, kitchen and workshops.
The Civil Defence Control Centre closed at the end of the war but was reactivated two years later, remaining operational until 1953 when it was replaced by the new underground control centre at the rear of the town hall which opened in May of that year. The basement continued to be used as a Civil Defence Training Centre until 1968. This later became Hackney’s Borough Control, designated 51B5.
It is now empty but the entire basement is due to be refurbished early in the new year as Hackney Council’s Emergency Planning and CCTV Centre. The Centre will receive images from all the Town Centre cameras in Hackney, Stamford Hill, Dalston, Homerton, Broadway Market and the Well Street market area. The basement will also incorporate a workshop area for repairs. It will also house a new an Emergency Centre, complete with TSX50 ECN, Control Room / training room, limited overnight accommodation, rest room, two kitchens, offices, standby water supplies, uninterruptible power supplies, 2 70KVA standby generators, ventilation plant, toilets, shower room, reception area, and EP store rooms. The telecommunications network will be three tier, firstly the Borough’s internal network, secondly a standby digital network with six lines out and lastly the ECN
Those taking part in the visit were Nick Catford and Andy Wells.