For over 50 years we have established friendship and twinning arrangements with a number of towns abroad. The earliest of these links date back to the 1960s when limited travel and the legacy of war made it valuable for civic authorities to promote the development of personal links between their citizens.
Hackney currently has 3 active twinning links:
Suresnes, France (1962)
The oldest of Hackney’s twinning relationships. Suresnes is a commune in the western suburbs of Paris, France. It is located in Hauts-de-Seine, 9.3 km (5.8 mi) from the centre of Paris and had a population of 45,039 in 2006.
The twinning agreement was signed on 31 January 1962 (when Cllr Lou Sherman was Mayor). Council records state that Suresnes was selected because there are several similarities between the boroughs eg both suburbs of capital cities, both with historic textile connections, both with working class and ethnic minority communities.
One of Hackney’s choral groups, the St John of Jerusalem Festival Chorus, has partnered the Chorale du Conservatoire de Suresnes (the choir of the Suresnes conservatoire) for several years. The choirs have taken part in joint concerts in both Suresnes and Hackney.
Haifa, Israel (1968)
Haifa is the third largest city in Israel – after Jerusalem and Tel Aviv – with a population of 281,087 in 2017.
The Hackney-Haifa Twin Cities Treaty was signed on 9 September 1968; it was initiated by Stanley Clinton Davis (then Mayor of Hackney; now Lord Clinton Davis) and Abba Hushi (Haifa’s Mayor at the time).
HAIFA (Hackney Anglo Israel Friendship Association) is the oldest continuously active twinning group in the borough. Its aim is to foster friendship and understanding between the people of Hackney and Haifa.
It’s non-political, non-sectarian and multi-faith, committed to equal opportunities, promoting exchanges of people between the two and mutual visits have included sports teams, sixth formers, pensioner groups, war veterans, civic Mayors, Speakers and Councillors.
Its major focus since 1995, however, has been the medical teams exchanges between Homerton Hospital and Rambam Hospital in Haifa, northern Israel’s largest and world renowned Medical Centre.
St George’s, Grenada (2003)
St George’s is the capital of Grenada, and a popular Caribbean tourist destination. The town is surrounded by a hillside of an old volcano crater and is on a horseshoe-shaped harbour. The population in 2012 was 33,734.
St George’s is Hackney’s most recent twinning partnership; a Declaration of Partnership was signed on 14 May 2003, by Speaker Sharon Patrick; this followed many years of informal exchanges and visits dating back to 1980. The links were established in recognition of the large Caribbean community in Hackney.
The town is home to St George’s University School of Medicine, and most twinning activity is through links with the Homerton Hospital in Hackney.
Other twinning links
The Council also has historic twinning links with Gottingen, Germany (1973), Bridgetown, Barbados (1982), Alexandra, South Africa (1986) and Presnensky District, Russia (1988), although these are not currently active.
All twinning activity is community led, and activities such as exchange visits are funded by the organisations or individuals concerned, and are not subsidised by the Council.
For more information on twinning activities please contact the Speaker’s Office.