Philip Glanville is the elected Mayor of Hackney, and Rosemary Sales is the Speaker of Hackney Council. Philip has executive powers, while Rosemary chairs council meetings, supports local charities and presides over citizenship ceremonies. Philip and Rosemary both took on their new roles in 2016; we met them a few days after the Hackney Half Marathon, which the Mayor participated in as part of the Speaker’s fundraising team.
Philip ‘Before becoming Mayor I was a councillor in Hoxton, and the cabinet member for housing. I did a lot of work to oppose the Housing Act, which I felt was damaging for diversity in the area. I was in peak campaign mode when the opportunity to stand for Mayor came up, and I get energised going out there to meet different communities, from Shoreditch to Stamford Hill.
As Mayor my main goal is to tackle the housing crisis and to help people access employment. Hackney is genuinely diverse economically with lots of new businesses, as well as opportunities for apprenticeships and adult learning. But there are issues around zero hours contracts and the changing job market. I don’t want gentrification to tip the social balance – our schools and housing are improving, but they should be accessible for everyone.
We have two Michelin-starred restaurants in the borough – Pidgin and Ellory – and it’s a great area for young chefs with strong ideas and an independent spirit. But there are older Turkish and Vietnamese restaurants which invested in Hackney when no one else wanted to be here, and we want them to stay. It’s all about getting a balance.
Like many people here, I’m not originally from Hackney. But the borough has a way of entering your DNA – we all become more Hackney than Hackney.’
Rosemary ‘I am the councillor for Stamford Hill West, and I have worked at the Hackney Migrant Centre as a volunteer and trustee. I chose the migrant centre and North London Action for the Homeless as the charities I want to fundraise for during my year-long stint as Speaker – they both support the most vulnerable people in our area, a group that is expanding.
This is a hugely diverse place, with well over a hundred languages spoken. After Brexit I organized a meeting of local voluntary sector and charitable groups to talk about the worries of EU citizens and immigrants in Hackney. I want to send a strong message that all our residents are welcome here.
I conduct citizenship ceremonies in the town hall, and I’m always struck that we have people from every continent joining us. In the ceremonies I like to stress that people aren’t losing their culture and language when they come here – they’re bringing them to Hackney.’