An ordinance survey map of 1860 shows practically no housing in streets north of Agnes Street, however a business map of Belfast produced in 1892 shows a growing network of streets and houses that make up the Shankill today.
There are quite a few stories as to how The Hammer got its nickname, none can be agreed on but the name has stuck, and the area is a distinctive part of the landscape of Lower Shankill. Standing in the centre you can see down the hill to Samson and Goliath, the great yellow Harland and Woolf shipyard Cranes, where many men from this community would have worked.
There are a number of famous faces associated with this part of the Shankill Road, including Augustus 'Gusty' Spence, a leader of the Ulster Volunteer Force and, later, an active member of the Progressive Unionist Party. A prominent voice in the 1994 ceasefire negotiations, it is widely regarded that Spence's later years were 'dedicated to peace and reconciliation'.
The Shankill Road has a long association with boxing and a mural on Hopewell Crescent pays tribute to boxers from the Shankill Road, past and present. These include the Warnock Brothers, Jimmy and Billy, who fought in prize fights in the 1930s, including Jimmy Warnocks famous win over undisputed world flyweight champion, Benny Lynch in Belfast's King's Hall in March 1936.