Sunday, 28 December 2008

Let's move to Hackney Wick, East London (the Guardian)

I know Hackney is the most diverse of any borough in the UK, and as such, must have the most diverse newspaper readership.

So for anyone who doesn't know about the Lets Move To........ series in theGuardian - they pick a different part of the UK each week - & give a very short, concise summary of the area - just in case you were thinking of moving there!

Well...... here's their Hackney Wick pitch (from the 27th September 2008).

What's going for it?

Since Andy Warhol bedded down in Manhattan's SoHo in the 60s, thereby grabbing himself a decent return on his property portfolio as well as a hip venue for his happenings, all estate agents worth their salt have kept a sharp eye on the avant garde.

From Chelsea to Camden Town, Clerkenwell to Shoreditch, arty-farties have a neat nose for squirrelling out the gentrified burbs of the future, but with even Dalston gone posh, where's a penniless artist to suffer now? The Wick.

Hackney east of Well Street Market is where you'll find genuine bona fide artists in genuine bona fide crumbling warehouses. See through the dour landscape of flyovers, lock-ups and lap-dancing clubs, and you'll discover a neighbourhood of Somalian cafes and tasty Turkish grills, vast, atmospheric green spaces such as Victoria Park and Hackney Marshes, and a fierce local community.

And prospects: the Olympics site abuts.

The case against

You'll need unbridled, Pollyanna-ish optimism or the imagination of an artist not to feel glum most mornings. It's had its heart ripped out once already by the roaring A12. Now the Olympics promise more ripping, plus endless politicking and HGVs. Crime, misery, poverty and dirt, etc.

Well connected?

The A12 at least gets you in and out. Other roads east and west are tortuous. Beware the rush hour. But when the North London line becomes the London Overground, up to 10 trains an hour are promised by 2010, connecting Hackney Wick station to the underground and Eurostar at Stratford.


Gainsborough primary and St Dominic's RC primary rated "satisfactory" overall. Kingsmead primary 'good' overall, as is Cardinal Pole RC secondary. The new mixed City of London KPMG Academy opens next year, with a specialism in finance.

Hang out at ...

Mapps Cafe on Chapman Road.

Where to buy

As close to Victoria Park as you can. The western side of the park has come up in the world, especially around Lauriston Road. The eastern side still feels scruffier, though the roads east of Well Street Common and Cadogan Terrace (which backs on to the A12) have nice, often sizable, Victorian terraces. Plenty of new-build infill, too, from the 90s, and fancier apartment blocks currently being built.

Market values

One-bed ex-councils, from £130,000; two-bed, from £150,000.
One-bed terrace conversion and new-build flats, £150,000-£200,000;
two-bed, £225,000.
Period terraces, from £300,000-£600,000.

Bargain of the week

Two-bed modern terraced house on Daintry Way, £255,000, with Harbour Residential (020-7474 9313).

From the streets of Hackney Wick

Bernard McGuigan "I have had a studio at Hackney Wick for 15 years (I am a sculptor). Since the likes of the Chapman brothers set up here, it now has become known as Hackney Chic."

Simona Dell'Agli "Hackney Marshes are a paradise for dog-walking, the space is huge and empty. The walk along the river Lea might be muddy, but the area's so far removed from London zone two, and in spring resembles a jungle."

Hilary Powell "I spent three years living in one of the factory studios on White Post Lane. We've seen the area changing rapidly. Although it's still pretty 'out there', we've really noticed it being 'cleaned up and cleared out'."

1 comment:

Felix said...

Hi Sóna

I know Tom can't possibly get to each & every place he writes about - but all that stuff about crime & dirt could/would be more at home in somewhere like Camden.

Set him straight dude!!