I have lived in this wonderful city for 9 years now. In that time I have taken up residence in Kingston Upon Thames, Battersea, Maida Vale, Clapham, Canary Wharf and Stockwell. Londoner’s are excellent at sniffing out a niche in the market and this is probably one of the main reasons why smallcarBIGCITY is not only still in business but actually growing! Thankfully for us this ludicrous passion for small cars and the capital seems to have captivated people imagination over the last 6 years and we are fortunate enough to do what we love every single day. I think that when everything is so eye-wateringly expensive people become very resourceful by default and London’s property market is no different. The rate in which London’s suburbs gentrify themselves never ceases to amaze me. Stockwell was registering pretty high on the dodgy scale when we first moved there; I would never have dreamt of letting my other half walk back from the station on her own at night. By the time we moved out just three years later, it was a completely different story – naturally the flat we were living had doubled in value, organic coffee shops had sprung up all over the place, gastro pubs replaced seedy night clubs and new flats replaced car parks. Now that I have reached the age where I can no longer claim to be an adolescent, I must embark on the process of at least pretending to be an adult. Step one on “the behaving like a proper grown-up” check list is to stop renting property and start buying it. A transition made significantly easier when you live anywhere other than London. Because the areas that we had deemed too far out in January were out of our price range by February, we had to cast the net a little wider and get buying quickly.
It was on this note that we discovered Brockley, an area I had never even driven through let alone knew anything about. A leafy part of suburbia, equidistant between Peckham and New Cross, Zone 2 and only 7 minutes from London Bridge. All looked good on paper so with much trepidation we took the plunge. We bought a little flat in the industrially beautiful Tea Factory that was converted into residential property 4 years ago. With a striking angular green copper and glass box making up the top penthouse, the building stands tall and proud against the surrounding Victorian terraces. We have only been in the property for 7 months yet the same process is taking place at a rapid rate of knots. I read that Brockley SE4 enjoyed the third highest percentage rise in the London property market from Jan 15 – Jun 15 according to the Sunday Times with prices increasing as much as 20%. We now have bistro-coffee shops, independent delis, great restaurants/pubs and a splendid award winning weekly food market. New flats are springing up at an astonishing pace; Last week I was delighted to stumble upon a live music festival in full swing and street artists painting murals on the walls.
Here are a few of our favourite Live Like A Local in Brockley hangouts:
The Brockley Deli – http://www.thebrockleydeli.co.uk/ – @thebrockleydeli
Browns of Brockley – http://www.brownsofbrockley.com/ – @brownsofse4
The Orchard – http://www.thebrockleyorchard.com/ – @The_Orchard_
The Gantry – http://www.thegantry.co.uk/ – @The_Gantry
Brockley Market – http://www.brockleymarket.com/ – @brockleymarket
I love Brockley and I love London, but most of all I admire the resourcefulness of her inhabitants and their relentless desire to #FindTheGap.