Living in London – A North London Estate Agents Guide.
We were all talking in the office about how living in North London and the East End of London years ago compares with living there in modern times.
Remember the old days when you could go out and leave your doors and windows wide open! Ok well some of you will, but for those too young to remember it will seem unthinkable these days. In North London and more famously in the east end of London, neighbours always looked out for each other. There were some fairly big characters (‘said to have been involved in organised crime’) who were often regarded as local heroes as they “looked after their own”.
There was a code amongst criminals and this code was rarely broken – certain well known characters wouldn’t tolerate petty crime on their patch, so if anyone over-stepped the mark, they were given a good talking to, often with some other persuasive measures thrown in, and this sent out a very clear message to others. There always seemed to be plenty of bigger, harder criminals to answer to!
Keeping Schtum… Local folks rarely spoke to the police, as local matters were often dealt with from within the local community.
It is all to easy to romanticise about the ‘London of old’, but then again it’s also hard not to – especially when you listen to the tales of many of the areas older residents, they will often finish a tale by telling you that it felt safer back then!
These days things are very different. It is fairly common for neighbours not to know each other despite living in a flat above, or below someone else, or next door in a terraced house. Converted flats and short term rental agreements (known as Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements – or AST’s for short) have added to a faster turnover of neighbours. If we look back 30-40 years or even further, people used to be tenants in a house for many years, sometimes generations of the same family would occupy a rented property. Buying a property in North London or in the east end of London became more popular later on.
The Internet is helping more and more people to connect together via online community websites and residents associations. Their formation is even being encouraged by central government with publicly used terms such as ‘Big Society’. Online community websites and residents associations are allowing people to interact with each other, get to know their neighbours, and connect with other local folk to share thoughts and ideas.
The internet is also proving to be an invaluable tool for pensioners, or anyone with a local problem as they can seek local help, recommendations, or general advice. It is common for a single question to provoke an extensive debate where many views are aired, points made, and ideas shared. This can be a great way for someone to effectively ‘listen in’ and gain a better understanding of an age old problem.
So the emphasis is now returning to ‘local communities’ and ‘good neighbours’. As a result, there is plenty of positive stuff being achieved for the area in which they live. People are getting together and getting involved in ways never before seen… This brings new life to the old saying ‘many hands make light work’. Even local newspapers have learned that they can get a great local story from simply ‘listening in’.
From a North London Estate Agents point of view, having a strong local community sends out a great message to families and decent folk looking to lay down roots within an area. Estate agents instinctively know that the more solid families and decent folk that move into the area and start to contribute, the stronger the community gets, and the more an area will evolve and grow in a positive way.
These days Local Authorities, MP’s, Schools, Safer Neighbourhood Police Teams and Local Businesses are all communicating with the local community - which is very positive because we can all learn from each other.
As North London Estate Agents we want to share just a few of the great things that our lovely local folks in Harringay, Hornsey and Wood Green have achieved by coming together:
- The complete renovation of a local park situated on ‘The Harringay Ladder N8′ to create a great new local space for the community as a whole. (Harringay Online – community website members)
- Transforming a piece of derelict wasteland into a lovely community garden on Hornsey Park Road N8. (Parkside Malvern Residents Association)
- Helping to clear a mile long passageway (The Harringay Passage) of snow and ice when the local authority couldn’t. This enabled parents to get their young children to and from the two local schools safely (Harringay Online members did all the hard work with some materials supplied by us at Castles Estate Agents)
There are far too many examples to mention in a relatively short blog post but, it is safe to say that good will is being spread around on a daily basis. So if you are not a member of your local community website, or residents association, perhaps it’s time to consider joining.