City traders find a new market
The arrival of the Overground rail service to Dalston in May, with its spacious station, air-conditioned trains and quick connections to the Tube network, the City and Canary Wharf, is transforming this once-neglected corner into one of London’s fastest improving and most arty neighbourhoods.
Dalston is a lively, multicultural place with long-standing Caribbean and Turkish communities. Two large regeneration projects — Dalston Square around the station and Queensbridge Quarter in Queensbridge Road — are bringing new homes and new young professional buyers to the area.
There are also attractive conservation areas, around London Fields and in De Beauvoir Town, where, for the past 20 years or so, families priced out of Islington have bought and renovated fine Georgian and mid-Victorian houses.
Now a new generation of gentrifiers is discovering Dalston. According to Adam Gould of estate agents Stirling Ackroyd, there is a migration northwards from Shoreditch, Hoxton and Brick Lane. “The people who made these areas so arty and fashionable can no longer afford to live there, and if they want to buy a house, they move to Dalston. They are bringing with them a lot of creative energy.”
Properties: there is a real mix, everything from Georgian houses to mid-Victorian terraces and semi-detached villas, to former council flats and new one-, two- and three-bedroom flats. Houses in roads such as Northchurch Road and Albion Square sell for about £1.3 million, although most houses in the area go for considerably less.
The area attracts: young, arty professionals working in the media industry who have been priced out of the more fashionable Shoreditch, Hoxton and Brick Lane.
Staying power: this new generation of settlers is staying until a newer, cooler neighbourhood emerges.
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Postcodes: Dalston is in E8, the Hackney postcode, which has been dubbed London’s coolest. However, De Beauvoir Town, on the western side of Kingsland Road, is in N1, the Islington postcode.
Best streets: Albion Drive and Albion Square, which have semi-detached, flat-fronted houses built in the 1840s. De Beauvoir Square is the centre of a unique new town built in the 1830s, with unusual Dutch gable-fronted houses. Northchurch Road has large, semi-detached villas. Fassett Square, a pretty square of Victorian terrace houses, was the model for Albert Square in EastEnders
Up and coming: north of Ridley Road market there are several roads — Colvestone Crescent, Sandringham Road and Downs Park Road — of large, late-Victorian houses that are becoming increasingly popular because of their proximity to the popular Mossbourne Community Academy comprehensive school. Most of the houses are converted into flats but whole houses, when they become available, sell for between £500,000 and £700,000. Two-bedroom flats cost around £250,000.
What’s new: Dalston is undergoing a building boom designed to change the face of the neighbourhood with more than 700 new homes built or in the pipeline. At Dalston Square, Barratt is building 550 new homes (of which 63 are affordable), a large public square, shops, restaurants and a public library. Phase two of the development is now launched for off-plan sales. This phase contains 309 flats with prices ranging from £246,000 for one bedroom to £370,000 for a three-bedroom apartment, for occupation next summer. For more details, contact Barratt on 0845 871 0205.
Queensbridge Quarter in Queensbridge Road is a joint venture between developers Modern City Homes and Hackney Homes to redevelop part of the Holly Street estate. When the development is complete in summer next year, a total of 151 homes will have been built. Phase two, comprising 54 flats and 22 houses, with prices starting at £250,000 for a one-bedroom flat up to £675,000 for a four-bedroom house, is being launched at the beginning of next month. For further information, contact agents Currell (020 7241 4111) or Fyfe McDade (020 7613 4044).
Historically Hackney's schools were underperforming and were a significant problem for local parents. They are run by the Learning Trust (learningtrust.co.uk), a not-for-profit private company, who say that the education standards in the area have improved significantly since 2002.
Currently two thirds of Hackney's primary schools are rated by Ofsted as good or outstanding. Around Dalston there are no primary schools judged “outstanding” by Ofsted. The best results at key stage 2, age 11, are obtained by Our Lady of St Joseph RC in Buckingham Road.
Two thirds of the pupils in Hackney secondary schools now receive five or more A*-C GCSE grades, a higher proportion than the national average. Hackney’s secondary schools are dominated by Mossbourne, one of the first City Academies and situated in a fine new Richard Rogers building in Downs Park Road, which is judged “outstanding” by Ofsted. The City of London schools in the City are two well-respected private day schools.
Where to eat and shop
Burger bars, pound shops, cheap clothing stores and nail bars dominate the main shopping area along Kingsland High Street. The street is getting a £1.3 million facelift ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games thanks to a grant from Mayor Boris Johnson. The covered shopping mall has branches of Sainsbury and Matalan.
Ridley Road, off the high street, is one of London’s oldest outdoor markets and has a strong Afro-Caribbean presence. Broadway Market, off London Fields, has a lively Saturday market with the recent addition of a farmers’ market. Favourites along Broadway Market include the Cat and Mutton pub, Clipson & Sons café, Our Patterned Hand for modern dressmakers, F Cooke for old-fashioned eels, pie and mash, Broadway Bookshop and La Vie en Rose gastropub.
Dalston is the home of some of London’s most successful pop-up home restaurants. One, The Loft, in Kingsland Road, run by El Bulli-trained chef Nuno Mendes, has morphed into an exclusive dining club, hosting chefs from around the world.
Open spaces: London Fields is a popular but drab park with the addition of a recently restored heated lido; Victoria Park is only a short walk away. As well as restaurants, Dalston has pop-up gardens. Social enterprise, the Bootstrap company, is creating the Dalston Roof Park on top of a building in Ashwin Street, while the Dalston Garden now occupies the site of last year’s Barbican event, The Dalston Mill, which featured a wheatfield.
Leisure and the arts: as well as the London Fields Lido, there are three nearby indoor pools at the Britannia in Hyde Road, the Clissold in Stoke Newington and King’s Hall in Lower Clapton Road. The Hackney Empire in Mare Street is one of London’s most beautiful theatres. A one-time music hall, it now puts on drama, comedy, music and a famous Christmas panto. The Arcola, in Arcola Street, is one of London’s most adventurous fringe theatres, while the Rio, in Kingsland High Street, is an independent cinema. There is jazz at The Vortex in Gillett Square and experimental music at Café OTO in Ashwin Street.
Transport: the opening of Dalston Junction station on the East London line has improved the area’s transport links. The station is six minutes from Shoreditch High Street on the edge of the City, and 20 minutes to Canary Wharf changing on to the DLR at Canada Water. The existing train stations are at London Fields, a nine-minute journey to Liverpool Street, and Dalston Kingsland, a 20-minute ride to Oxford Street, changing for the Victoria line at Highbury and Islington. Dalston is in Zone 2 and an annual season ticket costs £1,032.
Council: E8 is in Hackney (Labour controlled) and Band D council tax for 2010/2011 is £1,308.27.
One-bedroom flat £246,000
Two-bedroom flat £292,000
Two-bedroom house £521,000
Three-bedroom house £584,000
Four-bedroom house £607,000
Studio flat £150 to £200 a week
One-bedroom flat £200 to £250 a week
Two-bedroom flat £250 to £350 a week
Two-bedroom house £350 to £400 a week
Three-bedroom house £400 to £650 a week
Four-bedroom-plus house £450 to £700 a week
Source: Stirling Ackroyd
Pictures by Barry Phillips
All details correct at time of publication (11 August, 2010) Reuse content