Discovering Brixton

Published On January 15, 2015 | By Matt | Europe

On the face of it, London seems like a huge metropolis of a city. However when you get under the skin of this place, you start to appreciate that it is more like a collection of very distinct neighbourhoods. One of the most distinct neighbourhoods is Brixton.

The background

In the late 1800s, Brixton was a desirable, middle-class residential area of London. However Brixton was heavily bombed during the Second World War, creating a major housing crisis in the area which resulted in the construction of a lot of low grade council or estate housing. It was into this housing that the wave of migrants from the West Indies (arriving in the 1940s and 1950s) were placed. Brixton hit the world’s headlines in 1981 when a police crackdown against street crime ignited violent and bloody riots. Further riots erupted in 1985 after the police shot a local woman in a botched raid. Further riots occurred in 1995 after the death in custody of a local man. Brixton was also one of the targets of the neo-Nazi bombings of 1999 targeting the minority communities of London. Home to one of the UK’s most notorious prisons, for many years Brixton was seen as a dangerous neighbourhood that was best avoided.

Regeneration or gentrification

Whatever label you put on it, the Brixton neighbourhood that you will find today is world’s away from the no-go area that it has been known as in past decades. An influx of young professionals has pushed up housing prices and seen the opening of art galleries, cafes, restaurants, and boutique shops. The old Brixton Market has now been transformed into Brixton Village – a fantastic collection of bars and restaurants that has people travelling from across London for its lively atmosphere and fantastic food. Honest Burgers is one of the stand-out food options but there is such a huge range of options that part of the fun is wandering around until you find something that takes your fancy. The Ritzy Cinema is one of London’s best independent cinemas – all the latest movies and a great bar which is the perfect place to meet up with friends. Brixton is now one of the coolest and most desirable places to live in London.

Park life

Brockwell Park is one of Brixton’s gems and it is one of the reasons that people with young families are keen to live in this area. It is a huge green space with a massive children’s playground. A lot of people bring their dogs here for a walk, and on sunny days the park is awash with sunbathers or groups of kids just out having a kick of football. The jewel though is the old Brockwell Lido – an outdoor swimming pool that is absolutely rammed in summer, and in the evenings there is a pop up restaurant in the Lido’s cafe which is serving up really amazing food.

Brixton is definitely one of the neighbourhoods in London that is worth checking out. You will be surprised by how much you like this little slice of London life.

photo credit: fabbio Creative commons.

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