Moving to Brixton
In this age of gentrification, there are few areas in London that have undergone such a drastic transformation as Brixton. Just four miles from the centre of London, this is one of London’s oldest boroughs, but you wouldn’t know from looking at it. Originally a multi-cultural working-class district, gentrification has caused high property prices that have caused many residents to move away, although there is currently a drive towards creating rental properties that the locals can afford.
Putting Brixton on the Map
Located south of London, Brixton is within the borough of Lambeth and is bordered by Balham, the borough of Southwark, Streatham, Dulwich, Tulse Hill, Clapham, Herne Hill, Dulwich Village and Stockwell. Made famous by the mix of cultures, with food outlets serving fragrant, spicy West Indian food and an excellent nightlife, the connectivity to the city is fast and efficient.
- The area is served in Zone 2 by the Victoria line, with frequent trains going to areas such as Pimlico, Victoria, Green Park, Oxford Circus, and to Kings Cross St Pancras, for those wanting to connect to the Eurostar and travel to Paris. Brixton is at the end of the Victoria line, so commuters travelling into London in the mornings have a really good chance of getting a seat.
- Travel to Kings Cross takes 16 minutes on the tube.
- There are numerous buses connecting to the city and other areas. It takes around 33 minutes from Shakespeare Road to London Bridge Station.
- The famous London Cabs and Uber are all over the city.
- Heathrow and Gatwick airports take around an hour to reach by tube, or tube and train respectively.
- Heathrow Airport handled approximately 77 million passengers in 2016, Gatwick around 40.5 million.
Traditionally, most of the housing is late Victorian, with pockets of early Victorian in Loughborough Park, Vassall Road and Archbishop’s Place. 1920’s terraced houses are mainly where Brixton and Tulse Hill converge. There is a high percentage of social housing.
Six large housing estates account for a large part of Brixton residences: Stockwell Park Estate, Myatt’s Fields, Angell Town, Loughborough, Moorlands Estate and St Matthew’s. Tulse Hill Estate is a little south of St Matthew’s.
Awarded the Great Neighbourhood Award 2013, Brixton has a great community spirit and was one of Britain’s first inner-city based Transition Towns. Dating back centuries, it’s lively street life is continually popular. The large Victorian houses, the busy shopping district, the Brixton Academy and the Ritzy Cinemas are all attractions for those who crave nightlife and vibey restaurants.
Electric Avenue, so named because it was the first electrically-lit market street in the UK, has an abundance of shops selling foodstuff at reasonable prices. Eddy Grant’s song, in 1982, portrayed this street as it was then. Brixton Market sells anything from tropical foods to exotic fabrics from all over the world and Brixton Village Market is a foodie’s dream come true, with a huge variety of restaurants specialising in international cuisine. These shops and restaurants have all been renovated in keeping with the rest of the gentrification. Other markets include Makers Market, Brix Mix Market, Friday Market, Sunday Farmers markets and Bakers and Flea Market.
Brockwell Park, located between Brixton and Herne Hill has lovely views over the capital from its vantage point on a hillside. Restoration, regeneration or gentrification, call it what you will, is complete in Myatt’s Field, with Ruskin Park, named after the writer John Ruskin, hosting a new kid’s playpark and a one o’clock club for younger kids. Brockwell Park Row is, in the main, flats and terraced houses and is very family orientated. This area is Brixton’s quieter neighbour, perfect for professionals and families. Brockwell Hall sits atop of the hill. The demographics indicate that the residents mainly hold high positions in management, followed by junior managerial or supervisory posts.
Overlapping the boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark, Herne Hill is close to Brixton, Dulwich and Camberwell. Peace and quiet in lovely surrounds, this is a slice of the country in the middle of London. Bars, restaurants, art galleries and independent shops, the 1937 outdoor swimming pool, the Brockwell Lido, plus a bustling weekend market make this family area extremely popular.
Sold out before completion, this new collection of 133 one to three bedroomed apartments in Loughborough Park, fit right into this recently renovated area. The flats are light and airy with top quality fixtures and fittings. The second phase is due to be launched during 2017.
This street has quite a history. It was one of the last to have mansion block flats built in the area, purpose-built for the local population in 1902. Wyke Mansions was the block of flats, and it is still standing today, all fifty-four units, and back then they overlooked open ground before Freemans built warehouses and offices. These industrial buildings have since been demolished and modern flats were constructed in their place, which are mainly rented out. The population is predominantly employed in the higher managerial and professional fields, and supervisory and junior management. There are ten primary and ten secondary schools within a mile of the street. It is one of the most expensive streets in Brixton.
This busy street is made up entirely of flats, shops, pubs and offices. There are no houses available at all, thus the area is mainly suited for students and singles. Over 80% of the flats are social housing. Those living here, in gainful employment, are mainly semi and unskilled workers, and junior managerial staff. The original manor house, owned by the Hastings family until 1810, has changed hands many times but has been restored as a hotel and restaurant. Loughborough Junction is the nearest railway station. This diverse area is mainly populated by Caribbean and African people, with only 39% of residents being born in England.
Originally one of the poorer London neighbourhoods, Stockwell is now an up-and-coming area due to its excellent transport links and proximity to the city. The main social housing estates are Stockwell Park, Lansdowne Green, Spurgeon, Mursell, Studley and Stockwell Gardens. Stockwell Park Road, Stockwell Park Crescent, Albert Square and Durand Gardens feature houses built between 1825 and 1840, all that remains of Stockwell’s 19th century grandeur.
RUSH COMMON MEWS
Another area of mainly apartments or flats, the population are employed as professionals and senior management, and junior managers, clerical staff and supervisors. 48% of the residents were born in England, 61% are white, the balance a mixture of Caribbean, African, Irish and others.
Who Lives and Works in Brixton
The ward of Brixton Hill includes Streatham, Streatham Hill, Tulse Hill, Lambeth and Brixton. The last census, in 2011, gave the total population as 15,842, with 59.2% born in England, followed by 4% Jamaican and 2.9% from South America. Brixton attracts people from all walks of life, although the recent gentrification, resulting in higher rental costs, have pushed many people at the bottom of the salary scale out of the district. However, the proximity to London brings in bankers, lawyers, professionals from most fields, technical and IT personnel and sales people.
Brixton has its own retail industry, including high street shops and a number of markets. It was home to the first purpose built departmental store in the UK, Bon Marche, and launched its own currency, the Brixton Pound, in 2009. Exclusively for the local shops, the idea was to attract both local and other consumers to the area and strengthen pride in the area. The currency’s notes depict famous Brixton artists and celebrities, including David Bowie.
The Best Bits
The community spirit in Brixton is strong, resulting in it being voted the Great Neighbourhood Award 2013. Racial tensions are a thing of the past, crime rates are normal in a large city and although rental costs are high, so are London salaries.
- The largest independent cinema in the UK, The Ritzy, screens all the new movies as well as art-house films.
- Brockwell Lido is a public open-air swimming pool. It is a firm favourite.
- Locally known as Brixton Beach for its colourful graffiti, Stockwell Skate Park was built in the ‘70s.
- John Major lived here with his father, Tom Major-Ball, a former Music Hall performer.
- The Markets. People come from far and wide to shop at this array of markets. From Caribbean delicacies to vintage clothing, the great London tradition of open-air market stalls is thriving here.
- Brixton Village, with an artisan market, craft shops, off-the-wall restaurants, coffee outlets, it even has a large department store.
- Brixton Academy is known for its live music shows.
- Brockwell Park measures 125 acres of green space, with the Lido, tennis courts, football pitches, a bowling green and a BMX track. The Lambeth Country Show is hosted here in July.
- David Bowie as born here, at 40 Stansfield Road.
- Live venues such as the O2 Academy and Hootananny, along with a pubs, clubs and restaurants offer a pulsating nightlife.
- Multi-cultural restaurants, including Caribbean, Chinese, Vietnamese and Middle Eastern show the diversity of this unique enclave.
- The Astoria Theatre opened in the 20’s, with a seating capability of 4,000 people. It was sold for £1 in 1983, after which it became the Brixton Academy. Celebrities such as The Police, Culture Club, Madonna, the Sex Pistols, the Smiths and Wham have all performed here.
- Electric Avenue, open six days a week, is home to Brixton’s market traders.
- Both Freddie “Parrot Face” Davies and Sharon Osbourne were born in Brixton, and singer Adele lived here as a child.
- The lost river Effra is said to run beneath Brixton. Apparently, Queen Elizabeth I sailed down the river to visit Sir Walter Raleigh in Brixton.
Bringing the Kids
With London on the doorstep, with all its cultural attractions, living in this community oriented area is ideal for raising a family. There are numerous state secondary and primary schools in Brixton and the surrounding areas, some of which have been judged Outstanding by Ofsted. Remember, the UK works on a catchment system, so it is important that you reside in the same area as your school of choice.
- Rated Outstanding, the primary schools are Stockwell; St Jude’s C of E; Corpus Christi, and Sudbourne.
- Rated Outstanding, the secondary schools are Sacred Heart RC; Charter School and St Martin-in-the-Fields, with Lambeth College for the over 16s.
- Independent schools and colleges charge fees and do not have to follow the National Curriculum, but do offer a wider range of subjects than state schools. The International Baccalaureate is being offered by more and more independent, or private, schools.
- There are many International Schools in London, catering to the large number of expats in this popular destination. These schools allow expat students to continue with the same syllabus as they were previously studying and are particularly good for short-term postings. The schools charge hefty fees.
- There are numerous universities in London, catering for all number of courses.
Relocating to Brixton
This up-and-coming district has so much to offer expats, with its diverse community, great schools and proximity to London, with its wealth of culture. An abundance of shops, supermarkets and markets, with a vibrant nightlife, restaurants serving cuisines from around the globe, superb transport links and a choice of great accommodation makes this the ideal location for relocated singles and families. However, relocating your family is stressful, especially with all the red-tape involved with securing a rental property close the right school for the children. Make sure you use the services of an expert relocation agent to cover all your bases, ensuring a hassle-free move.
Average Monthly Rents in Brixton