In Defense of Deptford

7 08 2009

Deptford High StreetDeptford Market

The New York Times recently rated Deptford/New Cross as a hip, off the beaten track area of London, praising its chain free high street, trendy arts scene and cool clubs, urging interested tourists to check it out. thelondonpaper covered the fact that they had covered it. As did Deptford Dame, the Londonist, Property Press World, Jaunted and just about everyone else.

The Guardian jumped on the Deptford bandwagon as well – highlighting Deptford’s cool vibe and artist community, and then talking about talking about Deptford a lot on their blogs.

Then came the Telegraph’s response – ripping away the glory from Deptford, in what involved the negative energy of an active smear campaign.  They called it one of the roughest, most crime ridden, and dangerous parts of London, and  essentially scared off any tourist who may have even considered a trip down to Deptford.

If the Telegraph didn’t scare them off, then the Daily Mail did.

Now, admittedly, there are no strollers (prams) being pushed by Yummy Mummys. Not a single Starbucks. Not even a Tescos (although Deptford Dame said she heard from someone that they heard that Deptford High Street was getting a Tesco!)  But there is a local vibe down here that I find charming. You have people winking and waving to each other, stopping to chat at the market….oh the market is fantastic. Not in a Portobello Road type way, but with everything you need and tons that you don’t for really cheap. My fruits and veggies, flowers (a bunch for £2 stays fresh for 2-3 weeks, so nice), skin care products, breads, eggs, and anything else I’d pay double or triple for at Sainsburys.

Having just moved down to Deptford in March of this year, I’ve gotten to know the area quite well, and can see a bit of where the Telegraph and Daily Mail are coming from. It’s certainly not Chelsea. It’s not Notting Hill. It’s not even Hackney. But it’s Deptford. And there is so much going on in this area that is positive, I can’t understand why in the world anyone would go to such an effort to tear this place down.

And so, here’s me – putting in my two cents as an SE8 ‘local’ – I love living in Deptford, and I would like to see tourists down here, from as far as Japan, China, or America, to as near as Notting Hill-ites, Westbourne Grovers, and Stokeys.

Deptford highlights

LabanLaban is a world-class dance facility based in Creekside on the way to Greenwich – which is literally a 10 minute walk from Deptford, or one stop on the DLR. Laban has a new cafe that is eco-friendly, open to the public and they do some really cool theatre evenings with affordable ticket prices. In addition to this, Laban even offers an MA in Dance and is a very highly recognised academic center complete with library and research facilities. Plus, the design of the building is really cool and inspiring.

deptford project

Deptford Project Cafe is a cafe made out of train – they serve really good food and coffee, and the Project has  just opened up a market on Saturdays adjacent to excellent Deptford High Street Market.

There a shop on Deptford Broadway off Deptford High Street called Abstriaticus that  looks more like it belongs on Diagon Alley selling everything from antiques to mannequins to DVDs – and I am fairly certain they sell magic wands in the back!

The Amersham Arms literally across from New Cross station is a destination bar/pub/club where there is constantly a night out to be had! They do food, games, and have a DJ in the basement spinning electronica to deep house to hip hop beats and back again.

For a more relaxed pub vibe there is the Royal Albert just up the road towards Deptford. I just walked by on my way home two weeks ago and the sounds of a straight up Mariachi band pounded out from inside, while outside what must have been the entire Southeastern arts community pounded beers out front.

St Pauls Church, as opposed to St Pauls Cathedral in the City, is absolutely gorgeous and maintained to a very high standard and again is right off the high street.

the albanyThe Albany is a really cool cutting edge performing arts centre right in SE8, literally usurped by the market off the high street. They have everything from Spoken Word nights to Hip Hop Harmonica, to comedy straight off the Fringe festival circuit.

The artist’s community is really strong here, and after a weekend at the Hackney Wicked festival, I realised that Deptford has just as strong a scene as Hackney Wick – and the arts festival to go along with it – Deptford X.

In terms of location – City Airport is very close on the DLR, and a train from Gatwick to London Bridge with a change to Deptford or New Cross will get you door to door in 45 minutes easy.

Deptford has excellent transport links. We’re one stop from Greenwich on the DLR, and you can ride the DLR through Canary Wharf and all the way into Bank, or change to get over East London. Next year, the East London line will be up and running, which means you’ll get up into East London in minutes.

Both  Deptford and New Cross stations are no more than a 10 minute walk from wherever you are in the area. You can hop on a train and be in to London Bridge within 6-8 minutes, and both Charing Cross and Cannon Street directly within 15 minutes, no change.  A bit of perspective – You can get from Leicester Square to Deptford in a half hour.

And for all of you out there paying overpriced rent rates for no square footage – I’ve got a two-bedroom, two-bathroom flat with 3 balconies and a shared rooftop terrace for less than what a one-bed costs in Chez Bu (ehm, Shepherds Bush).  I read an advert yesterday for one-bedroom flats with 24 hour porter with on-site swimming pool and gym going for £850 a month.

And this, my friends, is why I must defend my dear Deptford!

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4 responses

27 09 2009
fidgetrainbowtree

oooh … lookie … my photo of Jazz Jamaica! Come along to my exhibition at the Albany in November 🙂

15 10 2009
miss deptford uk

i agree. ive lived in deptford all my life and has hardly seen a fight take place. (well maybe that’s abit of an exaggeration) but i can assure u that it doesnt happen like how ppl make it out to be… maybe a little quarrel after a few pints. ive seen fights take place in some of the most extravagant places so whats the big deal. deptford is my hometown full of diverse people and has a very authentic scenery.

28 10 2009
Is Deptford the new Shoreditch? Or Dalston? Brixton? « Mymetropole

[…] Is Deptford the new Shoreditch? Or Dalston? Brixton? 28 10 2009 Claire Carponen pondered in the Times on 16 October 2009 whether Deptford is the new Shoreditch. Secretly, I am glad she did. Because it isn’t, but it damn well good be. Claire continued along the lines of the havoc wreaked by the New York Times in this article, which I covered in my very first post on this blog here. […]

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