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 could 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.

Deptford is, as Claire writes, a place where ‘blue collar workers meet creative types’ in Southeast London. The annual Deptford X festival and the stretch of artists studios along Creekside are testament to the creative scene going on in Deptford. However, just because an area has creative types (ie, white middle class 20-30 somethings and teen overspill from Goldsmiths who have all found something charming enough in the area to stay) does not make it the new Shoreditch.

Why are we comparing anywhere to Shoreditch anyway? This is done with every  ‘up-and-coming’ area of London, that’s why. A recent Timeout article by Dave Swindells: Brixton Club Scene Revisited does a good job not to compare Brixton to Shoreditch. Much. The article looks at The Brixton Collective’s dual-sided mission statement: to erase stereotypes that Brixton is a dangerous area and to put together top club/music venues and even multi-venue festivals to put Brixton more firmly on the music and club maps.

Of course if you were to call a place ‘the new Shoreditch’ then Brixton is much further along than our Deptford. Deptford shares the Amersham Arms and the Royal Albert pub with New Cross, and the Albany and Deptford Project Cafe are creative spaces to be sure, but Brixton has got The Fridge, Mass, Plan B, the Dogstar, cocktail bars, cafés, restaurants, a pub and Dex Club – a members’ club and boutique hotel, not to mention the massively popular Rosie and her deli cafe!

The comparison of Brixton to Shoreditch came late in the piece, instigated by Ben Kreeger from Plan B. Ben believes that  the only way to really change perceptions of a place for people is to experience it first-hand‘Dragging new people into the area is what changed Shoreditch and King’s Cross’.

What about Dalston? The Times online declared Dalston the new Shoreditch in the 1 December 2006 article Shoreditch is over lets go to Dalston, a theme which the East London Local blog revisited in June 2009 as a reaction to the Guardian’s claim in April 2009 that Dalston is now the coolest place in Britain. Dalston seems like the most obvious answer, with Kingsland Road teeming with teeny-boppers and twentysomethings up and down the road. Dan Beaumont, who runs Dalston Club Night Disco Bloodbath and the Dalston Superstore moved east to Dalston after the opening of posh members’ club Shoreditch House and Terence Conran’s Boundary Hotel
in  Shoreditch because, “not everyone wants to drink fancy cocktails on roof terraces.”

It would seem that the ‘new Shoreditch’ is just a metaphor for an area where creative types live amongst blue collar workers in a place that can claim no members club, thereby narrowly holding gentrification at bay.

If that is indeed the case, then absolutely, categorically 100% YES! Times Online – Deptford is most certainly the new Shoreditch and will remain so for at least a good couple of years.

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2 responses

1 11 2009
Deptford Dame

The one thing that Deptford lacks, which I believe will prevent it ever becoming as ‘desirable’ as Shoreditch, Hackney etc is that it doesn’t have much of the period housing necessary to complete the gentrification process. I can’t really say I’m unhappy about this either…!

2 11 2009
MyMetropole

Exactly, Deptford is Deptford, it is what it is! If I were a homeowner I might want a bit of the gentrification process to head down this way, but on the whole, Deptford would lose its essence if it were to turn in to the new SHoreditch. The ‘New’ anything is just lazy thinking. Deptford is what it is!

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