Category Archives: London Area Guides

Fitzroy Place

The Fitzrovia area

When the old hospital site in Middlesex, Mortimer Street was bought, it was called “Noho Square” by the buyers. Noho means North Soho, this did not please Fitzrovians. The plans went ahead and it was decided that flashy apartments would be built in Fitzrovia. The residents were happy when the credit crunch struck because the plans were abolished and all was quiet for two years. But this week, the new homes and offices that have been built are revealed. However the original plan has been changed slightly and they are designed to suit the overall atmosphere of the area and at prices to suit the locals.

The name that the locals objected to so vehemently, Noho, has been changed and in reference to the areas Edwardian mansion blocks it is now simply called Fitzroy Place.

The Fitzroy Place project includes a total of 291 apartments that are 10 storeys high circling a new public square, increasing the space from the earlier scheme by thirty per cent. Only one item remains from the original plan and that is a cathedral. There are two floors of parking in the project, priced at lb95,000 each. There is also extra storage, a private members club with a gym and more, making the project monumental and impressive.

The inside of the buildings are made with a combination of classic and contemporary style and smart technology, reaching out and impressing local fashion/design icons and global brands including Saatchi & Saatchi advertising agency executives.

When the BBC opened a broadcasting house in 1932, Fitzrovia was noticed and established its credentials. It continues to remain high up in the media world and is always moving up. Previous rag-trade business have been made into high class hotels, loft offices and top restaurants some of which are fully booked into next year!

It’s modern character does not really continue today but the area has a definite identity and a diverse mix. Empathy is vast for the die hard locals who go against the invasion of corporations and their attempts to regenerate the area. A recent plan was to develop a private sector based business district, this would prove fatal for smaller businesses.

Tottenham Court Road, Euston Road, Oxford Street and Great Portland street enclose Fitzrovia, and Fitzrovia borders Soho, Marylebone and Bloomsbury.

Fitzrovia does struggle to be known as a place in itself due to all the iconic locations surrounding it. It is very cheap, it is thought that this is due to there not being much monumental architecture in the area. Also the streets tend not to match each other very well due to being owned by single land owners who do their own thing.

Fitzrovia has a definite charm and always has done. Marylebone is a bustling high street, hospital and university departments have held back the sought after high street chic that Marylebone has.

Great Titchfield Street, Riding House Street, Langham Street and Foley Street are mainly comprised of mansion flats above shops and restaurants. They are very popular with home buyers.

Image credit- Wikimedia Commons

Living in Brixton

Living in Brixton

Location

Brixton is a district in South London. It is part of the London Borough of Lambeth, whose council offices are located on Brixton Hill. Being less than four miles south of Charing Cross, and about six miles from the border of Greater London, Brixton is an inner-city area.

History

There was a Roman settlement on Brixton Hill, but until the nineteenth century, Brixton was mainly a rural area. When Vauxhall Bridge was built in 1816, the area became more accessible from central London, and development began, but Brixton really took off as a residential suburb when the railway was built in the mid nineteenth century.

Community

The first wave of West Indian immigration in the 1950s was centred upon South London, so Brixton is one of the oldest multi-cultural communities in Britain. Nowadays there are residents originating from all over the world. Brixton has one of the oldest mosques in Britain.

Transport

There are very good transport links between Brixton and the rest of London. The Victoria underground line has its southern terminus in the centre of the area, and there are also above ground railway routes to Victoria and the Kent coast, as well as plenty of bus services.

Shopping

Brixton Market, which is open every day, is a famous multi-ethnic shopping destination, where every imaginable variety of fruit and vegetable is on sale at keen prices. There is also a weekly farmer’s market. In Morley’s, Brixton has one of London’s last independent department stores, and there are the usual high street chains.

Business

In keeping with its vibrant and creative atmosphere, Brixton has many businesses connected with the arts, such as music (particularly Black music production), TV and film, graphic design, and fashion. IT and web design firms are also a major feature.

Entertainment

Brixton is a major cultural hub, attracting visitors from all over London and beyond to its clubs, pubs and restaurants. The Ritzy Cinema has an exciting programme at its main screens and Upstairs space. The Brixton Academy is nationally known for its eclectic music gigs.

Food

At night and weekends, the covered market area hosts Brixton Village, an international collection of over twenty cafes and restaurants, serving exciting and reasonably-priced food to crowds from all over South London. As a gastronomic hub, Brixton attracts pop-up restaurants and special events.

Education

There are numerous schools and colleges locally, including Platanos College, rated as ‘outstanding’ and housed in an acclaimed new building. Lambeth College has a wide variety of academic and vocational courses.

Property

Traditionally, Brixton was known as an affordable place to live, which contributed both to its bohemian atmosphere and its attraction for new arrivals to London. However, regeneration in recent years, and Brixton’s growing cultural reputation, have led to a rise in property prices. Though there are some good-value properties to be found, it is seen as an up-and-coming area where homes are likely to increase in value at faster than the London average.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Covent Garden

A Day Out In Covent Garden

The tradition of market stalls in the area of Central London known as Covent Garden dates back to the mid 17th century. In those days, however, the choice of merchandise was limited to fruit and vegetables, whereas now it has expanded to include clothing, jewellery, art and antiques. But that’s not all that Covent Garden offers the visitor: there are shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants, museums and street entertainment, everything you can think of, in fact, to ensure a fantastic day out.

 

There are three permanent markets in Covent Garden. Firstly, there’s the Apple Market. This is particularly appealing to those who like something just a little bit different, specialising, as it does, in vintage and hand crafted jewellery and accessories.
The East Colonnade Market is ideal for those looking for gifts; here you can buy handmade soap, one-off accessories, confectionery and original artworks.
Finally, there’s the Jubilee Market. From Tuesdays to Fridays this sells general wares, but on Mondays it becomes an antiques market and at weekends it offers arts and crafts

If you can’t find what you’re looking for in the markets, you’ll surely find it in one of the many delightful shops in the area. From cutting edge fashion to luxury cosmetics, from quirky toy shops to purveyors of gourmet food, there’s something here to please everyone.

Even the fussiest eaters should find their perfect menu somewhere in Covent Garden; the cosmopolitan choice of venue and fare is quite breathtaking. Whether you’re sitting inside a romantic bistro, or lounging in the sun on the main Piazza, your palate won’t be disappointed.

If it’s a quiet (or a lively!) drink that you want, then there’s a range of pubs and bars you can visit, from traditional pubs serving real ales to smart bars selling a range of exotic cocktails. You can have live music, sports coverage alongside your drink. What more can you ask for?

For lovers of culture, there are a number of theatres in and around Covent Garden, the oldest and most famous of which is Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. The current building is not original, in fact it is the fourth rebuild, however it still dates back to 1812 and has seen some seminal productions. Daily tours of this magnificent theatre are also available, but do watch out for the ghosts! Meanwhile, for opera and ballet lovers the state-of-the-art Royal Opera House promises a wonderful night out.

There are two museums in Covent Garden: the London Transport Museum and the London Film Museum. The former attempts to explain the development of both London and its transport system during the last 200 years. It’s open seven days a week and the standard admission charge for adults is £15 (children go free). The London Film Museum tells the story of British Cinema as well as the history of photography and the moving image. It too is open seven days a week, and is free to enter.

Covent Garden really is a little gem, be sure to visit!