I don’t know what’s happening or why, but there is a real sense living in Brixton that something is happening and that it’s good. For years people have been saying that Brixton’s “up and coming” but finally it feels like things are moving. There’s an excitement in the air – recently we’ve seen the arrival of Brixton farmer’s market on Brixton station road; a new smaller market outside the KFC selling hemp porridge, venison sausages, olives and lamb burgers; and the Brixton market itself is alive with the now famous Franco Manca, Wild Caper and Rosie’s deli, as well as the usual jerk chicken shops, music stalls, and fish and meat outlets. There’s new bars like The Rest Is Noise, the Prince and Dex Club and the refurbished Plan B. Everyone seems to be walking round with a smile, slightly smug, as if to say “yes, I live here” . They’s building a new Brixton Square to be the focal point of this new “village”, and even the tiny park on my street is being done up, in a Grand Designs type community design. Lottery money has flooded into the gorgeous Brockwell Park (which has a view of the City that can rival, sort of, Hampstead Heath) which now has a real community feel with lots of local events.
With Victorian terraced houses at far lower prices than neighbouring Clapham, estate agents say that for the first time young professionals are choosing to move from Clapham to Brixton, rather than the other way round. Of course, this leads to a concern about pushing up house prices, and forcing the communities who make Brixton the place it is into other areas, but at the moment its a great mix of people – if you walk round the market you see old and young, every nationality you can think of, all enjoying what Brixton has to offer.
According to my North London friend Amy, Brixton is the only place in South London that has the same vibe as north of the river. High praise indeed.
UPDATE: The now defunct Woolworths on Brixton high street is going to be transformed into an H&M! Now there really is very little reason to leave our little village of a weekend…