Let’s move to
King’s Cross, London: from seamy to swanky
What’s going for it? Of all the remarkable transformations in supergentrified London, that of King’s Cross is the most astonishing. I can just remember what it was, dim memories of jigging at its warehouse clubs in the 90s. Before my time, there’s always Mona Lisa (the film) and reruns of The Sweeney to recreate the area’s prostitution and darkness, its dripping railway arches and encrusted tenements. Railway stations used to blight areas, their comings and goings attracting the kind of untrustworthy spivs who terrorise the older women in The Ladykillers. Nowadays they’re “hubs”, their sleek bars and delis paused in by commuters off to Potters Bar, their luxury apartments paused in by tech millionaires off to Singapore. We all come and go these days. Fragments of a less salubrious past, though, remain, holding on for dear life amid the swank, like Housman’s radical bookshop and the glorious Camley Street nature reserve, offering alternative utopias had history here taken a different path.
The case against The thundering traffic and choking pollution of Euston and Pentonville roads. When Google’s HQ is finished, expect the neighbourhood’s transformation to be complete. Eyewateringly expensive, mostly. Well connected? Are you kidding? It’s a hub! Two rail stations, the Eurostar terminal and the tube has the Piccadilly, Victoria, Circle, Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City and Northern lines passing through. Driving: I wouldn’t.
Schools Primaries: the new King’s Cross Academy has not been inspected yet; Edith Neville, St Aloysius Catholic, Argyle, Winton, Copenhagen and Blessed Sacrament RC are all “good”, says Ofsted, with St Mary & St Pancras CofE “outstanding”. Secondaries: Regent High and Maria Fidelis RC are “good”, with Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (girls) “outstanding”.
Hang out at… Almost entirely composed of hangouts. Follow the fashion catwalk up to Central St Martins for “posh chains”, like Vinoteca, Dishoom and Caravan, and, come October, “boutique” shopping mall Coal Drops Yard.
Where to live Historically a crossroads over the river Fleet, it’s hardly a place at all, most of “King’s Cross” being nicked from neighbours such as Somers Town and Barnsbury. The smart new development of expensive apartment blocks behind the station has created a kind of identity. Elsewhere it’s a mix of its neighbours’ council estates, Georgian, Regency or Victorian townhouses and occasional mansion blocks. Large townhouses, £1.5m-£4m. Smaller townhouses and terraces, £900,000-£1.5m. Flats: three bedrooms, £550,000-£3m; two bedrooms, £450,000-£2.5m; one bedroom, £325,000-£1m. Rentals: a one-bedroom flat, £1,100-£3,000pcm; a three-bedroom flat, £2,000-£4,000pcm.
Bargain of the week Three-bedroom ex-council maisonette, £525,000, with foxtons.co.uk
Live in Ipswich? Have a favourite haunt or pet hate? If so, email firstname.lastname@example.org by next Tuesday.