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Where did you live before you came to SE23?
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Posts: 13
Joined: Sep 2013
Post: #1
17-09-2013 10:34 AM

Hi all,

I grew up in SW London for nearly all my life, with a sprinkling of South Norwood and Bromley (I didn't like Bromley). Currently renting with a friend in Battersea.

As much as I love Battersea the price for a one bedroom decent size flat is now circa £400K, which is outrageous.

Forest Hill seems to be the SE version of Earlsfield, IE very village like, minus the price.

Question for you all is however, where did you live before and why did you come here? If you had a choice about living in North or SW London, would you still chose SE23? And finally, if you could change one thing about SE23, what would it be?


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Posts: 73
Joined: Sep 2011
Post: #2
17-09-2013 11:11 AM

I lived in Tooting and Earlsfield before it. FH is a bit like Earlsfield but with better schools, more creative types and less antipodeans. Very happy here and positive changes occur on a weekly basis.

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Posts: 30
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #3
17-09-2013 11:16 AM

I can't resist the lure of a personal question or three..

I've only ever lived in SE/barely SW London (except for a stint away at uni) so can't really comment on living in N London. If money and proximity to family were no object I'd probably decamp back to Herne Hill, which I loved (though that was in a different pre-offspring life, perhaps I wouldn't love it so much now..).

My impression of N London is that it's awfully flat and not very green. I love a nice view, and we have them aplenty round these parts.

The things I'd change about SE23 would be the south circular, which I think stops the centre of Forest Hill from being particularly nice. I much prefer Sydenham, even though the high street is a bit shabbier. But more importantly I'd make it cheaper.. am currently facing the prospect of having to move elsewhere as I just can't afford to move anywhere bigger and stay in the area. Am gutted to say the least..

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Posts: 212
Joined: Jul 2012
Post: #4
17-09-2013 12:18 PM

Herne Hill, West Dulwich and West Hampstead.

Very family friendly in SE23. If I could change one thing, hmm, maybe better secondary schools, by the sound of it they are a bit hit and miss but long time before we have to choose anyway.

This post was last modified: 17-09-2013 12:21 PM by daveherne.

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Posts: 212
Joined: Jul 2012
Post: #5
17-09-2013 12:22 PM

Herne Hill, West Dulwich and West Hampstead.

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Posts: 13
Joined: Sep 2013
Post: #6
17-09-2013 12:30 PM

Thanks for the responses so far...

Looking forward to more!

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Cellar Door

Posts: 356
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #7
17-09-2013 12:48 PM

Hi Nomadic,

Welcome to this little part of the interweb. Excellent questions.

Nomadic Wrote:
…where did you live before and why did you come here?

I was living in Perth, Western Australia.

I came to SE23 because back in 1996 I heard on the grapevine, that stretched to Australia, that there were, as mrwandle wrote above, “…less antipodeans…” here.

I’m not against Australians but I’m not one to gather with them like in an Earl’s Court or Shepherd’s Bush sort of way.

Now, I like to think of myself as the only antipodean in the village.

Also, a mate of mine, who thinks the same, had been living in Nunhead during the early 1990’s and he highly recommended this whole neck of the woods as we both came from leafy and green spots in Oz and although the vegetation is different there was something familiar. Now with the parakeets flying over squawking everyday, I just need to close my eyes and I’m transported instantly to the Australian outback!

Nomadic Wrote:
If you had a choice about living in North or SW London, would you still chose SE23?

Yes, I’d most definitely choose SE23. SE23 is so leafy and green. 6 or 7 miles from London’s Glittering West End and I feel like I am living in the country side.

I often say I’m going to London when I mean the West End! It is only 30 minutes or so via Overground and Jube Tube.

Then when I return and step off the train at Platform 2 and walk up the hill I can hear birds and see squirrels and foxes. It’s like stepping into an animated Disney movie like Snow White sometimes. The sirens wailing around the South Circular do keep my Disney fantasy in check. Thank goodness.

Nomadic Wrote:
…if you could change one thing about SE23, what would it be?

I’d love The Capitol to be turned back into an old fashioned cinema playing upto the aspect of its early 20th Century aesthetic. I think it’d be a major tourist destination if it was done well.

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Posts: 83
Joined: Apr 2008
Post: #8
17-09-2013 12:57 PM

I used to rent in Clapham but now I own a property in SE23.
I love it but just like PackofDusters I'll have to move out as I can't scale up.
If I could live closer to the station I'd happily stay in FH rather than end up in North London or elsewhere....
Change something... more shops, which is what I miss of Clapham, and the option to go for a walk in a park at dusk, without being chased by someone shaking a bell... Smile

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Posts: 88
Joined: Dec 2009
Post: #9
17-09-2013 02:58 PM

Hello, I have lived in north London (Tufnall Park), south London (Tooting) and west London (Turnham Green) and more locally East Dulwich (that's when I got to hear about the more economically viable Forest hill!).

Like others have said the grotty south circular lets Forest Hill down (as does Perry Vale in my opinion) but there are many plus points; burgeoning high street and creative scene, good primary schools, great community spirit, nice outdoor spaces (Horniman especially), excellent transport links and reasonable house prices (if you consider a 4 bed house at over half a million reasonable!) although they seem to be increasing all the time.

What FH really lacks is more shops (we have coffee bars galore!) and we could do with some more nice eateries and bars although Canvas & Cream, The Hill, The Dartmouth Arms and The Old Post Office are doing a good job on that front. Check out the Forest Hill Society and also to see what exciting things are happening in FH.

So if I had a choice to live in SW or SE London I'd say SE because it's less about keeping up with the Jones and people seem friendlier - we know all our neighbours in one way or another. If money we're no object I have to be honest and say Dulwich village as you feel like your in the countryside (and I wish I lived in the countryside)!

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Posts: 624
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #10
17-09-2013 03:40 PM

I assume we are just talking about London. Have lived in, to name a few off the top of my head, Tooting, Southfields, Northfields, Fulham, Shepherds Bush, Lewisham, Ladywell & Blackheath.

I can honestly say that the only thing I miss from any of these places was the café culture in Fulham. I could just sling a guitar over my shoulder and find a jam anytime I fancied - have much less opportunity to do that these days anyway. These parts are greener, friendlier and a lot less manic.

Agreed re comments about Forest Hill (lived there too) and South Circular - now in Honor Oak which is just lovely and only really suffers from the lack of a decent pub. Have never had an issue with travelling across London for a drink anyway and there are plenty of choices much closer so this isn't a showstopper.

Having lived, or spent time, in a lot of London, would choose this area again in a heartbeat. If we could afford it that is.

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Posts: 24
Joined: Feb 2010
Post: #11
17-09-2013 03:48 PM

Immediately before moving to HOP we lived in Brick Lane, before that Clapham and before that leafy Surrey!
My husband lived in Twickenham when I met him and his parents still do so we spend a lot of time in SW London and got married in Richmond. I love Richmond and Twickenham for its proximity to the river and green spaces but I couldn't live there and give up my 30 minute commute to Canary Wharf (door to desk) and swap my 4 bedroom house for a 2 bedroom flat.

We moved from Brick Lane as we wanted a more settled down existence - it was too busy and edgy and we wanted a bigger place. I wouldn't move back to Clapham because of price and also its not the sort of vibe I'd like, I much prefer the village feel of HOP. I might one day move back to Surrey to get a bigger garden and a bit more green space, but its unlikely given that I don't like commuting and who needs a big garden anyway. We are very lucky with Blythe Hill, the Honor Oak Rec, Dulwich Park, Peckham Rye and Hilly Fields all so close. Not to mention the waterlink way and its links to Beckenham - this was great when I was marathon training, including Brockwell Park and Crystal Palace!

I'd like to see the old bank become a restaurant or gastro pub but other than that I'm very happy with where we live. I feel so lucky that we stumbled across this gem - and Kirsty and Phil agree with us!! Thumbsup

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Posts: 21
Joined: May 2012
Post: #12
17-09-2013 06:08 PM

Hi there, very interesting thread!

We recently moved to SE23 having lived in Peckham, ED, Bethnal Green, Streatham, Gloucester Rd, Kilburn, Hampstead and St John's Wood. So quite a range and mainly more expensive areas. However, I much prefer the vibe of SE London and would never move W, SW or N. I loved living in the East End in my 20s but it doesn't interest me now I've got two children. North London is ridiculously expensive and too busy and I agree that West London is just not as diverse or friendly. We have great friends who live near Richmond and while their house is lovely I never feel jealous that they get to live in that pocket of the city - much prefer ours!

I love FH and the sense of community and young families in the area, am really pleased with the schools too, pretty spoilt for choice as an area providing you aren't in a black hole (in HOP I believe). I love that we were able to *just* afford a nice house, which would have been out of reach in ED or Peckham/Nunhead - we lived in the latter borders until our move and I don't miss it at all, much prefer it up here. When we leave FH it will be to leave London - funnily enough I remember thinking that about ED but even with a lottery win, I'd now rather buy a big house near the Horniman than head back down Lordship Lane way.

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Posts: 213
Joined: Oct 2011
Post: #13
17-09-2013 06:19 PM

I lived in Shepherd's Bush all my life, before we moved to HOP 8 or so years ago. We found it when the Evening Standard were doing an areas for 1st time buyers to look at.

When we moved here it decision was primarily based on 1) price (we could get a house for the price of a 2 bed flat in ealing which we could not find anyway) - 2) Nice and green - we also have the fortune of backing onto a private residents park - 3) Safety - it feels much safer than S. Bush and the atmosphere just seems nicer.

Since we moved here, we've got married and started a family. The primary schools are all excellent and lots of other young families in the area. I'm not sure if the number of families have increased, or if I am now up when I use to be hungover in bed and now see them.

The Overground has made my journey to work (Shoreditch) extremely fast, and pleasant compared to some of the tube journeys we did from West London previously. It's also good to get into town generally and not too disastrous if you have to get a cab back.

I would like a closer cinema, and for my family who all still live in West London to be closer, but I don't think either of those will happen. There are indeed not a lot of shops in HOP, but I prefer it that way and it's not far to Lewisham or Bromley if you have a car. If you don't drive however I could see this being a bit more problematic possibly.

If money was unlimited we would no doubt consider moving back to West London for family reasons, but the only time I think we will realistically consider it is when we have to send the children to secondary school (not to say we will, but might do dependant on how they are at that time in 8 or so years).

If we'd not bought here when we did though I'm not sure we would move now - we love the area don't get me wrong but it has become pretty expensive - when we were looking you could get 3 bed houses under £250k - most now seem to start way above that. I know of quite a few people who need to get a bigger place who need to move out of HOP to do it due to the price of things now.

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Posts: 179
Joined: Oct 2011
Post: #14
17-09-2013 06:25 PM

Chiswick and Elephant and Castle.

Moved here because it was green and hilly, you get a lot for your money (and proper gardens unlike Herne Hill) and it's close to central London.

I genuinely believe our street is as nice as you'd get in any suburb of any city in the country. It is quiet, the people are friendly it's pretty. The local NatWest Manager in Sydenham once said that it's one of the few places in London which still has a community feel.

I used to look in envy at everyone elses highstreets and despair at Dartmouth Road. Now it's actually a great place to shop. A recent visitor from the states who hasn't been here for a couple of years said to me that it felt much more upmarket than on his last visit. So it's getting better all the time, schools are good and transport is brilliant (apart from the phasing on Dartmouth Road junction). I'm no longer jealous of anywhere else.

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Posts: 39
Joined: Sep 2010
Post: #15
17-09-2013 07:15 PM

Finsbury Park mostly, but also Borough, Streatham Hill and Holloway.

We moved here a few years ago, the main reason being price. Four bed house compared to a garden flat in FP. Finsbury Park was an excellent location for years due to the location, transport links, parks, stoke newington being close etc etc. however I am much much much happier being here. It feels a lot safer, much more relaxed, more spacious and I still feel a sense of 'getting out of London' when I get on the train for the weekend. I have never once regretted moving here. There are lots of great things around including restaurants, neroli, shops, cafes (slight lack of pubs in hop). All good.

Hopefully see you here soon!

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Posts: 25
Joined: Feb 2013
Post: #16
17-09-2013 07:34 PM

Between the two of us - Brixton, Clerkenwell, Bethnal Green, Dalston, South Hackney, Stoke Newington, Stamford Hill, South Tottenham.

We moved here because it was the nicest area we could find where we could afford to buy a house. We also liked that there were loads of good schools nearby. I especially love the trees and how green it is. Our area is very friendly and we frequently run into people we know when we're out and about.

I wouldn't move back to North London. I was really sad to leave Hackney at the time but I go back and it seems like there's hardly any trees. It also feels so crowded and densely populated.

I'd like a local cinema and greater variety of restaurants in walking distance from my house. East Dulwich is very easy to get to but it would be nice to be able walk to more restaurants.

Other than that we're so happy we moved here and are planning to stay for a long, long time.

This post was last modified: 17-09-2013 07:38 PM by Hillstop.

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Posts: 147
Joined: Mar 2008
Post: #17
17-09-2013 08:14 PM

A small village in Berkshire, then Reading.
I prefer FH to Reading!

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Posts: 55
Joined: May 2008
Post: #18
17-09-2013 08:59 PM

Another ex-Clapham renter ( a common tale...)

Never looked back - love the area. My wishlist would include something good taking the place of the eyesore of the old launderette opposite the station, and I agree with the earlier comment about a cinema... perhaps we could crowdsource a community buyout of Wetherspoons and restore it to its original art deco grandeur...!?

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Posts: 13
Joined: Sep 2013
Post: #19
18-09-2013 09:20 AM

Hi all,

Thanks for the great comments so far. From what I see you all love the place and there is scope for minor improvements.

From what I see, a two bed flat can be had for around £250K or below. Houses seem to be around £300K, but nearly every one seems to have been sold at that price and it seems people are sticking around rather than selling?

Thanks again.

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Posts: 30
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #20
18-09-2013 10:28 AM

If only houses were around 300k Nomadic. It's more like 450k, which is why a few of us on this thread having bemoaned probably having to leave this jolly corner of sarf east London..

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