The Times on New Cross: "Upwardly mobile but still boho"

More buzz around New Cross, this time in The Times property section, which uses John Lanchester's fictional Pepys Road to look at life around another Pepys Road in New Cross. It says:

With Canary Wharf just across the river, New Cross might be home to one or two bankers, but it is a far cry from the “City ghetto” that Clapham has become. Residents are more likely to be those who can’t afford Blackheath and come in the form of doctors, lawyers, teachers and media types. The families who have lived in New Cross for generations remain and there are plenty of arty types from nearby Goldsmiths to keep things lively.

Brockley roads Vesta and Wallbutton get a name check among the "best streets" too.

Thanks to Gill from the Allotment who alerted us (and is chuffed to have been mentioned in both articles this week).


Bags said...

Anyone got the text of this, for those of us who don't want to line the News Int coffers? Is this breaking copyright laws??

Laura Taylor said...

Pity that the Pepys Road in Lanchester's book "Capital" does not refer to the Telegraph Hill one.

Westsider said...

Not that old chestnut. Yes, we know it's a made up road.

oryx said...

It's a fair comment rather than an 'old chestnut' IMVHO.

Can't get into the article itself due to the paywall.

If it portrays Clapham as a 'city ghetto' that reflects badly on the quality of journalism and investigation. I moved here five years ago from the Clapham Old Town area and while it's undoubtedly gentrified in the last twenty years, it's far from a 'city ghetto'. Where do these people get their ideas (or should I say their tired stereotypes) from?

As with New X, there are plenty of media types, teachers etc there as well as families who've lived there for generations.

Anonymous said...

Saw Lanchester on tv and he explicitly said it refers to an area in Clapham that he saw change over a few years (even though Clapham has no road of that name) The fact that T.Hill also has a road that has the same name is just coincidence.

Lou's School For the Stoopid said...

It doesn't matter, its really not important. It's a book about how a group of generic character types interact on a typical road found all over London. Thats why people are calling it a "London" novel. 1984 wasn't about a prediction of what england would be like in 1984, it was exploring a broader theme about state control. The fact that many of the themes resonate here, Camden, islington and any number of other areas demonstrates that. The particular bit of London used as the inspiration is the least important part.

It's a made up book, it's FICTION! Now please burn your library card and stick to the funny papers.

Brockley Nick said...

Sweet jesus, I wish I'd never mentioned that stupid Lanchester book - the article acknowledges that the book is not about New Cross, hence the comparison with Clapham, where the book is "set". IT DOESN'T MATTER. The significance is that that book, for whatever reason, has prompted a slew of articles about New Cross.

Now, back to New Cross eh? What does everyone think of it?

Tamsin said...

Um, Oryx, your last paragraph... That is what the precis of the article actually says.

We do seem to be talking Telegraph Hill here rather than New Cross (which also takes in the council estates north of the A2 and the flats and starter homes being built in the Kender Triangle). With that in mind the precis seems fairly accurate - there is a definite factor of ex-Goldsmiths students who either stay on or come back, so even though the college hardly engages at all with the local community at official level (like talking to a brick wall) there is a softer influence.

The sad thing is the lack of intermediate housing and the extent of the flat conversions even in some of the smaller houses. Couples who have a stake in the area and want more nevertheless have to move away when they want that extra bedroom for the baby or the second child.

On the matter of Pepys Road - how people pronouce it - "Peeps" or "Peppies" - is an indication of whether or not they are the family that has lived here "for generations", although tha last phrase is a bit of an exaggeration for an essentially late Victorian development - four generations at most I would have thought.

Final brief mention of Lanchester - if he was writing specifically about Clapham and choosing a road name at random it was extremely sloppy of him not to check in the A-Z that it did not actually exist.

Tressilliana said...

My father-in-law was born on Pepys Road in a house that doesn't exist now (don't know whether to blame the Luftwaffe or the council) and he said Peppies all his life. He was only there for a few years, though.

Seriously? said...

**if he was writing specifically about Clapham and choosing a road name at random it was extremely sloppy of him not to check in the A-Z that it did not actually exist**

!!:) ?

Just suspend disbelief and enjoy the book!!

Tamsin said...

@ Tressiliana Luftwaffe or the guys at Pienemunde. The council just filled the gaps.

Yes, one can suspend disbelief, but it is still sloppy and did cause confusion. Georgette Heyer deliberately used to name her minor characters after places, Painswick, Fakenham etc., because it sounded OK and would any potential for causing annoyance. It would be easy enough to pick a street name from Bristol or somewhere - if you felt incapable of making one up.

Monkeyboy said...

A chap I knew at work had an elderly relative on "Peppies" rd. Samual Peyps visited Deptford and the surround regularly as part of his Naval job. So it's clearly meant to be "Peeps" bit it's not important, if the people living here call it Peppies then it's what it's called. That's the thing about language, it's not set in aspic.

I was actually looking at New Cross specifically when I moved here, Only looks at Brockley on the off chance. Would have been happy in New Cross around the Hatcham Park area.

Only bought around here as I used to work in Greenwich and I thought it would gain some value after the ELL (not stay the same or loose value as some Luddites think) it's really grown on me and now consider this my home. Not moving anytime soon.

Tamsin said...

Samuel's cousin, Thomas Pepys, actually lived on the Haberdashers's land, renting one of the houses scattered among the farms and market gardening. But Samuel did not think very much of him - the phrase "a mean fellow" comes to mind. Might have to look it up.

Monkeyboy said...

Surprised he had time to visit. Seemed to spend most of his time banging the domestic staff, friends wives and assorted barmaids. The mucky pup..

Anonymous said...

How did Samuel pronounce it I wonder?

Hello my name is Peeps Innit Matey?


MalB said...

Tressilliana: give us the house number of Pepys Road or a pointer to the exact site and I can tell you whether it was the Luftwaffe or a V-bomb. If it was the Council it would only have been because they demolished houses made unsafe by one or the other.

Anonymous: Samuel's branch of the family pronounced it "Peeps" - although he has no direct living male descendants, his suster Paulina does and they, I understand, pronounce it thus. The entry in the burial register for his death (St Olave's near Fenchurch Street, I think) actually spells his name Peyps.

Other branches of the family apparently pronounce it "Pepis" and the earliest known spelling of the name is in that form.

Some of the older residents of Pepys Road when we first lived here were ex-Haberdashers' tenants and they commonly used the "Pepis Road" pronounciation. I doubt however if the Haberdashers, as developers and landowners, would have done.

oryx said...

@ tressiliana - I think you've misunderstood me. In my last paragraph I am referring to Clapham.

Jake said...

Dear Nick

I admire your resilience for soldiering on despite the endless anonymous and cowardly sniping, the boorish pedantry, the over-representation of missing-of-point types, the tangental ramblers, and those who imply that you and BC are the frontline troopers in some sort of class-cleansing civil war between expat Islingtonians and 'locals'. 

Keep up the good work and all that sort of stuff.


Ps I look forward to the inevitable backlash that this post should attract

Tressilliana said...

@Oryx - did you mean Tamsin?

@Jake - could not agree more.

oryx said...

Yes I did, sorry!

Anonymous said...

Why do the British constantly have a chip on their shoulder about success having an reasonable enviroment.

I'm sure there are more than enough ungentrified areas in London for those who wish to get down with the people and keep it real.

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