"I grew up in this area from the age of 4 to 9 years old. I went to Michael Faraday primary school. I remember the grim tower block houses. My parents had bought a shop on the Albany rd. We later had to move into council accomodation in St George's Way (though as private and not council tenants) because the shop was bought by the council in order to demolish it. It was on the edge of Burgess Park. I recall going to hte adventure playground in burgess park and the after school playcentre in my school that was for kids whose parents couldnt pick them up straight from school. In many ways it was very advanced. The after-school facility was and still is an excellent idea.
I was too young to appreciate how close we were to central London. But I recall being able to see Tower Bridge from our flat balcony - we were on the 4th floor.
But I didnt have the best memories there because my parents were Indian Kenyan migrants who had a lot of racism in this area. Our shop was frequently the target of being robbed, having windows smashed and my dad being threatened with a broken bottle. Our car was frequently joy-ridden, and we were once attacked by boys with airguns. Both at the shop and on the council estate was an awful living experience.
The area is full of low-lifes and rough people. There weren't many shops around, everywhere was quite sparce, and the tower blocks really do make the place look awful.
A lick of paint would do the trick.
I recently went back as a 32year old woman and was able to see the benefits of the location from a working perspective, but the place still has awful memories for me. The estate that I lived on has greatly improved and been demolished wiht new flats in its place, only 2 blocks remain including the one that I lived in - Quedgeley court.
The flats were very nice even when we lived in them, our block at that time was also very nice, but the people in the area are what ruin it. The lifts were frequently stinking of piss, the milkmen had already stopped coming to the flats, and by the time we left in the early 80's even the postmen refused to go there. All because people who are on benefits, who have not bothered to get out of their poverty and who have no appreciation for how close they are to the city are the type of people who live there. If they were to look for jobs they would be in an enviable position 20minutes from Waterloo as you point out.
The location itself is fantastic, and aside from the somewhat depressing skyline the area has a lot of potential. But if the people are still the same type that we encountered - it does not bide well for non-white/non-black residents, or more affluent people.
I strongly believe that council tenants ought to be located outside of London, so that the flats that they occupy can be used by people who would appreciate them - people who work in the city. It is a real shame that that is not the case. What is the point of having dossers and layabouts who don't work in this location. Even in Holborn there are council flats with people who are on benefits. These people ought to be shifted out of the city - since they have no intention of working, so that the rest of us who do work, can reside closer to work.
Apologies that I cannot be more positive about this area, but it is best to be honest so that people know exactly what they are up for. People can see both sides of the situation and then make the best choices for them. There is clearly a reason why people have chosen not to live in this area in spite of its proximity to London, and that is simple down to the layabout people who live there. London would definately benefit from shifting long term benefit council tenants out of the area."