Streets of London: Globe Road, E2

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Time Out visits this friendly but edgy area of E2: grubby, intriguing and historic

  • Streets of London: Globe Road, E2

    Don't get the hump, get a two-bed XLA and make The Camel your local

  • Birthplace of Barbara Windsor, stamping-ground of the Krays, obliterated by the Blitz and currently riddled with all manner of social problems, is Bethnal Green really a decent place to live? In the past few years this enclave has drawn bohemian first-time buyers (it has the highest concentration of artists in Europe) and savvy City workers cashing in on bargain period properties a stone’s throw from Liverpool Street. And while prices have increased by a massive 12 per cent in the last year, bargains can still be had.

    Globe Road runs from Stepney Green tube station to Old Ford Road, cutting across the busy Roman Road. Inhabited almost entirely by Huguenot silk weavers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it was cleaned up by London City Council a hundred or so years ago and the infamous Old Nichol slum was turned into the Boundary Estate in 1891. Various handsome red-brick blocks at the north end of Globe Road, such as Gretton House and Merceron House were erected around the same time, now providing desirable, good-size flats for young couples and families.

    While deprivation is still part of the East End, it’s not all grim news; according to the council, street crime is down by nearly a third. Schools are improving too. The multicultural Globe Primary School (Gawber Street, E2; 020 8980 1738) has test pass rates for Level 4 now around the national average.

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    A Globe primary school B The Florist pub C London Buddhist Centre (click to enlarge)

    Globe Road itself, in an area once known as Globe Town (estate agents are keenly talking it up), has a pick ’n’ mix selection of ex-local authority flats, Victorian and Georgian terraces, and a few purpose-built modern blocks. The feel is shabby but not entirely bleak. Elegant, old-fashioned streets like Bancroft Road are lined with small, brick, Victorian workers’ terraced homes or, further down towards Stepney Green tube, Cephas Street has attractive Victorian conversions for rent and sale.

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