Streets of London: Queensbridge Road, E8

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Time Out takes a walk along this busy main road in Dalston lined with spacious flat-fronted Georgian and Victorian houses, and affordable modern blocks

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    By Georgian! There are some handsome houses along Queensbridge Road

    Make no mistake: Queensbridge Road is no refuge of tranquillity and calm as some of the less reputable estate agents might have you believe. Located in the south-west of Hackney, this big, long and very straight road leads from Dalston’s grubby Graham Road southwards to E2’s similarly shady Hackney Road. Taking you from Dalston to Haggerston and flirting with the prettier streets of London Fields along the way, Queensbridge Road is a place of great contrasts – cutting through Hackney’s roughest and nicest neighbourhoods alike. The sound of police sirens is never far away.

    That said, this handsome, imposing road lined largely with robust early Victorian and Georgian flat-fronted properties has some of the area’s best housing stock – exemplified by the pretty early Victorian villas (dating back to 1844) from number 200 to 206. At the time, the area was famed for its fine architecture and, according to local history books, north Dalston’s builders ‘reached a climax of ingenuity in the early 1860s’.


    What the area lacks in community spirit, it makes up for in excellent properties. Many of the worst council estates have been pulled down, making way for a collection of smart, low-rise, modern apartments around the Holly Street area which can be rented for about £250 a week.

    The most attractive thing about Queensbridge Road, however, is the ladder of relatively quiet Victorian terrace roads leading from it. From Parkholme Road at the north end working down to Albion Drive via Lenthall Road, Mapledene Road and Lavender Grove, you have a pretty cluster of roads that have an unexpectedly leafy look and romantic feel. But this being gritty east London, which suffered terribly from bombing in World War II, council flats and ugly modern blocks are peppered throughout even the smartest parts of this postcode. Still, they prevent it from becoming too annoyingly gentrified.

    There’s a dearth of good boozers in the area, so locals flock to the only decent one, the Prince George (40 Parkholme Road, 020 7254 6060), known simply as ‘the Prince’. With its old-fashioned jukebox playing, it serves up a fine pint of London Pride and decent grub, and hasn’t yet succumbed to a gastropub makeover.

    This patch of E8 isn’t immediately brilliant for shops either, but you’ll have all the Turkish kebab houses, charity shops (including the best Oxfam in east London), Afro-Caribbean nail bars and ethnic hair salons you could hope for if you stroll along the upper end of Kingsland Road, a ten-minute walk east of Queensbridge Road. The best place to eat out is kitsch restaurant LMNT (316 Queensbridge Road, E8, 020 7249 6727/www.lmnt.co.uk) with its tables in cubby holes, stone sphinxes and hit-and-miss Mediterranean menu. It serves a bargain £7.95 roast on Sundays and delicious desserts such as banana tarte tatin for less than a fiver.

    While there’s not much else on the doorstep, Queensbridge Road is located near to many of the East End’s restaurant, bar and shopping hot spots. There’s Broadway Market to the east, Columbia Road to the south across Hackney Road and it’s but a quick jaunt west across Kingsland Road to the bright lights and busy bars of Hoxton. Lee Hurst’s Backyard Comedy Club (231-237 Cambridge Heath Road, 020 7739 3122/ www.backyardcomedyclub.moonfruit.com) is a short walk south-east.

    This is not an obvious place to choose to bring up children, but it’s not out of the question. Many of the houses in the terraced streets off Queensbridge Road have large gardens. Haggerston Park, at the southern end of Queensbridge Road, has a small but charming city farm that is always a hit, while the glorious Geffrye Museum (136 Kingsland Road, 020 7739 9893/www.geffrye-museum.org.uk) is a short walk west. Quality schools are limited, though standards seem to be on the up. Queensbridge Primary School (Albion Drive, 020 7254 1186), a small multicultural school with a slightly below-average performance, is described by Ofsted as ‘rapidly improving’.

    The health-conscious can get their fix by jogging around nearby London Fields or Haggerston Park, cycling along the Regent’s Canal or signing up with the Queensbridge Sports & Community Centre (30 Holly Street, 020 7923 7773).

    Estate agents

    Bairstow Eves Countrywide(020 8985 4400/ www.bairstoweves.co.uk).Bennett Walden (020 7275 7177/ www.bennettwalden.co.uk).Blake Stanley of Broadway Market (020 7254 7554).
    City & Urban
    (020 7275 7878).
    Courtneys
    (020 7275 8000/www.courtneys-estates.com).
    Douglas Allen Spiro
    (020 7923 1919/ www.douglasallenspiro.co.uk).

    Transport

    Not ideally located for tube or rail access, Queensbridge Road is nevertheless on the route of handy neighbourhood bus the 236, which winds its way from Hackney Wick through the back streets to Finsbury Park. Bethnal Green, just over a mile away, is the nearest tube, while Hackney Downs, Dalston Kingsland (where the East London Line extension is arriving in 2010) and London Fields rail stations are all about a 20-minute walk away. From Kingsland Road you have a choice of buses going to Stoke Newington and Tottenham or down into the City.

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1 comments
Doreen Richards
Doreen Richards

I was born and brought up in this area, living in Forest Road until 1966. Anything I find find to read or view "I lap up" having still a love of the place (as I remember it, of course, before tower blocks) however, some of the leafy side roads, as mentioned, still remain which I enjoy wandering down via Google Maps. I would like to know when the old, now remaining, houses in Forest Road were built?