Tucked away in Zone 4 of North-West London (aka North Wheezy to many of its residents), Wembley is commonly known for its stadium, arena and hosting the X-Factor auditions. But if you grew up in this unique corner of London, you might be able to relate to the following:
1. Diversity is a given
Multiculturalism is your default. From Diwali celebrations on Ealing Road to Irish pubs on the high street and the Somali community in the square, the ethnic make-up may have evolved, but Wembley has been diverse for a long time. The London borough Brent, home to Wembley, was the first local authority in the UK to have a majority black, Asian and minority ethnic population.
2. You're used to event days
You grew up in shadow of Wembley Stadium and Arena. Every other weekend you'd hear the concerts from your garden or get stuck in traffic after a big match. You got to know which pubs would be reserved for which football fans and in later years perhaps made a quick buck renting out your driveway.
3. It was all about the 182
That bus could take you to Harrow shopping centre or Brent Cross shopping centre in one go. What was cooler than hanging around a shopping centre or bus station instead of going home after school? Literally nothing.
4. The free bus
You remember the 18 when it was bendy and you could just jump on. Some of you would even sit on it and shout, 'I'm on the free bus!' down your mobile phone. Tut tut.
5. Wembley Market
Sunday mornings were market days. Off you'd go with your mates to find the latest mixtapes, fake trainers or mini doughnuts. You loved to listen to the Delboy-esque characters tout their electrical goods too.
6. 24-hour off-licences
Once you started to enjoy the odd alcoholic beverage, you noticed the pre-2005 11pm drinking law didn't seem to apply in Wembley's off-licences. There always seemed to be a handy bottle of wine under the counter. Wembley soon became a late night pitstop.
7. You were a Londoner - even if others didn't believe it
You got used to the 'Is it even in London though?' conversation. Sandwiched between Neasden's NW10 and Kingsbury's NW9 postcodes, it clearly is, but you still had to defend your HA9/HA0 roots.
8. Vale Farm
Whether it was swimming lessons, holiday schemes or karate, you hung out at Vale Farm sports centre and were overjoyed when you scored a slurpy slush puppy after all your hard work.
When you go back to Wembley you're astonished at how much it has changed. We now have our own shopping centre, a transformed high street, new stadium, library and revamped train stations to break up the sea of betting, fried chicken and pound shops. Even if you still live in Wembley, you're still not quite used to it. We’ve come a long way. But that doesn't mean you're ready to call it 'Wembley City' just yet!Share the story