I cycled south this evening, over Chelsea Bridge to see a flat not far from Battersea Park (which those with long memories may recall is perhaps my favourite London park).
The journey – though short – isn’t a great deal of fun. I live a privileged existence at present – cycling about 1 mile to work on back-streets. I don’t bother with high-viz or helmets as it just isn’t necessary. Suffice to say I did equip those items cycling south on the super busy CycleSuperHighway (sic; ‘sic’ because it really isn’t super. There are no end of drains and even pot-holes).
All of the traffic lights were out at the big roundabout – Queen’s Circus – on the southeastern corner of Battersea Park.
Got to the flat in time – only to receive a call from the agent apologising to say the landlord had forgotten the keys so they couldn’t do the viewing. How tedious. At least I got to see the area.
Gritty I suppose, as I knew it would be. This is in the shadow of Battersea Power Station (undergoing an enormous redevelopment). Feels very different to the area opposite, north of the river where I currently live. And that’s the thing about the inner-city (across all of the edge of zone 1). The affluent and the poor living cheek by jowl. Just south of the river (in the inner city I mean) there are ‘enclaves’ just as there are elsewhere. That didn’t put me off. The area – in the shadow of the power station, the train line and the tube line – has a kind of post-industrial feel to it. Not Dickensian but kind of post-war. A grittiness – obviously – compared with where I’ve been this last half decade which has been something of a bubble. But it was always going to be that way.
I’m going back to see it tomorrow.