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A case study in gentrification

In the 197os, I sometimes helped my father selling fruit and veg on a stall in Hoxton Market. The photo here is not of Hoxton but of nearby Ridley Road, taken a little later. Ridley Road was the reason my father gave up his stalls, as they could sell retail for less than he paid wholesale. And Hoxton wasn’t this busy – it was dying on its feet.

Now it is a thriving market again, and so is nearby Hoxton Square. An article for The Guardian laments the latest phase of gentrification. The square that was once discovered by artists, and hosted anarchic events – do read the article, some of it is really funny – is now partially owned by one large insurance company and servicing the city.

This is a really interesting example of gentrification and certainly not to be wholly admired. But when one of the interviewees says that Hoxton Square has gone through many phases, but this is probably the last, I think – no. Places change,they go down as well as up, and the one thing we can be confident of in London is that nothing will stay the same. That doesn’t mean that we should unthinkingly accept everything, or that we shouldn’t fight unsympathetic development, but we can at least be certain of uncertainty and of constant change in this wonderful messy, chaotic and mutating capital city.

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