When I first arrived 20 years ago I lived on Broadway Market and it had one fruit and veg barrow and one very nice pub. The rest of it was run-down; it was a proper working class street in Hackney. Stoke Newington Church Street has today become the model for what Jules Pipe – who’s the mayor – wants for Hackney. But Hackney isn’t like that. Most working class people on a budget wouldn’t be able to shop for food on Church Street because it’s artisan bakers and incredibly expensive fruit and veg shops.
It’s not about money. I don’t begrudge anybody as long as they’ve gone out and earned it. What I don’t like is the pretense and the assumption that someway or another Hackney needs to be grateful for all these up-and-coming industries. What’s wrong with a proper working class area having proper working class jobs?
The thing that Hackney people find frustrating is that they read about things in the newspaper and see stuff on the telly and they think ‘That’s not where we live.’ Though it may be geographically, it’s not their world, it’s not their environment.
I’ve been drinking in the Dove pub for years; it was on Broadway Market when I first lived there. You could say I kept it alive through its lean years. I still drink there very occasionally – I just avoid the strawberry Belgian beers.
– Grant Kingsnorth
Hackney bursts with colours. Going through the controversial process of being “redefined” as a new cool, it blends confused locals with the masses of hipsters. Witnessing the birth process of new Shoredich leaves me confused and lost.