Herne Hill – ever changing, never changing

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Many years ago we decided we needed a garden.  After months of hunting we found a house in Herne Hill in South London. Being off the tube grid it was cheaper than the equivalent house in Clapham even though the trains to Victoria and Blackfriars took 15 minutes.

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The centre of this little bit of London is around the station.  Back in 1985 after the second Brixton riot it was grubby and neglected. Brixton is half a mile away – a stone’s throw we used to joke.

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Today what used to be the traffic and bus clogged road by the station is shut to through traffic. And closed for an excellent market on Sunday. The cafes, bakeries and delis are testament to new affluence.

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It’s a mix of people, different styles and accents but in gaining it has also lost some. The wood yard for instance and the old fashioned pub. And the fishmonger.
It’s like the seasons these changes.  Not better just different.

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The flats are full. People ply their trades.  Work is created.  And the trains still send teeming hordes into the centre.

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You’d be hard pressed to pinpoint when any major changes occured. The first decent restaurant came in the early 80s. Charity shops in the 90s now reducing in number. Building societies and banks going,  estate agents coming.

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There was a flood in 2011 and some businesses never survived.  The post office became flats and a sports shop. The garage a Tesco.

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The local school is good. The church seems popular. And the Lido buzzes once again as it must have done in the 30s and in ways it certainly didn’t in the 80s.

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My favourite part is the park.  Brockwell.  A bit like parks of old. Mostly grass and trees. I can watch the seasons from here. The leaves colouring and dropping.  Frost and mud. Spring showers and seering summer sun. It changes but you have to pause to notice.

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Much like life.

The pictures were taken in Brockwell Park and Herne Hill market today.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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27 Responses to Herne Hill – ever changing, never changing

  1. Makes me feel very homesick for London.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for this, Geoff. It must be 30 years since I was last there

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lisa Reiter says:

    We’ve got friends in Herne Hill – brilliant little place. The views of all the cityscapes have escaped me though – must be because we only ever seem to be there when it’s dark.. Great photos!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Autism Mom says:

    Autumn in London looks as beautiful as spring was.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      They are both great seasons. Jan and Feb are the worst, often, because the skies can be a uniform grey, the air damp and the cold in the bones numbing. But I’ll take that to avoid the minus 10 and the plus 35 any day.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sohrab says:

    Thank you Geof
    So glad Sam and Rachael are moving to such a lovely place
    Great pictures
    And the sun shines!


  6. Ali Isaac says:

    Looks like a lovely place to live. The city skyscrapers above the trees look ghostly, surreal, quite sci fi in fact… they don’t seem to fit with the rest of the picture. As you say, much like life.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Charli Mills says:

    Seems like a wonderful place for views and peple watching.


  8. davidprosser says:

    Great pictures Geoff. I love the views of the autumn colours in the park and that the City life seems so far away. The place must buzz on a Sunday with a market. I remember the feeling back in the early 70’s when I lived in Hackney and used to visit Petticoat Lane and especially visiting the Jewish bakers for fresh doughnuts. It was vibrant.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Ah ha indeed. You’d know the Baegel shop in Brick Lane then! Hackney has changed in many ways and in others is just the same

      Liked by 1 person

      • davidprosser says:

        I think the bagel shop may well be where we got the doughnuts.We’re talking the early 70’s here. I first worked for The Royal Free on Grays Inn Road then for Woolworths on Mare Street in Hackney which was handy as just a walk from home.
        I imagine the changes between then and now must be fantastic.

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        The Baegel shop is ancient even by our standards Dave so almost certainly! And yes mostly good but some I’d do without.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. willowdot21 says:

    Love the photos and the thoughts, and information!!


  10. roweeee says:

    Can’t you just beam be down some of those market stall goodies?!!! You made me hungry and I also fell in love with those stunning golden Autumn leaves. A lovely tour. Thanks very much xx Ro

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Yvonne says:

    I hadn’t realised you live in this area – I used to live in Tulse Hill, so knew the area well – I’m talking way back in the 80s, before 85 even. I also loved Brockwell Park and used to walk through it to go down to Brixton to see my then boyfriend or to get the tube into town. I remember the wonderful array of colourful flowers in summer.
    Just as often I got the bus, which took me through Herne Hill, and of course it was about half way for meeting the then-boyfriend. I seem to think there was a little Indian restaurant we sometimes went to.
    One of the novels that’s currently “resting” on my computer is partly set in London in the 80s, and the MC lives in Tulse Hill and goes jogging in Brockwell Park. (Something I never did! 🙂 )


    • TanGental says:

      There’s a curry house called Chutney that’s been by the bridge for ever. And I’m happy following the dog these days rather than jogging. You’d be surprised how classy it is becoming.


  12. Gulara says:

    Fabulous post – so heart warming. And I am making the last two sentences my mantra of the day


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