London Fields Area Guide
Once another neglected corner of East London, London Fields has in recent decades experienced a considerable transformation, emerging as an affluent and charismatic district in its own right.
The park, which was first recorded in 1540, started life as common ground used by drovers to pasture livestock before being taken to market in the city. From the Middle Ages to the 19th century its proximity to the City made it a favourite residence for wealthy Londoners, until the area was heavily bombed in 1940’s Blitz, with many buildings so badly damaged they were demolished after the war.
Since its regeneration, however, house prices have faired particularly well, bringing a swarm of young, upwardly mobile professionals and an apparent gentrification to the area. Now forming part of one of 21 conservation areas in the Borough of Hackney, London Fields falls under London’s ‘greenest borough’ and gained further status in July 2008 by gaining a prestigious ‘Green flag’ award.
In recent years a blossoming art scene has emerged, fostered initially by the prominent Flowers East gallery which, despite now having moved on, has left a legacy of smaller, mostly artist-run galleries in its place. As such the new ‘Hothouse’ arts complex on the park’s north-east corner provides a stimulus for this local artistic community.
The southern edge of the park is home to Broadway market, the area’s main shopping street; a hub of art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, bars, pubs and cafes. The Cat and Mutton is a particular favourite with locals and has been offering up goood quality gastro fare since the early Noughties. A thriving farmer’s market is also held every Saturday selling quality produce to satisfy even the seasoned food lover, as well as other stalls selling hand-made jewellery, gifts and vintage clothing.
The park itself offers a plethora of facilities, including a popular cricket pitch, football area, BMX track, tennis courts, table tennis facilities and children’s play areas. It also boasts a newly opened lido, currently the only heated outdoor pool in London.
Surrounding the leafy, tranquil London Fields Park lies street after street of charming two, three and four-storey early Victorian and Georgian town houses, making it a haven for the more affluent and family orientated home-buyer.
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