I have been looking to buy a flat in SE1 (Bermondsey side) over the last few weeks and so far this website has been fantastic for advice on the area generally. Although I have never lived in London before, I get the impression that many areas can feel a little isolated but this website shows to me that SE1 has a great community spirit.
I have found two flats which I am very keen on, one near Bermondsey Wall and the other near Thorburn Square. The thing I am concerned about is that I originally wanted to buy in Borough/Waterloo, because I work near the Strand and like the idea of walking to work. Due to price, I have had to look further afield. I am a little concerned that the Bermondsey side of SE1 is a little far out from the decent bars and restaurants of Borough and (to a lesser extent) Bermondsey St. I wonder whether there are good bus links going west, and whether Borough tube is packed in the mornings, etc. I still fancy walking to work (although realise that from Thorburn Square this could take around 40 minutes), which I can handle, but I don't like the idea of having to trek around 30 minutes to find a decent collection of bars and restaurants.
If anyone in the area has any thoughts on this, I would be really interested to hear them!
I work on the Strand - I get the RV1 bus from Southwark St to the north side of waterloo bridge - it takes about 15-20 minutes and early in the morning runs on a timetable which it seems to stick to so no waiting around aimlessly. I considered walking as I am near Borough High St, but have never got round to it!
Borough tube isn't usually too bad in my experience, but the one thing that I find brilliant about SE1 is the buses! You seem to be able to get just about anywhere with very little hassle, so much so that I now very rarely get on the tube. The bus/walking combo from here is great - I work near the Strand, and depending on the weather, tend to walk a little, hop on the RV1 and then it's a short stroll at the other end.
Patrick - I live in Thorburn Square and can promise that you're not short of bars & restaurants within walking distace. Tower Bridge Road and Bermondsey Street are a ten minute walk away (or 2 mins on the number 1 bus - which incidentally also stops at The Strand.)
Also, you have the marvellous Arancia on Southwark Park Road.
Firstly, Bermondsey is far removed from Borough. I lived in Borough for 2 years and then moved to Bermondsey. Borough is trendy, has lots of bars, is full of afluent thirty-somethings etc. Bermondsey is not like this at all, not at this end of Bermondsey anyway. It is a very poor area and some parts are very run down. It is, and I use a phrase with the best of intentions, largely populated with white-trash. I'd say that at least 75% of the area is clothed in Burberry, own pit-bull terriers and support Millwall.
The area is changing fast and as house prices increase (which they are rapidly in this area) the make up of the area is changing. In my area, 4 houses have sole recently and the new owners seem to be thirty-something couples who drive Audi TTs, SLKs and other such vehicles.
The nearest 'trendy' area to me is Bermondsey street, this is very much like Borough and has a very urban and trendy feel to it. This is a ten minute walk up from the Thorburn square area.
Now, I live in this area and love it. It's still good value, the mix of people makes it 'interesting' and it is becomming more affluent. My best guess is that the trendyess will spread down Grange Road as the whole area is being developed. Also, the Bermondsey Spa regeneration zone is bringing a lot of money to the area.
Transport - it's fairly bad. There are only two buses, the 1 and the 78. The 1 goes to Elephant and Castle and the 78 goes to Liverpool Street. There is no bus that goes from this part of Bermondsey to Borough, although you can walk.
I hope you don't mind my 'honest' opinion of the area. It's a nice place, just don't think it's Borough.
"Firstly, Bermondsey is far removed from Borough. I lived in Borough for 2 years and then moved to Bermondsey. Borough is trendy, has lots of bars, is full of afluent thirty-somethings etc. Bermondsey is not like this at all, not at this end of Bermondsey anyway. It is a very poor area and some parts are very run down. It is, and I use a phrase with the best of intentions, largely populated with white-trash. I'd say that at least 75% of the area is clothed in Burberry, own pit-bull terriers and support Millwall"
ouch! i have lived in Bermondsey all my life though admittedly now live in the "trendy" area round Bermondsey street I am by most standards i guess a fairly affluent thirty something own a "good" car and drink in wine bars now and again-I do support Millwall look dreadfull in Burberry and don't have a pitbull unless you count the mother in law. I wonder does this make me white trash?
Bermondsey people may be working class but tend to have a good community spirit ! I do hope all the more affluent people the area is attacting do not ruin this spirit by only being around during the week,living in gated communitys and looking down their noses at the local population!!!!!
Sorry, I didn't mean to insult anyone. My road is full of people wearing Burberry and walking pit-bulls. They're nice people, I chat to all the neighbours and it's a lovely place, so much better than the rugby-shirt wearing communities to the West our our capital. I just didn't want people getting wound up in the 'up and coming area' hype that surrounds Bermondsey currently. It is a lovely place, I plan to stay for years, but I though it better to be slightly brash, rather than say it's a lovely trendy area full of yuppy folk.
However, maybe 'White working class' (to use the term used in a great new book written about the Bermondsey area, called The Likes Of Us) would be a better term than white trash.
P.S. I do own a Burberry scarf so I can see some irrony here.
Many, many thanks for all your responses, they have been very helpful indeed.
JGarcia, I appreciate your honesty. I grew up in Essex (not in the posh parts) and whilst I suppose now I am an affluent 30 something, I have absolutely no problem living in a diverse area, because that is what I am used to. In fact, the last thing that I would want to see is complete gentrification of the whole area; it would lose its character.
With regard to the walk to Bermondsey St and Tower Bridge Road, I am spent some more time in the area and I agree that there are some great places within ten minutes' walk from Thorburn.
Thanks again to everyone and have a great weekend.