The UK town overrun with hipsters where classic boozers are being replaced by gastropubs | UK | News

Locals of a London town have slammed the gentrification of the area, with classic boozers being replaced by gastropubs.

Many said that Crystal Palace was once an area where anyone could live and get their start but now the high house prices have pushed people out.

But despite its challenges, something that seems to unite locals is their love of the area and its Parisian-esque transmitter. 

Gary Rigby, 54, has lived beside Crystal Palace park for nearly 20 years and called himself an “outsider”, but noted that this never mattered in the “mixed bag” community.

“It’s quite a transient type of population,” he told MyLondon. “So anybody can fit in here, it doesn’t matter where you are from. There’s always been quite a cosmopolitan population.”

Mr Rigby said that the fabric of the area hasn’t changed much over the years but that “old south London boozers” have become gastropubs full of “trendy people”.

He added: “There are these little nods and winks to gentrification happening because I think there’s always been a certain shabbiness to it and that’s why it’s never been that expensive.”

Mr Rigby used to use the transmitter as a way to cope with the job he hated.

“I used to work in Central London in a Southwark tower block,” he said. “We were up on the top floor and for some reason I used to get a kind of childish satisfaction in looking out the window and being able to see the transmitter. It made me feel like it wouldn’t be long before I could go home from the job that I hated.”

Carl Imthurn, 61, moved to Crystal Palace in 1983 and currently lives by the transmitter.

He said: “I suppose there was more of a mixture of classes back then, whereas now it’s predominantly the affluent bourgeoisie. You used to be able to know everybody. 

“You didn’t necessarily have to get on with everybody, but everybody knew each other whereas nowadays, people tend to be a little bit more resentful of social interaction.”

Regarding the transmitter, Mr Imthurn said: “I mean, that is our Eiffel Tower, isn’t it? When push comes to shove, it’s on the highest point in South London, I think this ridge is higher than anything they’ve got up north. It can be seen from everywhere.”

Anna Sayburn, 53, has lived with her husband in the area for the past 20 years. She said the area’s increase in wealth has made it more difficult for young people to live locally.

She said: “It used to be somewhere that pretty much anyone could live. It would be nice if it was still. It was a place that pretty much anyone with their first job could think about getting a flat here.”

Ms Sayburn said the transmitter has always served as a “reference point” for her and other locals. She said: “As soon as you can see the tower you feel like you’re home. You know you’re on your way.”

Like Mr Imthurn, Ms Sayburn likes to think of the transmitter as the equivalent of the Eiffel Tower. She said: “I think Crystal Palace sometimes has a bit of a feeling of living in Paris, with the little cafés at the top of the hill, the small shops and the street market on Saturdays. It’s a mini Paris.”

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