Living in Dalston:
The thriving and trendy north-east London community is home to a diverse mix of city types, creatives and ethnic communities, plus a new wave of regeneration is spawning community gardens and late-night bars...
1 bed Flat £440,000 or £1,557 a month
2 Flat £567,000 or £1,949 a month
3 House £1.06 m or £2,589 a month
4 House £1.21 m or £3,135 a month
Today’s Dalston is a vibrant mix, a place where wealthy City traders live side by side with creative types, and with the area’s long-established Caribbean and Turkish communities. With all this has come a new wave of regeneration that has spawned community gardens, fringe theatre, more restaurants and late-night bars.
Anne Currell, of estate agents Currell, describes Dalston as buzzy and busy, slightly gritty, diverse and very popular with the young adults who flock there for the nightlife — so much so that the local council is now putting a brake on new late-night openings.
“I moved to Hackney, which includes Dalston, 28 years ago because I couldn’t afford Islington,” says Currell. “Back then no one wanted to live in Hackney, so I find it hard to believe that it is now London’s sixth most expensive borough for home buyers, having recently overtaken leafy Richmond."
“I recently looked at the figures and discovered that over the last 20 years house prices in Hackney had risen more than any other London borough.”
Dalston is only four miles from central London and three miles from the City, so it was unfairly overlooked. The arrival of the Overground was the game-changer, with Shoreditch High Street and the City just four stops away.
To put it on the map, Dalston sits north of Shoreditch and the City; west of central Hackney; south of Stoke Newington and east of Islington.
The mix of Dalston homes includes pretty, flat-fronted early Victorian villas and terraces, mid-Victorian terraces, converted industrial buildings, estates of social housing and new flats.
Dalston Lane Terrace, the most controversial new development, involves the demolition of a terrace of Georgian buildings and shops in Dalston Lane that local people fought for ten years to save. Murphy Group is building 44 one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom flats in a traditional Georgian style at the front, with a modern design at the rear and 20 shops in Dalston Lane.
Taylor Wimpey has two developments in Kingsland Road. Dalston Curve has 106 flats in two buildings on opposite sides of the road with shops at street level and the homes above. Prices start at £695,000 for a two-bedroom flat and £715,000 for a three-bedroom flat. The first residents are moving in now, and Christmas should finish the scheme.
The second Taylor Wimpey project is FiftySevenEast. This 15-storey block with shops on the ground floor has one-, two- and three-bedroom flats, with prices from £540,000.
Dalston Lane is a development of 121 one-, two- and three-bedroom flats for the private rental market. Architect Waugh Thistleton is using a wood construction method and claims the 10-storey block will be the world’s tallest building of its kind. The development completes next year.
Estate agent Anne Currell says Dalston is very popular with young renters, who come for the lively nightlife. “They can’t afford to buy but will share a flat or a house to cut the cost of renting.”
The many new flats have attracted investors from Southeast Asia who previously wouldn’t have considered a place like Dalston.
Dalston is a lot of fun, but once young sharers start marrying and thinking about having children, they head for Walthamstow.
Postcode Dalston falls into the E8 postcode which also covers Hackney Central, London Fields and parts of Stoke Newington.
In Albion Square and Albion Drive, there are exceptional early Victorian semi-detached villas. Malvern Road in the London Fields area has terraces of flat-fronted first Victorian houses, and in Parkholme Road there are some later Edwardian houses.
Fassett Square, used as the model for Albert Square in the BBC soap EastEnders, has terraces of bow-fronted Victorian houses and the modernist German hospital, now converted into flats.
Up and coming
Houses and flats along the main roads, often in beautiful period buildings, can be cheaper. Also, look for “right-to-buy” flats in low-rise council blocks.
Two stations serve the district — Dalston Junction and Dalston Kingsland — on different sections of the Overground.
Dalston Junction is four stops from Shoreditch High Street for the City and two stops from Highbury & Islington and the Victoria line for the West End. Dalston Kingsland is on the old North London line with trains to Stratford and Hampstead Heath.
There are lots of useful buses, including the No 30 to Marble Arch, the No 38 to Victoria, No 67 to Aldgate, the 76 and 243 to Waterloo, the 149 to London Bridge and 242 to Tottenham Court Road.
Dalston is in Zone 2, and an annual Travelcard covering Zones 1 and 2 will cost £1,296.
All of Dalston’s primary schools are judged “good” or better by Ofsted. Rated “outstanding” is Holy Trinity CofE in Richmond Road; Our Lady and St Joseph RC in Buckingham Road and Queensbridge in Queensbridge Road. Primary free schools Halley House in Arcola Street and the Hackney New School in Downham Road opened in September. At the same time, Brook Primary School in Sigdon Road became Mossbourne Parkside Academy, part of the Mossbourne Federation.
The “outstanding” local comprehensive school is Mossbourne in Downs Park Road. The other local comprehensives are Petchey Academy in Shacklewell Lane; Hackney New School, and Bridge Academy in Laburnum Street — all judged “good”.
The Children’s House with a nursery in Elmore Street and an Upper School in King Henry’s Walk is a private primary school for children ages two to seven.
The nearest top-performing private schools are City of London boys’ school in Queen Victoria Street and City of London girls’ school in the Barbican, both in the City.
Hackney council is Labour controlled, and Band D council tax for the 2016/2017 year is £1.294.42.