I moved to Primrose Hill in September 2015. I knew nothing about the area: I just thought it looked rather lovely! I quickly got involved with Primrose Hill Community Association, met lots of local people and realised that many residents have lived in the area all their lives. Such is its charm and villagey feel, why would anyone want to live anywhere else?
As part of my role at the Community Centre and working on On The Hill magazine, I was fortunate enough to visit the beautiful home of Jennifer, and talk to her about the thirty-five years she has spent living here. Or has she? When she and her husband first met, she mentioned that she lived on Gloucester Crescent in ‘Primrose Hill’. Tony replied (in his Newcastle accent), “No, it’s Camden, pet!” Strictly speaking he was right, and they fondly still use that phrase today to explain where they live!
Jennifer originally moved here for the beautiful green open spaces. The close proximity of the parks and mature trees made it feel less like being in the heart of London, while having all the benefits of being close to the centre of town and all that has to offer. Walks in Regent’s Park, especially the Rose Garden, are still one of her favourite things to do. “It’s just heaven.”
Jennifer is full of enthusiasm for our lovely area. Other attractive qualities of Primrose Hill are the local shops, like the pharmacy and the butcher’s; Richard Dare is a favourite, along with Graham and Greene, “a real Aladdin’s cave”. The lack of chains of shops also makes it feel more unique. But Camden has so much to offer too, and is only a short walk away. The “colour, eccentricity and vibe” of the Camden she first fell for remains, but she really misses the punks! “Life can never be boring in Camden.”
She has lots of recommendations too: Sushi Waka, the Japanese restaurant on Parkway, comes highly recommended; Namaaste has really gorgeous authentic food and is a regular haunt too; Daphne, the Greek restaurant, is another ‘must’, along with Haché Burgers and Poppie’s Fish and Chips; the Roundhouse, the Jazz Café and a particular “You must go, Julie” is Green Note. I can’t get it all down on paper fast enough. I need to visit all of these places!
Jennifer and her husband have five grandchildren, so they are very used to having to plan for all ages when the extended family visit.
The Lady in the Van was filmed in their street, and Jennifer says it is a very accurate depiction of what really happened. Mary Shepherd was a big part of all their lives for many years. It shows the friendliness of the area. “We have proper neighbours here; a real sense of community and helping each other out.”
The only thing Jennifer does not like are the ‘greedy landlords’ whom she fears may ruin the area, with rent hikes forcing out the local businesses that have been here for so long.
Sadly, Jennifer and Tony have decided to downsize and so are moving, but only to King’s Cross, so not too far away. Good luck to you both with the sale of your magnificent home and packing all those boxes. It was a pleasure to meet you and share your experiences of Primrose Hill or ‘Camden, pet’!
Article by Julie Stapleton