Brixton, London

When you think of an English village, what do you see? A village green, a pub with a pretty beer garden and small, independent shops? Or, if you’re a property finder, is your idea of a village closer to what is now known as Brixton Village in London? The small, independent shops are still here all right, but with an edgy, modern vibe. So why would a savvy property buyer consider this locality?

Transport links

From a property buyer’s perspective, Brixton Village has been developed relatively recently, at the start of the 19th century.  During World War Two, this part of London was heavily damaged, and other factors like a rapidly ageing population make the services of a skilled buying agent essential for an effective property search. Much of the accommodation you’ll encounter with the help of property finders is therefore relatively recently built although there are still some solidly built Victorian terraces.

Brixton is a great base for easy access to central London and very popular with commuters – the south-bound Victoria Line terminates at Brixton Station. The area is also extremely well-served by buses into town and across London.

Historical context for property finders

This is where you’ll find Windrush Square, which commemorates the first voyage of the MV Empire Windrush.  The Square is located in front of the stunning Brixton Library, which was the first public library to be gifted in England by sugar magnate Sir Henry Tate.

Modern music aficionados will find Brixton particularly appealing – Bowie was born here and the area has featured in songs by the likes of Amy Winehouse and the Clash. If street art is more your thing, check out the murals on your property search. Some of these unique pieces were created by groups of schoolchildren working together in the wake of the 1981 riots. A more recent mural features the late, great David Bowie.

A buying agent’s brief guide to Brixton markets

The covered market is the heart of the area, with the arcades often open until late at night (Mondays usually excepted). There are around 140 independent traders in this arcade alone, and while the Afro-Caribbean flavour is still there, many other influences have slipped in more recently; there’s even a champagne bar.

Brixton Village, originally called Granville Arcade, links Coldharbour Lane with Atlantic Road and Popes Road. Whatever food, live music, or company you want you can probably find it here -  Caribbean, Portuguese, Moroccan, Japanese street, Ethiopian – and that’s just to begin with.  If victuals are your passion, this area is absolutely perfect for foodies and those who know their Macchiato from their mocha – there are tons of great coffee shops in this part of town, just right to catch up with your buying agent over a beverage of your choice.

A little bit of the country – in the city? The Lambeth Country Show

There’s always tons going on in this part of London, but one of the quirkiest events has to be the annual Lambeth Country Show. Yes, that’s right: a country show in the heart of south London. It usually takes place on the third Saturday in July. Brockwell Park is transformed into a slice of countryside, with guest appearances from animals at the local City Farm, and a sculpture competition with a difference, as all exhibits are made out of fruit or vegetables. There are also flower shows and a recycled garden contest; there’s even a scarecrow competition. And all family-friendly, and for free – many of the staff are volunteers.

Brixton also has its own currency, the Brixton pound, which was introduced with a view to keeping trade circulating within the locality – indicative of the independent frame of mind you’ll often encounter here. It’s also a Transition Town and is part of Incredible Edible Lambeth – so it’s particularly suitable for property finders who like to combine urban comfort with sustainability.  

Practical considerations for property buyers

Property buyers with a pragmatic turn of mind will be delighted to know that King’s College London teaching hospital is nearby, and there are many places of worship for the major religions. Many state schools here, particularly primaries, score well in Ofsted inspections.

Brixton is part of Lambeth, and while many know that the Lambeth Walk is a traditional Cockney dance, the term originally described a street with, you guessed it, a market. So wherever your Brixton property search or buying agent might lead, you know you’re literally treading in the footsteps of tradition with every Brixton step.

James Nightingall