Goodbye London, I’m leaving you… for Croydon


By - Tuesday 8th September, 2015

Jonny Rose encourages the capital’s masses to decamp to Croydon


It’s that time of the year again when those pathetically angsty thirtysomethings that now dominate every London media organisation are faced with the perfect storm of an existential crisis and a demanding editorial calendar.

The result has been a summer of wall-to-wall ‘I’m Leaving London’ screeds as lifestyle bloggers from Mile End to Morden treat us to their editorial sayonaras and lay into all that’s wrong with the capital.

We’ve had dotcom impresario Cory Doctorow giving us his two minute warning of moving to Los Angeles. The Guardian’s Rafael Behr has gallivanted off to the “coastal enclave of pseudo-London urbanity” that is Brighton. A writer at I-D has sought solace in Fife – yes, Fife.

There’s nothing new here. The gripes are always the same: London’s too expensive (it always has been), it’s too busy and frenetic (it always has been), it’s too transient (it always has been), it’s got too many people obsessed with making money (it always has), it’s got too many poor people (it always has) and it’s too impersonal (it always was).

However, if any Londoner reading this is also considering putting down their Oyster Card and picking up their passport, let me take a moment to make you consider moving to Croydon.

Croydon has all the best bits of London, without the worst bits

As the largest town in Europe, Croydon really is a microcosm of all the subcultures and establishments that make the capital so great:

Barnet is home to the Hendon Aerodrome, the birthplace of British aviation and now RAF Museum. Well, we’ve got Croydon Airport.

I hear that Bexley boasts over 1,500 acres of open space and green parkland, which means that Bexlians will be right at home in Croydon, which has over 120 parks, making it the greenest place in London.

Ealing hosts Britain’s largest free jazz festival each year in August. I’m sure that it is delightful, but it does sound awfully anaemic against Croydon’s fourteen annual festivals.

Haringey is famous for its literary connections such as Sir John Betjeman, who lived in West Hill as a child, and also Karl Marx, who is buried in nearby Highgate Cemetery. Well, if you like books we’ve got literary heavyweights such as Andy Miller and John Grindrod in our arsenal, and if you enjoy communing with lifeless crypto-Communists you can find no better place than Ruskin House.

Islington is traditionally a mecca for the cream of London’s liberals, journalists, writers and artists. It ‘boasts’ a thriving fringe theatre scene, a wealth of fantastic restaurants and vibrant nightlife. Is that unique to Islington? Nope. It just describes a typical evening spent around Croydon’s Restaurant Quarter and Old Town area.

Kensington and Chelsea is renowned for its wealthy residents and classy environs. However, did you know that Purley in South Croydon contains London’s highest concentration of high net-worth individuals? Far from being a brutalist nightmare, South Croydon contains the gated communities and cultural elitism that could rival anything found in W8.

Shoreditch. Where to start? When Croydon isn’t stealing Shoreditch’s retail core, it’s building its own rival tech city. Who needs Shoreditch Grind when you’ve got all of these new hip coffee shops springing up.

Southwark is the historical home of London’s first theatres: the Globe, the Hope and the Rose were all built there in the 16th century and Shakespeare’s plays were first performed there. Awesome. But I don’t want a lesson in history – I want new theatres crowdfunded by locals that are still alive and care.

Walthamstow is home to Britain’s longest street market, providing nearly one mile of stalls selling everything from hardware to food and clothes. Croydon is home to London’s oldest street market and London’s longest street market article series (see here, here and here).

Forget ‘London’, come to Croydon

Recently, I’ve been incredibly enthused by Citizen contributions from recent Croydon transplants.

In ‘The Road from Woking‘, Charles Wordsworth recognises the area as “an exciting new world of adventure” and describes himself as “a new Croydonian that is very much intoxicated with the sights and sounds of Croydon”. Similarly, in ‘How Croydon charmed me‘, former Birmingham resident Marcia Henry-Morgan waxes lyrical on Croydon’s affordability, accessibility, beauty and dynamism.

The fact is Croydon is on the up, (c.f. the Evening Standard, the Metro, BBC News, etc), and increasingly it is becoming a genuinely attractive proposition to Londoners in neighbouring boroughs.

So, come on down: Croydon welcomes you with open arms. And if you happen to be a member of the London media circles, we’ve even got your next writing gig sorted for when you arrive!

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose is a committed Christian who has lived in the Croydon area for nearly twenty years. He is an active participant in his local community, serving at Grace Vineyard Church and organising Purley Breakfast Club, and was ranked "Croydon's 37th most powerful person" by the Croydon Advertiser (much to his amusement). He is the Head of Content at marketing technology company Idio, the founder of the Croydon Tech City movement, a LinkedIn coach, and creator of Croydon's first fashion label, Croydon Vs The World. Working on Instagram training. Views are his own, but it would be best for all concerned if you shared them. Please send your fanmail to: jonnyrose1 (at) gmail (dot) com

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  • Faye Mckenzie

    Brilliant subject. Your right London hasn’t got everything to offer Londoners. I am someone who has recently moved from working in London to working in Croydon. In support of this article Croydon has just as much to offer as Central London and there is more to come with the likes of Westfield and Boxpark already securing their place in Croydon. Yes the time is now for Croydon and those outside of Croydon who keep putting Croydon down…… Watch this space…. To Be Continued…….

  • Stephen Giles

    There is a touch of deja vu here – I moved from working in London to be one of the original dozen people to start the Croydon office of Binder Hamlyn in 1973, although I continued to live in Edmonton until I moved to Selsdon in 1989. The bullies in Binder Hamlyn made me redundant in 1992, but thankfully they were swallowed up by another larger firm of Chartered Accountants, and disappeared!
    So moving to work in Croydon from London is not all new!

  • CroydonSurrey

    A lot of Professionals brought up in Croydon aged 28 to 35 are moving away from Croydon to move closer to London. London has everything they need , and as they are well paid, they can afford it. Westfield and BoxPark needs to hurry up to keep these people here. The bars need to get more upmarket too

  • annasonic

    Is that a joke? I am leaving London and I live in Croydon, Croydon is part of Greater London didn’t you know?). So I am leaving Croydon! Croydon is sh+++ … It’s got all the bad London things without any of the good ones. Plus it’s getting as expensive (which is by the way why I can afford to leave since the equity on my south Croydon flat can buy me a detached house with acres of land in France (outright)!)