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De Beauvoir area guide

De Beauvoir | N1

Area Guide

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De Beauvoir Area Info

De Beauvoir Area Info

Often referred to as De Beauvoir Town, this popular area in the London Borough of Hackney would better be described as a village, such is its friendly, community-minded feel. Bordered by Shoreditch, Dalston, Canonbury and Shacklewell, De Beauvoir has some pretty lively neighbours, and while you’d be well placed to experience all that they have to offer, De Beauvoir itself also has plenty going on – just in a quieter, more peaceful setting. It is for this reason that many who move here tend to stay and grow roots, meaning that property is hard to come by and sells at a premium.

De Beauvoir has beautiful examples of large, period Victorian houses popular with the families who gravitate to this area. For affluent, young professionals there are a number of new-build apartment blocks offering luxury accommodation with views of the capital. However, for the area’s most imposing properties, head to De Beauvoir Square, where the semi-detached, Jacobean-style villas can change hands for a cool £3 million.

De Beauvoir is well serviced transport wise, with Canonbury, Haggerston, Hoxton and Dalston Junction Overground stations all offering quick routes in to the city (average journey times are generally less than 30 minutes). Angel Underground station on the Northern line is also just a short bus journey away. De Beauvoir Primary School on Tottenham Road, rates a good by Ofsted while nearby Hackney New Primary School on Downham Road gets an outstanding rating. At secondary level the Waterside Academy and City of London Academy Shoreditch Park are both rated good.

Things To Do In De Beauvoir

Let’s start with De Beauvoir Square, which, as we’ve already mentioned, is bordered by beautiful Jacobean style houses. But that’s not all, because the square itself is a thing of beauty, being classically laid out to incorporate gorgeous lawns, stunning rose and flower beds and even a children’s play area. The square also regularly hosts neighbourhood events. No wonder it’s protected under the London Squares Preservation Act!

Although De Beauvoir Town doesn’t have a high street as such, most of the area’s restaurants, shops and cafes are concentrated on Southgate Road, which is where you’ll find the De Beauvoir Deli Company. Founded in 2009 by Harry Davies, a life-long local, the deli quickly became synonymous with the area, serving up indulgent treats for breakfast, lunch and dinner, while also offering luxury and artisan groceries to take home. Sweet Thursday is another Southgate Road stalwart, with a wine shop at the front and a pizzeria at the back, serving some of the most inventive Neapolitan pizzas we’ve ever tasted!

Also a local favourite is the Rosemary Branch, a charming boozer located on the corner of Shepperton Road that also happens to be an award-winning theatre. Indeed, the site’s entertainment roots stretch back to Victorian times, with records suggesting that the then music hall played host to Marie Lloyd, Little Titch and possibly even Charlie Chaplin.

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History of De Beauvoir

Named after the family that purchased land and subsequently built houses in the area back in 1640, De Beauvoir came into being around the area of the Regent’s Canal after its opening in 1820. Peter De Beauvoir later agreed a 150 acre lease with developer William Rhodes to build houses in the area near the canal. Plans were drawn up and interest was secured. Subsequently however, it was discovered that Rhodes had obtained the lease fraudulently and so the scheme was scrapped. A lengthy court case ensued and some 20 years later in 1824, the land reverted back to the De Beauvoir family. The delays meant that many of Rhodes’ investors had deserted him and the area.

Eventually it was agreed that a much more modest scheme would be undertaken. Of Rhodes’ original plans – four residential squares meeting on diagonally intersecting roads to form an octagon - the most south-easterly of the squares would be built along with some other elements of Rhodes’ original ideas. What still remains today are Enfield Road, Stamford Road and Ardleigh Road and the only square that was built of the four, De Beauvoir Square.

De Beauvoir survived the war years with minimal damage. Due to its location away from the Thames the area wasn’t targeted as greatly as its riverside neighbours and so much of the original fabric remained undamaged. That said, council town planners weren’t so sympathetic and the northern part of De Beauvoir Town was demolished in the 1960’s to make way for the Kingsgate Council Estate. Further demolition took place with the Lockner Road estate being built to the east of De Beauvoir Square prompting the formation of the De Beauvoir Association. Their sole purpose was to go head to head with Hackney Council to prevent them from causing further destruction of the area for the erection of faceless council estates.

The Association successfully halted any further construction and by 1969 the rest of the Square had become a conservation area. This area would be extended later to encompass most of De Beauvoir Town, joining up with the Kingsland conservation area at the eastern edge.

De Beauvoir Square - London
De Beauvoir Square - London

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