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MissMacchiato
07-26-2011, 02:28 PM
Hi kiddoes!

It feels like ages since I've been online here!

In my current WIP, I need a dodgy area in London. I did some research and came up with Cold Harbour Lane in Brixton, and Primrose Hill, but basically neither of them looked half as scary as I wanted on google street view.

I want somewhere with stacks of tiny, winding alley ways and lanes that cars can't go down, somewhere that the light can't get through tall buildings, with seedy pubs where if you walk in, everyone turns around and starts staring and if you make eye contact you might get glassed.

Any Londonites (Londoners? Londonians? Londos? Lol!) that might give me a few ideas?

I've visited London loads of times, but being a single female traveller, I've tended to stick in the nicer areas just in case...

thanks in advance!

fireluxlou
07-26-2011, 02:30 PM
I'm not from London but the only place I can think of would be the East end of London.

Becca_H
07-26-2011, 02:43 PM
Yeah, second the east end.

Take a look at crime rates (and types of crime) for each London borough. It might help shed some light on your best location.

Torgo
07-26-2011, 02:50 PM
In my current WIP, I need a dodgy area in London. I did some research and came up with Cold Harbour Lane in Brixton, and Primrose Hill, but basically neither of them looked half as scary as I wanted on google street view.

I want somewhere with stacks of tiny, winding alley ways and lanes that cars can't go down, somewhere that the light can't get through tall buildings, with seedy pubs where if you walk in, everyone turns around and starts staring and if you make eye contact you might get glassed.

Any Londonites (Londoners? Londonians? Londos? Lol!) that might give me a few ideas?

I've visited London loads of times, but being a single female traveller, I've tended to stick in the nicer areas just in case...

thanks in advance!

Primrose Hill?!??

:roll:

Sorry, I don't mean to be rude, but that's hilarious! If you can find a flat in Primrose Hill for under a million quid I'll eat my organic GM-free pork pie hipster hat in the Queen's pub with Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow.

For dodgy you might want the grimier bits of Hackney, Stockwell, Peckham (it seems kind of shooty there at the moment), Tottenham, further out towards Kent, etc. A little out of the centre of town. But you also want twisty alleys, which implies the older centre of town. I suppose the East End? Bethnal Green maybe? (No offence to any of my friends in any of those places.)

Bufty
07-26-2011, 02:53 PM
If you've never been there don't feed the myths.

Go a couple of streets in off the main streets in most city centres at night and things can get a bit dodgy.

If it's fiction don't blame it on the locals.

There are narrow, short, winding streets all over central London.

Sorry, guys, not very helpful, but I love London, and English folk, too.


I'm not from London but the only place I can think of would be the East end of London.

waylander
07-26-2011, 02:54 PM
The dodgy bits of London don't look the way you've described. They tend to be the areas with a lot of public housing, much of which was put up in the 60s (lots of concrete, tower blocks).
For tiny winding alleys you want the City, but that's not at all dodgy - except for financial/legal dealings.

fireluxlou
07-26-2011, 02:57 PM
If you've never been there don't feed the myths.

Go a couple of streets in off the main streets in most city centres at night and things can get a bit dodgy.

If it's fiction don't blame it on the locals.

There are narrow, short, winding streets all over central London.

Sorry, guys, not very helpful, but I love London, and English folk, too.

Well I frequently goo to London and go to the East end a lot. It has lots of narrow passage ways etc what the OP is looking for and was notorious for it's crime and its living standards in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. You only have to research it and the history of London and major cities like Newport to understand the boroughs at the time and what it was like.

I'd research the city and all the Burroughs if I was the OP, maybe visit too.

I'd never live in London though, too big, too expensive regardless of where you live and I just prefer towns.

Becca_H
07-26-2011, 03:05 PM
Primrose Hill?!??

:roll:

Sorry, I don't mean to be rude, but that's hilarious! If you can find a flat in Primrose Hill for under a million quid I'll eat my organic GM-free pork pie hipster hat in the Queen's pub with Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow.



http://www.findaproperty.com/displayprop.aspx?edid=00&salerent=0&pid=8793475

Do I win? Do I? Do I?!

Torgo
07-26-2011, 03:08 PM
http://www.findaproperty.com/displayprop.aspx?edid=00&salerent=0&pid=8793475

Do I win? Do I? Do I?!

Goddammit!

MissMacchiato
07-26-2011, 03:17 PM
lol, Thanks guys...

I have to say I thought it looked pretty tame to me, but anywhere can be dangerous after dark. Torgo and others....

Those names were ones that came up from research about the crime rates in various boroughs. Street crime, such as muggings etc, were found to me most prevalent in those areas, but as you say... they're not the kind of dangerous I want if we're talking council blocks.

I'm wanting... I guess yeah, the 18th 19th century style dodgy, for the modern day, but mostly the kind of place where someone might pull a knife on you, or something.

Visiting would be lovely but as I'm in the other hemisphere probably not an option at this point, lol.

My character is not from London either, so it has to be somewhere that sounds like it'd be okay (Primrose hill SOUNDS pretty, right?) only to find when she hops off the tube that it's not.

Becca_H
07-26-2011, 03:20 PM
Not sure how helpful this is, but I'd say whether someone pulls a knife on you depends on who you actually are. There's a lot of gang activity and racially motivated attacks in these areas. Or at least, that's all that appears in the news.

Pretty places? What about Bethnal Green? It has 'Green' in it.

Mr Flibble
07-26-2011, 03:27 PM
All those in favour of photos of Torgo and Gwynny say aye :D



mostly the kind of place where someone might pull a knife on you, or something.


Islington has seen a huge rise in knife crime just lately. There are some alleys/roads you just don't walk down after dark, you know? But parts of it look quite posh. And The Angel sounds nice...

waylander
07-26-2011, 03:28 PM
What do you want your MC to experience? Walking around an area that looks dodgy, or actually going somewhere dodgy and having a knife pulled on them?

waylander
07-26-2011, 03:29 PM
Islington has seen a huge rise in knife crime just lately. There are some alleys/roads you just don't walk down after dark, you know? But parts of it look quite posh. And The Angel sounds nice...

Due to an influx of Somalis I hear.
Most of it is young men/gang members knifing other young men/gang members

Buffysquirrel
07-26-2011, 03:36 PM
I've been in Brixton and nobody took the slightest notice of me. That was pretty early in the morning, though. If you want an area that's currently notorious for knife crime, try Tottenham. Note: notorious doesn't mean the problem is real.

Torgo
07-26-2011, 03:37 PM
Due to an influx of Somalis I hear.
Most of it is young men/gang members knifing other young men/gang members

Yep, the Somalis have got quite a grip on the drugs trade in Camden where I live, and wouldn't be at all surprised to hear Islington too. The coppers I've spoken to say it's tough to break down because they're very family-oriented and don't flip on each other.

As you say mostly it is teenage kids being used to sell drugs/burn bags round the canal and the estates - they're the ones who end up knifing or even shooting each other. We had them hanging around our estate for a long while and I saw running battles - 20 a side, with sticks, chains and god knows what else - dog fights, the lot. Happily for me, the police seem to have shifted those problems elsewhere for the time being.

Mr Flibble
07-26-2011, 03:53 PM
I expect most of it is gang related, but I recall going to see a mate lives out that way. He was giving us directions to the tube and I vividly remember him saying 'So then go straight on. DO NOT turn right there. I know it's shorter, but you won't make it to the other end of the road...'

This thread just brought that to mind.

Snitchcat
07-26-2011, 04:07 PM
Try: Woolwich (back streets where there are lots of houses and flats for rent) and Plumstead (alley, shoddy housing, dirty, and a depressive atmosphere). There are green bits in both, but not much.

Blackheath also might be an area to look at -- slightly more up market than Woolwich or Plumstead, but not by much. There's a huge open green area there, surrounded by roads.

Other places: Brixton, especially after dark.

China Town, somewhere around 3am / 4am. Anything before that and the place is still full of people. Approximately 6am, activity starts up again.

If you go down the main street there, and look for stairs that go to basements -- Mahjong clubs, seedy clubs, etc.

SoHo after 8pm or 9pm.

Can't remember any others.

(Btw, used to live in the Woolwich / Plumstead area, visited Blackheath almost every day, and China Town wasn't far, either. :) )

MissMacchiato
07-26-2011, 04:25 PM
thanks everyone!

My MC, a rather naive being, has hearda friend (who has disappeared) was last seen at a club in this dangerous area. I figure Brixton works well since there are a lot of live music and rave clubs in this area, from what I could discover.

She goes there, and is threatened by the proprietors (who are using the place as a cover for something else).

I wanted her to go back out onto the street and in a panic (and not really thinking about what she's doing) end up down some seedy back alleyway where something MIGHT happen.

It doesnt. But it could. Type thing.

This is really fascinating, although I am aware of not wanting to add to a stereotype when I don't really know what i'm talking about, which is why I wanted to get a few ideas which I can then use as a starting point for more research :D

:popcorn:

waylander
07-26-2011, 04:48 PM
If your MC is on the street in Brixton in the evening someone is likely to offer to sell her drugs if she is not obviously middle-aged. If she is on her own she could easily get more hassle of a sexual nature

crunchyblanket
07-26-2011, 05:30 PM
Brixton is oft mentioned but in all honesty, these days it's not so bad.

I grew up in the Elephant and Castle, and there were areas we just didn't go. Peckham is still very dodgy, and Camberwell can be dangerous if you're not savvy. Some parts of Woolwich are a bit risky.

If it's a club you're looking at, how about modelling it on the Ministry of Sound at the Elephant and Castle? We were always careful not to go there at night. Lots of stabbings and shootings.

Also, Wood Green and some parts of Barking.

crunchyblanket
07-26-2011, 05:36 PM
As an afterthought, Google street view Loman Street, SE1 and the surrounding areas. I was there recently and there're a lot of little isolated streets in that area. It looks fairly quiet during the day but it's pretty dim at night and easy to get lost. Your character could feasibly be coming from Blackfriars or Southwark and end up there.

BunnyMaz
07-26-2011, 05:44 PM
In terms of actually dodgy, Camden Town can be a very dodgy area. It is also one of my favourite parts of London. A sprawling, messy series of 3-4 permanent markets selling everything that a goth, punk, hippy or BDSM fetishist may want, as well as fashions from what are more obscure trends here in Blimey, like gothic lolita etc.

There's a cluster of food stalls in one of the markets where every single seller will call to you simultaneously to buy from them - not her, from me from me.

Almost all of the shops on the street are selling similar things to the market stalls, although you can find more of the more expensive items, as well as a large supply of head shops, fetish shops, adult entertainment, tattooists etc, and there is one shop which, when you enter it, is terrifying. A single corridor just wide enough to walk down, crowded either side with clothes, and the shop staff will stand in your way to stop you from leaving to try and pressure you to buy.

There is a thriving nightlife there - The Underworld Nightclub (http://www.theunderworldcamden.co.uk/) has loads of gigs, bands come to play. The club is in the basement of a huge, gorgeous old pub called the World's End Pub (http://www.theworldsend.co.uk/) which has loads of character to it.

The area is also a thriving hotspot of multiculture, and a lot of the subculture-identifying people dress up when going to Camden.

What makes it dodgy is the high crime levels. The place is generally heaving with crowds, and as you're weaving up and down, you're at a high risk of getting things nicked if you don't keep them secure. There are also people out in the street directly saying "want some coke, want some coke? Want e? Want a joint?"

I've never had a bad experience there, but Camden may have just the right atmosphere for you.

crunchyblanket
07-26-2011, 05:47 PM
re: camden - particularly if you wander off the beaten track and head towards Kentish Town or Chalk Farm. Not nice of an evening.

Becca_H
07-26-2011, 06:16 PM
This thread is totally going to put off tourists wanting to visit London.
Everyone can name somewhere different not to go unless you want to be murdered.

crunchyblanket
07-26-2011, 06:23 PM
I'll never forget being on the Tube one day when I heard these Canadian tourists talking about the stops on the tube map. And one of them said "Hey, Elephant and Castle! That sounds like a fun place."

I dined out on that story for days. Well, I say days. Someone paid for my Jenny Burger.

Torgo
07-26-2011, 06:33 PM
I'll never forget being on the Tube one day when I heard these Canadian tourists talking about the stops on the tube map. And one of them said "Hey, Elephant and Castle! That sounds like a fun place."


Ha! NO.

Steve Collins
07-26-2011, 07:22 PM
Check out this link to the Ripper murders, little has changed in respect of pubs and alleyways etc:
http://www.jack-the-ripper-tour.com/the_route.htm

BunnyMaz
07-26-2011, 09:15 PM
To be fair though, every city and town has its dodgy areas, and somewhere like London, which is basically as much a transit hub as a place people live, is going to have dangers. Anyone travelling from one county to another in the South of the UK, or travelling from South to North or visa versa by public transport, will almost always need to go through London. Tourists congregate there for odd days, both Brits and foreign tourists. A LOT of the people who work in London live outside it and commute in and out each day. So you've got a constantly shifting and changing population, and you do naturally get a lot of dodgy types in there.

In terms of actual safety though, I feel more safe in Camden than in the back streets of the Essex/London Borough village I grew up in. Let alone places like Romford. But for plot purposes, yeah, there's a ton of London locations that could fit for your story arc.

Buffysquirrel
07-26-2011, 10:05 PM
It's a few years since I worked in Camden, but I felt safe there. Even now when I transit through King's Cross, I feel safe. I know the area.

AVS
07-26-2011, 10:23 PM
Here's a link from 2008/2009 half way down it shows the highest crime rates in various London boroughs. Tower Hamlets has always been particularly high up in these surveys.

http://www.london-insider.co.uk/2009/08/which-are-the-safest-areas-boroughs-in-london/

Don't forget an average London borough is the size of a small-mid city (often contain 250,000 people). Consequently the variation in borough is enormous. Each borough often contains areas that are distinct in their own right but have been subsumed into a borough as an economic/political area.

You might find this quite dark fun from the metropolitan police. Crime stats for London.

http://www.met.police.uk/crimefigures/

London can be very confusing as at around 8 million people it has about as many people as Scotland and Wales combined. The urban areas in London are cheek by jowl, an upmarket expensive suburb can be right next to a high crime sink estate.

Becca_H
07-26-2011, 10:25 PM
Kingston-upon-Thames also has rough areas, and sounds quite nice.

I asked a native Londoner (who is very proud of being a Londoner) this question, and got these responses (there may be duplicates with the above):

Wembley, East Ham, Stratford, Barking, Dagenham, Walthamstow, Haringey, Vauxhall, Shoreditch, Mile End, Stepney, Deptford, Battersea, Wandsworth, Clapham, Mitcham, Croydon, East Dulwich, Tooting, Crystal Palace, Norwood, West Norwood, South Norwood, Selhurst, Hern Hill, Kings Cross, Shepherd's Bush, Kensal Green, Bayswater.

I'm pretty sure this is basically all of London. Also, Bayswater is apparently renound for prostitution.

Also, you may want to drop Pratt's Bottom into your story. You know, just because.

crunchyblanket
07-26-2011, 10:35 PM
I always thought Crystal Palace was quite nice.

But Deptford! Oh, Deptford. Home of my beloved Millwall and more National Front thugs than you can shake a stick at. Although in recent years they've attempted to redevelop the place. It's still not somewhere I'd go at night. Even us Elephant and Castle lot used to say "I hate Deptford....because it's Deptford."

See also: Lewisham.

Becca_H
07-26-2011, 10:40 PM
Apparently Crystal Palace is pretty dreadful, especially Crystal Palace Park, which is a guaranteed place to get horrifically murdered.

This is also another candidate for a nice-sounding place for the OP.

Ms Hollands
07-26-2011, 11:58 PM
If your MC is on the street in Brixton in the evening someone is likely to offer to sell her drugs if she is not obviously middle-aged. If she is on her own she could easily get more hassle of a sexual nature

I have to disagree. I had dreads when I lived in the UK and nobody ever offered me drugs in Brixton. In a sleepy French ski resort, I regularly got "Hey rasta, you want some ganga?"

Silly stories aside, crime can happen in any of the places mentioned (even the posh ones). I remmeber walking down to the tube station in Hammersmith, seeing "Crime committed here" posters, asking communters if they'd seen anything.

If your character is from, say, Melbourne, Camberwell or Croydon could be good examples of names she is familiar with as being good areas, but which are a bit less good in London.

but again, I must stress that you could really set it in any of the places mentioned. CCTV is rampant in London ad surrounds - might be worth considering for your story too.

Switch-Phase
07-27-2011, 12:29 AM
When I was in London, I didn't experience anything that would make the place seem dodgy.. Very beautiful actually.

Although, if I recall correctly, the Chapel is a dodgy place. Not sure if it still is, but back in the day the streets were littered with prostitutes, drunks and disease. There was one building where you could come in and give your identification as a newcomer, and the records were poorly kept. The policing was shoddy at best, the women oftenleft to their own devices, and rape, thft and murder was through the roof.

East end was the worst.. And the buildings had such narrow crevices to travel through, one could get mugged or mudered, and nobody'd see it. Who's to say anyone would even report it? Many of them kept to themselves, because the foreign groups were often frowned at by the native of London at the time.

That's what I recall of the Chapel anyway, other than that I have no idea what places are dodgy in London.

Thump
07-27-2011, 12:47 AM
How about my area? Burnt Oak, we had two unrelated stabbings last weekend... :D although, no little alleys or any of that rather cliche stuff. Lots of unemployment and gangs though.

Tottenham is rough! Seriously! Last place I would want to live in outside the Middle-East and war-torn Africa. Harringey and Hackney have some renowned bad areas and parts of Hoxton might suit your vision of alleyways and seedy 19th century London.

Don't trust the Met's statistics too much, posh neighborhoods have a higher rate of reporting crime for example, some bad areas have little reported crime because of fear of reprisals... As others have mentionned, boroughs are about the size of a small to mid city, while some are generally nice, like Barnet, they do have their bad areas. I'm happy my bit of Burnt Oak/Colindale is in Barnet because otherwise I'd be in Brent and that borough isn't quite as good ;)

eyeblink
07-27-2011, 01:58 AM
A friend of mine who lives in Paisley told me that Glaswegians find London scary. And if any UK city has a rough reputation it's Glasgow - not deserved IMO, as I've found the centre no worse than any other city. (On the other hand, the estates around the perimeter, where you have no business going to as a visitor, are seriously dodgy.)

Mr Flibble
07-27-2011, 02:40 AM
Hmm, maybe Glasgow has changed since I was there - I've never seen a whole area with offies having the steel grilles half shut even when they are open 'just in case', as I did in Maryhill.*


"I hate Deptford....because it's Deptford."

Change that to (Creepy) Crawley...



*I think it was Maryhill. It was one heck of a pub crawl, I know that.

BunnyMaz
07-27-2011, 03:50 AM
If you feel like spreading out into London boroughs, Elm Park is pretty grim, too.

AVS
07-27-2011, 12:15 PM
And you don't want to go east of the river. No one goes to Pukeley, Grimsdon or Satanswell after midnight.