Then And Now: Brixton In Photos

Brixton is a district in South-West London. It was one of the first areas to become popular with West Indian immigrants in the 1950s, and over the decades has become one of the most multi-cultural boroughs in London. Famous for large markets, some on the street and another inside a purpose-built market hall, at one time it was also a hotspot for street crime, and heavy-handed policing as a result. In the early 1980s, those tensions erupted into open rioting that lasted for days.

Since then, there has been much investment in the borough, and the proximity to the centre of the city attracted wealthier residents, causing property prices to increase and a gradual process of gentrification. In 2021, Journalist Martin Godwin revisited the area, and compared modern Brixton with the same streets in 1981 and 1985.
(The photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.)

The Indoor Market.

A bleak 1960s Housing Estate, demolished to provide nicer homes for people and give a sense of community.

The main street, close to the train station.

A run-down area repurposed for social housing.

The Street Market.

Unwanted shops now open with new owners and thriving businesses.

Another Street Market. The goods sold in them have changed over the years.

44 thoughts on “Then And Now: Brixton In Photos

  1. (1a/b) MamaLan ate all of Woolgars’ Danish bacon.
    (2a/b) There’s a ton of bricks in Brixton.
    (3a/b) From a child in a wheelchair to healthy babies in strollers. Life has improved!
    (4a/b) From a rundown area to a place that offers cheap international calls.
    (5a/b) At least now I can call 020.7733.2867 to order a Supermalt at the SW Foodstore.
    (6a/b) Overheard:
    Young Man: “Okay, I’ll go work on the motor again. What are you going to do?”
    Young Woman: “I’m going to work on my plans for opening HAIR Focus.”
    (7a/b) No matter which photo I look at, my eyes keep following the up arrow. No wonder my head is in the clouds.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 5) Supermalt is a very popular drink with the West Indian community in England. I tried it once in 1981, and found it tasted disgusting. It’s a cultural thing, and definitely not for me.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The nearest city to where I live now is Norwich, the largest town/city in Norfolk. That has around the same population as your ‘small town’, and a wealth of history. It has been a city since 575AD.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Pete…when I do get the chance to check into WordPress I always enjoy your posts. It is just a matter of not enough hours in the day. Work, family and the now-teenage puppy. I’m not sure what is more challenging: my teenage daughter or my teenage puppy 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Knew this suburb well. Went to those riots, will tell you more private. It was quite a run down area in the 80s, certainly not safe. Back then I still had my kiwi accent & played cricket so I was let off a few run ins.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember all the trouble there, and it was not an area I ever visited by choice. It still has its problems of course, but a lot has been done there to improve things since the 90s.
      Best wishes, Pete.


    1. Not by some standards, but a huge improvement on when I knew the area well. There was a time when I would not have even driven my car along any of the side streets there, let alone walked on them. At least they were given back a real sense of community, and the ‘yuppies’ managed to integrate quite well too.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It was mainly the residential areas that were changed there, Jon. The previous large estates were awful places to live in, and generated a lot of unrest and crime. The main roads, markets, and the shopping centre are mostly unchanged, as you noticed.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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