People living in Islington, London, are living traumatised lives, like frightened door mice, behind closed doors.
Diana is a lone parent of two children: her son is now an adult whilst her daughter is still at primary school. She lived in Islington since she was ten years old. She has never worked and her son was stabbed several years ago and, whilst he survived, the experience has increased her fear and sense of isolation. She only leaves her flat to take her daughter to school and for her daily visit to her mother for a meal. At the weekends she and her daughter do not leave the house. Diana describes her house as “her world” and, although she knows she is in a rut, she does feel able to live any other way at the moment.
Connor is a 50 year old man who has lived by himself in Islington for 20 years. His parents died when he was ten years old forcing him to grow up very quickly. He has no partner or children, he does not see the rest of his family, and, after a relationship ended badly some time ago, he does not have any contact with friends. Connor has severe dyslexia. He is not currently working.
The hollowing out of London for the use of a new international financial class
It would seem that part of the reason for peoples’ growing isolation in Islington, is the fact that London has for the past thirty years been hollowed out, determined for use by the world’s developing international financial class.
Jet setters move in, treating London like an office, their home a weekday evening residence, their weekends full of international breaks. Technology and cheap air travel means they socialise with people around the world, family, colleagues and friends.
Those who are left in the area, of an era, when people used to depend on their neighbours, become increasingly isolated in their own homes, physically close by to the jet setters, but emotionally and psychologically irrelevant.
“It is getting harder to live in Islington as everything is more expensive. It feels like the city is moving forward but you are stuck here. It is more about individuals now and less about community. You might see your neighbours during the week but then they are away at weekends and it is dead round here.