People living in Islington, London, are living traumatised lives, like frightened door mice, behind closed doors.

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.

 

Cripplegate Foundation, Distant Neighbours Poverty and inequality in Islington

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