Recently dubbed ‘the coolest place to live in Britain’ by The Guardian, Dalston’s status as a buzzing entertainment and nightlife spot make it easy to see why it has become the new hip northeast London district to inhabit.
The area started life as one of four small villages within the Parish of Hackney, along with Newington, Shacklewell and Kingsland. During the 18th and 19th centuries, as railways and buildings developed, the area transformed from an agricultural and rural landscape to an urban site, with Dalston eventually exceeding its neighbour, Kingsland. Over the last hundred years the area has attracted a plethora of new immigrants, resulting in a diverse melting pot of Jewish, Caribbean, Turkish, Vietnamese and Polish communities.
Dalston is renowned for its entertainment venues, with some of the most popular including the celebrated Rio cinema - one of the few independent cinemas left in London, The Arcola Theatre, which produces some of London’s best quality fringe theatre, and the recently opened Dalston Culture House which now hosts the famous Vortex Jazz Club. Soap fans will be interested to know that the area known as Fassett Square provided the inspiration for the fictional location of Albert Square in BBC’s soap opera Eastenders.
Dalston has also gained legendary status for its shopping credentials, mainly due to its excellent Ridley Road street market. Glamorous is not the word here, but if you’re after good quality fruit, vegetables and local meat, the stalls offer excellent value for money amid a vibrant, bustling atmosphere. It is also home to some fantastic pubs and late night bars such as Dalston Superstore, The Prince George, Dalston Jazz Bar and Bardens Boudoir which all attract a hip, like-minded crowd.
Architecturally, the area’s mix of 18th and 19th century terraced houses make it an appealing location for homebuyers, with plenty of scope for investment opportunity as the lead-up to the new railway station and 2012 Olympic Games ensues.
Dalston’s nearest overground station is Dalston Kingsland and a new railway station at Dalston junction is now in construction, due to be completed in 2010.