Prepared Talk, part of my final Exam at Communications and Presentation Skills course
I used to live in North London and have worked in central London for many years. I never considered moving to South London, it was all a strange world to me. I remember visiting a friend once, who was then a manager of a pub in Lewisham. On my way there I thought I must be at the end of London, in the middle of nowhere! So when I met my future husband and started dating him, I dragged him from Peckham to West Hampstead first, where we shared a small studio in an expensive street with no shops around. Yes it did have nice cafes and art galleries but as we both worked full time we didnt make much of it. It was only a few months later, when he found a lovely spacious garden flat in Brockley, that South London become my home.
I now live just across the street, on the corner of Kender Street and Queens Road, on the boundary of Lewisham and Southwark boroughs. So although I am a resident of Lewisham, I happen to spend most of my time in Peckham.
I remember when one of my ex-colleagues from an international engineering company (of Indian origin, living in East Ham) described getting lost and driving through Peckham, making sure all the door locks in his car were locked – that scared he was. I thought it was neither funny nor fair. I already knew the area pretty well and felt a bit offended.
On another occasion a teacher from my HNC course mentioned a colleague of his who used to live in Peckham but had moved away, which is quite understandable because you wouldnt want your kids to grow up in Peckham, would you? It kept me thinking for a few days.
After 6 years of living here Ive got to know many people, some of them become my friends. Most of them are other Czech/Slovak mums who live locally. We meet regularly. We organize activities for our children. We know many places to go and things to do. These are some of them:
On Saturday mornings we take our children to Softplay in Peckham Pulse. You can go swimming there, or do aerobic if you fancy it, while kids are in a crèche, or just pop in for delicious Latte & carrot cake in the Pulse Cafe, where you can sit and through the glass wall observe the open space in front of Peckham Library. The building of Peckham Library has been given awards for its design and there are loads of things going on inside, for example the Book start sessions for Under 5s;
Most of the summer days we spend in local parks & playgrounds.Burgess Park is recently being redeveloped, it has a nice tiny playground and a new park cafe, there also are beautiful Chumleigh Gardens behind the old building;
Peckham Rye Park is in the most convenient location for all of us with good transport links. It has a lake, playground, cafe and a picnic area. I love the gardens with the various flowers changing colours during the year. Kids love racing there on scooters, feeding ducks and chasing the pigeons;
There is Peckhamplex, cinema with the cheapest tickets in London (£4.99!), they even do Watch with baby screenings where coffee & cake for mums is included in a price!;
Then there is Blue Elephant Theatre, a much loved fringe theatre with imaginative and affordable shows for children;
And then there is shopping! Rye Lane is packed with shops: Morrisons, Lidl, Primark, Boots, Mothercare, Argos, several Poundshops, Greggs to name only a few – and more importantly: MARKETS! This is the place to buy not only selection of cheap calling cards to all countries in a world, but also fresh fish, halal meat, vegetables, Nollywood DVDs, spices from all around the world, simply all that you need!
The schools in Peckham all have good OFSTED reports. The parents I meet when I am dropping off my son to school are from all different cultural backgrounds and social classes.
The council is getting rid of old run-down estates and improving the area by building new social developments to good standards. In my experience, the area is as safe as any other areas of London.
Peckham is a multicultural , vibrant, lively, friendly, busy place. It doesnt deserve the image of crime ridden area , its a good place to live and its coming up!
I love Peckham because of its people, the community, the spirit.