Published: 23/10/2017New Cross is seen as one of the hottest areas of London, due to its up-and-coming status, lively urban vibe, invigoratingly diverse population and for being home to Goldsmiths Art College. The students of Goldsmiths – whose many famous alumni have included Damien Hirst, Kate Tempest, members of Blur, Julian Clary, John Cale, Lucian Freud, Antony Gormley, Princess Beatrice, Malcolm McClaren, Mary Quant and Molly Parkin – ensure an ever-youthful presence in the area.
However, much of its elegant housing stock is anything but youthful: a sizeable amount consists of Victorian brick-built terraced homes, many enjoying such features as high ceilings and generous proportions. The Telegraph Hill conservation area (running to the south of New Cross Road) and the St Johns conservation area (between Brookmill Road and Lewisham Way) are especially sought after. Streets such as Jerningham Road and Pepys Road, having large Victorian homes on quiet residential tree-lined streets and within the catchment area of popular Edmund Waller Primary School, are popular.
Many period properties in the neighbourhood were divided into flats during the 60s 70s, although there has been a recent trend to restore them back into family homes. New Cross offers the opportunity to live in a vibrant, cosmopolitan community without the property price tags often associated with many London neighbourhoods.
For nightlife, it’s got fabulous choices: both a cinema at Goldsmiths and the fiercely independent Deptford Cinema, little fringe venue The London Theatre, and The Albany arts venue for a diverse series of live events. With their regular live bands, the Amersham Arms, The Venue and the New Cross Inn are popular with students: no wonder bands associated with New Cross include Dire Straits, Squeeze, Klaxons, Bloc Party and Athlete. Danny Baker, Steve Harley and the actor/director Gary Oldman grew up here, too.
The New Cross House, with its upmarket pizzas and craft beers, caters for an older crowd and families. The Rose and the Royal Albert are other popular pubs. There are some cosy little cafés too, including The London Particular, the LP Bar next door with its aeroplane-themed interior, and Out of the Brew. Regular art exhibitions are held at Lewisham Art House on Lewisham Way.
A strong reason for New Cross popularity is its great transport links from New Cross and New Cross Gate stations. As well as train services to central London (New Cross is just four miles from Charing Cross), there’s the London Overground, while the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) is accessed from Deptford Bridge.
Recommended state primary schools include Turnham, St Stephen’s Church of England, and Edmund Waller. Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham College has in the past enjoyed the distinction of being the most oversubscribed state secondary school in the country, while Addey and Stanhope school is also popular. Highly rated private options nearby include St Dunstan’s College in Catford (mixed, ages 4–18) and Sydenham High School (girls, ages 4–18).
While it doesn’t have many of the familiar high street shops (although it boasts a sizeable Sainsbury’s by New Cross Gate station), there are many small independentshops including butchers, fishmongers and ethnic textile and food retailers. Deptford Market sells everything from foodstuffs to clothing and retro furniture.
Away from the busy A2 highway cutting through New Cross’s centre, decent pockets of green space can be found, including Deptford Park, Bridge House Meadows, Fordham Park, Folkestone Gardens and Telegraph Hill Park. Both Royal Greenwich Park and Blackheath are a short bus ride away.
There are two prominent churches in the vicinity: St Nicholas’s and St Paul’s. St Paul’s is a magnificent Roman baroque church designed by Thomas Archer in 1730, while parts of St Nicholas’s date back to the 12th century. The latter was visited by Sir Francis Drake and Captain James Cook before their global expeditions and contains wood carvings by Grinling Gibbons and a memorial to Elizabethan dramatist Christopher Marlowe, killed in Deptford in 1593.