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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Cat Olley

Why I live in Hackney Wick: how this 'authentic' neighbourhood became home for menswear designer Saul Nash

I was born in Homerton and lived in Edmonton, Stoke Newington and Stamford Hill before moving to Hackney Wick three years ago.

I really love the area. It’s changed significantly since the Olympics, but it still has that authentic feel. I live on an estate and talk to all the neighbours, so I hear these different stories and perspectives. There’s a sense of new and old, side by side.

Best eating and drinking

It’s definitely eclectic. My favourite spot is Tamila, which is part of Hackney Bridge food hall. The curry is the best I’ve ever tasted, and the roti is amazing too. They make it right in front of you.

Hackney Bridge food hall on East Bay Lane (Daniel Lynch)

My partner and I went to the Cornerstone on Prince Edward Road for our anniversary. It’s a Michelin star restaurant, which feels quite bizarre in that location. I tried oysters for the first time and the flavour was so nice that it helps you overcome that slimy feel. Their wine menu is great too.

The Lord Napier Star on White Post Lane was abandoned and then reopened a couple of years ago. It’s got a hybrid pub and bar feel, with a roof terrace and rooms for karaoke.

I love getting Caribbean food from a takeaway called Swift on Homerton High Street, but my family is Guyanese and for that it has to be Kaieteur Kitchen in Elephant & Castle.

The Lord Napier Star pub reopened two years ago (Daniel Lynch)

Where I work out

I wake up at 6am every morning to work out. I used to be a dancer and there are some great dance studios in the area, like Ample Space on Wallis Road.

For jogging or an outdoor workout I’ll head to the Olympic Park, which has a great calisthenics area. If I’m after an indoor gym I’ll go to the London Aquatics Centre.

To commune with nature

The River Lea waterways crisscross Hackney Wick and the Olympic Park (Daniel Lynch)

We’re not far from Victoria Park but what I really love doing at the weekends is walking along the canals. They lead you across to Broadway Market or to Limehouse in the other direction. There are a lot of beautiful paths.

Recently I saw a houseboat being raised on one of the locks, which was interesting.

For a culture fix

We have a lot of queer spaces, like the Yard Theatre and Grow which do live events. There are loads of art studios in Here East and they hold exhibitions.

Saul shops for his archive at Vintage Hackney Wick (Daniel Lynch)

One thing Hackney Wick does really well is vintage clothing. I’ll go to Vintage Hackney Wick, which is only open at the weekend, to find pieces for my archive. I recently bought a really beautiful Chinese satin uniform. I didn’t realise how much vintage there was in the area when I moved here.

I love going to the cinema, but at the moment it’s Stratford for a mainstream one or to Genesis in Bethnal Green for an independent.

Grocery shopping

I cook a lot of Caribbean food, so I tend to use the corner shop which has everything. We live near the Sainsbury’s but there are these pockets of independent shops around.

I’m very much about speed and convenience, but my partner loves going to Broadway Market or Village Organic on Lauriston Road, which is near The Ginger Pig butchers.

(Daniel Lynch)

Getting around

I walk a lot on the weekends if I’m staying in Hackney, but I also like Lime bikes. My studio is in Somerset house so I’ll get the Tube and Overground back, or the bus if I want to decompress. 

Dream street

There are a lot of nice houses towards Victoria Park or Chatsworth Road, including one architectural black house on Wick Road which is like no house I’ve ever seen.

Grow do live events (Daniel Lynch)

Something you only see in Hackney Wick

People living such different lives side by side, between the houseboats, warehouses and everything built for the Olympics. It’s a mix of so many different worlds.

What's the catch?

The reliability of the Overground. It’s so often down on Sundays. 

In three words

Vibrant. Bizarre. Fun.

Saul Nash is a dancer and choreographer-turned-menswear designer.

Hackney Bridge, East Bay Lane (Daniel Lynch)


Schools in Hackney Wick proper are limited to two primaries, ‘Outstanding’ Mossbourne Riverside Academy and ‘Good’ Gainsborough Primary School.

‘Outstanding’ secondaries within the wider area include Harris Academy Chobham and Mossbourne Victoria Park Academy.

What it costs

Buying in Hackney Wick

Average house price: £784,500

Average flat price: £443,620

Renting in Hackney Wick

Average house rent: £3,260 pcm

Average flat rent: £2,250 pcm

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