Russell's Of Clapton123 Chatsworth Road
I Love Chatsworth Road's Rebecca King asked the owner Annette Russell a few questions.
I spent 7 years on Downs Road, off Lower Clapton Road. Prior to that I was on Kingsland Road in Dalston, and before that Hoxton.
What was your first impression of Chatsworth Road?
I stumbled upon Chatsworth Road by chance when out walking the dog one day. I remember thinking it was quite a special place, a hidden gem. The road has a nice feel architecturally because of its proportions, the Victorian planners did a good job! I liked the mix of shops and quirky buildings on the streets running off it.
Why did you move here and when?
I moved here when I bought the building for the b&b, in 2010. It wasn’t easy finding the right space, but as soon as I saw the details for this one on Chatsworth Road, I had a good feeling about it, that it was ‘the one’. I spent 4 months in a friends spare room in Haggerston while the building was renovated, and a lot of time whizzing back and forth keeping an eye on the builders.
How long did you spend looking for somewhere to live?
It was only a matter of months really, surprisingly quick. There was only Chatsworth Road and a house on Cecilia Road in Dalston on the market at the time that were the right size, budget, and in the right state. It would be so much harder trying to find somewhere now.
What are your favourite places, shops and people in and around Chatsworth Road? What are the things that make it special?
I always bang on about the green spaces – but it’s fantastic being so close to so many great parks – Millfields, Springfields, the Marshes, and the canal. I love that in 5 minutes you feel like you have escaped to the countryside. I like the new antique and vintage shops opening in the area, from the recent additions on the street to Paradise Works off Lea Bridge Road.
In terms of more established places on the street, Chats Palace and The Dentist at 33 are great cultural spaces, they always have interesting things on. It’s a sign of progress that we now have two restaurants on the street. The market also brings a positive energy to the neighborhood.
There are loads of brilliant people around too, from the street cleaners to the local business owners to the eccentric characters you see most days on the street. And you meet tons of lovely people when you are out walking the dog, people you would never meet otherwise.
I think you've had a range of people staying with you (Gang Gang Dance I think I read somewhere, and any others..) - can you remember any comments and impressions they've had of the area?
I’ve had a few New Yorkers compare Clapton to Brooklyn, and lots of Europeans who appreciate the area is in transition, and are glad they have discovered it before it changes beyond recognition. The intrepid tourists are the best visitors, they could stay anywhere in London but the fact they choose Clapton is an honour, and its lovely seeing them enjoy it, as well as East London as a whole.
I hope the area evolves organically and sympathetically, and retains its unique feel. It feels like there is still the potential for more on the street, from more places to eat or drink in the evening to a good quality fishmonger and butcher. I fear it will end up full of city boys and rich kids, with homogenous chain businesses replacing the local ones.