Focus On Shadwell: One of the best value places for first time buyers in Zone Two

Melissa York
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Shadwell Basin

Shadwell, sitting within the wider area of Wapping, has had its fair share of ups and downs.

From the Battle of Cable Street in 1936 to the strikes at News International’s printworks, it’s an unusually ordered streetscape with a turbulent history. Unusually ordered because it’s one of the first places in the capital that was masterplanned.

“Shadwell is one of the few corners where a post-war plan to rationalise London got off the ground,” says David Fell, a research analyst at Hamptons International estate agents. “Many of the rambling Victorian streets, which had escaped the attentions of the Luftwaffe, were brushed away in the 1960s in favour of a bold new vision for the capital.”

The East Enders that lived there were more than pleased to swap their crowded terraces for low rise council blocks, with central heating and indoor bathrooms, and the streets directly off of Cable Street are still some of the best value properties in Zone Two.

“The properties in the area represent exceptional value for money for the savvy first time buyer looking for a great location, with one bedroom flats averaging £300,000 and two bedroom apartments selling for around £380,000,” says Foxtons’ Wapping sales manager Rachel Bird.

Hamptons’ data puts year-on-year house price growth at about the London average (5.9 per cent), and the proportion of first time buyers is only 3 per cent higher than the capital average (26 per cent). The humble terraces are incredibly popular, with one selling on New Road for £1.95m in 2014.

There are an abnormally large number of independent retailers on the high street (81 per cent), the most common businesses being restaurants (35) and cafes and coffee shops (31).

There are great transport links in the area, too, with a three minute commute to Bank and a 12 minute journey to Canary Wharf via the DLR, and the London Overground opposite opens up the nightlife and creative industries of Shoreditch, Hoxton and Dalston.

The area has been popular with financial services professionals for many years, as it’s bookended by the City of London and Canary Wharf. In fact, it led the current vogue for redeveloping industrial warehouses into Manhattan-style loft apartments in the 1980s in the early days of the Docklands Development Corporation, and the last warehouse conversion, 37 flats in Galliard’s Wapping Riverside development on Wapping High Street, have been sold.

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If you bought one of these or one of the smart flats around the marina, you’ll be laughing all the way to your next penthouse. These tend to jostle for attention with social housing, Georgian terraces and even a couple of gated mews.

Other high end options for discerning professionals include News International’s former printworks, which is being redeveloped by Berkeley subsidiary St George into London Dock, comprising 1,800 new homes. Royal Mint Gardens, to the east of Cable Street, is also set to make an impact, and Aldgate, to the north of Shadwell, is another major regeneration site.

The Prospect of Whitby pub

“The increase in commercial premises will be a significant bonus to the area, adding to the busy and bustling Watling Market and Waitrose at the nearby St Katharine Docks,” says Bird.

The Pierhead has also seen its fair share of celebrity residents over the years, including Graham Norton and Dame Helen Mirren.

Where else can you grab a flat for £300,000 and say you’re neighbours with the Queen?

Battle of Cable Street mural

Area highlights

Wilton’s Music Hall is the oldest music hall in the world and a stunning piece of architecture, with original cast iron pillars, balcony and decor. Nowadays, it has an eclectic line up of entertainment, from the Reduced Shakespeare Company to craft and prop making workshops. Sure, Troxy is leaning towards Limehouse, but it’s worth a five minute walk to admire this Art Deco, Grade II Listed, multi-purpose venue. The Prospect of Whitby isn’t just a great local boozer, it also claims to be the oldest riverside tavern, dating from around 1520. The George Tavern is also pretty historic; with 700 years of history behind it, it lays claim to being the drinking spot of Geoffrey Chaucer, Samuel Pepys and Charles Dickens, and it’s also a great live music venue. It’s also worth visiting the Battle of Cable Street mural on the side of St George’s Town Hall, depicting residents clashing with the British Union of Fascists.

Area guide

House prices Source: Zoopla





Transport Source: TfL

Time to Canary Wharf: 12 mins

Time to Liverpool Street: 9 mins

Nearest train station: Shadwell DLR

Best roads Source: Hamptons International

Most Expensive: Telfords Yard: £921,852

Looking for a new home? City A.M. Homes & Interiors features London's hottest properties

Best Value: Artichoke Hill: £233,270

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