Pastel terraces in Kentish Town

My wi-fi is off today, which means I’m writing this on my laptop in a coffee shop in Islington. If that doesn’t make me a sickening media cliché then I don’t know what does. Oh yeah, the laptop is a Mac too. Anyway… Kentish Town is a most underrated area of north London, boasting, as it does, a surfeit of posh food shops, tanning salons and a lovely independent book store that I can never be bothered to go in. It also has a disused Tube station, South Kentish Town, which has been colonised by that beacon of upwardly mobile urban existence, Cash Converters.

As attractive as these places are, the best thing about KT are the rows and rows of pastel-coloured terraces you’ll find either end of the high street. I especially love Kelly Street, home to Mario’s Café, the neighbourhood caff immortalised in the song of the same name on St Etienne’s So Tough album.

Looking about as perfect as an urban street can, every house glows – especially at this time of year – with a gentle warmth that makes you feel immediately envious of the people who live there. They no doubt have the same worries and complaints about their environs as the rest of us, but in my mind life in Kelly Street is one long round of afternoon cocktails, ironic Tupperware parties and discussions about second division footballers of the 1970s. And all the women look like Saint Et’s Sarah Cracknell at her absolute peak circa 1991…

While Kelly Street wears the north London pastel terrace crown with studied aplomb, to the north of Kentish Town Road the grid of roads around Leverton Street (below) give it a good run for its money. The properties aren’t quite as immaculate, but on a late April evening with the sun making its descent over nearby Hampstead Heath you could be forgiven you’ve stumbled upon the perfect Mediterranean bolthole. If it wasn’t for all the alkies by the station that is.


Popular Posts