Islington has been home to a fair few celebrities over the years, from actors to writers and radio DJs. We’re still yet to spot anyone walking down Upper Street or brush shoulders with an A lister in the Angel Centre, but we’re keeping our hopes up and our eyes peeled. Here’s some of the most notable names to have graced the borough.

Emma Watson

The Harry Potter star rented a flat on Canonbury Place in 2015. Maybe she was inspired after filming on location on Claremont Square for the last two Harry Potter films…

Lily Allen

The pop singer and daughter of actor and comedian Keith Allen was born and raised in Islington.

George Orwell

1984’s famous author lived on Canonbury Square between 1944 and 1947 (although his original plaque said only 1945 – his adopted son unveiled the corrected plaque in 2016).

James McAvoy

According to the Atonement actor, who moved to the area in 2004, “it’s got a nice mix of people – they’re not all white middle class – and an excellent selection of bars and restaurants.”

Heath Ledger

The late actor spent some of his final days in Islington while filming Batman in 2008. He stayed in Pearl House, a luxury residence just down the road from Caledonian Road & Barnsbury station, on Roman Way.

Boris Johnson

Boris bought a £2.3 million townhouse on Colebrooke Row in 2009. At the time, he was forced to remove a wooden shed he built on the balcony of his home following complaints to the council.

Colin Firth

Our very own Mr Darcy has also graced the borough – I’m sure it was much nicer than Pemberley.

Alexandra Burke

Alexandra Burke, X Factor winner and singer, grew up on an estate near Caledonian Road, and attended the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School.

Helena Bonham-Carter

Also walking the halls of the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson school is The BAFTA winning actress Helena Bonham Carter, who was there last year as part of a South African exchange programme. Helena was born in Islington, but attended a different school in Golders Green.

Tony Blair

Before he moved into Downing Street in 1997, Tony Blair lived on Richmond Crescent – and should have held onto it. After selling it for £615,000 in the nineties, the value has now almost trebled to £1.69 million.

Oscar Wilde

In 1895, famous writer Oscar Wilde was also briefly a resident of Islington – at Pentonville Prison, where he was held after being convicted of “gross indecency with men”. He remained there from May until July, before he was transferred to Wandsworth Prison. To this day, he remains an iconic part of the LGBT rights movement, and his grave in Paris is adorned in lipstick kisses.

 

Could you be next? Take a look at some of our properties for sale in Islington.

The City isn’t just filled with briefcases and bankers – it’s also home to Clerkenwell, an area that boasts an array of independent shops, bars and restaurants. Here’s our pick of the best places to eat and drink in the heart of London…

The Modern Pantry

The Modern Pantry caters to a range of dining options, with breakfast, afternoon tea, cream tea, weekend brunch, and an all day menu. Their bar also serves an eclectic mix of wines and cocktails, which can be enjoyed on their sunny outdoor terrace on St John’s Square.

Dans Le Noir?

Dans Le Noir provides a sensory experience aimed to heighten your tastebuds, as everything is served “dans le noir” – in the dark. This also brings a new way of socialising, with the entire restaurant comprising sharing tables. Guests share meals in darkness and engage in conversations with people they’ve never met nor seen, while learning about blindness and disability.

Upon arrival, you must choose from a series of Surprise Menus – one meat based, one vegetarian/vegan, one pescatarian, and one a mixture of seafood and meat. The menu will be revealed after the meal.

19:20

19:20 is an American style bar with an informal, relaxed style for pool players and non pool players alike. Their basement bar is home to a 15m long zinc topped bar serving cocktails, beers, and classic American diner food.

Bleeding Heart Tavern

If you’re looking for authentic French food and wine, look no further than the Bleeding Heart Tavern. Voted the most romantic restaurant in London by The Times, the tavern, bistro, and restaurant is an ideal place for a date or catching up with friends and colleagues. Be sure to try their famous Cheeseboard.

Iberica

Following the European theme, Iberica takes Spanish tapas to the next level with their amazing ‘Croqiuetas de Jamon’ (ham croquettes) and chorizo lollipops. They cater for all types of relaxed dining – from paella lunches, to sharing tapas, to just small bites to eat at the bar with a glass of wine. They also have restaurants in Marylebone, Canary Wharf, Farringdon, and Victoria.

Look Mum No Hands!

LMNH is a combination of cafe, bicycle workshop, exhibition space and bar. A packed program of exhibitions, film screenings, live cyclesport and even cycle speed dating ensure that LMNH is always buzzing with all the different elements of London’s cycle culture.

Briki

Deli and coffee brewery Briki offers new, alternative choices with traditional recipes and quality coffee. Located in the popular Exmouth Market, their recipes come “straight from grandma’s cookbook”.

The Dovetail

Traditional Belgian pub The Dovetail serves the finest Belgian beers and traditional dishes like waffles, moules frites, and croquettes. Tucked away in the quiet  Jerusalem Passage, The Dovetail is an intimate, relaxed setting – perfect for a romantic meal or drinks with friends.

Caravan

Another Exmouth Market staple is Caravan, home to a deliciously varied menu from breakfast to brunch to main plates and freshly roasted coffee. Come in the morning for a hot cup of joe with the papers, or head there after work for cocktails and small plates.

With the rise of online estate agents like Purple Bricks and Yopa selling homes with 0 commission, it can be tempting for people to head online to sell. However, there are certain benefits of using traditional, bricks and mortar estate agents that shouldn’t be overlooked:

1. You’ll still have to pay a fee

Online agents usually require upfront fees – even if they are unsuccessful in selling your property, meaning you could end up wasting money.

In today’s market it is easy to be tempted to instruct an online agent with a low fixed fee. However, what we have found is that a lot of clients come to us after having tried the cheaper option. In many cases the problem is not with the property or the price but with the online agent’s motivation laying more heavily on selling vendors add-ons rather than proactively selling their property.

-Ashley Coppin, Client Manager at Currell

2. A more personal experience

Working with a face to face estate agents allows you to build a relationship and a trust with the person selling your home. Most online agents work in call centres, meaning you won’t necessarily speak to the same person each time. With a high street agent, you can pop into your local branch and speak to a familiar face.

3. Local knowledge

Estate agents that are based in your local area will of course know a lot about it – and its many benefits. They will know the transport links, the best schools, and what the property market is like in the area. This will be extremely beneficial when selling your property; after all,you’re not just selling a home, but the area it’s in too.

4. Expertise in the market

A business that has been established for longer will know more about the property market, and will be more qualified at giving accurate valuations on your property. They can also offer tips and tricks that they have picked up  in their experience.

5. Contacts

Bricks and mortar estate agents will also have a list of contacts that they can refer you to for further services relating to your property – e.g conveyancing solicitors. This will save you time in going out and comparing services yourself.

6. Everything’s organised

High street estate agents take the stress out of the process by sorting everything out for you – from initial marketing to negotiating on price. If you don’t feel comfortable negotiating and feel you may not be able to secure the best price you can get, your agent will be well versed in this, and can take care of it.

7. Don’t miss out

Because traditional estate agents advertise both online and in person, you can make sure you attract any potential buyer. Although most people now start their property search online, many still stop on the street or pop in branch to check out properties in the area. With a high street agent, you’ll be marketing to both online and offline purchasers – meaning you won’t miss out.

8. Viewings are covered

Online estate agents seldom offer to conduct viewings on properties, which can be problematic if you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself. If you don’t have experience with this, it can make the viewer uncomfortable – especially if they notice faults with the property and feel they can’t comment. Bricks and mortar estate agents will be well practised in conducting viewings, and will be able to show your property off in the best light.

9. You’re protected

All high street estate agents are members of a redress scheme, and will usually be a member of the Property Ombudsman – so if their service is poor, you can make an official complaint.

 

Last weekend saw the successful launch of Bagel Factory and Old Smokehouse at the dedicated marketing suite in Hackney Wick.

There was a really strong turnout with 120 people in attendance, and lots of interest in this exciting new development.

Hackney Wick and Fish Island are set to undergo extensive regeneration, building a creative hub that has been dubbed “the new Shoreditch” – and a perfect investment opportunity. The V&A, London College of Fashion and Sadler’s Wells Theatre are all opening in the Olympic Park, as well as a major development which will include new homes, schools and The International Quarter business centre.

All this change will generate over 50,000 jobs for the area and see The London Legacy Development Corporation establish one of the largest new urban spaces in Europe for over 150 years.

You can find out more about the developments and check out a virtual tour here.

What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing refers to all the legal and administrative work that needs to be done when you buy a property. It begins after you’ve accepted an offer, and usually takes about six-eight weeks.

To begin, you will need to instruct a conveyancer to do this for you. You can do it yourself, but it can be very time consuming and risky if you get anything wrong. Estate agents can usually recommend a conveyancer for you to use, or you can use an online conveyancer. Once you’ve instructed a conveyancer, the process can begin.

The process

Terms of Engagement
First of all, the conveyancer will draw up a contract (normally called a “terms of engagement”) with you, outlining their fees. They will also get in touch with the seller’s solicitor for a draft contract, and to confirm their instruction. You also need to go through these forms and let the solicitor know if you have any queries.

Legal Searches
The conveyancer will then go through a number of legal searches to ensure there’s nothing else you may have missed. This includes factors such as the title register, local authority searches (e.g any planning works nearby that might affect you), and flood risks.

Mortgage
You will then need to get your mortgage set up. The first step for this is to get a mortgage valuation, which is carried out on behalf of the mortgage company so they know the property provides enough security for the loan. This is normally an additional cost, but some mortgage companies will include it in their contract for free.

Surveys
Any other necessary surveys are then carried out – these depend on your specific circumstances. You can find out what sort of surveys you should have done here.

Building Insurance
You’ll then need to get Building Insurance. Once the contracts are signed, the property is your responsibility so it’s crucial to make sure you’re covered.

Signing the contracts
Before you sign the contract, your solicitor will make sure that all enquiries have been returned and are satisfactory, that the house is up to scratch, that a completion date has been agreed (usually 1-4 weeks after exchanging), and that you’ve made arrangements for paying the deposit. You’ll need to transfer this into your solicitor’s account, and in time so that it clears before exchange.

Exchanging contracts
A date will be agreed on with the vendor as to when you exchange the contracts. The conveyancers will read the contracts out over the phone to make sure the contracts are the same, and then immediately send them out by post. This conversation will be recorded. Once you’ve exchanged, you are legally obliged to buy the property, and the seller cannot accept another invitation. If you do not, you will lose your deposit. If the seller does not sell, you are permitted to sue them.

Completion
Once the seller’s solicitor has confirmed the receipt of money, a date will be set for completion. The seller should then leave the keys at the estate agents for you to pick up – you’re then ready to move in!

To find out more about the process, get in touch with a member of our team.

 

Bagel Factory, a new development in Hackney Wick, is available to purchase through Help to Buy

London Help to Buy is a government programme that can help you buy a new home – here’s how it works.

The basics

London Help to Buy is part of the Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme. You borrow up to 40% of the purchase price from the government – you’ll need a minimum deposit of 5% and a mortgage for the rest.

You can buy a new build home registered as a Help to Buy property up to the price of £600,000.

The scheme is eligible to all buyers, not just first timers; you just can’t own another property. You also can’t sublet a Help to Buy property, unless you’re a member of the Armed Forces. If you buy a second home after you’ve purchased with Help to Buy, you’ll need to repay the equity loan.

Finding a home and applying

Contact Currell New Homes for details of the Help to Buy properties we’re selling, or have a look at property portals (e.g Rightmove/Zoopla) to find new homes advertised as Help to Buy. The Help to Buy website also has a list of housebuilders offering the scheme.

To apply for Help to Buy, you need to obtain an Agreement in Principle from a mortgage lender, and find and reserve a property. You then need to complete a Property Information Form and the house builder submits this to your local Help to Buy agent; in London this is Aldwyck Housing Group.

The Help to Buy agent assesses your application and if you are eligible will issue an Authority to Proceed within four working days.

You then need to instruct a solicitor and make a full mortgage application. Once you have a mortgage offer your solicitor will liaise with all parties to progress your purchase to exchange and completion.

Do the maths

To buy a Help to Buy property, you’ll need to have a minimum deposit of 5% of the purchase price, and meet the qualifying financial criteria. For example, the maximum income multiple of a Help to Buy purchase is 4.5 x single or joint household income.

You won’t be charged any interest on the government loan for the first five years of owning your home – just an administration fee of £1 per month. From year six onwards, interest is payable at 1.75%, and this rises each year by the increase in Retail Price Index (RPI), if any, plus 1%.

You can repay the equity loan (in part or in full) at any point after the purchase, and must repay it within 25 years. The minimum voluntary repayment is 10%, and the amount is calculated based on the prevailing market value.

When you sell your Help to Buy home you must repay the Help to Buy equity loan. If your equity loan is for 20% of the purchase price, you will have to repay 20% of the sale price.

To find out more, call a member of our team on 020 7226 6611.

Nestled between the buzzing vibes of Shoreditch and the quieter Victoria Park village is Bethnal Green, which like many places in east London, is now one of the city’s trendiest neighbourhoods. If you’re out and about near Bethnal Green this weekend, here are our top picks of bars and restaurants to try:

Sager + Wilde

Tucked under the railway arches of Bethnal Green station is Sager + Wilde (and the next two places on our list, too!).

Working with local, seasonal produce, Sager + Wilde’s main dinner menu has a strong Italian influence – grab a bowl of pasta and a glass of house wine for £10 every day from 5-7pm. Or alternatively, they offer a group menu of three courses for £29 a head. Of course, like any good east London restaurant, there’s also a brunch menu and a selection of house cocktails.

Find out more here.

Mother Kelly’s

Perfect for a relaxed drink after work, Mother Kelly’s is a New York inspired taproom and bottle shop. They work with independent breweries all over the world with a wide variety of beers – from the affordable, familiar brands to the more limited edition bottles. They also serve sharing boards of cured meats and cheeses prepared in-house, and street food from local vendors on the weekends.

Find out more here.

The Japanese Canteen

After a few drinks at Mother Kelly’s, head next door to The Japanese Canteen if you’re in the mood for quality yet inexpensive authentic Japanese food. Their sushi is always served fresh, and is from sustainable resources.

Find out more here.

The Larder

Just a few minutes’ walk from Bethnal Green station is The Larder, a bright and airy cafe serving a wide variety of vegetarian food and drink, including a vegetarian afternoon tea and a large selection of juices and smoothies.

Find out more here.

St Margaret’s House

St Margaret’s House is a local charity supporting creativity, wellbeing, and community in Bethnal Green. Their buildings are home to more than 27 community organisations and charities, and their Gallery Cafe.

The cafe offers low-cost vegan dishes, locally ground Fairtrade coffee, and healthy juices as well as a programme of events and monthly art exhibitions – plus their back garden is the perfect sun trap in summer months. Oh, and they’ve also won Best Cafe in Bethnal Green at the Time Out Love London Awards for the last three consecutive years.

Find out more here.

Star of Bethnal Green

The Star of Bethnal Green is a little gem on Bethnal Green Road, with a selection of locally brewed beers, a legendary Sunday Roast, and DJs and disco nights in the evenings. They also offer a loyalty card for locals, 2 for 1 cocktails on Thursdays, and 20% off all food and drinks on Wednesdays.

Find out more here.

Register your interest now for Old Smokehouse, a boutique development of one, two and three bedroom apartments in Fish Island.

Old Smokehouse pays tribute to the industrial beginnings of Fish Island. In Victorian London, the Gas Light and Coke Company established Fish Island as a small factory town for their workers and they named the streets after freshwater fish found in the River Lea. Today the naming of Old Smokehouse tips its hat to the long tradition of family businesses smoking fish in Hackney Wick for generations.

The development is built to a high specification, with access to concierge, gym and multiple roof gardens.

Hackney Wick and Fish Island are set to undergo extensive regeneration, building a creative hub that has been dubbed “the new Shoreditch” – and a perfect investment opportunity. The V&A, London College of Fashion and Sadler’s Wells Theatre are all opening in the Olympic Park, as well as a major development which will include new homes, schools and The International Quarter business centre.

All this change will generate over 50,000 jobs for the area and see The London Legacy Development Corporation establish one of the largest new urban spaces in Europe for over 150 years.

Find out more and download a brochure here.

Islington may be the second smallest borough in London – but there’s plenty going on, especially this April. Take a look at our pick of the upcoming events this month to fill your diary:

Portrait Painting at Candid Arts

Feeling creative? Candid Arts on Torren Street (next to Angel Underground station) are running their popular portrait painting course on 7th April (and throughout May). The class is suitable for all levels, so beginners are welcome, and the course includes plenty of demonstration and one-to-one tuition.

Find out more and book here.

The Writer at the Almeida Theatre

Running from 14th April – 26th May is The Writer, a powerful new production from director Blanche McIntyre. The story focuses on a young writer looking to challenge the status quo, who discovers that creative gain comes at a personal cost.

Find out more and book here.

St George’s Dinner at Harry’s Bar

The newly refurbished Harry’s Bar & Brasserie on Ironmonger Lane is holding a St George’s Day Q&A session with boxer Frank Warren. Tickets are £75, to include a four course meal, tea or coffee, a pairing wine, and a donation to Frank Warren’s chosen charities. These are Debra, that supports individuals and families affected by the skin condition Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), and Nordoff Robbins, a music therapy charity.

Contact Claire Hooper on 020 7600 0300 to book.

Plastic at the Old Red Lion Theatre

Plastic is an emotional new drama showing throughout April at the Red Lion Theatre on St John Street. The play is about time, memory and escape by BAFTA nominated playwright Kenneth Emson and directed by 2017 JMK Award winner Josh Roche.

Book tickets and get more information here.

London Art Fair

The 31st annual London Art Fair is returning to the Business Design Centre in Angel. Bringing together more than 100 galleries with sculptures, paintings, photographs, ceramics and more, the event showcases contemporary artwork from the 20th century to today. As well as the main fair, there are also two smaller, specially curated exhibitions showcasing less established galleries with new works and contemporary photography.

Find out more here.

Comedy at the Union Chapel

West Yorkshire comedian Daniel Kitson hosts April’s edition of Live at the Union Chapel on 7th April, with some special guests to get your ribs aching. These include 8 out of 10 Cats and Taskmaster guest Sara Pascoe, five times Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee James Acaster, sketch trio Gein’s Family Giftshop and Tom Parry of the three-man comedy act Pappy’s.

Book tickets here.

The Singing Mermaid at The Little Angel Theatre

The Little Angel Theatre’s puppet show adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s classic picture book, The Singing Mermaid, is sure to keep the kids entertained this April – and maybe the grown ups too! Running until the 22nd April, the show follows a singing mermaid who is tempted away from all of her sea creature friends to join a travelling circus.

Book tickets and find out more here.

Block C of the development

Bagel Factory is a flagship collection of unique warehouse style apartments spread across an impressive three building complex in the heart of Hackney Wick. The development is built on the site of the former Mr Bagel factory, an iconic part of Hackney Wick’s industrial past; Mr Bagel delivered to cafes, restaurants and supermarkets across the country. The interior design at Bagel Factory compliments this industrious history, perfectly fusing the old with the new.

The development also includes a concierge, a state of the art gym, exercise studio, and communal roof gardens – perfect for enjoying a drink whilst watching the sun set over the city.

CGI of the communal roof terrace

It’s also ideally located for transport links – just a minute’s walk from Hackney Wick Overground station, which will take you to the transport hub of Stratford in just 2 minutes. From here take the Jubilee and Central lines, as well as the DLR, Overground and TfL rail for easy access to the rest of London.

Hackney Wick and Fish Island are set to undergo extensive regeneration, building a creative hub that has been dubbed “the new Shoreditch” – and a perfect investment opportunity. The V&A, London College of Fashion and Sadler’s Wells Theatre are all opening in the Olympic Park, as well as a major development which will include new homes, schools and The International Quarter business centre.

All this change will generate over 50,000 jobs for the area and see The London Legacy Development Corporation establish one of the largest new urban spaces in Europe for over 150 years.

Find out more and download a brochure here.