Living in Brockley


The long, wide, leafy avenues of Brockley and Telegraph Hill in south-east London are increasingly attracting buyers looking to put down roots in the capital. Find out what living in Brockley is like with our guide to the area. 

History of the area

Brockley was once a small rural hamlet considered part of Kent, and nothing to do with London a few miles to the north. It was centred on the area where the Brockley Jack public house has stood for many centuries. That all changed when the railways came, and the Victorians laid out the wide, long streets of villas, semi-detached houses and terraces which we know today. In fact Brockley remains one of the best preserved of London’s Victorian suburbs. Telegraph Hill to the north west was so named because a semaphore telegraph station was sited there. News of Wellington’s victory at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 reached London from Telegraph Hill.

In the later 19th century Brockley was home to many wealthy industrialists and businessmen, who built grand piles in what is now the conservation area to the east of the railway station. A famous Brockley resident of this period was the actress Lillie Langtry. Over time the area fell out of fashion and the larger houses were split into flats, and in the post-war years Brockley became home to a large Afro-Caribbean community, as well as immigrants from other nations. The nearby Goldsmiths college attracted artists and students to the area from the 1960s, and in more recent years great efforts have been made to protect the historic character of Brockley’s housing stock. The opening of the East London Line in 2010 improved Brockley’s connections to north and south London.

The property market

Brockley has undergone something of a property boom in recent years, helped by the opening of the East London Line. But prices are still well below the London average, and it is an area gradually being discovered by young buyers. The most expensive properties are in the conservation area between Tyrwhitt Road and Wickham Road – rows of elegant Victorian and Edwardian terraces, where a 4-bed family house sometimes costs around £1.5 million.

New build homes

Most of the new builds are in New Cross, Lewisham and Deptford, but there is a scattering of new 1 and 2 bed developments in Brockley. You will find most of these in the Brockley Road area, such as Rivoli Court and 196a Brockley Road.

First time buyers

Brockley is a popular area for people trying to get on the property ladder in London. Goldsmiths graduates like to stay local if they can, and young professionals and young families have flocked to Brockley since its transport links have improved. There are plenty of flats and terraced houses available for affordable London prices.

Renting in the area

The rental market is thriving in Brockley, with plenty of competition for those Victorian conversions in the quiet streets near Hilly Fields park. Studios in Brockley go for around £1,200 pcm; 1-bedroomed flats £1300-£1800 pcm; 2-bed flats are usually £1800-£2,200 pcm. The rent for a 3-bed house outside the conservation area is an average of £2,800 pcm.

Schools and education

Brockley and Telegraph Hill is well served for schools. Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham College on Pepys Road and Prendergast Ladywell School on Manwood Road are state secondary schools rated ‘good’ by Ofsted. John Stainer Community Primary on Mantle Road and Gordonbrook Primary on Amyruth Road are primary schools rated ‘outstanding’. Goldsmiths, University of London, is just to the north of Brockley in New Cross, and Lewisham College, offering a wide range of vocational courses, is on Lewisham Road.

Transport links

Brockley and Crofton Park are the area’s two overground stations. Brockley is a stop on the extended East London Line in Zone 2, giving commuters easy access to the City, Canada Water and Canary Wharf. Trains to London Bridge take 15 minutes. The Number 172 bus goes to Aldwych (via Waterloo) from Crofton Park and Brockley stations.

Lifestyle and leisure

Places to eat

For a bite to eat in Brockley, head to Arlo & Moe, a 50s style café in Crofton Park serving brunches and light dishes. Flower-draped Skehans at the top of Telegraph Hill is as traditional an Irish London pub as you could get, serving up Thai food nights, burger and Sunday roasts with its roster of live music, together with the added bonus of its brilliant vantage point over the towers of Canary Wharf.

Local nightlife

Most people move to Brockley for quiet nights in, rather than big nights out, but there is still plenty of places to have a good time. Brickfields is a bar serving food and made to order cocktails near St Andrew’s church. The Brockley Jack in Crofton Park is one of the iconic buildings of the area, a historic pub once described as ‘a curious, rambling hostelry’, reputedly the haunt of highwaymen. Rather wonderfully, today it is also home to a 50-seat performance space, staging film screenings, fringe theatre and scratch nights.

Things to do

Brockley market is held every Saturday in the grounds of Lewisham College, and is the place to go for the best local produce, fresh fish, meat and street food in south east London. The Rivoli Ballroom in Crofton Park is the only surviving original 1950s style ballroom left in the UK, and it is certainly thriving, hosting live music, dancing and themed club nights, as well as the occasional celebrity gig. The White Stripes and Florence + The Machine have played there in the past.

Felicity J Lord can help you buy, sell or rent in Brockley

If you like what you hear about living in Brockley, we can help you buy, sell or rent in the Brockley area. Get in touch with the friendly team at our Brockley branch and they will be happy to help.