Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Find London in All Its Glory - in Peckham; CITY LIVES

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Find London in All Its Glory - in Peckham; CITY LIVES

Article excerpt

Byline: JOHANN HARI

ACROSS the world, travel agents are in a panic.

There is a new go-go-go destination for trendy tourists that trumps distractions like Paris, Tokyo, New York and Milan, and they are all scrambling for a slice of this shimmering new location. Its name? Peckham.

At least, that's Southwark council's plan. Late last year, it published the first tourist map of Peckham - so, anxious for a holiday, I decided to follow it.

At first glance from the taxi window, Peckham looks like an ordinary London suburb with 50 years of grime encrusted on its face. But then the taxi driver begins his own impromptu tour. "On the left there, that's Chicago's, the nightclub where nine people were machinegunned down. And here, that's where Damilola Taylor was stabbed. He walked along there - see, just over there - and died. Oh, and here's Mansie's, the pieandmash shop." I try to nod sweetly.

"And here you are," he says, pulling up. "Downtown Peckham. You used to have C&A, Dickins and Jones - all the big names. Now you've got fried-chicken and pound shops.

Enjoy."

I stagger out onto the street, and the stench of rotting meat hits my lungs from the rows and rows of butchers on this road. I decide to dive into K&J's Hair, Nails and Beauty to ask the locals what they think of the influx of tourists to their manor. Peggy Parchment is sitting with her head in a dryer, so I ask her if she thinks this new map is a good thing.

"Yes. Yes I think it is." My wariness melts. They are glad! Glad we are here! Tourism can make a difference! So, I ask, my notebook poised and ready, what should we see? "Well, there's the filth. There's the roadworks and the condemned buildings. There's the big nasty dirty market that stinks so bad you feel sick. You could see that."

Ah. I decide, instead, to follow the sights laid out in the tourist map. …

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