Tuesday, 6 April 2010

The London Borough

Photograph by Hometown_Unicorn

There's something you should know about Bromley. It's in London.

I have had so many debates with people about what counts as London. Especially with other people from Bromley, because it used to be in Kent and so lots of people still put Kent as the county on address forms. It hasn't been in Kent since 1965! The clue's in the name. London Borough of Bromley. LONDON BOROUGH.

The boundaries of London are not vague and mysterious. London has 32 boroughs. 29 of them, including Bromley, are distinguishable from places that are not in London by the fact that their full names are "the London Borough of X", X being the individual name of the borough, eg. Islington, Lambeth, Bromley. The other three boroughs are the City of Westminster, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. You will just have to remember that those are in London.

I've been accused of being pretentious because I say I'm from London, mostly by non-native-Londoners who are jealous of the fact that I was born here, presumably because they have never been to Bromley in their lives and thus don't know that it's the most boring borough to blight the metropolis, at least from a teenage point of view. They imagine that if you were really born in London you must have spent your childhood going to Hyde Park after school and the V&A every weekend, as if Travelcards grew on trees and there wasn't a giant IKEA in Croydon with a cinema room.

What on earth is pretentious about saying you're from where you're from? What am I supposed to do, say I'm from Kent, which isn't true? Or say I'm from Bromley but then pretend it's not in London? Hardly anyone has heard of this place, I usually have to explain that it's next to Croydon and Lewisham. Lewisham's in 'inner London', so few argue with that, and people have usually heard of Croydon and don't have a problem accepting that it is in London too.

It'd be pretentious if I said I was born and bred in Shoreditch. That place is trendy. Bromley is not trendy. It did have a moment during the years of punk. In Jo Brand's novel It's Different for Girls, set during the punk era, one of the protagonists runs away from Hastings to live in a bedsit on Bromley High Street, but generally youths are running away from Bromley these days.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...