As the glinting steel and mirror-glass skyscrapers of London’s financial hub edge ever closer, the area surrounding Hoxton Street has been transformed by “luxury” redevelopments and sky-high property prices. This traditional East London street has become the last bastion of disadvantaged areas – a concentration of the aged, poor and dispossessed. Hoxton Street’s close-knit working-class community has absorbed waves of immigrants since the 1950’s. But as traditional industry has declined, the latest influx of young urban hipsters followed closely by expensive restaurants, digital media start-ups and corporate property developers has brought with it a deepening social and financial divide. Sensing they have been left behind, the street’s ageing white residents lament the loss of their jobs and former ways of life, echoing the 52% who voted to leave the EU.
Set against rapid gentrification, unregulated capitalism, years of austerity, the fallout from Grenfell Tower and the eruption of Brexit, Zed Nelson’s feature-length debut is a tragicomic portrait not only of a single street, but also an entire nation, waiting on the cusp of change.
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