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Shenfield from London

(15 Posts)
Maplessglobe Thu 27-Mar-14 16:29:46

Hi there
I need advice. We are thinking about moving to a bigger house. We are currently in SW London but in a very leafy area. DS1 is in a good school and we're happy there. I'm used to how it is here - it's buzzy but good for kids. It's also v multicultural and we've made some good friends.
Neither DH or me are ethnically British though I was born here. We both grew up in small towns where we were the odd ones out. I was bullied for being brown-faced.
However, my very lovely in-laws live in Shenfield and we're thinking about moving to be near them. For both our jobs, it's still an easy commute and we'd get more house and much more garden. It makes sense because the ILs would love to see the kids more and they would help us out. It's a nice area, 2 minutes from fields and farmland and close to parks.
However, I'm worried about the culture/ fitting in. My LO went to nursery there for a few months while we had some work done on our house and all the other mums were white, middle class. It just felt like where I grew up and I didn't enjoy that. one of the main reasons we were happy settling in London was the fact it was pretty diverse.
On a more trivial level, it seems to me like there's less to do, and you have to drive everywhere.
Am I worrying over nothing?
Would be happy to hear from people who live there or have lived there.
thanks in advance.

stargirl04 Thu 27-Mar-14 19:10:12

I don't know Shenfield so can't help you in terms of whether you will be "happy" there. But if you buy there you could end up profiting nicely.

Shenfield is on the Crossrail route, and Shenfield in particular will have LOADS of trains going into Central London. I studied Crossrail stops when I was looking for a place and Shenfield seems to be a transport hub, or will be, if you look at the Crossrail plans.

Maplessglobe Thu 27-Mar-14 20:02:16

Thanks, stargirl.
Where did you go for in the end?

js1000 Thu 27-Mar-14 20:25:04

Maplessglobe I could have written this post - except we are thinking to move to Benfleet/Rayleigh in Essex from London for the same reason as yours but fear being the odd ones in the White area as we are from India.

Maplessglobe Thu 27-Mar-14 20:44:42

Argh js it's stressful, isn't it??

lessonsintightropes Thu 27-Mar-14 22:21:55

I lived in Chelmsford for a while, and know Shenfield. TBH I found it a bit limited although I made some lovely friends. I'm a mix and got a bit sick of explaining my name/ethnicity - idle and polite curiosity but it got a bit old! I grew up in rural NW England so I was used to it but had had time overseas before my Essex stint and it was a massive culture shock.

After 2 years I moved back to London and have now been here for 10 years. DH and I have considered leaving the city for more room and a more relaxing way of life (and arguably a better place to bring up DCs) near my brother and parents in Hampshire but on balance we've decided to stay put in London, albeit moving to a nicer area. Not sure if this helped but good luck with your decision.

Maplessglobe Thu 27-Mar-14 22:42:43

Thanks, lesson, that's helpful. I am worried I'll feel bored or limited. And I don't really enjoy being the exotic one!
DH and I need to have a good think...

lessonsintightropes Thu 27-Mar-14 22:56:34

It's just so dull to launch into the 'explanation' every time you meet new people - but my friends there were mainly academics I met through church (a somewhat limiting way of making friends) and they were American, Japanese and Ecuadorian, rather than native Essex people or the inevitable east London flight people, although I also had some lovely work colleagues who after a while became friends from that group of people.

I was quite surprised by it - but this was 10 years ago, and I hope/expect that things have moved on a lot in that time. It was just hard to make my own space in some friendship groups of people who have known each other forever, and found fellow newbies easier to get to know and a bit more welcoming (although I feel guilty saying that about other people who were really nice).

toomuchtooyoung Fri 28-Mar-14 00:10:11

I am of mixed race and grew up in the 70s/80s not far from shenfield. it was fine. yes the majority are white middle class but 99% of them are very kind, generous people who would welcome you into their community. give them a chance and take your own blinkers off. it sounds like there are many positives for your dcs, being near family etc

don't let the 1% dictate your life. I've experienced more so called issues in various places in London I've lived in for the past 15 years.

stargirl04 Fri 28-Mar-14 01:00:07

Hi Mapless, well... I ended up nowhere near a Crossrail route in the end and went for New Eltham - mainly because the properties there within my very limited budget weren't too awful!

I did seriously consider Romford, Ilford, Shenfield etc... but ultimately didn't want to be too far out of town because I work nights and ride a motorbike, so didn't want a massive journey home in the wee, small hours.

If I'd worked days - ie. meaning that getting home via public transport was not an issue - I'd have gone for somewhere in Essex on the Crossrail route. I'm sure you'll be quids in big time if you move there! Good luck with your decision Mapless x

Maplessglobe Fri 28-Mar-14 06:17:49

Thanks everyone.
lessons - I'm interested to know there's a community of academics. That has challenged my perceptions a bit. I thought it was mainly city-types. Although you still didn't like it, so....

Thanks, toomuch- I don't think I do have blinkers on- I think I'm trying to gauge whether my own- albeit, limited- experience of living in Shenfield was typical.

Also I don't think of it as a skin colour thing. I think culturally I'm quite different to a lot of people I met there. I have a Nigerian friend who we all know is more English than the English. She feels entirely comfortable in the most white rural pub in the middle of nowhere. Whereas I'm not much of a pub person in general. At uni the friends I made were mostly internationals although I grew up in the uk. Not at all on purpose but it was mostly through not being the ones hanging out in the pub.

stargirl I work shifts, too! But my commute will probably about an hour wherever I will end up living. And I don't motorbike!

Spickle Fri 28-Mar-14 08:52:28

My in-laws live in Shenfield and have done for more than 50 years. My MIL is from a very small village in Germany and has integrated very well into the community in Shenfield, which seems to be very friendly and welcoming. She is involved in many activities such as the choir and the church, she seems to be on speaking terms with all her neighbours, the shopkeepers etc etc. Don't forget being German in the UK in the 60s was not popular with many who had lost relatives in the War. Admittedly it does have a lot of city types because of the rail links to London, but I do think communities are much more diverse nowadays and I would be surprised if you were the odd one out, but there is no doubt that SW London is more multicultural. I would imagine Brentwood (of which Shenfield is a neighbour) to be more diverse but the rail link is not so good and there are the TOWIE types to contend with!

toomuchtooyoung Fri 28-Mar-14 09:13:02

there's also an Anglo-European school nearby for which you have to have at least one foreign parent. and its a hard school to get into as there are so many nationalities around smile

papooser Sat 29-Mar-14 15:54:54

I was born in Shenfield and grew up there - parents moved out there from East London/Essex borders (my father emigrated to UK from India in the 60s). TBH I don't remember there ever being an issue and I really enjoyed growing up there - people were really friendly. Have very fond memories of the place. Certainly my father's country of origin was far less of an issue there than in the small country village (not Essex) where we subsequently moved, where we encountered some shocking racism...

Maplessglobe Sun 30-Mar-14 19:44:27

Thanks, everyone. It's not really that I'm worried about racism per se. It's more a feeling that I and my children won't find our place/fit in.
And to everyone who PMd me- thanks for taking the time

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