NW10 is more than just a breaking news story
- Credit: Morais family
Brent is home to Wembley Stadium, one of the country’s biggest landmarks - which is usually why we north-west Londoner's just tend to tell people that we’re from Wembley whenever they ask where Kingsbury or Neasden is.
North-west is basically Wembley and nothing else to people who don’t live here.
To be honest, I can understand to an extent, as Wembley has turned into a hotspot for tourists. Wembley market is now London Designer Outlet. There are three Starbucks within walking distance of each other. There is even a Boxpark. Wembley is like the Holy Grail of the Brent Borough.
If you ask me, I think my postcode is the best of them all. So, let me tell you about NW10.
Back in 1988, my parents came to this country with nothing but two suitcases and a baby soon to be born. They decided to start our story as a family in none other than Willesden High Road.
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They rented a small one-bedroom on top of a shop. My big brother was born soon after in 1989. This one-bedroom on the highstreet soon became a flat on Chapter Road, just off the high street. One child became two, and two became three.
My father became the provider he always wanted to be in these streets and my mother continued to fill them with her eccentric character. Then along came me.
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I wasn’t lucky enough to experience living on Chapter Road with my family in the 90s, but I feel just as nostalgic as they do whenever they talk about it.
I think I can vouch for my family when I say that these were some of the happiest times in their lives.
That’s why it saddens me whenever I see NW10 in the mainstream media, it’s almost always used in negative connotations.
You only have to search up Willesden to just see stories in the news about crime, or articles written by middle-class white people about when Harlesden will ever become the "up-and-coming" area it was supposed to be - disregarding an area that’s already rich in culture and community.
Did you ever stop to think that maybe things are fine just the way it is? Or would you like to find another excuse to bring in higher rent prices and another craft beer shop?
Where is the positive news? This is the area where the block parties are hot, where you’ll find the golden spot known as One Stop Caribbean Shop, and the streets of Craven Park are so exuberant on the weekend of Notting Hill Carnival you don’t even need to take the 18 bus down to Ladbroke Grove.
Not to mention that Willesden Green is home to Big Bite - the best Fish and Chip shop in London.
Or is NW10 ever mentioned when major news outlets want to crucify yet another diverse and working-class area?
NW10 is home to Harlesden, Willesden, Kensal Rise, Church Road, Stonebridge (just to name a few).
In NW10 is where you’ll find An English, Irish, Jamaican and Somali family living on a street together.
NW10 is home to where I attended my first ever open mic - something that was instrumental in the decision I made to become a writer.
It’s where I had my heart broken for the very first time, and where it slowly healed back up again.
It has been home to so many milestones in my life and to countless others who’ve walked these streets before me.
I’m a proud resident of NW10. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I’ve moved all around different parts of Brent my whole life - from North Wembley to Kingsbury to Neasden.
Nothing ever felt more like home than NW10. It’s been home to most of my family’s legacy for three decades. It will continue to be a part of mine. It’s time you start giving NW10 its props - we’re more than a breaking news story.
Isabella Morais is a freelance writer from NW10.