I’ve lived in London since I was five, mostly in Alexandra Palace and Bounds Green. The idea of a wood kiln and digging up my own clay might eventually pull me out, but for now I’m happy to be an urban potter.
My partner, Daria, and I moved to a Victorian flat in Archway just over two years ago now. It’s a peculiar area because it’s tiny, but there’s a huge community and it’s staggering how much that’s increased since getting our sausage dog, Ciro. It’s really opened up London for us.
Best eating and drinking
It’s a total mix, though we’re yet to find something out of this world. Cricks Corner is a sweet little café a stone’s throw away from our flat that does incredible pastries and blindingly good coffee. They stock Bread By Bike and we’ll wait until we spot the delivery guy so we can get it warm and freshly baked.
Crudough is a good pizza place near the station and Yildiz Cafeteria on Junction Road is a low-key, authentic Turkish restaurant that does a delicious lamb flatbread.
There are lots of little cafés and bakeries along Junction Road. St John’s Tavern is a lovely and slightly swanky pub that does good food and tall, frosty glasses of German beer.
Where I work out
Our gym is our living room floor. We roll our mats out in the morning and get attacked by the dog as we lift weights. I follow YouTube workouts with this guy from Northern Ireland who shouts at you.
Potters’ backs are famously the thing that gives out on them, so I try to keep on top of core strength. Archway has gyms and a swimming pool, but if I were braver I’d be joining the throngs of runners on Hampstead Heath.
For a culture fix
Our friend gave us an architecture walking guide to Archway and it really opened my eyes to how much there is in the area. I particularly like Winscombe Street and Stoneleigh Terrace on the Whittington Estate. My ceramics are heavily inspired by brutalist architecture, with lots of angles and blockiness instead of curvaceous forms.
Archway is residential so there isn’t generally tons to do. I wish I could say there are potteries and galleries to visit, but for that it’s lacking, or I’m not looking hard enough.
The York Rise street party is fun — a friend’s band always plays and last year Ciro won waggiest tail.
To commune with nature
We’re spoiled for green spaces here. Hampstead Heath is only a 15-minute walk away and we’ve also discovered Waterlow Park, which is manicured and perfect with ponds and small bridges over brooks.
Dartmouth Park has just reopened and the view is almost as good as Parliament Hill. On the second day we were allowed to go outside with Ciro, I ran into a lady who invited me to join the Waterlow Sausages, which is a local gang of about 30. It’s an incredible support group.
There’s a Co-op, Aldi and Marks & Spencer right next to Archway station, which are tremendously useful, and we’ll get Italian biscuits and cheese from Bottega Italia on Holloway Road. Daria is from Naples and needs a regular fix.
Superette on Swain’s Lane has absurd, glorious variety including banoffee pie-flavoured granola and the best pain au chocolat in London. On our weekend dog walks we’ll either go there or to Parliament Hill farmers’ market for Pasta e Basta’s casarecce and beef ragu.
Archway has its own farmers’ market on Saturdays, next to the station. Chez Francis et Sylvie does really good French cheese.
Theatre of Wine is a fancy off-licence with the friendliest staff I’ve ever met. They’ve got thousands of shiny cans of IPA, which is what I tend to go after.
Growing up in Bounds Green I was quite attached to the Piccadilly line, but I’ve now been converted to the Northern line. It’s 40 minutes door-to-door to my pottery studio in High Barnet and 20 into central London, though the noise as it passes through Camden is deafening.
Archway is blessed with buses galore, and the Overground at Upper Holloway is close, too — we’re definitely spoiled for choice. Locally we’ll walk everywhere.
My boring answer is that we would love to live closer to the heath, but there’s a specific house covered in wisteria on Laurier Road that would be lovely.
Something you only see in Archway
Dick Whittington’s cat, which is a sweet statue that sits on the Whittington Stone. It’s got a cage around it nowadays.
What’s the catch?
It can feel like a bit of an “in-between” area. It lacks the creative spark of surrounding neighbourhoods like Finsbury Park, Crouch End and Tufnell Park.
Seagulls, parakeets, pigeons.
Florian Gadsby’s first book, By My Hands: A Potter’s Apprenticeship (Penguin, £30), is out now.
St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School is an outstanding primary next to Waterlow Park, while Hargrave Park Primary School, Brookfield Primary School and Whitehill Park School are rated good.
St Aloysius RC College is a good local secondary and there is a cluster of private schools towards Highgate.
What it costs
Buying in Archway
Average flat price: £514,880
Average house price: £1,126,020
Renting in Archway
Average flat price, pcm: £2,140
Average house price, pcm: £3,840
Source: Hamptons & Land Registry