Saturday, July 13, 2024

Exploring the London Overground Rebranding: Celebrating Community and History

Carrying more than three million customers a week and serving 113 stations across all nine London fare zones, the London Overground is one of the most successful railways in the country. In 2024, it is undergoing an exciting rebrand! Debbie Clark explores how the six new line names – and colours – will strengthen and celebrate the identity of the areas they serve, and identifies some of the best new developments for first-time buyers in those areas.

A Classic Design Revamped

The London Underground map, designed by Harry Beck in 1931, is widely recognised as a design classic. However, as sections of the London Overground have been added since 2007, the parallel orange lines (that now represent over 100 miles of railway!) have proved confusing in comparison to their stylish underground counterparts. Responding to research by Transport for London (TfL), which indicated customers would find the Overground network easier to navigate if it wasn’t one colour and name, an independent research and naming process was undertaken by DNCO, a creative agency specialising in place branding and naming.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said, “This is a hugely exciting moment, transforming how we think about London’s transport network. Giving each of the Overground lines distinct colours and identities will make it simpler and easier for passengers to get around. In reimagining London’s tube map, we are also honouring and celebrating different parts of London’s unique local history and culture. The new names and colours have been chosen through engagement with passengers, historians and local communities, reflecting the heritage and diversity of our amazing city.”

So, What Are These New Names and Why Are They Significant?

The Weaver Line: Liverpool Street to Cheshunt/Enfield Town/Chingford

The Weaver Line runs through Liverpool Street, Spitalfields, Bethnal Green, and Hackney – areas known for the textile trade, and shaped by different migrant communities at different points in history. The Huguenots in the 17th century established a flourishing silk trade, and in the next century, Irish weavers arrived searching for work after the collapse of the Irish linen trade. At the end of the 19th century and during the second world war, Jewish families fleeing antisemitism in eastern Europe moved to the area, revitalising the garment industry and maintaining the market at Petticoat Lane. By the 1960s, Bangladeshi immigration increased due to the area’s low-cost housing and work opportunities in the textile and garment industry. The Weaver Line also weaves its way up to Walthamstow, home to William Morris.

Walthamstow – The Weaver Line from £298,000

Forest Road E17

There are 90 one-bedroom, energy-efficient apartments available at a 20% discount to the local market. Situated within minutes of Lloyd Park and opposite the Grade II* listed William Morris Gallery, Forest Road E17 has a host of communal spaces for residents to enjoy, including two roof terraces. Here, residents can make use of the shared allotment beds to grow fruit and veg, use the space to exercise, or relax with neighbors.

The Lioness Line: Euston to Watford Junction

Running through the heart of Wembley, The Lioness Line honours the historic achievements and lasting legacy created by the England women’s football team. The Lionesses enjoyed their greatest triumph when they won the UEFA Women’s EURO final in 2022. Their success in this tournament, along with their memorable run to the FIFA Women’s World Cup final a year later, have attracted millions of fans and had a significant impact on the sport’s participation numbers; 2.3 million more women and girls were inspired to play football. The Lionesses continue to inspire and empower the next generation of women and girls in sport.

Alperton – The Lioness Line from £83,250

Liberty Wharf

Liberty Wharf in Alperton offers a collection of one, two, and three-bedroom apartments available through shared ownership, by the historic Grand Union Canal. Liberty Wharf is ideal for city lovers seeking a home with easy access to leisurely towpath walks, runs, and bike rides. It has the added bonus of being close to popular local parks and green spaces. Liberty Wharf is just an 18-minute walk to the Overground and a 10-minute walk to Alperton station, where the Piccadilly Line takes just 24 minutes to South Kensington or 34 minutes to Leicester Square. Alperton is packed full of neighbourhood cafes and culinary hotspots, with a diverse and welcoming community. Homes offer high-specification interiors, floor-to-ceiling windows, and secluded communal gardens. Kitchens include an integrated fridge-freezer, oven, and electric hob. The two and three-bedroom apartments have secure underground car parking available, and all homes are kitted out with a video entry system. 0300 100 0308

Harrow – The Lioness Line from £352,000

Eastman Village

Eastman Village is a regeneration project on the site of the former Kodak factory which will provide over 2,000 new homes, a school, shops, leisure and community facilities, a new medical centre, and commercial space. The development will offer electric car charging points, free car club membership for residents, and plenty of cycle storage. Commuters will be able to reach Euston in just 13 minutes via Harrow & Wealdstone station, on the Lioness Line, which is only a 14-minute walk away. 0343 253 8918

Case Study

Diego, a Technical Account Manager, purchased his two-bedroom shared ownership apartment (including parking) in November 2023. He paid a deposit of £11,500 for a 25% share of the £460,000 home at Harrow and Wealdstone Heights. Diego explains, “I had previously been privately renting a two-bedroom home in north London. Before that, I had owned a property in Bedford but had relocated back to London to be closer to my kids.” He was keen to get back on the property ladder. Diego was aware of the shared ownership scheme but was unsure as to whether he would qualify having previously owned a property. Upon enquiring with the Origin team, he quickly learned that he would be, as his income fell under the £90,000 threshold for London and he did not own a property or part of one at the time of application.

Diego searched online for north London homes. “I hadn’t previously considered Harrow,” he admits, “but when I came across Origin Housing and its new development, the apartments looked really great, so I knew I had to check it out!” He researched journey times and found it was an easy journey to both his son in Burnt Oak and his daughter in Enfield. “I took both of them to see the apartment,” he says, “and they loved it as well, so I knew it was the place for me.”

Diego was really impressed by how much he would get for his money. He says, “The apartments were really spacious and I could easily fit two single beds with a desk in the second bedroom for my kids.” Diego was also attracted by the local amenities and transport links. The development is also pet-friendly, which was important to Diego as he has an eight-month-old puppy, Elvis. Diego is delighted with his new investment. “The whole process was really quick,” he reports. “I had a positive experience from start to finish.” Looking ahead to his future, he says, “My long-term plan is definitely to staircase in the future – I’d like to own a greater share in my apartment. For now, I’m enjoying settling into a routine and having my kids come to stay – it’s fantastic to have more space as they get older.”

The Liberty Line: Romford to Upminster

The Liberty Line celebrates the freedom that is a defining feature of London. It runs through Havering and the name is indicative of the unique independence of the area, reflecting its past, present, and future. Liberty references the motto of the London Borough of Havering, and its historical status as a royal liberty, which also gives its name to the Royal Liberty School in Gidea Park and the Liberty Shopping Centre in Romford. It also reflects the independent spirit of the Havering community. The line links the borough to the rest of London by connecting it to the Elizabeth Line and enables residents to enjoy the freedom and independence that public transport provides; it gives them the liberty to explore the capital now and in the future.

The Windrush Line: Highbury & Islington to Clapham Junction/New Cross/Crystal Palace/West Croydon

The Windrush Line runs through areas with strong ties to Caribbean communities today, such as Dalston Junction, Peckham Rye, and West Croydon. The arrival of HMT Empire Windrush in June 1948 marked the start of the “Windrush generation”, which included Caribbean communities who migrated to help rebuild Britain after the second world war in critical industries such as construction, healthcare, and transport. Sadly, these immigrants were often met with intolerance and denied access to housing, shops, pubs, clubs, and even churches on account of their race. In addition to bringing vital skills, these communities enriched and expanded London’s music scene at the time, and influenced more recent genres such as hip hop, rap, and grime, which play an important part in our vibrant, multicultural capital. The new line celebrates the Windrush generation and the wider importance of migration that continues to shape and enrich London’s cultural and social identity today.

Whitechapel – The Windrush Line from £122,500

L&Q at The Silk District

Available exclusively through shared ownership, these contemporary one and two-bedroom apartments are located moments from Whitechapel station and within walking distance to the City. Each home has been finished to the highest standard, with fully integrated appliances, a contemporary specification, and its own private outdoor space. The development also benefits from impressive residents-only facilities including access to a private on-site cinema, gym with high-spec Technogym equipment, and Peloton spin studio, as well as 24-hour concierge with communal areas and podium gardens for socialising. 020 8189 7504

Croydon – The Windrush Line from £87,500

Aspect Croydon

Aspect Croydon offers one, two, and three-bedroom shared ownership homes set within a 26-storey development. The homes support efficient living, with A-rated kitchen appliances, LED lighting, and underfloor heating throughout. Each apartment also offers its own private winter garden, many of which are dual aspect, with far-reaching views from floor-to-ceiling windows. The development also benefits from a concierge service, set within an impressive entrance lobby with flexible mezzanine communal space. Aspect Croydon is a 10-minute walk from West Croydon station, on the new Windrush Line. Wellesley Road tram stop is also right on the development’s doorstep and East Croydon station is a five-minute walk away. 020 3432 4974

Case Study

Yerin and Alex have purchased a 25% share of a £497,500 one-bedroom apartment at L&Q’s Silk District in Whitechapel, with a deposit of £18,500. The couple were also able to take advantage of an exclusive L&Q deposit-match incentive. Having met in Spain eight years ago, the couple had been in a long-distance relationship for three years before settling in London in 2017. Yerin explains, “Alex and I had been in a long-distance relationship while I was living in New York, so when I decided to move to London, we were excited by the prospect of finally being able to start our lives together. However, buying a property simply wasn’t an option for us, as prices were far too expensive, and the deposits required for homes in good locations were really high. We couldn’t call upon our parents for any support either, so renting really was the only option for us, we thought, for the long-term.”

However, by 2022, frustrated by inflated rental prices, Alex and Yerin began to research whether an alternative homeownership route could offer them the stability they craved. Having worked in the social housing sector, Yerin was already familiar with shared ownership and L&Q. She recalls that they began looking to see whether shared ownership could offer them a stepping stone on to the property ladder. “Privately renting in London means that building savings is a real challenge, so we needed a low-deposit option,” she explains.

Prioritising areas with good connectivity to their jobs in west and central London, the couple soon discovered L&Q at The Silk District. Alex says, “The Silk District really stood out to us because of the fantastic on-site amenities that were included – no other developments we had seen had such large communal gardens or a gym, cinema, or concierge service. The location was also ideal – the Elizabeth Line has made the whole capital easily accessible.”

Reflecting on their experience, Yerin says, “Shared ownership gave us a chance that we thought simply not possible. It’s enabled us to get on to the property ladder, be independent and find a lovely home in a well-connected and vibrant area!”

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Debbie Clark

Debbie Clark is a freelance writer with a keen interest in property. Graduating from Manchester University with a BA (hons) in Language, Literacy and Communication, she went on to study for a Primary PGCE and embarked on a career in teaching. A move to the country with a young family saw her turn her attention back to writing. Having bought her own first home on a shared ownership scheme, she has personal experience of buying - and selling - new build properties. She also works as Operations Manager for a London estate agents, giving her a solid understanding of the resale market and current trends. She loves to travel but, if time or budgetdon'tallow, will settle for the escapism of a good podcast  

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