My First London Flat: Victorian Ickiness at its Finest


It seems like it was just yesterday that I was packing my bags in my brother’s condo in Las Vegas for the move of a lifetime.  After 12-hours on a shaky British Airways flight, I staggered off the plane into the welcoming arms of Heathrow Airport and the bitter cold of a record-breaking London winter.  That was 2.5 years ago now and a lot has changed since then.

I stumbled across these photos of my first real London flat after Flickr unveiled their fancy new revamp. Technically, my first flat was in South Ealing, but I only stayed there a few weeks.  These photos were taken in an awesomely rundown Victorian-era flat complete with original, single paned windows.  I can’t believe I stayed here almost a year and these photos definitely remind me of how thankful I am to finally be in a modern flat.

Photo 1: The views. Oh, the views.


Mmmm. Mmmm. 140+ years of living has resulted in windows like these. To be fair, it does appear that someone in the last century attempted a paint job (though I doubt it was my landlord).  It’s just unfortunate that they fell short in this instance.  I’m not even going to get started on the grime.  I don’t want to ruin my dinner.

Photo 2: Why you should never attempt DiY plumbing


I can’t begin to imagine how many building and safety codes this would break in the US.  Not only is this tiny copper water pipe haplessly thrust into the tile wall of a shower, but it happens to be a HOT water pipe.  There were burns.  So. many. burns.

Photo 3: Let’s spruce this room up . . . with some awesomely 80s curtains!!!

There are no words.

London landlords aren’t kidding when they advertise their flats as “furnished”. They really come with everything, including their grandmother’s drapes. I didn’t have the heart (or stomach) to photograph the flip side of this floral masterpiece, which was tattered and stained with a mysterious brown liquid . . .

Photo 4: No wonder London used to be a maritime capital. Everyone who lives here has to be a sailor!

Luxury Living.

All joking aside, this is the actual knot contraption needed to keep my laundry rack up. “Don’t you have dryers in London?” people ask me.  My answer? Not really (actually, I have a shitty washer/dryer combo now. Lucky me!). Instead, we have drying racks.  This flat came with a drying rack in the bathroom, where we all know it’s always SUPER dry.  In order to move your clothes out of the way so you could use the sink, you had to hoist the rack up like a sail and tie a figure 8 knot around a handy knob to keep it from crashing on your head.

Don’t get me wrong, I love living in London and I actually forged a lot of great memories in this flat. It’s just that sometimes I find it hard to believe what landlords here will try and pass as livable apartments.  Believe it or not, this was not the cheapest place in the area (West Kensington), so I’m guessing this is also not representative of how bad older flats can get here.

4 Responses

  1. Candida 5 September, 2013 / 10:18 am

    West Ken’s price/quality is absurd! I work in West Ken, but live somewhere else, and I’m always shocked when I hear about what the hyper-locals have to deal with. I still can’t figure out how the places near Earl’s Court and West Ken are so consistently gross and sad. It’s not even an exciting neighborhood!

    • Cheylene 5 September, 2013 / 12:27 pm

      Agreed. I didn’t know any better when I first moved to London, so I got stuck with the place pictured above. Location-wise it’s not nearly close enough to Central London to warrant such ridiculous prices.

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