The people of New Islington

I was interviewed by East Manchester a little while ago about my move to Islington Wharf in New Islington. Today I discover my interview has finally gone live.

Here’s the interview bit with me, its worth checking out the rest including the Langford family and amazing story from James Gilhooly…

Originally from Bristol, Ian is a senior development producer for the BBC. He fronts BBC Backstage, the BBC’s early adopter network to encourage participation and support creativity through open innovation.

“When I first heard that the BBC were moving to Manchester,” says Ian, “I thought NO WAY. I had never lived up north before and I believed all the stereoptypes.”But Ian, who was living in the London borough of Woolwich at the time, lived up to his early adopter claims and spent some time researching the area before moving up three years ago. “I soon realised I could afford somewhere really close to the city centre,” he says, “having been used to driving across London.”

It’s close to the city centre without any of the disadvantages.

One of the first BBC employees to have moved north, Ian says he was pleasantly surprised. “It was really lively,” he said, “and there were loads of diverse areas but not so far apart.” Ian spent three days looking at flats and gauging how much he could afford to buy. He settled on Islington Wharf and hasn’t looked back.

Even in the short time he’s been here, Ian feels like he’s seen a lot of changes: “It really does feel like they’re getting on with things,” he says, “I like the idea of being part of something new and exciting.”

There are ways Ian’s life could be improved. “I can’t wait for the tram to be finished,” he says, “I should be able to be at work in 27 minutes with a change. With no change, it could be as little as 15 minutes, which beats driving across London.” And he’s keen for the community to develop a little more. “There’s a nice mix of young professionals, older people and even families,” he says, “but we could have more going on between Islington Wharf and Chips and the other buildings.”But East Manchester has the potential to be great, says Ian. “It has the potential to attract a lot of the Northern Quarter crowd and once the tram line is open, that will make a huge difference.”

It was a fair interview, not much changed from what I said. I never thought I’d end up back in the East of the city (Woolwich is in south east) but I do think New Islington could be like the east Castlefield if things are well developed in time. Like the south east of London, this area is really up and coming so its really good to get in early.

Some people have asked me if New Islington is like Islington in London? I got to say not a chance, although it would be great to have a load more restaurants.

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.