Born in South London, Rose has lived within Stockwell and Brixton‘s Spanish community for her entire life. She speaks Spanish and Engish to equal degrees, and retains strong links with her Spanish roots. Rose’s husband, Artif, is from Egypt, and speaks Arabic as his first language. After unsuccessfully trying for a child for many years, Artif took Rose back to Egypt for fertility treatment, where it’s a third of the price of comparable treatments in London.
They now have a three-year old son, Zacary, who lives within a multicultural commuity and is already tri-lingual – a truly international South Londoner.
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Questions & Answers
- What's your first memory of London? If we’re talking earliest memory then it has to be growing up in Josephine Avenue, Brixton Hill, my primary school Corpus Christi and all my friends and Brockwell Park and its Lido. I remember playing out with my friends, learning how to roller skate, playing knock-down-ginger, and singing songs from Grease, the Nolans and the Bay City Rollers. I also remember being able to see and hear Big Ben from my uncles house in Kennington and thinking Wow! Gosh I feel old.
- What do you miss when you're away from London? I miss the shopping aspect of it, food shopping especially. You are used to your supermarkets and their delivery systems, your yummy local delis, and obviously some foods that you just don’t get if you go abroad. However, food is also one of the main attractions for going abroad.
- What's your favourite neighbourhood? I have to say my neighbourhood!! It’s great. I’ve lived here for 31 years and I have seen the changes (for the better) like Van Gogh Walk. It’s a neighbourhood that is nestled between multicultural Brixton with its vibrant market, Vauxhall with its stunning embankment and it easy access to the West End, Chelsea, Wandsworth etc and Kennington just a hop away from Lambeth and Westminster bridges. We also have 3 great parks (Kennington, Vauxhall & Myatts Field) as well as Slade Gardens Adventure Playground.
- What's your favourite building? The Royal Courts of Justice is amazing as it was one of the last gothic revival buildings to have been built in London. The interior is just as impressive as its exterior and it is said that it was such a huge and stressful project, that it led to it’s designer, G E Street’s death. I must say I also love Marble Hill House and it’s gardens in Richmond as it’s an elegant 18th century villa. It was built for Henrietta Howard, the mistress of King George II.
- What's your ideal day out in London? I think if you had asked me that 3 years ago (before having my son) my answer would’ve been completely different. Now I would have to say that visiting our wonderful museums is always a great day out. However when the weather is nice there’s the Southbank with its different acts like the bubble making man, the African dancers/acrobats and the various human statues. It also has a great little park as well as a few fairground rides, some yummy places to eat, loads of ice-cream and waffle stalls and loads of space to run, play and dance in a car free area with great views of London. That’s not to mention the various different things that are always on for children as well as grown ups.
- What's your ideal night out in London? Night out? What’s that? I love the theatre although I rarely go now unless its during the day to see a children’s play. So I would say a night out to the theatre (play, musical or opera), then a nice meal in a good a la carte restaurant and then a drink in a lively (not too packed) bar with good music.
- What's your most hated building? I think one of the ugliest buildings is the American Embassy slap bang in the middle of Grosvenor Square. I sincerely hope that once their new lodgings are ready in Nine Elms, this ugly construction is demolished.
- What's the best view in London? Clearly some of the best views are from above so London Eye, The Shard but if you stand on Waterloo Bridge you can get some amazing views of London too.
- What's your favourite open space? This has to be Hyde Park as it spans over such a large area (350 acres) and is home to a number of famous landmarks including the Serpentine Lake and Gallery, Speakers’ Corner (always entertaining!) and the Diana, “Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. The best thing is that it also offers various recreational activities such as open water swimming, boating, cycling, tennis and of course, horse riding. And naturally there’s a good old traditional picnic in the park followed by some form of ball game.
- What's your favourite bar, pub or restaurant? I love Alounak in Olympia. A good and very reasonable Iranian restaurant. Amazing bread!
- What's the most interesting shop? Vintage Magazine Shop on Brewer Street W1. It’s an emporium for a vast collection of secondhand and vintage prints, posters and collectibles.
- What's been your most memorable night out in London? There are too many and unfortunately that information is classified…
- How would you like to spend your ideal day off in London? Doing fun stuff with my son and forgetting all about work!
- Where would you take someone visiting from out of town? There are your typical sites of course which are all worth a visit, but I would add Maltby Street Market along with Borough Market. And the Paramount Bar in Centre Point is a great place to soak up amazing views of London as opposed to paying a fortune on the London Eye. There is Soho’s Secret Tea Room (Greek St) for a more traditional approach and of course Westminster Cathedral is always worth a visit.
- What's the worst journey you've had to make in London? One year with heavy snow while I was working in a school in Ruislip. Had managed to get on a train but they were then all stopped at Wembley and I had to make my way home using alternative transport. There were no cabs. However, amazingly I got on a bus to Golders Green where I was going to be able to get the northern line, which is all underground and therefore unaffected by the snow. However, after an hour on the bus the police stopped it and said it was too dangerous for it to go any further. I had to then walk to Golders Green, in the snow and carrying 2 bags of kids’ books to mark without having a clue of where I was. To cut a long story short I left school at 4pm and got home at 1am having spent most of it walking in the snow through north London. The irony was that when I got to Oval station there was hardly any snow left in South London.
- What's your personal London landmark? This is the question I pondered on the most. Probably because I wanted to give an inspirational place that was cool to visit in London, but I kept on coming back to the same place, St. Thomas’ Hospital. Why? Well not only was I born here, my best friend Margarita and her two daughters (one of which is my god daughter) both of whom I witnessed coming into this world, were also born there. But more importantly my son was born there in 2011. Despite all these happy occasions it has also been home to some very sad moments during my mum’s illness. However, at the same time it also gave us moments of hysterical laughter, reflection and honesty during all the madness. And all this with the most spectacular views of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament as well as the London Eye and the embankment with great views of the River Thames and London.
- Who's your favourite fictional Londoner? Paddington Bear of 32 Windsor Gardens, London.
- What's your favourite London film, book or documentary? Oliver Twist (as a book and film) although I also enjoyed the film Notting Hill.
- If you could travel to any time period in London, past or future, where would you go? 60’s London for the music and the sense of freedom. However, Londinium (Roman London) must have been interesting although life was hard!
- For you, who is the ultimate Londoner? Not sure if any are really ‘ultimate Londoners’ as they tend to move away from London with work and of course, fame. However, I do have to champion David Bowie as he is a local Brixton boy and one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Alfred Hitchcock also deserves a mention.