How ‘unhealthy’ is south London?


Today’s report into which UK high streets feature the most ‘bad’ shops raises an inevitable question: how have our beloved local scuzzy thoroughfares ranked?



The Guardian's Google Map of high street health
The Guardian’s Google Map of high street health
The big stats story of the day is the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) report into Britain’s ‘unhealthiest’ high streets, which points a greasy finger at Preston for having the ultimate number of fried chicken joints, pawn shops, bookies, tanning salons and other injurious outlets.

Interestingly, despite the freak out that greets every licencing decision, the RSPH considers pubs and bars to be a positive contribution to health, for the way they combat social isolation and mental issues by bringing communities together. So three late-night cheers for that.

For more on how the individual high streets were scored, see this fairly thorough Guardian article. But where do you think south London’s key high streets came in the league table of the capital’s 1 (most unhealthy) to 144 (least unhealthy)? We’re not entirely sure why one area makes the poll, while another doesn’t – no Brixton, for example – but the first glaring fact is how shockingly low Camberwell scores, at 3.

Meanwhile, neighbouring Stockwell is streets ahead at 135, beating Clapham at 97 and ranking amoung the healthiest stretches in the whole country.

Things don’t look so healthy in Deptford, at 13, or New Cross at 7, making for fairly grim interpretation. Or at least highlighting our ongoing love affair with affordable deep fried items purchased in the early hours of the morning, anyway.

The Guardian have done the best job of visualising all the data via this Google Map. And we couldn’t help but notice the similarities with Charles Booth’s famous ‘poverty map’ of 1886, which similarly colour-codes London, revealing the unwavering link between health and affluence that persists in the city; indeed any city, anywhere.

There were more prostitutes and less tanning salons in Booth’s day, but the market forces that shape local commerce do reveal plenty about an area, even if mapping and listing them only confirms age-old, unresolved social truths, complete with glaring inequalities.

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Check out our sister sites for more on this story today too, and see how unhealthy things are in and around the boroughs of Camden/Islington via Kentishtowner and also the state of play in the east, with today’s accompanying feature on Leytonstoner

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