The De Beauvoir Estate

The De Beauvoir Estate near Old Street

I went into the De Beauvoir Estate in Hackney last week to research a story on postcode wars, where gangs fight over territories marked out by the first section of a postcode (N1, NW5 and so on).

It didn’t take long to find two lads who would talk about the effect it had on their lives pretty candidly.

In the end I had to cut most of the quotes from my article. I thought I would post a full transcript of the interview here as they came out with some phrases that gave a glimpse into a life a million miles away from the trendy shops and bars of nearby Shoreditch.

Daniel Smith, 17, a college student:

If you walk into certain ends and you don’t know someone who lives there, they’ll beat you. They’ll rob you and say, ‘Get out of my ends’.

They watch you and they know you’re not from the area. You can’t walk through places around here.

The police try and stop it but they make it worse. Not everyone who wears a hood is into drugs, robbing and fighting. Look at me; I’ve just been to college.

I grew up around here. Round here it’s getting better – the older gang people are growing up and moving on.

Mark Brown, 19:

It’s not everywhere you go, it’s just some places. But if we go into London Fields now we’re dead – dead.

It’s gang wars. I always watch my back ‘cos if you get caught slipping, they’ll get you.