diamond geezer

 Monday, November 18, 2013

JUBILEE: Jubilee Place

There are several shopping malls in East London, but only one is targeted at shoppers with cash to splash. We're generally not that rich over here, at least in comparison to the other side of town. Even Westfield provides a toned down retail offering at Stratford City compared to Shepherds Bush, which has its own luxury enclave called The Village. Ilford would never support a premium handbag shop, while Hackney's designer offering is limited to outlet stores. But there is one anomalous outpost of wealth out east, the financial centre at Canary Wharf, so it's only right they have a shopping mall in which employees can spend their bonuses. It's called Jubilee Place, and it just got bigger.

Jubilee Place opened ten years ago, the second shopping mall at Canary Wharf. The first sits under the main tower, a lengthy subterranean arcade leading from Cabot Square down to Waitrose. It's got some upmarket shops, but also much more ordinary fare like JD Sports and a Carphone Warehouse. It's somewhere for financial service workers to shop at lunchtimes, and for more affluent locals to go at weekends. Jubilee Place runs parallel, on the opposite side of the Jubilee line station, beneath Jubilee Park. See what they did with the branding there?

Jubilee Place has a relatively exclusive feel. Nothing so over the top as might be found in Mayfair, this isn't the Bond Street of E14. But there are fragrance boutiques and ladieswear collections for browsing, plus several food outlets aimed more at sit-down dining than desktop takeaway. The supermarket is an M&S Simply Food, which is always a good way of spending extra on calories. Stores sell high-class cashmere for protection against the air-conditioned office, and tailoring for City gents who aren't based in the City. Only a branch of Boots lowers the tone slightly, but hey, what self-respecting futures analyst wouldn't need a chemist on their doorstep?

The new extension to Jubilee Place is on Level Minus Two. That's one floor below the main mall and two floors below the park, on the same level as the Underground station ticket hall. This used to be nowhere special. You walked in from the tube via two sets of heavy doors (still present) to face a small newsagents selling papers and sweets. A short escalator then led up to a mezzanine, and up again to the the glazed atrium at the heart of the main mall. That's now changed. The newsagent's long gone, his corner replaced by several artisan-style shops. And the direct escalator's no longer there either, forcing everyone to walk further past lots more shops before ascending. A marble mall has been created, with swish lighting, glazed shop frontages and bijou display cases containing goodies you might like to purchase. One mosaic on the floor commemorates London as "the world's only open market for tortoise shell", as if this were somehow a good thing. And all the time security guards watch, just in case something less than perfect might occur.

Jubilee Place's brand new shops increase the upmarket factor somewhat. Monica Vinader sells contemporary celebrity-endorsed jewellery. Orlebar Brown sells not swimming trunks but "resortwear". There's lingerie, fitness gear, exclusive homeware and posh tights. The only food option is Le Pain Quotidien, for when a sandwich won't do and you need "elegant boulangerie fare made with organic ingredients". The anchor tenant is Banana Republic, located at the end of the mall, making its first appearance east of the City. There's even a boutique selling ballet shoes, hardly an East End staple.

Now you might be thinking, excellent, that's just what I need. You might live or work in Docklands, and this might save you an annoying trip into town. Indeed I'm not going to moan or complain about this new development, merely shine a spotlight on its existence. But read on.

The estate's owners have long encouraged those with disposable income to shop here, making available various free publications in each mall. Us plebs pick up The Wharf newspaper to read about Tinchy Stryder's roots and Asda's new community space. Those with bonuses to spend pick up Canary Wharf magazine, a glossy full colour freebie which this month reaches its 100th edition. Think gold-embossed cover, think adverts for jewellery and motors, think fashion spreads for business travellers. Page 32 lists nine November basics for fashion conscious men, including a £300 pair of trousers, a £448 hoodie and a £595 jumper. The cheapest watch pictured on page 57 costs £1360. Page 107 showcases Harrods' Decadence Hamper, a Christmas steal for £20,000. Or maybe you'd like a three bedroom flat on the 41st floor across the docks, assuming you have £2¼ million to spare.

Tower Hamlets is one of the most divided boroughs in the country, with a vast gulf between those who live here and those who work here. Only 15% of jobs in the borough are taken by local residents, with the others filled by people commuting in. Those who work in Tower Hamlets have an average salary of £58,000, whereas the median household income for those who live here is only £29,550. Indeed nearly 20% of households live on less than £15,000 a year, while 49% of children in Tower Hamlets live in poverty – the highest rate in the UK. Here some of the most deprived wards in London nuzzle up against some of the richest, and not enough of Docklands' financial muscle trickles into the surrounding communities.

If you ever fancy a sharp contrast, start at Chrisp Street Market on Poplar's Lansbury Estate, and see what they have in the way of fashion, jewellery and fine dining. From here it's just three stops on the DLR, or five stops on the bus, to the underground shopping malls at Canary Wharf. There are no pawnbrokers here, no 99p stores, no fried chicken shops, and what's easily affordable in one place costs more than a month's income in the other. Twas ever thus, we've always been a divided society. But a visit to Jubilee Place might well remind you on which side of the divide you belong.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream