An idealist’s version of a not so new Hendon

By Lilli Ann Tjøsvoll, BA Creative Writing & Journalism

During the Classical era, Hendon was home to the Romans. Between 1908 and 1968, it was home to the famous Hendon Aerodrome, which today is known as the RAF museum. In 1934 it became home to the Metropolitan Police College, now known as the Peel Centre. In 1939 it became home to Hendon Technical Institute, which along with Hornsey college of art and Ponders End Technical institute, became the origin of Middlesex Polytechnic. And last, and perhaps least, in 2016 it became home to me.


Photo by Pavlos Sifakis

In October Hendon, a suburb in the Borough of Barnet, historically known as a civil parish, gained a new inhabitant. A slightly naïve and idealistic one I might add. Although Hendon is part of Greater London, and is only a 20-minute tube ride from the center and its rhapsody, from an idealistic foreigner’s point of view, Hendon is not London. There is no Big Ben in Hendon, no Ferris wheel offering you an extraordinary view, no ridiculously long street filled with high street shops, no famous bridges, no West End theatres, no skyscraper made out of shards, no Queen Elizabeth II and no Buckingham Palace to inhabit a certain someone.


Photo by Pavlos Sifakis

But not to worry, although Hendon isn’t home of UK’s most famous landmarks or the set of all those feel-good romantic comedies, it’s a pretty good place to live. While this particular genre of movies chooses to focus on the more attractive things life has to offer, in reality one is still bound by commitments and restrictions. Even when living in one of the greatest cities in the world. In-between all the shopping, sightseeing and exploring, an endless list of responsibilities awaits. When having to deal with these challenges, commonly known as life, I’m thankful for the open arms that Hendon is providing me with.


The wonderful fact is that when the opportunity does arrive, the shopping, sightseeing, exploring and all of London’s rhapsody awaits. The famous landmarks and romantic sights aren’t going anywhere. Therefore, whenever I feel like channeling my inner Julia Roberts, I’ll put my heels on and go for a stroll around Notting Hill. If I’m in the mood for something a bit more adventurous, I’ll channel my inner Hermione Granger and visit the Warner Bros. Studios. The point is that all of these different activities for all my different moods are all in reach. The list is endless, and so are my opportunities living here.


Photo by Pavlos Sifakis

Even naïve idealists like me must wake up and smell the coffee at some point. In one of Hendon’s many sweet coffee shops, I did that exact thing. Not only did I smell the fresh coffee, I also realized that living in London isn’t like living in one of those romantic comedies. But I also realized that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Being new to Hendon, for me, means being new to a whole new world. This can sometimes be as scary as it is exciting. Hendon provides me with a safe everyday life, which during the scary bits, can be quite comforting. It also provides me with easy access to Central London, which is superb for whenever I’m in the mood for pretending that I’m a character in one of those romantic comedies.


Photo by Pavlos Sifakis