The corner of London with most North Koreans in Europe voted one of the best places to live in the UK
The London district with the largest North Korean community in Europe has been named one of the best places to live in the capital thanks to its thriving Korean expat community, bustling shopping street, good public schools and direct trains to central London.
Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Korean residents in the suburbs said it was one of the best places to live due to its strong economy and tight-knit community. Do Soon Chang, 63, who has lived in New Malden for 24 years, said, “This place is very convenient for Koreans to get Korean food. It’s relatively safe and the public school is good. For these reasons, many people still come and gather here.
It is now estimated that around 20,000 Koreans live in and around the suburbs southwest of the capital, mostly from South Korea. This community has also more recently attracted North Koreans. Around 700 North Koreans are said to live in New Malden – the largest North Korean community in Europe.
READ MORE:The charming town on the border of London and Surrey where everyone settles
New Malden was recently rated one of the best places to live in London by The Sunday Times. Many move to the area because of its historic properties, including Victorian Terraces in the Grove Conservation Area and Edwardian Tractor Trailers on Presburg Road, alongside its pubs, restaurants, golf clubs, sports facilities, the bustling main street that stretches from the train station and nearby Richmond Park. According to property website Rightmove, the average house price in the area is £675,490.
“There are communication barriers between North and South Koreans even here,” Chang said. But locals say relations are improving, with residents coming together at events and community centers.
Jane Lim, who moved to England in 1996 and lives in Surbiton, said: “Before there was more tension. Since I was a little girl, we have been educated that we cannot meet. But now things are looking up. Because New Malden is a unique place where we can meet and get to know each other well, things are getting better every year.
Rakgyun Shin, 31, works at a Korean language school on Malden Road. He said: “I already knew New Malden had the biggest Korean community before I came to the UK via the internet and always wanted to visit there for a while.”
From Croydon to Catford, Peckham to Putney, MyLondon wants to make sure you get the latest news, reviews and features from your part of South London.
Now there’s a way to keep up to date with areas that interest you with our free email newsletter.
The South London newsletter comes out twice a day and sends you the latest stories straight to your inbox.
To sign up for the South London newsletter, simply follow this link and select the newsletter that suits you.
And to really personalize your news experience on the go, you can download our top-rated free apps for iPhone and Android. Learn more here.
Arriving in London in September 2021, Mr Shin found a volunteer opportunity at the Hankyoreh Korean language school. He said, “On my way to school, I found the Korean Culture and Arts Center on the main street and walked in out of curiosity. It was my first encounter with senior members of the Korean community. Working at the weekend school was an amazing experience for me.
The neighborhood is home to Korean supermarkets, restaurants, hair salons, churches, and a senior center. North and South Koreans recently held a pop-up teahouse at the Korean Arts and Culture Center to raise funds for Ukraine. Lyubov Lytvynko says she and other Ukrainian residents were invited to the event by Ms Lim after meeting at a community fundraiser. “It’s a very nice and friendly area,” she said. “The community welcomes us perfectly.”
The Dano Festival on June 12 will be another gathering opportunity for the Korean community. Ms. Lim said, “A few years ago, if we held an event together, it was more like the South Koreans organized everything and we just invited the North Koreans. It’s not like that anymore, we organize things together.