Drawing undeniable parallels to the growing social divide in the UK, The Street paints a picture of Hoxton Street from the 1950s to present day. Hoxton Street was a close-knit community that welcomed post-war immigration and societal changes, but as traditional industry dried up and aggressive gentrification surrounded this working class central-London street the residents have been increasingly disenfranchised.
As the glinting steel and mirror-glass skyscrapers of London’s financial hub edge ever closer, the area surrounding Hoxton Street has been transformed by ‘luxury’ redevelopments and sky-high property prices. This traditional East London street, less than a mile from the City of London, has become the last bastion of the areas disadvantaged – a concentration of the aged, poor and dispossessed.
Hoxton Street’s close-knit working-class community has absorbed waves of immigrants since the 1950’s. But as traditional industry has declined, the latest influx of young urban hipsters followed closely by expensive restaurants, digital media start-ups and corporate property developers has brought with it a deepening social and financial divide.
Sensing they have been left behind, the street’s ageing white residents lament the loss of their jobs and former ways of life, echoing the 52% who voted to leave the EU. Set against rapid gentrification, unregulated capitalism, years of austerity, the fallout from Grenfell and the eruption of Brexit, Zed Nelson’s feature-length debut is a tragicomic portrait of a street but a nation, waiting on the cusp of change.