Dartford: once a thriving market town, now in decline

Living in Dartford, Kent

The once thriving market town of Dartford has been a cesspit for almost two decades now. As gentrification sweeps more and more of South London, more and more inner city ne’er-do-wells are pushed into its borders, primarily Dartford, making the place seem more like a rough South London borough, but at the same time the whole town is very reminiscent of the poverty stricken towns dotted around the cities and coasts of the North. Walking through the town centre is a depressing experience as 9 in 10 shops are shut down and boarded up, with rough sleepers, junkies and kids inhabiting most of them, leaving used needles and graffiti everywhere. On this walk, you are likely to encounter or be harassed by the local ‘community’, consisting of:

The Youth Gangster

Crowds of little wannabe gangsters, the boys in tracksuits and the girls in stupidly revealing clothing, ranging from the ages of anything from 9 to 20+, loitering around the town and the park, smoking weed and starting fights with anyone they claim ‘looked at me funny init.’ These lot will typically ask for a cigarette, shout random abuse or knock into you doing a wheelie on one of their little mountain bikes. Best avoided and ignored.

The Roadmen

An illusive creature, heard from a mile off blasting their Drill music but only seen in town after dark in groups of around 3 to 8, usually lanky kids dressed in all black with their little Nike man bags, never getting off their mountain bike unless it’s to roll a joint. If you look the sort, they will approach you outside KFC or McDonalds and ask ‘Yo g, yu smoke crow?’ then proceed to give you their ‘shotting’ number, regardless of whether you request it or not.

How grim is your Postcode?
The Drunks

Always presume that anyone after dark in town is drunk and is looking for a fight, because more often than not they are. These types will be seen staggering over to cash machines to take out their last savings (and to have a quick wee next to the machine’ and then back into the pubs frequently, they will more likely than not bump into you, hurl abuse or do anything they can to escalate the situation into a fight, again, best avoided.

The Junkies

The local drug addicted homeless that will ask (or demand, rather) you for change or to ‘borrow yer phone cus I ain’t got no credit’.

Just don’t go to Dartford.