How Primrose Hill’s ‘teen era’ could change its future forever

Primrose Hill has always had a story to tell. It’s the home of chocolate-box houses, streets lined with sycamore trees and Victorian lamp posts; the sweetheart of north London. The hill itself overlooks not just the most intimate views over the city – from 210ft up its zig-zagged paths you can see sweeping views of the iconic skyline – but a rich history of fame, fortune and frivolity at its feet. There’s little wonder that for decades, the area has been heralded as perhaps the most coveted postcode in London and, in recent years, certainly the most Instagrammable.

This week, Primrose Hill became the centre of another story far from its pristine image. On New Year’s Eve, 16-year-old Harry Pitman from Tottenham headed to the top of the hill to watch the fireworks with a group of friends. Just minutes before midnight, he was stabbed and, despite the efforts of emergency services, died at the scene. A 16-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of murder the same night and has since been released on bail pending further enquiries. On Wednesday, a 15-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of murder, along with an 18-year-old man on suspicion of affray.

Harry’s tragic and untimely death prompted thousands of tributes nationwide, and a vigil held for the teenager near his family home in Downhills Park attracted a large crowd of mourners. But back in Primrose Hill, the discussion quickly turned to a now years-long dispute within the community, with some blaming Primrose Hill’s growing dark side for the fatal stabbing.

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