I celebrated England’s win at ‘UK’s most patriotic property’ – one thing was mistaken

It’s the morning after the night before, England are through to the final of the Euros, the sun is shining and everything feels alright.

But in England’s most patriotic estate, Kirby in Southwark, South London, it’s quiet, too quiet. The estate has often gained the attention of the media for its remarkable show of England flags, Union Jacks and murals dedicated to footballing stars.

Recently, ahead of the start of the tournament in Germany, a new mural of Crystal Palace star and south Londoner Eberechi Eze was added to a wall next to the preexisting tribute to Lioness Fran Kirby. It looks like the heartland of England fandom, and yet no one is around.

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As I exited Southwark Park and entered the estate, things felt strange. Its countless flags rustled in the wind, the only consistent sound creating an eerie backing track.

Fran Kirby's mural is just one of the famous feature of the estate
Fran Kirby’s mural is just one of the famous feature of the estate

Up on one of the balconies that wrap around the main courtyard like the tiers of a colosseum, a dog barks. Its noise jars so much against the chatter of the flags that it sends birds up into the air and to the nearest trees.

In fact, it’s so quiet here that it feels like the aftermath of a party, like the hushed air that fills a house after a night of merry-making. The only possible assumption for things being this quiet on the day after one of the greatest nights for the England Men’s team in recent years is that more than a few people were nursing sore heads.

The estate still looked incredible, but the flags were on show to no one
The estate still looked incredible, but the flags were on show to no one beyond me

Or maybe, given it’s lunchtime on Thursday, most people could be at work – take your pick.

Either way, this famous community feels like a place holding its breath, like the slightest noise might break the spell that has carried Gareth Soutgate’s team to the final.

Sure I’m not going to come across anyone, I’m getting ready to leave when out of the blue software specialist Christian, 31, appears. He’s holding a yellow trug filled with what looked like cement, telling me he’d been helping out a pal.

I had half expected to find a party
I had half expected to find a party

He’d been viewing the game elsewhere last night but said that he’d watched previous games in the tournament at Kirby and said the atmosphere had been good.

“I was watching in a pub not here, but I’ve watched another England match here and it was pretty cool, you could hear all the shouting and cheering when England scored,” he tells me.

Christian was the only person to be found
Christian was the only person to be found

He’s clearly a big fan of the famous community, praising its strong collective spirit and tight-knit relationships.

“Living here, all these people support England with their heart – it feels like you’re part of a community. [Living here] is sort of like friends you know, you’re part of something.”

The flags were out in full force
The flags were out in full force

Hangovers, gainful employment, or maybe a mixture of both, the Kirby estate is at rest. Whether this will stay the same come Sunday when England take on Spain in the final, is a whole different matter.

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