Even within London, the heart of the tech district in EC1V is packed 56 times denser than the rest of the capital
East London’s ‘Silicon Roundabout’ is home to a greater density of technology firms than any other location in the UK, from Manchester to Glasgow, and hosts 70 times the density of tech firms in Cambridge’s world-renowned hub.
In the inaugural London Hubs Tracker from Stirling Ackroyd, a study of every single registered business in the country reveals the domination of the UK’s technology industry by this small corner of London.
London’s EC1V postal district, adjoining the famous Silicon Roundabout, is home to nearly eight times (7.83x) the density of registered technology companies than Manchester’s ‘Silicon Mill’, the densest postal district for technology companies outside of London.
Compared to other hubs across the country, the capital’s core EC1V tech district is 16 times more densely packed than Birmingham’s B3 (the ‘Silicon Canal’), 17 times Brighton’s BN3 district (‘Silicon Pier’), 20 times Bristol’s BS1 (‘Silicon Gorge’) and 33 times the concentration of tech business in Glasgow’s ‘Silicon Glen’ in the G2 area.
Moreover, the reality of London’s tech quarter beats the traditional reputation of the world-renowned ‘Silicon Fen’ in Cambridge 73 times over. This is despite the university city receiving significant media attention in the past. Historically, Cambridge was first cited as the dominant hub of the UK.
In absolute terms, there are 39,614 technology businesses registered to Inner London postcodes, while East Central (EC) London alone is home to 6,792.
Across the capital there are 58 tech firms for every square kilometre, or nearly fifty times the density of technology businesses than across the whole UK (just 1.2 tech firms per kilometre squared).
However at the very peak, Silicon Roundabout’s EC1V postal district, this density is more than fifty times denser again, with 3,228 tech firms packed into every square kilometre.
This is more than twice even the second-placed area, the neighbouring EC2A on the other side of the Old Street roundabout. Here tech firms are clustered at a density of 1,580 per kilometre squared.
After Silicon Roundabout in the East, W1 postcodes form a secondary ‘western’ cluster. Stretching from Marylebone High Street (W1U), Portland Place and Regent Street (W1B), to Charlotte Street and Goodge Street (W1T) and western Soho (W1F), this more disperse cluster has a peak density of 1,214 tech businesses per square kilometre (or 62% less than Silicon Roundabout).
Beyond these clusters, London’s more periphery tech hubs are led by the N12 district of North Finchley, with 208 tech firms per km2, just ahead of Southwark’s SE1 district with 201 technology businesses per km2.
Meanwhile the E14 district centred on Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs has technology companies clustered at a density of 190 per km2, while perhaps surprisingly the next distinct cluster is centred on Watford’s WD17 district with 168 per kilometre squared. Finally, the relatively leafy Wimbledon, Hammersmith and Hounslow form a further set of emerging tech centres in London’s suburbs, though with a density of only around 1/30th of the Silicon Roundabout.
Andrew Bridges, managing director of Stirling Ackroyd, commentsed: “At the bright heart of Britain’s technology industry, there’s an entrepreneurial start up spirit to the Old Street area that’s creating its own gravitational force. Social media is the Bloomberg of the 21st century, HTML is our new lingua franca, and Shoreditch is fast becoming the Canary Wharf of the 2020s.
“Creativity and community matter, and East London has both in spades. A new tribe of Londoners have made their home in the East, and this kind of movement develops its own momentum,” he continued.
Bridges noted that, “This is especially true for tech companies”. He said: “They tend to depend on a small number of highly skilled individuals. They rarely need enormous offices. But they absolutely depend on the warp-speed exchange of ideas. You might think a cutting edge tech start up would depend more on remote working – but the model for these disruptive businesses relies on a small number of talented individuals working and living near like-minded people.”