Dr Matthew Davenport, a 35-year Emergency Medicine Consultant has swapped his basement flat for biking after relocating to The Peak District from Blackheath, London, 18 months ago. He lives with his wife, who works as a paediatrician and they have recently had their first child.
Though originally from Greater Manchester, Dr Davenport spent nine years in London after qualifying as a junior doctor, but as he approached his mid-thirties he found that the allure of life in the capital was wearing off. He explained:
“For years when we lived in London we absolutely loved it. We’d get Time Out every week and really make the most of life in the capital. It was all about the after work drinks, getting the last tube home and enjoying ourselves.
“However as we got a little older we realised that we just weren’t making the most of the London lifestyle. Increasingly we were travelling out of the capital at the weekend in an attempt to enjoy some clean air and greenery. Combine that with the cost of living and how long and stressful our commutes were and we basically realised that we were paying to live in London and getting all of the bad bits without enjoying the good bits.
And how much they were paying was quite an issue. Dr Davenport continued: “Despite the fact we were both on reasonable salaries our rents were so high that saving was nigh on impossible, so we couldn’t get together the significant deposit we’d need to buy in the capital.
“And even if we had been able to, you get so little for your money. We were living in a basement flat in Blackheath – fine for us as singletons, but not the sort of place we wanted to start a family.”
As the couple became consultants and had more freedom about their place of work, they both realised that the capital was not for them. After briefly considering a move to Australia, they eventually decided on a move to the North West to be nearer their families and haven’t looked back. Dr Davenport is now employed as an Emergency Medicine Consultant in Salford Royal Hospital and has found his lifestyle – and finances – have greatly improved.
He continued: “In terms of property, what you can get for your money up here is just amazing.
“We rented when we first moved up but were quickly able to save enough for a deposit and now we have a great place in the Peak District. It’s got everything, bike storage, a garden – I’ve even got a man cave.
“And we’re still saving money. It’s a bit of a culture shock when you go to the bar and come back with change when you’re so used to paying £5.00 for a pint and £7.00 for a glass of wine.
“Longer term, other things are going to be more affordable too. Our child is only a baby at the moment, but when they are older, private schooling could be a real possibility, whereas it simply wouldn’t be down South.”
For Dr Davenport, he also feels there is the potential to grow more professionally in the North. He explained: “In London, you’re a little fish in a big pond. Here, there is more of an opportunity to shape your own role, have more input into the decisions being made and take on more responsibility early on. I’ve also found that the working culture here is a little less stressful.”
And when things do get stressful – as things inevitably do working in a busy A&E department – Dr Davenport has found the perfect way to unwind by enjoying cycling around the rolling countryside of the place he now calls home and enjoying the copious green spaces on his door step.
“If you would have told me five years ago that I’d be living back in the North and loving it I wouldn’t have believed you,” he said. But I’m now at an age and stage now that this lifestyle works for me and I imagine it would for many others too.”
Assistant Director HR & Workforce
Tel: 0161 625 7453