The New Londoners

Kristen O'Sullivan, her partner Cyril Nivelle and their daughters Juliette, 9, and Amelie, 8.

Cyril manages an online company that sells vintage watches. He has been collecting them all his life and had the idea to set up his business when he was looking for vintage watches himself but couldn’t find any. To him, a watch does more than just tell time, each one has a distinct character and sentimental value. 

Cyril moved to London from Paris 11 years ago. Kristen came to London at the age of 26 from Boston. She used to work for a multimedia production design company and then in postproduction and film. She’s recently been learning a bit of photography and hopes to return to documentary work one day.

Although she is American and Cyril is French, their daughters consider themselves neither American nor French.

Kristen: They are both English. They don’t associate themselves one iota with being French or American, unfortunately, and they are “nothink,” and “innit”. I see myself as a Londoner. When I go home my mother says to me, “I don’t even consider you American anymore”.

Although Kristen has toyed with the idea of returning to the US permanently, she feels “overwhelmed” every time she visits. She would, however, like to move to France for a few years to help her daughters learn the language.

Cyril doesn’t see any difference between living in London or Paris. In fact, he feels like he never left France. Over there he is from a “small village” and so living in Hackney is very familiar for him. And because Paris is only two hours away on the Eurostar, he can always visit when he’s homesick. It’s just like going to Brighton for the weekend.

Kristen: I feel particularly attached to Hackney. It’s like this village within London that has got so much to offer. I’ve got a friend at my pub, she’s 106, from Guyana, and was born and bred around here. She’s got an amazing big family, no husband, but loads of grandkids and stepdaughters. She goes to dance clubs and gets hit on and wears this beautiful red dress. She’s just a really amazing character.

Other families from France are the Lopes Family, the Benchoula Family, the Chandar Family, the Kamagate & Ezoua Family, the Nkoso Family, the Alioune Family, and the Prokofiev Family. From Ireland are the Grau-Twamley Familythe Lennon Family, the Ramanantsoa & Tierney Family and the Hrela Family. From the USA are the Marenah Family, the Perez & Khan Family, the Adolfsclottir & Goldberg Family, the Buschmann Family, the Glavan & Robinson Family, the Wickware Family and the Garcia Family