Camden Town: Wikis


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Coordinates: 51°32′28″N 0°08′36″W / 51.541°N 0.1433°W / 51.541; -0.1433

Camden Town
Camden Town 9.jpg
Shopping street near to the markets
Camden Town is located in Greater London
Camden Town

 Camden Town shown within Greater London
Population 26,122 (Camden Town with Primrose Hill and Cantelowes wards 2007)[1]
OS grid reference TQ295845
    - Charing Cross 2.4 mi (3.9 km)  SSE
London borough Camden
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district NW1
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament Holborn and St. Pancras
London Assembly Barnet and Camden
List of places: UK • England • London

Camden Town is an inner city district in north London, England and the central neighbourhood of the London Borough of Camden. It is located 2.4 miles (3.9 km) north-northwest of Charing Cross and is one of the 35 major centres identified in the London Plan.[2] It was laid out as a residential district from 1791 and was anciently part of the manor of Kentish Town and the parish of St Pancras, Middlesex. The town became an important location during the early development of the railways and is also located on the London canal network. Its industrial heritage has made way for retail and entertainment, including a number of internationally renowned markets and music venues that are strongly associated with alternative culture.





Camden Town is named after Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden, his earldom was styled after his estate, Camden Place, near Chislehurst in Kent. Camden Place had been the estate of the historian William Camden.[3] The name appears on the Ordnance Survey map of 1822.[4] The name was later passed on to the Camden Town Group of artists and the London borough created in 1965.[5]

Urban development

Camden Town stands on land which was once the manor of Kentish Town.[5] Sir Charles Pratt, a radical 18th century lawyer and politician, acquired the manor through marriage. In 1791, he started granting leases for houses to be built in the manor.[5] In 1816, the Regent's Canal was built through the area.[6] Up to at least the late 1800s, Camden Town was considered an "unfashionable" locality.[7] Camden Markets, which started in 1973 and have grown since then, attract many visitors all week. Camden Lock village then known as Camden Canal market suffered a major fire, but no injuries, on 9 February 2008.[8]


Camden Town became part of the London borough of Camden in 1965 upon the borough's creation, but was previously in Metropolitan borough of St Pancras. The area is part of the Holborn and St Pancras constituency. The MP since 1983 has been Frank Dobson of the Labour Party. For elections to the London Assembly it is part of the Barnet and Camden constituency and the AM is Brian Coleman of the Conservative Party. It is part of the London constituency for elections to the European Parliament.


Camden Town is on relatively flat ground at 100 feet (30 m) above sea level, 2.4 miles (3.9 km) north-northwest of Charing Cross. To the north are the hills of Hampstead and Highgate. The culverted, subterranean River Fleet flows from its source on Hampstead Heath through Camden Town south to the Thames.[9] The Regent's Canal runs through the north of Camden Town.


Stables market horse sculptures

In recent years, entertainment-related businesses and a Holiday Inn have moved into the area. A number of retail and food chain outlets have replaced independent shops driven out by high rents and redevelopment. Restaurants have thrived, with the variety of culinary traditions found in London. Many restaurants are a little away from the markets, on Camden High Street and its side streets, Parkway, Chalk Farm Road, and Bayham Street. The plan to re-develop the historic Stables Market led to a steel and glass extension built on the edges of the site in 2006 and increased the market's capacity.

Camden street markets

Camden is well-known for its markets: these are relatively new, except for Inverness Street market, a small food market serving the local community, though now with only 3 fruit and vegetable stalls among more touristy stalls. Camden Lock market proper started in a former timber-yard in 1973, and is now surrounded by five more markets: Buck Street market, Stables market, Camden Lock village, and an indoor market in the Electric Ballroom. The markets are a major tourist attraction at weekends, selling goods of all types including fashion, lifestyle, books, food, junk/antiques and more bizarre items; they and the surrounding shops are popular with young people, in particular those searching for "alternative" clothing.


The Regent's Canal waterbus service


Camden Town Underground station is near the markets and other attractions. It is a key interchange station for the Bank, Charing Cross, Edgware and High Barnet Northern Line branches.[10] The station was not designed to cope with the volume of traffic it handles since the area increased in popularity. It is very crowded at weekends, and, as of 2009, is closed to outbound passengers on Sunday afternoons for safety reasons. London Underground has made many proposals to upgrade the station. In 2004 a proposal requiring the compulsory purchase and demolition of 'the Triangle'—land bordered by Kentish Town Road, Buck Street and Chalk Farm Road—was rejected by Camden Council after opposition from local people; of 229 letters, only 2 supported the scheme. Chalk Farm and Mornington Crescent tube stations also serve the area.


Camden Road is a London Overground station at the corner of Royal College Street and Camden Road. The nearest National Rail station is Kentish Town station on the Thameslink route on the Midland Main Line.


Camden Locks

The area is a major hub for London Buses. Most night buses in north London stop in Camden Town.[11] Parts of the A503 (Camden Road) and A400 (Camden High Street and Camden Street) are designated as Red routes which are major routes into London administered by Transport for London not the borough.[12] Black taxis ply for hire in the area, and there are minicab offices. Illegal unlicensed "taxis" tout for business on the street, particularly late at night.[13]

Regent's Canal

The Regent's Canal runs through the north end of Camden Town. Canalboat trips along the canal from Camden Lock are a popular activity, particularly in the summer months. Many of the handrails by the bridges show deep marks worn by the towropes by which horses pulled canal barges until the 1950s, and it is still possible to see ramps on the canal bank designed to assist horses which fell in the canal after being startled by the noise of a train. Camden Lock is a regularly-used traditional manually-operated double canal lock operating between widely separated levels. A large complex of weekend street markets operate around the Lock. The towpath is a busy commuter cycle route, which runs continuously from Little Venice through Camden Lock to the Islington Tunnel[14] A regular waterbus service operates along the Regent's Canal from Camden Lock. Boats depart every hour during the summer months, heading westwards around Regent's Park, calling at London Zoo and on towards Maida Vale.


Punks close to the Electric Ballroom

The Roundhouse Theatre

Shops on Camden High Street

The Roundhouse is a locomotive engine roundhouse constructed in 1847 for the London and Birmingham Railway. It later had various uses and eventually became derelict. It was converted to a music venue in the 1960s. Since re-opening in 2006 it has again become a popular theatre and music venue.

Other notable places

The World's End in Camden Town


To the north of Camden Town station and running along the canal is a modern pop art complex designed by Terry Farrell as the original studios of TV-am. The studios are now used by MTV[6] but retain the egg cup sculptures along the roof line of original owners. Associated Press Television News has its head office in a former gin warehouse on near Camden Lock called "The Interchange".[15] The Camden New Journal is a free, independent newspaper that covers the London Borough of Camden. Camden Gazette is also a free newspaper covering the borough.

Cultural references

Dickens referred to Camden Town; in A Christmas Carol, Bob Cratchit and his family live there, and Dombey and Son includes a description of the building of the London and Birmingham Railway through Camden Town.[16]

In John le Carré's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, a mole at the heart of MI6 is exposed in the climax of the plot at a meeting in a safe house at 5, Lock Gardens (a fictitious street), Camden Town.

Cayce Pollard, the protagonist of William Gibson's Pattern Recognition, is based in Camden when in London.

Nick Hornby's High Fidelity is set in Camden, including a fictitious record shop called 'Championship Vinyl'.

Camden features several times in Hanif Kureishi's novel, The Black Album.

Camden town also features in Elizabeth Hand's novel Mortal love and in her short story 'Cleopatra Brimstone' which can be found in the collection Saffron and Brimstone.

In music

Camden Town features in a range of musical lyrics and song titles and it is most synonymous with local band Madness and much of the later Britpop movement. Amy Winehouse is associated with the Hawley Arms and on receiving her Grammy Award for Record of the Year, declared "Camden Town ain't burnin' down!" in reference to the 2008 fire.[17]

In film

  • The cult film Withnail and I starts and ends in Camden Town.
  • This Year's Love is filmed almost entirely in and around Camden, showing many local landmarks, shops, restaurants and bars.
  • The famous Christmas film, A Christmas Carol ends with Scrooge Sending a young boy to buy a turkey from Camden.
  • The Rules of Attraction (2002) features images of a busy Camden High Street during a fast-paced montage of a character's promiscuous tour of Europe. He cites "girls with pink hair" as a notable feature of area. The film is set in Camden College, a fictional Ivy League institution in the eastern United States.
  • The film "Bride & Prejudice" shows scenes of Camden town by the canal, showing typical barges and tourists.
  • The Mike Leigh film Happy-Go-Lucky (2008) takes place largely in Camden Town.[18][19]

In television


  1. ^ "Mid-2007 Population Estimates for 2007 Wards in England". Office for National Statistics. 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-04.  
  2. ^ Mayor of London (February 2008). "London Plan (Consolidated with Alterations since 2004)". Greater London Authority.  
  3. ^ Walford, Edward (1878). "Camden Town and Kentish Town". British History Online. Retrieved 2009-11-03.  
  4. ^ Mills 2001, p. 37
  5. ^ a b c Mills 2001, p. 38
  6. ^ a b Hibbert, Christopher (2008). London Encyclopaedia. Macmillan London Ltd. p. 123. ISBN 978-1-4050-4924-5.  
  7. ^ Dunton, Larkin (1896). The World and Its People. Silver, Burdett. p. 29.  
  8. ^ "Blaze ravages London market area". (BBC). 2008-02-09. Retrieved 2010-01-02.  
  9. ^ Walford, Edward (1878). "St Pancras". British History Online. Retrieved 2009-11-04.  
  10. ^ "Stations and interchanges: Camden Town". Transport for London. Retrieved 2009-11-02.  
  11. ^ "Night buses in north London". Transport to London. Retrieved 2009-11-02.  
  12. ^ "Red Routes: Central Area" (in Transport for London). Retrieved 2009-11-02.  
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Cycling along the Regent's Canal". British Waterways. Retrieved 2009-11-02.  
  15. ^ "Head Office Map". Associated Press. Retrieved 2009-11-06.  
  16. ^ "Camden’s famous faces". Camden New Journal. 23 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-06.  
  17. ^ "Camden - Britain's musical Mecca?". (BBC). 2008-02-11. Retrieved 2010-01-02.  
  18. ^ Phillip French (20 April 2008). "Film of the week: Happy-Go-Lucky". The Observer. Retrieved 2009-02-21.  
  19. ^ Calhoun, Dave. "Mike Leigh's London locations". Time Out. Retrieved 2009-02-21.  
  • Mills, A.D. (2001), Dictionary of London Place Names, Oxford, ISBN 0192801066  

External links

London/Camden travel guide from Wikitravel

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to London/Camden article)

From Wikitravel

Camden Town - whacky, Bohemian and lots of fun
Camden Town - whacky, Bohemian and lots of fun

Camden is an inner northern district of London.


For half a century, Camden Town has been the centre of alternative culture in London, be it punk, goth, hippie or emo. The area is home to large markets selling an extremely wide range of products from glowing t-shirts to digeridoos, mostly from independent stalls. With some of the capital's most varied cuisine, great live music and an anything goes attitude, Camden is one of the most vibrant and interesting of all London districts.

Two main London railway stations are located in the south of the district, King's Cross and St. Pancras International (so close together, they are virtually one). A number of important main roads also converge at this point.

Virtually the whole of Camden was traditionally a working class, inner-city area with large estates of run-down public housing and some very seedy areas indeed. Inevitably though given its convenient inner London location, considerable gentrification has occurred across the district.

Get in

By tube

The district is served well by the following tube stations:

  • Camden Town (Northern line). Note that due to the popularity of the market, this becomes an exit only station on Sundays 1PM-5:30PM. Use Mornington Crescent or Chalk Farm for leaving on Sundays before 5:30PM.
  • Mornington Crescent (Northern line),
  • Chalk Farm (Northern line).
  • Kentish Town (Northern line)
  • King's Cross/St. Pancras (Circle, District, Hammersmith & City, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria lines).
  • Euston (Victoria and Northern lines).

By rail

Eurostar [1] from Paris, Brussels and Lille to St. Pancras International.

From Scotland, north east England including York, Peterborough and Stevenage to Kings Cross.

  • The British Library, 96 Euston Road, NW1 2DB (tube: Kings Cross, St Pancras), +44 20 7412 7332 (), [2]. M, W-F 9:30AM-6PM, Tu 9:30AM-8PM, Sa 9:30AM-5PM, Su 11AM-5PM. The official book depository of the United Kingdom, the British Library holds a copy of every book ever printed here, and a wide variety of periodicals. No less than 150 million items catalogued and there is an unimaginable 625 km of shelving! Visitors may not enter the museum itself, but there is a very good exhibition chronicling the history of the written and printed word, collecting some of the museum's best known exhibits, including two of the original manuscripts of the Magna Carta and Leonardo Da Vinci's notebook. In the central atrium stands The King's Library (the library of King George III) surrounded by a glass wall, so visitors can watch librarians retrieving books for readers. Tours of the library building run Mo, We, Fr, Sa and Su and cost £6. Call to book.  edit
  • Camley Street Natural Park, 12 Camley St N1C 4PW (tube: King's Cross St Pancras), +44 20 7833 2311 (), [3]. Daily 10AM-5PM. A small 2 acre nature reserve amid the industrial wasteland just north of King's Cross Station. This lovely little park gives visitors interested in nature the opportunity to learn about the work of the London Wildlife Trust who administer this plus 26 other reserves in London. This is the only one in the centre of the city though.  edit
  • The Canal Museum, 12/13 New Wharf Rd N1 9RT (tube: King's Cross), +44 20 7713 0836, [4]. Tu-Su 10AM-4.30PM. Exhibits explaining the history of the canal. Housed in a former ice warehouse. £3 adults, £1.50 children.  edit
  • The Jewish Museum, 129-131 Albert Street NW1 7NB, (tube: Camnden Town), +44 20 7284 1997 (), [5]. In the midst of a £10 million renovation and wil re-open to the public in early 2010. Exhibtions on the long history of the Jewish community in London.  edit
The gothic splendour of St Pancras Station with The British Library in the foreground
The gothic splendour of St Pancras Station with The British Library in the foreground
  • Regent's Canal, (tube: Kings Cross St Pancras). You can walk or cycle along the canal through east London all the way to the Thames (3 hr). The St. Pancras lock is directly north of St Pancras station. Regents Canal was once a lifeline for trade and industry in London with narrowboats and barges ferrying goods to and from North London. The canal winds its way from the Grand Union Canal near Paddington in West London, past Regents Park, Camden, Islington and Mile End to Limehouse, where it meets the Thames. From Camden Lock you can walk upstream along the canal to The Regents Park and on to London Zoo. It is a great way to approach the Zoo and a good way to avoid the traffic. Downstream of Camden is less pretty but still an interesting walk, taking you through the Islington Tunnel (one of the longest tunnels in the British canal system) and out in to East London. Whichever way you go along the path, watch out for cyclists!  edit
  • St. Pancras International Rail Station. Marvelous Gothic architecture, used in the Harry Potter films.  edit


There are several nice walks along the canal, but the main focus of Camden are the shops, restaurants and nightlife.

  • Camden Town Audio Tour, [6]. Download the audio tour and take to the streets with Camdenite celebrity Robert Elms and explore Camden Town, an area known for being different.  edit
  • Shaw Theatre, 100-110 Euston Rd, NW1 2AJ (tube: Euston), +44 20 7387 6864, [7]. Theatre named after George Bernard Shaw and famous for showing high quality, non-mainstream productions. Adjacent to the British Library  edit
Markets galore at Camden Town
Markets galore at Camden Town

Camden Town Markets

You will find several great markets [8], one for clothes, one for food, and one for all manner of things, from throws to second hand books, food from a hundred different cultures and a lot more.

  • The Lock Market, (E of Chalk Farm Rd, by Camden Lock). Sa Su 9AM-6PM. Many stores mainly focused around music and clothing.  edit
  • The Stables Market, (The main entrance is next to the railway bridge across Chalk Farm Road, just past the canal). Some shops open all week, but most stalls only Sa Su 9AM-6PM. This is the largest of Camden's market areas, featuring hundreds of stalls selling everything from African art to beds to fetish clothing to antiques. This is probably the best place in London for interesting clothes, including vintage, goth, cyber and general club-wear. Do not miss The Black Rose and Cyberdog, two institutions in the alternative scene in London. Go early to avoid the crowds.  edit
  • The Canal Market, (In the large building beside the entrance to the Stables). Sa Su 9AM-6PM. Three floors of arts and crafts, including jewellery, paintings, candles, figurines and much more. A great place for gifts and souvenirs.  edit
  • Inverness Street Market, (Across Chalk Farm Rd from Camden tube station). This is a small market selling a range of common goods such as fruit and vegetables, cheap clothes and other bits and bobs.  edit
  • The Camden/Buck Street Market. A great spot for cheap knock-offs of expensive goods such as Doc Martens. Great for t-shirts and women's clothes, not so hot for men. Also lots of fake designer handbags.  edit


In addition to the markets, there are a large number of interesting shops dotted all around the area.

Take a long slow wander down Chalk Farm Road (it will need to be slow, the sheer number of people makes walking quickly impossible!), checking out the amazing collection of boots and leather that dominate it. Of special note are:

  • Amsterdam of London. Probably the finest purveyor of curious things in London.  edit
  • Resurrection Records, [9]. The home of alternative music in North London.  edit

Other shops include:

  • Official Doc Martens Boot Co., Kentish Town Rd (tube: Camden Town). Selling Doc Martens since the 60s. The proprietor is always happy to talk and has some fun tales about the strange requests he has had from famous people.  edit
  • Rokit, High Street, [10]. A proud up shoot that took its roots from Camden market and now has four high street stores across London.  edit


Camden has some of the most varied cuisine in all of London.

A key part of Camden's food scene are the many stalls offering quick and tasty food from every country possible. Quality varies, but generally it is good and cheap. Stalls tend to be located in and around the Lock and Stables markets, but they appear everywhere. A perennial favourite has been the donut and cake stall located next to the bridge, as have the many Chinese and Thai stalls nearby.

Camden also contains a large number of more formal restaurants, many of which are relatively inexpensive and open after the stalls have closed.

  • Belgo, 72 Chalk Farm Road NW1 8AN (tube: Chalk Farm), +44 20 72670718, [11]. Tasty moules frites without taking the EuroStar, with deluxe decor. The beer menu is intense, and one can catch a good bargain with their "Full Moon Specials".  edit
  • Caponata and The Forge, 3-7 Delancey Street NW1 7NL (tube: Mornington Crescent), +44 20 7387 5959, [12]. Caponata is a Scillian restaurant and the Forge arts venue is attached next door. Has a formal restaurant plus a casual bar serving light bites.  edit
  • The Camden Brasserie, 9-11 Jamestown Road NW1 7BW (tube: Camden Town), +44 20 7482 2114 (), [13]. Serving grilled steaks and fish here since the 1980s. Has a loyal local clientele.  edit
  • Chop Chop Noodle Bar, Euston Rd (Opposite the main entrance to King's Cross Station (adjacent to St Pancras Station)). Selection of the usual Chinese/oriental dishes to either eat in (even if you have only got half an hour you can be in and out with time to spare) or takeaway (they give you a plastic fork with your takeaway without even being asked). Very filling with big portions. Quality is not great but you can not argue with the prices. Licensed and drinks are certainly no worse than what you would pay in any London pub. £3.50.  edit
  • St. Pancras International Station, Pancras Rd, [14]. Every day. A selection of cafes at the station. Convenient for a quick bite.  edit
  • Strada, 40-42 Parkway, N1 7AH (tube: Camden Town), +44 20 7428 9653. Good value pizza, pasta and risottos. One of the better Italian chain restaurants in London.  edit


Camden has a great nightlife, with lots of cool bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants.

  • The Big Chill, Pentonville Rd.  edit
  • Devonshire Arms, [15]. The dress code is strictly alternative and the pub has got a late night license for Fridays and Saturdays. DJs every night and some gigs. The artwork on the walls was produced by Robin, the barman.  edit
  • The Dublin Castle, Parkway. A bit rowdy and often quite packed, this pub and music venue has played a pivotal role in British music. It is well known for producing Madness and helping a great many other groups along their path to glory. Worth a stop, just for the atmosphere.  edit
  • The Edinboro Castle, (Just off the end of Parkway to the left). A more refined side of Camden, this pub is part of a chain in North London attempting to apply a little class. It has a fine selection of beer and cider, including a selection of Belgian beers both bottled and draught. The food is always good and the staff always friendly. There is a large, semi-covered outdoor seating area with heaters.  edit
  • The Good Mixer, Inverness St (Off Camden Road). M-Sa til midnight, Su til 11PM. A nice pub where the likes of Blur and Pulp and a load of other Britpop bands from the 90's used to drink. Prices are reasonable, there are two pool tables, and the general atmosphere is laid back and friendly.  edit
  • Jazz Café. Food, drink, and music (jazz, soul, blues).  edit
  • The Misty Moon, (tube: Chalk Farm). A fairly average pub.  edit
  • The World's End, (tube: Camden Town). Local landmark and a good meeting point. It is large, with two separate bars and a lot of seating. Food is served at the weekend, though is not of the best quality.  edit
  • Scala, 275 Pentonville Rd, King's Cross, +44 20 7833 2022, [17]. Alternative music venue  edit
  • Egg, 200 York Way, King's Cross, [18].  edit
  • Electric Ballroom, [19]. F 10:30PM-3AM. The Ballroom hosts a number of different club nights. It is a big place with three separate dance floors and a large bar area, though despite the large size tends to get very hot in the summer months. . Features a rock floor and an industrial/goth/rock/techno floor.  edit
  • The Underworld, (Beneath the World's End), [20]. F Sa. It is a great spot to go and catch alternative bands: goth, metal, electronica, rock, punk and many others are found here. Friday night is also a regular club night, attracting large numbers from the young alternative crowd and more "studenty" than the Saturday.  edit
  • The Barfly, 49 Chalk Farm Rd, [21]. One of the best gig venues in North London, the Barfly plays host to a wide range of music, concentrating on rock and pop.  edit
  • Camden Lock Hotel, 89 Chalk Farm Road NW1 8AR (tube: Chalk Farm), +44 20 7267 3912. Good value, family-owned and run hotel five minutes walk from the main markets. Note that there is no lift. £79.  edit
  • Corner House Hotel, 201 Camden Rd NW1 9AA (tube: Kentish Town), +44 20 7424 9509 (), [23]. In a lovely old Victorian building about 10 minutes or an easy bus ride away from the main part of Camden town. Have single, double and family rooms available. £85.  edit
  • Holiday Inn Camden Lock, 30 Jamestown Road NW1 7BY (500 metres from Camden Town tube), [24]. A modern hotel with 130 rooms beside the canal at Camden Lock. From £105.  edit
  • Premier Travel Inn King's Cross, 26-30 York Way N1 9AA, (tube: King's Cross), [25]. A modern, clean, reasonably priced hotel. From about £70.  edit

Stay safe

Camden has long had strong associations with drugs, in particular cannabis and magic mushrooms. Even during daylight, you are likely to be offered weed or hashish. These dealers will usually accept no for an answer. Remember that these drugs are still illegal, streetside dealers are not to be trusted and often just steal your money if you look interested. Also, there are many undercover police around to catch you. Until 2007, it was possible to freely obtain magic mushrooms due a loophole that permitted the sale of fresh goods. This loophole has now closed and possession is taken seriously by the police.

Walking around Camden at night is generally fine, but gangs of youths can seem threatening, and best avoided if alone. Take a taxi if you are feeling insecure.

Fake goods are found in abundance in Camden. Most of the time its fairly obvious (Bolex watches, etc.), but be careful when purchasing - refunds are not common. Fake DVDs are mostly terrible quality.

  • Catch the Eurostar for Paris breaks [26] or to Lille and Bruxelles.
  • Buses and tube trains leave the station for access to all areas of London.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


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