Camden Town

Camden Town

Chalk Farm Road, near where it becomes Camden High Street
Camden Town
Camden Town shown within Greater London
Population 24,538 (Camden Town with Primrose Hill and Cantelowes wards 2011)[1]
OS grid reference TQ295845
 Charing Cross 2.5[2] mi (4.0 km) SSE
London borough
Ceremonial county Greater 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
London Assembly

Camden Town (/ˈkæmdən/ ( listen)), often shortened to Camden (a term also used for the entire borough), is a district of north west London, England, located 2.5 miles (4.1 km) north of Charing Cross (walking distance)[2]. It is the administrative centre of the London Borough of Camden, and identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.

Laid out as a residential district from 1791 and originally part of the manor of Kentish Town and the parish of St Pancras, London, Camden Town became an important location during the early development of the railways, which reinforced its position on the London canal network. The area's industrial economic base has been replaced by service industries such as retail, tourism and entertainment. The area now hosts street markets and music venues which 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 (now in the London Borough of Bromley), formerly owned by historian William Camden.[3] The name, which appears on the Ordnance Survey map of 1822,[4] was later applied to the early 20th century Camden Town Group of artists and the London Borough of Camden, 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 mid 20th century, Camden Town was considered an "unfashionable" locality.[7] The Camden markets, which started in 1973 and have grown since then, attract many visitors all week. A bomb blast in 1993 injured 18 people in High Street. Camden Lock Village, then known as Camden Lock market, suffered a major fire, but no injuries, on 9 February 2008.[8] It has since recovered.[9]


Camden Town, previously in the Metropolitan Borough of St Pancras, became part of the London Borough of Camden when it was created in 1965.

Political constituencies

Camden Town is contained in the following political constituencies for different purposes, listed with some incumbents as of 2017:


Camden Town is on relatively flat ground at 100 feet (30 m) above sea level, 2.5 miles (4.0 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.[10] The Regent's Canal runs through the north of Camden Town.


From the end of the twentieth century entertainment-related businesses and a Holiday Inn started moving into the area. A number of retail and food chain outlets replaced independent shops, driven out by high rents and redevelopment. Restaurants with a variety of culinary traditions thrived, many of them 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 date from the 1970s or later, except for Inverness Street market, for over a century a small food market serving the local community,[11] though by 2013 all foodstuff and produce stalls had gone, leaving only 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.


London Underground

Camden Town Tube 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.[12] 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 2011, 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 Camden High Street—was rejected by Camden Council after opposition from local people; of 229 letters, only two supported the scheme. Chalk Farm and Mornington Crescent tube stations also serve the area. It was later planned to redevelop the station entirely between 2020 and 2024/5, with less demolition than proposed previously.

Camden Town tube station is exit-only at times when market-related traffic would cause dangerous overcrowding on the narrow platforms; as of 2018 on Sundays from 13:00 to 17:30. At these times, Alternative stations within walking distance are Mornington Crescent, Chalk Farm, and Kentish Town.


Camden Road is a London Overground station at the corner of Royal College Street and Camden Road. It is on the line from Richmond in the West to Stratford station on the Olympic site in the East. The nearest National Rail station is Kentish Town on the Thameslink route on the Midland Main Line. St Pancras and Euston terminals are both within 20 minutes walk of Camden Town.


The area is a major hub for London Buses.[13] Parts of the A503 (Camden Road) and A400 (Camden High Street and Camden Street) are designated as red routes on which vehicles may not stop for any reason, managed by Transport for London rather than the borough.[14] Black taxis ply for hire in the area and there are minicab offices.[15]

Regent's Canal

The Regent's Canal runs through the north end of Camden Town. Canal boat trips along the canal from Camden Lock are popular, particularly in summer. 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 pedestrian and cycle route which runs continuously from Little Venice through Camden Lock to the Islington Tunnel[16] 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. Sightseeing narrow-boat trips run from Camden Lock to Little Venice.

Notable places

Notable people

  • Richard Ryan lived in Camden Town from 1819 until his death in 1849.
  • Charles Dickens's second London home was in Bayham Street in 1822. He later moved to 112 Little College Street (now College Place),[27]where he boarded with Elizabeth Roylance, a family friend, whom Dickens later immortalised as "Mrs. Pipchin", in Dombey and Son.
  • Beryl Bainbridge lived in Albert Street from the 1960s until her death in 2010.[28]
  • AC/DC lead singer Bon Scott died in Camden Town after a night of heavy drinking on 19 February 1980.
  • Playwright Alan Bennett lived in Gloucester Crescent for many years.[29]
  • Physicist, mathematician, and engineer Oliver Heaviside was born in Camden Town.[30]
  • The author and journalist Bernard Levin grew up in Camden, in Plender Street.[31]
  • The boxer Tom Sayers lived in Camden, and died at No. 257 Camden High Street in 1865. The house now has a plaque.[32]
  • The painter Walter Sickert lived and worked as part of the Camden Town Group in Mornington Crescent.[33] In 1908 he painted a group of four paintings entitled collectively The Camden Town Murder, in reference to the notorious Camden Town Murder case of 1907.
  • Poet Dylan Thomas owned a house at 54 Delancey Street from 1951 until his death in 1953.[34] There is a plaque on the house today.
  • Singer Amy Winehouse lived in Camden Town, first on Prowse Place[35] and then on Camden Square where she was found dead in July 2011.[36]
  • Hip-hop trio N-Dubz are from and grew up in the area.
  • Music Band Madness are also from and grew up in the area and surrounding areas.
  • Singer Odium Rise told NME that he lives and grew up in Camden Town, also going to school at Primrose Hill Primary School and then Haverstock School.[37]
  • Actor Freddie Highmore was born in Camden Town in 1992.
  • The dancer and actress Donna King teaches at her studio 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 studios of the former TV-am, now used by MTV[6] but retaining TV-am's eggcup sculptures along the roof line. Associated Press Television News has its head office in a former gin warehouse near Camden Lock called "The Interchange".[38]


The Camden New Journal is a free, independent weekly newspaper that cover the London Borough of Camden.

In literature

In film

  • The 1986 cult comedy film Withnail and I is set in Camden Town in 1969.[43]
  • The 2008 Mike Leigh film Happy-Go-Lucky largely takes place in Camden Town.[44][45]
  • The 2015 film The Lady in the Van tells the story of a homeless woman who parked her van in Alan Bennett's Camden driveway and lived there for 15 years.
  • The 2015 film Amy, the documentary based on Amy Winehouse's life and death features footage and exclusive images of Winehouse in Camden during her life.

In music


  1. Census Information Scheme (2012). "2011 Census Ward Population Estimates". Greater London Authority. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  2. 1 2 "Route by foot from Charing Cross to Camden Town -". Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  3. Walford, Edward (1878). "Camden Town and Kentish Town". British History Online. Retrieved 3 November 2009.
  4. Mills 2001, p. 37
  5. 1 2 3 Mills 2001, p. 38
  6. 1 2 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. 9 February 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
  9. "Camden Market continues strongly". MintTwist. 22 February 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  10. Walford, Edward (1878). "St Pancras". British History Online. Retrieved 4 November 2009.
  11. JOSIE HINTON (11 February 2010). "Camden's oldest market in Inverness Street 'could go under' | Camden New Journal". Archived from the original on 12 March 2016.
  12. "Stations and interchanges: Camden Town". Transport for London. Archived from the original on 16 October 2009. Retrieved 2 November 2009.
  13. "Night buses in north London" (PDF). Transport to London. Retrieved 2 November 2009.
  14. "Red Routes: Central Area" (PDF). Transport for London. Retrieved 2 November 2009.
  15. "Executive summary" (PDF). Greater London Authority. 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 August 2012. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  16. "Cycling along the Regent's Canal". British Waterways. Retrieved 2 November 2009.
  17. "The Roundhouse". Camden Railway Heritage trust. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  18. BRIAN MORTON (21 October 2016). "The Roundhouse at 50: From gin joint to cultural tonic". BBC Arts. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  19. Rose, Steve (29 May 2006). "What goes around ..." The Guardian. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  20. Subterranean Britannica: Camden Catacombs
  22. Arlington Conference Centre, 2016 brochure
  23. The Aerated Bread Company, and The New Sainsbury Building
  24. "Chasing Rimbaud through our streets". Camden New Journal. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  25. "Holy Trinity". Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  26. Camden Town Methodist Church, accessed 16 August 2018
  27. Jolly, Emma. "Charles Dickens in Camden". Retrieved 20 April 2013.
  28. Kellaway, Kate (15 May 2011). "The secret art of Beryl Bainbridge". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
  29. Greenstreet, Rosanna (24 October 2001). "My first home: Freya North". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
  30. "Archives biographies: Oliver Heaviside 1850–1925". The Institution of Engineering and Technology. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
  31. Levin, Bernard. Enthusiasms. Coronet. pp. 80–82. ISBN 0-340-36927-2. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  32. "Tom Sayers – Blue Plaque". Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  33. "Walter Sickert Nudes: An underworld stripped bare". The Daily Telegraph. 6 November 2007. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
  34. "1950s to Dylan's death". City and County of Swansea. Archived from the original on 5 February 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
  35. "Police could step in to disband Amy's paparazzi army". Ham & High. 22 August 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  36. Wilson, Cherry (23 July 2011). "Amy Winehouse found dead aged 27 in London home". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
  37. "Odium Rise – NME Artist Services". Retrieved 2018-02-16.
  38. "Head Office Map" (PDF). Associated Press. Retrieved 6 November 2009.
  39. Pope-Hennessy, Una (1945). "The Family Background". Charles Dickens 1812–1870. London: Chatto and Windus. p. 11.
  40. "Camden's famous faces". Camden New Journal. 23 April 2009. Retrieved 6 November 2009.
  41. John Betjeman, Business Girls at, accessed 25 April 2015
  42. Paula Span, TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER... TOURIST, The Washington Post, accessed 27 January 2016
  43. Catterall, Ali. "Withnal And I (1987)". Film4. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  44. Phillip French (20 April 2008). "Film of the week: Happy-Go-Lucky". The Observer. Retrieved 21 February 2009.
  45. Calhoun, Dave. "Mike Leigh's London locations". Time Out. Retrieved 21 February 2009.
  46. Camden Town by Suggs in Camden, North London, England


London/Camden travel guide from Wikivoyage

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