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Camden Town
Camden Town 9.jpg
Camden High Street, near where it becomes Chalk Farm Road (facing towards Chalk Farm)
Camden Town is located in Greater London
Camden Town
Camden Town
Population 24,538 (Camden Town with Primrose Hill and Cantelowes wards, 2011)
OS grid reference TQ295845
• Charing Cross 2.5 mi (4.0 km) SSE
London borough
Ceremonial county Greater London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district NW1, NW5
Dialling code 020 (London)
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament
  • Holborn and St Pancras
London Assembly
  • Barnet and Camden
List of places
51°32′28″N 0°08′36″W / 51.541°N 0.1433°W / 51.541; -0.1433

Camden Town, often shortened to Camden, is a district of northwest London, England, 2.5 miles (4.1 km) north of Charing Cross. Historically in Middlesex, it is the administrative centre of the London Borough of Camden, and identified in the London Plan as one of 34 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, 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 The area's industrial economic base has been replaced by service industries such as retail, tourism and entertainment.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 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 (now in the London Borough of Bromley), formerly owned by historian William Camden. The name, which appears on the Ordnance Survey map of 1822, was later applied to the early 20th century Camden Town Group of artists and the London Borough of Camden, created in 1965.

Urban development

Camden Town stands on land which was once the manor of Kentish Town. 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. In 1816, the Regent's Canal was built through the area. Up to at least the mid 20th century, Camden Town was considered an "unfashionable" locality. The Camden markets, which started in 1973 and have grown since then, attract many visitors all week. Camden Lock Village, then known as Camden Lock market, suffered a major fire, but no injuries, on 9 February 2008. It has since recovered.


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. The Regent's Canal runs through the north of Camden Town.


London waterbus
The Regent's Canal waterbus service

London Underground

Camden Town tube station is near the markets and other attractions. Chalk Farm and Mornington Crescent tube stations are also within walking distance. Camden Town station is a key interchange station for the Bank and Charing Cross branches of the southbound Northern line, and the Edgware and High Barnet branches of the northbound Northern Line.

The station was not designed to cope with the volume of traffic it handled after the area increased in popularity with the introduction of the markets. The narrow platforms became dangerously overcrowded, particularly on Sunday afternoons. London Underground 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. It was later planned to redevelop the station entirely between 2020 and 2024/5, with less demolition than proposed previously, but the redevelopment was postponed in December 2018 by TfL "until we have the funds we need", unchanged as of October 2021.

Early in the 21st century the station closed to outbound passengers on Sunday afternoons for safety reasons; this was temporarily extended to the weekday evening rush hour in 2018 during escalator renovation. Mornington Crescent, Chalk Farm, and Kentish Town stations, within walking distance, remained open. From January 2019 access was allowed on Sundays, but only by a very long spiral staircase instead of escalators. During the Covid-19 pandemic from 2020, access to the very much reduced number of passengers was no longer restricted.


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 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.

Bus routes

The area is a major hub for London Buses. The following routes serve Camden Town: 24 (24 hour), 27, 29, 31, 46, 88 (24 hour), 134 (24 hour), 168, 214 (24 hour), 253, 274 and Night Bus Routes N5, N20, N27, N28, N29, N31, N253 and N279.


Camden Lock
The twin Camden Locks

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 (TfL) rather than the borough. Black taxis ply for hire in the area and there are minicab offices.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, from about March 2020 roadworks were carried out to make many side roads more suitable for cycling and reduce vehicle traffic. This led to traffic jams described as "gridlock", and opposition.


Transport for London and Camden Council both provide and maintain cycling infrastructure in Camden Town. Segregated cycle tracks run alongside Royal College Street to the east of Camden Town, past Camden Road railway station. Cycling provision changes from time to time—in particular, cycling provisions were added during the Covid pandemic that started in 2020. Current provision information is on the TfL Web site. The CycleStreets mobile app finds suitable routes throughout the UK, including Camden Town.

The Regent's Canal towpath is a shared-use path maintained by the Canal and River Trust. The towpath links Camden Town to Angel and King's Cross to the east, and Regent's Park and Maida Vale in the west.

The London-wide Santander Cycles cycle hire scheme operates in Camden Town. There are several docking stations, including at Camden Road railway station (Bonny Street) and Camden Town tube station (Greenland Road).

Cycle counters on Royal College Street to the north of Camden Road railway station recorded over 375,000 journeys between August 2017 and July 2018.

Regent's Canal

Camden Lock, London - UK
A warm summer day at the Camden Lock

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 that 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 operates around the Lock. The towpath is a pedestrian and cycle route which runs continuously from Little Venice through Camden Lock to the Islington Tunnel. A regular waterbus service operates along the Regent's Canal from Camden Lock. Boats depart every hour during the summer, heading westward around Regent's Park, calling at London Zoo and on towards Maida Vale. Sightseeing narrow-boat trips run from Camden Lock to Little Venice.


Camden Town - Graffiti
Electric Ballroom punks
Punks close to the Electric Ballroom
Camden High Street 2009
Shops on Camden High Street

The Roundhouse Theatre

The Roundhouse is a locomotive engine roundhouse constructed in 1847 for the London & North Western Railway. It later had various uses and eventually became derelict. It was converted to a theatre, arts centre and music venue in the 1966, later closed, and re-opened in 2006 as a theatre and music venue.

Historic places

  • Camden catacombs (see also Catacombs of London), not true catacombs but an underground area largely underneath the Camden markets, originally used as stables for horses and pit ponies used to shunt railway wagons. Not open to visitors due to danger of flooding.
  • St Pancras Old Church
  • The Camden Eye at 2 Kentish Town Road, was formerly known and as the Old Mother Red Cap, the Red Cap and Halfway House. It was also used as a prison.
  • St Michael's Church, Camden Town
  • The Carreras Cigarette Factory (now Greater London House), a striking Art Deco Egyptian Revival building dating from 1926 to 1928, stands at Mornington Crescent and is distinguished by a pair of 8.5-foot (2.6 m)-high bronze statues of the Egyptian cat goddess Bastet.
  • Jewish Museum
  • Arlington House, a hostel for the homeless, one of the Rowton Houses.
  • The unusual Sainsbury's supermarket and flats on Camden Road were designed in a High-tech style by Nicholas Grimshaw and built on the site of the former large ABC Bakery.
  • 8 Royal College Street, the house of the French poets, Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine.
  • Bedford Music Hall: Used to stand on Camden High Street.
  • Since 2015, Camden Collective have been using the National Temperance Hospital ahead of its likely demolition for HS2 at Euston.
  • Greater London House, a former Egyptian Cigarette factory and now the Global Headquarters of
  • The Most Holy Trinity Church, built in 1849-50, in a fourteenth century style

In popular culture

In literature

  • Author Charles Dickens, a one-time resident of Camden Town, placed various characters and places in his stories there as well: Bob Cratchit's family in A Christmas Carol (1843); the Micawbers in David Copperfield (1850); and in Dombey and Son (1846–1848), a description of the building of the London and Birmingham Railway, includes a trip through Camden Town.
  • John Betjeman's poem Business Girls is set in Camden Town.
  • The climax of John le Carré's spy novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy occurs in a safe house at 5 Lock Gardens in Camden Town, a fictitious address modelled after real-life St. Mark's Crescent.

In film

  • The 1986 cult comedy film Withnail and I is set in Camden Town in 1969.
  • The 2008 Mike Leigh film Happy-Go-Lucky largely takes place in Camden Town.
  • 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.

In music

  • The song "You Just Can't Win" by Them from the album The Angry Young Them references Camden Town (1965)
  • The song "Camden Town" by Suggs (1995)
  • The song "Come back to Camden" by Morrissey from the album You are the Quarry (2004)
  • The song "Johnny Come Lately" by Steve Earle from the album Copperhead Road, 1988.
  • The song "Midnight Kiss" by Propellers, 2013
  • The song "Guided Tour of Camden" by Charlie Sloth, 2007
  • The song "Fame and Fortune" By The Libertines from the album Anthems For Doomed Youth
  • The song "How Did It Come to This" by Take That from the album The Circus makes a small reference to Camden Town
  • The song "So Close" by Matthew Good from the album Arrows of Desire mentions Camden High Street
  • The song "Sorted for E's & Wizz" by Pulp from the album Different Class mentions Camden Town
  • The song "One Better Day" refers to Arlington House a hostel for homeless men in Camden Town.
  • The song "Developer's Disease" by "Kitty Daisy & Lewis" refers to the way Camden Town has changed over the years


Stables market
Stables market horse sculptures

At the end of the 20th century, entertainment-related businesses began moving into the area, and a Holiday Inn was built abutting the canal. 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 near the markets, on Camden High Street and its side streets, Parkway, Chalk Farm Road, and Bayham Street. The plan to redevelop 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 1974 or later, except for Inverness Street market, for over a century a small food market serving the local community, though by 2013 all foodstuff and produce stalls had gone and only touristy stalls remained. 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. While originally open on Sundays only, market activity later extended throughout the week, though concentrating on weekends.

Notable people

Amy Winehouse Statue, Camden (14946739033)
Bronze statue of Winehouse in Camden Town, London unveiled in September 2014
  • B. R. Ambedkar (social reformer, jurist and LSE graduate) lived at 10, King Henry Road, Camden Town, now known as Ambedkar House, in 1921 and 1922.
  • 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), 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.
  • Playwright Alan Bennett lived in Gloucester Crescent for many years. Margaret Fairchild (aka Miss Shepherd) lived in a van on his driveway.
  • Physicist, mathematician, and engineer Oliver Heaviside was born in Camden Town.
  • Author and journalist Bernard Levin grew up in Camden Town's Plender Street.
  • Boxer Tom Sayers lived in Camden, and died at No. 257 Camden High Street in 1865. The house now has a plaque.
  • Poet Dylan Thomas owned a house at 54 Delancey Street from 1951 until his death in 1953. There is a plaque on the house today.
  • Singer Amy Winehouse lived in Camden Town, first on Prowse Place and then on Camden Square, where she was found dead in July 2011. Winehouse was strongly associated with Camden Town. Since her death she has been entitled as "The Queen of Camden" and a bronze statue of her was placed in Stables Market on what would have been her 31st birthday, 14 September 2014.
  • Hip-hop trio N-Dubz are from and grew up in the area.
  • Music Band Madness are from and grew up in Camden Town and surrounding areas.
  • Singer Eliza Doolittle grew up in the area.
  • Jazz Musician Nubya Garcia was born and grew up Camden Town.
  • Actor Freddie Highmore was born in Camden Town in 1992.
  • Dancer and actress Donna King teaches at her studio in Camden Town.
  • Journalist and novelist Sean Thomas lives in Camden.
  • Songwriter and singer Dua Lipa grew up in Camden until she moved to Kosovo.
  • Ashley Keane, former professional footballer for Torquay United F.C., was born in Camden in 1981.

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Camden Town para niños

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