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Camden Town is an inner city district in north Londonmarker, England and the central neighbourhood of the London Borough of Camdenmarker. It is located north-northwest of Charing Crossmarker and is one of the 35 major centres identified in the London Plan. It was laid out as a residential district from 1791 and was anciently part of the manor of Kentish Townmarker and the parish of St Pancrasmarker, Middlesexmarker. 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.

History

Toponomy

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

Urban development

Camden Town stands on land which was once the manor of Kentish Townmarker. 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 late 1800s, Camden Town was considered an "unfashionable" locality. Camden Marketsmarker, 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.

Governance

Camden Town became part of the London borough of Camdenmarker 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 Pancrasmarker 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 Parliamentmarker.

Geography

Camden Town is on relatively flat ground at above sea level, north-northwest of Charing Cross. To the north are the hills of Hampsteadmarker and Highgatemarker. The culverted, subterranean River Fleetmarker flows from its source on Hampstead Heathmarker through Camden Town south to the Thames. The Regent's Canal runs through the north of Camden Town.

Economy

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.

Transport

The Regent's Canal waterbus service

Tube

Camden Town Underground stationmarker 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. 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, , 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 Farmmarker and Mornington Crescentmarker tube stations also serve the area.

Rail

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

Roads

Camden Locks
The area is a major hub for London Buses. Most night buses in north London stop in Camden Town. 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. Black taxi ply for hire in the area, and there are minicab offices. Illegal unlicensed "taxis" tout for business on the street, particularly late at night.

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 TunnelmarkerA 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 Parkmarker, calling at London Zoomarker and on towards Maida Valemarker.

Landmarks



The Roundhouse Theatre

Shops on Camden High Street
The Roundhousemarker 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





Media

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 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". 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.

In John le Carré's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, a mole at the heart of MI6marker 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.

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 Statesmarker.
  • 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.


In television



References

Footnotes
  1. http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor/strategies/sds/camdemtown/executive_summary.rtf london.gov.uk
Bibliography




External links




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