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Chalk Farm Road, near where it becomes Camden High Street
|Population||24,538 (Camden Town with Primrose Hill and Cantelowes wards 2011)|
|OS grid reference|
|• Charing Cross||2.5 mi (4.0 km) SSE|
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||NW1 |
Camden Town (// (listen)), often shortened to Camden (also the name for the borough it is in), is a district of northwest London, England, 2.5 miles (4.1 km) north of Charing Cross. 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 The area's industrial economic base has been replaced by service industries such as retail, tourism and entertainment.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.
Camden Town stands on land that 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. A 1993 bomb blast injured 18 people in High Street. On 9 February 2008 Camden Lock Village, then known as Camden Lock market, suffered a major fire, but there were no injuries. It has since recovered.
Camden Town, previously in the Metropolitan Borough of St Pancras, became part of the London Borough of Camden when it was created in 1965.
Camden Town is contained in the following political constituencies for different purposes, listed with some incumbents as of 2017[update]:
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. The Regent's Canal runs through the north of Camden Town.
At the end of the 20th century entertainment-related businesses and a Holiday Inn began 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 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 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, 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. While originally open on Sundays only, market activity later extended throughout the week, though concentrating on weekends.
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. 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[update], 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, but the redevelopment was postponed in December 2018 by TfL "until we have the funds we need".
Camden Town tube station is exit-only at times when market-related traffic would cause dangerous overcrowding on the narrow platforms; as of 2018[update] 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 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. 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. Black taxis ply for hire in the area and there are minicab offices.
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 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 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. 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.
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 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".
The Camden New Journal is a free, independent weekly newspaper that covers the London Borough of Camden.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Camden Town.|
London/Camden travel guide from Wikivoyage
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