Streets of Camden Town

Streets of Camden Town

Subtitled 'A survey of streets, buildings and former residents in a part of Camden', edited by Steven Denford and F. Peter Woodford

Published by the Camden History Society, 120 pages. Rectangular paperback - c.20cm by 14cm (N7256)

From the inside front cover: This book contains a series of historical walks around Camden Town. Part of the area, including and to the west of Camden High Street and Chalk Farm Road, was previously covered in From Euston Road to Primrose Hill, but the researchers have now looked at the streets in greater detail. The previous volume in this series, Streets of St Pancras, dealt with Bedford New Town and Somers Town immediately to the south. Camden Town's eastern boundary, York Way, is also the borough's eastern boundary. To the north, Camden Town shades into Kentish Town, but the generally accepted dividing line of the old North London Railway has been adopted.

In London terms, Camden Town is a relatively modem area as most of its streets were laid out in the early to mid- 19th century. Yet it is full of history. At first attracting professional middle-class and artistic families such as the Dickenses (before they fell on 'hard times'), and many schools and educational establishments such as the Royal Veterinary College, its social standing deteriorated after the coming of the railways and industrial growth, notably of the pianoforte and organ-building trade.

Other major commercial concerns produced Gilbey's gin, Idris table waters and ABC bread. By the late 19th century Camden Town had a seedy reputation as a land of lodging houses and the home of kept women - like the mistress of the builder E J Cave - and low-grade prostitutes like Phyllis Dimmock, whose murder inspired the painter Waiter Sickert. Sickert also painted more animated views at the Bedford Theatre, the setting of many music-hall and dramatic performances which, along with several very early cinemas, provided the area with a lively entertainment scene well into Edwardian times.

Long cosmopolitan, Camden Town is now just as lively and varied, and if these walks are undertaken at the weekend expect to share the area near Camden Lock markets with many tourists drawn by the fairground atmosphere - though not as many as gathered here for the 1865 funeral of the bare-knuckle fighter Tom Sayers.

But there are quieter spots to be discovered and numerous architectural delights. This district now a major media centre, has attracted several contemporary architects, such as Terry Farrell, Nicholas Grimshaw and Piers Gough to interest the visitor, as well as some charming extant late Georgian buildings which may surprise those whose only knowledge of Camden Town is its High Street.
Contents include:

Diagram of the walks .
Camden Town Street Names
Historical overview .
List of Illustrations
Route 1 Up and down Candemn High Street
Route 2 The Camden Estate, between High Street and Camden Street
Route 3 Rail Road and Canal, Northern Camden Town
Route 4 From Chalk Farm to Camden Lock
Route 5 Mornington Crescent to Parkway
Route 6 The Camden Estate between Camden Street and St Pancras Way
Route 7 Camden New Town (southwest)
Route 8 Camden New Town (northeast)

The condition of the book is generally very good. The covers are clean and bright, the spine is tight and intact, and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound. There is a small price sticker on the rear side cover.