Streets of Kentish Town

Streets of Kentish Town

subtitled 'A survey of streets, buildings and former residents in a part of Camden', edited by Steven Denford and David Hayes

Published by the Camden History Society, 160 pages. Rectangular paperback - c.20cm by 14cm (N7255)

From the inside front cover: This book... covers the eastern part of Kentish Town, induding the Dartmouth estate. In a series of ten walks, we explore roads on either side of the 'High Street' (Kentish Town Road) and of Highgate Road, its northward continuation. The eastern boundary of our survey area runs up Brecknock Road and Dartmouth Park Hill, following the Camden-Islington border. Camden Road, another main thoroughfare, serves as our south­eastern boundary, while railway lines delimit our area to the south and west. The viaduct of the old North London Railway acts as a physical barrier berween Kentish Town and its southerly neighbour, Camden Town. The similarly elevated former Hampstead Junction Railway, which carries today's Silverlink Metro service over Prince of Wales Road, is our western boundary. A furure volume will cover the parts of Kentish Town and Gospel Oak to the west of the line. Our area extends northwards along Highgate Road, to the east of Parliament Hill Fields, embracing land that was once Kentish Town's common and village green. East of Highgate Road we cover most of the area known as Dartmouth Park, which likewise lies within the NW5 (Kentish Town) postal district, although some roads near the Highgate border we have elected to save for a furure Streets of Highgate.

Kentish Town is a relatively modern suburb, mostly built since 1830. Underlying the area, however, is a settlement of great antiquity, which evolved from a roadside medieval village into a still largely linear Georgian 'country town', renowned for its healthy atmosphere, and frequented by the likes of John Wesley and a young Horatio Nelson. The area was then transformed into a Victorian industrial suburb, blighted by smoke and grime from its factories and railways. Finally, it became the heterogeneous, cosmopolitan, part-gentrified district that we know today. Although few physical reminders survive from pre-Georgian times, much pleasing 19th-cenrury architecture remains to be admired as we perambulate the streets of the area. So too do many relics of past industries, ranging from piano and organ manufactuure (the local staple industry) to the making of wallpaper and of false teeth.

We shall also encounter many notable people who have lived here, sometimes only briefly, including the writers John Keats, Mary Shelley and George Orwell; the artist Ford Madox Brown; the sanitary reformer Southwood Smith; the Black American singer/actor Paul Robeson, and the eventual Ghanaian president Kwame Nkrumah; as well as a host of interesting, less famous former residents.

Many parts of the district are designated 'Environmental Areas', so that most of the side roads are quiet and relatively traffic-free. There are some delightful backwaters that will come as a surprise to those who know Kentish Town only from its High Street.
Contents include:

List og illustrations and maps
Historical overview
Street names in this book and their origin
Route 1 Up and down Kentish Town Road
Route 2 Highgate Road to Fortress Road
Route 3 Grove, Green and Common
Route 4 The Camden Estate
Route 5 The Hawley Buck Estate
Route 6 The Crimean area and Holmes estate
Route 7 New Kentish Town
Route 8 Into the Torriano estate
Route 9 Leighton Road to Fortress Road
Route 10 Dartmouth Park

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.