Camden has a reputation for being the home of the weird and artistic in London. Some of the world’s most famous bands began their musical careers in Camden clubs, while the markets are still great places to find quirky, unusual souvenirs and gifts – from trinkets to clothes and art, not to mention the mouth-watering food stalls. It’s been several decades since they first began, and Camden Market has changed quite a lot, check it out its history here. Here are a few interesting facts to keep in mind as you explore this iconic London attraction.
- Camden Market is actually a series of markets located in the borough of Camden: Camden Lock, Canal Market, the Stables, Buck Street Market, Electric Ballroom and Inverness Street Market. Similarly, the canal lock that gives Camden Lock its name is actually three locks: Hampstead (twin locks that count as one), Hawley Lock and Kentish Town Lock. The canals are a pleasant way to walk between Camden and the Piccadilly London West End hotels – you’ll encounter no cars, but instead the occasional cyclist, as well as nesting birds, beautiful plant borders and brightly-painted canal barges.
- The very first food stall was opened at Camden in 1974, by a former Olympic sprinter. June Foulds won bronze and silver in the 100m relay in 1952 and 1956, respectively. She named her shop simply “The Stall”, but from these very humble beginnings a whole maze of stalls has sprung.
- The famous concert hall known as the Camden Roundhouse is very old, and was once part of the railway. It was built in 1847 as housing for a turntable, which was used to turn train engines around at the end of the line. In the 1960s it was converted into the concert hall it is today.
- As the most popular of the must-see attractions in Camden, the markets are London’s fourth largest attraction. They see 100,000 visitors every weekend alone, and span 280 stalls and 54 shops. Spanning out to the wider Camden area, the neighbourhood boasts over 24,000 shops which generate 275,000 jobs a year, as well as £1.2 billion in revenue for the borough.
- The Stables Market, as you might guess from the horse statues at its entrance, was once Picksford Horse Stables as well as a hospital for the horses that pulled Picksford vans. Now that horse transport is a relic of the past, the markets still cling to a touch of tradition: no chain stores are allowed to set up shop there.
- Camden Markets have caught fire twice in recent years. In February of 2008, a contraband liquid petroleum gas heater was left burning in a stall and caused a fire that needed 100 firefighters to put out. Thankfully, they responded quickly and no one was hurt. They were similarly swift in neutralising another fire in May last year, this time only needing 70 firefighters.
- During the day, Electric Ballroom is filled with shops and stalls, but when evening comes it becomes one of London’s premier music venues. Since the 1950s it has hosted both big names and up-and-coming artists including U2, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and even Paul McCartney. Nowadays it hosts names like Death Cab for Cutie and Kaiser Chiefs, so if you’re in town have a look at what’s on offer – it’s a quintessential London experience.
- In 40 years, the market has made a deep impression on the public consciousness. A London DJ and TV host named Chris Evans once vowed to sell all his possessions at Camden Market if his show was cancelled. He was true to his word, and the final episode of the only season of “The Terry and Gabby Show” featured Evans selling his belongings from a Camden Market stall.
- The market has also wormed its way into popular culture, including cult film “Withnail& I”. Its director Bruce Robinson lived in Camden during his younger days, like so many of London’s artistic community, and based his film on his experiences there. He was so poor that he would scavenge leftover fruit and vegetables after the stalls closed for the night.
- The Camden area has been drawing creative types to itself for a long time before the markets arose. Quite apart from artists, filmmakers and musicians, authors George Orwell (1984), Mary Shelley (Frankenstein) and Charles Dickens (Oliver Twist) all lived in the neighbourhood once upon a time.
Is Camden Market open every day?
The Camden market is open every day, between 10 am till late in night. Including a range of good vintage clothes shop, Camden market has over 450 shops and stalls.
What Tube line is Camden Market on?
Camden Town & Chalk Farm Road, these are the two stations to get off for Camden Market. There is also an alternative point to get off, Morning Crescent but that will take 10 min. of walk to reach the market
What day is Camden Market Best?
The day to visit Camden market must be chosen carefully even if it’s an everyday market. Weekends (Friday, Saturday, & Sunday) are the days when all the shops are open, So these days can be considered to pay a visit.
How do I get to Camden Market?
There are two underground stations at which to get off, Camden Town and Chalk Farm Road, both of which are on the Northern Line. An alternative point to get off is Mornington Crescent, but there is 10 minute walk before you reach the markets.