The Camden Market in London

Saturday, 1 June 2013 - 01:06 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, London

Camden Lock Market © flickr.com - Duncan Harris/cc-by-2.0

Camden Lock Market © flickr.com – Duncan Harris/cc-by-2.0

The Camden markets are a number of adjoining large retail markets in Camden Town near the Hampstead Road Lock of the Regent’s Canal (popularly referred to as Camden Lock), often collectively named “Camden Market” or “Camden Lock”. Among products sold on the stalls are crafts, clothing, bric-a-brac, and fast food. It is the fourth-most popular visitor attraction in London, attracting approximately 100,000 people each weekend. A small local food market that has operated in Inverness Street since the beginning of the 20th century has lost stalls since local supermarkets opened; by mid-2013 all the foodstuff stalls had gone, leaving only stalls similar to those of the other markets, including fast food but not produce. Since 1974 a small weekly crafts market that has operated every Sunday near Camden Lock has developed into a large complex of markets. The markets, originally temporary stalls only, extended to a mixture of stalls and fixed premises.

The markets originally operated on Sundays only, which continues to be the main trading day. Opening later extended to Saturdays for most of the market. A number of traders, mainly those in fixed premises, operate throughout the week, although the weekend remains the peak period.

The complex of Camden Market is composed of six general sections, each with its own particular focus on wares, while the Stables Market, and the Camden markets generally have their roots in alternative sub-cultures. Due to the popularity the markets, visitor numbers have increased to the extent that Camden Town tube station has restricted Sunday afternoon access to incoming passengers only in order to prevent dangerous overcrowding of the narrow platforms, while Chalk Farm and Mornington Crescent stations also provide easy access to the market.

Camden Canal Market © Grim23/cc-by-sa-3.0 Camden Horse Tunnel Market © Cmglee/cc-by-sa-3.0 Camden Lock Market © Adrian Pingstone Camden Lock Market © ArséniureDeGallium/cc-by-sa-3.0 Entrance to Camden Stables Market © Grim23/cc-by-sa-3.0 Camden Lock Market © flickr.com - Duncan Harris/cc-by-2.0
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Camden Lock Market © flickr.com - Duncan Harris/cc-by-2.0

  • Camden Lock Market is situated by the Regent’s Canal on a site formerly occupied by warehouses and other premises associated with the canal. By the early 1970s the canal trade had ceased and a northern urban motorway was planned that would cut through the site, making any major permanent redevelopment impossible, and in 1974 a temporary market was established. By 1976, when plans for the motorway were abandoned, the market had become a well known feature of Camden Town. Originally, the Lock was a market for crafts, occupying some outdoor areas by the canal and various existing buildings. It attracted large numbers of visitors partly due to stalls being open on Sundays, when previous to the Sunday Trading Act 1994, shops were not permitted to operate on Sundays. While the range of goods has since widened, with stalls selling books, new and second-hand clothing, and jewellery, the Lock retains its focus as the principle Camden market for crafts. There is a large selection of fast food stalls. In 1991 a three-storey indoor market hall designed by architect John Dickinson was opened on the site of the first outdoor market. In the style of the traditional 19th century industrial architecture and housing in the area, it is built of brick and cast iron.
  • The Stables Market is the largest section of the complex. The market is located in the historic former Pickfords stables and Grade II listed horse hospital which served the horses pulling Pickford’s distribution vans and barges along the canal. Many of the stalls and shops are set in large arches in railway viaducts. Chain stores are not permitted and trade is provided by a mixture of small enclosed and outdoor shops and stalls, of which some are permanent, and others hired by the day. In common with most of the other Camden markets the Stables Market has many clothes stalls. It is also the main focus for furniture in the markets. Household goods, decorative, ethnically-influenced items, and second-hand items or 20th-century antiques, many of them hand-crafted, are among the wares. There are also clothing and art pieces for alternative sub-cultures, such as goths and cybergoths. Two of the more well-known of these shops are Black Rose, which caters for goths, with items such as coffin-shaped handbags, and Cyberdog, which houses much cyber-style “neon” PVC and rubber clothing.
  • The section along the canal to the east of Chalk Farm Road is owned by cousins Bebo & O.D. Kobo, Richard Caring and Elliot Bernerd of Chelsfield Partners was known as the Canal Market and had a covered entrance tunnel leading into a general outdoor market. The market was devastated by fire on 9 February 2008 and reopened in May 2009 as the Camden Lock Village.
  • The Buck Street Market is an outdoor market focusing on clothes. There is no formal or legal definition of Camden Market; the Buck Street Market’s sign reads ‘The Camden Market’. A few stallholders design their own wares, while at the weekend these designs are more likely to be found in the Electric Ballroom market.
  • The Electric Ballroom, close to Camden Town tube station, has been a night club since the 1950s. It is open during the day at weekends as an indoor market. Whilst it has its share of imported goods, the market strives to attract independent designers and dealers specialising in unique and unusual items.
  • Inverness Street Market is a small century-old street market that once had many stalls selling fresh produce and foodstuffs, unlike the other markets. By 2012 it retained only two vegetable and fruit stalls amongst stalls like the rest of the markets; by mid-2013 they too had gone.

Read more on CamdenLock.net, VisitLondon.com – Camden Market, Camden Market, Camden Town and Wikipedia Camden Market (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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