Camden Market in London
The Camden Markets are a number of adjoining large markets in Camden Town near the Hampstead Road Lock of the Regent's Canal (which is usually called Camden Lock), often called collectively "Camden Market" or "Camden Lock". The stalls sell crafts, clothing, bric-a-brac, fast food, and other things. It is the fourth-most popular visitor attraction in London, attracting approximately 100,000 people each weekend. A small local food market has operated in Inverness Street since the beginning of the 20th century (this market lost stalls as local supermarkets opened; this market retains only three fruit and vegetable stalls, which do not open on Sundays, in addition to stalls like those in the other markets). In 1974 a weekly crafts market held every Sunday near Camden Lock was started; a large complex of markets grew from this small beginning. The markets have a mixture of temporary stalls and fixed premises.
The markets originally operated on Sundays; this is still the main day, with much activity on Saturdays, but an increasing number of traders, mainly in fixed premises, operate throughout the week.
Camden Market can be divided into six sections:
Camden Lock Market
Camden Lock Market is situated by the Regent's Canal on a site formerly occupied by warehouses and other premises connected with the canal. By the early 1970s the canal trade had ceased. At the time there was a proposal to build an urban motorway through the site, which made any major redevelopment impossible, so in 1974 a temporary market was established instead. By the time the motorway proposal was abandoned in 1976, the market was flourishing and on its way to becoming the best-known feature of Camden Town. Camden Market as a whole is now so popular that congested Camden Town tube station operates special entrance and exit rules on Sundays for safety on the narrow platforms.
Camden Lock Market was originally a craft market, 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, while shops were not allowed to trade on Sundays until the Sunday Trading Act 1994. Nowadays the range of goods has widened, with stalls selling books, new and second-hand clothing, and jewellery, but it is still the most craft-focused of the Camden Markets. There is a large selection of fast food stalls. A three-storey indoor market hall designed by architect John Dickinson opened in 1991 on the site of the first outdoor market. It is built of brick with a large amount of cast iron work in a traditional style, and is almost indistinguishable from the 19th century industrial architecture and housing in the area.
From 2006 a large indoor market hall was constructed in a yard between the Camden Lock Market and the Stables Market previously used for open air stalls.
In November 2007 a large part of the Stables Market was demolished as part of a long-term redevelopment plan for the area and rebuilt as a dedicated market area. The market is still a thriving shopping area year-round.
Historic Stables Market
The Stables Market is the largest section of Camden Market, owned by cousins Bebo & O.D. Kobo, Richard Caring and Elliot Bernerd of Chelsfield Partners. The market is built in the former Pickfords stables and horse hospital which served the horses pulling Pickford's distribution vans and barges along the canal. Many of the stalls and shops are set into huge arches in railway viaducts.
It is a mixture of indoor and outdoor shops and stalls, some of them permanent, others hired by the day. Chain stores are not permitted. In common with most of the other Camden markets the Stables Market has many clothes stalls. It is also the main home of furniture stores in the Markets. Household goods and decorative items are sold, many of them hand-made and often ethnically influenced. Some of the goods are secondhand or 20th-century antiques.
The Market is known for its 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 a huge range of cyber-style neon PVC and rubber clothing.
Whilst the Stables Market, and the Camden markets generally, have their roots in alternative sub-cultures, visitor numbers have become so high that Camden Town tube station is available only to incoming passengers on Sunday afternoons to prevent dangerous overcrowding of the platforms, although both Chalk Farm and Mornington Crescent stations also give easy access to the market.
During the weeks leading up to Christmas in 2004, the high-profile radio DJ and TV presenter Chris Evans made use of a stall in the Stables Market to sell many of his possessions, ranging from sofas to TVs and crockery.
In October 2006 a large indoor market hall was built in a yard between the Stables Market and Camden Lock Market that was previously used for temporary open-air stalls.
In the summer of 2007 redevelopedment of the back of the Stables Market began. This redevelopment consisted of two new four-storey buildings containing shops, food outlets, offices, workshops and storage facilities, as well as an exhibition space.
Through the redevelopment, there will be a new pedestrian route through the rear of the Stables Market exposing 25 of the existing railway arches. Pedestrian walkways—in the style of the existing historic ramp and bridge system—will open up the site and make it much more accessible to visitors. A glass roof and cycle parking spaces will be added.
Numerous rumours about popular chains such as Topshop, H&M and Starbucks moving in to replace existing independent traders have sparked a petition to the UK government and protest groups on social networking site Facebook. Public objections to the application from local residents, as well as deputations (supporting and opposing it) were presented to Camden Council. The Facebook protest and petition has caused a number of market traders to request more clarity. Rumours that the market is being demolished to be replaced by a shopping centre are feared to be damaging trade.
Many of the objections have ignored agreed restrictions on the size and design of the shop units. These restrictions were intended to suit independent traders and discourage high street retailers. Also the design of the scheme and the materials aims to ensure that the redevelopment complements the industrial nature of the site's existing Victorian buildings.
Cllr Dawn Somper, Chair of the Development Control Committee, Camden Council said: "We absolutely support the desire to preserve the independent and alternative attraction and feel of Stables Market—rather than it looking like a typical high street—and also its economic importance to the Camden Town area. On balance the committee felt that the design, size and heritage considerations of this application were a significant improvement on the previous consented planning permission."
Camden Lock Village
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 with a covered entrance tunnel leading into a general outdoor market. The market was devastated by fire on 9 February 2008. The Market reopened in May 2009 as the Camden Lock Village. The cover over the original street entrance was removed and a new entrance near the railway bridge opened up.
Buck Street Market
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, though 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 on 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 quirky stuff.
Inverness Street Market
A small century-old street market. It once had many stalls selling fresh produce and foodstuffs, but now retains only three vegetable and fruit stalls amongst stalls like the rest of the markets.
2008 Camden Market fire
On 9 February 2008, at around 7:20 p.m., a large fire broke out in the Camden Canal Market area on the north side of Chalk Farm Road. After crossing the railway line, the fire badly affected the rear of the Hawley Arms on Castlehaven Road. The fire was extinguished during the night by 100 firefighters There were no casualties, but railway services running above the market were disrupted. Camden Lock Market and the Stables Market were unaffected by the fire and remained open. The fire was caused by a banned liquid petroleum gas (LPG) heater left turned on on a clothes stall which ignited adjacent materials within one of the stalls.
The late singer Amy Winehouse had made her name at the Hawley Arms, and later mentioned the fire in her acceptance speech for Record of the Year at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards.
- Markets in London
- Portobello Road
- Save Camden Stables Market Website
- Eyewitness accounts of the fire.
- Camden market.
- Camden goods depot development from 1839
- Edmund Yates, 1879 - Of the Parcels-Delivery Company and "Pickfords"