Adventures in London: Camden

London’s Marmite

Not only will you either love or hate it…Camden Market

  • It’s retro
  • Everyone’s heard of it – though not everyone’s tried it
  • Everyone has an opinion about it
  • And… it’s just a little bit odd.

Everyone should try Camden at least once in their life.

Camden breathes pretentiousness…but it’s ok

Everyone knows their clothes, loves and tastes are pretentious. The point is that they do it anyway. The Kentish town area was first owned by Mr Pratt – I kid you not…though how anyone took him seriously as a lawyer and politician with a name like Charles Pratt is anyone’s guess…well, I suppose Ed Balls manages ok – and it would appear that everyone delights in maintaining the heritage.

Nevertheless, I love it.

Where else but London could you sneak down alleys bustling with stalls selling overpriced Indian wares, cyborg trance music, the sweet greasy waft of thai street food, a band having their photo taken amidst bemused onlookers with spikey green hair, cardigans and oversized glasses?

Camden Lock

Camden Lock by Adam Wright
Camden Lock by Adam Wright

As a woman who knows her windlass from her lock gate and the daughter of a man who has canal maps on his walls, the beautiful Camden lock definitely deserves a mention. It’s famous, but nobody really knows why. The lock is the hub where it all began. It’s an iconic part of the regent’s canal, which links the Thames with the Grand Junction Canal to the Midlands.

Born from failure

When the lock was first built at the turn of the nineteenth century, a hydro-pneumatic lock was experimented with. When it didn’t work the double lock was installed instead. It was double to allow the volume of traffic through. Now it’s trafficked by tourists, but back in the day, it’s the reason the maze of markets exists.

The future

Camden’s lovies want to see the “choked road systems” alleviated with the second era of the canal. In the future, we may see the return of steam barges and work ponies transporting the country’s goods.

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