One of the most famous shopping areas in London, what’s often known as Camden Market, Camden Lock, or even Camden Lock Market is situated in the London Borough of Camden. Camden Market is not just one central location, but a series of markets in the borough. These include: Camden Lock, the Stables, Canal Market, Buck Street Market, Inverness Street Market, and the Electric Ballroom. If you’ve ever been to Camden Market or thought about going, have a look at some of the facts we have collected about this shopping mega centre.
Not One, But Three
Camden Lock isn’t a single lock, but is actually three of them. Hampstead Lock no. 1 constitutes twin locks, but count as a single lock. Hawley Lock and Kentish Town Lock make up the other two. The term Camden lock refers to all three of them.
Gold Medal Food
The first food stall in Camden Market was opened by June Foulds, an Olympic sprinter who competed in the 100 metres relay in the 1952 and 1956 games, winning bronze and silver, respectively. Called simply “The Stall”, it opened in 1974.
You Spin Me Right Round
Long before DJs were spinning discs in the Roundhouse, a different kind of spinning was going on. The performing arts venue was originally built in 1847 as a literal roundhouse for steam engine locomotives. As they had no way to turn around on their own, the Roundhouse’s turntable would spin the trains around. It was converted into a concert hall in the 1960s.
Camden Market has been ranked as London’s fourth-largest attraction with approximately 100,000 people visiting the stalls and shops each weekend. The market has approximately 280 stalls and 54 shops. The Camden area generates £1.2 billion from visitor spending and has 24,400 businesses, which is the second largest in London after Westminster. These businesses are responsible for about 275,000 jobs, providing almost two jobs for every resident in the borough.
Appropriately enough, the market known as the Stables Market used to be the Picksford horse stables as well as the horse hospital that served the animals that pulled the Picksford vans. It is the largest section of the markets and one where chain stores are not allowed.
We Don’t Need no Water
Parts of Camden Market have caught on fire twice in recent years. The first time was in 2008 on 9 February in the Canal Market. It took about 100 firefighters to put it out, but fortunately there were no casualties. The fire was started by a banned liquid petroleum gas heater left on in a stall. The second fire occurred on 19 May of last year. Luckily, once again there were no casualties and it only took 70 firefighters to put out.
But by Night…
Electric Ballroom may be another market by day filled with shops, but by night it is a nightclub and has been so since the 1950s. There are two dance floors and four bars inside. It has played host to plenty of rock n’ roll royalty including: The Clash, Madness, Sid Vicious, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Paul McCartney, and more.
Everything Must Go
Radio DJ and TV personality Chris Evans once made the claim that if his show, The Terry and Gabby Show, failed to get good ratings in 2004, he would set up a stall in Camden Market and sell his possessions. When it was cancelled during its first season, the final episode of the show featured Evans staying true to his word with a stall in the Stables Market.
Withnail and I is an iconic film that takes place in Camden Town and features the Market as one of its locations. Filmmaker Bruce Robinson once lived in Camden and based the film on his experiences living in the borough. During leaner times, he would swipe fruits and vegetables left behind when the market shut up for him to eat.
Writing on the Wall
Several historic writers also lived in the area, including George Orwell, Mary Shelley, and Charles Dickens.