Camden Square, NW1

Road in/near Camden Town, existing between the 1840s and now

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Road · Camden Town · NW1 ·

Camden Square is a long green space running north east to south west parallel to Camden Road.

St Paul’s Church, Camden Square, c.1848
Credit: C J Greenwood (lithograph)
This area was laid out over fields in the 1840s but was only finally completed around 1880.

It had been determined that Camden Square should be a higher class development. The earlier portions of Camden Town were already deteriorating socially. Hence there was a generous provision of green space and to deal with spiritual matters, St Paul’s Church, a neo-gothic structure, was consecrated in 1849. A contemporary lithograph by C.J. Greenwood shows the church with cattle in the foreground, and a view stretching along the emerging Cantelowes Road towards St Paul’s Cathedral. Large houses were concentrated around Camden Square with more modest buildings leading from the Square, loosely following the example of Covent Garden.

Upmarket ambitions faltered as high density housing was placed to the north east, as Camden Terrace, North Villas and South Villas.

Then, the Midland Railway arrived in 1864. Cut-and-cover construction bisected Camden Square, and a number of properties were demolished both in the 1860s and then after the widening of the railway in 1898. Even after completion, vibration from the tunnels and smoke from the ventilation shafts reduced the desirability of the area.

A century later, from the mid-1960s onward, Camden Square underwent a social and architectural renaissance. The area once again became a desirable place to live.


St Paul’s Church, Camden Square, c.1848
C J Greenwood (lithograph)

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Camden Town

Camden Town tube station is a major junction on the Northern Line and one of the busiest stations on the London Underground network. It is particularly busy at weekends with tourists visiting Camden Market and Camden High Street.

Camden is well-known for Camden Market which is a major tourist attraction, particularly busy at weekends, selling variety of fashion, antiques, lifestyle and bizarre goods; they (and the surrounding shops) are popular with young people, in particular those searching for alternative clothing.

It is an area popular with overseas students who come to Camden to learn English and find a job in one of the local bars or restaurants. The oldest established language school is Camden College of English, which is located at the Chalk Farm side of the market.

The Regent's Canal runs through the north end of Camden Town and is a popular walk in summer.

Camdem Town tube station began life as part of the original route of the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway (CCE&HR) (now part of the Northern Line). As the line here branched into two routes, to Hampstead and to Highgate, the design of the station was rather unusual, shaped like a V. The line to Hampstead (now the Edgware Branch) is under Chalk Farm Road; the line to Highgate (now the High Barnet branch) is under Kentish Town Road. With the narrowness of the roads above, and the necessity to keep directly beneath them to avoid having to pay compensation to landowners during construction, on both lines the northbound platform is directly above the southbound one.

At the apex of the V is a junction allowing northbound trains to take either of the branches north, and likewise allow the trains south from the branches to join the single southbound track. This resulted in four connecting tunnels. When the CCE&HR and City & South London Railway lines were joined together after the City & South London Line became part of London Underground, a short extension from the Euston terminus of the City & South London was built to connect with each of the two northerly branches. This added another four tunnels to the junction, making it the most complex junction on the network.
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