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Camden Town has existed only since the 1790s. Until then, the area north of Tottenham Court was given over to open land and fields. This green expanse was crossed by the (now vanished) Fleet river. A few scattered farms and two coaching inns, the "Mother Red Cap" (now the "Worlds End") and the "Southampton" (now "Edwards"), marked a dangerous landscape frequented by highwaymen. Many an unfortunate ended his days swinging from the gibbet near what is today Camden Town underground station. The name Red Cap was derived from the story of an unfortunate old lady who lived near the inn during the seventeenth century and was reputed to have practised witchcraft. In fact, there's little to suggest that poor Mother Red Cap was anything but entirely innocent. Charles Pratt (Earl of Camden) is usually credited with the establishment of Camden Town.As the first of a number of wealthy individuals involved in the development and urbanization of this part of London, his initial building programme focused on land on the east side of CamdenHigh Street. Pratts role in shaping the area is marked by a street bearing his name in theheart of modern Camden Town.
Click the button below to see a map of our area produced by John Rocque in 1745 (Camden History Society). The red circle marks the boundry of todays Camden Town.
The arrival of canals and then railways transformed the whole region; the Grand Union canal wascompleted in 1820; the first line to the Euston terminus opened in 1837.
Little Green Street By 1850, sleepy, rural Camdenhad been enveloped by the expanding metropolis and Camden Road railway station opened in that year. Railway and canal construction brought the first Irish settlers to Camden. This processwas accelerated after 1840 by terrible famine in Ireland. By the end of the 19th century soot and grime from major railway terminals to the south covered a Camden High Street busy with shops, trams and horse-drawn buses.
Even then, Camden Town was a centre for shopping and entertainment. Bowmans department storewas very popular, and two big "Music Halls", the Camden Theatre (since 1982 the Camden Palace) and the Bedford regularly attracted big stars and large audiences.

The opening of Camden Town Underground station in 1907 marked the final integration of once rural Camden into the wider City.

During the Second World War the railway termini were an importanttarget and the area around Mornington Cresent was badly damaged by bombing. Post-war,the gradual restoration of Camden Town coincided with its emergence as centre of Greek-Cypriotsettlement in London. Camden is still cosmopolitan. Today, the area south of Camden High Streetboasts Londons largest Bengali/Bangladeshi community. Bev Rowes History of Camden Square
This cosmopolitanism is an important part of Camden Towns popularity as a centre for the Arts, media, fashion and music.A great place to live, work, shop and play. A Camden Walk You can find out more about the history of Camden Town by visiting Camden Local Studiesand Archives Centre at Holborn Library. You can learn more about some of the illustrious residents of Camden Town by


selecting from the biographical list below:
St Martins Gardens For a good bookon the History of Camden Town try
The Growth of Camden Town
by Jack Whitehead.
For a short film on the history of
Camden Town visit:
www.camden.tv
Amy Winehouse
Charles Dickens
Mary Shelley
Madness
Oasis
George Orwell
Arthur Rimbaud
Dylan Thomas

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