Camden Town, a limited edition

December 26, 2011 02:00 0 comments

Photo by: Fabiola Uribe Marín

The most extraordinary mix of people come together here to create what is known as alternative culture. It is one of the few places in the world where you can forget the rigid conventions of the corporate world.

Javier Alzas Gordillo

If London retains any of its charm that goes beyond the excessive daily crowds of people gathered around Buckingham Palace and its famous Changing of the Guards, it can be found in this multicultural district.

Located just ten minutes from central London thanks to the Northern Line on the underground network and the many buses that connect with the district’s main road, High St.

Renowned for its colourful and quirky street markets, Camden Town is recognised as the capital of British alternative rock, a symbolic place that was reinvented in the last quarter of the twentieth century by the performances of Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles.

These are music and fashion legends that were established in the streets of London and that are represented by something s

imilar to the classic post punk in Camden today.

It is a ‘pin up’ environment of gothic, punk, retro and vintage cultures, making the district the birthplace of fashion, a point of reference for all those seeking the latest and most surprising pieces.

Camden Town is one of the most appealing places in London due to the originality of the products offered by its markets which are open every day from 9:00 am to 18:30 pm.

Photo by: Fabiola Uribe Marín

The toleration for alternative life styles means that Camden is grouped into six diverse and independent markets: Camden Lock Market, Stables Market, Camden Lock Village, Inverness St., Buck St Market and Camden High St. Market.

Its main street, Camden High Street, is the heart of the district and its shopping and entertainment.

At the start of the district, next to Mornington Crescent tube station, is the famous Koko club, which was one of the most important theatres of the twentieth century. It became one of the most symbolic places of punk and Britpop, where groups such as The Sex Pistols, Madness and Oasis performed.

On leaving Camden Town tube station, you instantly notice the characteristics of its population.

Brand new business suits, punks, gothic dolls and gentlemen in their bowler hats walk around in their finery, next to designer shops. But the real attraction can be seen from Buck Street where, after a few steps, you can discover Camden Town Market, a paradise for alternative shopping. Second hand jewellery, vinyl records, limited editions, shirts, posters and clothing of all eras and styles at bargain prices come together, forming more than two hundred stalls.

The hustle and bustle of Camden High Street calms down upon reaching Regents Canal which is lined with interesting walkways.

From here you can enjoy relaxing boat trips or the high quality restaurants that surround the riverbank. On the East bank of the river there is a pretty sign advertising Camden Lock Village. The smell of food….hundreds of seats arranged along streets and alleys.

A gastronomic maze of numerous nationalities where Asian food is the highlight. The famous scooter seats can also be seen in Camden Lock Village which, along with the eccentric appearances in the High Street of punk boots, gothic angels or a rocking chair made of Victorian houses, and authentic works of art, are the most photographed artefacts.

Photo by: Fabiola Uribe Marín

On the other side, the West of Regent’s Canal, is Camden Lock Market. Opened in 1974 as a craft market, it is now one of the most popular markets in Camden with music venues, cafes, souvenir shops and a small wharf next to the pedestrian zone.

This area has over five hundred independent stores that offer an unimaginable range of products, not only fashion clothing and accessories, but unusual items as well.

You can buy everything from clothes and antiques to joke items.

Camden Town is the place to go if you want to find unique items, especially in retro fashion, but it also offers the chance to see impossible gadgets such as remote controls to control men and women or action figures of famous people like Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci or Karl Marx.

The final stop of this trip, after crossing Regent’s Canal, is Stables Market, the old set of stables and barns built in 1854 which includes the old horse hospital.

Today, bronze sculptures adorn the market in recognition of the animals that pulled the barges along the canal. In the stables there are endless shops ranging from the latest in alternative fashion to furniture, suitcases and dilapidated pianos that featured in old black and white films. There are around seven hundred shops and main areas that coexist with the old structures of the nineteenth century stables.

In short, what began in 1971 as craft workshops motivated by groups of young people that decided to rent these old abandoned and dilapidated buildings, has become a place of great attraction for Londoners and tourists. This is thanks to its originality, extravagance, quality and variety of items offered together with the architecture of its picturesque location.

(Translated by Ruth Olney – Email: ruth.olney@hotmail.co.uk)

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