North London Railway - Camden Road

North London Railway
The railway from Dalston Junction continues westwards
TQ 29374 84351

Busy urban area around the Regent's Canal and a complicated interchange of roads and railway lines as they climb away from main line stations and the inner city.  Like the canal, the North London Railway crosses east:west. Many industrial buildings - this is said to have been the centre of piano manufacture, but there is much else. Housing, pubs and a great deal of great interest.

Post to the south Camden Town - Somers Town

This is a Quarter Square
Quarter square Post to the east Camden Town

Post to the west - south east quarter square Camden Market
Post to the west - south west quarter square Camden Railway Goods Yard
Post to the west - north east quarter square Kentish Town West

Main Square to the east
Post to the quarter square to the south  Barnsbury
Post to the quarter square to the south west Ladykillers
Post to the quarter square to the north east Caledonian Road

This posting covers only the south west corner of the square
On this page some buildings appear more than once - since they front onto more than one street as well as having canal frontages

River Fleet
The River Fleet, deep below the streets and the canal in pipes, flows in a south easterly direction.

Barker Drive
Camden Garden Centre. The centre is on some of the old Midland Railway goods yard. It was founded in 1983 and also acts as a charity and a training centre for disabled people.
Elm Village open space. Small park and children’s playground built on old Midland Railway Goods Yard land and up against the North London Line embankment.

Baynes Street
Previously called Prebend Street. Later named after Sydney Baynes, Chief Electrical Engineer to Camden Borough.  He set up the local electrical generating system having already done so in Bradford.
Baynes Street garden, canal side open space and green gym

Bruges Place. This is on what was on a bomb site, originally zoned by planners for industrial use.  Architects, Jestico and Wiles, apparently insisted on four storeys of mixed use development and this is what the buildings are.
15-20 The Helen Bamber Foundation. This is a human rights charity founded in 2005. It provides medical consultation, legal protection and support to survivors of human rights violations.

Bonny Street
Previously called Brecknock Street it was, named Bonny Street from 1871
13-23 Camden Road Station.  Opened in 1870 it now lies between Caledonian Road and Barnsbury Station and Kentish Town West on Silverlink North London Line - North London Railway. The original 1850 station was to the east of the current site. This Station was built in 1870 By EH Horne for the North London Railway and was called Camden Town. It was in stock brick with stone dressings and had a single entrance front between Camden Road and Bonny Street.  There were arched opening with circular tracery above. The Bonny Street elevation had 4 arched windows per floor, with herringbone brick infills and a parapet panel inscribed in sunken letters NORTH LONDON RAILWAY. The station complex continues with offices and former waiting rooms above goods stores at nose 13-19. Inside the triangular booking hall has a central cast-iron column. A Booking office was installed here in 1984. The stairs are original with cast-iron rails leading up to the platforms. The west-bound platform had a canopy supported on cast-iron columns with ornamental spandrels. It is the only survivor of the Italianate brick station buildings erected in the 1870s on the North London Railway. It was renamed Camden Road in 1950 and was refurbished in 1984 by British Railways and the Greater London Council.
Goods department offices were to the west.
1c Robur distillery. This appears to have been some sort of alcoholic tonic drink. There have been a number of other beverages with this name since which seem to have connections to tea or to oak.
Gilbeys stables for 72 horses here before the Great War. In 1893 part of Gilbey’s No. 5 Bond, which was under the railway arches of Camden Road station, was converted into stables. These could accommodate 104 horses which it is assumed worked in the Goods Depot where Gilbeys had its main operation.
Twyman House. 1960s office block and home to a number of good causes. It has now been demolished.

Camden Gardens
Camden Gardens is a social housing development for Community Housing Association by Jestico and Whiles. There are 27 affordable, houses and flats, some designed for special needs. Some of the units face the canal.

Camden Road
This was a turnpike road on the line of an old lane connecting Camden Town with Holloway. It was intended to take it to Tottenham, cutting across the new estate in Camden Town. It was laid out 1820s and finished in 1826 by the newly formed Metropolitan Turnpike Trust.  The Camden end was quickly built up early
St.Michael. A church by Bodley and  Garner, their first London church, built between 1880 and 1994. With a tall front rising from the street. It looks, urban, but like a 14th Friary church but the tower was never built. There is a brass to the first vicar. Rev. E.B. Penfold, 1907.
The congregation was begun in 1881 at a building nearby where a betting shop now stands; a service was held in the shop to begin the celebrations for the church's 125th anniversary in 2002.
Sainsbury’s. This metallic building is on the site of the ABC Bread Co. building and was designed in 1985 by Nicholas Grimshaw. London Borough of Camden wanted a mixed-use development here.  The scheme is on top of an underground car park and the ground floor sales areas a column-free space with an arched roof. All the support and areas are on the first floor level to allow for a yard space. There are columns around the edge of the sales area with brackets above them and supporting the arches of the sales area roof. It is a High-Tech solution.
17-21 the Aerated Bread Company building had its own wharfs and cranes for unloading barges on the canal. ABC had a tiled 1920s fa├žade on Camden Road. The Company was incorporated in 1862 as bakers and confectioners using fizzy water rather than yeast to rise bread - in response to the temperance movement. The first bakery was in Islington and then moved to Soho. The Camden Road factory was built before 1930 when the firm had 150 branches in London and 250 tea rooms. It centralised their baking operations and was designed, in 1934, by Alexander Gibb and Partners.  They were taken over by Allied Bakeries Ltd in 1955 and are thought to have closed down in the early 1980's. What records exist of their past were found in this derelict factory.
Artists Studios. These were  built in 1865 by William Roberts in two rows facing each other. Demolished in the 1960s by St.Pancras Council.
21 British Automobile Traction Co.Ltd were at this, now demolished, address in the 1920s. They ran a private bus service.
25 British Transport Police. Shirley House. The force moved there in 2002 from a previous headquarters in Tavistock Square. It is thought that the Fleet River runs beneath this,
Bridge over the Grand Union Canal. This is also known as North Road Bridge. Built 1816-20 in brick and stone with later alterations.  It has a single arch and a solid parapet with piers and stone coping. The road itself has been strengthened in the late 19th with cast-iron girders and there is a 20th steel staircase on the west parapet.  Masonic stone or bench mark without the arrow set in it
43-45 Station Hotel. This is now offices. It was the Bar Zaar for a while.
79 Office block being converted to housing. Used by London Borough of Camden for a variety of uses – Social Services, Parking, etc.  The block was originally built for the trade union Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staff (ASTMS) as their headquarters in the early 1970s.  It was previously part of the Hilger and Watts Scientific Instrument site – the entrance and premises remain to the rear in St.Pancras Way.
Cherry Tree Court. 1980s sheltered housing run by Circle 33 Housing Association and mainly catering for elderly Greek Cypriots.
University College London Halls of Residence.  Ifor Evans Hall, Neil Sharp Block, Ann Stephenson House. Built on the site of several industrial buildings fronting onto Rochester Mews, but previously gthe site of Wilcher and Searles nurseries.

Camden Street
River Fleet – the Fleet runs underground probably on the line of a pedestrian crossing
Canal bridge called Camden Bridge. There are concrete extensions for the car park at the rear of Shirley House. This was once the site of a Banksey, now removed
The North London Railway bridge crosses the road on a bridge which is part of a viaduct across this area.  Does this reflect the crossing of the Fleet valley?
146 Factory building used by a variety of publishing and light engineering organisations
166-168 Hat Factory.  Used by a variety of arts and associated organisations.  Camden Lecture Hall was built here in the 1870s originally as a replacement for Camden House School, which had been demolished for the railway. It was used by the Camden School for Boys in the 1880s and then as a cap factory/.
Camden Gardens. This is a triangular garden crossed by the North London Railway Line on brick arches, with roads on all sides. It was owned by the Marquis of Camden and laid out in the 19th for the people in the neighbourhood and it is still managed by a local committee. Building on it was prohibited under the London Squares and Enclosures (Preservation) Act of 1906.
Drinking Fountain at the point of the gardens. It is a memorial to local resident Joseph Salter.
K2 Telephone Box

This is part of the Paddington Branch of the Grand Junction Canal first suggested in 1801. After John Nash, then designing Regent’s Park took an interest and a canal company was founded in 1811 and the Prince Regent agreed it should be “The Regent’s Canal”. Work began in 1812.  Following disputes and financial irregularities the canal was finally finished in 1820.  After the Second World War canal business went into decline. The canal generally has a the surface width of between 40 and 50 feet It originally had earth banks but was lined with rag stone in 1832. Under the towpath run 400,000 volt electrical cables installed in the 1970’s which are water cooled. At the side of the canal at regular intervals are ramps, which were used to get horses out of the canal if they had fallen in.  
Fleet River. In this section of the canal the Fleet River runs alongside it deep underground and passes underneath the canal somewhere at the rear of the Sainsbury store.  It has been suggested that this is the reason that the canal is built in an S bend here, and that a sump was built underneath the canal at the crossing point.
Flats Sainsburys. Row of ‘Space capsule flats’ by Nicholas Grimshaw built at the back of the Sainsbury’s building on the old Aerated Bread Co. site.  Homes were part of the planning agreement here and manipulation of lorry turning circles in the loading bay of the supermarket allowed a ten-metre strip along the canal.  Thus there are ten three-bedroom houses, a one-bed and a bedsit. They are built from concrete block work and white and natural beech is used.
Aerated Bread Company’s wharf was here and a steam pipe ran across the canal from their boiler house.
Camden Gardens. Some of this estate by Jestico and Whiles faces onto the canal.
Camden Street Bridge. This is on a bend in the tow path. There are iron guards to protect brickwork on the corners of the bridge and ropes have worn deep grooves here. The bridge has been extended to provide a forecourt for a garage above the canal. The structure beneath it suggests that there were once two brick bridges here later joined with iron joists.
Shirley House. The British Transport Police building constructed with little regard to its interface with the canal.
Camden Road Bridge North Road Bridge built in 1825. The bridge was modified and flattened to allow tram services to cross it.
Lyme Terrace lies above the above the canal on a raised walk. Its Basements are on the canal side.
Lawford Wharf. New development of housing, offices and gallery on what was Devonshire Wharf previously occupied by Lawford and Sons, builders supply merchants.  Development by John Thompson and Partners with Berkeley Homes. Lawford's dated from 1860 and originally dealt solely with slate. The wharf was occupied by them for more than a century. John Eeles Lawford had started in Euston Road in 1840, as a slate merchant, and moved here to what was then called Devonshire Wharf a few years later where they were in buisimness as a general builder’s merchant.
Lawford's Cottages. 2 cottages later used as builder's premises, situated on the wharf. They are 19th or earlier and double-fronted with 3 windows. There is a brick veranda at the east end of the ground floor. It is suggested that the Fleet River runs between the cottages and the canal and that the land here represents the best indications of its route.
Royal College Street Bridge. The bridge was originally built of brick, and was fifteen feet wide, enough for a horse and cart, and has since been widened.
Eagle Wharf.  There are some buildings numbered for Royal College Street on this wharf.  In the 1950s this was Gorta Engineering.  The building nearest the road is now offices for a number of, largely arts based, companies with a canal side extension to staff amenity areas.  The second building is said to be a renovated piano factory and is also used as office accommodation.  Beyond them are the remnants of a former basin now covered by decking. A crane mounting on the wall of one building installed to lift goods from boats is said to remain on one building.
Bangor Wharf. This was the St Pancras refuse depot, including stables, the site taken over by the Vestry in the early 1890s but which went out of use by the early 1930s. It had previously been a wharf used by plaster of Paris manufacturers, Stringfield and Blyth. There are granite setts in the road to the bridge from St.Pancras Way. It is now used by EDF
Grays Inn Bridge. Foundation stone in east wall. It commemorates the rebuilding of the bridge in 1897. Since then a cast iron structure on the bridge has also been removed. The canal here is built on a slope thus it is cut into the hill side with a retaining embankment on the down hill slope.

Farrier Street
Built in the 1880s to connect the two main roads. It was given this name in 1961
Clarence Buildings. these were model dwellings built in 1885 and designed by Samuel Toye. They were renamed Tattenham House and Durdans House - both horse racing names.
Tattenham House. demolished in 1979, the site was used as a garden centre and is now modern flats.

Ivor Street
Previously Priory Street. At the entrance is a St.Pancras Parish bollard

Jefferies Place
8 Baring Brothers briar pipe factory
19-20 flats built in the 1970s which replaced Priory Works, used by Hilger and Watts

Jeffries Street
Judge Jeffries' family owned the manor of Cantelowes for a time before it became Camden Fields.  The street was laid out about 1800.
Philia House. Post modern building. This was a Second World War bomb site which became Gulliver's petrol station, named for the local telephone exchange.

Lyme Street
31 Brooks factory. Henry Brooks was famous for their piano actions, but also made keyboards for many different instruments. Until 1998 as Herrburger Brooks they were the world's oldest established maker of piano actions, hammer heads and keyboards. Brooks of London and Herrburger had amalgamated in the 1920s and moved to Nottingham
Lawson’s Wharf, entrance with painted wall sign
13 blue plaque to Ruth First and Joe Slovo, anti apartheid activists, unveiled by Nelson Mandela

Prowse Place
Named after Captain Sir William Prowse, one of Nelson's captains, who died a rear-admiral in 1826 and lived locally.
Rear of what was the Camden Lecture Hall
Railway arch slightly skewed, under the North London Railway line and the station above.
3 ex-premises of Hewitt, bookbinders and bookbinder’ suppliers

Randolph Street
1 The Colonel Fawcett. This was previously the Camden Arms and dated from around 1800. The story is that Col. David Fawcett died in an upstairs room here. He was a gin enthusiast and the pub now has a list of many gins, some very unusual. Fawcett had been shot by his brother in law in one of the last duels in Britain which took place locally in 1843.
Rail Bridge

Reeds Place
This is a small paved space between rows of plain Victorian cottages of painted stucco with railed front gardens
The junction with Rochester Place has a row of bollards with SPPM for St.Pancras Parish Middlesex
7 William Reed lived here until 1880.
12 Willow in the front garden.

Rochester Mews
1-6 site of Idris soft drinks works.
20 this was built in 1994 on the site of demolished workshops and a replica of the original house built.
7/9 this was the Clarendon Garage owned by Henry Merry pre-Great War. It later was a repair depot owned by Carmo (Holdings) involved with lorry and car sales until the 1970s.  The site is now flats, the buildings once on that site having been grouped round Clarendon Yard.
Housing on the east side of the road adjacent to Rochester Place was previously part of the Hilger and Watts works.
Laundry on the area now covered by the UCL Halls. Later taken over by Idris
British Automobile Traction Bus garage on the area covered by the UCL Halls. They ran green 'British Buses' on route 24.

Rochester Place
26-29 Cosprop theatrical costumiers.on the site of Clarendon Cottages and Clarendon Yard
36-38 this was Soul Studios converted from a warehouse in 1990 to a sound studio by Jazzy B.
42- 44 Built 1980-5 by David Wild at the end of Reed Place as his own home accompanied by an adjacent house for a neighbour. Draws inspiration from Le Corbusier, and Frank Lloyd Wright.  A monumental column preserves a tree.
52-54  A sign says this was built by Philip Wilson 1900. They were van and wagon builders.
67- 71 Rotunda. This was behind the site of the school and built around 1824 by George Lever to house a panoramic painting based around Thomas Horner’s sketches of London. Later it was used for painting huge panoramas by Robert Burford, The site was taken over by Henry Willis to use as his organ factory in 1865. He was a revolutionary who made many changes to organs and built thousands worldwide. Willis had to leave the works in 1908. Willis present day organ factory in Liverpool is still called Rotunda Works.

Rochester Square
Mid-19th square the centre of which has been built over.
Spiritualist Church.  Arts and Crafts style. The foundation stone was laid in 1926 by Arthur Conan Doyle. Other stones were laid by Earnest Beard from the building society. Hannan Swaffer and his wife, Mr and Mrs Ellis and Mr. Yorke the architect. “The Temple has remained open ever since and we are aiming to keep it open until the end of the world”. Sadly it is in severe need of building repairs.

Rousden Street
13-16 Greenwood Almshouses. Originally built in 1840 as twelve dwellings in a terrace of four three-storey stucco houses. They are now six sheltered flats by Peter Mishcon & Partners, 1984-6, with lift and stair-tower added behind.

Royal College Street
Was Great College Street because of the Royal Veterinary College in the street to the south of this square. There are a series of coal hole covers mostly by Sampson of Euston Road and Jennings of Great College Street.
Camden Station. The original station was to the east of the current Camden Road station and built on watercress beds. It was opened in 1850 on the line from Islington and Bow and named Camden Road.  From 1853 it was called Camden Town Station and then Camden Road until 1870 when the new station was built
223 Camden Road Station. The Royal College Street elevation has a projecting arched entrance with a pair of four-panel doors below a fanlight.
Drinking Fountain. This is under the railway bridge and set in the wall. It was built in 1870 to replace a fancier one.
School Buildings. It appears that the Kentish Town and Camden Town National School were opened here in 1815 through the efforts of Thomas Cartwright Slack.  It was supported by collections and subscriptions and had a library attached.  The lease was then sold to a local builder, Charles Crane. He built a new school and replaced the school with a big house for himself called Sussex House. The house later became a laundry.  College Street School was built here by the London School Board  in 1874, which was in 1908 as the Great College Street School – and was extended over the site of the organ works and rotunda. It was used by the Cantelowes Secondary School and the Women's Evening Instutute until 1958. It later became the Richard of Chichester Roman Catholic Secondary School closed in 1997 as a failing school.  Considered the finest school in London when it was built by the London County Council, it is now housing. There are still carved signs for 'Boys'. It is on the site of a farmhouse which was present in 1801.
163 Prince Albert Pub. Dates from 1843 with a green tiled exterior with contemporary leaded windows. On the fascia in dark green lettering on a cream background: is 'OFF LICENSE (sic) ... "PRINCE ALBERT" ... PALE ... CHARRINGTONS ... ALES ... "PRINCE ALBERT" ... PALE ... CHARRINGTONS ... ALES'. At the back is a tiled panel with lettering 'CHARRINGTON'S ALES & STOUT' plus an anchor. The windows have red lettering: 'CHARRINGTON'S' and 'TOBY ALE'
102-104 Grand Union Pub. This was previously Mac Bar and before that The Eagle
229 Castles Pie and Mash shop opened in 1934.
230 Flats on the corner of Wilmot Place.  This was the site of College Chapel, which was Baptist opened in 1892. It later became College Street Mission Hall and then a Pentecostal church.
236 Flats. Built in 1885 as Kentish Town Residences.
251 Old Eagle. This appears to have been rebuilt in the 19th
313 Black Horse. Pub closed in 2008 and now flats. This had a horse trough in front, now gone. The pub was rebuilt as part of road widening
Camden Place. Short term lets in industrial building facing onto Kentish Town Road.

St Pancras Way
This was called Longwich Lane and then King's Road and was another Alternative route to the north. The route reflects a pack horse path alongside the River Fleet.
42 The Constitution pub. There is a Courage cockerel in gold above the pub sign. There is also a mural – which may change apparently – which reflects the use of part of the pub as a jazz club.
Canal bridge. Called Grays Inn Bridge or Constitution Bridge
Midland Railway Goods Yard. This lay to the east of the road
Rail bridge for the North London Railway
204-6 this was the site of Sussex Cottages which in the 1920s became part of a larger block used as the Labour Exchange.
102 Camden Meals on Wheels depot
109 tiny house which appears to be in part of an ornamental end of terrace extension to the adjacent property
College Gardens has a triangular lawn surrounded by a path and a row of lime trees, enclosed by iron railings. There is a K2 telephone kiosk here and a granite drinking fountain commemorating Joseph Salter, prominent in local affairs and who died in 1876.
Hilger and Watts Factory building fronting onto St Pancras Way with th4e rear to Rochester Place mews. There is a front facade in red brick with a large forecourt. It has had alterations for use as council offices. It was a purpose-built factory in the 1920s for high-quality Hilger instruments. Adam and Otto Hilger, precision optical instrument technicians, were religious refugees from Darmstadt who founded the company in Tottenham Court Road. They had a reputation as one of the foremost optical and precision instrument manufacturers in the world. They developed synthetic crystals, and post-war developments included emission and atomic absorption spectroscopy. In 1968, they moved to Margate, and continues as Hilger Crystals Ltd
St Pancras Way Estate. Flats by Norman and Dawbawm for the Borough of St Pancras built 1946-8. They were the borough's first post-war flats. They are laid-out, in rows instead of around courtyards, which was seen as an innovation. The council's policy was to name new blocks after notable people connected with the former borough – Henry Bessemer, John Soane, the Inwoods, William Hogarth, and William Wollett

Wilmot Place
32 Camden Falcon. Pub now closed.It was originally the Sussex Arms and became the Falcon in the 1860s.

Aldous. Village London
Allinson & Thornton.  A Guide to London's Contemporary Architecture
Barton, London’s Lost Rivers
Blue Plaque Guide
Brewery History. Web site
British History Online. Camden
British Listed Buildings. Web site
Camden History Review
Clunn. The Face of London
Connor. Forgotten Stations
Essex Lopresti. Regents Canal
GLIAS Newsletter 
GLIAS Walk 7
Kentish Towner. Web site.
London Borough of Camden. Web site
London Encyclopedia
London Gardens Online. Web site
National Archives. Web site
Mitchell and Smith. North London Railway
Modern Architecture. Web site
Pastscape. Web site
Pevsner and Cherry. London North
Robbins. North London Railway
Rochester Square Spiritualist Church. Web site
Symonds.  Behind the Blue Plaques of London
Thames Basin Archaeology of Industry Group
Tindall. The Fields Beneath


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