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London borough of Camden » City Info » History

  • History of London borough of Camden

The London borough of Camden was formed in 1965 from the remaining parts of the metropolitan boroughs of Hampstead, Holborn, and St Pancras which then were the main boroughs in the County of London. The borough got its name after Camden Town which itself had got its named from Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden in 1795.

  • History of Camden Town
Camden Town came into its own existence in the 1790’s. Till then, the area was covered by vast barren lands and fields, especially those to the north of Tottenham Court. The Fleet River which today is non-existent used to flow through the green fields. Along with farms and green fields, there were only two inns namely, “Mother’s Cap” (today known as “World’s End”) and “Southampton” (now known as “Edwards”).
The establishment of the city is generally attributed to Charles Pratt, who was the 1st Earl of Camden. He was one among the wealthy individuals that settled in the city and so took part in the development of the town. He initially laid the foundation of developing the area that is situated on the east side of Camden High Street. His contribution is so immense that there is a street marked in his name, located in Camden Town.
But the arrival of canals and railways changed the whole scenario and transformed the town into what it is today. The Grand Union Canal was completed in 1820, while the Euston Terminus was finished in 1837.
By the 1850’s Camden had expanded into a metro town with the opening of the Camden Railway Station. Irish settlers arrived in Camden with the onset of railways and canals. The famine in Ireland in 1840’s sped up this process. By the end of the 19th century, Camden Main Street was busy with buses, trams, and horse drawn buses plying on it. Shopping was always a hobby even then with a lot of shops and entertainment facilities available. Some of the important entertainment centers were Bowmans department store, Camden Theater, and Music Halls. The opening of the Camden Underground Station in 1907 finally changed the city from a small town to a metropolitan city.
During World War II, bombing resulted in heavy destruction of the railway terminus and the area around Mornington Cresent. After the war ended, it gradually restored its former glory and became a cosmopolitan society with the Asians forming a large number of its population. It is due to this nature of its society that art, culture, media and fashion have developed in multiple measures in the city.