Camden Road

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Forming the north-west boundary of the Camden Square Conservation Area is Camden Road, named after the Camden family. It is a busy main road and a portion of the A503. Today the area to the north-west is school playing fields and university halls of residence. Only part of the south-east side of the road is in the Conservation Area.

History

1836 map showing Camden Road before Camden New Town was laid out.

Camden Road was laid out in the 1820s as a new route running north-east out of London. By the l830s it was known as the 'New Road to Tottenham through Holloway'.

During the 1840s some detached and semi-detached villas, of three storeys raised on basements, were built on the south-east side, on plots just south-west of Camden Park Road. These were grander, much larger houses, in stark contrast to the Camden Town end of the road, and today those surviving are the most substantial properties in the Conservation Area (the majority have been converted into flats). There are parallels in architectural style with the slightly later North and South Villas: ltalianate influences, such as tripartite windows and bracketed overhanging eaves. Generally, the villas are characterised by London stock brick walls; some have heavy stucco decoration, hipped slated roofs, stucco porches, prominent chimney stacks and some dormer windows. They are set back from the road behind front gardens with brick or stucco boundary walls.

In the 1860s the uniformity of this development was somewhat broken by the construction of the railway tunnels which ran directly under Camden Road (between Nos 194 and 21O) and a gap in residential deve1opment remains to this day. These houses have an open aspect to the south-west, but in the 19th century looked onto Camden Crescent: a crescent of villas around landscaped gardens dating from the 1840s to 1850s period (which survived until the 1930s).

On the north-west side of the road, immediately south of Camden Crescent, stood the former Camden Road station, until its closure in 1916, as a casualty of wartime economies and tram competition (tram lines ran along Camden Road from the late 19th century until the mid 2Oth century).

The North London Collegiate School was founded at 12 Camden Street, moving to a purpose build site on Camden Road now occupied by the Camden School for Girls.

Notable Past Residents

  • Robert King, 2nd Viscount Lorton (1804–1869), Lived at 119 Camden Road. Viscount Lorton's life was destroyed by his drinking, his debts and a disastrous marriage, He found a retreat in London, which is how he came to live, with Julie (his "nurse"), at 119 Camden Road, dying there in 1869. The house was called Minver Cottage but was in fact one of the largest and most striking houses in Camden Road. It seems to have consisted of two houses thrown together, one of them alone with double the footprint of any of its neighbours. It was also turreted. Sadly, it was demolished to make way for the UCL hostels in the 1980s.
  • Shakin’ Stevens, (Born 1948, Cardiff), singer and songwriter, lived in Camden Road.
  • John Zachary Young, one of the most influential biologists of the 20th century lived on Camden Road.

External Links

Camden Square Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Strategy

References

  • LB of Camden; Camden Square Conservation Area Statement, 2001