Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Camden Market

This morning I had some free time before we had to handle student arrivals, so I stopped at Camden on my way into central London. 10:30am on a Tuesday was much more relaxed than Sunday afternoon, which made for better exploring.

In the late 1700s Camden was created as a residential area and until the mid-20th century was not a very desirable place to live. The Regents Canal was built through the area in 1816 and railways in the mid-19th century, which caused a lot of goods to be moved through the area. The markets as we know them today began in 1973 and have grown and continued ever since, now attracting around 100,000 people each weekend.

When you exit the Tube at Camden High St, turn right to head north. Although there is a lot of merchandise to view at street level, make sure to look up and admire the upper facades of the storefronts.

After you cross a bridge, you will come to the main sections of the market on your left side.

There are a few primary markets, including Camden Lock Market and the Horse Stables Market. I primarily explored the Horse Stables/Tunnels Market today. When the canal and railways were built, Camden Lock was a primary stop and this area used to be full of warehouses. They required a lot of horses to move the goods about and at one point there were 420 horses stabled here. Use of the horses continued well after WWII.

This one is popular for stickers
Although the rest of Camden is an interesting mix of well-known and independent stores, as well as souvenir shops with your typically cheap mass-produced items, the Horse Stables Market does not allow chain stores.
It also has a wide variety of food items available and I was in need of some breakfast.

I decided on the Tongan vanilla bean glazed doughnut and an iced mocha from Crosstown Doughtnuts.
It filled me up easily, so I wasn't able to try any of the other stalls, but there is a long list of things I need to attempt before I leave.
Before leaving Austin, I stopped in at Modcloth during the Second Street Social and saw that they had prominently featured this watermelon dress. Lo and behold, it is on the sign outside Collectif, so I knew I had to go inside.

 I'm pretty much in love with everything in this store. I didn't have time to try anything on, but I was oohing and aahing over the novelty prints and fun handbags. I'll be heading back for sure!
Just another view of the market. This was full of people on Sunday.
#StoryOfMyLife  😂

 On my way back to the Tube station, I took some more photos of street art, including this one above by artist Mau Mau in 2013 in support of street buskers who the city was trying to require licenses in order to perform.
Go hang with this Hawley next time you're in the area
The World's End Tavern is outside the station on the Kentish Town Rd exit side. Not to be confused with the fictional pub from the Simon Pegg/Edgar Wright/Nick Frost film, this place was first referenced as a tavern in 1690 and throughout its history has been a favorite of famous Londoners, including Charles Dickens - who lived in homes on College Place and Bayham Street. The current building is from 1875 and in the late 1980s, a 500 person capacity club called The Underground was created beneath the pub.

 After my little walk, I headed to Paddington Station to meet up with my colleagues and we picked up ~30 students and their professors from Heathrow airport. The rest of the afternoon was filled with transporting them to their housing, getting them checked-in, doing the practical tour and orientation meetings, followed by a welcome dinner. We ate at the Ship Tavern, established in 1549 and known for its huge variety of gin.

 It has an interesting history and during the reign of Henry VIII, Catholics would apparently meet here in secret to attend mass conducted by outlawed priests who would conduct mass from behind the bar. Look-outs were posted in the neighborhood to give a signal to warn the priests to escape through several "hidey-holes" and some still exist in the bar today (although we were not shown any).

By dinnertime our group was almost 40 and the staff did a wonderful job accommodating us and getting the food out promptly.

I had a goats cheese and onion tart with strawberries, rocket, and a balsamic drizzle.
For dessert I had sticky toffee pudding with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Who said British food was boring?! By the end, both the students and myself were struggling to keep our eyes open. After walking them to their housing, I headed home and after writing this, I'm now an hour past my intended bedtime. Oops! Off to bed I go...

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