Revisiting Camden, & finding new places.
I say I have been Revisiting Camden, as it’s a place I used to frequent a lot. As well in the early ’90s, I studied at North London University in Kentish Town as a mature student. I used to go to a lot of gigs there. Going back there and getting the idea to lead a walk in the area felt exciting. I was also going there to writers meet up group. (sadly not there any longer.)
After Revisiting Camden, I started revisiting the Chelsea library again!.
I love Chelsea I used to work there in Old Church Street. The Kings Road, however, is still pretentious. Researching though is an enjoyable process, researching and reading up on the history of Camden. A haven for Artists, Writers, Musicians, Historians. Fascinating & somewhat mysterious historical characters, such as Walter Sickert, one of the founder members of the Camden Artist group. I’m re-reading Patricia Cornwell’s Case Closed, where she sets out to prove that Walter Sickert was, in fact, JACK THE RIPPER. The case is in fact not closed as further evidence has been discovered.
It has been said that Sickert’s landlady at 6 Mornington crescent believed The Ripper had lived in one of her rooms. this certainly had an effect on Sickert’s imagination who painted Jack the Rippers room and is featured today in Manchester Art Gallery.
Camden got let off lightly during the blitz.
It seems only Camden Tube Station got slightly hit. The rest is intact. Part of its charm is the beautiful listed buildings, edging onto Regents Park. Camden Theatre at Mornington Crescent built-in 1900 is still standing, now named Koko, it was rescued by the BBC in the 1940s, virtually desolate in the early 1970s then resurrected as The Music Machine named after an LA Psychedelic rock band, making way for the new wave punk generation. Then it became Camden Palace, now Koko.
There is no end to writers who have lived and worked in Camden, from WB Yeats to Dylan Thomas, Sylvia Plath, Beryl Bainbridge, the original fantasy writer George McDonald, and many more. I kept coming across plaques and had to rein the guided tour in somehow. What was starting off as a rock n roll walk was going to turn into a literary walk? Although I can’t do it all in one walk, there is so much scope for future walks.
It never fails to surprise me how popular Camden Market is. People are happy to be crammed in and queue up for the ever-increasing food stalls in the market.
I prefer to get there early to actually be able to look at the stores and look at the new designs and products. I had gone off Camden some years ago but must say it has so much life and energy there, it feels good to be back in North London.
From Literary Camden to ELTHAM WRITERS
I have been busily involved with The Eltham Readers group, my interview with Bernardine Evaristo author of Mr. Loverman can be found in the SEnine Magazine. (see page 29 on the link below)
Last Saturday of November I will be joining the’ Bedlam Walk. A historical tour set in the grounds of the Bethlem Royal Hospital.