It’s particularly rare to muster support from everyone, but last night was one such occasion. The evening slipped away in a fog of tall tales and laughter and with last orders called a few of us ventured on to a late night bar in Camden.
It was there that the true extent of Camden’s ‘new look’ became frighteningly clear. The bar, the new Proud Gallery, is itself located in the stables which were formerly populated by market traders. I’ve grown up spending Sundays in Camden - ambling from one stall to the next, getting lost in the cornucopia of vintage clothing, period furniture and random bric-a-brac. It literally broke my heart to see that it has become just another bar.
Even worse is how the once rickety market stalls which line Camden’s labyrinth of cobbled passages have been transformed into standardised, faceless mini units. And the arches, which over decades became a mecca for wide-eyed tourists and vintage clothing enthusiasts alike, have been raised. In their place a four storey steel skeleton is slowly emerging. The idea being that Camden needs exactly the kind of multiple-filled mall that every other town centre from Land’s End to John O’Groats already has.
A basic grasp of common sense begs me to differ. Camden Council’s short-sighted decision to rip the soul out of this much loved London landmark will not only desecrate Camden’s international reputation as a melting pot for the weird and wonderful, but more importantly it is bound to have a damaging effect on both indigenous London footfall as well tourist traffic.
It’s Thursday and I still have the press day blues from the night before.