Sadly, one of the most fascinating little quirky areas of London is under threat. Camden Stables, part of the Camden Market area, is an ex horse stables complex, where ancient victorian buildings have been taken over by local independent traders. Through the winding alleys and Dickensian pathways, novelty and original businesses have organically created this amazing catacomb of art, clothing, and furniture. It's fantastic, creative, and has been an alternative centrepiece for a long while. Now, as with so many successful areas in London, big biz wants to come in and ruin everything. And so the battle begins to save the Stables. Can we save this beautiful market marvel? It's so beautiful there.
It's the same syndrome as Carnaby Street, or Kensington Market. History is repeating itself yet again, as an area, built up by small exciting enterprise, is wrecked by the greed of the high street stores and developers. They want to come in, smash things up, and build the same old malls and offices. When they wipe out the Stables and marvellous marketeers, what will we have left? Just the usual merchandise that you see everywhere.
And what will happen to the architecture, when the hyper retailers move in? The present small timers have added their wares around the structures in a very sympathetic marriage. Its almost like preservation, and has added to the mystery of it all. Slowly, over many years, the trail of traders have expanded the market so far that it now threatens to take over the world like a creeping vine, but so far, the identity of this extremely valuable area of old London has been kept strong, only furthering its attraction. And you still feel that you are in old London town, as the buildings, still unscrubbed and mouldy, retain the great authenticity of ancient times. We need careful preservation here immediately.
Camden Stables are a mecca for tourists the world over, who come here for the alternative punk pleasures of London. Weekends see it teeming with visitors. It is so sad to think that, in the last few years, there has been an underlying standoff between traders and the usual evil suspects who want to capitalise on the revenues therein. The stall and shop holders have been bullied and rents have exploded. This has resulted already in the shift from novelty goods to tat and more tat. The greatness of the stables have been eroded, and the rot has set in. It's only a matter of time before the arts & crafts are forced out.
And then, when the Stables are bought and sold, and we find ourselves with a shiny typical shopping mall, maybe people with wonder what the point of destroying the soul of this place was. Will we save Camden Stables for the future, and keep big business at bay? I hope so. This is London's last stand. Most other areas have been ruined by idiotic redevelopment.
Visit - August 2007: Its been a long time, but here I was again, in dreamy Camden. There is a new build right on the start of the stables route. Called the Gilgamesh bar, its a massive statement that blots the Stables landscape; Posh food and wine in a well crafted setting. Not congruous at all to this area, and possibly the first of many gargantuan monoliths that we shall suffer in the future, as the Stables are invaded in the name of profiteering pest. Inside the market itself, I found that the general quality of goods had definately been downgraded, and there is a lot of junk spoiling this once novel enclave. Oh no. It's just what happened at Kensington Market in it's dying days. I pity the original traders that still survive here, boxed in by tat merchants and doppler oriental food sales. And then there's the gloom of knowing that soon, this could all be gone, if the council and developers and big retailers have their way. This is dreadful. This threat is absolutely criminal. Can we save the Stables?
Charles (from London Town)