Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Camden Town: London

August 26, 2010 · 5 Comments

Our adventure through London commenced with a magical trek from Arran House to Euston St. where we crossed the scariest intersection ever, and got onto the Underground at the Warren Street Station. We passed several colleges on the short walk there. Upon entering the Tube, we were nearly stampeded by what we assumed was a mass of English people fleeing Godzilla, but apparently it was just the normal speed people walk on the left side of the playbill decorated escalator (only the right side is for standing). On the approximately 10 minute ride, we noticed a lot of traditional religious dress, including Jewish men wearing yarmulkes and Muslim women wearing head scarves. This manner of dress was replaced in a dramatic way upon our exit from the station onto main street of Camden Town, part of the Borough of Camden in northwest London, by another form of culturally-influenced dress.  The downtown area was filled with many aspects of thriving goth and punk sub-cultures. Tattoo parlors advertised themselves with what looked like controversial picket signs, reflecting a style rooted in subversive movements. Punk and alternative clothing outlets (some with plastic mannequin legs covered in ripped tights in place of awnings), independent record sales on corners, and many, many piercings filled every inch of the street (We received 4 piercing pamphlets within 5 minutes of arriving). Dreadlocks and mohawks ruled the day. This was very much in keeping with the spirit of Camden Town, though not in regards to its original namesake, the 1st Earl Camden, but rather by the integral part it played (and continues to play) in the development of the goth, punk, and underground music sub-cultures.
In addition to still being a gathering place for rebellious youth, Camden Town also features a huge variety of ethnic cuisine in fast food or market formats.  The Camden Town Market appears to be an eccentric, large, and broad conglomeration of peoples and things from throughout the world.  Throughout the Market, there were large bronze statues of lions in a Sphinx-like pose, an image that was repeated in all of the Market’s advertising.  These figures’ effect on the population was amusing to behold as tough teens went over to pose with the statues, which represent the area that reflects their anti-conformist natures.  Unfortunately, when we were preparing to take a picture of one of the monuments, we were caught in heavy rain which might have damaged the camera, and turned our return trip to the Arran House into a much less pleasant and enjoyable endeavor, as we had arranged our Tube departure to allow us to walk most of the way home, through Bloomsbury via Camden Town to Tottenham Court Road, where we changed direction and took Bloomsbury Street until it became our own Gower Street. On a brighter note, we did get to see some of those awesome Harry Potter-esque double decker buses.

Categories: 2010 Elizabeth · 2010 Jesse · 2010 MatthewM
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5 responses so far ↓

  •   Karl // Aug 26th 2010 at 16:52

    Good job, but this post is begging for some photos.

  •   Elizabeth Barr // Aug 28th 2010 at 10:03

    When we had found our landmark, it was raining so badly we were scared of damaging the electronics . . .

  •   matthewm // Aug 28th 2010 at 11:33

    I’d be more than happy to go back to Camden Town when I have some free time to get some pictures, if Liz and/or Jesse want to join me.

  •   battilaj // Aug 28th 2010 at 13:14

    I’m definitely going back to people watch. I think my camera might be broken though

  •   Elizabeth Barr // Aug 30th 2010 at 04:10

    Yeah, group, let’s find a time to go back!

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