Local history articles and talks online

Ceremonial burning of models of bugs at the opening of St Christopher’s Flats in Somers Town in 1931

Ceremonial burning of models of bugs at the opening of St Christopher’s Flats in Somers Town in 1931 © Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre

At the Archives Centre we usually run an active programme of talks, events and exhibitions relating to Camden history. For the time being, this has been suspended due to the current epidemic.

However, during this difficult period we are offering some virtual substitutes for our programme in the form of articles and recordings which we hope will sustain your interest in Camden history.

We will add more material as soon as it is available, so please keep visiting these pages.

A word from the Archivist, Tudor Allen:

Live film screening and Q&A

Father Jellicoe with the Prince of Wales in a Camden street with children

The Prince of Wales and Father Basil Jellicoe in a street in Somers Town © Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre

SPIRIT! Between the tracks 

In the 95th anniversary year of St Pancras Housing, Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre and the Somers Town History Club presents a live online film screening and Q&A.

A live online film screening and live Q&A. Tuesday 12th May, 6-7.30pm.

SPIRIT! Whatever happened to?

Something rather wonderful happened in the early part of the 20th century in Somers Town.  Slums were cleared and people housed by the St Pancras Housing Improvement Society, an enterprising group including Britain’s first female surveyor Irene Barclay and charismatic priest Father Jellicoe from Magdalen College.  The fund-raising effort led to a stream of well-connected visitors to one of London’s worst areas, including the then Prince of Wales, as well as literary and theatrical names.

What was distinctive from other philanthropic endeavours was the emphasis beyond housing to society: the focus on the strong working-class community through social activities.  The insistence that ‘Housing was not enough’ led to clubs, street parties, outings and arguably the masterstroke at the heart of it all – a teetotal priest running a pub.  

SPIRIT! is an idiosyncratic look at what happened next (clue: pubs may play a large role.)

SPIRIT! Between the tracks, a film by Diana Foster (30 minutes) followed by a live online Q&A.

To book a place to see this wonderful film, go to Eventbrite here.

The event took place on-line.

Diana Foster runs the Somers Town History Club and lives in Somers Town. 

Sound clips and talks

Health in the Blitz

Kevin Brown, author of Fighting Fit: Health, Medicine  and  War in the Twentieth Century, talks about how the people of Camden stayed healthy during the London Blitz that started 80 years ago in September 1940. He gave a talk on a similar subject at Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre in 2009 marking the 70th anniversary of the start of the war

Health in the Blitz (©Kevin Brown) - running time 19 minutes.

Holborn Warships Week

Kevin Brown, author of Fittest of the Fit: Health and Morale in the Royal Navy 1939-1945, is a very familiar speaker at Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre.  The Centre’s collections include newspaper articles and photos from the Holborn Warships Week in 1942.. 

Holborn Warships Week 1942 (©Kevin Brown) – running time four minutes.  

The Hampstead Workhouse

Tudor Allen, Archivist at Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre, talks about the Hampstead Workhouse Account Book 1734-39, one of the items in the collections of Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre.

The Hampstead Workhouse Account Book 1734-39 (© Tudor Allen) - running time seven minutes.

Great Ormond Street – Its Early History

Alec Forshaw, author of “An Address in Bloomsbury” tells the early history of Great Ormond Street. 

Great Ormond Street - Just Half the Story (© Alec Forshaw) - running time 14 minutes.

Great Ormond Street – Radical Reform in the 19th Century


Alec Forshaw, author of “An Address in Bloomsbury”, tells the history of Great Ormond Street in the 19th century 

Great Ormond Street - Radical Reform in the 19th Century (© Alec Forshaw) - running time 16 minutes

Interview with Tudor Allen about Camden's literary connections

Interviewed by Nick Hennegan on Resonance Radio in 2015, Tudor talks about Camden’s literary connections.

Literary London.  Resonance Radio, 27 March 2015 - running time one hour.

Dickens and Camden

Archivist Tudor Allen talks about the many connections between the novelist Charles Dickens and the area today known as the London Borough of Camden. 

Dickens and Camden (©Tudor Allen) - running time 14 minutes.

Video clips and talks

VE Day Party in Maygrove Road, 1945

VE Day Party in Maygrove Road, 1945 (© Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre)

VE Day – A Film

A film on Victory in Europe day marking its75th anniversary made by Digital Drama (supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund).  The film was created as part of a reminiscence project which Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre partnered. (© Digital Drama) - running time six minutes.

Memories of Bedford Theatre, Camden Town

A film by Danny Nissim exploring the history of the Bedford Theatre in Camden High Street with memories of people who were there (©Danny Nissim) – running time 21 minutes.


Camden’s Hidden Railway Heritage

An illustrated talk on Camden’s hidden railway heritage by Peter Darley, founder and director of Camden Railway Heritage Trust (© Peter Darley) - running time 19 minutes.

Note: when you click Watch now, a menu should open and you need to click again to Open it with Window Media Viewer.

Memories of Kings Cross

Extracts from interviews with people about their memories of King’s Cross made by the King’s Cross Voices team  (© Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre)

The Camden Town Hall site and the Liquorice Factory

Charles Chilton and Jacqueline Stillman remember the Camden Town Hall site and the liquorice factory (© Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre) - running time three minutes.

The Boot Pub, Cromer Street

Thelma Dowsett, Packie Hughes and Jean Moakes remember the Boot Pub, Cromer Street  (© Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre) - running time two minutes.

A World War Two Landmine in Cromer Street

Jessica Mackenzie remembers a World War Two landmine in Cromer Street (© Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre) - running time two minutes.

First Day at Work at King's Cross Station

Reg Hopkins remembers his first day at work at King's Cross Station in the 1950s (© Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre) - running time one minute. 

Camden Tour Guide Podcasts

St Pancras Old Church Gardens

Camden Tour Guide Christine Wilkins-Molloy talks to Bonny Astor about the history of St Pancras Old Church Gardens  (© Christine Wilkins-Molloy, Bonny Astor, CCRadio) - running time 16 minutes.

St Pancras Hotel

Camden Tour Guide Julie Wright talks to Bonny Astor about the history of the St Pancras Hotel  (© Julie Wright, Bonny Astor, CCRadio) - running time 11 minutes.

Two Marys – Mary Ward and Mary Anne Clarke

Description: Camden Tour Guide Alan Fortune talks to Bonny Astor about novelist and social reformer Mary Ward and Mary Anne Clarke, mistress of Frederick Duke of York (© Alan Fortune, Bonny Astor, CCRadio) - running time 17 minutes.

Modernist Masterpiece - 2 Willow Road

Description: Camden Tour Guide Geoff Boyd talks to Bonny Astor about 2 Willow Road, the modernist masterpiece by Erno Goldfinger – (© Geoff Boyd, Bonny Astor, CCRadio) - running time 21 minutes.

Elizabeth Garrett-Anderson

Camden Tour Guide Sylvia McNamara talks to Bonny Astor about Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, the first Englishwoman to qualify as a doctor (© Sylvia McNamara, CCRadio, Bonny Astor) - running time 31 minutes.

Lincoln’s Inn

Camden Tour Guide David Lloyd talks to Bonny Astor about the history of Lincoln’s Inn (© David Lloyd, Bonny Astor, CCRadio) - running time 10 minutes. 

Thomas Coram

Camden Tour Guide Brian Turner talks to Bonny Astor about Captain Thomas Coram, founder of the Foundling Hospital (© Brian Turner, Bonny Astor, CCRadio) - running time 12 minutes.

Making a Dent –The St Pancras Station Clock

Jean Jacyna investigates the history of the St Pancras Station Clock with help from Josie Murray, Senior Heritage Advisor at HS1, Ian and Pam Thompson from Nottingham and the former curator of the British Horological Institute Museum, Viscount Alan Middleton. Produced by Freddy Chick.  (© Jean Jacyna, Freddy Chick, CCRadio) - running time 13 minutes.

The Story of London's First Mosque

Abdul Maalik Tailor investigates the history of London’s first documented mosque, situated in Albert Street, Camden. Produced by Violet MacDonald and Freddy Chick.  (© AbdulMaalik Tailor, Violet MacDonald, Freddy Chick, CCRadio) - running time 12 minutes.

The Fitzrovia Mural

Amber Raney-Kincade tells the story of the Fiztrovia Mural with help from Kristina O’Donnell, a descendant of characters in the mural, and Richard Unwin from Eazl, a creative agency that have been involved in efforts to restore it. Produced by Freddy Chick. (© Amber Raney-Kincade, Freddy Chick, CCRadio) - running seven minutes.

In Front of You, You Can Feel – A Tour for the Visually Impaired

Freddy Chick joins a Camden Tour Guides Association guided walk for the visually impaired with contributions from Peter Twist,  Trevor Albut and Elizabeth Dormandy. Produced by Freddy Chick.  (©Freddy Chick, CCRadio)  - running time 19 minutes.

Tropical Maladies in Bloomsbury

Rhona Levene and Stella Geddes tell the story of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine with contributions from Claire Frankland, Rebecca Tremain and Aisling Walsh of the LSHTM.  Produced by Freddy Chick.  (© Rhona Levene, Stella Geddes, Freddy Chick, CCRadio) - running time 10 minutes.

The Hardy Tree 

The story of the Hardy Tree in the churchyard of St Pancras old Church with contributions from Lester Hillman, Father James Elston, Rachel Floyd, Helen Lange, Simon Causer and Aidan Dun.  Produced by Lester Hillman and Freddy Chick.  (©Lester Hillman, Freddy Chick, CCRadio) - running time 10 minutes.

Mitten on a Railing – The Foundling Museum

Peter Hayes tells the story of the Foundling Museum with contributions from Caro Howell of the Foundling Museum and Carol Harris of Coram. Produced  by Freddy Chick.  (© Peter Hayes, Freddy Chick, CCRadio) - running time 14 minutes.

Brrring Brrring Out Your Dead – The Soane’s Family Mausoleum

Freddy Chick tells the story of the Soane’s family mausoleum in the churchyard of St Pancras Old Church with contributions from Frances Sands, the Soane Museum and Gavin Stamp. Produced by Freddy Chick.  (© Freddy Chick, CCRadio) - running time eight minutes.

Images from our collections

Thirty Images from our Collections

A Selection of Thirty Images from the collections of Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre (© Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre) – running time three minutes. 

The Centre holds tens of thousands of wonderful photographs, illustrations and documents illustrating the history of Camden. Copies can be purchased by contacting: localstudies@camden.gov.uk

 

Red Lion Square and its Vicinity: A History

An illustrated article on the history of Red Lion Square and its vicinity by Daniel Croughton of Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre (© Daniel Croughton and Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre)

 

 

 

 

Poetry - inspired by items in our Archives

Holborn Restaurant menu, 1917

The Waitress: 27th July 1917, by Pauline Seward

In 2010 Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre ran a competition for poems inspired by items in our collections. Pauline's poem won first prize. It was inspired by the Holborn Restaurant menu card of 1917 pictured above.

Dating from 1874, the restaurant stood at the junction of High Holborn and Kingsway.  As well as the Grand Salon complete with band and cabaret, there were the King’s Hall with space for 600 diners, the Queen’s Salon, decorated with portraits of female monarchs, the Empire Room, the Throne Room, the Grand Grill and the Snack Bar, for those of more modest means. It was used for a variety of functions including banquets, Masonic meetings, balls, concerts, wedding breakfasts, bazaars and public meetings. The building was sadly demolished in 1955.

The Waitress: 27th July 1917”, read by the poet Pauline Sewards (© Pauline Sewards) – running time three minutes.

Regents Park in 1900

Regent’s Park around 1900 (© Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre)

Regent’s Canal: 04.55 Friday 2nd October,  a poem by Anna Cookson.

In 2010 Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre ran a poetry competition for poems inspired by items in our collections. Anna’s poem won second prize. It was inspired by a newspaper report about a tragic incident that took place in the early hours of the 2nd of October 1874. A cargo of gunpowder on a boat travelling along the stretch of the Regent’s Canal in Regent’s Park ignited causing a massive explosion which killed three of the crew and wrecked the Macclesfield Bridge. This year – 2020 – is the 200th anniversary of the opening of the canal.

“Regent’s Canal: 04.55 Friday 2nd October.”  Writer and broadcaster Anna Cookson reads her poem  (© Anna Cookson) - running time three minutes.