You might remember that last week I left Judith from London Walks standing beside Hampstead Road Lock. We were about to plunge into the cornucopia of wonder and excitement that is Camden Market. Why don’t you come with us?
One of the things that I hadn’t been aware of on my previous visits to Camden Market was the existence of The Stables. Possibly because I am more drawn to the canal than to market stalls.
Before the advent of the motor car, all of London relied on horse drawn carriages for transport. A huge number of stables were required to house these horses. Many were associated with the canal trade, and The Stables Market is located in Pickford’s, the hauliers, former stables and the Grade II listed Horse Hospital. The latter served sick and injured horses which pulled the distribution vans and barges. The scale of the enterprise can be seen in this excerpt from Camden Railway Heritage Trust.
Today the vaulted arches have been transformed into a number of chic sales units and some of the former stalls are now a party venue. The power of the bronze horse sculptures dominate the market in a way that is hard to capture. Despite the crowds that regularly throng the area and the numerous fast food outlets, I would urge you to seek them out if you’re in the area.
I could have stayed taking photos in The Stables Market all day, but the tour was coming swiftly to an end. I just had time to snatch a last couple of shots.
When I reluctantly left Judith, I hoped to catch the Waterbus for the next stage of my journey, to Little Venice. At 1pm the food stalls were all heaving and as I shrugged my way through them, I realised that the crew of the Waterbus had also declared lunch hour. But the sun was still on my shoulder, and the lure of the towpath simply too strong.
The Feng Shang Floating Chinese Restaurant did look very appealing, but I hadn’t the time. I did find a very nice empty bench, though, in prime position to admire it. I rested my tired back and snacked on some fruit as I looked at my canal guide to check what lay ahead. Not far along the towpath I could see one of the aviaries of Regent’s Park Zoo.
I joined the spectators admiring the antics of the birds, and wondered if perhaps I might make time for a look into Regent’s Park. It’s many years since I’ve been there but, regretfully, I let it go. How was I to know that Debbie would take me there this week? For now, I was approaching Lord’s Cricket Ground and the prime real estate of St. John’s Wood and Maida Vale.
At this point I have to leave the canal temporarily while it burrows through Maida Hill Tunnel. The way ahead is not immediately obvious, but by dint of a couple of roadside maps and checking with passers by, I manage to rejoin it. I’m now just a short distance from my final destination.
Little Venice is a triangular stretch of water, also known as Browning’s Pool, after the Victorian poet Robert Browning, who lived near by. It marks the junction of Regent’s Canal with the Paddington arm of the Grand Union Canal. I am delighted to spot the Waterside Cafe nestled at the canal side and even happier to treat myself to an unexpected pastel de nata with my coffee. The Portuguese custard tart was the last thing I expected to find on an English canal.
Satisfied, I cross over the bridge and look wistfully at the stretch of canal lying ahead of me. My time has run out and I know that I must leave the Puppet Theatre and the floating art gallery for another visit. But today I have conquered 5 miles of London’s watery world, and enjoyed having Judith broaden my knowledge of Camden Town.
If you were with me for To Camden and beyond last week, you’ll know that I’ve been watching ‘Great Canal Journeys’, with Timothy West and Prunella Scales. The series ended last night, with the Lothian Canal in Scotland. I’m not so very far from the Scottish Borders and I’m now determined to see the Falkirk Wheel and the Kelpies for myself. If you missed this excellent series you can still find it on YouTube.
You’ll probably find me, walking somewhere, next week. Please do join me, if you can.
Our Easter weather’s been pretty good for getting out and about, so I’m hoping you’ll have lots of walks to share with me this week. Details of how to join in are on my Jo’s Monday walk page or simply click on the logo above. Time to settle in with a cuppa and enjoy my shares this week. Many thanks to all of you!
What could be a better accompaniment to this week’s walk? Perfect timing, Debbie!
The loveliest Robin photo I’ve seen in a while. Thanks, Drake! A bird friend?
Lots more street art from Geoff! Do you have a favourite?
Also featured on last night’s ‘Great Canal Journeys’ was the Antonine Wall. Many thanks, Anabel! I’d never heard of it before :
Tobias’ offering this week is full of the gravitas of Good Friday :
And lastly, it’s my very great pleasure to share the amazing graphics of an old friend. Please welcome Jake!
That’s it for this week! I hope you’ve had a great Easter break and I hope to catch up with you all soon.