Camden may be famous for these modern music icons (and many more), but it’s rough and tumble nightlife history actually began much earlier, with the arrival of poor immigrant railway workers in the nineteenth century. The navvies, from all over Britain and Ireland, had such a whale of a time drinking, brawling in the street and smashing bottles over each other’s heads that in the end, to keep the rival nations apart, four pubs were built. There was The Dublin Castle for the Irish, The Edinburgh Castle for the Scottish, The Pembroke Castle for the Welsh and the Windsor Castle for the English. (All these pubs are still in business today).
For decades Camden was a centre for traditional Irish music, drawing crowds from all over London and beyond with old time waltzes, reels and jigs performed at venues like The Buffalo (now the Electric Ballroom). On the tour, you’ll hear all about the foundation of these early venues, including the story of local-hero Bill Fuller, the Irishman behind the Electric Ballroom who went on to found a trans-Atlantic entertainment empire, successfully did business in mob-controlled Las Vegas and even purchased a Nevada goldmine.
They also cover the swinging sixties with its free love and LSD-fuelled parties, including one particularly famous party featuring the then-unknown band Pink Floyd and a bathtub sized jelly. Later Camden was home to both Punk and Britpop movements, the latter virtually headquartered at a scuzzy, unassuming boozer off the main high street.
The tour also explores the emergence of Camden’s now world-famous street markets, you get time to explore and grab some food by the canal. In the Stables Market you stop to pay your respects at the Amy Winehouse memorial statue and talk about the future of Camden Town.
It’s a story like no other, brought to you by locals with a passion for Camden Town and a desire to share the area’s oddball charms, rough edges and ever-changing live music scene.