Camden Passage Market

Posted on February 13, 2018 by Andrew Kershman

Opposite Islington Green at the junction of Upper Street and Essex Road, N1
Twitter: @CamdenPassageN1
Tube: Angel
Open: Wednesday and Saturday and Sunday 7am-3pm (antique market); Thursday & Friday 8.30am-6pm (book market)

Camden Passage is not anywhere near Camden, but lies in a quaint pedestrian passage that runs behind Islington High Street.  The modest shop fronts, partly occupied by antique dealers, and the flagstone paving give an old world atmosphere and the antique market on Wednesdays and Saturdays and the book market on Thursday add to this sense of antiquity.  The architecture is a genuine mix of Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian, but the market and antique dealers are far more recent, arriving in the 1960s  – when Islington began the process of gentrification that has transformed it into one of London’s most desirable neighbourhoods.

The antiques market on Wednesdays and Saturdays is a lot of fun with experienced antique dealers selling genuine antiques and objets d’art, along side more second-hand vintage stalls.  The mix is an appealing one with lots of junk to sift through for a gem for just a few quid as well as some fine antiques sold for several hundred.  

It is in the middle section of the market, just before the Camden Head pub, that some of the best stalls tend to congregate with enough second-hand clothes, junk and bric-à-brac to keep bargain hunters occupied for a while. Those with more money to spend and an interest in fine antiques should concentrate on the far end of the market – Pierrepont Arcade – a covered area with al fresco stalls and an indoor maze of units selling little bits and pieces like stamps and military medals.  It’s around here you can find some great things for the home such as crystal champagne glasses for not much more than the clunking supermarket alternative.

The book market on Thursdays and Fridays has a completely different feel.  While the antique market sells mostly upmarket items to tourists and well-to-do antique hunters, the book market is far more egalitarian.  Hardbacks sell for £4 and paperbacks go for a £1 or less.  Don’t expect decorative antiquarian tomes, but rather popular paperbacks as well as reference books on travel, art, cooking and history.

Eat and Drink
The Camden Head is a stylish pub which is a great place for a pint.  There are lots of cafés on Camden Passage, but one of the best place to go Sushi Show at number 28 offering freshly prepared sushi at a reasonable price.

This feature is taken from our forthcoming book:
London's Markets
by Andrew Kershman

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