A screening of a documentary film produced by Digital Works as part of an oral history project
–supported by Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre - exploring the stories of London’s
session musicians and their work in music studios around the capital including within Camden,
at Camden Town, Chalk Farm and Primrose Hill, and drawing on over twenty interviews with
musicians who have recorded with famous artists, with not so famous ones, for TV, for film,
for advertisements. The film will be followed by Q and A session with three of the participants
- the legendary Clem Cattini, one of the most prolific drummers in UK recording history, who has
appeared on hundreds of recordings by artists as diverse as Cliff Richard and Lou Reed,
including 42 UK number ones; Skaila Kanga, one of the most respected harp players in the UK
with credits playing with Elton John, the Bee Gees and James Taylor and on many film scores;
and Paul Clarvis, a highly respected percussionist who has played with, among others,
Nina Simone, Mick Jagger, Stevie Wonder and Marc Ribot and on film scores for Wes Anderson.
Tuesday 19th September 2023 at 6pm
Camden Local Studies & Archives Centre
2nd Floor, Holborn Library, 32-38 Theobalds Road,
London, WC1X 8PA
The Mercenary River
London’s Water History and the Hampstead Waterworks
An illustrated historical talk
By Nick Higham, Author of “The Mercenary River”
Today we take water for granted. Turn a tap and the stuff gushes out. But for centuries London struggled to supply its citizens with reliable, clean drinking water. Former BBC correspondent and author, Nick Higham tells the story of London’s water from the Tudor era to the 20th century, including the Hampstead Waterworks. It’s a tale of remarkable technological, scientific and organisational breakthroughs, but also one of greed and complacency, high finance and low politics.
Tuesday 3rd October 2023 at 6pm
Camden Local Studies & Archives Centre,
2nd Floor, Holborn Library,
32-38 Theobalds Road, London WC1X 8PA
Sound clips and talks
Black Teacher – The Story of Beryl Gilroy
Darla Jane Gilroy, tells the story of her mother, Beryl Gilroy, pioneering
teacher, writer, psychotherapist and Camden’s first black headteacher, drawing on her unique memoir, “Black Teacher”. Darla Jane Gilroy is Associate Dean of Knowledge Exchange and Reader in Fashion Enterprise at Central Saint Martins UAL. This is a recording of a talk given for Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre on 19 April 2022.
Rabindranath Tagore – A Poet of the World in Camden
The Tagore Centre UK celebrate the Bengali literary giant Rabindranath Tagore with readings from his works, recitals of his songs, and talks about his life, including his time living in the Vale of Health, Camden. Poet, novelist,composer, singer, philosopher and educationalist, he became in 1913 the first non-European writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Kevin Brown, author of Passage to the World: the Emigrant Experience 1807-1940, talks about St Pancras teenager Joseph Sam’s 1874 voyage to Melbourne on the Northumberland and his diary of his travels, revealing a microcosm of snobbery and class distinction as perceived by this clerk.
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
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..
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.
From Prejudice to Pride – An Exploration of Camden’s LGBT Heritage
An illustrated talk by Camden tour guide Richard Cohen, exploring Camden’s rich LGBT heritage including Victorian cross-dressers, the Bloomsbury Group, London’s only LGBT bookshop, Kenneth Williams and the first same-sex weddings at Camden Town Hall
On the first of July 2022 a mural was unveiled commemorating the life of Dr Beryl Gilroy, Camden’s first black headteacher and the second to be appointed in London. This milestone was achieved by Gilroy when she became headteacher of Beckford School in Dornfell Street in 1969. The new mural is located outside the school, today known as West Hampstead Primary School. The mural by artist Fipsi Seilern was commissioned in 2018 by City Hall and Tate Collective as part of the Mayor of London’s #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign. A short film of the unveiling was made by Jack Arts - Instagram: @jack__arts Twitter: @Jack__Arts LinkedIn: Jack Arts - which includes a commentary by Gilroy’s daughter, Darla Jane Gilroy, Associate Dean of Knowledge Exchange and Reader in Fashion Enterprise at Central Saint Martins UAL. The film can be viewed here.
The Tagore Centre UK celebrate the Bengali literary giant Rabindranath Tagore with readings from his works, recitals of his songs, and talks about his life, including his time living in the Vale of Health, Camden. Poet, novelist, composer, singer, philosopher and educationalist, he became in 1913 the first non-European writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Drawing on the memoirs and archives of two remarkable women, this illustrated talk with readings explores London’s Italian quarter, based in Holborn and Clerkenwell, in the 1920s and 1930s. It examines the impact of the warring ideologies of fascists and leftwing factions on individual lives during this turbulent period.The speakers and performers are Melanie Hughes, actress and author of “War Changes Everything” and Nadia Ostachini, actress and artistic director and producer of Tricolore Theatre Company. This is a recording of an event given for Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre on 21st September 2021
Darla Jane Gilroy, tells the story of her mother, Beryl Gilroy, pioneering teacher, writer, psychotherapist and Camden’s first black headteacher, drawing on her unique memoir, “Black Teacher”. Darla Jane Gilroy is Associate Dean of Knowledge Exchange and Reader in Fashion Enterprise at Central Saint Martins UAL. This is a recording of a talk given for Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre on 19th April 2022.
Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre holds tens of thousands of wonderful photographs, illustrations and documents illustrating the history of Camden. Copies can be purchased by contacting: [email protected]
The Caribbean Front Room – Stories from Windrush and Beyond
Windrush Community Installation Monday 5th June to Friday 28th July Camden Black History Community Hub, 18 Malden Road NW5 3HN
Step back in time in the Caribbean Front Room installation. A key part of the Caribbean Windrush experience, the installation explores the front room and the crucial role it played in bringing the community together.
We are here:
Mondays: Appointments only
Tuesdays: Drop-In 10.30am - 1pm and 2pm -5pm
Wednesdays and Thursdays: Hidden Voices project; Oral History and Archives. 10.30am to 4pm
Saturdays: 1pm to 6pm
Camden Black British History aims to uncover our history and heritage through working with archives and communities.
Take the Tube
A History of the Underground Railway in Camden
King’s Cross Station, interior, 1863
A Historical Exhibition
1 June 2023 – 30 September 2023
Mon 10-6, Tue 10-6, Thu 10-7, Alternate Sat 11-5
Camden Local Studies & Archives Centre
2nd Floor, Holborn Library, 32-38 Theobalds Road, London, WC1X 8PA
Stories of St James’ Burial Ground
An Historical Exhibition by Museum of London Archaeology
Exploring the history of St James’ burial ground, archaeological
excavations at the site and the lives of local people buried there.
9th May – 30th August 2023
Monday 10-6, Tuesday 10-6, Thursday 10-7, Alternate Saturdays 11-5
At Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre
2nd Floor, Holborn Library
32-38 Theobalds Road, London WC1X 8PA
Funded by MDjv
We Were Here
Olaudah Equiano and Dido Elizabeth Belle (public domain)
In 2021, for Camden’s Black History Season, Camden’s Arts Development team commissioned Community Engagement Co-ordinator, Emily Momoh, to curate an exhibition celebrating Camden’s Black British history. The exhibition, originally displayed at Swiss Cottage Gallery, tells the stories of eight significant individuals of African and Caribbean heritage who lived, worked or studied in Camden contributing to the history of Camden and of Britain. It highlights the struggles, subjugation and discrimination faced by many people across the African diaspora over centuries and represents triumph over adversity through not only survival, but also determination and strength. The achievements of these individuals led to significant social change in local, national and international contexts.
In 2018, to mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act of 1918 - which gave (some) women in the UK the right to vote in Parliamentary elections - Camden hosted “A Stone’s Throw from Westminster – Suffragettes and other Feminists in Camden”, an historical exhibition, curated by Susan Croft and Irene Cockroft of SuffrageArts. We are pleased with their permission to reproduce part of the exhibition here – panels created by Susan Croft and designed by Lydia Blagden.
Where images used do not belong to CLSAC and are still in copyright, every effort has been made to trace copyright holders to obtain permission to reproduce them here.
If you would like to hear about future developments on this topic, please email [email protected]
Here and There: Stories of British Bangladeshis in Camden
This exhibition was commissioned by the Bengali Workers’ Association (BWA), curated by Faridha Karim with funding support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It was first exhibited in 2011 at the Surma Centre, Robert Street, the home of the BWA and later at Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre where it has been subsequently deposited. We are pleased, with the BWA’s agreement, to now present the exhibition on this web page.
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.
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. 2020 was the 200th anniversary of the opening of the canal.