An illustration of how the disused Dead Dog Basin could look
Published: 14 July, 2014
By DAN CARRIER
A £20million revamp of the famous Camden Lock Market has been revealed this week.
The scheme, released by owners the Urban Market Company (UMC), would see buildings including the legendary Dingwalls concert venue demolished.
The area would be replaced by new work- shops and studios for small craft businesses.
The UMC say they want to improve the range of employment opportunities, make the Lock relevant once more to people living in Camden instead of primarily aimed at day-trippers and tourists, and to improve access.
An outline plan, seen exclusively by the New Journal, shows scores of workshops for stall-holders, areas that can double up for live music, film screenings and performance, and a new restaurant in the historic Dead Dog Basin canal harbour – currently lying abandoned beneath a former Victorian factory.
Once a spot for barges to hove-to while delivering to the Gilbeys Gin factory, it has long been empty and neglected.
Architects want to reopen the basin and allow barge owners to moor there.
It would be used as a specialist site for painting canal boats.
Meanwhile, a new glass-covered extension would extend over the water and offer a café area, allowing diners watch canal boat owners at work while they eat.
UMC director Katrina Larkin told the New Journal the plans would give Camden Lock back to people living in the neighbourhood.
Ms Larkin, who was one of the founding mem- bers of the successful Big Chill boutique festivals in the 2000s, said she hoped to create a “boutique urban festival” feel at the Lock, which would allow small-scale artisans, crafts and arts workers to have both studio space to work and a stall to sell their goods on.
Camden Lock Market director Will Fulford with colleague Katrina Larkin
She said: “Camden Lock was originally a haven where crafts-people could design, make and sell their own creations and it was a very eclectic space. Camden Town was a driving force in British fashion in the 1980s. Nowadays, tourists still love it and know it, but we Londoners, and people from our own neighbour-hood, perhaps do not visit. We want Camden Lock to become once again a hub for creativity. We want to re-engage with Londoners.”
She said that its layout, designed and built in a piecemeal fashion, would be improved by the scheme.
And the Lock would become a place to relax and be entertained, she said.
Ms Larkin added: “It will have the vibe of a boutique urban festival. The future of retail involves theatre – celebrating a vibrant lifestyle, making it enjoyable, easy and interesting. Ideas could range from space for a microbrewery, to offering food stalls more appropriate spaces to pre- pare their produce. It will be flexible, it will mean we can use what is the Market Hall during the day for fashion shows or film screenings, or performances at night.”
No designs have been finalised yet as UMC say they will seek the views of neighbours and stall-holders before applying for Town Hall permission. Work could begin next year, with the market still trading while work is taking place.