Camden, London Borough Genealogy

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Guide to London Borough of Camden history, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.

Camden town canal.jpg

History[edit | edit source]

Camden Borough coat of arms
Camden Borough location in London
Camden Borough logo

As with the other London Boroughs, the British Government action of 1965 destroyed all traces of the original settlements from the point of view of Family History. The borough was created from the former area of the metropolitan boroughs of Camden, Hampstead, Holborn, and St Pancras, . Researchers should instead consider researching Camden and St Pancras in the original county of Middlesex. [1]


The earliest known settlement was on the high lands of Hampstead Heath and dates back to the Mesolithic age around 7000BC. For many centuries the area remained heavily forested, with fertile land drained by the Fleet, Tyburn and Westbourne rivers, and other streams.

From the Roman city of Londinium legions used a great highway leading to the west that is now High Holborn and Oxford Street. Watling Street, another Roman road leading to St Albans, forms the western boundary of the borough and is known today as Edgware Road, Kilburn High Road and other local names. Other Roman roads probably passed through Hampstead and Highgate.

The Saxons later built their city Ludenwic to the west of Londinium, on a site which excavations have recently confirmed as stretching from the Thames through Covent Garden to around the Kingsway and Holborn areas. Early charters from that period include boundaries that, over a thousand years later, still form part of the boundaries of the present borough.

In 959AD King Edgar granted to Westminster Abbey land that lay south of the 'wide army street' of High Holborn, including the old wooden church St Andrew on 'Holebourne'. The Anglo-Saxon name of burna, a stream, and hol, a hollow, provided the original name of Holborn, while the lower part was a tidal creek known in Anglo-Saxon as a fleot which later became the Fleet River.

The Domesday Survey of 1086 was the first systematic attempt to describe the communities; who owned them, their value and how many people worked the land. The manors of Tothele [Tottenham Court], Rugmere, St Pancras, Hampstead, and Holborn are recorded as small hamlets where the inhabitants ploughed the land and kept pigs in the forests.

The spread of London continued outside the city walls, along High Holborn and to the south towards the river Thames. John de Kirkby built a house and chapel in the 13th century, which later became the London palace of the Bishops of Ely. John of Gaunt, Elizabeth I, Richard III and Henry IV were among the many famous visitors and guests.


Around Holborn, London's legal quarter developed from the 14th century, lawyers often gathering together in 'Inns' for training and support, Gray's Inn and Lincoln's Inn are examples which still exist.

To the west, the leper hospital of St Giles was established in 1117 by Queen Matilda and remained as a hospital until the 16th century on a site that is bounded by today's St Giles High Street, Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue. The present St Giles in the Fields Church, built in 1734, is probably the third on the site and its parish was once one of the most overcrowded and insanitary in London. The first outbreak of the Great Plague of 1665 occurred nearby and the parish was one of the worst affected.


Blemundsbury, now Bloomsbury, was named after William de Blemund who acquired land there in 1201. The manor passed to Lord Southampton and later to the Duke of Bedford who began to develop a series of graceful squares and streets for the fashionable and wealthy. Bedford Square 1775-1783 remains one of the most attractive and complete 18th-century squares in London.

Authors and artists later settled here including Virginia Woolf and other members of the Bloomsbury Group. Famous buildings in the area include the British Museum, the University of London and some of its colleges.

The village around the manor house of Tottenham Court disappeared under 19th and 20th-century developments around Euston Road and Hampstead Road, leaving only the name of the road leading to it. To the west Fitzrovia grew piecemeal from the mid-18th century onwards although only gaining its current name in the 1940s. An area of craftsmen, writers and artists, it shared with Soho a very bohemian atmosphere.


King's Cross was previously known as Battle Bridge until 1830, when a short-lived monument to George IV was erected at the junction of Euston, Gray's Inn and Pentonville Roads. Euston Road, initially called the New Road from Paddington to Islington and London's first by-pass road, was opened in 1756. Lord Somers was a landowner who took advantage of its construction to develop his fields as Somers Town.

The area later became home for many refugees from the French Revolution and people fleeing from Spanish-ruled lands, particularly from South America. It is now home to the new British Library on Euston Road, opened in 1998.


A little to the north of King's Cross is one of the borough's oldest buildings, St Pancras Old Church in Pancras Gardens. Its exact origin is unknown but parts of it date from the 13th and 14th centuries, although older Roman tiles and bricks have been used in its construction. The church and the former borough were named after Pancratius, a young boy martyred in Rome for his religious beliefs in 303. Much of its churchyard now lies under the railway lines into St Pancras Station.


At the heart of the borough lies Camden Town. Named after Charles Pratt, the first Earl Camden, who started its development in 1791, Camden Town began life as little more than a handful of buildings beside a main road. Camden Town's expansion as a major centre came with the opening of the Regent's Canal to traffic in 1820

Improvements to transport provided employment for the local population, which, by the end of the 19th century, had grown significantly. Many streets were changed when new housing developments and schemes were introduced in the 1960s. The conversion of Camden Lock's wharves and warehouses on the Regent's Canal to craft markets in the 1970s ensured Camden Town's future as one of London's top tourist attractions.

Chalk Farm was originally a farmhouse and later a tavern set in fields. Soon after 1840 housing and shops were developed in Regent's Park Road but the building still survives as a restaurant. [2]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries (Civil)[edit | edit source]

Hampstead Cemetery
Fortune Green Rd
West Hampstead, London NW6 1DR
Phone: +44 20 7527 8300

Highgate Cemetery
Swain's Ln
Highgate, London N6 6PJ
Phone: +44 20 8340 1834

Islington and St Pancras Cemetery
78 High Rd
London N2 9AG
Phone: +44 20 7527 8300

Paddington Old Cemetery
Willesden Ln
Kilburn, London NW6 7SD
Phone: +44 20 8937 1200

Kensal Green Cemetery
Harrow Rd
London W10 4RA
Phone: +44 20 8969 0152

East Finchley Cemetery
122 E End Rd
London N2 0RZ
Phone: +44 20 8567 0913

Hoop Lane Cemetery
Hoop Ln
London NW11 7NL
Phone: +44 20 8455 2569

Liberal Jewish Cemetery
2 Tower Rd
London NW10 2HP

Willesden New Cemetery
Franklyn Rd
Willesden, London NW10 9TE

Willesden Cemetery
26 Beaconsfield Rd
London NW10 2HR
Phone: +44 20 8950 7767

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Parishes[edit | edit source]

St Michael's
Church address:
Camden Town
London NW1 9LQ

St Alban's
Church address:
18 Brooke St
London EC1N 7RD
Phone: +44 20 7430 2551

St Luke's
Church address:
Oseney Cres
Kentish Town, London NW5 2AT
Phone: +44 20 7916 0050

St Giles in the Fields
Church address:
60 St Giles High St
London WC2H 8LG
Phone: +44 20 7240 2532

St Andrew, Holborn
Church address:
5 St Andrew St
London EC4A 3AF
Phone: +44 20 7583 7394

St Peter's
Church address:
Belsize Square
London NW3 4HJ
Phone: +44 20 7586 6522

St Anne's, Soho
Church address:
55 Dean St, Soho
London W1D 6AF
Phone: +44 20 7437 8039

St Mary Magdalene
Church address:
Munster Square
London NW1 3PH
Phone: +44 7572 822237

Holy Trinity
Church address:
Finchley Rd
London NW3 5HT
Phone: +44 20 7435 0083

St Martin's
Church address:
43 Vicar's Rd
London NW5 4NN
Phone: +44 20 7485 3807

St Pancras New Churchyard
Church address:
Euston Rd
Bloomsbury, London NW1 2BA
Phone: +44 20 7388 1461

St Mark's
Church address:
Myddelton Square
Clerkenwell, London EC1R 1XX
Phone: +44 20 7837 1861

St Saviour's
Church address:
30 Warwick Ave
London W9 2PT
Phone: +44 20 7723 1968

Christ Church
Church address:
Down St
Mayfair, London W1J 7AN
Phone: +44 20 7629 5885

St Mary Woolnoth
Church address:
1 King William St
London EC3V 9AN
Phone: +44 20 7626 9701

St Barnabas
Church address:
23 Addison Rd
Kensington, London W14 8LH
Phone: +44 20 7471 7000

St Pancras Old Church
Church address:
Pancras Rd
Camden Town NW1 1UL
Reputed to have opened: 314 AD
Phone: +44 20 7424 0724

Non Conformists[edit | edit source]

  • American International
  • Antioch Orthodox
  • Baptist
  • Catholic Apostolic
  • Christ Church
  • Ethiopian Christian Fellowship
  • Evangelical
  • Greek Orthodox
  • Lutheran
  • Methodist
  • Pentecostal
  • Salvation Army

Additionally the following non-Christian groups have assemblies in Camden Borough:

  • Baha'i
  • Buddhist
  • Hindu
  • Jewish
  • Muslim
  • Sikh

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Birth, marriages and deaths records have been kept by the UK government since July 1837 to the present day. Prior to that, local parishes of the Episcopal Church, and other religious organizations, were the only repositories of this information.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

All the major London papers are available in Camden Borough. For local news, the following might be helpful:

Occupations[edit | edit source]

Although Camden is a small borough in terms of size, it is the third largest contributor to London’s economy and provides around 1% of Britain’s economy. Thus the Borough provides employment opportunities in many diverse fields.

Camden is famous for its street markets. These date from the 1970s or later, except for Inverness Street market, which for over a century was a small food market serving the local community, though by 2013 all foodstuff and produce stalls had gone, leaving only touristy stalls. Camden Lock market proper started in a former timber-yard in 1973, and is now surrounded by five more markets: Buck Street market, Stables market, Camden Lock village, and an indoor market in the Electric Ballroom. The markets are a major tourist attraction at weekends, selling goods of all types, including fashion, lifestyle, books, food, junk/antiques and more bizarre items; they and the surrounding shops are popular with young people, in particular those searching for "alternative" clothing. These all provide opportunities for employment in the local area. [3]

According to City of London statistics, Camden is the third largest economy in London and seventh largest in UK. Businesses are concentrated popularly in areas such as higher education, legal section, business service sector, hotel and tourism sector, retail, media and leisure sector.

As the legal system developed in the UK, members tended to be part of large groups known as "Inns" with offices for specific legal groups therin. Today, the Inns of Court in London are the professional associations for barristers in England and Wales. All barristers must belong to one such association Camden Town is famous for these groups, with Lincoln's Inn being one of the most famous. Thus there are major opportunities in the Borough for Barristers, Solicitors, Law Clerks, and legal secretaries. [4]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "London Borough of Camden" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 5 August, 2018.
  2. "Camden's History,, accessed 17 December 2020.
  3. Camden town economy economy,, accessed 12 August, 2018.
  4. Inns of Court,, accessed 12 August, 2018.