Camden Passage is a pedestrian passage off Upper Street in the London Borough of Islington. The passage is known for its many antique shops, and hosts an antique market on Wednesdays and Saturday mornings. It was built, as an alley, along the backs of houses on Upper Street, then Islington High Street, in 1767.
The antiques market was founded in the 1960s, in conjunction with the Metropolitan Borough of Islington by John Payton. The venture was initially successful, attracting over 350 traders, but recently the centre of Islington has undergone regeneration, leading to higher rents being asked at the renewal of leases. Following some years of lying derelict, a former tram shed was reopened on 14 November 1979 as The Mall Antiques Arcade, and at its height housed over 35 dealers on its ground and lower ground floors. The building also housed other businesses, such as a restaurant in its upper floors, but the mall closed in 2008. In 2013 it became a Jack Wills shop, and as of 2014 is currently a Superdry store. The closure of the arcade reflects the reduction in the number of antique traders in the nearby Camden Passage, though a weekend antiques market is still held there. The building is a Grade II listed building. Its severe windowless brick aspect is dictated by its original use, English Heritage describe its architecture as influenced by, and a tribute to, Newgate Prison (by George Dance the Younger), which had been demolished in 1902, three years before this building's construction by the LCC.
Camden Passage also has the Camden Head public house, which holds comedy nights for local comedians.
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