Edward Marston – a query about the terms Camden and Camden Town

Q. I have recently discovered your Railway Detective books and am thoroughly enjoying reading them. They are obviously well researched but I have a question regarding the residence of Caleb and Madeleine Andrews. I was born and brought up in this area which we always referred to as Camden Town. The term Camden appeared to have come into common usage after the demise of St Pancras etc. and the popularity of Camden Lock market. Is it that the term Camden Town only came with the arrival of the Northern Line? We also have Kentish Town and, the less well known, Agar Town. All named after the origination owners of the land. I’d be grateful for your thoughts.  Tom Grady, Colchester

A. This is an interesting question. In medieval times, Camden Town was the Manor or Cantelowes, held by the canons of St Paul’s. The Manor disappeared in the early 18th century when the area was still predominantly rural. The extension of the Regent’s Canal to Camden Town in 1820, bringing coal wharves and industry in its wake, began the development of the area that really took off when the railways arrived. By the 1850’s, it was an urban suburb. In conversational terms, Camden Town and Camden would have been interchangeable and that’s how I’ve treated them. Purists would always have used the full name – Camden Town.

Best wishes, Edward Marston

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6 thoughts on “Edward Marston – a query about the terms Camden and Camden Town”

  1. As a retired captain from the New York City Transit Police I really enjoy reading the Railway Detective books in chronological order. I find the characters and plots more interesting than Sherlock Hohmes. A few questions: 1. Are you planning on comming to new York City in the near future? Do you plan on writing another Railway Detective book after #11 and how could I get an autographed copy? I would love to see a story where the railway detective must come to New York City in persuit of wanted felon and solves a crime on the railways in New York. Thank’s for your books!

  2. Thank you for the latest instalment in the Home front Detectives series, I am thoroughly enjoying it as I have all of the others and the Railway Detective series. Deeds of Darkness did cause a smile (albeit that it is a murder story) when the first victim turned out to originate from Pickering and then we discover that her father is an accountant in the town – as an accountant living and working in Pickering 100 years after the story is set I enjoyed the link. From a historic point of view, spot on, I believe that the first cinema in Pickering was opened in 1937. I just wondered if our town was selected randomly or whether it was somewhere you had visited as part or the research into the story? If so, where do you place Philip Chritelow’s house?

    1. Hi David,

      Thanks for getting in touch. We passed your question on to the author, who had the below to say:

      What an odd coincidence!
      Pickering was not chosen at random. We stayed there a few years ago at the Old Manse. I imagined that Christelow’s house was just around the corner so he would be within easy walking distance of the railway station. We had some excellent meals at the big pub in the main street and thoroughly enjoyed our stay.
      When our landlady heard that Judith and I were both writers, she said that she’d had a writer staying there years earlier. “His name was Stieg Larsson – have you ever heard of him?”
      Pickering was an ideal base from which to explore the area.

  3. I am a great fan of the railway detective but felt that Signal For Vengeance reflected a new maturity and depth in the author’s writing And I am glad that Tallis now has a more ‘human face’

  4. I love reading your books. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Railway Detective series, with its varied parts of the country depicted in graphic detail. I loved the Home Front detective series, too and the Bow Street Rivals. I really loved the Captain Rawson series. The story lines were very well laid out. I was always puzzled by something though. Daniel has a wonderful relationship with the Duke of Marlborough, who I believe was a true talisman to the British/Allied army during the conflicts. I would have thought that being instrumental in his father’s death would/could have caused Daniel to hate the Duke. Could you explain how you saw the relationship?
    Also will there be another book in the series? I would love to know what happened to Daniel and Sergeant Welbeck in their respective paths.
    Many thanks for all the enjoyment. I’m about to embark on the Redmayne series…

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