Water supply

Springs have been recorded at two points along the escarpment overlooking the Fleet – in Jeffreys Street and in Rochester Mews – which is also the level of Cantlowes manor house. There were three inns at the junction of Kentish Town Road and Kings Road – the Castle, Nag’s Head and Black Horse – suggesting also access to spring or well water for making beer.

Camden Town was originally supplied with piped water by the Hampstead Water Company, which had leased its water since 1693. The Company records are in the London Metropolitan Archives.  Water for housing north of the King’s Road was from the New River Company.  A reservoir was built, in the 1840s, within the Camden Town estate. Later, the Hampstead Company’s unfiltered water was considered poorer and eventually kept as a separate supply, for animals at the new cattle market at Caledonian Road and the stables and engines of Kings Cross.



The first St Pancras public fountain was at Camden Broadway, beside Camden Town Railway Station (the site was subsequently  converted as a public convenience)

Fpuntain at Camden Broadway
Fountain at Camden Broadway

A small non-functioning fountain remains on the wall pillar of the railway bridge. Similarly, there is a non-functioning fountain at College Gardens.   Fountains are also indicated in the rear gardens of the large houses at the crest of Camden Road.

No horse troughs remain within the estate, although there is one at Goldington Gardens, near to Royal College Street, and also in Albany Street.



The River Fleet valley was the natural drainage, but made it unsuitable for drinking and unpleasant for ‘odour’ (thought to carry disease).  In the 1790s the road between the Mother Red Caps and the Castle Inn, which crossed the Fleet at a ford, was built up, and the Fleet placed in a duct beneath.

With the continued building of houses, new schemes were needed – a sewer in Camden Road, 1836 and in High Street Camden Town (U840/T196)

Building Camden Road sewer, 1830s (British Library, Crace Collection)
Building Camden Road sewer, 1830s
(British Library, Crace Collection)


‘… an in-depth analysis of a dispute that broke out in 1900 over the proposal to construct a women’s public lavatory in Camden Town…[1]

[1] Barbara Penner. A world of unmentionable suffering: women’s public conveniences in Victorian London.  Journal of Design History 2001;14(1):35-51.