Prince of Wales Road – a cultural map

Artist Sian Pattenden on her homage to the area’s most interesting strip

‘The dandy highway that we’re not too scared to mention’: illustration by Sian Pattenden

Prince of Wales Road, forming a neat divide between NW1 and NW5, is the First Road of Kentish Town.

Prone as I am to wandering around the local area, not exactly sure what I’m doing or where I’m going half the time, I do know what I’m doing down Prince of Charming Road.

I’m following Adam. Adam Ant. For the swashbuckling super hero of 80s punkerpop was arrested here for affray in 2002 in the Prince of Wales pub (now converted into luxury flats). The locals apparently didn’t like his cowboy get-up and he, naturally quite upset, returned with a pistol to cause a bit of a ruckus.

The pub is now gone, and there may be artisan coffee and diver-caught, cloud-infused, hand-pulled briochettes for sale in the nearby coffee houses, but Prince of Wales Road always straddles the line between chaos and order, devilry and sainthood, dandy highwaymen and “the locals”.


Along the road there is the most incredible architecture to see, from the Zabludowicz Collection in the neo-classical old Methodist church to the serious red facade of the public swimming baths.

But as fine as the terraced houses may be, cheeky Malden Road cuts through the POW like a serrated knife through butter. The highwayman indeed.

Likewise, the Denton estate leans over the terraced stucco houses in fierce patriarchal style – an errant uncle smoking a massive roll up. The Fiddler’s Elbow taunts The Grafton, (surely it would try to fiddler’s-elbow-it off the map if it were nearer.)

Trendy child-men with beards and satchels sup ales in the Camden Brewery; but when there’s a scuffle the models from Select on Ferdinand Street run away. Talacre Sports centre provides an almost ghostly promise of “soft play”, plus a football pitch and £1.50 yoga – twelve people doing Tree while watching the flats being built for, rumour has it, the Chinese. Such exotica.

And all the while, Adam looks on, still, contemplating theses meditative poses – before making a quick exit back to his Primrose Hill eyrie, his cowboy chaps chafing against his North West legs.

London is London is London, despite the staggering shit of the escalating house prices, KT is still a mix of people and cultures. Just.

So I love Prince of Wales Road, for it is everything to everybody. It is the dandy highway that we’re not too scared to mention.

This is box title
Buy one of Sian’s signed, limited edition Prince Of Wales Road maps here

  • Show Comments

  • april

    LOVE this map! I live above the beardsmore gallery and it’s quite cool to see my flat immortalised 🙂 well not my flat exactly since the top of the building is cut off but close enough

  • St.John Charles Greville Stephen

    Another charming map from our so-very-recently-arriviste Journal. The lives of pop stars, like all celebrities are very often jejeune vehicles for a bit of banter and hearsay – however the incident referred to here concerning Adam speaks in fact to a moment that was the culmination of the devastating mental ill-health which he has suffered from over the years and which destroyed his career and shattered his family life. So, speaking as someone who suffers from mental health issues, I don’t find it so funny.

  • Tom C.

    ,,,and wonderful Willes Road with its delightful blooms doesn’t exist? Kinda hard to miss surely?

  • Roger Mason

    The western end of PoWR is probably beyond the limits of Kentish Town. Malden Road seems to be the boundary.