What’s the story with Kentish Town Canopy?


It’s not been on Kentish Town Road for as long as you might think


Kentish Town Canopy

We’ve all walked past it a thousand times. And in fact, half of London’s music lovers have at some point too, on their way to legendary music venue The Forum (those days are nearly back, people!)

So what’s the history? The answer is: not as much as you’d hope for. Yes, it’s an ornate Victorian structure, with useful glass roof (and perfect shelter if you’re caught without a brolly) which, well over a decade back, enjoyed a £180,000 makeover.

But while the structure itself is authentically early 1900s, it was only erected on this stretch of Kentish Town Road in 1982 after Kentish Town main line station was rebuilt. And even then it was shipped down from Elstree.

So with that underwhelming little tale in mind, let’s stand a moment and soak up the atmosphere. For some, it’s a desolate, windy spot, but those in the know swoon at the big, pillowy clouds, or the sunset over Parliament Hill beyond the railway lines.


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Bean About Town
From the street: the Canopy.

Then there’s the welcoming street art: behind is Mr P’s iconic original Kentish Town graffiti, while directly opposite is the more recent but arguably now more famous Welcome To Kentish Town mural by Brighton-based Aroe, a renowned British street artist (read the story of how it came to exist here.)

And, of course, while we look forward to the return of Natasha’s flower stall, there’s always the delights of a double espresso from Bean About Town, the characterful coffee cart which has been impressively in situ for over a decade – long before the dozens of more recent artisan cafe specialists took over Kentish Town.

Finally, who remembers the 2013 plans for Kentish Town Square, with its piazza, airy public spaces and even proposed daily markets? Well, we can only dream.

What do you think the Canopy should be used for?

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  • Tim

    Balloons! Or, maybe some nice fairy lighting on the structure, a bit like the trees in Sloane Sq?

  • Kentishtowner

    A good idea. In ‘Steeles Village’ on Haverstock Hill the well-heeled residents have all clubbed together to light up the street so it looks like Christmas all year round. Sounds twee but it’s quite nice actually.

  • charlie Beckett

    It’s where the winos shelter. They won’t appreciate the seeds or the fairy lights.

  • fiona

    Best of both worlds: twinkly tramps. Very Kentish Town. Anyway, as they get the most use out of the place they should decide, really. I love the fact they have their own designated spot and never really bother anyone.

  • Tim

    A stand-up piano

  • Tom A

    Tim’s stand up piano idea has inspired me!

    A piano wouldn’t survive the elements, but surely The Canopy could have a lovely big glockenspiel and a couple of fixed drums…

  • fiona

    Glockenspiel! Glockenspiel! hang on a minute, is that with or without winos? actually I don’t care, just get a giant glockenspiel in there now!!