North London's Cultural Guide

Kentish Town Canopy

What’s the story with Kentish Town Canopy?

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

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.


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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7 thoughts on “What’s the story with Kentish Town Canopy?”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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The award-winning print and online title Kentishtowner was founded in 2010 and is part of London Belongs To Me, a citywide network of travel guides for locals. For more info on what we write about and why, see our About section.