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Somers Town: A local’s locale in central London full of history and community spirit

PUBLISHED: 16:34 11 December 2014 | UPDATED: 17:14 11 December 2014

Charrington Street, Camden

Charrington Street, Camden

Archant

One of the few pockets of central London to remain relatively untouched by gentrification, Somers Town’s 6,000-strong population is still predominantly housed by the local authority. Perhaps because of this, family and community links are strong. In recent decades the area has also seen an influx of Bangladeshi and Somali people adding to the cultural diversity of the neighbourhood.

Polygon Road Open Space, CamdenPolygon Road Open Space, Camden

Local authority

Somers Town is in the London borough of Camden and is in the NW1 postcode district. The parliamentary constituency for the area is Holborn and St Pancras.

Council Tax bands

Council estates in Somers Town, CamdenCouncil estates in Somers Town, Camden

Council Tax for Camden ranges from £880.32 for the smallest properties in Band A to £2,640.96 for the most expensive Band H homes. Properties in the average Band D should receive a bill of £1,320.48.

Property

The average price of a two bedroom flat in the area is £377,841, for a terraced house it’s £824,044.

A blue plaque in memory of Father Basil Jellicoe, a housing reformer who created housing for the community replacing the slums in Somers TownA blue plaque in memory of Father Basil Jellicoe, a housing reformer who created housing for the community replacing the slums in Somers Town

Somers Town has been predominantly filled with social housing for the past 200 years or so, and much of the area’s housing is in twentieth century-built local authority blocks. There are also several small pockets of Victorian terraced housing dotted throughout the area.

Education

St Mary and St Pancras Church of England Primary School is rated Outstanding by Ofsted. St. Aloysius’ Catholic Infant School is a voluntary aided mixed gender school for 3-7 year olds, with a third of places going to Somers Town residents, regardless of faith. Edith Neville Primary School is a co-educational school, with a very high proportion of pupils from Bangladeshi and Somali backgrounds. Both schools have been rated Good by Ofsted.

The Somers Town Coffee House, CamdenThe Somers Town Coffee House, Camden

Regent High School is a co-ed comprehensive school, rated Good by Ofsted.

Camden City Learning Centre provides IT and programming lessons to school and community groups, with short course options including IT for Parents and Web Design for Beginners.

Transport

Somers Town Community centre, CamdenSomers Town Community centre, Camden

Situated between two of London’s busiest transport hubs, Somers Town has excellent transport links to the rest of London, the UK and, indeed, Europe.

The nearest London Underground stations are King’s Cross St Pancras, served by the Northern, Victoria, Piccadilly, Hammersmith & City, Circle, and Metropolitan lines; Euston, served by the Northern and Victoria lines, as well as the Overground service to Watford Junction; and Mornington Crescent, on the Charing Cross branch of the Northern line.

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A playground in Chalton Street, Sommers Town, CamdenA playground in Chalton Street, Sommers Town, Camden

National rail links head to Scotland, the Midlands and the north of England from the area, while the Eurostar from St Pancras connects Somers Town to continental Europe via Paris and Brussels.

Landmarks and history

The first housing in Somers Town was built in the late eighteenth century, in a development called The Polygon.

Houses in Chalton Street, Sommers Town, CamdenHouses in Chalton Street, Sommers Town, Camden

The area’s links with France long preceded the opening of Eurostar at St Pancras as The Polygon was home to numerous people fleeing the French Revolution.

The area went rapidly downhill and, by the time a young Charles Dickens moved in in the 1820s, it was a rundown neighbourhood full of multiple occupancy transient dwellings.

Major shopping areas

Cafe Albertini, of Chalton Street, Sommers Town, CamdenCafe Albertini, of Chalton Street, Sommers Town, Camden

Chalton Street is the main commercial hub of the area and holds a weekly street market every Friday selling an array of household items, fabric and crepes made by young homeless people from the New Horizons centre up the road.

An annual festival is a popular community event held every July.

For cafes, Albertini is a popular spot for locals to grab coffee or lunchtime paninis, while the Somers Town Coffee House is a historic pub, with a restaurant and cocktail bar.

Chalton Street market, Sommers Town, CamdenChalton Street market, Sommers Town, Camden

Local amenities

With such a high level of deprivation among the population, the area is fairly well served for local amenities. The Polygon Road Open Space has an outdoor gym and Plot 10 Community Play Project is a children’s play area.

The Somers Town Community Association has a community café where local mums congregate over morning teas and pensioners can attend a daily lunch club. Adult education and youth activities take over in the evenings.

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