The Giant Signs Of Camden Town

By M@ Last edited 90 months ago

Last Updated 01 December 2016

The Giant Signs Of Camden Town

Behold the Dark Angel of Camden Town. This twisted seraph guards the high street in Christ-like pose, her naughty bits covered only by a scanty ribbon and her raven hair. If that doesn't make you want to pop in for a tattoo, we don't know what will.

The shop signs of Camden are, collectively, a local landmark. They started appearing in force during the 1990s, around the same time as the market transformed from a haven of countercultures into a major tourist attraction. They seem to fit in with both these worlds, which probably accounts for their popularity. Most are built by Big Stuff Design.

Some of the signs can get a bet racy when you take the time to look. The Dark Angel has a nearby rival of even more questionable modesty — the largest NSFW in London.

Darkside store offers a wide range of alternative clothing, though we're particularly fond of these baby grows with attitude.

Body art is a big part of the Camden economy. Cold Steel gets straight to the point, metaphorically and literally, with this robust display of giant rings.

Nearby, Evil From the Needle suggests that tattooing can be a bit of a gamble, with a street sign sporting dice and playing cards.

Those pigeons, by the way, are real, and not part of the sign.

Camden is also famous for its shoe shops. This is, after all, the spiritual home of Doc Martens. Fun fact: Klaus Märtens, who established that company, was a real doctor. Better yet, his business partner was called Doctor Funck. The firm recently announced a new flagship store and HQ in Camden.

The high street contains more giant shoes than any other supersized shop sign. One day, someone will write a sequel to the BFG in which our towering friend selects a new pair of sneakers from the shop fronts of Camden. We can't quite picture the BFG in this menacing boot, however.

While many of the Camden shop signs play upon dark connotations, there's also plenty of levity on the high street. One of the more recent signs, at the northern end of the street, offers up this happy bunch of fruit and veg.

Little do this smiley quartet realise their fate, should they ever enter this canalside juice bar.

Nearby, we find the colourful elephant of the Namaste clothing shop, with its Dennis the Menace tusks.

The elephant competes for attention with this curling, laser-eyed dragon, over the Max Orient restaurant.

Camden Town is not only home to large-scale signs, it's also challenged by large-scale change. The past decade has seen wave after wave of new developments, with the biggest yet to come.

How long the 3D signs will survive in this evolving quarter is anyone's guess. But what developer would dare challenge a dark angel, a dragon and a troupe of optimistic fruit?