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Signs of Camden

London’s popular market area offers shops, stalls, pubs, clubs — and signage

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When Camden’s local government decided to allow Sunday drinking, which was banned elsewhere in London, a small group of entrepreneurs discovered they had the perfect bait for attracting thirsty Brits to the weekend market they set up among Camden Lock’s decayed, industrial, canal-side buildings.

The success of the market — which quickly developed into a popular tourist destination — also gentrified the largely derelict, surrounding retail area along Camden High Street, thus attracting design and media companies, as well as many fashion retailers.

When a local television station sought planning permission to erect a rooftop sign featuring a series of large, fiberglass eggs, local authorities altered guidelines to allow for virtually all types of signage. They stipulated, however, that each sign be replaced or substantially altered every two years.

While many retailers agreeably change the appearance of their signage every two years, some have argued that completely remaking a large, impressive icon — a full-size replica of a Spitfire fighter plane, for example — can be quite expensive. Thus, to lower the high costs of complete signage makeovers, local officials have agreed to allow retailers to repaint — rather than reconstruct — their existing signage.

As seen by the images featured here, Camden High Street is a mecca for dimensional, fiberglass-constructed outsized and outlandish signage attractions.

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