Inventory Site Record

Regent's Canal (Camden section) (Camden)

Brief Description

The Regent's Canal runs from Little Venice to Limehouse Basin and is 13.5 km long. Part of the Grand Union Canal system, it was built to link the Grand Junction Canal's Paddington Arm with the Thames. The c.2.75km Camden section begins at Regent's Park, runs through Camden Town, and leaves the borough at York Way; a former pumping house of 1898 was converted to a Lock Keeper's Cottage in 1926. Thomas Homer's proposal for the canal found approval with John Nash in 1811, at the time designing Regent's Park; Nash's associate James Morgan drew up plans in 1811, which were passed by Act of Parliament in 1812. The Regent's Canal Company was set up and the canal was fully completed in 1820. Its importance for trade was later superseded by the coming of the railways but it is now a popular public amenity.

Practical Information
Site location:
Access: York Way, Prince Albert Rd, Gloucester Ave, Oval Rd, Camden Lock, Chalk Farm Rd, Kentish Town Rd, Royal College St, St Pancras Way, Camley St
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Public Open Land
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
King's Cross (Northern, Piccadilly, Victoria, Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City, Circle)
Events organised by Friends of Regent's Canal; Canal & River Trust - see websites
Public transport:
Rail/Tube (Northern/Piccadilly/Victoria/Metropolitan/Hammersmith & City/Circle): King's Cross. London Overground:Camden Road.Tube:Camden Town(Northern).Bus:10,46,274,214,29,253,134
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.canalrivertrust.org.uk; www.friendsofregentscanal.org

Full Site Description

The Regent's Canal runs from Little Venice to Limehouse Basin, and is 13.5 km long. It was part of the Grand Union Canal system, and was built to link the Grand Junction Canal's Paddington Arm, which opened in 1801, with the River Thames. The Canal was first proposed in 1802 by Thomas Homer, who owned a fleet of boats operating on the Grand Junction Canal that carried coal and building materials to Paddington and took horse manure to the country. The Regent's Canal was designed to connect the newly opened Paddington Branch of the Grand Junction Canal to the Thames at Limehouse, so that cargo arriving by sea could be distributed throughout central and southern England by barge. In 1811, Homer's proposal found approval with John Nash, at the time designing Regent's Park (q.v.). Nash's associate James Morgan drew up plans for the new canal in 1811, which were passed in Parliament under the Regent's Canal Act in 1812, the Prince Regent having given his consent to the name. Nash was a major shareholder and appointed Director of the new canal company, set up to build and manage it, and Morgan was appointed the company's Engineer, a post he held until 1835. He died in 1856 and is buried in the Brompton Cemetery (q.v.).

The stretch of the canal from Paddington to Regent's Park was completed by 1816, but completion of the full canal was delayed until 1820. The project had financial and other difficulties. Homer, who had been appointed Superintendant of the Regent's Canal Company in 1812, was later caught embezzling canal funds, and there were disputes with William Agar, landowner of part of the Manor of St Pancras through which the canal was to be routed. The canal's importance for trade was later superseded by the coming of the railways. The Camden section is c.2.75 km long and begins at Regent's Park running through Camden Town, and leaving the borough at York Way. It passes alongside the Camden Lock market area. Among the buildings along its route is a former pumping house of 1898, designed by Sir John Wolfe Barrey, which was converted to a Lock Keeper's Cottage in 1926. At the western end the Cumberland Basin was infilled post WWII and is now covered by the car park for London Zoo. The Canal forms an important wildlife corridor with plants rare for London, fish and waterfowl with coot, moorhen, mallard and tufted ducks breeding here.

On 2 July 2012, British Waterways ceased to exist in England and Wales and in its place the Canal & River Trust was set up to care for 2,000 miles of historic waterways.

Sources consulted:

Michael Waite, Daniel Keech, Meg Game, 'Nature Conservation in Camden', Ecology Handbook 24 (London Ecology Unit), 1993. See Regent's Canal history section on www.canalmuseum.org.uk

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ282836 (528292,183790)
Size in hectares:
4.8 in LB Camden
Site ownership:
Canal & River Trust
Site management:
Canal & River Trust; Friends of Regent's Canal
James Morgan (canal engineer)
Listed structures:
LBII: Lock Keeper's Cottage
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:


Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
In Conservation Area:
Conservation Area name:
Regent's Canal
Tree Preservation Order:
Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Metropolitan Importance
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Yes (part)
Special Policy Area:
Yes - part within King's Cross Area of Opportunity
Other LA designation:
Public Open Space (Local). Green Chain. Area of Special Character: Regent's Canal. Strategic View Corridor (part)

Regent's Canal (Camden section)

Regent's Canal, looking south towards St Mark's Church, August 2002. Photo: S Williams

Click a photo to enlarge.

Please note the Inventory and its content are provided for your general information only and are subject to change. It is your responsibility to check the accuracy.