Camden Lock: When is Dinnertime?




P1110321P1110313P1110314Camden Lock’s ‘Global Kitchen’ in London is a great place to go for dinner* or lunch. The market stalls have a plethora or fresh dishes cooked by various nationalities that go to make up London (observed by strict food health regulations). Choose your fare and eat at communal tables under the canopy or by the river. Open 7 days from 10am to 6pm.


*When is dinnertime in Britain?  This it depends on which Class you are from.

The upper-classes, including those at private boarding schools have dinner around 8pm and dress up (you’ve seen Downton Abbey?) The day’s feasting order is:  breakfast – morning coffee – lunch – afternoon tea (or tiffin for those returned from the Continent) – dinner.

But for the working classes: including state school children, dinnertime falls somewhere between 12 noon and 2pm. These hours were settled during the Industrial Revolution in the Victorian era. Factory workers would go home for an hour’s dinnertime when the bell rang and be re-fuelled on a big meal for manual labour, served up by a mother or daughter who remained at home slaving over a hot stove. Order: Breakfast – tea break (at work) – dinner – tea (high tea which includes food) – (+ supper for those in heavy manual trades). There were usually stalls selling beer at the end of a shift at the factory gates.

Theatre performers and crew traditionally have their dinnertime in the middle of the day also, so that they fully charged for rushing about the stage in the evening.

For the last few decades however, industries and schools have tried to standardise the hour’s break as ‘lunchtime’. However this is still confusing when for many children of working parents, this may still be their main meal of the day.

This post is part of the WordPress Photo Challenge: Dinnertime. To see others or take part yourself visit:

44 thoughts on “Camden Lock: When is Dinnertime?

  1. Great photos and found the narrative very interesting. I think dinner time here I between 6 – 7 pm when most people get home from work. Will have to do some research to see what was the case in the past 🙂

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  2. Dinner time/lunchtime/tea time linguistically is a north/south thing rather than class. It’s just due to the gentrification of the south it’s becoming blurred. Upper classes used to take afternoon tea rather than high tea and dinner was only when entertaining guests.

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  3. Pingback: Dinnertime (Paris 2000) | What's (in) the picture?

    • I honestly don’t know, I do not eat at regular times and do not eat out much. Southampton is so full of transient young students living on alcohol, that I don’t get to meet that many retires. There are so many different Nationalities here that eat at different times. If they are traditional English I expect between 12 noon and 2pm, many become charity volunteers when they retire and half an hour between those times is normal. Or they meet up in a cafe for an hour’s break during that time when menus might be cheaper. They may have a cooked meal later in the evening – perhaps 7.30pm, but if they are living with families, then it may be at 6pm before everyone goes off to sports or cultural activities or perhaps a supper at 10pm when the activities are over. Retires like me watch a lot of TV after the 9pm watershed and snack on cheese and biscuits then tend to doze off around midnight here. What about you?

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  4. Thanks for this post, i am always looking our for new and interesting places to visit when i go to London (I go every few months, book ahead, national express £5 each way) so i will be dropping by camden lock next time i am up that way
    Interesting how lunch/dinner and dinner/tea are now pretty much interchangeable. Although for me, tea is something you have at home whereas you go out for dinner. Every house has its own theory on this i think.

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    • I think there is a waiting list for vendors, who have to wait until a space is available. It changes because a lot of vendors get burned out with the competition or move on if successful and open a restaurant.


  5. As an immigrant with my own idea of what the meals are called, I absolutely refuse to adapt to British usage because the only thing I’m sure of is that I’ll get it wrong. So I call the meals what I always have and if no one knows what I’m talking about, at least I do.

    And after looking at those photos, I’d say dinnertime’s right about now.

    Liked by 1 person

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