The Camera Museum and the hidden Little Compton Street, London

London is a treasure trove of hidden gems. With streets full of stories and the past sometimes concealed in plain sight, it’s a place I love to visit as there’s always somewhere new to explore.

Among these hidden gems, is The Camera Museum. Founded by brothers, Adrian and Patrick Tang, this museum first began it’s life as the Tang Café back in 1999.

Me standing awkwardly by a random couple

Patrick, the eldest of the brothers, always had a keen interest in cameras and decided to start showing his growing collection in the basement of the café. It offered an interesting and niche compliment to the café, making it a great place to visit for locals and tourists.

I came here with my sister for some iced tea, which was a welcome treat from the hustle and bustle of the streets outside. I have been desperate to visit the museum ever since I found it on Atlas Obscura (a brilliant website for travels) and it did not disappoint!

Pinkies up, cheers!
The café, it had just opened and did not stay like this for long!

At each table is a vintage camera to try out and view the world from a different lense. Of course there’s no film in the cameras, but if you angle your phone correctly, you can take a photo and get a similar result. It’s fun to play around with and also a clever way to keep customers occupied whilst they await their orders.

The model
The camera

The museum is located in the basement of the café and has a £1 entry fee. Of course donations are welcomed as this helps the museum expand its collection.

This may look a bit silly, but Pigeon photography was actually an aerial photography technique invented by Julius Neubronner in 1907. He really saw the potential in pigeons (and rightly so) and would also use them to deliver medications.

The museum also holds donations from kind people across the globe, who want to see their prized cameras appreciated by like minded enthusiasts. If you have a camera that’s in good condition and and needing a new home, perhaps it could find it’s place here!

Alessandro Galia
Chloe and I looking like we’re in the Blair Witch Project

After some posing and laughs in front of the magic mirror (see below for selfies), we made our way to find the lost Little Compton Street.

A traffic island unlike any other, under this grate can be found the last remains of Little Compton Street.

If you look closely, you can see two tiled Victorian street names set into the wall. Aside from the rubbish that’s also unfortunately found there, this is a glimpse to the long lost road, buried beneath the modern day streets of London.

The road was demolished and raised in 1896 to make way for Charing Cross road, leaving all that remains the street signs. It’s amazing to see passers by walking over the grate, seemingly unaware of the secrets the city hides just beneath their feet.

And now as promised, the magic mirror selfies, enjoy!


    1. Hi Gary, it gets in the high 20s in summer but we do get a lot of rain, so when we get the nice weather we all make the most of it! Hope you’re well 🙂


  1. What a find! Your post reminded me of the underground city tour of Seattle, Washington. At one time the city streets were filled in up to the second story of the downtown buildings, making the ground level a basement. It’s a little creepy but fun to tour.
    I laughed at the vintage movie cameras as I still have one of those.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll make a note of that and check it out one day! I’m currently in Canada and planning a trip to the US early next year so this will be on the list 🙂
      Thanks for reading!


  2. Never heard of the camera museum but it looks fascinating. So many hidden treasures and interesting places to explore in London. Have to check out Little Compton Street next time too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you do, there was a large portrait photo of this lady stuck under the grate, let me know if it is still there ha ha!
      London is definitely one of my favourite cities 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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