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London Shopping: Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean
Coal Drops Yard is a retail development that is part of the King’s Cross Central development scheme and is the latest part of the development to use old industrial buildings and adapting them for the 21st century.
© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean
The coal drops were sheds that received coal shipments, mostly from the north of England by train and then were transferred to waiting narrowboats on the Regents Canal and to horse-drawn carts. In the Victorian times, coal was the main form of energy to heat and light the buildings of London.
© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean
The coal drops were built in the mid 19th century and were part of a large industrial complex which included stables for up to 1500 horses. By the end of the 19th century, the coal drops became obsolete and the buildings were used for warehousing. In the last part of the 20th century, some of the disused warehouses were used to stage illegal raves and were used as bars and clubs. By the 21st century, the rave scene had run its course and the warehouses became derelict again.
© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean
As part of the large development of the King’s Cross Central site, Argent group appointed Thomas Heatherwick as architect for the redevelopment of the Coal Drop Yards as a retail park in 2014. Work was completed and the development opened in 2018.
The £100m project converted the listed Victorian sheds into a new high-end, 9,290 sq metre, shopping complex, Thomas Heatherwick developed a way to bring together the two converging arcaded sheds with a ‘kissing roof. The slate used in the roof comes from the same seam in the same Welsh slate quarry as was used in the original roof.
© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean
The retail development has nearly 10000 square metres of shopping space in different size units with a mix of independent shops and global brands from home and abroad. Altogether there are over 50 shops, bars & restaurants in Coal Drop Yards, these include Diesel, Fred Perry, Paul Smith, Wolf & Badger, Barrafina, Le Café Alain Ducasse, Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse, Botanical Boys, Samsung KX, Tom Dixon and much more.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean
What sets this retail development apart is the way that the Victorian industrial buildings give the place character, it seems a world away from the rather soulless shopping centres with the canal adding even more interest. The King’s Cross area has been totally changed in the last 25 years from one of the most depressing parts of the capital to an area full of interest and a welcome diversion to those using the nearby train stations.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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London Shopping Streets : The Bookshops of Charing Cross Road and Cecil Court

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Charing Cross Road runs from near Trafalgar Square to Tottenham Court Road. The road was developed in the late 19th century and its construction destroyed some of worst slums in London. In the early 20th century, Charing Cross Road became famous for its specialist and second-hand bookshops.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

One of the most famous bookshops was Foyles which was started by William and Gilbert Foyle in Cecil Court before to Charing Cross Road in 1906. They later moved to 119 Charing Cross Road where the shop became something of an institution until it closed in 2014, although Foyles opened a new shop further up Charing Cross Road. Christina Foyle who was the daughter of William created literary luncheons at the Charing Cross Road shop from the 1930’s. Speakers included great literary figures and celebrities and the events were very popular both with authors and the public. Christina took over the control of the shop in 1945 and the shop became famous for her idiosyncratic management style. She refused to install many modern conveniences, would not allow orders to be taken by phone. Customers were often required to queue three times and staff turnover was high. At the turn of the 20th century, Christina Foyle died and control passed to her nephew Christopher, who modernised the shop and business.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The bookshops on Charing Cross Road became internationally famous in the 1970s and 1980s when the book 84, Charing Cross Road was published. The book was based on the long-standing correspondence between New York City-based author Helene Hanff and the staff of a bookshop on the street, Marks & Co. The book was made into a 1987 film starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins and also into a play.

The 21st century has seen a number of the bookshops closing down but Charing Cross Road is still home to Foyles, Quinto Bookshop, Henry Pordes and Any Amount of Books.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The nearby Cecil Court has a longer history going back to the late 17th century, Mozart and his family lived here for a short time. There is evidence for bookselling in Cecil Court going back to the 18th century, however it was after Cecil Court was redeveloped at the end of the 19th century that it became an important base for new British film industry which inspired the nickname Flicker Alley.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Booksellers and publishers moved in Cecil Court at the start of the 20th century, Watkins which is considered the oldest esoteric bookshop in London arrived in 1901.  Cecil Court was also well-known for its specialist foreign language like Welsh-language bookshop, Griffs and the Dolphin Bookshop sold Spanish and Catalan books.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Cecil Court today has a range of businesses including Antique Dealers, Art & Craft and Art Galleries. However there are still a number of bookshops including Watkins, Tindley & Everett, Tender Books, Stephen Poole Books and Goldsboro Books.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Charing Cross Road and Cecil Court provide a pleasant change from the often mundane bookshop chains. Whilst all over London independent bookshops have closed or closing, this is the historical London heart of the modern bookshop and still provides plenty of interest to visitors.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Great London Shopping Streets: Savile Row

Savile Row is a famous street in Mayfair, known for its traditional bespoke tailoring for men, tailors first started doing business in the area in the late 18th century and early 19th century. Some of the earlier tailors businesses from the mid-19th century still remain such as Henry Poole and H. Huntsman & Sons.

As more tailors moved into the street, the shop frontages were altered to allow more light into the working areas, walking down the street you can still see tailors busy at work especially in the basements.

Savile Row’s reputation was built on bespoke tailoring which generally means a suit cut and made by hand. In the 19th and 20th centuries some of the top names in tailoring have had premises in the street and have attracted a wide range of people from royalty to celebrities.

Although fashions change, many tailor businesses have survived the test of time such as Gieves & Hawkes and Hardy Amies Ltd. More recently tailors like Ozwald Boateng, Timothy Everest and Richard James have updated some of the image of the more traditional tailoring with more focus on marketing and more mass appeal.

There was some objections when American retailer Abercrombie & Fitch planned to open a store in Savile Row with concerns that if chain stores entered the street it would drive out independent tailors.  

Although dominated by tailors for the last 200 years, Savile Row has had a number of interesting residents including the headquarters of the Royal Geographical Society and the Apple office of the Beatles, where bizarrely the band’s final live performance was held on the roof of the building.

 Savile Row is a fascinating street to walk along, unlike many clothes stores, Savile Row celebrates craftsmanship and expertise gained over many years. For those who prefer the personal touch and are looking for quality, Savile Row is certainly worth a visit. 

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

 

Eat17 opens a new store in Hammersmith as part of its plans to expand in the capital

With all the doom and gloom about the death of the high street, it may be time for the high street to reinvent itself and multi-award winning fine food store and restaurant chain Eat17 may be a model that will attract a lot of interest.

Eat17 combines elements of a convenience store with a dining scene and has recently opened its new store in Hammersmith as part of its plans to expand in the capital.

The new store is situated on Smiths Square Market on Fulham Palace Road and it is the fifth addition to the Eat17 chain, which has stores already in Walthamstow, Hackney, Whitstable and Bishop’s Stortford.

The Hammersmith store offers a unique interactive shopping experience that reinvents the market hall – offering the finest food and drink, 100 refillable food lines, an indoor street food market and yoga classes in store.

Eat17’s own brand ranges such as Bacon Jam and fresh bakery items share aisles with everyday SPAR essentials and local concession ranges. There is also self-serve coffee, wine and beer growlers as well as signature coffee in the bar area and soft serve ice cream.

 The dining area consists of three street food booths serving up fresh dishes from local food concessions including The Pizza Project, Knowing Meat knowing You and Bun Kabab of Empress Market Pakistani Kitchen.

 The booths are surrounded by beautiful plants and feature lighting and there is a seating area opposite. There is also a 2,000-square foot mezzanine room where yoga classes will take place.

All Eat17 stores are different but fall under the general ethos of the brand which is to provide quality local and convenience food alongside a dining option for a unique consumer  experience. It provides this by stocking the best food staples from Spar alongside Eat17 own brand ranges, offerings from in-house butchers and bakers and products from local concessions who trade in store.

These stores tend to appeal to the modern consumer who are happy to be faced with an eclectic mix of products and services under one roof.  With its reputation for innovation, Eat17 may be a name to watch in London in the next few years.

For more information, visit the Eat17 website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

 

Great London Shopping Streets : Take a Trip to ‘Swinging’ Carnaby Street


Carnaby Street is a famous shopping street in Soho which came to international attention in the 1960s when it was considered one of the epicentres of ‘Swinging London’.

The street was named after Karnaby House, which was built in 1683. There was a market in the street in the 19th century and after the First World War the street became known for being home to those with a ‘bohemian’ outlook.

The street became globally famous in the 1960s when a Time magazine cover of 1966 highlighted the increasing popularity of the area with young people drawn to the many boutiques and underground music bars. From then the street has been associated with a number of music subcultures including Mods, Skinheads, Punks and New Romantics.

In the 21st century, the street is the focal point ofCarnaby’ which brings together the surrounding streets as a shopping area different from nearby Regent and Oxford streets.

In the area are over 100 international and British heritage labels, independent boutiques, one-off concepts, cult beauty emporiums, grooming salons and bespoke jewellery specialists.

World-famous labels like Puma, Diesel, Vans, Levi’s and Ben Sherman rub shoulders with the more quirky labels along the small intimate streets.  IMG_8460

If the shopping makes you peckish, there are over 60 independent cafés, pubs, bars and restaurants including and old fashioned boozers like The White Horse and The Clachan.

If you like your shopping on a more intimate and quirky side, the Carnaby area is full of surprises and delights.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

 

Great London Shopping Streets : Marylebone High Street

Although close to the West End shopping delights of Oxford and Regent Street, Marylebone High Street is a very different shopping experience.

For centuries, Marylebone High Street was the main road in the village of Marylebone and despite being subsumed by London a long time ago still maintains an urban village atmosphere. Although parts of the street have a long history, the majority of the buildings in the street today date from 1900 and have in recent times become popular with retailers who offer a more personal approach.

Marylebone High Street is largely populated by small, independent shops which cater for locals and visitors, therefore there is a Waitrose supermarket, specialist food retailers, newsagents and chemists. Dominating the top of the high street coming from Baker Street is the large Conran Shop. Originally a stable building at the north end of Marylebone High Street, The Conran Shop in Marylebone offers three floors of contemporary furnishings and designs, Sir Terence Conran was the one of the first to spot the potential of Marylebone High Street as a desirable shopping area in the late 20th century.

The district around Marylebone High Street has a large French population and the street has a number of shops that will appeal directly to this clientele including Kusmi Tea and Claudie Pierlot. Old London favourites with a French twist including Pret A Manger, Le Pain Quotidien and Patisserie Valerie all have a presence on the high street.

One of the best known shops on the street is Daunt Books which was founded by James Daunt. It traditionally specialised in travel books and in 2010 began to publish its own books. Daunt Books is relatively modern being formed in 1990 however its Marylebone High Street branch is housed in a very attractive former Edwardian bookshop with long oak galleries, generous skylights and antique prints. Part of the Daunt’s success is their friendly and knowledgeable staff and events which include talks by authors.

Other unusual shops are Fabriano Boutique Stationers, Cath Kidson Fabric shop, Cologne & Cotton Linen Shop and the fascinating Paul Rothe & Son Delicatessen in the nearby Marylebone Lane.

The nearby Harley Street is famous for its medical and dental offices, you can also visit the Wallace Collection and Wigmore Hall for a cultural fix. The area is full of cafes, restaurants, old pubs and hotels for food and drink options.

Marylebone High Street which is managed by the Howard de Walden Estate provides a distinctive shopping experience away from the crowds of the West End, its relative tranquillity allows time to explore many of the delights of Marylebone ‘Village’.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide.com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Great London Shops – Burberry in Regent Street

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Location Burberry, 121 Regent Street, London, W1B 4TB

When Burberry open their flagship at 121 Regent Street in 2012 it was considered the most technologically advanced high fashion store in Britain. Covering four floors, the store is the biggest Burberry branch in the world using technology  including a 22ft-high screen, 500 hidden speakers and a hydraulic stage.
The shop is in Westmoreland House, which was built in 1820 for the Prince Regent, the property has had a interesting history having previously used as a livery stable, church, art gallery and cinema. Burberry have restored the original projection suite which will allow the shop floor to be turned into a venue for bands, talks and screenings.

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The store covers an area of 44,000 sq ft, has 17 fitting rooms, 260 employees and has over 24,000 individual pieces for sale.

Burberry is a British luxury fashion house which sells outerwear, fashion accessories, fragrances, sunglasses, and cosmetics. It is known for its distinctive tartan pattern and its trench coat, which was designed by founder Thomas Burberry. The firm was founded by Thomas Burberry, a  draper’s apprentice in 1856 and developed a range of outdoor jackets. The brand was especially popular with arctic explorers Roald Amundsen and Ernest Shackleton and in 1914 the War office asked Burburry to redesign its officer’s coats. The design the “trench coat” became very popular not just with the military but also civilians after the war.

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Known as a quintessential British brand, Burberry have in the 21st century become a global brand with more than 500 stores in over 50 countries.

Opening Times
Monday
10:00-22:00

Tuesday
10:00-22:00

Wednesday
10:00-22:00

Thursday
10:00-22:00

Friday
10:00-22:00

Saturday
10:00-22:00

Sunday
11:30-18:00

If you would like to find out more about Burberry, visit the website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here