Home » Speciality Shops

Category Archives: Speciality Shops

London Speciality Shop – L Cornelissen and Son


105 Great Russell Street, London,WC1B 3RY

Cornelissen’s has been in business since 1855 and supplies Professional artists and amateurs  with pigments, paints, brushes, boards and gilding equipment.

Louis Cornelissen, the founder of the business, is said to have been a Belgian lithographer , setting up in Drury Lane, initially dealing in lithographic colours and supplies, and reputedly moving to Great Queen St in 1855  Cornelissen was first listed as an artists’ colourman in 1881.

Cornelissen provided marked canvases and stretchers for works by many famous artists including  Rex Whistler,  W.R. Sickert was a regular customer as was Aubrey Beardsley.

The family part of the business ended in 1977 at the death of Len Cornelissen, the last in the family, but was reopened in 1979  by Nicholas Walt moving from historical premises in Great Queen St  to shop premises at Great Russell St.


Its shelves are  stacked with bottles of paint pigments  and traditional artist’s materials and tend to have access to supplies not easily available elsewhere.


The friendly and knowledgeable staff offer a wide range of advice on artist and painting equipment that fill the antique shelves.


 If you want more information about L Cornelissen and Son , visit their website here


London Speciality Shop – Forbidden Planet


Forbidden Planet is two separate science fiction, fantasy and horror bookshop chains which have shops across the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the United States of America.


As well as books the shops sell comic books, graphic novels, manga, DVDs, video games, and a wide variety of toys, clothing and  collectible merchandise.
The Forbidden Planet London shop  is the flagship of the national chain that includes shops in Bristol and Southampton, as well as an online presence. The shop specialises in Film  and Television merchandise, they also sell models and toys  and have in store  signings and events.

Forbidden Planet  In 2003, moved the flagship New Oxford Street store to the much larger “Megastore” premises at 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, it became one of the  first high-street retail outlets specialising in science fiction, fantasy and cult merchandise.

Recently Forbidden Planet have been a great supporter of British Adult comic scene and regularly have events with the leading writers and authors.

Opening Hours:
Mon and Tues 10:00 – 19:00
Wednesday 10:00 – 19:30
Thursday 10:00 – 20:00
Fri and Sat 10:00 – 19:30
Sunday 12:00 – 18:00

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

London Speciality Shop – Twinings


R. Twinings and Co Limited & The Twinings Museum, 216 Strand, London WC2R 1AP

Thomas Twining bought Tom’s Coffee House on London’s Strand in 1706.  Coffee shops of the day attracted a particular clientele often with common interests. Unusually Thomas Twining decided to specialise in selling Tea which became increasingly fashionable during the 18th century.


It was initially popular amongst the upper classes but by the middle of the 18th century  became popular amongst the lower classes too.

However unscrupulous sellers of Tea often added other ingredients to increase the value, this was not the case with Thomas Twining who only sold the finest quality and varieties.


During the 19th century and 20th century, Twinings built on their reputation as the premier place in London to buy tea and coffee.
It gained a Royal warrant in 1837 and created it famous English Breakfast in 1933,  it also used teabags for the first time in 1956.

The shop has created over 100 varieties and are sold all over the world, the expert blenders work through over 3,000 cups of tea every week.

It holds the world’s oldest continually-used company logo created in 1787, and is London’s longest-standing rate-payer, having occupied the same premises on the Strand since 1706

It sells a variety of popular teas such as Lapsang Souchong, Lady Grey, and Darjeeling, The company has long been  associated with Earl Grey tea.

It has a small museum in the shop and have recently refurbished the store and incorporated a new tea bar and sampling sections.


 If you want more information about Twinings , visit their website here.


London Speciality Shop – Rough Trade


Rough Trade East ,Old Truman Brewery,91 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL

Rough Trade are two independent record shops in London, the shops origins lie in 1976 when Geoff Travis opened The first Rough Trade shop in Ladbroke Grove. In 1978 they went on to form record label Rough Trade Records which was home to The Smiths amongst others.

In 1982 the Record label and the shop separated but they still have strong links, at this time the shop moved from its original location to the nearby Talbot Road. In 1988 a shop was opened in  Covent Garden. which closed in 2006, however  in 2007 they opened a shop called Rough Trade East  in  Brick Lane in East London.


Rough Trade specialises in the carrying items over a range of genres, mostly within the alternative or underground scenes.

The shop, called  Rough Trade East is located in the former  brewery in  Brick Lane and often puts on free music gigs on a high-spec stage, allowing for an audience of 200. The shop specialises in selling Music from up and coming bands and in all formats but especially vinyl. The Shop has a café and a sitting area to encourage people to use the shop as a meeting place.

As well as their two shops in London, Rough Trade opened a store in New York  in 2013.

Rough Trade specialises in the carrying items over a range of genres, mostly within the alternative or underground scenes. They take great pride of being outside the music mainstream and developing young talent , this attracts a noticeable loyal following.

Monday – Thursday 8.00am – 9.00pm
Friday 8.00am – 8.00pm
Saturday 10.00am – 8.00pm
Sunday 11.00am – 7.00pm

Also Rough Trade West at 130 Talbot Road, London, W11 1JA

Monday – Saturday 10.00am – 6.30pm
Sunday 11.00am – 5.00pm

If you want more information about Rough Trade , visit their website here

The Old Shopping Arcades of Piccadilly


Away from the crowds of Regent and Oxford Street, Piccadilly offers a upmarket more personal shopping experience. Amongst the high quality shops like Hatchard’s and Fortnum and Mason is a number of 19th century shopping arcades which were the origins of the Grand shopping gallery and the modern shopping arcades.


One of the oldest arcades is also the longest, the Burlington Arcade was opened in 1819 and was built by the Lord George Cavendish, younger brother of the 5th Duke of Devonshire, who had inherited the nearby Burlington House.

The arcade enabled shoppers to walk along protected from the weather to peruse the 72 small shops, the arcade also had its own security with its Guard or Beadle patrolling the walkway and keeping out undesirables. This tradition is still maintained today when the shops are fewer but probably more exclusive.

Present tenants include a wide range of clothing, footwear and accessory shops, there is also a number of  Art dealers, jewellers and dealers in antique silver.

royal prem

The Royal Arcade built in 1879 is  smaller than the Burlington Arcade and but provides a connecting walkway between  Old Bond Street with  Albemarle Street. This arcade was originally known as just the ‘Arcade’ but one of the shops was patronised by Queen Victoria it became the Royal arcade.


The speciality shops in this arcade  sell fine silverware, art, bespoke shoes and high-end chocolate.


The other two arcades in the area were opened in the 20th century ,Princes Arcade forms part of Princes House which was originally built to house the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours and was opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1883. The Arcade itself was opened in 1933.


The Piccadilly Arcade in opened in 1910 and quickly gained a reputation for high quality retail outlets.

All these arcades catered for the high number of rich and well to do patrons that lived in the nearby Mayfair and St James and to some extent they still do, however regardless of your spending power it is worth visiting the arcades for a slightly different shopping experience.