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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

 

Review : Lumiere London Festival – 14th to 17th January 2016

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The Lumiere London Festival on Saturday became a victim of its own success when ten of thousands of people descended on the artworks at 30 different locations across the capital. Installations were temporarily switched off especially around the Kings Cross area.

It is the first time the festival of lights has been held in London and on a cold winter’s night it proved to be an irresistible attraction for many thousands of people. The illuminated art was mainly found in Piccadilly, Mayfair, King’s Cross, Trafalgar Square and Westminster.

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It was at Westminster Abbey that one of the most spectacular installations was taking place. The Light of the Spirit by Patrice Warrener illuminates the West Front of Westminster Abbey in colour and light. The projection highlights the architectural splendour of the building and audiences  witness the statuettes of 20th-century martyrs reimagined. The figures are transformed by the illuminations into the main focal point of the front of the building.

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Patrice Warrener is recognised worldwide for his chromolithe projection system. His polychromatic illumination of buildings gives the impression of a spectacularly bright painted surface. He has designed more than 80 creations for locations all over the world.

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Another popular installation is the Garden of Light by TILT, TILT are a French collective that reclaim public space for their art. They create luminous, dreamlike structures using recycled materials processed to high technical production quality.

Founders François Fouilhé and Jean-Baptiste Laude started the collective to give prominence to light art and to encourage audiences to view it from a new perspective.The crowds were fascinated by the collection of plant sculptures basking under the glow of giant flowers and trees in Leicester Square.

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Nearby in Piccadilly, the crowds were entertained by Luminéoles by Porté par le vent, originally created for the Fete des Lumières Lyon, the brightly coloured fish dance gracefully over the street changing colours . Porté par le vent take inspiration from light and the elements for their creations, attempting to transform everyday locations into atmospheric dreamlands.

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In Trafalgar Square, the Centre Point Lights are not particularly spectacular but offer a little piece of London history. For decades, the three-metre high neon letters at the top of Centre Point have been visible and been a familiar landmark in London.

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Also in Trafalgar Square are Plastic Islands by Luzinterruptus, Plastic Islands is inspired by the ‘Eighth Continent’: the ‘Garbage Patch’ of marine litter that accumulates in the North Pacific Ocean. It comments on the alarming rate that rubbish is swallowing large areas of the Pacific Ocean and the lack of action to tackle this problem.

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Made from thousands of bottles, this installation provides a message that waste from one part of the world can have consequences on other parts of the globe. Luzinterruptus are an anonymous artistic group, implementing urban interventions in public spaces. Light is an integral part of their work, and is used to draw attention to social, environmental and political issues within cities and other environments.

If you are thinking about attending the last day of the festival on Sunday, it may be worth checking with the organisers whether some of the installations will be switched off due to the large crowds expected.

If you would like more information, visit the Lumiere Festival 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

 

Review : PAD London 2015 in Berkeley Square – 14th to 18th October 2015

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There are no shortages of top quality galleries in the Mayfair area, however the PAD London  which is temporarily located in the centre of Berkeley Square has become a popular event with its eclectic blend of Design, Modern Art, Decorative Arts, Photography and Tribal Art. In its ninth year, the event has built up a reputation for being a showcase for some interesting and desirable art and design pieces. The Pad London’s familiar black tent is home to 63 international galleries who present a wide variety of high quality works for collectors, consultants, specialists, and the public alike.

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Just inside the entrance is the Moet Hennessy- PAD LONDON 2015 prize winner  for Contemporary Design, Konstantin Grcic’s ‘Karbon’ lounge chair, 2008 in the display by Galerie Kreo.

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Other prize winners  included the best in  the 20th Century Decorative Arts category. Antoine Philippon and Jacqueline Lecoq’s ‘Pointe de Diamant’ Wall and Cabinet, 1964 in the Jousse Entreprise display.

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The Best Stand Prize was awarded to both the Rose Uniacke and Pierre Passebon displays.

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Other highlights include Michael Goedhuis (UK/China/USA) whose selection of delicate contemporary Chinese ink paintings include several works by renowned master Wei Ligang. Ligang combines the great tradition of modern Chinese calligraphy with the influences of Western abstraction.

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Vertes from Switzerland who specialise in European Art from the 19th and 20th centuries.

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Lucas Ratton from France having been dealing in African Tribal Arts from the 1920s.

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Photography is always popular at the event and exhibitors have unearthed some rare pieces, none more so than  Daniel Blau (Germany/UK) who offer a selection of vintage NASA photographs from the influential space missions that dominated the 1960s and 70s, including the unmanned 1967 Lunar Orbiter V mission, capturing the Moon’s surface.

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Part of the attraction of the PAD London event is that it relatively small to allow time to see all the stands in comfort but does possess a great deal of diversity. If you would like a meal or a drink, there is the PAD restaurant and Ruinart bar  where you can wine and dine whilst overlooking Berkeley Square.

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For more information or to buy tickets, visit the PAD website here

PAD London

14- 18 October 2015

Location – Berkeley Square, W1

Opening Hours

Wednesday 14th to Saturday 17th October 11am – 8pm

Sunday 18 October 11am – 6pm

Tickets

Adults: £20

Students (with valid ID card): £10

Free entrance for children under 15

Tickets can be purchased online or at the entrance

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

 

 

PAD London 2015 in Berkeley Square – 14th to 18th October 2015

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Located in the centre of Berkeley Square in Mayfair, PAD London returns with its eclectic blend of Design, Modern Art, Decorative Arts, Photography and Tribal Art. In its ninth year, the event has built up a reputation for being a showcase for some of the world’s most desirable art and design pieces. This year, 63 international galleries present a wide variety of highest quality works for collectors, consultants, specialists, and the public alike.

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Some of the highlights include Michael Goedhuis (UK/China/USA) whose selection of delicate contemporary Chinese ink paintings include several works by renowned master Wei Ligang. Ligang combines the great tradition of modern Chinese calligraphy with the influences of Western abstraction. Art Deco is well represented by Jean-Jacques Dutko (France/UK), Siegelson (USA) and Oscar Graf (France).

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Contemporary ceramic is well represented by Barnaby Barford, whose six meter ‘Tower of Babel’ is currently installed at the V&A, he unveils his new ceramic collection of droplet sculptures at David Gill (UK). Katie Malone’s cubic formed stoneware and Hitomi Hosono’s delicate porcelain leaf designs are displayed at Adrian Sassoon (UK), while Sèvres (France) showcases Naoto Fukasa’s ‘Vase Métro’.

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Contemporary design furniture is represented by Friedman Benda (USA) who premieres new work by Paul Cocksedge, whose gravity-defying ‘Poise’ won last year’s coveted Moët Hennessy-PAD London Prize, Nilufar displays cobalt blue cabinets embellished with vintage glass by Robert Giulio Rida and Lindsay Adelman’s cascading ‘Cherry Bomb’ lights. Striking stone fossils in resin by Italian design collective Nucleo can be found at Ammann (Germany), while Carpenters (UK/France) stages a solo exhibit of Wendell Castle’s Made in a Dream bronze sculptures. Contemporary and post-war Scandinavian design is featured with mahogany Daybed by 20th Century Danish designer Kaare Klint at Modernity (Sweden) and Mogens Volten’s iconic 1930s ‘Copenhagen’ chair at Rose Uniacke (UK).

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Photography is always popular at the event and exhibitors have unearthed some rare pieces, Michael Hoppen (UK) offers works by 20th Century masters Henri Cartier-Bresson and Man Ray, Daniel Blau (Germany/UK) offers a selection of vintage NASA photographs from the influential space missions that dominated the 1960s and 70s, including the unmanned 1967 Lunar Orbiter V mission, capturing the the Moon’s surface.

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The Moët Hennessy PAD London Prize returns with a prestigious panel of judges including Julia Peyton-Jones, Elizabeth Saltzman, Nigel Coates, Allegra Hicks and Jean-Michel Wilmotte. Three awards will be presented in the following categories: Best Contemporary Design, Best 20th Century Decorative Art work and Best Stand.

For more information or to buy tickets, visit the PAD website here

PAD London

14- 18 October 2015

Location – Berkeley Square, W1

Opening Hours

Wednesday 14th to Saturday 17th October 11am – 8pm

Sunday 18 October 11am – 6pm

Tickets

Adults: £20

Students (with valid ID card): £10

Free entrance for children under 15

Tickets can be purchased online or at the entrance

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

 

Book Review – London: Architecture, Building and Social Change by Paul L. Knox (Merrell Publishers)

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London: Architecture, Building and Social Change by Paul L. Knox (Merrell Publishers)

London’s diversity is truly remarkable, not just in its population but also its urban landscape with buildings of different centuries and architectural styles often occupying the same district. It is this unique distinctiveness of London that provides the focus of this book, London: Architecture, Building and Social Change. However to fully understand London’s development, the author contends  you must consider its economic, social and architectural history.

Fundamental to any understanding of London’s development is its rather unique history, as the author points out  ‘London did not grow from a single commercial, ecclesiastical or administrative centre’ but rather ‘ has grown piecemeal from an archipelago of villages and town centres to become a conglomerate metropolis of interdependent districts with twin cores.” Over time every district within this metropolis developed its own distinctive cityscape and instantly recognisable landmarks.

To illustrate this point, the twin cores of London, the City of London and Westminster developed over time to take on particular functions, The City of London was a commercial centre from Roman times whereas it was not until the 11th Century that Westminster became the centre of royal justice and administration.

The author considers in London’s development, a series of events had a major effects on the course of that development. First of all was Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s, which took land away from the church which was transferred into private hands, therefore establishing the Great Estates. The Great Fire of 1666 swept away much of medieval London and bought about considerable building works. The coming of the Railways in the 1830s and 1840s bought a disruptive technology which tore up some London suburbs and bought access to large areas of the suburbs. Just as disruptive was the Blitz and bombings of the 1940s which decimated certain areas that often took decades to recover from.

If major events changed the face of London, so did individuals and the author suggest that a particular cast of characters were mainly responsible for widespread change. Amongst this cast were landowners, developers, architects, engineers, reformers, philanthropists and mayors.

To illustrate this interplay between events, people and architectural styles in real life, the author selects twenty-seven districts to discover their own distinctive character and pedigree. In the context of London’s general development, the book then considers the district’s specific developments that highlights the continuities and change within the specific areas.

A number of the districts show little change especially those built by the great landowners of London, areas such as Belgravia, Mayfair, Chelsea, Kensington and Knightsbridge were built for the elites and due to their status managed to avoid much of the destructiveness of the railways and industrialisation. Unfortunately, the same could not be said of Camden and  Paddington whose initial rural status was decimated by the canals and railways.

If money and influence were mainly situated in the West London, there is little doubt that for much of the nineteen century, the negative effects of industrialisation such as  poverty, crime, disease and unemployment were concentrated in East London. The sections on Whitechapel, Hoxton, Shoreditch and Bethnal Green pay testament to the role that reformers and philanthropists played in these areas to create a safer and healthier environment.

In many ways the south bank of the Thames has been the poorer relation to the north and the sections on Borough, Southwark, Bankside and Lambeth illustrate that they were for centuries populated by industry and working class residential areas. However, the South Bank and Bankside’s more recent riverfront transformation as a location of entertainments is actually a return to the area’s function in medieval times onwards.

It is perhaps the areas between the extremes of wealth and poverty that show the greatest diversity, districts like Bloomsbury, Notting Hill, Bayswater and Clerkenwell have veered between various degrees of respectability and often attracted the artists, writers and academics who have documented the changing times. The same could said of Soho and Covent Garden, which became locations of respectable and not so respectable entertainments.

This is a remarkably readable and interesting book for anyone interested in the changing urban landscape of one of the world’s most enigmatic cities. It manages to be authoritative without being overly academic, the profile of the development of 27 distinctive districts, illustrated with over 500 original photographs provides a number of insights into the past, present and possible future developments of London. One of the major insights is related to the ongoing gentrification of London areas and the creation of London as a Global city.

This book is an essential reference book for anyone interested in London, written by a leading expert on urbanization. It offers a comprehensive overview of many of the major buildings and landmarks of the city  and provides the context to understand their importance in London’s general development.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended 

If you would like more information or buy a copy of the book , visit the Merrell 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 , 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

The Old Shopping Arcades of Piccadilly

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.