Saturday, September 28, 2013

Lamb's Conduit Street - London's "New Bloomsbury"

I discovered a new neighborhood this time in London.

Some are calling it the "New Bloomsbury"

It's a little "parade" of shops, pubs and business establishments, including an old school Funeral Directors', (very Dickensian black-top-hats-and-crepe) at the intersection of Rugby and Lamb's Conduit St.  I was lured there by this particular bookshop, Persephone Books

Which publishes "forgotten" (a nice euphemism for dismissed by the mainstream male-dominated post-war literary establishment)  English womens' writing of certain FLAVOR - 

a little classy, a little rebellious, but still GENTEEL.  All the books have lovely paper dustcovers in what I'll call "British modern" oftentimes block-prints.  All in all, and hopefully on a sunny day, this is a lovely part of the world to stock up on several of these books and take a seat outside for long sessions of losing yourself in another era, alternated with light snoozing and sips on a nice cup of tea or coffee.

The neighborhood seems to have been gentrifying for quite some time now.   I remember trudging through abutting neighborhoods WAY back in the days when "gentrifying" might as well have been "living on the moon" for this part of London's Londoners.   Which actually makes my point because those Londoners-past of which I just have spoke, have very likely moved as real estate pressures crept upon them.  But I won't get into that long argument about whether gentrification is good or bad and for whom and whom NOT.

I will, anon (I have to talk like that because this neighborhood brings on that kind of genteel speechi-fying) have more to say about Ben Pentreath in a separate post.  And I will add that he has taken on a partner and is in the middle of changing his business name, as well as the signage on the front of his shop (I do mean shoppe).  

Shall we just say, you will find beautiful things associated with the name Ben Pentreath.

And IMHO, he is genius at marrying mid-century modern with classic English style.  I mean that in the most delicious and intoxicating (and perfectly colour-keyed) ways.  If it's possible and appropriate to have "BLOG-CRUSHES" I have to confess to currently having one BIG TIME for Ben Pentreath.  (It's o.k. if it's unrequited.  I can live with that.)  I'll give you the link to that blog in my next Pentreath post.

Meanwhile have I mentioned "a veritable clutch" of old school tailors can be found on this little patch of Lamb's Conduit Street?  Presumably in the service of all the accountants and spill-over lawyers from nearby Grey's or Lincoln's Inn who have moved their offices up here in the Kings Cross direction since Central London real estate has become so "dear".  (See I'm talking that way again!)  

The British Museum is only a couple blocks away to the Southwest, which might account for all the classical references in the neighborhood.

So if you fancy getting a little olde-school-ey and just the titch-y-est bit a discreet and tasteful......Downton Abbey-ish manner, I suggest you tuck in yer top-coat.......and get on yer bike OLD DARLING BEAN.

Lamb's Conduit Life Awaits.  TOODLE PIP!


  1. Ca fait des lustres que je veux aller dans ce quartier! ton post me donne encore plus envie...

  2. Looking forward to more on Ben Pentreath. Have seen some Persephone (she was such a mama's girl) editions - very nice.

  3. cheers, now i find the photos to the testimony.
    peter ackroyd's been mentioning lamb's conduit street in, indeed, the authentic light, and here now is the area, rising from dusty ashes... thxs! will check this out next month!!

  4. Great name for a street .... i wish I could pop in this weekend!