Walking in London again

A treat today when I revisited Pollocks Toy Museum in Fitzrovia, one of my favourite museums. Afterwards I walked to Bloomsbury, calling at Arthur Beale‘s shop in Seven Dials. Beale‘s, supplier of ropes and all things nautical, is due to close at the end of the month, after more than four hundred years. I’ve been told it’s also where S&M enthusiasts get their gear.

The signboard outside gives a daily shipping forecast and Thames tide times information, so you’re always aware that you’re only a few minutes walk away from the river.  There was a queue at the door, so I was only able to take some photos from outside in the rain.  Very sad to see the passing of one of London’s iconic shops.

En route to Bloomsbury I was glad to see James Smith & Sons, supplier of umbrellas, walking sticks, and whips apparently, was still there.  Of course the city changes all the time, but I’d just heard that despite public protest and petitions, the Whitechapel Bell Foundry (where the bell usually called Big Ben was cast), will be turned into yet another boutique hotel.

I nipped into the mysterious and wonderful Swedenborg House (site of some of my drawing workshops) to say hello and pick up a copy of Iain Sinclair’s Swimming to heaven: the lost rivers of London,  The book is quite a propos my sadness for a London (and indeed a country) we’re losing to the greed of property developers and political shenanigans.  To cheer myself up on the way home I called in at my favourite art supply shop Cornelissen and bought a new paint brush.

PS  More about Arthur Beale’s shop on the Gentle Author’s blog which I’ve just read

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