Thursday 25 October 2012

A walk around Bloomsbury

Pop up from Russell Square station ...

and you're in the heart of Bloomsbury, home to many of London's universities and with a literary history of note.

Most of these pics were taken in and around Lamb's Conduit street, its unusual name acknowledging William Lambe who kindly paid for a water conduit to supply the area in 1577.

The Lamb pub dates from 1779 but has a fantastic Victorian interior. Charles Dickens used it as his local, and Ted Hughes courted Sylvia Plath here ...

The street is known for its collection of eccentric independent shopkeepers and establishments going back many years. Connock & Lockie have been 'bespoke tailors for ladies and gentlemen' since 1902 ...

Coram's fields at the end of the street is seven acres of pretty green woodland and public space ...

 a peaceful place in the middle of London to sit and watch the leaves fall ...

But I was headed for no. 59 Lambs Conduit street, Persephone Books ... independent publisher of "neglected novels, diaries, poetry ... mostly by women and mostly dating from the early to mid twentieth century" (owner Nicola Beauman describes herself as a 'gentler' kind of feminist). 

It's a uniquely English place - a tiny, cluttered, colourful space combining office and shop, crammed full of piles of books in trademark dove-grey covers, along with colourful flowers and vintage war-time posters, old desks and worn floorboards. 

I met blogger and writer Elizabeth Wix here (from About New York and aka mother to Buster, surely everyone's favourite rescued pooch) and at this tea-shop down the road, decorated prettily for Halloween, we spent hours talking over scones and tea ...

(My pics of Bloomsbury were happy-snapped with my little digital camera and then, as you can see, played around with for special effects - vintage looks for a vintage area)


  1. I love this post! Informative as usual - but particularly desirable. The bookshop looks terrific and your little happy snapping camera is clearly working a treat - your pics are just great.

    How lovely that you met up with yet another fellow blogger. Seems like you are beginning to make a habit of this......

    I do enjoy the blog of Elizabeth Wix - nice that you were able to meet up with her on 'your own patch' and while away the hours - particularly when accompanied by tea and scones!

    Thanks Karen! I will be in touch.

    1. Dear BB, yes it still amazes me that my little blog has led to so many meetings with interesting and lovely people. I hope some day I'll get to your part of Scotland!

  2. Karen, you can imagine how I know how much you must have enjoyed this Bloomsbury time. I'm sure to get a complete report from Elizabeth when she gets back to NYC.

    That Russell Sq tube station is wonderful when the lift is in service, but I have vivid memories (mostly located in my legs) of an exit made via an endless upward staircase when the lift was definitely out of service.

    I stayed in that area on my very first London visit back in the 1970's, and so it holds a special place in my heart, along with all the literary/artistic links in my head.


    1. Yes, unfortunately the aged charm of these old tube stations generally means aged lifts too!

  3. My stomping ground, the hospital is on that street and I walk down it often soaking up the atmosphere. Your beautiful pics do it full justice, one of my most favourite parts of London. Did you know Rupert Everett lives on that street? I have seen him sipping coffee at the pavement cafe next to the Perseverance pub in your picture. Jolly gorgeous he was too! Both Spanish and Italian restaurants highly recommended and deserve a visit soon. Lovely. Thanks. xo

    1. Dear Felicity, I know this is your home from home! I even thought I might bump into you there, but never Rupert Everett :)
      Yes, lets do one of those restaurants soon xo

  4. Gosh, your pictures are so stunning and lovely.
    What fun it was to eat scones and cream (my only cream in England!)
    Also so much good information about Lamb's Conduit Street. When my daughter went to pick up some books for
    me she said she would be very happy to work there.
    Most amused that Bella and Frances have commented above! What a small, friendly country Bogland is!

  5. A thousand years ago, when I went to England for the very first time, Bloomsbury was where I stayed. Your "vintage" photos got me in a nostalgic mood. The vintage effects are just perfect for that mood.
    I wondered if you were playing around with Instagram, but I guess it's the effects available for the digital camera. I've never tried those, but now thanks to your inspiration, I think I'll give them a whirl.


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