Monday 7 March 2016

Old Fashioned Delights: Pollock's Toy Museum and James Smith & Sons Umbrellas

For my Nice Day Out a few weeks ago, I took advantage of a day of winter sunshine and went for a walk through London. More specifically, I spent the day following the "Fitzrovia and Bloomsbury" walk in the excellent London's Hidden Walks, volume 1.

I love the Hidden Walks books. Each walk includes so many interesting things to see and places to visit, and loads of fascinating, quirky historical facts - and this walk was no exception. I learned lots of new things about familiar places and discovered lots of new-to-me places as well.

Of course, you'll have to buy the book if you want to go on the walk yourself (as you may have gathered, I highly recommend them) but I wanted to share a couple of the delightfully old-fashioned places I discovered thanks to this walk which I will definitely be re-visiting (and which I can't believe I've never visited before!).

First there's Pollock's Toy Museum - I haven't even been into the museum yet and I already love this place!


It's just off the Tottenham Court Road and comprises a small museum of mostly Victorian toys and a very charming toy shop.

The shop is filled with things that would make great gifts for the kids (and not-entirely-grown-ups) in your life, I expect I will be doing lots of Christmas shopping here in future! I'm also really looking forward to exploring the museum itself.

Then there's James Smith & Sons Umbrella shop. Just look at this shop!

The Victorian shop front has apparently hardly been altered in 140 years, and the family business still makes and sells handmade umbrellas, sticks and canes.

How wonderful it would be to buy your umbrella from an actual umbrella shop?? 

You can read more about James Smith & Sons here. I also recommend their guide to umbrella care which concludes "It is inadvisable to lend your James Smith umbrella to even your closest friend. Give them our address instead."


Ariadne said...

Pollock's Toy Museum, a must for next trip to London!AriadnefromGreece!

Karen said...

Honestly the store fronts are so amazingly beautiful! I love seeing pics from England...

Kee said...

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog. There are many reasons that I love it, one is that I too love to create lovely whimsies out of felt. The other is that I've always entertained dreams of going to England. Until I can get there, I can sit in my chair with a cup of tea here in Montana and dreamily meander through the countryside through your fab photos. I especially smile at the quirky things that you manage to find. Wonderful job! Thank you for taking the time to share all of this with us.

Anonymous said...

I used to live in London and I looooooved that umbrella shop! I don't even carry an umbrella but it is just wonderful in there. It always made me wish I could buy one of the super fancy hi-qual ones. Thanks for the memory!

Jacqui Wise said...

Might have to invest in those lovely books. What an amazing looking museum & shop.

Bugs and Fishes said...

Kee - thanks so much for your lovely comment! I'm so glad you're enjoying the photos from my trips :)

Anon- it is such a magical, quirky place, isn't it? Long may specialised shops like these last!

Anonymous said...

It's me, Anonymous from above comment, stopping back to say that I just found a beautiful illustration of the umbrella shop in a library book I picked up for my kids! What a nice surprise. You can see it here, in the detail shots below the main picture of the book:

Bugs and Fishes said...

Oh, what a charming illustration! Thanks so much for sharing :)