London shops June 2022 ride report
On a sunny Sunday morning a bunch of expectant cyclists assembled at Hyde Park Corner for the latest addition in the social Sunday London Rides. On this occasion, chaperoned by Sunday London Ride legend Nick, we were seeking out a selection of London’s unusual and quirky shops, some of which seem to be disappearing at speed.
After spending Saturday charging through the country lanes on a fast ride to the coast, this was the perfect counterpoint - a leisurely wander around our great capital at a very relaxed conversational speed. Catching up with friends, and giving my legs a very gentle workout after the exertions of the day before. News was exchanged, bikes examined, plans shared. And then we were off.
We explored Marylebone, stopping to admire the window display at John Simons. Beginning his career as a window dresser for Cecil Gee in 1955, John is beloved by latter-day mods. And Paul Weller is a big fan.
We admired the window display of VV Rouleaux, suppliers of ribbons and trimmings. And we listened as Nick gave us the history of John Bell & Croyden which traces its roots to 1798 when John Bell opened the original pharmacy on Oxford Street.
we stopped outside Hobgoblin music, much discussion was had about exactly what the stringed instrument the man in the shop was plucking. A lute perhaps? A mandolin? It was neither, it was a stringed instrument of Turkish origin, the name of which I instantly forgot.
It isn’t until you look closely that you
On we went, making our way slowly eastwards across the city, hearing about the stores on Berwick Street and the Camisa Italian deli in the heart of Soho, which has been serving customer since 1929.
There was cheese in Jermyn Street; fly fishing in Pall Mall; books, maps and tap shoes side by side in Cecil Court.
After a comfort break, we spent time stood outside Ede & Ravenscroft (thought to be the oldest tailors in the world) pondering exactly how much a lawyer’s wig would cost, which of course is where the phrase “He’s a big wig” comes from - the bigger the wig, the more important the lawyer or judge!
We discovered the shop just off Brick Lane where Doc Martens were first sold in London, and of course we visited a bike shop. Not Brompton Junction as some had hoped, but Condor Cycles on the Gray’s Inn Road.
All in all, this was a splendid way to spend a relaxed Sunday morning with friends.
A huge thanks goes to Nick for leading us so well on our voyage of discovery.
Photo credit Ross Chestney
realise how many quirky shops there are in London - indeed when