Monday, 21 December 2009

Winter Pictures 21 DEC 2009 Snow In UK

Monday, 30 November 2009

London Christmas Windows 2009





It never ceases to amaze me how imaginative the retailers are when it comes to promoting their goods and shops at Christmas time.
This year despite the recession London two major Streets Oxford Street and Regent Street have encouraged some amazing window displays.

And their Street Lights whilst somewhat more modest than previous years have added to the overall feeling that Christmas is not far away.

Have a look at some of our images

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So our message and so is that of the “Banana Republic” is Clear Start Your Shopping Now Oh and if you want accommodation please click here
 
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Oh and whether or not your looking for something small

 
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Or Large
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Or even a Bargain? London looks like your best bet specially if you live in the Euro Zone as the rate of exchange is with you 
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We must remember that primarily it’s the Children that get the most pleasure, their excitement and their enthusiasm is of course something we never forget and It’s these Christmassy scenes in the toy shop windows which really capture their imagination and wildest dreams.

The most famous shop for this is Hamley’s
 
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This years theme at Hamley’s was “Bears “ and here they are singing carols playing games
 

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This years theme at Hamley’s was “Bears “ and here they are singing carols playing games 
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This years theme at Hamley’s was “Bears “ and here they are singing carols playing games 
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Around the corner from Hamley’s is Carnaby Street. This of course had its roots in the early sixties and this years Christmas lights has a distinctly Psychodellic theme to them
Reconnecting with those early years of “make love not war and Peace and Joy to all at this time of year”
 
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Around the corner from Hamley’s is Carnaby Street. This of course had its roots in the early sixties and this years Christmas lights has a distinctly Psychodellic theme to them
Reconnecting with those early years of “make love not war and Peace and Joy to all at this time of year”
 
please click to enlarge the imageplease click to enlarge the image
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I thought Liberty’s Christmas windows last year based on a travelling circus would take some beating but folks they have done it again.

This Christmas the famous store will have a guest window dresser , in the shape of renowned British fashion designer Luella Bartley. Luella has teamed up with Liberty to create a totally unique festive experience.

Have a look at these fantastic windows and the detail in some particular for example the royal’s grotto is just amazing
 
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please click to enlarge the image
This Christmas the famous store will have a guest window dresser , in the shape of renowned British fashion designer Luella Bartley. Luella has teamed up with Liberty to create a totally unique festive experience.

Have a look at these fantastic windows and the detail in some particular for example the royal’s grotto is just amazing
 
please click to enlarge the image
please click to enlarge the image
So on to Oxford Street this year a theme Charles Dickens Christmas Carol
 
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The next ones are from the Disney Shop who continued with Christmas Carol theme a very attractive looking window and terrific inside
 
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And last but not least Selfridges who in celebration 100 years of trading have excelled themselves this year with a little help from their friends and partners.

The theme was Pantomime Characters or scenes and I am showing as many as we can. Some our of course difficult to recapture by an amateur photographer.

But the point is VISIT LONDON and see for yourself , click here to book hotel they are well worth the outing during the day or night.

Our Prize this year goes to the Vivienne Westward window at Selfridges shown here ( two views as it’s on a corner) sadly the photography doesn’t quite do it justice
but why not go and look click here to book hotel
 
please click to enlarge the image
And last but not least Selfridges who in celebration 100 years of trading have excelled themselves this year with a little help from their friends and partners.

The theme was Pantomime Characters or scenes and I am showing as many as we can. Some our of course difficult to recapture by an amateur photographer.

But the point is VISIT LONDON and see for yourself , click here to book hotel they are well worth the outing during the day or night.

Our Prize this year goes to the Vivienne Westward window at Selfridges shown here ( two views as it’s on a corner) sadly the photography doesn’t quite do it justice
but why not go and look click here to book hotel
 
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Mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all
Sleeping Beauty
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Dick Whittington we are off to London Town plus Two ugly sisters off to the Ball 
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At the stroke of midnight Cinderella’s coach turns back into a pumpkin
 
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That saucy Puss in Boots 
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Go have a Ball 
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Tick tock Tick Tock Captain Hook and the Crocodile 
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Goldilocks and the three bears whose been sitting on my chair.
 

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Old London Traditional shops - James and Sons Umbrellas

James and Sons
In 1830, James Smith founded the famous firm of James Smith and Sons at Foubert Street in London's West End. His Son, also called James, was quite an entrepreneur and moved the business to New Oxford Street in 1857 - he also opened six other businesses including Hatters and a BarberShop. He had eight sons and a daughter, and when he moved to Tasmania with two of his sons to take up farming, he left the others to run the business at home. In 1930, it was his grandson Mr. Mesgar (great grandson of the Founder) who moved back from Tasmania to take over the running of the business.


A branch shop was opened just off Savile Row, and it was from here that umbrellas were sold to Gladstone, Bonar Law and Lord Curzon among many dignitaries. When this shop was pulled down to make way for a new road, the branch moved to New Burlington Street, but this was unfortunately bombed by the Luftwaffe in World War II
The business in umbrellas has always thrived - perhaps because of the English weather, but also because of the outstanding reputation the company has for new umbrellas and their repair service. The company was one of the first to use the famous Fox Frame and have led the field in utilising the most recent advances in fabrics and structure.
For a long time, the company specialised in making Ceremonial Umbrellas and Maces and gentlemen's canes and these are in service around the world. Until the 1920's the cane or stick was an essential part of the well-dressed males attire. During World War, I many hundreds of thousands of military 'swagger sticks' was sold to soldiers but today the cane or stick is used mostly as an aid to walking.
Much of the business for sticks comes from America where there has always been a shortage of good sticks and canes. One client even asked the company to make him stick in every English wood possible - he received over 70 sticks in total!


Apart from being the leading umbrella company for 170 years and the first name in sticks and canes, the shop on New Oxford Street is a legend in itself. It is a perfect example of Victorian shop front design and has remained virtually unaltered in 140 years. Inside it is a unique experience; most of the fittings were designed and made by a fitter kept in full employment by Mr. Smith. It is a must on any visit to London.




The First James Smith started our traditional of umbrella making in 1830 when he opened a small shop in Fouberts Place, off Regent Street. He made the umbrellas at the back of the shop, and customers were served at the front.


That tradition is still maintained in our New Oxford Street premises. Our workshops have always been situated in the basement, and it is there we still make umbrellas and walking sticks. These days we sell so many that some have to be made specially for us by other small family firms. The design and materials of the gentleman's traditional umbrella have changed little over the years apart from the fact that most of the covers nowadays are made from nylon. It is generally recognised that London has been the home of the best umbrellas and walking sticks, and we are pleased to be able to continue that tradition.

We would be delighted to welcome you to our beautiful shop and look forward to your visit. We are on New Oxford Street, very close to Tottenham Court Road Underground station and the British Museum. If you are coming from Oxford Street, go to the Tottenham Court Road crossroads, carry on across the lights, and the road becomes New Oxford Street.


James Smith Umbrellas Shopfront

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Regent Palace History

Q: Please can you supply information on any history for the Regent Palace.


The Regent Palace Hotel was built in 1914 for ‘T Lyons & Co. Ltd’ on Crown land and opened on Wednesday, May 16, 1915. At this time, it was the largest hotel in Europe with 1028 bedrooms. The hotel is situated opposite the statue of Eros, in Piccadilly Circus near Shaftesbury Avenue, Leicester Square and Regent Street. The area directly around Piccadilly, with Piccadilly Circus at its centre, is commonly considered to be the centre of London. Indeed, in its heyday, in the 17th century, this area was one of the most fashionable and exclusive parts of the city. As the constant crowds testify, it is as popular today as it was then. Piccadilly Circus was formed in 1819 by the intersection of Piccadilly, Regent Street, Shaftesbury Avenue and the Haymarket. The unusual name comes from the word "pickadill" which was a type of stiff collar, fashionable in the 17th century. At its heart is its most famous landmark – known as the statue of Eros. However, it is neither a statue, nor the figure of Eros! It is actually a memorial fountain commemorating the Victorian philanthropist the Earl of Shaftesbury, and the figure is not the Greek God of Love, but the Christian angel of Charity. Eros has become one of the most famous landmarks in London so expect the area to be busy (and bring your camera!).
The Regent Palace Hotel is located on a triangular site close to the north side of Piccadilly Circus, a site more than an acre in extent, bordered by Glasshouse Street, Sherwood Street, Brewer Street and Air Street. The hotel was completed in 1915, from designs by Messrs. Henry Tanner, F.R.I.B.A, F.J. Wills and W.J. Ancell.
The building is a steel-framed structure, faxed externally with glazed terra-cotta, the roof being covered with green slates. No less than 6000 tons of steelwork were required for the structure. There are nine floors above ground level, with a lower ground floor, basement and sub-basement. The main entrance is at the apex facing towards Piccadilly Circus. Here, one once entered through a vestibule into a circular lounge, lined with marble and having a richly embellished ceiling in the form of a shallow dome. The vestibule opened into the reception hall, on the one side of which was a staff counter and office, while on the other, was a marble staircase and three passenger lifts serving the various floors. Beyond, entered through the large swing doors, was the Rotunda Court. It had, over the centre, a large dome-light filled with stained and leaded glass and was seated with chairs and tables, which were chiefly occupied for afternoon tea. Opening out of the Rotunda Court was the Louis XVI Restaurant. The walls were of a light tone, with dark brown hangings to the windows. From one side of the Rotunda court access was gained to a corridor off which opened the general writing-room, and the Ladies’ writing-room, and at this point also were stairs leading up to the bedroom floors and down to the apartments on the lower ground floor, which include an immense grill-room, a smoking and reading room, a small palm court, and a billiard room. In the basement are the kitchen and kindred offices, and in the sub-basement the heating, ventilating, and power plant. From the first floor upwards, the whole of the hotel was occupied by bedrooms, sitting-rooms and bathrooms.
Unfortunately, though, we are unable to provide much information about the hotel and its history from the time it opened up until its recent past., in fact within the hotel there is very little in the way of historical records. Indeed, most of the information provided, is from personal experiences accounted to us in correspondence. Quite regularly, we have old bills, menus and key cards forwarded to us by family members whose parents had stayed at the hotel, generally, on their honeymoon. In its early days it was owned and operated by J Lyons and Company who formed a subsidiary company called Strand Hotels Limited. In its earliest days, a Mr Morris Salmon had responsibility for the Regent Palace Hotel. Later, it became under the remit of Douglas Gluckstein and Rex Joseph. The earliest records that we have show that a Mr Frederichs and Mr Delaloye formed part of the management team responsible for running the hotel. The Delaloye family was associated with the hotel industry for many years up until the late seventies when the father, son and grandson worked at the Cumberland Hotel, Marble Arch.
We also know that during the First World War, a considerable part of the hotel was requisitioned by the British Government and during the Second World War, 2 separate bombs caused minor damage. One of these bombs hit the staff Annexe which is a building adjacent to the hotel, containing 160 bedrooms for staff living in (mainly maids), bearing in mind that in the grand days of the hotel, there were over 1000 people employed on the premises. One member of staff lost their life in this raid.
The staff annexe building also contained a complete laundry service for all of the Strand hotels in London. The two buildings are linked by a bridge, still visible today, and an underground passage Westminster City Council granted a licence to construct in the 1930’s.
In the 1950’s and early 1960’s, J Lyons introduced Lyons Electronic offices to their businesses. The first digital billing computers were introduced at the Strand Palace Hotel and then the Regent Palace Hotel in the early 1970’s. They were the first of its kind in the world although in the Hilton in New York, they had started at the reception end of the process to gather marketing information in conjunction with IBM. The Regent Palace Hotel also supplied meat in the form of pre-cut steaks to all the Strand Hotels and Cornerhouses including the famous “Grill and Cheese” restaurants. The carcasses were brought into the hotel and butchered on site in specially designed production kitchens in the basement of the hotel.
It was the association with the meat trade that seemed to attract a massive influx of farmers at the annual Smithfield week, taking place at Earls Court and indeed, still does today, during the first weekend in December. In the 1960’s and 1970’s the whole hotel would be booked out by the farming community.
In the 1960’s, the hotel developed a less than favourable reputation as a place of ill repute. Located near Soho, it was an obvious meeting point for ladies of the night to ply their trade. Rumour has it that if you phoned the concierge desk and asked for an extra pillow a deal could be done. These days have long gone through legislation and Soho has retreated back to its old boundaries.
There are many anecdotes and stories associated with the hotel from as far away as Australia and America. We even get the occasional letter from service men, having stayed at the hotel during the latter days of the war. Please keep them coming, we are always interested to hear about our past. Contact us on http://www.regentpalacehotel.co.uk/contactus.htm
It has to be remembered that although the hotel is now threatened with demolition that in its heyday it was considered to be a hotel of luxury, offering the highest standards that could be found in London. How times have changed.


http://www.regentpalacehotel.co.uk/history.htm