London Spring 2021 | The Jigsaw Project | Part 5

Wednesday 2nd June

Today was a designated day off from the project as I’d booked a train to go and see my cousin up in Colchester, with Jan recovering from a recent operation. An easy 1 hour or so run from Liverpool Street station but, consulting the locations I’d plotted on Google Maps, there were two to the east that were sort of on the way, that I could knock off without too much deviation and still make my intended train if I left early enough. On to the Transport for London website to look at amended route.

Ensuring I had my mask this time I left Patsy soon after 9am, taking bus No. 363 for the hour or so trundle to Elephant & Castle. From there it was a 10 minute walk to my first port of call; Borough Road.

The Duke of York sits at No.47 on the corner of Southwark Bridge Road, just by the railway bridge. Originally  The Goose & Firkin it was once part of the Firkin pub chain - set up in 1979 by David Bruce who bought run down pubs from the major breweries, and reintroduced the almost forgotten practice of brewing beer on the premises. The chain grew rapidly but was sold in 1988, eleven years later ending up in the hands of Bass who stopped brewing on site. Currently owned by Kent brewer Shepherd Neame.


The UK Bus Checker app promised a bus within a few minutes and so it proved, the 344 taking me across London Bridge to Monument station where I boarded the tube to Aldgate East. It was just one stop and really not that far but it was getting warm and was conscious of the time - that’s my excuse anyway.

With the exit on Leman Street it was only a short walk to the next location; No.70. Originally the Garrick and renamed sometime prior to 1983, there has been a pub here since around 1831. The licence was revoked in 2010 following a drugs bust. It appears to have been taken over and renamed The Oliver Conquest in the same year and continues under that name today. Sadly it was impossible to get a better picture even with the phone’s wide angle lens. Possibly a return visit.


Then it was back to the Underground for the ride to Liverpool Street. I was later than planned but there were plenty of trains and got on the 11:18 Greater Anglia service heading to Clacton. I’d seen a lot online about their new trains but this was clearly one of the older ones. No air-con and hot, stuffy and pretty uncomfortable. I was glad to get to Colchester and get in the air conditioned comfort of Andy’s car.

Well a very pleasant afternoon was had, much chin-wagging and a BBQ washed down with a couple of Timothy Taylor Landlord ales, specially procured by Andy. Both his girls came to visit too - I’d seen neither for nearly a year. All in all it was a fantastic visit.

I’d debated to myself what time to leave - on the one hand I didn’t want to get back to Patsy too late - on the other I wondered how busy rush hour would be in London once I got to Liverpool Street. Having decided on the 5:15pm train I was back at the station in good time and the 5:00pm one was at the platform so I boarded that. A completely different kettle of fish entirely from the first, this was sleek, modern, cool and very comfortable. I was also faster, getting in to Liverpool Street just 50 minutes later.

I could have got a bus from here to Brixton but journey time was looking like an hour, and with another 30 minutes or so thereafter back to the site, I just didn’t fancy it so instead opted for the tube.

The first leg, to Bank was ok, where I changed lines - this train was rammed and, given how things are just now a little uncomfortable. Fortunately, the vast majority of people were complying with the rules and had masked up.

Thankfully the train emptied considerably at the next stop and was relatively quiet all the way to Stockwell where I changed for Brixton, finally boarding the good old No.3 again for the last leg of the journey back to site. Patsy had hit 27 degrees and the fridge was struggling a little - luckily there’s not much left in it.

Some nibbles, procured in the usual Sainsbury’s Local, went down well and the eyelids became heavy soon after. I called it a night a little earlier than usual but it had been a cracking day all around.

  • For the record; public transport journeys taken (excluding train to Colchester): Bus 363 to Elephant & Castle, Bus 344 to Monument, Underground to Aldgate East, Underground to Liverpool Street, Underground to Brixton (3 trains) Bus 3 to Crystal Palace. Total cost capped at £7.40

Thursday 3rd June

The day started a little overcast but the forecast looked pretty good and by the time I came to leave for the bus was pondering the wisdom of donning leather jeans and waistcoat for the day - but decided to anyway, getting the usual odd looks through the site. I can’t understand it - I’d left my coat off. Standards.

The project was very much on the home straight now with with just seven addresses left to visit, the majority being centred around the jewellery area in Old and New Bond Street. First on the list though was one I’d originally mis-plotted on the map and so headed, via Brixton of course on the No.3, on the No.59 again, alighting on Kingsway near Holborn Station.

207 High Holborn was once occupied by Shapland. A Grade II Listed building, at one time a tobacconist but by 1849 a pawnbroker, the name Shapland first appearing around 1891. The name remained until the early eighties when it became a branch of Goldsmiths. Most recently occupied by Cards Galore it is currently empty.


There followed a walk down Shaftesbury Avenue and into Soho. Google Maps predicted 14 minutes, my legs said 18. Running roughly East to west I was able once again, vampire like,  to keep in the shade of the buildings for the most part. Soho was busy with delivery vehicles but not much else to be honest - nothing like it is usually.

83-85 Wardour Street used to be the Roundhouse. The current building dates from 1892 and it was the Round House from 1862, renamed from the Blue Cross which appears to have been established around 1756. Popular at one time as a blues and skiffle club, it had certainly lost the Round House name by 2013. It currently houses Soho Residence, a ‘premier bar, club and lounge space’. The Roundhouse name can still be seen on the corner.


Continuing west along Brewer Street brought me to where Old & New Bond Street meet and directly opposite was my next port of call.

25 Old Bond Street and another Grade II listed building. Carrington & Co. jewellers and silversmiths were established in 1873, however all references point to them being at 130 Regent Street. I can’t as yet find definitive connection to them at Old Bond Street, however it seems likely it was the same company. Carrington received several Royal warrants and were later bought out by Collingwood. Collingwood appears to have closed in 2004 and the premises has been occupied by Tiffany & Co since at least 2001.


There were certainly more people about here, a queue to get into Hermes stretching around the corner. I eyed some artwork in the street as hefty - if not necessarily fit - security guards - present by most of the shops - eyed me warily. Clearly I didn’t like look a potential customer.


At 11 New Bond Street used to be Philip Antrobus. Established in 1815 who were commissioned by Prince Philip to design the Queens’ engagement ring, along with a bracelet containing diamonds from his mothers’ tiara. The company was acquired by Pragnell at some point and the unit has been occupied by Blanc Pain since 2014. It is possible that Philip Antrobus descended from the Antrobus family in Congleton. Now occupied by Blanc Pain.


Further up at No. 26 another name had disappeared. This one was difficult to pin down exactly but Tessiers  looks to be have been established around the early to mid 1800’s. Moved to nearby Burlington Arcade at some point but have since disappeared. Most recently occupied by Lucie Campbell who closed in March 2019, Savills agents reported in December 2019 that luxury retailer Faure le Page would be taking over the property although as you see it still appears to be empty. Again, apologies for the skewed image, taken with the wide angle lens leaning against a DHL van which was parked directly in front!


The Bond Street Kiosk at 34/35 New Bond Street appeared to occupy a spot directly in front of Sotheby’s auction house. Sparse information on this one however a Private Limited Company was incorporated in 1971 and a stock photo shows it still there in 1991. The company was dissolved in 1996. It has some claim to fame, being shown in the 1983 James Bond Film Octopussy - Roger Moore can be seen standing outside with a magazine.


And so, on to the very last one on my list and it was perhaps appropriate that it was a pub. A slight reverse ferret and right turn brought me past the aforementioned Hermes store and into Bruton Street. At No.5 stands the Coach & Horses, one of the quaintest buildings I’ve seen on this trip.

Thought to be one of the first properties to be built in Bruton Street and first licensed in 1738. Rebuilt in 1933 in mock Tudor style and features caricatures of 19th century politicians and clerics on it’s walls. A Youngers pub at the time of the photo and until at least 2007, it is now under the Greene King banner.


A celebratory pint would have been in order but it was a little too early for me and more importantly for them too, as they were shut.

Instead I took a slow walk back down Old Bond Street and along to Piccadilly, down Haymarket and past Trafalgar Square to Whitehall. I could have got on a bus almost straight away here but the Red Lion was very much open and the temptation was too much. I downed my first draught pint of the trip outside watching the world go by before boarding the bus back to the site, crossing the Thames at Lambeth Bridge,  for a late but much enjoyed bacon and Stilton baguette. The usual nap, blog writing, dinner and telly followed.


  • For the record: Public transport used: Bus 3 to Brixton, Bus 59 to Holborn, Bus 3 to Crystal Place. Total Cost £3.10.

I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed this. From doing the jigsaw that I remember as a kid back in the late 70’s/early 80’s, to all the research done during the winter lockdown, to finally getting to visit all the places featured on the jigsaw. To follow will be a new montage, recreating the original image, once I sort the appropriate software.

In all I did 22 bus journeys and 8 separate underground trips. Cost for the week: £31.25, capped on several days through the TFL Oyster system.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read this this series of blog posts. I do hope you have enjoyed reading them as much as I have putting them together. It’s took me to parts of London that I haven’t been to for years, sometimes back to when I was a kid visiting with my parents, which was longer ago than I care to remember.



London Spring 2021 | The Jigsaw Project | Part 4

Tuesday 1st June

A very productive day project wise. For those just joining and wondering about the title, a look at Parts 1,2 & 3 should help, along with THIS blog post on my non-caravanning blog which might just help explain what an earth I’m on about for the next few minutes.

Once again the early morning cuppa coaxed the grey matter into life as I consulted Google Maps to determine my starting point for the day. I had no target as such, nor much of a plan but with so many in Central London close together I would trudge for as long as the knee and heat would allow.

The usual No. 3 took me to Brixton, changing to the No. 59 which would cross the Thames via Waterloo Bridge, depositing me on Aldwych for a short walk up and across Kingsway to Portsmouth Street, just south of Lincolns Inn Field which, along with Temple to the South is London’s historic - and current - legal quarter.

The Old Curiosity Shop, on a quiet street away from the hustle and bustle, sits defiantly amongst modern characterless developments thanks to its’ listed status. Built in the 16th century and surviving the Great Fire it was originally a dairy, later a bookstore and now a swanky shoe shop. Development around was in full swing so another that will need a return visit in due course.


Back across Kingsway and towards the centre I spotted this, once The infamous Blitz Club. Not on the list but worth a snap.


At 22 Great Queen Street used to be L. Cornelissen. ‘Artists colourmen’ said to have been founded by a Belgian lithographer, initially at Drury Lane and reportedly moving to Great Queen Street in 1855, it’s home until 1977 when it closed following the death of the last of the Cornelissen’s. The name re-emerged at 105 Great Russell Street in 1979, where it continues to this day. The most recent occupants were Estate Agents but as you can see, the unit is now empty. Please forgive the photo but thanks to a delivery vehicle being directly in front, the phones’ wide angle lens was deployed.


Close by was Drury Lane, at the southern end of which was No.68, once home to Brodie & Middleton; theatrical and scenic supplies and, given their location in Theatreland, certainly in the right place. Moving from Long Acre in 1981 and from 1999 they shared the premises with canvas supplier Russell & Chapple and moved to Store Street in 2015 where business continues today under the Russell & Chapple name. An office of some sort behind the frosted glass and there has clearly been much redevelopment since the original photo was taken,


One street across from Drury Lane was Catherine Street and a chance to bag two more addresses. At No.29 was the Nell of Old Drury pub. First licensed in 1835, rebuilt in 1883 and renamed in 1965 after Nell Gwynne, mistress  of King Charles II, although it’s also reported that there has been a pub on the site since at least 1660. A tunnel running between the pub and the Theatre Royal opposite was reportedly used by the King to visit Nell. Lots of original features remain. I love the bow window.


A few doors along at No. 23 is The Opera Tavern. A Blue Plaque gives the date as since 1879 but records indicate there has been a pub here since the 1791, initially the Yorkshire Grey, then the Sheridan Knowles, back when it was still Brydges Street. The name change to The Opera Tavern appears to have occurred in 1861. The name remains but became a tapas bar and restaurant in around 2011. I much prefer the original facade.


Next it was a trudge north up Drury Lane past the Travelodge where I stayed in London for my 40th just a few, ahem, years ago. Not the most comfortable of walks - previously I’d been heading roughly west to east, keeping to the shady side like a vampire wary of the sun. No matter, the destination was worth it - 53 New Oxford Street has been home to the business of James Smith & Sons for nearly 200 years, providing the capitals’ populace with umbrellas, walking sticks, seat sticks and associated accessories. Much unchanged as you can see. Fabulous.


A trudge back south and just off Seven Dials was Neal Street. at No. 33. Ellen Kelly barrow makers were established in Ireland in 1830, the family coming over to England at the time of the potato famine. Likely at Neal Street from 1900-1982, the company, whose customers were mainly market traders', branched out in the 60’s hiring out to the film industry. Keely Hire exists today in Hertfordshire as a supplier of props to the film, television and events sector. Research in the winter revealed the premises to be occupied by a jean store but the current tenants dispense face coverings and sanitiser. Most definitely a sign of the times.


A short walk across the other side of Seven Dials was Earlham Street and its’ worth mentioning that this part of London, whilst not exactly quiet, was far from busy and much more pleasant to walk around than usual. No dodging of camera wielding tourists - or should I say OTHER camera wielding tourists….

No. 14 was home, in the original pic, to F.W Collins & Sons. Ironmongers established in 1835 and owned by the Collins family for seven generations. The shop closed in 2008 and was occupied since 2009 by The Vintage Showroom - specialists in vintage clothing and accessories. They even named their in house clothing line F. W. Collins in honour of the previous occupants but this branch closed recently. Grade II listed. Again the necessary wide angle lens on the mobile has skewed the image a bit.


From the relative quiet of Seven Dials and on to the traffic choked Charing Cross Road, once home - and still is to a degree - a plethora of book sellers, but first was a former tobacconists - G. Smith & Sons at No.74. Established in 1869, they offered a walk in humidor for cigar fans and and numerous blends of loose tobacco and snuff too. It seems to have finally closed in 2011. Now occupied by waistcoat, tie and jewellery specialists Andy & Tuly. Some nice cufflinks in the window and nice to see the original name still visible.


No 70, at the time of the photo was home to M.B. Newman. Online research reveals the business there in 1967 but more recently Cards Galore occupied the premises, which is now empty.


There used to be another bookshop at 48A - E. Joseph. At Charing Cross Road from around 1900, It became Quinto bookshop in 1983 until 2010 when they moved further up and since 2020 now operate solely online. Patisserie Valerie currently occupy the unit.


It was proving to be a very fruitful day and was rapidly approaching lunchtime, however there was one more to knock off before delving into the backpack. A stroll through St Martins’ Court and across St Martin’s Lane brought me to Bedfordbury, at No. 26 which was a barbers. No, I didn’t need a haircut - that’s largely DIY these days - but another business featured on the jigsaw which, although it may well have changed hands, was still operating over 40 years later. Originally Peter’s Gents Hairdressers - although apparently no-one called Peter has ever ran it - but since the eighties was run by younger family members and known as George the Barber.


Lunch - home cooked gammon baguette and a banana for the record - was wolfed down in the shade overlooking Trafalgar Square after a visit to the facilities there. 20p to pee and contactless was accepted at the barrier - except it wasn’t working and I had no cash. Said pee turned out to be free after being let in by the attendant.

A very short diversion from Whitehall and the start of the No.3 back to site was 10 Northumberland Street and the Sherlock Holmes pub. A pub since 1846 and rebuilt in 1883, it was called The Northumberland Arms until 1957 when, then owners Whitbread recreated Holmes’ sitting room at 221b Baker Street with items rescued from the Holmes exhibition, part of the 1951 Festival of Britain. The sitting room can still be viewed through glass from the upstairs dining room.


And that was it for the day. Back to the site on the good old No.3, hopping off at Brixton for beer and nibbles. As per, a beer in the recliner and the eventual unbuckling of boots and peeling off of the leather trews preceded a nap before getting to work on Part 3, dinner and TV following soon after. Having Just finished Series 4 of the excellent French cop drama Spiral, I’m currently mid way through ‘The Killing’, billed as the original Scandi-noir. At twenty episodes it’s a slow burner but definitely engrossing. No, I can’t understand French or Danish - English is a struggle after a few - but they’ve certainly been worth watching.

Part 5 coming soon…

  • For the record, public transport used: Bus 3 to Brixton, Bus 59 to Aldwych, Bus 3 to Crystal Palace. Total cost (uncapped): £3.10.