London Spring 2021 | The Jigsaw Project | Part 3

Monday May 31st

It had turned chilly overnight again so the Caravan & Motorhome Club’s leccy meter was sent spinning a little faster for a few minutes as I came too, necked a cuppa and eventually peered outside. A thin fog had descended overnight and it looked a bit murky out. Even so I doubted it would be around long, a thought backed up by the weather forecast which predicted the mercury - or non hazardous equivalent - hitting the low twenties later.

As expected, by the time I emerged from the ‘van the sun was out, although there was a pleasant breeze to be had as I walked along to the bus stop to begin the days exploring. So pleasant in fact that I decided to walk back to the ‘van and make the same trip again a few moments later, having retrieved the face mask I’d er, deliberately left hanging up by the door. Tit.

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Talking about face coverings - whilst most comply with the current rules, a bit of a pain though they are, there have been one or two on public transport here who have not being wearing them. Yes, some are exempt and the reasons for them being so are not always visible but there seemed a certain defiance - more so in the young - well, younger than me anyway, which doesn't narrow it down much these days.

Anyway, it was the No. 3 bus as per usual that had the undoubted privilege of conveying the Blogger in Black first, changing at Brixton again, this time to the the No. 2 which deposited me just west of Trafalgar Square by Pall Mall. Today’s area was Mayfair and around and the stench of money grew appreciably stronger as I made my way to my first destination; Jermyn Street.

Better known for traditional - and expensive -gents outfitters; think stiff collar shirts, made to measure suits and handmade shirts. I like clothes as you know but they were all a bit well, staid and nothing piqued my interest, even before being put off by the price tag.  Anyway, my first port of call was a shop which sold cheese.

Paxton & Whitfield have been at 93 Jermyn Street since 1896, the business itself being formed by Stephen Cullum in 1742 when he started a market stall. Harry Paxton and Charles Whitfield joined the company in 1790. Royal warrants include Queen Victoria, the current Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles. The ‘Our Heritage’ section on their website is worth a look. I love traditional shop fronts with well dressed windows and this looked every bit as impressive as the original photo featured on the jigsaw - as usual shown on the left.

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A few doors along was Floris; perfumers to the well heeled gent since 1730. The Spanish mahogany cabinets and glasswork, purchased at The Great Exhibition in 1852 are still in the shop today. Notable customers from the past include Florence Nightingale, Sir Winston Churchill, Ian Fleming and Marilyn Monroe. Again, I love that they’ve kept the traditional look. I could have done with stocking up but doubted they sold Brut….

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A trudge to the end brought me to St James Street and further down at No. 3  just across from St James Palace was another traditional business that had stood the test of time. Originally a coffee merchant, George Berry joined the company in 1803 and by 1810 it was his name above the door. It was the turn of the century before the company began to focus exclusively on wine. Hugh Rudd joined the company in 1920 and in 1940 a limited company was formed with the name that remains to this day. For a more in depth look at the history, do have a look at the About section on their website. I love a nice glass or two of red although doubted they had anything in my price range. As it happens they were closed which was probably just as well as I may have been tempted.

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A reverse ferret up St James Street and a walk along a Piccadilly brought me to Curzon Street, now very much in Mayfair. Roller’s, Bentley’s and Ferrari’s were a common sight and your Chelsea tractors were ten a penny.

G. F. Trumper at No.9 - gents barbers and perfumers - have been coiffuring and odourising the Mayfair set and beyond since 1875. As you can see the front was partially obscured by roadworks, so a return visit will be called for at some point, to reproduce the original photo.

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Next up was Mount Street - a little further north and a pleasant walk - it was fairly quiet it has to be said - past Berkeley Square. There were no Nightingales singing - a complaint stating such has been put to Visit London - but a measure of the affluence of the area can be seen across the other side.

At the risk of alienating the Clarkson brigade I’m afraid such machines do little for me but I'm yet to discover if the old adage that inversely equates men’s motors to manhood rings true. Another sort of ahem, ‘research’ entirely..

I’m not adverse to the burble and throb of a big ‘V’ but, seeing and hearing an ageing Roller purr elegantly out of a side road before I could position my camera was such a delightful sound. I could see myself pulling up on to site in one,  a lottery win notwithstanding.

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Right, 117 Mount Street was once home to R. Allen and Co; High class butchers since 1830 and here from around 1880. The business was bought out in 2006 and closed in 2015 after falling into administration, the shops’ many fans taking to social media to blame the landlords for skyrocketing rents. In it’s place is a luxury deli from the Italian Marchesi group. Thankfully, being listed, the wonderful fa├žade remains.

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And so on to the next, roughly in the direction of Oxford Street, and this is the only address of which I’m not 100% certain. John Walker, a watch and clock maker was established in 1830. Apparently the firm was located at 1 South Molton Street in 1906 and moved to 64 South Molton Street in 1981, where a repair and restoration service continues on the first floor today. An email, when I did my online research back in the winter, sadly remains unanswered.

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Having bagged six already I contemplated calling it a day, but a look at the addresses plotted on Google Maps revealed that Wigmore Street was a short walk away, so I set off, crossing a relatively quiet Oxford Street and heading up Marylebone Lane.

At 62 was the only Cock & Lion. First licenced in the late 1700’s as the Lyon & Cock at 25 Wigmore Street and rebuilt in 1880. Presumably the street was renumbered at some point. Having not brought a packed lunch I was sorely tempted but all the outside seating was taken. My Nan had a coat like the lady in the original picture.

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Having consulted Google Maps and the Transport for London website, there was more one more address easily reachable. On entering George Street I remembered being here before with pals for a stop on the way to something that vaguely resembled football at Queens Park Rangers, Loftus Road. Not the place I was after but handily adjacent to a Tesco metro where I procured a sarnie that was wolfed down in short order.

At No. 89 used to be the Worcester Arms, Established around 1839 at No. 42 and renumbered to 89, the pub finally closed in 2002. Occupied now by an Italian seafood place who’s waiters eyed my camera wielding warily.

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And that was it for the day. A reverse ferret to Baker Street and the No 2, the stop for which was just across the road, took me via Marble Arch and Victoria, to Brixton where I was able to hop off and grab a couple of beers and some cheese before boarding the usual No. 3 back to the site. There's a consistently busy Sainsburys Local by Brixton Underground station but a short walk further up is another, just a few yards from the bus stop. Much quieter, the staff are amongst the most friendly and helpful I have ever encountered in a supermarket chain. Good on ‘em.

Back at site, a cold beer in the recliner by the ‘van preceded the unbuckling of the winklepickers and peeling off of the leathers. There may well have been a second before I retired to Patsy for a welcome nap, prior to a livening cuppa bashing one out - a blog post that is.

Thanks once again for reading, Part 4 to come soon, and a very fruitful if somewhat sweaty trudge around Central London for #thejigsawproject.

  • For the record; journeys made: Bus 3 to Brixton, Bus 159 to Pall Mall, Bus 2 to Brixton, Bus 3 to Crystal Palace. Total cost: £4.65.









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