A small trip report. It was a privilege to visit Glasgow and London in September. I loved the trip, and felt very much at home. I was fortunate to meet a Scottish writer and actress who is creating a film project with a strong postal element, an English author and Savile Row tailor, and tour Gordon Ramsey’s kitchen post-dinner, but this report is about stationery.
My first pencil: After taking Virgin Trains from Glasgow to London, my wife and I decided to not plan, fearing we would be quite knackered. We were right. We randomly found Smith & Whistle, where we enjoyed a surprisingly pleasant dinner. To my amazement, there was a small post-cheque treat: a lollipop, a themed calling card, and a pencil! I’ve never heard of a restaurant pencil treat, but it set me up nicely!
Art galleries and museums were delightful. Gift shops typically had branded pencils and notebooks – but usually without attribution to the manufacturer, or recycled pencils, etc. Readers of this blog may imagine that over time – I have enough of this stuff, and declined to purchase these.
These shops excelled in their book selections – super interesting, curated, engaging. I am or have been a member of several museums and art galleries around Southern Ontario and Northern California – and the bookstores at the Tate Modern and Design Museum seem to be a level above.
The Design Museum had an exhibit focusing on the industrial designs of four companies – Apple, Braun, Olivetti, and Sony.
Here is some of the Braun collection:
They had the famous Sotsass Olivetti Valentine in red, but also blue and white:
As to specific stationers, we found time to visit three. I’ll mention the two worth special trips:
Present and Correct is an internet powerhouse. Their Instagram account may be the most popular stationery account in the world! I was really surprised that the store is the size of a postage stamp! It is chock full of stationery goodness (and also has a great book section). I met another stationery pilgrim who asked me if I knew of her favourite, The Regional Assembly of Text. (I do!)
Choosing Keeping has an exemplary pencil selection – the Bosco Woods side by side with the Lothar Faber anniversary pencils. And they know the field. I enjoyed hearing their perspective on the industry.
They are also an exceedingly tiny store.
Did I buy anything? Yes. I hope to feature some purchased items in the future.
4 Replies to “London Calling: a trip report”
Thank you for this lovely report, which I enjoyed very much. Such a nattily dressed traveler!
You’ve set the bar too high again — this time for what to wear for blog post photos. :)
Your comment about how small Present and Correct is reminded me of Skripta-Paris.
https://wordpress.com/post/contrapuntalism.wordpress.com/4067 (scroll about half-way)
For a store with such a large inventory, I had the false impression it would have been decidedly larger than it was.
Thanks for this post and the photos; it’s always great to find out what these well-known stationery stores look like in person.
Sorry, this is the URL: https://contrapuntalism.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/par-ys/
Sola and Sean, thank you for the comments and compliments. :)
Unfortunately I lost my camera SD card en route. These are borrowed camera phone pics.