Strolling round Soho

Happy New Year!   I don't know about you but I'm still getting to grips with January and emerging from hibernation.  But I've got a feeling 2013 will be an exceptional year and an exciting beginning to my blog, which I've been meaning to start for some time.

With a potential office move to Whitechapel looming, I've been thinking a great deal about how much I will miss meandering round Soho after work.  Working in the traditional rag trade streets of Fitzrovia, I love how a lunchtime skip across Oxford Street catapults you into this pocket village with a reputation.   Seedy strip clubs jostle along side smart restaurants such as Quo Vadis.  Gay clubs rub shoulders with the remaining Georgian houses who stand like Grand Madames watching over rapid gentrification.  As the Cross Rail project bores it's way through I must admit to worrying about how much the area will open up and lose it's character in the future.  Just take a look at the Cross rail sites in Soho on google earth and wonder at the sheer scale of the task! Undeniably, London is not an easy city to move across and needs to keep pace with international capital cities if it is to remain prosperous.

But back to what I wanted to show you.  I have long loved the facade of a glorious newsagent called Rippons which stands at 88 Dean Street.

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Whilst I took these pictures I watched builders and office workers dash in and out buying chocolate bars and cigarettes.  They didn't even stop once to admire this jaw droppingly beautiful Georgian shop which dates from 1791.  Just look at how wonky the top of the door frame is!

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The cable twist/rope detailing;

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 The interior is as you would expect, scruffy and functional, selling the usual quick lunchtime vices and lottery scratch cards.

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But how sad I thought to myself that nobody in the shop even knew if the facade was listed when I enquired.  There should at least be some kind of plaque about the history pinned up.   But who goes to the lengths of painting it a period olive colour and using gold leaf sign writing unless there is a preservation order I asked myself.

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A little investigation on the internet later showed that the restoration was carried out on behalf of the owner Romil Patel.  You can read more on the conservation of the facade on historical paint consultant Patrick Baty's website;

http://patrickbaty.co.uk/2010/10/18/open-all-hours/

Also here;

http://westendextra.com/news/2011/oct/rippons-unveil-shopfront-which-took-two-years-restore

There is a lovely new book on the subject called  London's West End, Jermyn Street and Bond Street I'm hoping to be inspired by;

http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/catherine+brennand/harry+mount/john+bodie/london27s+west+end2c+jermyn+street+26+bond+street/9198080/