Saturday, 27 February 2010

Lesser Known London Attractions

Visited a couple of lesser known but favourite London attractions. The first is the Building Centre, in Store Street, W.1. Intended mainly for architects, builders, and those renovating properties, it is also a must-see for anyone interested in the architecture of London.

It has a constantly changing display of exhibitions and galleries - and of course a lot of product information. There's a constantly updated huge model of London, showing new and forthcoming buildngs and projects clearly marked,

and a reasonable little cafe. At present, it has the four contenders for the new US embassy to be built near Battersea Power station. I had wanted to go because the winning design seemed pretty bland. Having seen all the designs, graphics and models, though, I had to concede it was the best of the bunch. The main reason was that it actually looked like an embassy. The others all looked like something else -a concert hall, perhaps, or an office block.

Also dropped by at Selfridge's basement exhibition hall, known as the Ultralounge. It has something called the Museum of Small Things, containing small scale artworks. Interesting idea, and some good (and bad, and mediocre) things to see. Among my favourites was "I Met the Walrus" - an animated encounter with John Lennon, projected onto a pillow. I also liked an animated film by Nomoco, "1163 steps" describing a walk through London most imaginatively and charmingly. The picture shows a gadget like a vacuum cleaner which finds hidden texts. No, I don't really understand it either, becuase it appeared to be broken.

There is also something called "Alice in the Wonder Room" which I managed to totally miss. I'd even heard that my book "The Mystery of Lewis Carroll" might be on sale there but since I didn't see it myself I cannot be sure.

Selfridges is getting more and more to be a fun place to visit for its own sake. I failed dismally to get what I had actually wanted to buy, though - some old fashioned shaving soap in a bowl, for men. I found that at John Lewis, up the road.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Yes I have tried and failed to get useful things in Selfridges. I have concluded that it wants to focus on luxury goods and be a fun place rather than somewhere useful like John Lewis !

  3. Really intriguing post. Thanks for the read.


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