Esoteric London

No. 214: Floral Street, WC2

Posted in Shops by esotericlondon on December 23, 2010

Paul Smith, Floral Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2. Photo © Roger Dean 2010

The Criminal Prisons of London and Scenes of London Life (The Great World of London) – Henry Mayhew and John Binny, 1862:

Those who have seen London only in the day-time, with its flood of life pouring through the arteries to its restless heart, know it not in all its grandeur. They have still, in order to comprehend the multiform sublimity of the great city, to contemplate it by night, afar off from an eminence. As noble a prospect as any in the world, it has been well said, is London viewed from the suburbs on a clear winter’s evening. Though the stars be shining in the heavens, there is another firmament spread out below with its millions of bright lights glittering at the feet. Line after line sparkles like the trails left by meteors, and cutting and crossing one another till they are lost in the haze of distance. Over the whole, too, there hangs a lurid cloud, bright as if the monster city were in flames, and looking from afar like the sea at dusk, made phosphorescent by the million creatures dwelling within it.

[The above photograph is of the Christmas window display of the Paul Smith shop in Floral Street. This emporium’s displays have become something of an art form in themselves over the years. R.D.]

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