Esoteric London

No. 1009: Kensington High Street, W8

Posted in Architectural, Friezes, London Types by esotericlondon on January 9, 2014

© Roger Dean RED_3522 copy

Kensington High Street, London, W8. Photo © Roger Dean 2013

Sketches of London Life and Character – Albert Smith &c., 1849:

THE LOUNGER IN REGENT STREET.

The Regent Street Lounger cares little about the shops. The people are his study. He is not like the more easterly tribes of Loungers. He never stops to listen to a man whistling canary notes with a quill in a tin jug of water. An excavated gas-pipe has no charms for him. He can withstand the temptation of an omnibus horse which has slipped on the wooden pavement, and he pays not the most remote attention to the gentleman who disposes of favourite lyric poetry at six yards a-penny; on the contrary, he paces easily yet jauntily on from the baker’s at the corner of Glass-house Street to the music-shop which marks the confluence of Regent and Oxford Streets. These are the general frontiers of his lounging dominions. And he traverses his kingdom with a certain observant thoughtfulness. Not a lady escapes the ordeal. His eye falls listlessly, yet searchingly, on face and form, and toilet and dress-from the saucy little boot to the flutter of the parasol fringe.

[The woman attending to her toilet at her dressing-table in the photo above is one of several panels on the exterior of the old Barker’s department store, an Art Deco edifice on Kensington High Street. R.D.]

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