Esoteric London

No. 209: Oxford Street, W1

Posted in London Types, Public Art, Shops by esotericlondon on December 16, 2010

John Lewis, Oxford Street, London, W1. Photo © Roger Dean 2010

All Done From Memory – Osbert Lancaster, 1963:

It is difficult nowadays to realize how very personal was then the relationship, even in London, between shop-keeper and customer and the enormous importance, comparable almost to that attained by rival churches, which late Victorian and Edwardian ladies attached to certain stores. All my female relatives had their own favourites, where some of them had been honoured customers for more than half a century and their arrival was greeted by frenzied bowing on the part of the frock-coated shopwalkers, and where certain of the older assistants stood to them almost in the relationship of confessors, receiving endless confidences on the state of their health, the behaviour of their pets and the general iniquity of the Liberal Government.

[ The above photograph is of Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture Winged Figure which adorns the side of the John Lewis department store on Oxford Street. It is, in my view one of the few reasons to visit Oxford Street these days R.D.]