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In the good old days I used to work on what is still one of my favourite streets in London: Leonard Street.
Our office was what you might term ‘shabby chic’. There was a slight (read: massive) rat problem which led to the occasional dodgy odour, the wooden floor was full of holes that a Health and Safety inspector would be aghast at, and its East London pub-based location meant you were either falling out of one or side-stepping dodgy puddles on the pavement.
But one of the wonderful things about Leonard Street was how quirky the surroundings were. Dodgy puddles aside, The Griffin on the corner was a proper East End boozer (before it was refurbished) – so much so that it featured in an episode of Luther. There you’ll also find The Book Club (not an actual book club) as well as cult favourite gallery Pure Evil and 71a Gallery where I drank many a tepid glass of white wine as a scrounging marketing exec.
And right opposite my old office was one of the most special places you’ll find in the whole of London. Equal perhaps only to the amazing God’s Own Junkyard, Westland London is one of the most intriguing spots in the whole city.
Not to be confused with the very different Westfield London, Westland London is located in the incredible St Michael’s church. This building, originally deisgned by architect James Brookes, is a Grade I listed building and includes a clergy house and school hall. Built in 1865, its doors closed to church-going crowds 99 years later in 1964 due to the declining post-war population.
Westland re-located its premises to the space in 1977, with founder Geoff Westland focussing on shipping antiques worldwide and refurbishing the fabric of the complex of church, clergy house and the school hall. In 2017 you can find an incredible amount of hidden treasures, including marble fireplaces from Westland London.
Presently the emphasis for Westland London has been on finding and restoring a vast and comprehensive collection of antique and prestigious chimneypieces, antique fire grates, architectural elements, antique lighting & chandeliers, with pieces ranging from Gothic and Renaissance to Victorian and Art Deco. Westland London items have originated over the centuries from the British Isles, Ireland, Italy, France, Flanders, Spain and elsewhere, with pieces always of exotic and extraordinary quality, concept and style.
Westland is so worth a visit if you’re in the area. The location is a veritable treasure trove of oddities and objects, and I used to quite happily while away my lunch hours poking around the incredible antiques. Forget IKEA – this is the new showroom of dreams.
Westland London, St Michael’s church, Leonard Street, London, EC2A 4QX
Thanks to Westland for working with MTT.