Yesterday, we went off to London to see the Christmas lights switch on Regent Street.
But first, we went into Liberty of London, which is often just referred to as Liberty.
It’s quite another luxury department store, but it has been around longer than Selfridges. The founder was called Sir Arthur Lasenby Liberty, and he opened his store with just three staff members in 1875.¹ While the business was growing and expanding, the poor founder died seven years before the completion of his shops. He believed he could change the shopping of homewares and fashion² during the Victorian era.
I found a bust of him inside…
… along with a plaque…
I think it’s wonderful that these historic entrepreneurs have created these stores, whose stores are still going, because they give us much pleasure today. It’s lovely there’s a bust and plaque in store, which celebrates their being (note to self: must hunt out Selfridge’s bust).
The beautiful building is, sadly, not really original Tudor. It’s revival Tudor, but it’s lovely anyway, with all the carvings and the wooden timber-frames. It’s lovely to have different architecture to look at in London. It looks like a grand stately home, while it feels very intimate and cosy inside. Apparently, Liberty wanted customers to feel that they were exploring someone else’s home,³ so he kept the sizes of the interconnecting rooms small, while including fireplaces, and cushions to sit on.
So, if you are ever in London, go along to Selfridges & Co., and Liberty of London. They give extreme historic insights of London, while tempting you to stay all day, even if you don’t buy anything.
No pressure to do so.
Harry Selfridge would most likely encourage you to browse anyway, while I have no idea what Liberty would say…
Mind you, he’s probably tell you to sit on the cushioned window seat, and have a cup of tea!
¹ Liberty, Early History, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberty_(department_store)#Early_history ² Liberty London, The History of Liberty, http://www.liberty.co.uk/AboutLiberty/article/fcp-content ³ Time Out, Liberty, http://www.timeout.com/london/shopping/liberty