Tea makes a wonderful gift, and Kusmi Teas exotic and colourful packaging means you don’t even need wrapping paper.
With its fashionable Gallic style and visual flair, I had assumed that Kusmi was originally a Parisian company.
But as I discovered on their website, Kusmi was started 140 years ago by a P.M. Kousmichoff, the son of a Russian peasant. There is a London connection as his son came here in 1907 to hone his tea blending skills.
After a long history involving escaping from the Reds and surviving being run by arty-types, Kusmi now have a branch on Marylebone High Street. (more…)
Earl Grey was Prime Minister of the British Isles from 1830-34. Famous for having a type of tea named after him, he lived at number 13 Carlton House Terrace.
Next door, at number 12, the Institute of Contemporary Arts has a lovely café, that serves a good cup of tea all these years later.
The ICA was formed in the 1940’s by Surrealist Roland Penrose and anarchist Herbert Read as a meeting place for artists and intellectuals. It has been in the Mall since the sixties.
Today, there is an art house cinema, gallery space, and art bookshop. They stock an impressive range of art theory books with zippy titles (more…)
The rooms are laid out as they would have been in Dr Johnson’s time.
Great care has been taken to restore the wood-panelling to the original muted paint colours.
The house is peaceful and atmospheric, the library is my favorite room with its soft yellow paintwork and light flooding in from high windows. You can also leaf over a facsimile of the famous dictionary. (more…)
The forecourt of Euston Station is often crowded and full of fast-food outlets, not a particularly pleasant place for a reviving cuppa on arrival from the North of England. Robert Stephenson‘s statue looks on grimly over proceedings.
Happily, just over Euston Road is Friends Meeting House.
This oasis of quiet and calm contemplation, was the first place Gandhi visited on his trip in 1931, possibly for the very nice cup of tea.
Friends Meeting House Euston is the headquarters of the Quakers in Britain, and home to the Quaker Centre Cafe. All the products are fair trade, and you can buy ethically sourced delicacies (more…)
Henry Wellcome (1853-1936) was a unique and extraordinary individual. ‘Pharmacist, entrepreneur, philanthropist and collector’.
The Wellcome Trust on Euston Road, a ‘Destination for the Incurably Curious’ is a wonderful place to visit.
An ongoing series of fascinating temporary exhibitions focus on life, science and art.
Medicine Man, a permanent exhibition on 4th floor shows a small selection of Henry’s collection. I felt quite sorry for Mrs Wellcome!
The cafe, run by Peyton and Byrne, has a fresh, contemporary feel. The lights are shaped like laboratory flasks that hypnotically change colour. (more…)
Arthur Probsthain is an independent family-run bookshop, established in 1903.
Specialising in books from and about, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, with a branch at the School of African and Oriental Studies.
My favorite places to visit are India and Turkey, so coming across this bookshop was a very happy discovery indeed. (more…)