My Secret London: Lamb’s Conduit Street

I recently posted about the wonderful Mouki Mou, and how it was one of the many gems to be found on the quirky Chiltern Street. As these little off-beat streets are what I think makes London unique, I thought I would share another one of my favourites; Lamb’s Conduit Street in Bloomsbury.

Not only does it have a wonderfully eccentric name (more on that later), what makes the street unique is its atmosphere, born from the ethical People’s Supermarket, the independent Persephone Books, fantastic Spanish and Italian restaurants, and a number of bijou cafés.

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Like Chiltern Street, its charming selection of independent shops belies its central location. However, what brought my attention to the street, was its quiet but significant growth into a menswear hub.

The catalyst for this menswear movement was the opening of Folk Clothing nine years ago.

Folk have since been joined by casual menswear brand Oliver Spencer, British shoe-maker Grenson, and independents like The Content Store, and Universal Works. What I particularly like about this cluster of stylish menswear is that they are almost all young, homegrown British retailers.

The recent launch of J Crew perhaps threatens the independent spirit of the street, but the shop is relatively unassuming, keeping the features of the Georgian townhouses that line the street.

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The street’s appeal extends beyond menswear though, with one of my favourite shops Persephone, which publishes out-of-print books written by women in the first half of the 20th century. Pentreath & Hall run by Ben Pentreath of Inspiration fame, just round the corner on Rugby street is also worth a mention with its unique selection of home gifts.

There are also a few gems of restaurants like Cigala – run by one of the founders of Moro – and Ciao Bella, a popular Italian.

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However perhaps the most inspiring store of the street is, surprisingly, a grocery store. The People’s Supermarket is a creative cooperative where members pay an annual fee of £25 to join and are required to volunteer for 4 hours each month either in the store or café. Members who complete their shift each month are entitled to 20% off their shopping in-store.

The stock is largely from local, London suppliers and any the shop runs on sustainable energy. It’s a nice example of how shops can work with communities to create not only good products but also a real togetherness that has more than just economic benefits.

But what about the name? Unfortunately it has little to do with lambs and is instead named after William Lambe, who funded a conduit to supply the City of London with spring water. London’s eccentricity at its best!

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