Have you been watching the TV series The Crown or Call the Midwife? Or maybe you’ve recently seen the films Their Finest or Darkest Hour? All of these historical dramas were partly located and, in some cases, to shoot(Film) drehenshot in London. Even if the filming took place in a studio, the retro vibeGefühl, Stimmungvibe that any visitor to the British capital can feel helps to to underpinuntermauern, unterstreichenunderpin the nostalgia of these stories.
This month, we take you on a tour of vintage London that will make you feel like the lead character in your own historical drama. Whether you are visiting central London, going off to the East End or just want to pick and mix from destinations around town, there is something there for everyone.
The Original Hardys Sweetshop near Leicester Square Tube station offers a surreal welcome — one that Willy Wonka might like — to a world of sugary fun. It has a plumPflaumen-plum-coloured store front that displays gobstopper (UK)Kieferknacker, hartes Dauerlutschbonbongobstoppers, Rainbow Nerds, chocolate-covered fruit and more with a collageZusammenstellungcollage of clownish, oversize packages.
Inside, the delicious choices multiply. Ceiling-high shelves hold rows of large bottles filled with colourful sweets of all kinds. For visitors with a nostalgic taste, there’s a clear favourite: Hardys’s retro hard candies.
The shop’s own English boiled sweets are presented in small, elegant “theatre boxes” decorated with old-fashioned images of circus performers. And the flavours are antiquated in the nicest of ways: you’ll find traditional rhubarbRhabarberrhubarb and custardVanillesauce, Eiercremecustard, “olde” English mintPfefferminzbonbonmints, rum and butter — and many more.
“Hand made in copper panKupferpfannecopper pans to a traditional recipe using only natural ingredients” is the promise on the package. By the time you’ve read that, they’re gone.
Original Hardys Sweetshop
52 Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0BB
At ye olde pub
Polished wood, framed portraits of great Brits like King Henry VIII on the walls and pretty little tables for enjoying a pint or two: that’s Ye Olde Mitre, a pub in Camden that’s been in business since Elizabeth I was queen.
Back then, in the mid-16th century, servants at the London palace of the Bishops of Ely came here to relax. Pub manager Judith Norman says today’s customers are solicitor (UK)Rechtsanwalt, -anwältinsolicitors, jewellers, shipyardWerft-shipyard people from nearby offices — as well as the oddgelegentlichodd walking tour. They fill the place to capacity before to spill outherausströmenspilling out, drinks in hand, into the small forecourtVorhof, Vorplatzforecourt. The half-hidden location along Ely Place is said to be the last private road in London.
The pub is operated by Fuller’s, a family breweryBrauereibrewery based in the city’s west. Their popular ales and beers include London Pride, Oliver’s Island and others — all of which can be enjoyed with a toasted sandwich at Ye Olde Mitre.
Historical surveys show that the building dates only to the 1770s, and that the decor and interior are newer still. But the atmosphere is classic vintage Britain, an observation one must truly to verifyüberprüfenverify with a thirsty visit.
Ye Olde Mitre
1 Ely Court, Ely Place, EC1N 6SJ
If you find yourself watching beautiful people in gold leotardTrikotanzug, hautenger Künstleranzugleotards roller-skating past dancers dressed as Charlie’s Angels or Prince — and it’s late on a Saturday night — chances are you’re at Carwash. The Mayfair disco has made a name for itself as the place where hit music from the 1970s, 80s and 90s is brought back to life in eye-poppinglyauffallend, spektakuläreye-poppingly creative dimensions.
In addition to the Roller Girls, Carwash sends plenty of other performers through its party rooms. The Pleasure Patrol welcome you on arrival, and if you don’t like glitter, good luck: they will try, ever so politely, to to applyauftragenapply it to you. If you manage to boogie your way off into the crowd of people wearing vintage fashion (Madonna and Michael Jackson are well represented), you’ll want to look out for snake charmerSchlangenbeschwörer(in)snake charmers and fire performers, too — because Carwash is a show as well as a dance arena. Disco balls to spinsich drehenspin, DJs from Berlin, London, Ibiza and beyonddarüberhinausbeyond compete for attention. It’s 1976, after all. Time to party like it’s 1999.
at LOOP Nightclub, 19 Dering Street,
Cycle in style
There are two requirements for taking part in the Tweed Run: you must be able to to pilotsteuern, fahrenpilot a bicycle, and you must wear tweed. This eccentric cycle ride through the streets of London is attended by up to 1,000 people who love the dress code and the nostalgia of tradition. During the ride, everyone stops for tea, perhaps as one would have done on a holiday in the 1930s or 40s. The finishing lineZielliniefinishing line is toasted with cocktails and music, with prizes given for highlights such as best vintage bicycle and best-dressed woman. Organizers call it “a picnic, concert and village fete all rolled into one”. The next run is planned for May 2018.
This humorous magazine has a message for you: by dressing well and using old-fashioned manners, today’s gentleman can make society a better place. So handmade shoes, please, and Savile Row suits. That, at least, is what The Chap says (and with a good doseDosisdose of irony) in its quarterly publication. This mad vintage lifestyle is on show once a year at the Chap Olympiad. Crowds of well-dressed people meet in Bedford Square Gardens, close to the British Museum, for what in essence is an eccentric summer party. Competition is, well, weak, but it looks very stylish in events such as umbrella joustingTurnierkämpfejousting, when opponents on bicycles try to knock each other down using umbrellas and briefcaseAktenkofferbriefcases. The 2018 games are planned for July. —CWH
The East End
Live out your dreams of silver-screenKinoleinwand-silver-screen glamour at the Electric Cinema in Shoreditch. Make yourself comfortable in your very own leather armchairSesselarmchair, with a cashmere blanket over your lapSchoßlap and a glass of wine within easy reach. It’s like watching a film in the comfort of your own living room — only much better.
Turn up the decadence by treating yourself to a session at the retro barber shop, Barber & Parlour, upstairs. For the ladies, there’s The Cheeky Parlour, offering a range of beauty treatments to make sure that you are nothing less than your red-carpet best for the show. Continue the evening in the retro-styled ground-floor bar. Cinema doesn’t get much more stylish than this. Films on offer tend to be a mixture of mainstream and art houseProgrammkinoart house.
Electric Cinema Shoreditch
64–66 Redchurch Street, E2 7DP
Step back in time in this unusual village shop. Set in Spitalfields, between investment banks and law firms, Cundall & Garcia specializes in good old-fashioned British foods. The high-calorie sandwiches are essentially a home-cooked meal between two pieces of bread. Fillings include marmalade-glazedglasiertglazed ham and roast chicken with sageSalbeisage-and-onion filling. Do try to save some space for a traditional “Scotch egg”, a favourite in picnic hamperKorbhampers of old. Invented in the 18th century by royal grocerLebensmittelhändler(in)grocer Fortnum & Mason, the snack consists of an egg wrapped in sausage meat, rolled in breadcrumbsPaniermehlbreadcrumbs and deep-friedfrittiertdeep-fried. Eat with a big dollop (ifml.)Klacksdollop of English mustardSenfmustard, washed down with some Campbell’s tea — also sold in the shop. History fans might be interested to know that the shop is located inside Henry VIII’s old artillery ground. All the more reason, then, to eat like a king.
Cundall & Garcia
42 Brushfield Street, E1 6AG
Putting on the style
There are few activities in this life more satisfying than finding a vintage bargain. And for lovers of retro fashion, London is paradise. Start your hunt at Absolute Vintage, which began life as a local market stallStand, Budestall and now offers an amazing collection of colourful shoes, clothes, handbags and accessories at great prices.
From there, it’s a short walk down the road to Blitz, a vintage department storeKaufhausdepartment store which sells a range of products, including bikes and upcycled furniturekreativ restaurierte Altmöbelupcycled furniture. People at Blitz know their stuff and have organized the clothes with precision, offering everything your fashion-loving heart could possibly desire, from 1920s opera-going outfits to 90s normcoreNormcore-Trend (unauffällige Kleidung)normcore. Oh, and for Swatch fans, Blitz has one of the most extensive collections you’ll find this side of Geneva. And if you find shopping thirsty work, you might want to stop for a coffee at the in-house bar afterwards. —LM
All over the place
Into the shadows
The Darkest Victorian London Tour is for people to whom “vintage” is more about the 19th than the 20th century. A tour guide from the organization London Walks will take you south of the River Thames to an assignationVerabredungassignation with characters who peopled one of the poorest and most dangerous corners of the city more than a hundred years ago.
In small forgotten side streets usually unvisited by travellers and tourists, you’ll hear ladies of the night, chimney sweepSchornsteinfeger, Kaminkehrerchimney sweeps and criminals describing their lives in Victorian London. A horrible highlight is the Old operating theatreOP-SaalOperating Theatre. Opened in 1822, before anaestheticNarkosemittelanaesthetics made operations an altogether less painful experience, you can sit where students of medicine observed doctors at work.
The walk comes to a close in one of the restaurants at nearby Borough Market. Whether you want a meal or a stiff drink — it’s up to you. The Darkest Victorian London Tour usually takes place on Monday and leaves from Monument Tube station. Details are on the London Walks website.
London Walks — Darkest Victorian London Tour
Get the look
If you have ever watched Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot or Elizabeth Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and you are wondering how they got that hot Hollywood look, Lipstick & Curls, a hair and make up academy in London, will be able to help. The academy offers a variety of events, such as a whole day of make-up classes. You’ll learn how to create many different styles of make-up, how to use colour and how to achieve an individual look.
At a Vintage Hair event, you’ll find out how to form the pin curlsLocken, Retro-Wellenpin curls that were popular in the 1940s and 50s — think of Lauren Bacall looking sultrysinnlichsultry in a film poster for The Big Sleep. The course also teaches you how to put up your hair in a victory roll or a French pleatHaarbanane , HochsteckfrisurFrench pleat. After a few hours of fighting with hairpins and curlers, you’ll enjoy the tea and cake that are included in the price of every ticket. The Lipstick & Curls Academy has a list of events on its website. —IS
Lipstick & Curls