It always pays to wander off the main tourist streets in London, and I expect the same is true of all major cities. Away from the crowds, on corners, in back alleys sometimes, you will find a different London. The old London, characterful shops, and the unexpected gems from a different era.
This is a small part of the window display of James Smith and Sons – Umbrellas Ltd (estd 1830), situated on New Oxford Street, a short walk from Tottenham Court Road tube station. This store is world famous for its umbrellas, walking sticks, seatsticks (or shooting sticks) etc. Without doubt this is the most famous Umbrella shop in the UK with a thriving export business, particularly to the USA. A stick from this shop was a vital component of a smart gentleman’s attire in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Do take a look at its website. Click the link above.
Like all shop fronts, grabbing an image is tricky, reflections are almost impossible to eliminate and a Polarising filter is of limited use. But that doesn’t stop me trying. Processing this image was not easy, there were intrusive reflections in the sky area – most of which I have removed. And then it was a process to enable the sticks to stand out from the rather cluttered background. What I hadn’t seen when I took this shot was the face of a man in the shop’s interior. To me, he just adds a small but important human touch.
Ckick the image to see a higher quality enlargement.