Christmas Time in London
Today I had to take the car in for its Annual Service which meant driving some miles away to another town. Rather that take a Courtesy Car I decided to walk for 5 mins to the local Railway Station and pop into London for the day.
Being Christmas Time, I took the opportunity to photograph a few Christmas Windows at some of the Major Stores
My journey began at Maidenhead in Berkshire where I took the opportunity to photograph this clock tower opposite the station, available for the first time in passing without some vehicle blocking the view. Needless to say, the Time on the Clock Faces is totally Wrong on both sides!
The Clock Tower on the Maidenhead Inner Ring Road
Arriving in London, I headed for Marble Arch underground station on the Central Line, with the intention of exploring Hyde Park for any Christmas activities there. When I realised that the Fun Fair was at the opposite end of the park, I reverted to my original plan and headed for the massive store which I always enjoy visiting, 'Selfridges'
Marble Arch and Gate.
On the way along Oxford Street I spotted this new modern Glass Walled building (or put it this way, It was not there the last time I was nearby).
Next door is the Primark Store. During My first career spanning from 1961 to 1976, this was the UK Head Office, Buying Offices and Flagship Store of the German Company C&A Modes or C&A Brenninkmeyer as the German wing is called. The family used to have apartments in the Western Wing.
Sadley for me they withdrew from Manufacturing in the UK in 1976 and in 2001 they also withdrew from Retailing, closing all of their 60ish stores almost overnight. I believe that they still have a property company who own this enormous building, amongst others.?
The Old C&A Marble Arch Branch
Turning to my left, there on the North Side of Oxford Street is the magnificent Selfridges Store decked out in its Seasonal Decor.
The next series of photos are of the Selfridges Christmas Windows each themed around a brand or product
The Playdough Mountain
The Selfridges Snow Globe Window
The Jo Malone Perfume Window
The Agent Provocateur Goldfinger Window
The Armand De Brignac Gold Brut Window
The Kenzo Snow Scene
Inside the store, in the toy department, I came across a performance put on by performers from the Giffords Circus Show - I did not stay for the whole show but watched the jugglers in action.
Jugglers Bibi & Bichu Tesfamariam in action with their straw hats.
As I left Selfridges and made my way along Oxford Street eastwards towards Regent Street I took one more quick snap of the store just before a Bus (mirror in the shot) got in my way. Sods Law, I got the Traffic Light instead.
Rather than fight my way through the Oxford Street Crowds I took a shortcut through Hanover Square. On the left of this photo there is a wall of Porta Offices as part of the Cross Rail Development going on across London deep below.
Hanover Square in Autumn. Still a refuge for lunching Office Workers and Tourists.
It was during this time that young Lady Diana Spencer, soon to be engaged to Prince Charles, was employed by the Nursery School located in one of the buildings opposite.
St George Chapel, Mayfair
Once I arrived at Regent Street I took this photo of the Christmas Decorations. They do not look a impressive in daylight as the will when it get0s dark and all of the lights are switched on.
Being the subject of a three program series on TV during the last three weeks I could not miss the chance to see for myself how the store was inside. Chatting to one I of the Sales Assistants, I discovered that they only finished filming the series a few days before the last episode.
On the linking part of the building is the famous clock with its rotating depiction of St George Chasing the Dragon on his White Horse. Under the clock is an inscription - (should have been my own watchwords)
"No minute gone comes ever back again, take heed and see ye nothing do in vain"
On the roof is located this magnificent Golden Galleon Weather Vane and a set of beautiful set of 5 individually patterned Chimneys.
Over the main entrance flies the Union Jack (the correct way up as well)
Inside the large volume of customers shopping deterred me from taking more photos other than these two of the Atrium Decorations.
Looking Down from an upper floor balustrade.
Looking Upwards from an intermediate floor. (I apologise for the blurred shot ) This shot also give you an idea of the lovely interior architecture.
The last part of my visit was to photograph some of the Christmas windows, the subject of a big unveiling ceremony during the last program in the TV series.
As I photographed the windows the Liberty Clock struck 1.30pm so I was able to watch St George follow the Dragon and give it a sharp prod with his Spear.
My next visit was to be a walk down Carnaby Street of 1960's Fame. Here is located the 'Back Door' of Liberty which leads into the Chocolate Shop. Here there are two life size model Grenadier Guardsmen sentries guarding the doorway. (You can tell that they are Grenadiers by the touching buttons on their tunics.)
The Liberty Guardsmen
Carnaby Street has never lost its Tourist attraction and is still a warren of Fashion Boutiques and Restaurants. Here are some of this years Christmas decorations.
The famous giant Plug & Socket has been refurbished and given some Christmas Lights.
My quest continues as I re route myself back to Regent Street and travel north again to visit the world famous Hamleys Toy Shop. On the way I spotted this wonderfully disguised building site. This is the way London maintains its beauty during the months or years of shambles going on behind it.
There are not that many windows to Hamleys store so they are very large making it difficult to photograph a whole window. Equally, there are so many people looking at the windows at the same time.
My last set of Christmas Windows are those taken on Piccadilly of the Fortnum & Masons Store as I made my way to the Costa Coffee Shop nearby.
As I passed by I took this quick shot of the store interior through the Fortnums main doorway.
Heading back towards Piccadilly Circus and my Costa Coffee, the Princes Arcade and decorations were worth a photo.
Just along the road from the Arcade is the LLadro Porcelain Figurine Store where I noticed these giant Christmas Themed pieces in the window.
The last window contained these unusual characters which I have never seen in a Lladro Store before?
Costa Coffee taken, It was time to head back to Maidenhead and wait for the car. As I approached Piccadilly Circus I could see that Eros had been encased inside a giant balloon.
On closer inspection I could see that there was some artificial snow inside and realised that the whole structure was mimicking one of the 'Snow Globes'
As I turned to make my way into the Underground for my BakerLoo Line Train to Paddington, I took one last photo of Lower Regent Street - Haymarket and the Giant Advertising Boards on Piccadilly Circus.
A Very Happy Christmas to All My Blog Viewers