Blustons is back!
It's back! The glory of Kentish Town high street has been reborn. It's fifteen months since Blustons - as traditional a purveyor of ladies' clothing (to men and women) as you could possible find - shut up shop. Since then this splendid, listed shopfront has had a forlorn look.
But it's now bounced back into business - and as a clothing store. A happier ending than any Kentish Towner had any reason to expect. There's no red-and-white polka dot dress in the window display, and are those male mannequins staring out on to the good people of NW5? -but then I suppose all things must pass.
The Camden New Journal is, of course, on top of the story - here is their interview with the new owner. When I passed by this afternoon there were rather more prospective customers in the shop than I ever saw in the old days ... so let's hope that the tills keep ringing at the new look Blustons.
Icon meets icon
A (close to) final word about Bluston's - early in her career, Amy Winehouse staged a photo shoot here ... one style icon meets another.
All this courtesy of this blog.
Bluston's last Saturday
It's such a sad sight. Bluston's window display - usually so pristine and shining - is reduced to this. The red polka dot dress which has had pride of place in the display ever since, it almost seems, I moved to NW5 is gone. I hope it's found a good home. Today is Bluston's last Saturday - the shop closes on Tuesday or Wednesday. What a painful loss for Kentish Town's high street.
I popped in to wish the own Michael Albert and his colleague well - this shop has been part of Kentiish Town since 1931. With the wonderful charm which matches the (listed, happily) shop front, I was offered a small glass of sherry and a sweet.
There's talk of a move to 'save' Bluston's - and keep the premises going as a clothes and fashion shop, with space still for the sepia portraits of the founders (you can just see that of Jane Bluston, Michael's grandmother, in one of the photos above) which are such an icon of the store.
Whatever the fate, on its last Saturday, we wish Bluston's a fond, respectful and moist-eyed farewell!
Another blast at Blustons
I can never walk past Blustons in Kentish Town High Street without having a peek into their commodious window displays. It is simply window shopping. At the moment, it can't be much else. The shop - a wonderful throwback to the inter-war years which I have blogged about before - is currently closed for its annual holidays. I haven't decided whether shutting down in mid-February for your hols is inspired or the opposite.
Walking past this weekend with my camera - which in technical and graphic calibre, is a good match for the photographer - I took a couple of shots which I rather like. Setting Blustons' very keenly priced 'classic ladies' clothing' against the reflections of the high street. See what you think.
From London Shop Fronts, Creative Commons - link below
I've walked past Blustons hundreds of times. It has the most striking shop front on Kentish Town High Street. By quite a way. Today, my curiosity took me inside.
Blustons has been here since the 1920s. It has huge glass displays - as you can see. They take up half the total floor space or more. Dated, conservative - but not at all tawdry or mildewed. The "ladies clothing" is bright, stylish (if not entirely in style), and to my lay eye appears excellent value.
Inside, there are wonderful sepia portraits of the founders (you can see them in Kim Cunningham's photo here, along with the current proprietor, apparently the grandson) - and cuttings about 'the shop time forgot', and similar. Otherwise, it's fairly austere. Not much in the way of shop fittings. Just half-a-dozen or so racks. And a friendly welcome. The shop wasn't exactly doing a roaring trade for a Saturday lunchtime - but I wasn't the only customer.
Blustons backs on to the most hidden and atmospheric Kentish Town locality - the Crimean quarter. Alma, Inkerman, Raglan and Cathcart (the last two were British military commanders) Streets were built shortly after the Crimean war, and have survived largely in tact. Willes - of Willes Road nearby - was another Crimean general.
Ewan-M: Creative Commons
Amid these streets is a pub, 'The Crimea'. At least, it was a pub. The building's been turned into flats, but charmingly the signboard survives. A rather distinguished representation of the Crimean war.
This blog has been illustrated with photos from other sites. My thanks to the London Shop Fronts site, to photographer Kim Cunningham whose own website is well worth a visit, and Ewan Munro's photostream for the 'Crimea' pub sign.
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