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Find a live or virtual event in 2022

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London's Lost Department Stores 

16 November 2022, 7.30-9pm, The Wigmore Library, Gillingham ME8 0PX

Event Details

A chance to step back in time, via fabulous period images, to a vanished era of glamour, confidence and style. We'll tour the West End like an Edwardian 'shopping woman' before heading off to the suburbs, via Gamages toy department, the flamingos in Derry & Toms roof garden and D. H. Evans' pioneering ankle reduction service. Who were the personalities behind these temples of consumption? Which invisible women broke through the glass ceiling? And what happened to Victorian shoplifters?

#2 of THE WIGMORE LECTURES; £4.50 per lecture or £22 for all six. 

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The Invented Department Stores of London

29 November 2022, 2-3pm

Event Details

Where did Mrs Dalloway buy her flowers? Why did author Barbara Pym idle away her  lunch hours in Gamages, High Hoborn in the 1970s? And which store inspired the sitcom Are You Being Served? Join Kate Macdonald of Handheld Press and Tessa Boase, author of London’s Lost Department Stores, for an illustrated conversation about the relationship between London’s real and fake, fictional and wholly invented shops.


Discover how the department store aimed to create a fantasy environment for adults, where anything might plausibly happen. Learn which stores inspired and sheltered various writers. And enjoy the waspish, delicious detail of life deep down behind the scenes in Selfridges, the lightly fictionalised setting for the 1933 novel Business as Usual by Jane Oliver and Ann Stafford.


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Kensington: an 'Aladdin's Cave of Shopping'

Monday 12 December, 6.30-7.30pm, Kensington Library 

Event Details

Working for the Daily Mail in the late Nineties, I became curious about the immense Art Deco Barkers building our offices partially occupied. When was it built? What did it replace? And how on earth could Kensington High Street sustain three, giant department stores, all owned by Sir John Barker? If Barkers signalled 'high class', Derry & Toms represented 'good middle class,' while Pontings traded as 'The House for Value'. This made Kensington an 'Aladdin's cave of shopping', luring consumers not just from across London, but right across the British Isles. From Victorian shop girls to the era of Big Biba, this is an alternative story of Ken High St (and its West End competition) that will both entertain and reveal hidden secrets.\

FREE EVENT run by RBCK Libraries

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