After spending a quiet week in England’s West Country, the hustle and bustle of London came as a bit of a shock. Our home for the next ten days would be The Cumberland Hotel, conveniently located at Marble Arch on the doorstep of Oxford Street, the busiest shopping street in Europe. We checked into the hotel, brought our luggage to our room and then set out to explore the neighbourhood. At the top of my list was Selfridges department store.
Many of the big name retailers are here like Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and Top Shop but the star of Oxford Street is Selfridge & Co. (Only Harrods in Knightsbridge is larger.)
|Selfridges on Oxford Street|
As a fan of the Mr. Selfridge TV series, I couldn’t wait to walk through the doors of the high end department store founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge. The innovative American businessman revolutionized shopping by displaying merchandise where customers could examine it and was the first to locate perfume and cosmetics on the main floor. The Selfridge chain is now a holding of the Canadian Weston family.
|Selfridges Oxford Street Entrance|
Little of the original store remains except for the bronze statue, The Queen of Time, which stands above the Oxford Street entrance and a small exhibit of Selfridge memorabilia on the fourth floor.
|Queen of Time, by Gilbert Bayes|
|Harry Gordon Selfridge|
|Selfridges Team Member Top Hat|
|Mr. Selfridge's Inkpot|
|Roof Garden Advertisement (1915)|
The store's bronze art deco lift is now on display at the Museum of London.
|Selfridges Lift (1928), Museum of London|
|Lift Car Interior|
The luxury goods at Selfridges were out of my price range but I could afford a sandwich and a bag of crisps from the food hall. We also bought fresh strawberries and a bottle of wine at the Marks and Spencer flagship store across the street. We then returned to our hotel room with our purchases and my friend cried out, “Our luggage. It’s gone!”
I made a frantic call to the front desk.
Ten minutes later there was a knock at our door. I looked through the peep hole and saw a cart loaded with our luggage (which had been moved to another room in error). I’ve never been so happy to see my bags!
My Tip for the Day:
Quick and inexpensive meals-to-go (including wine) can be purchased in department store food halls.
Next: South Bank of the Thames