Friday, May 02, 2008

Cecil Court

On the last day William and I were in London two years ago, in the middle of the hubbub we stumbled upon this short pedestrian lane that took you back a hundred years in time with just a turn at a corner.

When I returned home, I was intrigued to find out more about my short stroll (we had to catch our plane only hours later) but I didn't know the name of the street. I did know approximately where it fell in relation to several landmarks (not far from Leicester Square, tucked between two busy streets) and with the help of Mapquest I got several potential street names, googled those, and voila! - Cecil Court was the name of this hidden gem. Well, maybe not hidden, but easy to miss if you're not the curious type. You could walk right by this street without turning your head as it's rather unassuming compared to the busyness of the connecting streets.

This time Cecil Court was one of the first places we visited, rather than one of the last, but we still didn't get to spend much time there. Everyone was too excited to slow down, and too hungry to dawdle. But they did pose for a moment and allowed me a little bit of time to snap some photographs.

No cars allowed, the storefronts are mainly painted a unifying pine green. The shops are filled with old books, old maps, a few metaphysical shops, and all manner of weathered curiosities. You can go to this site to read more about the history and shops.

Alas, there wasn't time for me to discover them all - and I suspect a lot of it was probably out of my price range, particularly with the exchange rate being what it was/is. This gentlemen had time to browse though and he fit the scene perfectly.

A window full of collectible children's books strewn with leaf garlands - and a reflection of the building behind it.

Two thoroughly modern English girls walking down the court. How did I know they weren't tourists too? We spent a lot of time and discussion on the differences and similarities in fashions everywhere we went. My money goes on these two being locals.

It's often impossible to take photos in the big city without getting strangers caught in one's lens. Sometimes I got lucky and got a break between the roaming masses, sometimes not. Sometimes I didn't even try but instead tried to use people as part of the scene (because, of course, they are), working instead to stage them properly. I also tried to be polite and capture them from afar or with a side or back view, but, y'know, folks don't always cooperate. More about this issue later, I think.

Another shop filled with old images. Check out all the fahionable gentlemen hanging about just inside the glass. They'd look equally at home standing out on the cobblestones.

Sam's checking out some old maps. He's dressed a little more modernly. And touristy. (Psst - it's the white tennis shoes.)

When you reach the end and turn - back in the 21st century. Cars. Noise. Even a Starbucks.

If you'd like to visit Cecil Court, hopefully at your leisure, it's easy to find. It's lays perpendicular between Charing Cross Road (between Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square, which are just a block plus apart themselves) and St. Martin's Lane. If you're using the Metro, use the Northern Line and get off at Leicester Square.


Blogger Jan said...

Hi Laume, glad you made it there and back safely, glad Buck is still kicking for awhile yet, hopefully pain free. That must have been an awful night, makes you feel so helpless, doesn't it. I'll be looking forward to seeing more photos and posts about your trip. I love that photo of you and your hubby, very sweet.

4:32 PM  

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