Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Hello to Swan & Edgar, Piccadilly Pedlars

I recently sourced the most peachy perfect of vintage clutches. Its label tells me it is from Edgar and Swan Ltd. A quick Google search, and I realise this is a shop we all know.

Once called Virgin Megastore, then called Zavvi and only last year, re-opening its doors as the first UK offering from European retailers The Sting who are a self proclaimed 'brand network'. (1. Mute your computer before clicking on their site. 2. Anyone ever shopped there?).
File:Virgin Megastore - Piccadilly Circus.JPG

This area of London is so busy with people, advertising, traffic and noise that you have probably never had time to look at the beautiful architecture above the changing brand names. Architecture which was mostly there before the tube station opened on the 10th March, 1906. 

Piccadilly Hotel, Regent Street front, 1905–8, in 1910.
Piccadilly Hotel, Regent Street front, 1905–8 thanks to www.british-history.ac.uk
This particular building was owned by The Piccadilly Hotel. Amongst much controversy, debate and demands from the management of Edgar and Shaw, it was rebuilt between 1910 and 1920, and Edgar & Shaw moved in.

It was one of the first such department stores in the UK and London, following a trend which started in the middle of the previous century in Paris for a variety of goods to be made available under one roof. (Brand network anyone?) It was a destination for shoppers, fashionable ladies and those wanting to rest with a cup of tea.

Over the next few blogs I'll tell you more about it, what happened, who Edgar and Swan were, how their shop has fitted into all of our histories... and the clutch that I have from this very emporium.

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